Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 
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Monday, Mar 28, 2011

The Museum of Modern Art presents a major retrospective of Charles Burnett, the American filmmaker who through three decades has chronicled the African American experience in over a dozen feature films and numerous shorts with actors including Danny Glover, Beau Bridges, Halle Berry, Lynn Redgrave, James Earl Jones, Ossie Davis, and Ruby Dee. “Charles Burnett: The Power to Endure”, running April 6 through 25, 2011, in The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters, is a comprehensive overview of works including feature films, student shorts, and made-for-television movies all of which chronicle some aspect of the black experience in America.


Burnett, among the best under-recognized American filmmakers, has created films that deal with the particularly American problem of racism from its roots in slavery through the Civil Rights movement and beyond. Burnett will be present on April 6 through 8 to introduce his films, including the opening night screening of Killer of Sheep (1977), his first feature film, examining the Los Angeles ghetto of Watts in the mid-1970s. Charles Burnett is organized by Charles Silver, Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art and Professor Robert Kapsis, Department of Sociology and Film Studies, Queens College (CUNY).


The films within this comprehensive retrospective include such noteworthy works as the dark comedy The Annihilation of Fish (1999); Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation (2007), the wide-screen epic chronicling the rise of the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) leader Sam Nujoma; The Glass Shield (1994), Burnett’s first studio-produced feature film; To Sleep with Anger (2007), an examination of the dynamics of families; and Selma, Lord, Selma (1999), a Disney television movie tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement.



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Thursday, Mar 24, 2011

The Museum of Modern Art salutes master of Soviet cinema Dziga Vertov (1896-1954), whose still-radical experiments in image and sound have had an enduring influence on an astonishing range of contemporary filmmakers and artists. With the most comprehensive retrospective ever assembled in the United States, April 15 through June 4, the exhibition offers a deeper understanding of Vertov’s landmark contributions to the history of cinema through an extensive selection of silent films, sound features, and related work by collaborators and rivals in what Vertov called his “factory of facts”.


Dziga Vertov is organized by Yuri Tsivian, William Colvin Professor, the University of Chicago, and Joshua Siegel, Associate Curator, Department of Film, the Museum of Modern Art, in close collaboration with the Austrian Film Museum, Vienna. The exhibition is organized in cooperation with the Austrian Cultural Forum New York and is made possible by the International Council of The Museum of Modern Art.


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Thursday, Mar 24, 2011

Detroit’s Movement Electronic Music Festival just named its headliners for the Memorial Day weekend party, which includes Detroit techno legend Carl Craig performing live for the first time ever as his moniker 69, the Brighton-based DJ and producer Fatboy Slim and the Chicago house/electro icon Felix Da Housecat. Previously named acts included, among others, Green Velvet, Sven Väth and Goldie.


The entire line-up for the electronic music festival, which takes place May 28 through May 30 in Detroit’s Hart Plaza, is listed below.  Head over to Movement’s website for more info.


Movement Electronic Music Festival Lineup…
69 (Carl Craig) (live), Al Ester, Beardyman (live), Ben Klock, Claude Young, DJ Harvey, Dr. Atmo, DTM 5x5 (DJ Seoul, T.Linder, Neil V, Darkcube, DJ Psycho), Dubfire, Elliot Lipp (live), Fatboy Slim, Felix Da Housecat, Franki Juncaj aka DJ 3000, Gaslamp Killer, Guti (live), Hudson Mohawke – live, James Zabiela, Kero (live), Livio & Roby, Loco Dice, Martin Buttrich (live), Matt Clarke, Metro Area, Mike Servito, Pulshar (live), Ramadanman, Ryan Elliott, Steve Rachmad, Traversable Wormhole aka Adam X (live), Ana Sia, Art Department, Bruce Bailey, Cio D’or, Dam-Funk & Master Blazter (live), DJ T-1000, Echospace (live), Goldie, Green Velvet (live), Kerri Chandler, Marcel Dettman, Mimosa, Reference, Scuba, Shlomi Aber, Skrillex (live), Soul Clap, Sven Väth, Tini, Visionquest (live and DJ set)



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Thursday, Mar 24, 2011
Part political investigation and part cultural critique, Alex Gibney's brilliant documentary is also a series of intricate performance pieces.

Part political investigation and part cultural critique, Alex Gibney’s brilliant documentary is also a series of intricate performance pieces. As Eliot Spitzer and others describe the trajectory of his New York career, all do their best to shape the story, and also to make their versions seem honest and insightful. As AG and as governor, Spitzer pursued Wall Street corruption, inspiring the enmity of some very powerful usual suspects. While the movie doesn’t defend Spitzer’s deception of his wife and family, or excuse his ridiculous choice to patronize the Emperor’s Club VIP, it does situate that bad behavior in multiple broader contexts, all in flux by definition. Spitzer is not deviant or even exceptional. He is, instead, a participant in a game that is at once mundane and creepy, one that no one seems inclined to challenge, but only to play as brutally as possible, and above all, to play well.


Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer is screening as part of Maysles Cinema’s “True Crime” series. The 24 March show will be followed by a Q&A with Alex Gibney.


See PopMattersreview.



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Wednesday, Mar 23, 2011
It may be that Inside Job's greatest effect is that, as the interviewees reveal themselves, they become less central to the story.

“The reason that they’re not going to jail is not that they didn’t commit crimes,” Charles Ferguson tells Nell Minow. “It’s because there’s been no effort to enforce the law, an even more disturbing phenomenon.”

This year’s Academy Award winner for Best Documentary, Inside Job traces the intertwined histories of deregulation, credit default swaps, subprime mortgages, and ideological Kool-Aid drinking. Interviewer and director Ferguson encourages his subjects to tell their stories. Some of these are convincing, others are cringeworthy, as lobbyists, bankers, and academics spin themselves into deep holes. It may be that Inside Job‘s greatest effect is that, as the interviewees reveal themselves, they become less central to the story. Increasingly, the film lays bare a culture based on greed and short-sightedness, one that produces a mindless focus on profits, whether ideological, political, or financial.


Part of Maysles Cinema’s “True Crime” series, the screening of Inside Job on 3/23 will be followed by an audience-led discussion with Gale and Ben Armstead, humanitarians, and long-time Harlem residents. On Friday, 3/25, the screening will be followed by a Q&A with Carl Dix.


See PopMattersreview.



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