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Be Your Own Pundit: Skills for Combating Corporate Media

Smells like indie spirit: Radical Cheerleaders
photo: Grassroots Media Conference

"Don't hate the media, become the media." So sayeth punk pundit Jello Biafra, though these days there's often more camera-toting "independents" at protests than actual demonstrators. But this reprise of last year's highly successful conference aims to do more than just inspire more media rebels. Rather, the goal, says organizer Denisse Andrade, is to network independent producers and help them collaborate with community activists, "so we don't all end up rushing out to cover the same thing."

That said, there's plenty of DIY skill-sharing here to empower the budding media warrior, with workshops on everything from video blogging and radical cheerleading to how to make a website, shoot a video, or craft the perfect freelance pitch. Highlights include the Brooklyn-based Malcolm X Grassroots Movement on using "Cop Watch" video patrols to monitor police abuse; "Culture Jam 101" with Reverend Billy, William Etundi Jr. of the Complacent rave party crew, and street artist Swoon; "How to Run a Film Festival" with Rooftop Films; "The Nuts and Bolts of Democracy Now" with Jeremy Scahill; DeeDee Halleck of Deep Dish TV and Arun Gupta of The Indypendent on the roots of radical media; "Accessing Government Information" with City Limits editor Alyssa Katz; the art of graffiti with legendary bomber Cope2; and reclaiming the political power of hip-hop with WBAI's Jay Smooth and DJ Kuttin Kandi. Opening-night party is Friday at 7:30 at Dumba Queer Arts Collective, 57 Jay Street, Brooklyn.


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