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More than two months after the Occupy Wall Street protests popped up, creative professionals now have a formal website to show their support. Lou Reed, Tom Morello, Talib Kweli, Saul Williams, Dan Deacon, former members of Fugazi, Laurie Anderson and more have expressed their support of the movement on OccupyMusicians.com, which has sister sites like Occupy Writers and Occupy Filmmakers.
The site organizers can help pair up musicians who support the cause to protest leaders, to help schedule performances. It's also a simple way of musicians showing support for the grassroots cause.
There are names on here that don't really surprise me -- Morello is normally the first guy to sign onto anything that fights-the-power, and nobody's ever going to raise an eyebrow after the words "Ian McKaye" and "personal politics." The 99 percent is a large enough swath to lend relevancy to any artist. I'm a bit cynical about any artist's ability to bring more to the cause than the cause lending to these artists (except maybe somebody gigantic like Radiohead).
It reminds me a little bit of protests against Arizona's controversial SB 1070 law, but in that case, artists actively boycotted the state -- didn't tour through -- which is a quick way to hurt local music businesses. The unconstitutional portions of that legislation weren't affected by Morello or Conor Oberst's protests. But, then again, it was a moment of solidarity, and another way to bring the issue into national consciousness. I had mixed feelings.
Hell, the coldest months approaching, I hope OWS protesters stay warm and healthy as they exercise their right to assemble. Cynicism aside, if the best wishes of Marc Ribot and other artists are going help keep these guys warm, I welcome them.
As a bookend to last week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast drama catch-up, Dan and I decided to check in on how we're feeling about a whole bunch of comedies right now, which means another mega-podcast touching on lots and lots of shows, plus a brief revisit of "Homeland" in light of what happened in last night's episode.
I gotta hand it to Jack White and his label Third Man's handlers. They make every vinyl release seem like an event. In a festively worded press release, Third Man announced its newest round of goodies, in time for Christmas, including rarities and singles from now-defunct White Stripes, from actor and musician John C. Reilly and from Edgar Oliver.
Check out clips of some of these below.
First, with Jack and Meg White's old band there are four records to be had, starting Dec. 6:
Such a weird year for movies, this. I feel like it's been a rather weak one, to be honest. Not in terms of the quality of what's there, but in terms of the quantity of quality. And even then, I note that so many of my favorite movies this year carry that designation with more caveats than normal.
Yet I really am enjoying 2011 in cinema, or at least, I'm enjoying my favorite movies from the year quite a bit. And it's interesting to note so many of them are all about a state of mind. "Rampart," "Shame," "Drive," "Take Shelter," "We Need to Talk About Kevin," "Martha Marcy May Marlene," all films that play in the abstract and put the viewer into a character's frame of perception, at times painting a bit of a dreamscape to do so. Fascinating.
Where the art is meeting commerce, there are still joys to be had. "The Descendants" opened this weekend and landed on my doorstep this morning. Even though I was cooler on it than most at Telluride over two months ago, I find myself eager to give it another look. "Young Adult" and "Hugo" are films that expect to be repeat viewings on my Blu-ray player when I get them, as will "Moneyball" and, most definitely, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."
The color of love was a fetching blood red in both theaters and on VOD this weekend.
It's possible that two more divergent explorations of the agony and the ecstasy of love could be found. Possible. But the synchronistic release of the micro-budgeted, darkly masculine fantasy of love "Bellflower" vs. the blockbusting female fantasy "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" warrants a mention and a brief examination. The former represents an independent passion project 8 years in the making for writer/director/star Evan Glodell, while the latter represents the penultimate instillation in a YA phenomena.
Most readers will already be familiar with the general story structure of "Breaking Dawn," but for referential purposes: Bella and Edward get married. Jacob gets sad. Bella gets pregnant. Jacob gets mad. The werewolves turn against the Cullen vampires.The fetus threatens to drain Bella of her life from the inside out. Edward begs for death alongside his beloved. Bella learns to love the taste of blood, blooood, blooooooood! Jacob is forced to gag. All of this culminates in a frighteningly intimate c-section with teeth and Jacob "imprinting on" (aka falling in enslaving love with) an infant.
So the HFPA tapped Ricky Gervais last week as Golden Globes host despite cries from within that he went too far last year. Hell, even the organization's brass hit the stage THAT NIGHT to bemoan the comedian's taunts. Anyone with eyes can see it's a ratings grab, just like a number of the dubious nominations equate to star-f***ing over the years. They beg to differ on that, but come on: "While the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. takes the firm position that its members are not starstruck and an actor's place in Hollywood hierarchy doesn't mean anything when it comes to who'll appear at the org's kudocast, the list of recent noms may prove otherwise." [Variety]
I'm working reeeeeeeeeeeeal hard to pace myself.
If you're a "Dark Knight" addict, you've probably been mainlining paparazzi photos for months, to the point where you feel somewhat bloated and over it at this point. I've been so careful not to do that to myself. I am not the most ardent fan in the world of "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight," but I do like them both quite a bit, and I'm absolutely ready to see how Nolan wraps up his time as the architect of Batman's fate.
As a comic fan, I am aware of the various battle lines that exist in fandom, and one of them is how you felt about Bane when he appeared in Batman comics. If you don't know his storyline, I won't lay it out here, but I'll say that it was a fairly iconic move by DC, one that had some long-range impact on the entire DC world. Like Venom is for Spider-Man, Bane represents a challenge that genuinely tested the hero in question, one that became a major player in the rogue's gallery rotation. Bane appeared in Joel Schumacher's detestable "Batman In Rubber," and he was portrayed as a large grunting latex suit in a Mexican wrestler's mask who stood around in the background of scenes where Uma Thurman and Arnold Schwarzenegger overacted.
The American Music Awards, held Sunday night, are to the Grammys what the Golden Globes are to the Oscars. To be sure, no one ever refuses one (unless you’re Garth Brooks), but it doesn’t carry the same weight.
Most critics like to rag on the AMAs for good reason since so many performances feel prefabricated. To put it another way, if you created a drinking game where you had to take a shot every time you noticed a singer lip-syncing during the evening, you’d be three sheets to the wind 30 minutes in.
The AMAs used to be in January, but they were competing with the Grammys for artists and were getting lost in the glut of first quarter award shows, including the Golden Globes and Oscars. So in 2004, they moved to November and now are smartly positioned to give pop artists a good boost right before the official kick off of the holiday shopping season.
As determined detective Kate Beckett on "Castle," Stana Katic has plenty of experience playing with guns, chasing bad guys and problem solving. This Monday she'll be grappling with a whole new issue that hasn't been previously addressed on the show -- post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When Beckett finds herself facing a sniper, memories of her own shooting surface and send her into a downward spiral. I talked to Katic about Beckett's struggle, why Castle (Natha Fillion) is powerless to help and what she thinks the long term prospects for Beckett and Castle would be -- as a couple.
Tonight's episode promises to be thoroughly ridiculous, because the promos have made it clear that the big catfight of the evening will be taking place between, yes, the boys. Phaedra's husband Apollo and Cynthia's husband Peter are going to get into it in the girliest, most inappropriate setting they could find -- Kim's baby shower -- and I'm pretty sure that it's going to be lots of growling and posturing followed by low snarling and, ultimately, slinking off into respective corners with nothing having been resolved or accomplished. Unless they throw punches, in which case it will be a very interesting/incredibly stupid episode indeed. I mean, you've got to think twice about throwing a punch when there's a damn camera crew documenting it, right?
Well, there seems to be enough interest in discussing "Hell on Wheels" that I'm going to keep these posts going for now. "A New Birth of Freedom" brings together Cullen and Lily, gives Elam more responsibility with the cut crew, and lets Doc Durant give another speech that's meant to be terribly persuasive but really isn't. Oh, and it gave us more Swede, which is never a bad thing.
What did you guys think? Three episodes in, do you have a sense of the show's strengths and weakenesses? Are you enjoying it enough to continue?