Proving himself to be the most music nerd friendly late night host ever, Jimmy Fallon hosted Wire in what has to be their first ever American late night appearance after 34 years as a band. Though the group is far from their artsier performance art antics of the early postpunk days, it’s still nice to see the boys aging gracefully. They were there to promote their new album Red Barked Tree, but while there they also rang out a rendition of their classic song “Map Ref 41N 93W”, perhaps the best cut from their best album 154.
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Born in Brazil and living in Brooklyn, artist Vik Munoz believes that his decision to make art out of the garbage in Rio de Janeiro’s Jardim Gramacho landfill is a way to “give back” to the homeland he left so many years ago. As he puts it, “What I really want to do is be able to change the lives of a group of people with the same material that they deal with every day.” What happens is only something like that. Muniz soon learns the process is not only unidirectional and that the pickers—whom he employs in the assembly as well—have their own ideas about what constitutes art and life. As he and the workers help the makers of Waste Land, the documentary takes on an unusual shape—a collaborative project that acknowledges tensions and mutual responsibilities, and examines the relationships between artists and subjects. While Muniz made his name by incorporating “everyday objects into his photographic process,” as the film puts it, now he recognizes the ways is subjects are not such “objects.” As he directs the pickers to put together giant mosaics made of garbage, portraits of themselves based on his photos of them, Muniz explains, that from a distance, bits and pieces of waste can tell a story, they show a face or allude to an experience. But just as the art indicates a range of ways of seeing, so too do conversations among Muniz and his film team members, who mull over the potential effects of their intervention.
See PopMatters’ review.
“I predict big things for Josa Peit, based on the evidence here, for she is a force to be reckoned with, augmenting the hazy, late-night, dreamy quality of the recording that she backs up on seven of its nine tracks. I don’t know if she’s the next Esperanda Spalding in that she’s going to pull off an upset Grammy win next year, or even be nominated for that matter—owing that The Sleepwalking Society is on a tiny U.K. indie, and we all know that, barring Arcade Fire’s win, the Grammys generally don’t reward independent acts—but listening to her is a seductive experience.”—Zachary Houle, review of The Sleepwalking Society, 22 March 2011
You certainly didn’t ask for it, but those maniacs at Olde English Spelling Bee provided it anyway. After Tri Angle’s unexpectedly awesome Lindsay Lohan tribute last year, here’s a free Creed tribute album starring Autre Ne Veut, Green Gerry, Alice Cohen, Pretty Lightning, Sleep Creep, and Hurrikane Ike.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, If God Is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise comes to DVD from HBO. Spike Lee’s angry and magnificent follow-up to When The Levees Broke tracks how the U.S. exploitation of resources, in particular oil, has shaped New Orleans’ ongoing fragility. As Fred Johnson, Executive Director of the New Orleans Neighborhood Development Foundation, puts it, “America is a capitalist society. All of it is about money.” The four-hour film features testimony from a range of interview subjects—survivors of Katrina, politicians and activists till responding to Katrina—demonstrating that problems remain are systemic, drawing connections not only between New Orleans’ past and present, but also between New Orleans and other places, such as sister city Port au Prince. Sean Penn points out the common point of departure for the devastations of the storm and the earthquake in Haiti. “This problem is poverty,” he says, and “the similarity is race. There’s no way that if this was a white island that this type of incredible neglect by a superpower neighbor could happen.” Lee’s film is pointed and poignant, underscoring the responsibilities abandoned by too many individuals, as well as government and corporate bodies.
See PopMatters’ review.