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Profane: The transgressive cinema of Usama Alshaibi

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The director in a scene from Nice Bombs…
 
Chicago-based Iraqi director Usama Alshaibi seems to be one of the most prolific Arab filmmakers in the American independent film scene—and he’s almost certainly the most experimental. Working often in close collaboration with his wife Kristie, Alshaibi has jump-started the canon of what we might term transgressive Arab-American film.

In his over 50 short films, Alshaibi has updated the techniques of transgressors like William Burroughs and Kenneth Anger to transmit his obsessions with culture-clash, technology, religion, violence, sexuality and identity. He’s finished four features, two of which deal with porn and STDs, one with cross-cultural relationships and another with the personal reality of post-Saddam Iraq. He has three in production or post-production now, two of which—American Arab and Baghdad, Iowa—portray growing up Arab in the heartland in the in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and today, and the third, Profane, about a Muslim dominatrix in spiritual crisis.

As the news media shamelessly reduces the complex relationship between America and its Arab and Muslim communities into a dopey controversy over where to build a friggin’ cultural center or mosque, we need the perspective and imagination of Alshaibi’s work now more than ever.

Like most hard-working indie filmmakers, Alshaibi can always use financial help making his vision manifest. Click to donate to help him finish Profane or American Arab.
 

 
After the jump, check out a clip from American Arab…
 

READ ON
Posted by Ron Nachmann
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09.05.2010
12:03 pm
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The folks behind the ‘International Burn a Koran Day’ expose racism!
08.31.2010
05:06 pm
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“Are you angry that I would make a video such as this to expose racism for what it is?” so asks a man who has just exposed himself to himself. This must be the dumbest thing I’ve seen… all afternoon.

Mind-numbing, cognition destroying, soul-sapping video from Pastor Terry Jones & his Dove World Outreach Center congregation. Depressing to watch. I can’t even get a hard on to mock them, as much as they deserve it.

Jones and his “church” are the folks making plans for “International Burn a Koran Day” on September 11, so more of the same should come as no surprise.

Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.31.2010
05:06 pm
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American Idiots: New Left Media on the real story of the ‘Restoring Honor’ rally

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I will admit to being somewhat crestfallen at the lack of loony-toons wingnuts on parade in all the reporting on the Glenn Beck event over the weekend. Somewhat crestfallen? Who am I kidding? I waited all week long to see a bunch of crazy, ignorant white people with low IQs spouting off on television about things they know nothing of and regurgitating, parrot-style, the predictable tropes and catchphrases that they’d been fed by Fox News, World Net Daily and Rush Limbaugh.

But there was so little of it. What a letdown! The reporting—and what transpired onstage with Beck, Palin, et al—was too bland to even hold my attention. I wanted to see foaming at the mouth nutcases, zany racist signs, people dressed as giant tea bags, in Confederate flag jumpsuits, etc, etc. Perhaps because signs were discouraged, the visuals were lacking, but it sure took all the fun out of the cable new coverage of the event.

But now Chase Whiteside and New Left Media have posted their take on the “Restoring Honor” event and well, it looks to me as if the job the major news channels did has been bested by the “indie” coverage of some students from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. It’s not like you couldn’t throw a rock the distance of, oh, about 12 inches without hitting an idiot, so how did the mainstream media miss these kooks and ignoramuses?

The story that’s not being examined—but should be—is is how fucking DUMB about a quarter of this country is. It’s not Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin or Ted Nugent or any of the rest of them, who are the story, they’re merely symptoms of the greater problem: 20-25% of the American population are abject idiots. That’s the story I want to see the media tackle.
 

 
Via The Daily What

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.31.2010
01:47 pm
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Beautiful Failure on Film: Fanny Kaplan’s Unsuccessful Assassination Attempt on Lenin

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“Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.” That common platitude seems entirely apropos today, on the 92nd anniversary of the attempted assassination of Communist Russian leader Vladimir Lenin by young Fanya Yefimovna “Fanni” Kaplan.

The Ukranian-born Kaplan was born in 1890 to a Jewish family and joined the Socialist Revolutionaries (or Esers) early on in life. At 16, she was busted for her involvement in a terrorist bomb plot and sent to one of Tsar Nicolas II’s Siberian prison for 11 years. Kaplan’s brutal tenure there was cut short after the February Revolution led by Lenin.

But her disillusionment with the leader came hard and fast, as Lenin’s Bolsheviks sought and succeeded to dissolve the elected Constituent Assembly, a key instrument of democracy during the revolution. Lenin’s move in 1917 to put all power in the hands of the workers councils—or Soviets—convinced Kaplan to take matters into her own hands.

As portrayed in the clip below from Mikhail Romm’s 1939 propaganda film Lenin in 1918, Kaplan got three or so shots off after the leader spoke at a Moscow factory. Lenin, who was 48 years old at the time, was hit in the shoulder and jaw—he survived, but the injuries were thought to contribute to his death by stroke 6 years later.

Fanny was shot dead five days after the attempt at age 28, and within a few hours the Red Terror—a four-year program of mass arrest and execution of counterrevolutionary enemies of the state—had begun.
 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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08.30.2010
07:24 pm
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Let Freedumb ring!
08.28.2010
03:50 pm
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A man photographed at Glenn Beckstock. Via Little Green Footballs
 
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And here’s another “patriot,” this one via Gawker.

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.28.2010
03:50 pm
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Everything Is Terrible! and Cinefamily present the Everything Is Festival!
08.27.2010
02:42 pm
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For readers lucky enough to live in Los Angeles, this weekend there promises to be a pretty fabulous terrible event in the form of the Everything Is Festival! sponsored by the very wonderful people at the Cinefamily organization and the Everything is Terrible! video terrorists. Dangerous Minds will be attending so please say “Hi” and offer us free drugs:

Imagine a weekend where all your fantasies come true.  A weekend where you can just be…free.  Laugh until your sides literally split open, and feel as cool as a skateboarding, shade-tippin’ dog.  We’re talking about the festival to end all film festivals—Everything Is Festival! (aka the 10th Annual Gathering Of The Terribles)!  For reasons beyond our control (God’s plan), we at Cinefamily are giving the found footage freaks at Everything Is Terrible! free range of the weekend, and letting them do whatever the hell they want (note: we did have to say “no” to the all-night helicopter foam party).  This makes it the official L.A. premiere of their latest mash-up feature-length film, 2Everything 2Terrible 2: Tokyo Drift, not to mention some of EIT!’s favorite movies in their uncut glory, plus dance parties, BBQs, a return of the Cinefamily Found Footage Battle Royal, and top-secret über-rare prints from the vaults of Cinefamily and Austin, TX’s famous Alamo Drafthouse! For more info on becoming a contestant in the Found Footage Battle Royale, click here!

Sounds pretty good terrible, doesn’t it?

More from Everything is Terrible! This clip is especially terrible.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.27.2010
02:42 pm
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As seen on Craigslist: ‘Jersey Shore’ lookalikes wanted (who are Republican)
08.26.2010
11:01 am
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From an ad on Craigslist. I appreciate that these Republicans are at least self-aware enough to add that this is for Jersey Shore lookalikes who “wouldn’t mind coming to a Republican party.” No pay, but free booze. Something tells me that most people who fancy themselves a ringer for the Situation or Snookie, free booze is probably pay enough…

We are looking for people who look like cast members of the jersey shore and whom wouldn’t mind coming to a republican party. We want basically anyone who even remotely resembles a cast member of the Jersey Shore, or who would not mind dressing up like a cast member of the show to come to our party. We want everyone to fill at least one role. Snookie, Situation etc. Send a pic with your response and your phone number. If you decide to attend we will cover your drinks and etc for the party. It’s not a big party, just a little get together very casual. It’s for a college club. Send an email if you are willing to show up to our party posing as one of these people (Anyones welcome, even if it’s a long shot to the way you look). Just send your number so we can call and talk about arrangements. Anyone looking to have some fun should apply!

On the other hand, Democrats who look like the IQ-challenged Guido and Guidette cast-members, might want to consider showing up in Jersey Shore drag, drinking all their Republican booze and puking all over the place. It would be more in character, anyways, don’t cha think?
 
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Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.26.2010
11:01 am
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William Tapley: It’s Prophesied
08.24.2010
05:19 pm
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That brilliant Bob Odenkirk character reminded me of this twisted old coot who is unfortunately not joking. I do however love how the casio changes settings with each edit and it’s quite a jaunty little tune for such a grimly absurd message. See Richard’s post from last year for more info about this deeply silly man.
 

Posted by Brad Laner
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08.24.2010
05:19 pm
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Meet ‘C.S. Lewis Jr.’: Bob Odenkirk goes inside the mind of an average Fox News viewer
08.24.2010
04:18 pm
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I didn’t say he goes “deep” inside their minds, did I? This is brilliant! He totally nails it.

“C.S. Lewis Jr.” reminds me a lot of THIS GUY, don’t cha think?
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.24.2010
04:18 pm
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Majela: See if you can guess where she wants you to tickle her
08.23.2010
04:55 pm
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Go on, have a guess!

Thank you (I think) Jose R. Mejia!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.23.2010
04:55 pm
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