“Please excuse the bother,” says Yamauchi Kazuhiko. As he stands in a train station in Kawasaki, Japan, passengers make their ways past him, most not even looking at him—that is, not looking bothered at all. “Welcome home after a hard day’s work,” he keeps on, “We can change politics through elections.” This as the camera pulls out, the wider shot showing the candidate, “from Liberal Democratic Party LDP of Prime Minister Koizumi,” as he explains, looking very small and very alone. A “parachute candidate,” brought in by the party to run for city council, Kazuhiko pitches himself as a good team player, with his wife Sayuri dutifully by his side. Their 2006 campaign is the focus of Kazuhiro Soda’s superb documentary, Campaign, which is screening at the DocYard in Boston on 20 February, followed by a Q&A with Soda. (The film is also available for viewing online at POV until 29 July 2012.)
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Guitarist Bryan Ward has a very simple website, so it gets right to the point. The first sentence of his short bio tosses out terms like “folktronica” and “acoustic trance”. The second paragraph begins with this audacious claim: “Part tribal reverie, part ecstatic folk, the sound is unlike anything you’ve ever heard.” The unlike-anything-you’ve-ever-heard tag is an oft used but seldom justified marketing phrase that actually applies to Ward’s music. The track “Lost, Lost”, available for free on his website, is a swirling construction of studio alchemy that gets its tribal kicks from hypnotic repetition.
“Lost, Lost” appears on Bryan Ward’s debut album Bone Anthems, which can be purchased here.
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.”
“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.
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.