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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The Party of What People?

The Party of What People?

30

Dec

2016

This will be my last entry of 2016.  Next year will begin, barring some unexpected act of fate, with the ascension to the presidency of Donald Trump, as dim-witted, incurious, crass, and crooked human being that has ever held public office in America.  Trump has spent the hours since the election staffing his White House ...
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Peace Won’t Pay the Rent

Peace Won’t Pay the Rent

27

Dec

2016

Joe Sacco's Palestine was first published in 1993 as a series of single-issue comic books, based on the author's trip to the occupied territories of the Gaza Strip towards the end of the First Intifada.  It was collected by Fantagraphics into a single edition in 1996, at a time when there seemed to be some cause for optim ...
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Simply Having a War on Christmastime

Simply Having a War on Christmastime

22

Dec

2016

As I've discussed endlessly in this space, one of my favorite things about the right-wing persecution complex that's been so carefully cultivated by conservative politicians over the last 50 years or so is hearing people complain about things that are not only not actually happening, but are the opposite of happening.  We ...
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Beck and Call

Beck and Call

20

Dec

2016

It’s inevitable, in the face of any great political defeat or party realignment, for loyalties to get a bit shaky. Confusion rules the day, and the ally of yesterday is the heretic of tomorrow. Only a few months ago, when it looked like the Republican Party was about to shake itself to pieces under the weight of Donald Tr ...
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The Most Beautiful Fraud: Tampopo

The Most Beautiful Fraud:  <i>Tampopo</i>

16

Dec

2016

Tampopo was a first for me in a lot of ways:  not only the first movie I'd seen by Juzo Itami, but the first Japanese comedy I'd ever seen, and one of the first Japanese films I'd seen at all outside of Akira Kurosawa and a few samurai period pieces.  I saw it when it was first released in the U.S. on VHS during my stint ...
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The Most Beautiful Fraud: Kate Plays Christine

The Most Beautiful Fraud:  <i>Kate Plays Christine</i>

14

Dec

2016

One of those odd little quirks of timing that happens in the world of cinema took place this year when not one, but two films based on the life of Christine Chubbuck were filmed and released at almost exactly the same time.  The first was Christine, a more or less straightforward narrative film based on the television new ...
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20 for 2016

20 for 2016

12

Dec

2016

I don't really listen to much new music anymore.  Partly this is because no one pays me to do it anymore, and partly it's because I have other things to do, but mostly it's just because I'm old, and nobody needs another white guy in his mid-40s telling them what to listen to.  And yet, here we are, and I need content!  S ...
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Not Waving But Drowning

Not Waving But Drowning

11

Dec

2016

Donald Trump isn't even president yet and the liberal establishment is already in a frenzy, convinced that the apocalypse has arrived and that if we don't hang Mitch McConnell for treason right this second, it will mean the end of the American Dream.  Some are even lapsing into an all-too-familiar paranoid style, recalling ...
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