News & Politics

NetNomad 23

Five offbeat, timely reviews of Web sites on the arts, politics and news -- with a dash of the absurd thrown in for good measure. This week, DotComGuy … Be Fearless … Graphic Witness: Visual Arts & Social … and more.
DotComGuy www.dotcomguy.com

In the old days, would-be stars would rent a barn if they wanted to put on a show. Okay, so that was a very long time ago. These days all you have to do is turn on the viddycam and line up some banner ads. DotComGuy has so many you may be hard-pressed to find the guy in DotComGuy, but we are assured that DCG is "a 26-year-old Texan in his living environment, living off goods and services acquired via the Internet." One is tempted to say that he is in fact living off the avails of the Internet. Call it an infomercial for the Internet set. On the day we visited DCG was preparing for a 4:00 sax lesson with Johnny Reno. For one split second we thought it read Janet Reno. Now that would be worth seeing!

Game Boy Camera www.tapir.org/gbc/

The Game Boy Camera is small, cheap (about $50) and plugs right into the cartridge slot at the back of the Game Boy. Of course it is not a camera in the traditional sense. We learn here that it does not have nearly enough pixels to render smooth lines, even in the black and white images. Tones are said to "bleed together, accentuating the contrast between light and dark." You can't use it for large images like buildings, so you must get very close to things, forcing the photographer to see things that most people overlook. And the photos themselves? Judging from the samples provided at this site, they are indeed grainy and blurred and quite wonderful!

Be Fearless www.befearless.com

The Oxygen TV network may be still struggling to find its bearings on air, but online things are beginning to shape up. Be Fearless is one of a series of sites (including Be Strong, Bold, Wise and Smart) that have been created in order to encourage women to not only take greater control over their lives, but to harness the Internet as well. A fearless woman is described as one who can effect change, educate others about issues and is not afraid to take risks on behalf of a cause or issue. Be Fearless is also a wonderful source for Issues, Grassroots, Politics and Government and more.

Graphic Witness: Visual Arts & Social Commentary graphicwitness.org/ineye/index2.htm

It is thought that the first visual social commentary was The Letter Q, an engraving in 1467 depicting "two heavily armored knights slashing at one another while two unfortunate peasants are trampled beneath their horses." Many of the artists featured at Graphic Witness would probably tell you that not very much has changed. The artists featured here have had their work published in editorial pages, underground comics or union newsletters. The site features an extensive collection of artists, including Modern (those who been active primarily since 1950) and Historic (prior to 1950). There are dozens of wonderful impressions available here. To the art, follow the instructions to "click on the book to read" to see the first image, and then click on that image to see the next.

Peter Case www.vanguardrecords.com/case/

If there is no such thing as a "professional busker," perhaps Peter Case should take out a patent. Singer/songwriter Case is one of those rare performers who actually enjoys performing. Midway through his sets he often leaves the stage to sing while roaming around through the audience. In less capable hands it might seem contrite, but Case knows the turf like few others. His latest CD, "Flying Saucer Blues" reunites much of the same crew that appeared on "Full Service No Waiting" and the end result is an equally compelling collection of songs of love lost and found and life worth living. Sound clips and lyrics for "Paradise Etc.," "Walking Home Late," "Cold Trail Blues" and others are also available.
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