Latest Blog Posts

by Comfort Clinton

20 Feb 2012


Erika M. Anderson, also known as EMA, is a singer/songwriter originally hailing from South Dakota. She began her musical career in 2006 as part of a Drone Folk band called Gowns, and marks her album debut with the recently released Past Life Martyred Saints. With her brassy vocals and fine tuned guitar plucking, EMA has garnered the praise of critics like Rolling Stone, Time Out New York, Village Voice, and was named one of NRP’s “Favorite New Artists of 2011”.

Anderson’s video for her single “Take One Two” recently debuted on Pitchfork. The video, shot by Anderson and featuring the artist herself, comes in the form of a compilation of footage she took in a trailer park during her teenage years. The video is visually interesting, but also meaningful, given it’s anti-bullying message. EMA said of the footage of she and friends being goofy in the mid ‘90s, “This is especially remarkable as I know what was going on outside those plywood walls: getting called names, shoved into lockers, and threatening to get our asses kicked for being queer or punk or just plain weird. But despite all that, there is a joy, strength and self-acceptance in our faces that I find inspiring and wanted to pass on.” Taking the cause one step further still, EMA has pledged to donate the net proceeds from sales of “Take One Two” to the Jamie Isaacs Foundation for Anti-Bullying.

So, enjoy the soulful vibe of “Take One Two”, set to a snippet of life as a South Dakota teen facing opposition. As EMA said “This one’s for all the weirdos out there: cherish your friends, f—k the haters and let your freak flag fly.”

by Cynthia Fuchs

20 Feb 2012


“Nobody knew how the revolution would end, but the event itself was extraordinary,” says Masud Kimiai, “And full of idealism and beauty.” As the director of Snake Fang (Dandan-e-mar) and The Journey of the Stone (Safar Sang) remembers the Iranian Revolution in 1979, you see a mix of footage, crowds waving flags in the street and women dropping flowers from balconies, and a few shots later, police chasing after citizens, helmets white and guns raised. Most viewers of Iran: A Cinematographic Revolution, will know that this shift from exhilaration to fear and aggression had its seeds in decades of corruption and resentment, in weak internal infrastructures and not-so-secret interventions by the West. What may be less well known is how closely the film industry in Iran has mapped, anticipated, and helped to shape the nation’s political movements and fractures.

This story is unveiled in Nader Takmil Homayoun’s 2006 documentary, available now on Link TV‘s excellent broadcast and online series, A Bridge to Iran. In tracing how movies in Iran have been put to use by both Reza Shah Pahlevi and his son, and the fundamentalist religious regime under Khomeini, the film makes the broader point, that media shape, support, and can challenge other regimes, even when those regimes don’t think of themselves as such.

by Imran Khan

17 Feb 2012


Dizraeli’s excursion into East Indian rhythms gives food for thought in “People Taking Pictures”. The British rapper’s scathing attack on Western tourism explores the concepts of exoticism over a hand-drummed groove and some snatches of Bollywood splendour. His observations make a compelling case for the exploitative damage that a single click of a camera can cause and he isn’t beyond calling himself out on that charge. Dizraeli’s dagger-tipped rhymes are thrown so swiftly, they can leave you unsteady (that is, if they don’t cut you first). But the full-bodies beats and their vigorous rhythms (courtesy of Tom Caruana) should help regain your balance.  Check out the first single from the upcoming White Man (Moves) album.

by Sachyn Mital

17 Feb 2012


At the end of October last year, the camera manufacturer Canon held a launch party for its new printer model, the Pixma Pro-1. While some were psyched to see some of the new 1D-X cameras on display, others were excited for a performance from Herbie Hancock, though the two are not mutually exclusive.

As part of the evening, Hancock’s performance of “Chameleon” was captured, in photograph form, with cameras lent to various attendees (“crowd sourced”) and hung from the ceiling to be spliced together to create a “stop motion” music video (which of course features the printer). The result is interesting to say the least and is presented here for your viewing pleasure.

by Cynthia Fuchs

17 Feb 2012


“My partners and I are always searching for Dr. King’s perspective,” says Tavis Smiley during the first minutes of his documentary, Stand. In 2008, Smiley wonders, “How did we arrive at this critical place in our history?” And so, as Barack Obama is running for president, poverty growing, the US is engaged in two wars, and more black men are incarcerated than ever before, Smiley and a group including Michael Eric Dyson, Wren Brown, and Cornel West (“Definitely,” he says, “not your typical black men”) take off on a bus trip to look for Martin Luther King Jr.‘s perspective. Screening on the Documentary Channel this month, the documentary is comprised of footage by Smiley’s professional crew and also by two teens from Memphis, Robert Smith and Daron Keith Boyce, who wield their digital camera with a mix of enthusiasm and awe.

Much like the ride in Spike Lee’s Get on the Bus, this one alternates betweens on the bus (the space tight and the conversation lively) sand setting down the passengers in a series of locations (though here, they always have places to stay and eat). It also provides multiple occasions for sharing stories and some wisdom too (Dyson: “It’s hard sometimes when you’re in the parade to see what’s on the float” or again, West: “Don’t confuse your voice with an echo”). When a new partner joins in, like Dick Gregory, Smiley uses the opportunity to historicize: “Comedy has been important for black folk,” he asserts, “Things have been so challenging and bleak for us at times,” that it’s helped to have artists who “say stuff on stage that we can’t say, who are willing to check America, check white folk.” What the riders say here—and they can claim a large stage, to be sure—is less directed at white folk than black men, words of encouragement and direction, exhortations to excellence and consciousness. They’re a small, atypical group, and they listen to one another. 

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