milky's way

not another damn blog!

What Music Meant


Back when we were growing up (yeah, decades ago), I remember reading about the new Bruce Springsteen album coming out.  Perhaps it was a review in the LA Times written by Robert Hilburn, who was my favorite.  It spoke about Springsteen’s upcoming album “Nebraska”, which was supposedly a very quiet, personal effort.  This album was before his smash hit “Born in the USA” and after his successful, yet still brooding double-album “The River” and his early hit “Born to Run”.  

But I remember reading about it, and becoming very curious.  Who was this musician who decided to ignore commercial considerations?  How could he record something so esoteric that it was sure to fail financially?  

Needless to say, at the impressionable age of 15, I found it fascinating and alluring.  So, I saved up and actually purchased the cassette tape (!) when it finally released.  I had waited weeks to do so.  And typically I didn’t have the money to buy new albums - cassette or LP - so I had to wait for a friend to purchase and record them, or borrow them from a guy at the local record store who liked me.  

But “Nebraska” was different.  It was magical, rebellious, precious, private.

And when I finally got home and played it, over and over, I could hear Bruce Springsteen playing his guitar and singing into his 4-track, recording his raw truth.

What could replace the magic of that experience nowadays?  With YouTube, Spotify, P2P sites, etc. etc. there is no end to the sheer quantity of music at a young, impressionable child’s fingertips.  That’s an amazing thought - that any piece of music is easily accessible to them, and thousands or more of reviews, articles, journals, and stories are easily researchable at the tips of one’s fingertips.

So, of course, I’m jealous.  I thought about it tonight - damn, I wish I still had that cassette of “Nebraska” around!  Then I realized all I need to do is punch it in my Spotify search box and I can listen to it.

Yet somehow that changed things.  I guess I was satisfied to know I could play it whenever I want.  But at the same time, I was disappointed.  

As if the magic had somehow disappeared, down the long, dark empty road that Bruce used to sing about.


1 month ago

Tagged: mario

A whole bunch of #Mario Karts drove by me today in Tokyo.  Bizarre! (at 渋谷 (Shibuya))

A whole bunch of #Mario Karts drove by me today in Tokyo. Bizarre! (at 渋谷 (Shibuya))


1 month ago

東北!宮城!仙台!やっぱ牛タン! (at たんや善治郎)

東北!宮城!仙台!やっぱ牛タン! (at たんや善治郎)


8 months ago

In Korea, even Mickey D delivers!  (at 디지털아이디어 (Digital Idea))

In Korea, even Mickey D delivers! (at 디지털아이디어 (Digital Idea))


1 year ago with 3 notes

Tagged: boston marathon tragedy explosions terrorist

Another tragedy.  When will it end?  How can our children and families be safe to pursue their dreams?  As a runner, this hits home, but even if I was not a runner my feelings would be the same.  We must stand strong - in solidarity - to fight for our freedom and our lives!
I will be there next year, running Boston 2014, and will be honored to do so.

Another tragedy.  When will it end?  How can our children and families be safe to pursue their dreams?  As a runner, this hits home, but even if I was not a runner my feelings would be the same.  We must stand strong - in solidarity - to fight for our freedom and our lives!

I will be there next year, running Boston 2014, and will be honored to do so.


1 year ago

Email exchange with Mr. Chuck Austen

On Jul 19, 2011, at 5:54 AM, “Austen, Charles” <> wrote:

Thanks for the quick reply, Stu. Things are actually going great with me, lately. Thanks for asking.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability to publish BOS myself, either, other than in a POD situation, which I would happily do, but since I can’t afford the buyout, that would mean you’d have to give it back to me, which doesn’t sound possible. And anyone interested in doing a turnaround buy-out wants all the ancillary rights, as well. So it sounds as if it’s going to die the death.

Sad for me, that a book named a top ten manga by Publisher’s Weekly that had such positive response internally and externally will never be seen. Such is the creative business.

Thanks for at least considering options. I’ll let you know if anything changes.

Best with the film.


On 7/18/11 1:52 PM, “Stu Levy” <> wrote:

Chuck – yes, I did indeed say to check back with me about now, and you’re timing is just right!  While I’m still very busy (I’m heavy in post on the Pray for Japan film), I’ve sorted out most TOKYOPOP wind-down issues and have been inching forward on “post-armageddon” business.

Re: “Boys of Summer”, it comes down to what in particularly you have in mind.  I don’t have the ability to fund or publish more volumes, so if there is another publisher – or you on your own – interested in picking up the publication, we can work out a deal that would be equitable.  Regarding ancillary rights, it’s part of the TOKYOPOP Media library.  Currently, I’m not actively producing or prepping Boys of Summer in the film/TV or gaming space (can only do so many projects at once), so if there is another producer or studio who is interested in that opportunity, we can discuss.

Just LMK what you have in mind.

Hope all is going well with you!




Stu Levy   





http:/ <http://> /

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Pray for Japan documentary film:




From: "Austen, Charles" <>

Date: Mon, 18 Jul 2011 10:19:35 -0700

To: Stu <>

Subject: Hi Stu

Just checking back in on Boys of Summer. If I remember correctly you said to check back with you about now.

Hope everything’s going well in Japan, and with whatever new directions your life is taking you.

All the best,



On Apr 27, 2011, at 11:45 PM, Stu Levy <> wrote:

Hi Chuck!

Just a heads-up that it will probably be awhile (maybe a few months) before I’m able to dig into this.  I’m up in Tohoku, Japan volunteering and working on a documentary, while dealing with the TOKYOPOP wind-down in the States.  This is the kind of thing that takes awhile of course.  None of us will be working at TOKYOPOP as of June 1, but I’ll still do my best to answer questions and manage issues that arise, including this one.

Thanks in advance for your patience and understanding.  If you don’t hear from me by early July, please feel free to harass me then :-)




Stu Levy


Hamburg//London//Los Angeles//Tokyo

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From: "Austen, Charles" <>

Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2011 13:59:22 -0400

To: Mike Kiley <>, Stu Levy <>

Cc: Tom Ogawa <>

Subject: Re: Hi Mike/Boys of Summer


Thanks, Mike!

Stu-Please let me know if there’s any interest in releasing BOS in any way. I’d love to find a way to get it into print.




On 4/26/11 10:47 AM, “Mike Kiley” <> wrote:

Chuck -

Quick update here: I’m cc’ing Stu on this msg since he is the guy to whom you should direct all rights-related questions from now on.

Very best regards,


Hey, Chuck -

Yes, it could. We’re in the process of sorting things out here; will circle back to you in a week or two with some updated info.



On 4/19/11 12:54 PM, “Austen, Charles” <> wrote:

Does this new announcement change anything?

I’m still trying to find someone who will help buy back the rights.

Hope things are going well with you guys. Too many good people up there that are losing out because of this. Hope you’re doing okay.



On 3/16/11 2:43 PM, “Mike Kiley” <> wrote:

Hi, Chuck -

Yes, we’d be happy to discuss further if that were an option.



On 3/15/11 3:12 PM, “Austen, Charles” <> wrote:

Hi guys,

Quick question:

If I COULD get someone to pony up 40 grand, would that possibility even be entertained?


On 3/15/11 3:51 PM, “Mike Kiley” <> wrote:

Hey, Chuck -

Good to hear from you!

I’m cc’ing our Biz Dev guru – Tom Ogawa – on this message, so that he can verify my view of the rights situation with BOYS OF SUMMER.

In general, our publishing deals are structured to give us rights in perpetuity, provided that we meet certain requirements to publish the work – either in print here in the U.S., via a digital edition, or in an international edition with one of our partners abroad. It’s my understanding that we have fulfilled that requirement with BOYS OF SUMMER (via an intl edition, if memory serves), and that therefore the only reversion that could take place would be one that we would negotiate with you on mutually agreeable terms.

Tom – have I correctly stated the situation here?

Chuck – we have a ton of time and money invested in BOYS OF SUMMER ($40,000 just in artist and writer fees alone, I think) and do not ordinarily consider reversion requests as a result. (The main reason for this is because since neither party has breached this agreement, the only way we would even entertain a reversion would be for us to be made whole by the creator on our direct costs to develop and produce the series.)

In any event, let me know if you have any further questions – and, Tom, pls chime in with your view, too.



On 3/15/11 2:34 PM, “Austen, Charles” <> wrote:

My name’s Chuck Austen and I’ve done some work for TokyoPop in the past.

I created a series called Boys of Summer, and I’ve been trying to understand from my contract when the rights revert back to me. Being an artist, I’m terrible at this kind of thing and I was hoping you could help me to know what the rights situation is.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Hope you’re doing well. I hear things are a bit turbulent over there.



1 year ago with 2 notes

Tagged: Japan pray for japan Tsunami tohoku recovery


















In memory of the 20,000 people who lost their lives in the Tohoku tsunami in Japan on March 11, 2011 at 2:46 PM.

In memory of the 20,000 people who lost their lives in the Tohoku tsunami in Japan on March 11, 2011 at 2:46 PM.


1 year ago




1 year ago

Tagged: world

Ways I look at the World

I divide my world up into the following activities:

  •  issues that are quick to do away with and nip in the bud
  •  issues that are a pain in the butt but i must solve ASAP for various reasons
  •  issues that are a pain in the butt but i don’t have to solve ASAP
  •  issues that are minor
  •  opportunities that i feel passionate about
  •  opportunities that I don’t feel particularly passionate about
  •  ways i can help our world relatively efficiently and concretely
  •  ways i can help our world with a pretty major effort that i care enough to embark upon
  •  ways i can help our world with a pretty major effort that i don’t feel strongly about
  •  fun things
  •  shiny object-like distractions
  •  duties and obligations


1 year ago

Free our Medical records!

I recently found out my thyroid, which already is “hypo”, now has a growth. Nothing urgent, but also important to confirm there’s no cancer. I have to see an endocrinologist but how did I get that his office my test results? I had to call my GP’s office to fax (fax?!) them over to him.

So, I’m waiting on technology to disrupt the Hippocratic Oath. Okay, not the Oath itself - ethics are good. But the excuses made by the medical community that blame the Oath for not allowing free and open access to medical records.

Imagine a sort of Facebook timeline of your health. From the moment you are born (actually from before your conception), any and all medical info about you — your allergies, surgeries, medications, family history, viruses, pathologies, etc — would be tracked in one place. YOU would control access to this depository and could assign doctors, hospitals and other practitioners access as YOU see fit. And it would live on the cloud so it would follow you everywhere.

No more calling your doctors office to fax a recent test to a specialist; no more “starting over” in new cities; no more forgetting or losing track of your charts from childhood because you moved away and lost touch.

As I get older, this sounds so nice, so convenient. And so critical. But the medical establishment isn’t embracing it - in fact, they are running scared. Making excuses so they don’t lose control.

Technology will win. The Hippocratic Oath will be disrupted. And finally WE will have control over our own bodies.

My thyroid and I can’t wait.