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Minnesota Stories News

Hello friends! Here's the latest shindiggity-poopity on the rising star of community vlogging, Minnesota Stories:

  • NEW! My interview with Mark Hosler of Negativland is on Rocketboom today.
  • Going to Art-A-Whirl in Northeast Minneapolis this weekend? Check out MTN's Art-A-Watch Sat. @ 7pm - a short festival of videos and films from Nordeast. I'll have a few MN Stories videos in there.
  • Meet the Vloggers in Chicago this Saturday. I'll be at Chicago's lovely downtown Apple Store presenting Minnesota Stories along with many other fine vlog-folk from the midwest. Transportation: Megabus.
  • Vloggercon in San Francisco, June 10-11. I'm spearheading a community vlogging panel along with Steve Garfield and Carl "Worcester Diaries" Weaver. Also on the Rocketboom panel. Also? A bit of wine country, or perhaps a drive up the Northern California coast. Ahhh.
  • There's some uncertain chance that MN Stories will be available over TiVo. MN Stories was accepted into the Brightcove Internet TV service to setup a "broadband channel" - which I haven't had time to setup. Now, Brightcove and TiVo have inked a deal to offer some of Brightcove's content over the TiVo network. Apparently they are selecting certain content providers rather than providing all content, so -- stay tuned. Believe me, I'll let you know if and when Minnesota Stories is avaialble on your TiVo.
  • May 16, 2006 at 02:10 PM in Minnesota Stories | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers


    May 14, 2006 at 02:38 AM in Music | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Copyright Radical

    Picture_48Check out this just-posted interview with Negativland's Mark Hosler on MNstories.

    He says "You don't get total control" when you put a creative work out into the world. If you want total control, keep it in your bedroom.

    I tend to agree. That's not to say you shouldn't get paid for your creative work. But if you put something out into the public consciousness, you've already surrendered how that work will be perceived, contextualized, and interpreted. Or even mentally remixed, you might say.

    Our lives are mashups. The whole fucking world is a mashup.

    For this reason I'm increasingly against the "No Derivatives" clause of Creative Commons licenses. Let me give you an example. A couple weeks ago I was feeling a bit dispirited about staying up all night doing web production. A piece of art by Hugh Macleod *almost* represented how I felt. It was a purple scribble that said "We can't go on like this." I made it red and changed it to say "I can't go on like this" and posted it on my blog.

    While Hugh kindly says I can do whatever I want with his art for personal use, his CC license says "No derivatives." Those conflict. That license says I can look at his work, and remix it in my head, and create a personalized version of it, but I can't show anybody. I can't recreate or regurgitate my experience of Hugh's art - according to that CC license. Well, I say I can and I do.

    This is particularly true in the digital age. Hugh is not losing anything (especially monetarily) by my personal remix of his art. You can say the same of using commercial music and images in your videos. If you're not trying to redistribute or profit from another's copyrighted work, why NOT include it in your creative palette?

    The world around us is our creative palette. We have the right to express the world around us, as artists and human beings.

    (END RANT)

    May 13, 2006 at 01:36 PM in Copyright | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack

    That Guy's Everywhere

    Photo of me by Max Sparber during our exclusive geek tour of the new Minneapolis Central Library.

    May 10, 2006 at 12:32 AM in Minnesota Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Bartel Cartel

    Matt Bartel: Plotting world domination, one click at a time.

    In Tuesday's Star Tribune: Bartel 2.0 talks to Matt Bartel (and Alexis!) about our little virtual watering hole, MNspeak.

    Matt and I had a beer at Whitey's a few weeks ago to talk about the advertising consortium he's planning for MNspeak, MNstories, and TC Daily Planet. The article ends with nearly the exact same words he said to me: "I'm kind of hoping that this will put me through grad school." Me too, hermano. Or at least pay for my camera habit.

    After the article, there's a list of what I assume to be Matt's favorite blogs around town. I was happily surprised to see this at the top:

    Best local storyteller/vlog: Minnesota Stories, a daily video log by Chuck Olsen. Sometimes it's really interesting, sometimes just a goofy short thing he recorded at 2 a.m.

    May 9, 2006 at 01:57 AM in Local, Media, Minnesota Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


    Sigur Ros was amazing. Although it's hard to beat our first time seeing them in the intimacy of the Women's Center, this show was one of the more amazing multimedia spectacles I've ever seen. It's the future of music, right here and now! A couple of thoughts:

    This isn't my photo; it's Sharyn's. I brought our Lumix in a camera bag, not sure if they'd be digging in bags at the Orpheum. They were, and I had to check the camera. Rrazor had to trek his cam back to the car.

    Having been through this sort of thing enough times, I didn't really care. I could have easily snuck the camera in with minimal effort. But then my experience of the show would've been partially sucked into the activity of capturing. I would sacrifice the experience in order to reexperience later. I've done a lot of that. I'm glad I could simply soak it in and be in the moment.

    Lorika and I have talked a little about this, "being in the moment" of photography. With an event like a music concert, you're taken out of the moment when you're capturing. But with nature, say a delicate flower, you're actually more in the moment. The flower isn't really going anywhere; it's more or less still. You can commune with the flower and the other tiny things surrounding you and your camera. It's that "time disappears" feeling. Of course, there's still a lot of concentration on capturing, but not at the expense of missing the flower.

    Oh, I almost forgot the mundane point: How silly it is to use physical size to determine camera quality. Most of those little silver consumer cameras they let in the doors can take really good photos. Banning "professional" photography is practically meaningless. Professionals are hiding in amateur clothing everywhere you look.

    Huh? Yeah that's right, I said spirituality. An over-used word, I'm told.

    Bands like Sigur Ros, The Polyphonic Spree and The Flaming Lips are the closest many of us disillusioned youths will come to finding God. Church and religion have way too much baggage, and have done far too much harm. Sigur Ros makes it safe to feel exaltation, to experience something like transcendence. Call it what you will... the terrain of the heart, the soul, or just -- good epic music?


    May 9, 2006 at 01:46 AM in Music | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack


    Holy crap, this is hilarious. A bunch of merry pranksters dressed up in blue shirts and descended upon an unsuspecting Best Buy store. They never claimed to be employees, and (kinda) tried to answer questions if customers asked them questions. Managers and security guards freaked out, some thinking they were a cult, and called the police:

    Best Buy: Agent Shafer on Vimeo

    As y'all probably know, I've twice been in situations where a place of business thought it was illegal for me to film in their establishment: The Fine Line and Starbucks. What's scary is some police officers don't even know the law. All a business can do is ask you to leave if you're taking photos or video. You're not breaking any laws, unless you refuse to leave, in which case you're trespassing.

    Also? Sure love the new Mac commercials featuring the Daily Show's John Hodgeman.

    May 2, 2006 at 03:28 AM in Funny Crap | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack



    Twin Cities Daily Planet officially launched today. It's a unique model for aggregating local media - one that stands out nationally. Much more to say about this, but no time! I sort of spilled the beans on this media venture last October. Now I'm spilling the beans on purpose. Press conference tonight. Story at 11.

    Minnesota Stories is a TC Daily Planet Media Partner. See my little logo?

    May 1, 2006 at 12:23 PM in Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



    Check it out! There's Lorika in front of 350,000 people, not including Tivo viewers. Today RB debuts their new Earthlink video ads as well, and a video search that indexes the audio of every video - a feature I'm hoping to add to Minnesota Stories.

    May 1, 2006 at 12:12 PM in Videoblogging | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack