Released through 502 Recordings, homebase of the excellent DJ Oneman, this collaboration between Desto, Clouds & Jimi Tenor is tenaciously caught inbetween the dancefloor and the chillout room. The familiar jazz flute sounds that have traversed sampledelic music for 20 years now appear, but juxtaposed against fat synthetic bass lurching along an ominous beat. The video takes the song’s name quite literally, showing dancing “birds” (or women, as some us call them) of the silent era moving in synch with the modern sounds.
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PopMatters’ Kerrie Mills recently reviewed Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?, a book by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Brian Bellmont that looks at the food, TV shows, toys, and other pop cultural milestones that kids grew up with from the 1960’s to 1992.
It sounds like a great idea, but why did they stop at 1992? A brand new generation has sprung up since then, with an emerging sense of nostalgia. Look at the success of Toy Story 3, the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys tour, or Nickelodeon’s heavily hyped decision to add reruns of ‘90s series like All That and Clarissa Explains It All to their late-night schedule.
It’s enough to make you wonder what future generations will look back on wistfully, and how this will influence Hollywood and/or manufactures to make a profit out of it. So here’s a look at a few things that have only recently disappeared from the spotlight, and their cultural impact.
As POV warms up for its Fall 2011, it’s re-airing a couple of important documentaries. The first is this week’s Food, Inc., which opens with the story of Carole Morrison, a grower for Perdue Chicken. She runs what amounts to a factory, producing meat efficiently and inhumanely. She’s speaking out now, she says, because “I’m just to the point that it doesn’t matter anymore. Something has to be said.” The chicken factory—like so many others that produce food for corporations to sell—is premised on quantity. When the film reveals in a note that Morrison’s farm was “terminated,” you have to think: even as she’s righteous here, she’s also out of work, for not toeing a corporate-ordained line. Robert Kenner’s Academy Award-nominated documentary provides other stories to compound your sense that something is very wrong here. Tomatoes—and corn, cows, and pigs—are genetically engineered. As the camera shows rows of fat red fruits in a supermarket, the voiceover reveals, “Although it looks like a tomato, it’s kind of a notional tomato, the idea of a tomato.” Notional food. It’s as bad as it sounds.
See PopMatters’ review.
When Natalie Maines told a London audience in March 2003, “We’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas,” she could not have imagined the fallout. But as she and fellow Dixie Chicks Martie Maguir and Emily Robison discover, her outspokenness had political and economic costs back in the States. That story is traced in Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing, screening on 9 August, as the Closing Night Film for Stranger Than Fiction‘s Summer Season, and followed by a Q&A with Barbara Kopple. Directed by Kopple and Cecelia Peck, the film shows crowds smashing CDs with a tractor and campaigns mounted online and at concerts, as former fans made plain their outrage. The Chicks respond by figuring out who they are, not in relation to a fixed fan base or the “brand” they had come to be, but to themselves and other audiences. Maines observes that the controversy “is a part of who we are as a band now.” And so they make a decision to reframe the controversy as a matter of free speech. With help from producer Rick Rubin, they make a new album and then set to marketing it. The film makes a special point of showing the Chicks on the road and at home (dressing their kids for Halloween, at the hospital where Robison has twins), underscoring how these experiences are intertwined. As much as the film shows their healthy integration of professional and personal politics, it also makes clear the significance of the Chicks in broader contexts, including free speech, the growing anti-war movement, and their experience as women in the music industry.
See PopMatters’ review.
The cornerstone of Jane Campion’s career, and the film that she will probably remain best remembered for, was 1993’s indescribably haunting The Piano, starring Holly Hunter as a mute mail-order bride shipped to meet her husband in the wilds of New Zealand with her daughter and beloved piano in tow. Cannes was kinder to Campion this time, to say the least: she became the first female director in history to win the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or for feature film. More success followed: The Piano became an art-house sensation worldwide, and Campion, along with Hunter and nine-year-old actress Anna Paquin, earned an Oscar for her work. The film immediately posited Campion as one of the most significant female directors in the world, and remains one of the touchstones of that slippery category, “women’s cinema”.