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by Cynthia Fuchs

2 Apr 2012


Scout Finch appeals to everyone. Wise and immature, tomboyish and vulnerable, she’s recognizable even to people who didn’t grow up in segregated Alabama, who didn’t have a scary next-door neighbor and who didn’t have an awesome dad like Atticus. The continuing resonance of Scout’s story is the subject of Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & To Kill a Mockingbird. Airing on PBS’ American Masters, the documentary features a series of interviewees, many quite famous, who describe their sense of likeness and commitment to Scout (James McBride: “She sees the world through child’s eyes with an adult’s understanding,” Oprah Winfrey: “I fell in love with Scout, I wanted to be Scout. I thought I was Scout”). Harper Lee is less available. She retreated from public life soon after the famous film based on her only book was made. She remains rather perfectly the writer whose intentions aren’t performed, for an interviewer who’s asking or an audience who’s projecting. Even as people speculate, imagining both questions and answers for her. Her 99-year-old sister Alice, still a lawyer in the firm their father helped to found, explains Lee’s absence as a choice. “As time went on, she said that reporters began to take too many liberties with what she was saying, so she just wanted out… She felt like she gave enough.” Hey, Boo isn’t asking more of her. But it can’t quite leave her alone, either. 

See PopMattersreview.

Watch Harper Lee: Hey, Boo on PBS. See more from American Masters.

by Chris Barsanti

30 Mar 2012


At 15 years old, Alma (Helene Bergsholm) is feeling confined in a small mountain town in Norway. She’s miserable and confused in the usual teenage sense, flipping off the town sign whenever she passes it, and dreaming of life elsewhere. Specifically, she’s dreaming of a boy in her class, Artur (Matias Myren), whom she imagines climbing in her bedroom window on moonlit nights. When not indulging in this fantasy, she rings up a sizeable bill on a phone sex line. But the coming of age story in Turn me on, dammit (Få meg på, for faen)—its title tweaked and opening 30 March at the Angelika Film Center and The Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center—takes a turn when an encounter with Artur doesn’t go quite as Alma hopes. As she negotiates a spate of rumors at school, the film reveals a delicate sense of comedy, attuned to the acute embarrassments, social minefields, and roaring squalls of adolescence. It understands the passing fancies and worries of the teenager, whether it’s Alma’s pointless aggression with her single mother or her friend Saralou’s (Malin Bjørhovde) habit of writing chatty letters to death row prisoners in Texas. The movie knows that these things will pass, even if the kids do not.

See PopMattersreview.

by Sarah Zupko

29 Mar 2012


Sadly, bluegrass banjo pioneer Earl Scruggs has passed away at the age of 88. In an age when clawhammer banjo playing still dominated the string band scene, Scruggs brought his three-finger picking style out of the North Carolina mountains and smack dab into the mainstream. It became the dominant playing style in bluegrass and roots music generally as a result of his virtuoso performances with Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys as well as with Flatt & Scruggs.

Scruggs signed on with the Father of Bluegrass (Monroe) back in 1945 and was on the recordings of some the group’s most classic tunes. Lester Flatt was also in the Bluegrass Boys and they both left in 1948 to form their well-known group, the Foggy Mountain Boys a.k.a. Flatt & Scruggs, who were famous outside of the bluegrass world for The Beverly Hillbillies theme song, “The Ballad of Jed Clampett”, but within the bluegrass community were respected nearly as much as Bill Monroe himself.

by PopMatters Staff

28 Mar 2012


Earlier this month in reviewing Ekstasis, PopMatters’ Robert Alford said “Julia Holter makes a powerful case for the value of challenging her listeners while remaining within the conventions of pop.” Today you can check out Holter’s latest single and the video for “Moni Mon Amie”. And you will want too because as Alford says, “the reward that her music offers is substantial, as Ekstasis is one of the most unusual and unprecedented indie pop albums to come along in quite awhile.”

by PopMatters Staff

28 Mar 2012


Björk has a new series of remixes of songs from last year’s Biophilia releasing every two weeks, leading up to a CD and vinyl release of each remix. First up, Berlin’s Current Value takes on “Crystalline”.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Here Comes the Bloom: Timothy Bloom Takes Hip-Hop to the Sock-Hop

// Sound Affects

"More sock-hop than hip-hop, soulster Timothy Bloom does a stunning '50s revamp on contemporary R&B.

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