Everything is (Dis)Connected

Everything is (Dis)Connected

28

Jan

2017

Ever since the early days of film and television, the question has been asked:  how much fidelity does an adaptation owe to its source material?  I don't think there's any one useful answer to this question. there have been exceedingly faithful adaptations that have been wonderful (John Huston's version of The Maltese Fa ...
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All the Ways of Communicating

All the Ways of Communicating

26

Jan

2017

The question so memorably posed by Jack Nicholson's Joker in Tim Burton's Batman -- "Hubba hubba hubba, who do you trust?" -- has become of rather grave importance in recent years.  With Donald Trump in the White House, the Republican war antagonism to the press, at a low boil at the best of times, has boiled over into ...
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As a Punishment for Crime

As a Punishment for Crime

25

Jan

2017

When you get right down to it, for capitalists, slavery was a hell of a good deal.  It opened up new markets, it was a self-reproducing form of labor, and best of all, it provided a very inexpensive and largely docile workforce.  Its failure, if you remove morality from the picture -- which capitalists are forever strivin ...
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In the Middle of the World

In the Middle of the World

22

Jan

2017

Barry Jenkins' Moonlight -- his second feature film and a quantum leap from his first, the fascinating but slight Medicine for Melancholy -- is a film that builds itself up by little moments.  Very little happens in the movie itself; it is slow and deliberate, with many of its major events implied or taking place off scr ...
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Revolutionary Theory

Revolutionary Theory

19

Jan

2017

My origin story with hip-hop still burns in my brain like it happened yesterday.  Run-D.M.C.'s Raising Hell had just been released, and for me -- a white suburban kid who'd been raised an only child in a house full of outlaw country and 'beautiful music' -- it seemed like something being beamed at me from a different plan ...
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The Curse of Memory

The Curse of Memory

18

Jan

2017

When I was much younger, a writer named Paul Slansky put out a book that had a huge effect on me.  The Clothes Have No Emperor:  A Chronicle of the Reagan '80s was formulated by its author as a defense mechanism, what we'd call today a means of self-care -- a way of staying sane in the face of the fact that the impossible ...
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Between Impression and Expression: Fred Hampton

Between Impression and Expression:  Fred Hampton

11

Jan

2017

With some things, you have to learn by either seeing it or participating in it.  And you know yourselves that there are people walking around your community today that have all types of degrees that should be at this meeting, but are not here.  Right?  Because you can have as many degrees as a thermometer; if you don't h ...
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Put Me In, Coachella – Part III

Put Me In, Coachella – Part III

10

Jan

2017

I don't really care for outdoor music festivals.  For one thing, I am a hundred and seventeen years old, and it is something that young people do, like smart drugs, the Banana Sprite Challenge, and being a well-dressed neo-Nazi.  It also robs being outdoors of its major appeal (peace and tranquility), and robs noisy rock ...
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Put Me In, Coachella – Part II

Put Me In, Coachella – Part II

6

Jan

2017

The Coachella Music Festival has been in the news lately, partly because it's just that time of year and there's never enough content to go around so somehow an overpriced outdoor concert is transformed into 'news', but mostly because of allegations that Philip Anschutz (the owner of AEG, the entertainment conglomerate that ...
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Put Me In, Coachella

Put Me In, Coachella

5

Jan

2017

Recently, a meme was going around that your real age is 100 minus the number of bands playing at the Coachella music festival that you've actually heard of before.  In my case, this turned out to be 63 -- a good number, placing me (as in real life) right at that sweet spot where you're basically old enough to retire, but a ...
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Wild as the Wind

Wild as the Wind

3

Jan

2017

Nina Simone was such a singular and remarkable talent that the story of her success seemed almost inevitable.  The scientist Stephen Jay Gould once remarked that there was less to interest him in the folds of Einstein's brain than there was in the near certainty that people just as brilliant spent their lives toiling in ob ...
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