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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pussy Riot Declared Guilty Of Hooliganism, Receive Two Years In Prison, Remain Punk As Hell

This morning, inside of a Russian court surrounded outside by furious protesters, a judge declared Russian punk band Pussy Riot guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” The charge ultimately came with a sentence of two years in jail, and the ruling comes five months after band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich were initially imprisoned for performing a “punk prayer” in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. In the February 2012 performance, the group donned neon“colored balaclavas and played a song entitled “Mother of God, Chase Putin Out,” which resulted in their immediate arrest and detention at the hands of Russian police.

Over the course of their time in custody, the band members have received support from numerous high“profile musicians, including Paul McCartney, Peaches, Madonna, Sting, Peter Gabriel, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Bjí¶rk. Despite the mounting global pressure from celebrity musicians and human rights organizations on Russian authorities to release the women, the judge declared that the two“year sentence is a “caution to others” according to the Wall Street Journal’s live blogging of the trial.

In their closing statements preceding the sentencing, band members defended their actions against the prosecution’s accusations of religious hatred. Samutsevich declared that Vladimir Putin‘s government had appropriated the Orthodox Church as a political tool in order to control the Russian populace, and repress human rights and civil liberties. The band’s performance, Samutsevich continued, was an attempt to reclaim the Orthodox culture, which the government had co“opted as an oppressive arm of the Putin regime. Contrary to the charges against them, the band members claim, their performance was meant to reunite the church with the Russian spirit of “civic revolt and protest.” Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova also drew parallels with persecuted Soviet“era poet Joseph Brodsky and the absurdist Oberiu poets of the 1920s and ’30s. Brodsky was denounced and eventually expelled from the USSR, while the Oberiu poets were condemned for “literary hooliganism” and arrested.

Russia’s notably troubled history with media censorship has been worsening, as the trial’s outcome suggests. The Huffington Post claims that recent laws have increased fines to almost $9,000 for those who take part in unauthorized demonstrations, and that NGOs must register as “foreign agents” if they are to engage in any political activity. Though the three members of Pussy Riot supposedly laughed after their sentence was announced, it remains to be seen whether their sentencing will trigger a larger backlash against Russia’s draconian censorship laws, as they implied in their closing statements.

Below, watch a bystander video of the protest gig that resulted in the band’s arrest.

After sentencing, the band remained defiant, with Alyokhina stating bluntly, “I am not afraid of you and I am not afraid of the thinly veneered deceit of your verdict at this ˜so-called’ trial. My truth lives with me. I believe that honesty, free-speaking and the thirst for truth will make us all a little freer. We will see this come to pass.”

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Discourse & Dischord

The Good

2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees announced

Champagne’s a flowin’ at the homes of Bon Jovi, Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, LL Cool J and Dr. John, who among others, were all nominated into the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this week. The induction ceremony will take place on March 14th in Cleveland, Ohio. We would like an Alice Cooper/Neil Diamond duet please ¦ to whoever is taking requests.

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Following in his little bro’s footsteps, or maybe heeding the advice of Jason Derülo, Joe Jonas announced plans to record a solo all by himself. Something with a sexier, Justin Timberlake vibe, says the Middle One. Sexier than Camp Rock? Can it be done? We’ll all find out in 2011¦

The Bad

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If you’re gonna fall, fall with class. Like Mariah Carey, who took a tumble in Singapore but smiled the whole way down. Then things got a little more diva-ish when Carey yelled for her assistant to come help her take her shoes off while the band kept playing Make It Happen. Check it out below.

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On SNL this past weekend, Katy Perry avenged her Sesame Street-banned bust by donning a low-cut Elmo t-shirt and bouncing around on a sofa. Those muppets must be seeing red!

The Ugly

MC Hammer starts beef with Jay Z

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Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Gaga sweeps Brit Awards

Lady Gaga

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The Bad

EMI to sell Abbey Road Studios

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Abbey Road Studios, a space that gave birth to albums by Pink Floyd, Radiohead and a little band known as the Beatles, may or may not have been put on the market. EMI, who has owned the studio since 1929, has declined to comment on the reported sale.

The Ugly

Mary J. Blige covers Stairway to Heaven

Mary J Blige

Forget the bustle in your hedgerow, here’s something more alarming. R&B singer Mary J. Blige, Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and guitar legend Steve Vai have joined forces to record a cover of Led Zeppelin’s iconic hit, Stairway to Heaven. The superstar group has taken over Studio A at the Capitol Records building in Hollywood ¦ they’ll either emerge with a genius remake, or an abomination that will leave Robert Plant yowling louder than he did on Immigrant Song.

Miscellany

Discourse & Dischord

OSBlog02_Discourse_Jan10_Week1
The Good

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P!nk: Tickled

The list of artists slated to perform at the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards on January 31 reads like a box of crayons: P!nk, Green Day, Black Eyed Peas, Zac Brown and the always-technicolor Lady Gaga, who was added to the schedule this week. If the committee adds Yellowcard and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, well, color us happy.

Kelly Clarkson joins Twitter, the masses follow

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Michael Cera stars in new Islands video

michael cera with camera

Hip to be Square: Michael Cera

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The Bad

Katy Perry is off the market (again)

Thank You India: Brand and Perry

Thank You India: Brand and Perry

Katy Perry engaged to Travis McCoy? That’s so 2009. Katy Perry engaged to Russell Brand ” totally 2010! The American pop singer and her British beau announced their engagement this week following a romantic trip to India. (2011 prediction: Katy Perry and The Situation.)

The Ugly

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Miscellany