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by Sam Phillips

24 Oct 2011

Here are the Nicholas Brothers dancing in Stormy Weather. Check out the big finish. I can do the splits, but not while jumping down stairs. I am tempted to try this. When I was little, I saw a woman on a local TV dance show jump down into the splits and get stuck. She kept smiling with her hands in the air, trying to bounce up to her feet, but couldn’t make it happen. The host of the show had to pull her up out of the splits and take her off camera. I hope she kept trying that move until she got it.


by Sam Phillips

24 Oct 2011

Steps on steps: Bill “Bojangles” Robinson! I started taking tap dance lessons when I was three and stopped at 14 when I started writing songs. I learned music through movement and listening. My ear was, and still is, much quicker than my ability to read music. I think the great Mr. Robinson is making beautiful music with his feet here—the envy of any drummer.


by PopMatters Staff

24 Oct 2011

Today we are introducing our new Mixed Media series, “Artist Directed”, in which some of our favorite creative types across the cultural spectrum will share with you some of their favorites and inspirations, as well as discuss highlights of their own works. The words and media choices all belong to the artist.

We are lucky to have the talented Sam Phillips launching this new series in grand fashion with a two-day takeover of Mixed Media. Today, Phillips will put the spotlight on some of her favorite film and music, while tomorrow she will delve into five of her songs, with discussions of the videos.

by Cynthia Fuchs

23 Oct 2011

“She functions better under pressure.” Tended by her makeup artist, the newly elected president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, sits quietly. She’s functioning exceptionally well under pressure—and has done so in the years following this moment, captured in Iron ladies of Liberia in 2006. (She is currently enduring pressure again, awaiting results of this month’s presidential election.) Recently named one of three winners of 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, Sirleaf in this documentary—which premieres on Global Voices 23 October—is resolved to lead her nation out of the darkness of 14 years of civil war, and following the resignation of Charles Taylor in 2003 (he’s now awaiting a verdict in his war crimes trial in the Hague). In the film, co-directed by Siatta Scott Johnson and Daniel Junge, President Sirleaf staffs her cabinet with “iron ladies.” Showing the difficulties facing Sirleaf in impressionistic, unforgettable images—kids playing in garbage dumps, demonstrations in the streets—the documentary keeps focused on the president’s good intentions and efforts, filtered through her indomitable personality.

See PopMattersreview.

by Jonathan Sanders

21 Oct 2011

Astronautalis’s Andy Bothwell may be in Minneanapolis by way of Seattle by way of Dallas by way of Jacksonville Beach, Florida, but damned if he doesn’t fit right in with the alternative-inspired hip hop community blowing up in the region. Like some long-lost missing member of the Doomtree crew, with the hooks and rapid-fire delivery of Atmosphere, Astronautalis enters the picture with music which refuses to be tied down by any single genre descriptor. Bothwell’s latest release, This Is Our Science, successfully straddles the worlds of underground hip-hop and rock without suffering adversely from the combination, bringing together a virtual who’s who of the Minneapolis rap scene together in the process. Astronautalis’s hip-hop meets electro-rock spectacle to provide the perfect soundtrack for the genre drifter in all of us.

//Mixed media

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