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

 
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Friday, Oct 3, 2014
"Some women enter into the system and say, 'We will play the game the way it has always been played,'" says Nigerian pro-democracy activist Hafsat Abiola. "Some of them will say the game has caused so much wrong, if I can make one little difference, I must do it."

“I remember feeling frightened,” says Hafsat Abiola. “I just didn’t feel I could trust the police or their soldiers any more.” This after her mother, Kudirat Abiola, the charismatic leader of a pro-democracy movement in Nigeria, was assassinated in 1996. As Hafsat today looks back on that fraught history, so personal as well as so frighteningly public, she also looks forward with hope. The founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy tells her story in The Supreme Price, which considers the many complexities of Nigeria, ruled by a series of military regimes from 1966-1996. As current events continue to swirl—including the terrors of Boko Haram and the troubling presidency of Goodluck Jonathan—Hafsat persists.


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Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014
Scarred But Smarter gives an in-depth look into the life and times of Atlanta's indie rock luminaries Drivin' N' Cryin', a band now celebrating its 30th year. Check out an exclusive video preview to get a taste of what's to come.

Eric Von Haessler’s documentary Scarred But Smarter tells the tale of a band that, while under the radar by the average person’s standards, have nonetheless remained vital and influential over the course of its now 30-year tenure: the Atlanta indie rock outfit Drivin’ N’ Cryin’. Few bands last as long as this trio, comprised of singer/songwriter Kevn Kinney, guitarist Tim Nielsenand, and drummer Paul Lenz; that the group has remained headstrong is but one of many reasons why a film about its musical journey is so fascinating a document.


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Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

“My father told me, this is a dark organization, don’t go there.” Gonen Ben Itzhak sets up the moment when he decided to join Shin Bet, the Israeli secret security service, with his reaction to the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. “I was shocked like everybody else,” he says, “I felt I needed to do something for my country.” His belief that joining Shin Bet appeared to be that something initiates the unresolved, perhaps irresolvable, conundrum at the center of The Green Prince, open in theaters 12 September. That conundrum begins with definitions and expectations, of self and nation, individual and community, morality, vengeance, and survival. The Palestinians were enemies, even the idea of Palestine was an existential threat to Israel, and so Itzhak embraced his work as a handler of double agents for Shin Bet, believing that the lines were clearly drawn. They were not. As it tells the story of Itzhak’s complicated relationship with one of these, Mosab Hassan Yousef, also known as “Son of Hamas,” Nadav Schirman’s film blurs lines as well, between drama and documentary, truth and desire, intersecting stories framed by smart edits between reenactments, archival footage, and interviews. 


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Friday, Aug 29, 2014
The work of Dr. Susan Robinson forms the focus of Martha Shane and Lana Wilson's intelligent, conscientious documentary, After Tiller, premiering on PBS' POV series on September 1.

“Of course you don’t want an abortion. Nobody wants an abortion.”


Dr. Susan Robinson provides abortions, in particular, for women in their third trimesters who, for any number of reasons, need to end their pregnancies. Robinson is one of four such providers in the US who do this work, work they once did with Dr. George Tiller and work they now continue to do, after his 2009 murder in his church in Wichita. The work, and more importantly, the people who choose to do it, form the focus of Martha Shane and Lana Wilson’s intelligent, conscientious documentary, After Tiller, premiering on PBS’ POV series on September 1.


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Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014
by PopMatters Staff
Stay tuned to the @PopMatters Twitter tomorrow at 4.00 pm EST as we do a live Twitter session about James Brown and the new biopic celebrating his career, Get on Up. We will be handing out prizes, including $100 iTunes cards.

PopMatters has teamed up with Universal Pictures to celebrate their upcoming release Get on Up. Based on the incredible life story of the Godfather of Soul, the film will give a fearless look inside the music, moves and moods of Brown, taking audiences on the journey from his impoverished childhood to his evolution into one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. 


James Brown empowered a generation of activists with his anthem “Say It Loud”. We’re tasking fans to salute the Godfather of Soul and his lasting impact on social culture and popular music by sharing your thoughts about his music and legacy using #SayItLoud on Twitter.


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