I didn't watch Michael Jackson's funeral on TV, or even try to get tickets to watch it live. I've always loved his music, but I didn't need another spectacle. Mostly, I just feel sad about it.
One thing, though, has made me more angry than sad.
Here in Los Angeles, every politician under the sun has taken the opportunity to complain about the cost of ensuring the safety of folks attending the funeral. By some estimates, it cost a couple million dollars. I'm vexed that these politicians are taking this moment of sadness and trying to twist it into a moment of hostile, hateful political opportunism.
Every year, the Lakers play 40 basketball games that fill the Staples Center. The Kings play another 40 games that do the same. Fans pay to attend these events, and that money does not go to pay for the infrastructure they use, it goes to the private businesspeople who own and operate the teams and the venue.
Every year, there are countless block parties, parades, concerts and protests that draw members of the public. Every one of those events has infrastructure costs: police, emergency services, roads, public transportation.
Cities support public events. Our police department has a budget to pay for ensuring the public safety, whether people are walking to the grocery store, celebrating Pride, going to a sporting event or mourning at a funeral. That is as it should be. This is the most basic function of local government.
Like many localities, Los Angeles is in the midst of a financial crunch, but providing basic services is not a choice, it is what government does.
I heard the police chief, Bill Bratton, on the radio today. He's an eloquent man and a surprisingly straight shooter. He said that if Los Angeles thinks it's a world-class city, it needs to be prepared to support once in a generation events. I couldn't agree more.
Sometimes folks ask me about DJW, who does the music for TSOYA (with the exception of the theme song).
He's a great guy, he's from Massachusetts, he set the dance floor off at MaxFunCon... not much else to say. You can check out a few of his remixes on his zebox page.
Above: a fan-made video for DJW's remix of Pharrell's "Frontin'".
Welcome to season two of Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters! In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. These original recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.
On this episode: Coyle and Sharpe have a way for the Giants to achieve victory.
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Steve Coogan as buffoonish television and radio host Alan Partridge makes spectacularly unfounded accusations about farming to a farmer, played by the great Chris Morris.
It took me a while to figure out what was special about Joell Ortiz.
He's got heart.
Our pals from Elephant Larry and our pal Kevin "Sprinkles" Pereira join force like Voltron for a segment called "Kings of Dot Comedy" on Attack of the Show.
Guest Scott Aukerman joins Jesse and Jordan to talk about things that are ruined by fans of those things, and more.
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Our theme music: "Love You" by The Free Design, courtesy of The Free Design and Light in the Attic Records
Bill Withers is the singer-songwriter behind soul classics like Ain't No Sunshine, Lean on Me, Use Me, Just the Two of Us, Lovely Day and more. Withers retired from the music industry in the mid 1980s, and with the exception of a few songs penned for other artists, has stayed out of the public eye. He's featured in the new documentary and concert film Soul Power, which follows a music festival in Zaire in 1974. The film hits theaters in New York and LA on July 14th, and opens across the country thereafter.
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