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The roots of OWS: Black power documentary captures the birth of a movement
12.19.2011
02:56 am

Topics:
Activism
Class War
History
Movies
Race

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The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 directed by Göran Hugo Olsson is a timely documentary on the birth of the Black Power Movement that combines recently discovered film footage and interviews from the the 1960s and early 70s with commentary from contemporary Black activists and musicians.

Shot in stunning 16mm black and white and color by a Swedish film crew at the height of civil unrest over Vietnam and racial inequality in America, BPM features compelling interviews with Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver, Angela Davis, Huey Newton and other key activists of the period, interspersed with powerful scenes of ghetto life in Oakland and Harlem. Both poetic and potent, the film manages to stir the heart without resorting to hyperbole or cheap sentiment. The subject matter is powerful enough on its own. The images and words speak for themselves…and they speak eloquently.

The only sour moment in the film is when a reptilian Louis Farrakhan spews the Nation Of Islam company line, silver tongue wrapping itself around every vowel like a dung beetle rolling in it’s own excrement and eyes leering with the lascivious gleam of an encyclopedia salesman looking to slip his sweaty hands under the apron of an unsuspecting suburban housewife And Malcolm died for this fucker’s sins.

As scenes unfold on the screen, personal reflections on the era and its influence on their lives and thinking are shared by Talib Kweli, Erykah Badu, ?uestlove, John Forté and Robin Kelley, among others. These were formative decades for a new generation of Black American activists, artists and teachers and the inspiration of the The Black Panthers, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Bobby Kennedy endures.

I have my own memories of this pivotal period in American history. I recall one of my first acts of becoming politically engaged. I was 17 and living in Berkeley. It was 1968. I went to The Black Panther headquarters, an aging, two-story, clapboard house in Oakland, and asked them what I could do to help. After getting over their initial amusement of seeing a skinny, long-haired, white boy standing in their office, two Panthers engaged me in conversation, curious to know my motivations. I told them I’d just read Eldridge Cleaver’s “Soul On Ice” and had been inspired by it, enough to do whatever I could to make the world a more just place. They handed me a stack of The Black Panther Newsletter and sent me out the door. I became a paperboy for the revolution.

While I watched BPM, the parallels between the civil rights and anti-war actions of the 1960s with the current Occupy Wall Street movement were quite obvious. We are still fighting the good fight…and it never seems to end. We make small inroads toward justice and then are slapped back down. But there is forward movement. Historically, popular uprisings that become the target of government suppression may falter but they always find a way to re-invent, resurrect and re-engage. We are seeing it play out at this very moment as the OWS survives against all efforts by the government and its police force to extinguish it. The success of the uprisings of the Sixties remind us that people DO have the power. Listening to and watching the speeches of Stokely Carmichael and Martin Luther King (the night before he was assassinated) not only made me feel proud to have been in the crux of it all at the time, it emboldened me to continue the fight and also angered me in knowing that there is still a fight to be fought. 

The Black Power Mixtape is currently available for instant viewing on Netflix.

Unjustly imprisoned for being an accessory to the murder of a Judge, Angela Davis discusses violence and revolution in this jail cell interview from BPM. Not long after this interview, Davis was acquitted of all charges against her.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Holiday music from Hell: Billy Idol sings ‘White Christmas’
12.18.2011
08:59 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Punk

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As I put together my annual worst Christmas songs list, I thought I’d give you a preview of things to come.

Doc Marten meets Dean Martin in Billy Idol’s plodding version of ‘White Christmas,” which has all the appeal of a Christmas stocking full of steaming reindeer shit.

The musicians backing him sound like a German wedding band after an afternoon of knocking back steins of hefeweizen at the local beer garden. It don’t mean a thing if ain’t got that swing and these cats couldn’t swing if they were hanging from a lamppost in a hurricane.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Documentary filmed in The Haight Ashbury during the Summer Of Love
12.18.2011
05:57 pm

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Art
Drugs
Fashion
History
Literature
Music
Pop Culture
Sex

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Filmed during the Summer Of Love (1967) in the Haight-Ashbury, this groovy documentary features commentary from visionary poet Michael McClure, footage of The Grateful Dead hanging out at their Ashbury Street home, a visit to The Psychedelic Bookshop, The Straight Theater, scenes from McClure’s play The Beard and rare shots of the bard of The Haight, Richard Brautigan, walking through Panhandle Park in all of his glorious splendor.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Revolutionary, artist and man of conscience, Vaclav Havel R.I.P.

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Velvet Underground meets Velvet Revolutionary

Vaclav Havel died today at the age of 75. A former chain smoker with chronic respiratory problems, Havel had been in failing health the past few months and died at his weekend home in Hradecek in the northern Czech Republic,

Czech independence leader, artist and human rights activist, Havel was elected the first president of a free Czechoslovakia since 1948 on December 29, 1989.

A prominent force in the Velvet Revolution, a bloodless overthrow of the communist regime in in Czechoslovakia, which returned democracy to Czechs after fifty years of Nazi occupation and communist rule, Havel was the very definition of a man of conscience. Soft-spoken, humble, impish and possessing a healthy sense of the absurd, Havel was that rare leader who chose the power of inspiration over rhetoric and empty gesture. He was a revolutionary who recognized that artistic creativity was every bit as important as political dogma or ideologies. Without the humanizing force of literature, theater and music and an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things, civilization is a hollow machine destined for spiritual starvation.

Himself a playwright, Havel was perhaps the only world leader who was closer to rock and rollers like Lou Reed, Frank Zappa and Keith Richards than politicians and bureaucrats. It is reputed that The Velvet Revolution was named after The Velvet Underground, whose music was made popular in Czechoslovakia by Prague’s radical avant-rock band The Plastic People.

Havel was a peacenik who somehow managed to navigate the treacherous waters of political power without losing his sense of perspective or soul.

Havel’s revolutionary message—which helped oust the world’s second strongest power from his country, but which Americans and in that moment the American Congress have not always been ready to hear—is that peace does not come by defeating enemies, it comes by making people free, governments democratic, and societies just. “The idea of human rights and freedoms must be an integral part of any meaningful world order. Yet, I think it must be anchored in a different place, and in a different way, than has been the case so far. If it is to be more than just a slogan mocked by half the world, it cannot be expressed in the language of a departing era, and it must not be mere froth floating on the subsiding waters of faith in a purely scientific relationship to the world.”

Today’s world, as we all know, is faced with multiple threats,” he said in 1993 in Athens, on accepting one of the countless honors he received. “From whichever angle I look at this menace, I always come to the conclusion that salvation can only come through a profound awakening of man to his own personal responsibility, which is at the same time a global responsibility. Thus, the only way to save our world, as I see it, lies in a democracy that recalls its ancient Greek roots: democracy based on an integral human personality personally answering for the fate of the community.

Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness,” Havel told Congress, referring to a movement toward democracy, “nothing will change for the better in the sphere of our being as humans, and the catastrophe for which the world is headed—be it ecological, social, demographic, or a general breakdown of civilization—will be unavoidable. If we are no longer threatened by world war, or by the danger that the absurd mountains of nuclear weapons might blow up the world, this does not mean that we have definitely won. This is actually far from being a final victory.”

Havel speaks at the Forum for Creative Europe in March of 2009.
 

 
Part two, plus a clip about how rock and roll figured into the Velvet Revolution, after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Devo performing live on TV in 1978: Secret teachings of the SubGenius
12.17.2011
04:04 am

Topics:
Belief
Music
Pop Culture
Punk
Television

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These clips are hard to find on the Internet and who knows how long they’ll last out there before the dark corporate forces wipe them from view. The teachings of the SubGenius are under relentless assault!

Devo’s appearance on Saturday Night Live on October 14, 1978 was a visitation from a rock and roll galaxy far far away and yet so near. It was as if aliens from another planet had created a concept of Earthlings based on old television transmissions they’d hijacked of industrial training films, Triumph Of The Will, episodes of Hullabaloo and Saturday morning cartoons and then spewed it all back at us in a digitized replication missing a few ones and zeros. It was an attempt at communication, not unlike Klaatu’s failed efforts in 1951.
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Free GPS-based record store locator app for your cell phone
12.17.2011
02:01 am

Topics:
Music
Science/Tech

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I have a fear of flying. When I travel, I do it by car. One of the many joys of driving across the States is checking out local restaurants, junk shops and record stores. So having a GPS-based record store locator in my cell phone is an utterly cool app that I can get behind. The Vinyl District has created software for the iPhone and Android that will lead you to indie record stores throughout the United States and United Kingdom. And it’s free.

All you need to know about downloading the record store locator is at The Vinyl District’s website.

This is a great tool, not only for music freaks, but for the surviving record stores out there. Technology doin’ the right thing. Put some good karma in that irritating plastic rectangle in your pocket.
 
Thanks to Tim Broun

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Swords, Sandals and Sex’: International grooves vs. pagan dance clips
12.16.2011
06:01 pm

Topics:
Dance
Hip-hop
Movies
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

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Swords, Sandals And Sex mixes international grooves, punk and psyche with ultra-groovy dance sequences from vintage sword and sandal (pepblum) flicks.

01. “That’s Where It’s At” - Van Morrison and The Holmes Brothers
02. “Mabala” - Fathili and The Yahoos
03. “Saman Doye” - The Black Brothers
04. “Negre Africa Dub” - Sly and Robbie
05. “Daughter Whole Lotta Suger Down Deh” - Jah Berry
06. “She Moved Through The Fair” - Jam Nation
07. “Teen Tonic” - Pierre Henry and Michel Colombier
08. “World Destruction” - Afrika Babaata and John Lydon
09. “Fever” - Jingo
10. “El Pescador” - Toto La Momposina and Sus Tambores
11. “Swinger” - The Third Rail
12. “Venetian Glass” - Infinity
13. “Jocko Homo” - Devo
14. “Human Fly” - The Cramps
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Songodsuns (DJ Nobody & 2Mex): ‘Do That Trick’ (w/ naked nuns)
12.16.2011
04:17 pm

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Elvin Estella, aka DJ Nobody of LA’s famed Low End Theory DJ collective (and former Dangerous Minds blogger), put out my favorite album of the summer of 2010, the Kanye-esque One for All Without Hesitation on which he played nearly all the instruments (there is nothing better to listen to cruising around LA with the top down on a sunny day than that album). He’s hardly been idle since then, running a weekly club, touring the world with Low End Theory, making beats with fellow LET collaborator Nocando as the “Bomb Zombies,” forming a psychedelic rock group, Blank Blue (that album comes out in 2012) and his current project, Songodsuns with rapper 2Mex.

From the LA Times:

But in 1998, the first record he ever released was with 2Mex, the erstwhile member of the Visionaries who has spent the last decade and a half entrenched as one of Los Angeles’ most celebrated cult rappers. Currently signed to Sage Francis’ Strange Famous Records, 2Mex puts Lil Wayne’s prolificacy to shame, dropping 35 records in the last dozen years alone. Along the way, he’s cut a reputation as the right kind of underground rapper: uncompromised, raw and fiercely original.

Though they’ve frequently collaborated, Nobody and 2Mex had never cut a full-length record until now. Slated for release on Nobody’s own Nobody’s Home imprint (distributed by Alpha Pup), “Fallin’ Angels” finds the duo getting weird and turning pro.

First single, “Do That Trick,” finds them channeling the Cure, “getting high in the park in Highland Park,” creating anti-“American Idol” art, meeting South Central sailorettes, and inventing new ways to pay the rent. Nobody creates a scuzzy minimalist banger that allows 2Mex an ideal canvas to “crank call Russell Simmons from Brussels.”

In an email to me this morning Elvin/Nobody writes:

Here is a new video that I did with my latest project, a rap group with my friend Alex (2mex) called Songodsuns.  It’s got some themes I think your readers would like i.e. weed and naked nuns

He’s probably right about that. NSFW unless naked nuns and two guys smoking massive amounts of herb are cool in your office:
 

 
Bonus: DJ Nobody presents his 2011 Winter Mix:
 

(DJ) Nobody presents his 2011 Winter Mix with SCV by Sound Colour Vibration on Mixcloud

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Jesus heals a gay man

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“I’m Rick Perry and I approve this message.”
 

 
Via I Heart Chaos

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Advertisement from 1982 eerily foreshadows 9/11
12.16.2011
02:48 pm

Topics:
History

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A rather drab ad for TDK videotape is haunted by history unforetold, giving it dark power from the future.

As a former New Yorker who loves the city, the twin towers still loom in my mind, casting shadows forever.
 
Via Copyranter

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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