Tag Archives: Jordan Kurland

Air Traffic Control – When Disaster Strikes

Air Traffic Control (ATC) is committed to connecting musicians with opportunities to help the greater community. Understanding that artists can serve as the driving force for awareness initiatives in the wake of disasters, ATC has studied the role of artists in disaster response for the past decade. The study revealed three clear stages of the process, which in turn led to the creation of a threefold plan for optimizing disaster response.

First, ATC notifies artists in its network within 24 hours of a disaster with suggestions for strategic action, prepared email statements, and posts for social media. The second stage involves the “When Disaster Strikes” Fund, which ATC recently created in conjunction with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. Donations from artists and their fans go directly to the fund, which then strategically directs them to response units and rebuilding efforts.

During the third stage, ATC regularly updates artists about how their money and their fans’ donations have helped the cause. The updates include prepared statements that artists can redirect to their fans.

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Treasure Island Music Festival – A Green Event




The Treasure Island Music Festival maintains a dedication to reducing its carbon footprint. Since the festival’s inception, about three-quarters of the waste produced has avoided the landfill due to composting and recycling initiatives. In 2013, the festival utilized biodiesel generators that significantly reduced emissions of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. Organizers are encouraging attendees to walk, use public transportation, or bike to the next event in October 2014. Attendees can take a bus to the island from downtown San Francisco. Individuals who bike to the festival can even “check” their bikes with a valet.

In order to reduce waste caused by disposable cups, the Treasure Island Music Festival will fill personal water bottles with fresh, cold water for only a dollar. Alternatively, attendees can purchase stainless steel reusable bottles and receive free refills.

Last year, all concession stands used compostable materials and recycled napkins. In addition, all printed material associated with the festival was published on recycled paper. Festival organizers look forward to furthering their commitment to sustainability with new initiatives in the years to come.

District of Columbia Honors Death Cab for Cutie in Union Station




The Union Station bus depot in Washington, DC, will soon open two new pavilions for the convenience of travelers. One of the pavilions will sell drinks, snacks, and reading materials, while the other will provide tourist information. Both feature a bright yellow face encrusted with a series of lines and dots, which are actually Morse code for lyrics from a Death Cab for Cutie Song, “Soul Meets Body.” A representative of the architecture firm who designed the yellow surfaces stated that the lyrics represent perfectly the feelings of impermanence and transience that individuals often associate with bus stations.




This honor makes Death Cab for Cutie a permanent part of Union Station and Washington, DC. Ben Gibbard, the group’s guitarist and lead singer, also prominently featured the city in the song “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight,” a single released through Gibbard’s acclaimed side project, The Postal Service.

How to Support the Stern Grove Festival




The Stern Grove Festival is one of the oldest admission-free events in the United States. Since 1938, the event has featured performing artists through series at Sigmund Stern Grove in San Francisco. Since the Stern Grove Festival earns no revenue from ticket sales, it relies on the generosity of attendees to cover the costs of the concerts and outreach programs featured each year. While the organization that presents the event accepts general donations, it has also created a unique system through which individuals can directly donate to the segments of the festival that they wish to support.

The Local Artist Fund helps to cover artist fees and production expenses for performers based in and around San Francisco. The Youth Arts Fund provides materials and educational initiatives that bring art to more than 3,000 children each summer. The Classical Fund enables renowned classical performers to be accessible to all. The fund covers artist fees and associated expenses, while the Festival Fund goes toward the operating costs that keep the festival running smoothly each year.

For individuals who want to provide hands-on support, the event heavily relies on the generosity of volunteers.

Treasure Island – A Look Back

The Treasure Island Music Festival debuted in 2007 and has since become a highlight of the West Coast music festival circuit. It is highly regarded for its star lineups and Bay Area vibe, as well as for its unique location: Treasure Island, a strangely polygonal island in wind-whipped San Francisco Bay.

Given its oddly regular shape, it is not surprising that Treasure Island is a man-made landform. Built in the late 1930s, it was constructed with quarried stone and dredged sand upon the shoals of neighboring Yerba Buena Island, which sits at the foot of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

Originally envisioned as supporting an airport, the island was built to host the magnificent “Magic City” of the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939, with the aim of funding later development. Despite its elaborate preparations and the locals’ high hopes, the expo flopped.

The island became a naval base in 1941 and was officially seized from the City of San Francisco by the United States Navy shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After World War II and throughout the Cold War, Naval Station Treasure Island was home to an electronics school, a strategic air command radar station, and numerous other military facilities.

Beginning in the 1980s, several of the island’s structures opened up for use as settings and sound stages in filmmaking. Several popular films were shot in part on Treasure Island, including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Matrix, Flubber, and Bicentennial Man.

The naval station closed in 1997, but it was not until after several years of red tape, political maneuvering, and cleanup that the island finally began opening up for residential and commercial development. Beginning in 2011, a number of multi-decade plans have been officially approved. Much to the benefit of the Bay Area, development of Treasure Island is finally on the horizon, beginning in no small part with the Treasure Island Music Festival.

Indie Duo MS MR Looks Forward to Making More Music

images (1)New York-based alternative rock group MS MR enjoyed a busy 2013, with several popular releases and numerous tour stops. The duo’s recent success has marked them as rapidly rising stars in the world of indie pop.

Musicians Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow released the video of their second single, “Fantasy,” early in the year, then watched the track’s March iTunes release easily hit single-of-the-week status. Their debut album, Secondhand Rapture, was released in May and quickly soared to the second spot on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart. Since then, MS MR has been touring some of the highest-profile music festivals and venues in the world, from Australia’s Splendor in the Grass to Texas’ Austin City Limits.

In an end-of-year interview with Elle magazine in December 2013, MS MR were asked about their views on recent directions in pop music. Both musicians agreed that the emergence of new, independent voices like Lorde, Haerts, Chvrches, and Haim marks a positive trend. Asked about plans for 2014, Hershenow resolved to focus on writing some new songs, something the duo didn’t have time to do amidst their busy tour and release schedule in 2013.

New Library of Congress Prizes Reward Innovation in Literacy

On the heels of an array of accolades over the past decade, San Francisco-based literacy organization 826 National won the American Prize in the first annual Library of Congress Literacy Awards in late 2013. The award, which includes a $50,000 grant, recognizes a successful project that effectively promotes literacy. Specifically, 826 operates a network of centers for underserved students in eight major cities throughout the United States. Programs include tutoring, writing workshops, publishing projects, and a wide range of other imaginative offerings intended to engage students.

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards also confers the International Award, for work that promotes literacy overseas. The first such honor, also in the amount of $50,000, went to PlanetRead in Mumbai, India. This program is especially notable for its innovative work in literacy instruction using subtitles on popular musical films and television programs.

The final and perhaps most prestigious honor among the Library of Congress Literacy Awards is the David M. Rubenstein Prize. This $150,000 award recognizes uniquely sustainable literacy efforts throughout the world. In its inaugural year, the honor went to Reach Out and Read in Boston, Massachusetts, an organization that integrates literacy into pediatric care, taking advantage of the many doctor visits in a child’s early life to promote reading education.