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by Cynthia Fuchs

26 Apr 2011


“My memories that I do get,” says Mark Hogancamp, “They come back in stills, just a single shot, but no context.” They remind him that he was married, lived in a nice house, and was beaten nearly to death one night outside the bar where he works in Kingston, New York. Since then, he’s learned to walk and speak again—and also to translate his experience into art. Jeff Malmberg’s extraordinary documentary tells Hogancamp’s story the way he does, using photos he’s taken of a circa WWII Belgian village he’s made up out of plywood and dolls. Marwencol’s population includes 27 Barbies and Mark’s alter ego, a U.S. soldier. Having learned that before the attack he was a terrible drunk, antagonistic and angry, now Mark wants the bar in Marwencol to be a place where everyone can drink and smoke cigarettes—Americans, Germans, and French together. “Everybody got along,” he says, “Nobody was against one another, no matter what clothing they wore.” Attentive to details in his world, Mark drags jeeps along pavement to make sure the tires are suitably worn, paints dolls’ faces and meticulously sets up situations to photograph—catfights and romances, snowy street scenes, Doll Mark’s torture by the SS and subsequent rescue by “the women of Marwencol.” If the town helps him to sort out his past from a distance, the film becomes another process, a means to self-understanding as well as wry commentary on a wider world.

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by PopMatters Staff

26 Apr 2011


Eclectic British songwriter Kate Bush has a new album releasing 16 May called Director’s Cut and she has just released the first video from the upcoming project. This is not strictly speaking new material as these tunes are reinterpretations of previous songs from The Sensual World and Red Shoes. Brit actor Robbie Coltrane also stars in the video.

by PopMatters Staff

26 Apr 2011


As many of you know, the Beastie Boys’ new album The Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 has already leaked, but it’s the “clean” version. So, the boys are striking back by giving the fans what they really want, the “explicit” version. It’s up now and streaming on the Beasties’ Soundcloud. As the band says, “As a hostile and retaliatory measure with great hubris we are making the full explicit aka filthy dirty nasty version available for streaming on our site. We hope this brings much happiness, hugs, and harmony. Enjoy Kikoos for life!”

Hot Sauce Committee Part Two by Beastie Boys

by PopMatters Staff

26 Apr 2011


There are some pretty massive names atop the lineup this year, with Eminem, Coldplay and Foo Fighters as the top of the bill headliners. We’re happy to see PopMatters faves Cee-Lo Green, Lykke Li and Ryan Bingham on there. Here’s the initial list of booked artists…

by PopMatters Staff

26 Apr 2011


We have some very sad news out of the UK to report this morning. Former X-Ray Spex frontwoman and punk pioneer Poly Styrene (Marianne Elliott-Said) has passed away at the age of 53 after a bout with cancer. This comes just one day before the US release of her thrilling new album, Generation Indigo, which proved she’d never lost a step or a beat during her storied musical career.

Yesterday, Maria Schurr wrote of Generation Indigo: “With Poly Styrene’s first solo album since 2004’s Flower Aeroplane, she has taken the Spex blueprint and modified it to perfectly fit the foibles of today’s generation, the end result sounding a bit like M.I.A. minus the sometimes petty forays into provocation.  In short, Styrene has reinvented herself as an elder perfectly attuned to and capable of commenting on youth culture.”

She always was the incisive cultural chronicler and commentator from the very beginning. X-Ray Spex’s 1978 album Germ Free Adolescents was an iconic punk release, anticipating and influencing greatly the future riot girl movement as well as being one of punk’s and late ‘70s Britain’s most important records. Poly Styrene’s music was always smart and fun in equal doses, making listeners think about gender politics, while shaking their booty and enjoying her marvelous wit. One of the great women of popular music has passed and will be greatly missed.

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