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by PopMatters Staff

20 Apr 2009

Director: Erick Zonca
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Saul Rubinek, Kate Del Castillo, Aidan Gould, Jude Ciccolella, Bruno Bichir, Horacio Garcia Rojas, Gaston Peterson, Mauricio Moreno, Kevin Kilner, John Bellucci, Ezra Buzzington, Roger Cudney, Eugene Byrd, Sandro Kopp
Opening: 8 May 2009 (limited)
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures


Plot summary: Julia, 40, is an alcoholic. She is a manipulative, unreliable, compulsive liar, all strung out beneath her still flamboyant exterior. Between shots of vodka and one-night stands, Julia gets by on nickel-and-dime jobs. Increasingly lonely, the only consideration she receives comes from her friend Mitch, who tries to help her. But she shrugs him off, as her alcohol-induced confusion daily reinforces her sense that life has dealt her a losing hand and that she is not to blame for the mess she has made of it.

Glimpsing imminent perdition, and after a chance encounter with Elena, a Mexican woman, Julia convinces herself – as much in panic and despair as for financial gain – to commit a violent act. As the story unfolds, Julia’s journey becomes a headlong flight on a collision course, but somehow she makes the choice of life over death. [Magnolia Pictures]

by Rob Horning

20 Apr 2009

A recent series of posts by sociologist Lane Kenworthy takes a sober look at the problem of income inequality and what policies might mitigate it. I’ll summarize the gist here, but obviously they should be read in full. Often income inequality is dismissed as irrelevant by conservatives, who regard it as the just outcome resulting from varying levels of individual effort. (The econojargon for this is a reference to “skill-biased technical change.” That basically means income distribution is biased toward those with socially necessary skills—you know, like creating CDOs and issuing subprime debt.)

by PopMatters Staff

20 Apr 2009

Sonic Youth’s new record The Eternal releases 9 June in North America and a day earlier in the UK. There’s now an MP3 from the album available that Matador Records describes in the following manner: ““Sacred Trickster” is a 2:10 out-of-the gate hardcore matinee track with Kim singing salutes to French painter Yves Klein and Western Massachusetts noise artist Noise Nomads. It sets the tone for The Eternal, which comprises 12 tunes that are a fireworks display of Sonic Youth touchstones.”

Sonic Youth
“Sacred Trickster” [MP3]

by Sean Murphy

20 Apr 2009

Everyone knows that Herbie Hancock is one of the coolest men on the planet, and has been for almost half a century. Anyone who doesn’t know this doesn’t know much; all we can offer them are condolences. Only Miles Davis, with whom Hancock worked for several crucial years (in both mens’ lives) during the mid-’60s, can possibly be invoked in any discussion of popular musicians who consistently shaped, then challenged the vanguard over a substantial period of time. These artists not only made new music but changed music on at least a handful of occasions.

Most folks know, and love, Hancock from what was likely their first association with him: the song (and more significantly, the video) “Rockit”, which was prominent in the MTV rotation circa 1983. The import of this one song is impossible to overstate: it not only spotlighted black men on the then-lilywhite music video channel, it spotlighted a jazz band. On top of that, it served as a mainstream introduction to scratching and turntable pyrotechnics. To say the earth was no longer flat, sonically speaking, after “Rockit” is only hinting at its influence.

by Mehan Jayasuriya

20 Apr 2009

This past week, I spent my Easter Sunday at the Black Cat with the Wooden Birds, the latest project from American Analog Set frontman Andrew Kenny. AnAmSet fans will feel right at home with the Wooden Birds, as the band finds Kenny marrying his hushed delivery with dulcet tones and understated arrangements yet again. That’s not to say, however, that the Wooden Birds are just the American Analog Set with different players. Longtime fans will notice that Kenny’s latest vehicle favors acoustic over electric instrumentation and has a more rhythm-heavy bent (nearly every one of the band’s songs features maracas and tambourine).

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

READ the article