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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 Björk. 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.”

More like this:

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.

Joe Jonas is ridin’ solo

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

Mariah Carey falls in Singapore

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.

Katy Perry avenges her “Sesame Street” snub

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

This would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Back story: On Kanye West’s song “So Appalled,” Jay-Z delivers a line about “blowing through $30,000 like Hammer.” Well, Mr. MC Hammer was none too pleased about that, and responded on Twitter by linking to a video of himself beating up a punching bag. “You want my attention [Jigga] you got it.” Punch, punch, punch. It’s all kind of embarrassing and feeble, but we’ll play along. Please Hammer, don’t hurt him!


Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Gaga sweeps Brit Awards

Lady Gaga

Looking like Marie Antoinette in a wedding cake, Lady Gaga swept three categories at Tuesday’s Brit Awards, picking up trophies for International Female Solo Artist, International Album and International Breakthrough Act. For her performance, the singer paid an emotional tribute to the late Alexander McQueen, donning the designer’s lobster claw heels for an acoustic version of “Telephone.” Here’s the video.

The Bad

EMI to sell Abbey Road Studios

Abbey Road, the album

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.”


Discourse & Dischord

The Good

All the colors of the rainbow set to perform at this month’s GRAMMYs

Tickled Pink

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

Don’t be jealous, but Kelly Clarkson just joined Twitter two days ago and she already has more followers than you. See for yourself.

Michael Cera stars in new Islands video

michael cera with camera

Hip to be Square: Michael Cera

You may not know who Islands are, but you probably know Michael Cera, who played the adorable geek on “Arrested Development,” the adorable geek in “Juno” and the adorable geek in “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.” Cera tries out a new character (adorable druggie) in the new Islands video for “No You Don’t.” In it, Cera pops some pills, jogs aimlessly, unsuccessfully climbs a tree and gets hugged by Elvis — not to ruin the ending. Watch it here.

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

Freaky Fruit
New Peaches video for “Relax” off her upcoming album “I Feel Cream.” Enough said.


Fine Tunings: Samantha Maloney, Chelsea Girl – Cover Girl


Over the past ten years, drummer Samantha Maloney has made a name for herself as the go-to rock drummer who makes everyone sound better. After studying percussion and graduating from the High School for Performing Arts in New York (the “Fame” school), she was signed to Columbia Records in the band Shift.

Then, in 1998, 22-years-old Sam auditioned for Hole. She was hired and toured the world with Courtney Love and the gang extensively for the next two years. She wasn’t idle long; Sam was hired in 2000 to tour with Mötley Crüe, playing the Tommy Lee parts that inspired her to become a drummer in the first place.

Continue reading ‘Fine Tunings: Samantha Maloney, Chelsea Girl – Cover Girl’


“Now Playing” features playlists as well as information about the mix maker. This week we bring you the staff picks of TINYSAM. She’ll rock your socks off and then put them back in, if you’re nice.

About Me: I was born in Philly, which has the most overlooked music scene in the country. Growing up I saw a lot of all ages shows put on by R5 Productions, which granted me the good fortune of seeing a lot of incredible bands over the years. Until I moved to Boston I never realized how good I had it being able to see bands like Lightning Bolt, Boris and Liars in a teeny church basement while still in high school. These days all ages shows are almost unheard of here and it’s a darn shame. Because I’m only 5′ tall, people are usually cool about letting me stand in front of them at shows… and of course, the tiny feet that go along with that means my shoe size is always on sale. Being educated in the Strasser, Janikian, and Anderson school of music business has given me a pretty warped view of how the world really does work. I write the weekly OurStage Model U.N. column because I want to help international artists and give American readers a chance to hear bands that they wouldn’t normally come across on their own. Every Sunday you can catch the radio show I host with my bandmate/best friend/boyfriend DZ on 104.9 WRBB Boston, “You Can’t Do That on Radio Anymore.” We play a lot of electro; the kids seem to really like the electro these days.

Favorite Artists: Cut Copy, Talking Heads, The Who, YACHT, Poni Hoax, Gil Mantera’s Party Dream, Islands, Boris, An Albatross, Grafton Primary, GIVERS, !!!, Sam Sparro, Dr. Dog, T. Rex …it changes up on a somewhat regular basis.

Favorite OurStage Artists: Bojibian, Jealous Monk, The Duke, Gentlemen Hall, Miracles of Modern Science, Woog Riots

If I Were a Rock Star for a Day I’d Be: Peaches

Because… Because she’s the kind of lady you wouldn’t take home to meet your grandma and grandmas frighten me. She used to have a section on her Web site entirely devoted to crotch shots. Also, she got to do a duet with Iggy Pop and that rules —hard.

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