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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.

by Jedd Beaudoin

20 Oct 2011


He’s been called a renaissance man who writes cynical and amusing melodies, and he’s also been called Wesley—at least by his mum—and now we can add to that list (which is really much longer than space allows) affable video star. “Sing Your Own Song”, the lead single from his brand-new album The Sound of His Own Voice, features Harding chumming it up with comedian Eugene Mirman as they spoof Paul Simon’s classic “You Can Call Me Al” video (which featured comedian Chevy Chase, he being considerably taller than Mirman). All this arrived just in time for Simon’s 70th birthday on October 13 and can only be called pure coincidence.

by David Amidon

20 Oct 2011


I-Wayne is one of those classic reggae personalities that feels wise beyond his years no matter what his actual age is. To most, he’s simply the guy behind “Can’t Satisfy Her”, a song about prostitution and general sexual promiscuity among women who struggle to find meaning in life outside of their bed sheets. But, as is often the case with most one-hit wonders of the reggae world, Wayne is a much more talented, soulful person than most have found the time to understand. In promotion of his recently released third album, Life Teachings, VP Records offers up this video to shed some light on exactly what I-Wayne means to his home country of Jamaica.

For a deeper taste of I Wayne, follow the jump for links to “Can’t Satisfy Her” as well as selected cuts from Life Teachings and further background on the thinking behind his latest batch of recordings reminiscent of pioneers like Burning Spear.

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