We don’t need no stinkin’ awards

Awards are a tricky thing. I recently watched the Billboard awards and came away with this: Chris Brown does not belong in the R&B category and Katy Perry is annoying. As much as I dislike these rituals, I will say that Billboard had a few categories that made sense. Awarding an artist for selling the most records, while potentially offensive, is at least straightforward and calculable. Celebrating an artist for recording the “Best R&B record” assumes that the judges (whoever they are) have a clear understanding of the genre (which assumes the genre itself can be reduced to a handful of specific criteria) and that the artist has presented the best interpretation of the genre based on said criteria. Once all that is established, then there’s the value of the award itself. Does it mean any more to an artist to be lauded by his peers or worse, his industry than to be loved and appreciated by fans?

For the first time in more than three decades a Pulitzer was not awarded for a work of fiction. This raised more than a few eyebrows and some questions about literary prizes which for me speaks to the whole problem of competition in the arts arena.  Benjamin Hale wrote an insightful piece on the subject for The Millions.

Of course all politics is local which brings me to the subject of the Ventura County Music Awards presented by our friends at VCBuzz, to which I can only respond with “WHY?” Why it, why now and why are the musicians so quick to glom on to anything that offers accolades, however hollow? I will be observing, reporting and opining as the months (yes, MONTHS!) of VC Music Awards related events take place. I will not, however, be voting.




30 Comments to “We don’t need no stinkin’ awards”

  1. Hi Michel,

    That’s cool if you don’t want to vote or participate. However, it seems to me that patronizing local musicians for wanting to be recognized is perpetuating the exact politics that you are trying to speak out against. All decisions regarding the awards are decided by a committee that is not limited to staff members of the VC Buzz. It is completely independent of all other projects that we are involved in, although we do consider ourselves sponsors (as is BuzzRadio Ventura), helping upkeep the website and administrating decisions of said committee. The reason it is happening now is because we have simply taken the initiative. It is a major priority for us to find ways that we can give recognition to our local artists, who we personally think are amazing. It’s really not exclusive and if you have any criticisms, it would probably be more practical for you to talk to us, find out the actual details, and perhaps get involved.

    All of the voting, as you know, is up to the fans. Maybe that isn’t as scientific as judging people based on album sales, but I think it is a fair way to approach our local community. We aren’t trying to get artists competing with each other, most of the people in each category are friends and I seriously doubt this is going to effect anyone’s personal relations with each other. From my experience, they have been nominating each other, communicating with each other, and further strengthening their bonds as an actual community. That is how I see it, and that is our goal.

    Plus, and while it may not be a lot, we are doing what we can to use this as an opportunity to offer some paying gigs to our local musicians and driving fans to the local venues, while, I can honestly say, I will not be taking a penny for my own pocket for any of the work or time that I am donating.

    You are definitely entitled to your opinion, and I would never try to change that or censure you in any way, but I do recall that you asked to meet with and interview us and then completely flaked. I just think that it’s a little bit harsh to attack a selfless event without ever making an effort to find out the facts.

    And thank you for following our months of events. 😉

    Joel Perkins
    Production Manager

    • Joel,Thanks for your comment and I understand what you’re trying to say, but I must clarify a couple things: I’m not “patronizing” local musicians by any stretch and most of them know me and know my longstanding sincere and tangible support; I’m not interested in being involved in awards, yours or anyone else’s (other than what I’m compelled to contribute in order to remain employed); I’m allowed to express my opinion, that’s sort of what blogs are for, even, and maybe especially, when it doesn’t align with the status quo. I won’t dilute my relationship to music and musical artists by engaging in what I feel are shallow attempts at PR. If the spirit of the awards is love, then more power to you. It’s still perfectly acceptable for me to have my own (Gasp!) perspective.

  2. I’m not trying to convince you of anything or change your opinion. I just wish that you would find out and consider the facts before expressing said opinion. We have no interest in playing politics but you may be right to insinuate that I am guilty of promoting. Much of what I do is promotion. For others. Being a creative person myself, I know how difficult it is to create and therefore, I personally attempt not to cut people down or criticize them for their hard work, especially if I don’t have any suggestions or input to make things better. But I do understand that many people enjoy reading the musings of critics, and in that regard I wish you a long and happy career. I will be sure to promote your blog every time you have something to say about us, and hopefully that will help raise awareness as to what we are both trying to accomplish. The more the merrier, as far as I’m concerned.

  3. I’m not a critic. But I am a stalwart fan of music and much of my time is also devoted to promoting it. I don’t really subscribe to “the more the merrier” because I feel there should be a certain standard and legitimacy to what people do when it’s in a professional capacity, such as publishing for example.

    • You’re fun to talk to Michel. It’s a shame that you, in your own words, only support arts when you are being paid to and if it’s being backed by you or one of your establishment friends. Your claims towards my professional illegitimacy made my morning. Remember that the invitation is always open for you to sit down and talk with us and give us any actual professional criticism or feedback. We need to and appreciate hearing things from such people. Otherwise, remember that everything comes out in the white wash eventually. If you want to be remembered as bitter and angry then that is your business and I won’t stop you. But I will rebuke any and all false facts. The people have decided they want the awards, the numbers speak for themselves. Much love. I will be following 🙂

  4. Maybe you should have learned to read before you got into publishing. What I wrote was that I only support AWARDS when it’s part of my job. I support the arts in a multitude of ways that I do not need to prove to you or anyone else. Love? I’m bitter because I’m not drinking your Kool-aid? Lol.

  5. For Joel to say that you only support the arts when you are being paid to is astonishing on another level, too, since he is being paid for the event! Oh, and what happened to the MAVRIC awards?

  6. Also I’ve heard that people can buy editorial content in his magazine. That is something that we absolutely don’t do. The guy who ran MAVRIC was so busy with his personal life that he had to let it go. He worked really hard and seemed to have an authentic desire to bolster the music community. That was when it was barely chugging along, too.

    • I’m pretty sure your publication also sells ad space. I called you bitter because you are looking for reasons to attack us and misrepresenting facts. I reiterate, I don’t want to play politics or get into a pissing contest. You guys can do whatever you want to, I’m just trying to have fun and help the community in whatever small ways I can. It’s just funny that anyone would hate on it so much. Even if you don’t agree with me, we are allegedly both trying to support people. So it’s hard for me to understand any legitimate reason why we can’t just be cool. You don’t even know who I am. Just be cool. What are you guys so upset about? Do you think we are trying to compete with you? The magazine is too positive and not written by people with expensive college degrees? Whatever, so what? Let people have their fun.

  7. On the most simplistic level, I find it very sad that The Reporter is threatened by VC BUZZ. First and foremost they have two very different audiences. They have very different articles and are executed in very different ways. Also, the mere thought of competition seems to be the core root of this conversation although it is being skirted around. Maybe what The Reporter needs to understand, is that yes, once you were the only dog in town and now there are two. Competition is what business is about and when it happens you need to come up with new ideas and push the envelope to succeed. I’m tired of Ventura County as a community not understanding this. VC Buzz attracted my attention because they put out a new and fresh magazine something the Reporter has not done in many years.

  8. Being that I am an artist nominated on the vcawards, I have to come out and say your a confused mess of contradictions Michel. You are one of many reasons why are music scene fails. I find what you said about artists involved with the awards offensive and over critical, when your obviously very miss informed. Mavrics wad a failure outright. Artists were paying for awards, its was alot of friends stroking each others ego. As for your comments about getting paid, Your retarded! your criticizing someone for working? You are the exact definition of a critic, someone who selfishly rights trash pieces slandering people for attention. Its funny you speak so highly of Mavric and its founder, yet your bashing joel, and buzz for doing the same thing succesfully. if you cant do the work, and keep an open mind, maybe you shouldnt bother writting about it.

  9. The dictionary defines the word We as follows: we [wee]
    1. refers to speaker and others: used to refer to the speaker or writer and at least one other person (first person plural personal pronoun, used as the subject of a verb)
    We are going on vacation.
    We all want our children to have a better future.

    2. refers to people in general: used to refer to all people or to people in general, including the speaker or writer
    We’re getting closer to the election.

    3. used instead of “I”: used by a writer or speaker to include the listener or speaker in what is being said, especially to talk about how a book or talk is organized
    We will now consider the causes of the Civil War.

    4. used instead of “you”: used sarcastically or condescendingly by a speaker
    And how are we today?

    With that said I personal am a little confused, the title of your blog “We don’t need no stinkin’ awards” you state that you “express my opinion” but you used the word We, So my question of the blog is who are the We ? unless your are speaking for the VC Reporter, people in general, or be sarcastic.

    I love a good Cat Fight !!!

  10. Im actually interested in who this Michel is?? Being that my father, and I have been apart of the music scene (you claim was just starting to chugg along only 4-5 years ago) for about 30 years. i dont know you, but im willing to wager on your character type.

  11. Honestly, this arguing on blogs shit is so 2007. You both have different goals, and different viewpoints. That’s cool. But the mud slinging from both sides is unnecessary. It seems to me Michel was voicing her opinion that awards are kind of dumb. She says, in so many words:

    1. Awards that are given should be legitimate and earned with real merit, rather than just popularity. (i.e. Chris Brown is popular, but his music still sucks.)

    2 . Awards should actually fit their category. (Chris Brown is not an R&B artist, but won said award, Louis by Louis CK won best sketch show at Comedy Awards)

    3. She generally doesn’t like popularity-driven awards events, and doesn’t plan on joining in.

    4. She does support such events in a professional environment because it’s her job and it’d be real nice to eat next week. (Which I don’t think is too hard to understand.)

    Now, Michel isn’t free from blame either. There were some targeted and perhaps malicious words in her posts. But, when it comes down to it the internet is an open forum. You both have a right to post what you did. However, Joel, I didn’t take Michel’s post as anything more than what I assume she intended it to be: her opinion on award shows/programs in general, and this particular one. I didn’t take it as an attack against you or your affiliated group, or their actions–just the opinion of a singular woman. Because of that, I feel like your accusations of patronizing the artists seems unfounded, especially since she didn’t call out any local artists. One person not digging the groove isn’t going to make your project any less legitimate in the eyes of the people who do support it. Don’t sweat it. If you believe in your idea, and so does the public, who cares about a blog post?

    The bottom line is, whether you choose to become super involved in this whole awards business, or not, both of you support local artists through your own actions, and that’s pretty cool. Instead of bickering about how to support them, just do it, man. Then everyone’s a winner.

    Peace in the Middle East,
    Elliot Forrester

    • I agree with much of what you are saying and appreciate an objective view. I don’t want to argue or steer anyones opinion on anything. I just want to rebuke any misinformation from being spread lest people get the wrong idea. None of this had anything to do with anyone’s publications.

  12. Babblemk77
    >your a confused mess of contradictions
    >your obviously very miss informed
    >Your retarded!

    Joel Perkins
    >remember that everything comes out in the white wash eventually.

    …can’t tell if trolling or just fucking numbskulls

  13. I see you’ve circled the wagons with your best and brightest and I’m deeply honored to be the recipient of your finely crafted vitriol. For those of you who are still learning reading comprehension (never mind spelling and punctuation) I shall attempt to break it down into easily digestible bites (though I doubt I’ll do as well as Mr. Forrester).
    1. This was never about VCR vs VCB. It was never even alluded to by me.
    2. If you don’t have the ability to understand the difference between PR and journalism than we may as well not even proceed.
    3, “We” was part of a pop culture reference. “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges” from Blazing Saddles.
    4. My opinion does not reflect the opinion of VCReporter. Press two if you’d like to hear this message again.
    5.I only brought up MAVRIC to address someone’s question.
    6. Selling ad space is to selling editorial space as paying for your date’s dinner is to hiring a hooker.
    7.Babblemk? Your screen name kind of says it all..

    Thank you and have a great day!

  14. Miss Information! He’ll, yeah!

  15. *hell…BTW, if you’re going to insult, best to know the difference between your and you’re.

  16. where to start… as an artist in the local scene i had looked into this with a fair amount of scrutiny, as i do with most award shows. for a brief moment, i felt compelled to enter and encourage my fellow artists to as well, but then it occurred to me.. why? what is the purpose and point? just like most of the corny battle of the bands (not all, just to clarify), its based off of a ridiculous voting system. “best” is quickly becoming a generic word. my dad has been actively involved in this county for 2 decades, and has made a substantial career out of his art. and yet could lose to someone simply because more of their friends voted? even though hes taught legends and accomplished so much, he hasnt received very much love from the overall community, and has even been pssed over for local gigs for groups based out of the area. as for mysel and the majority of my peers, we will not be participating due to the fact that its generally aimless. you want to help the community and local music scene? help establish more all ages venues, ask the cops why they arent allowing obtainable permits for community shows, and stop expanding egos with useless accolades. when you look at the list of these nominations it should be fairly easy to recognize names, songs, faces, and especially the reason why they would deserve a nomination. in all fairness ive seen michel do more to help budding artists monthly, than most do year-round…

  17. How in the world did this become VCR vs. VCBuzz? If I’m not mistaken, a blog expression has been mistaken for a journalistic piece.

  18. I’m with Michel ………….. I personally don’t need no stinkin’ award and I don’t need the next local contest to boost my ego. .

    People who know me around here know I’ve done ………. so I’m not going to bother mentioning it here.

    here’s the thing ….
    I have nothing against the artists who enter those things, more power to them, I really like a lot of the artists and bands that are entered and I honestly want nothing but success for any musician from Ventura out there doing their thing – I am of the mentality that another person’s success has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on my own, so please, go out there and give it everything you’ve got.

    if you think for ONE SECOND that these things are not popularity contests, you’re high ……… to me, local “battle of the bands” or “best of” contests are part of the same mentality as “pay to play”……… these were designed for people that are OK with asking everybody they know to buy a ticket or to vote on their band ……… there’s this carrot on a stick known as “exposure” that is the the offered reward for such events. Well, I’ve known plenty of people who have done and won both, and they are still doing the same thing they were as before, so take that for whatever it’s worth.

    I can understand pursuing rewards such as studio time or equipment or money ……… I get it, I just don’t have the interest in it, but that’s just me.

    Now this is not some bitter, salty ass attack on people with friends ……… I can’t go anywhere in Ventura without bumping into somebody who I’ve known forever and getting in a lengthy conversation ………. I’m simply to saying I don’t have the time nor the patience to pester every single person on my facebook, twitter or whatever other whorish means to pump my music …….

    I just worry about making my chops and my music as best as I personally can.

    I will never enter any project I’m a part of in any of these contests and I will never pay to play. I never have and never will.

    So anyways, I, me, the person known as Matthew Elkins stand in solidarity with Michele Cicero. I am not hiding behind a false name and I don’t care about what other people think of my opinions, because this whole thread is – nothing but opinions,

    I would also like the state, that in my humble opinion, she’s done more for whatever you want to call this dead horse everybody keeps beating known as a “scene” than any other writer for a long time

  19. 1. No one cares about awards shows
    2. No one reads printed papers.
    3. This blog rocks.

  20. Every single musician I know, including you Matt and Mark, make music looking for acknowledgment….aka…popularity. Your level of interest in that popularity will certainly vary, but its there. You write something that you think is cool and want other people to think its cool too. You can not deny that. We may mask it in “artistic sensibilities” but at the end of the day we write stuff so that we first please ourselves and then potentially please others. And guess what, that is human nature.

    My crappy band was entered in this thing, and we said “ok fine, lets have some fun with it” and we came up with the whole “help us win a goldfish” thing because we had no idea what the contest was about. Win or lose, so what, it doesn’t matter to us really. Either way we will be out there trying to promote our crappy band, with or with out this contest. Not unlike anything that either of you two haven’t done yourselves time and time and time again and will do again.

    I don’t know Michele personally (I don’t think so at least?), but I do know that the Reporter has done its part in sustaining local popular music, and some times “underground” music. I do know Joel personally and know that he has dedicated his life to this “dead horse that everybody keeps beating”. Both of them are part of fine publications and add important things to our local community, not just the music scene. I hope that they can stop the war of words (both are guilty) and truly understand what each other is saying and who know, maybe even work together.

  21. Second that Elkins and Stewart, with few corrections…
    1. The only turds who care about awards shows are the turds dumb enough to think an award changes anything.
    2. I read printed papers, no one cares about Mark Stewart, ha!
    3. If you wanna really support an artist then go to their fucking show and don’t act like you do them a favor when you put them in a paper, no one gives a shit which brings me to my last point…
    4. Good jams IS good jams and if you suck or are insincere you will either be found out eventually or rewarded with an award.

  22. I love a good spicy read. thanks everyone.

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