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Friday, Jun 7, 2013
Not to belabor the point about Vampire Weekend's new-found fascination with God, but it's hard not to quickly recognize part of the inspiration for the new "Diane Young" video: da Vinci's The Last Supper.

That set-up is unmistakable. From there, though, the similarities break down, giving way to a merrily profane repurposing. This is the Last Supper as a Brooklyn bacchanalia, complete with ecstatic dancing, a saxophone bong, food fights, and a guest list that includes Santigold, Sky Ferreira, Hamilton Leithauser of the Walkmen and other indie notables. There’s also a mystery dude in a balaclava at the center of everything. (Who knows?) It’s a wild and romping video for a wild and romping song.



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Monday, Feb 20, 2012
Iran: A Cinematographic Revolution shows how closely the film industry in Iran has mapped, anticipated, and helped to shape the nation’s political movements and fractures.

“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.


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Thursday, Nov 11, 2010
The exhilarating world of podcasting opens up new opportunities for pop culture analysis in the relatively young medium. Here is a list of ten particularly rewarding podcasts covering the worlds of film, television, music, and literature.

The Internet offers a plethora of options for those interested in reading insightful and relevant content about popular culture. But, sometimes you need to get your cultural fix while working out, cooking dinner, or sitting in traffic. The exhilarating world of podcasting opens up new opportunities for pop culture analysis in the relatively young medium. However, as is the case with the written word, it can often be difficult to separate the podcasting wheat from the chaff. For every intelligent and well-produced episode, there are hundreds of rambling, amateurish productions available for download on a daily basis. Here is a list of ten particularly rewarding podcasts covering the worlds of film, television, music, and literature. I always look forward to seeing new episodes of the following pop up on my iPhone:


#10: Film Junk
Although it took me a while to get into this podcast initially, it is now prominent in my regular rotation. Three movie fans from St. Catherines, Ontario talk weekly for a couple of hours about all aspects of the cinema, from movie news, to trailer trash, to reviews of new releases. While this podcast leans dangerously towards irrelevant rambling on occasion, the hosts are amusing enough that they are entertaining to listen to even when they talk about hockey or their collections of Star Wars memorabilia. The insights of documentary filmmaker and co-host Jay Cheel are of particular interest.


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Tuesday, Apr 20, 2010

Thanks again to YouTube for allowing us access to footage that might have otherwise been forever lost. This Australian TV clip features John Holmstrom and Legs McNeil of Punk Magazine definitively proving that no one has ever made a dime in rock journalism. The clip, which briefly drops into silence, reportedly shows the NYC-based pair in their offices some time in 1977, with the best bit coming after a clip of English punks are shown. The lines of demarcation between the various punk movements have gone down in the annals of history. Here, then, a first hand look at just how seriously they were taken.


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Sunday, Apr 4, 2010
Arg! And here I was just sifting through the current news, looking for health care coverage, but got assaulted with this crap in the headlines.

Lt. Dan Choi in front of the WHite House,
handcuffed to the gate in his military fatigues,
discharged from being gay.


Wow, other people’s moral judgments just get sicker and sicker. Just goes to show that it never pays to ask a people to deny themselves.  Caution, when I watched this clip streaming on CNN.com, it was preceded by a candy bar commercial where a family father ogles over a trio of teen girls in front of his wife who stands next to him struggling with their infant. The sweet confection gave the man time enough to think of an amenable excuse for checking out the prepubertal set of scantily clad young maidens: “I’m looking at potential babysitters,” he finally blurts out after his candy-snack jack. He was gonna exploit them one way or another—or both! In the same warped universe around the same warped time, there was also story about an announcement made over the PA system in a retail shop in Jersey: “Attention Wal-Mart customers, all Black people leave the store now.” So, this should all situate the following clip about a military service woman being granted a marriage license by one state, outed to her government employer by the police, and dropped by the sidelines by our society in the same warped nation-state. Ask. Tell. And See this:


 


 


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