In order to simplify my life and give the company that pays me the full value of my work and energy, I will now be posting to my blog on the People’s Production House website. RSS feed coming soon.
Archive for content
So the Ken Burns documentary The War has been running this week. If you’re like me, flipping through PBS these past few evenings has felt a bit like passing over the Seinfeld reruns since that Michael Richards thing.
At about the time the concern over The War‘s homogeneity in interview subjects was bubbling into outrage, my dad published a piece on the Burns brothers for the New England Review. My father has been a documentary filmmaker for more than 40 years; he’s also a great writer. I think this piece might be the best critique out there of the patented Burns style of filmmaking, notwithstanding the personal testimony of Latino WWII veterans.
He wrote the article pre-The War, ostensibly as a review of Ric Burns’s Warhol, but the first half is a thoroughgoing critique of the entire Burns body of work and its impact on documentary filmmaking. He uses the “Ken Burns Effect” now featured in popular video editing software as an insightful point of entry. The second half is also a great read, taking the Warhol film apart in some detail.
I recommend taking some time out of your Friday afternoon to read the piece. You can find it online here: Eric Breitbart, “The Burns Effect: Documentary as Celebrity Advertisement.”
Allied Media Conference contributors Invincible and Climbing PoeTree will be part of the “Trinity of the Holy Coasts,” a remarkable multi-genre performance event in Oakland this weekend. You’ll see many other AMC organizers, contributors, and participants there, as well. It’s exactly the kind of collaborative efforts the AMC is all about. You do not want to miss it.
Here are the details…
Trinity Of The Holy Coasts
Brooklyn + Detroit + Oakland
A Night That Will Unite The Nation – One Night Only!!!
In a move that is sure to make mountains tremble in the world of hip hop and launch a new era of tri-coastal artist collaboration, the most daring up and coming artists in the country have come together for a single event. Artists from Brooklyn, Detroit, and Oakland will bring together East, West, and Midwest into a blazing hot showcase of pure talent.WHAT: “Trinity of the Holy Coasts” a night of multi genre performances that will rock our world.
WHEN: Saturday, March 17th,
WHERE: House of Stormz / 1439 105th Avenue / Oakland, California
COST OF ENTRY: $5-10 sliding scale
Alixa & Naima a.k.a. Climbing PoeTree (representing Brooklyn) Invincible (of Anomolies/bling47) and Ri Ri Garcia, (both repping Detroit) Tru Bloo (of NaR), PLUS DJ Emancipacion (soul sistah’s kitchen/the W) and DJ Black Ndalight (soul sistah’s kitchen, Dream EZ) (all holding down Oakland) Hosted by Oakland’s Micia Mosely, comedienne extraordinaire.
Alixa and Naima – A tattoo artist from Colombia and a gymnast from the back roads of Massachusetts, their powers combined they are the Heart Beat Soul Sister Artist Warrior duo “Climbing PoeTree.” Alixa and Naima have blazed stages from Oakland to Atlanta, South Africa to Cuba. They have led workshops in institutions from Cornell University to Rikers Island. And they have painted murals on walls from the Bronx, to Santiago, to Jamaica. Climbing PoeTree uses their art to expose injustice, heal from violence, and generate vision to help us all.
Ri Ri Garcia – Redefining the word “remix”, Mariaelena “RiRi” Garcia is a renaissance woman: indeed. A vocalist, lyricist, drummer, producer and DJ, Ms. Garcia’s multi-talents have taken her to many stages. She has played for thousands at such places as the legendary Nectarine Ballroom (now called The Necto) in Ann Arbor, Michigan and most recently at the 2006 San Francisco Pride Celebration. Truly mastering the technique of “Reading the Crowd”, earning the moniker, “Rimarkable”, her style can range from everything to Dusty Grooves, New Wave, Deep House, even Polka, and to the dirtiest Hip-Hop. “If it’s got a beat, I WILL make you dance,” she says.
Invincible – Detroit based emcee Invincible scripts lyrics to communicate both personal experience and a desire to affect social change. Through her clear delivery, witty wordplay, and conceptual songwriting she reminds listeners, you dont have to choose between style and substance. Though several labels tried to sign her, Invincible forewent the easy way to a record deal, taking the independent route, and in the hoopla XXL dubbed her “Every A&Rs Worst Nightmare” in a 2002 feature. 1/5th of the all female hiphop collective- Anomolies crew, she has appeared on the critically acclaimed Platinum Pied Pipers “Triple P” album, and most recently returned from a European tour with Bahamadia and Stacy Epps. Splitting her time between community work, youth organizing, and constant touring, Invincible is recording her debut solo EP coming out in 07, and full length album through Bling47.
Tru Bloo – As a young Arab-American, poetry and songwriting became a significant outlet for Tru Bloo. She began performing at open mics at age 15, addressing various issues of societal discrimination. As the years passed, she became painfully conscious of both the beauty and hardship of being a queer and gender-variant Arab-American. In 2002, Tru Bloo started doing hip hop shows in the Bay Area, New Orleans, and Chicago. In late 2004, she met Bennu, her partner in lyricism, and they formed NaR. This creation was to be the first-ever queer Arab hip hop duo. (NaR says, “We give props to the queer palestinian-hawaiian artist Juha, who came before us.”) Their lyrical acrobatics come with honesty, rage, and healing. Tru Bloo is also an attorney who represents the local poor and homeless population in San Francisco, in order to obtain disability benefits.
If you know, then you know. But if you don’t know, Southeast Michigan is witnessing an explosion of thoughtful, radical, wonderful blogging.
They are personal without being insular, political without being didactic, and readable without being chatty. Each is everything a blog should be and their numbers are growing.
This post is my meager attempt to thank them for sharing and preserving their brilliant thoughts and inspiring experiences.
For starters, Jenny just launched Greater Detroit and Rachel recently started For Lack of Better Words. Their initial posts about staying and leaving are really poignant. (Very much set my mood for a post last week.)
In addition, wsoft.heart has exploded out of the gate, posting every couple of days since starting a couple of months ago, offering great analysis of prop 2 and updates on the work of the DAY Project.
Kate doesn’t blog about the local very much, but she can (and does) go toe-to-toe on Irish politics with anyone.
With all this, Brownfemipower still takes the cake.
Many of these folks read early then-Michigan blogger Rob Goodspeed. And you shouldn’t underestimate the impact of the Michigan IMC experience on at least some (myself included) of these bloggers (just, as Chris Anderson argues – thank you, Chris – you shouldn’t underestimate the impact of Indymedia in general on blogging in general).
But I think you can trace the SEMI blog explosion directly to BFP and the community she has helped build up with the Women of Color blog ring. Without her analysis and advocacy, many of these folks would probably have remained convinced that blogging was a medium exclusively for white men with inflated egos (like yours truly). Thanks to her work and it’s constantly expanding ripples, that presumption seems to get less true every day.
The incredible and beautiful part of reading all of these blogs is how they are all so personal without a hint of the self-obsession that pervades the blogosphere. Everything is seen in context and the context is Detroit.
They are also in conversation with each other, linking and commenting, in such a way that a real sense of the city emerges. I hear there are plans for a PhillyFuture-style project, aggregating blogs from the region, hosted by Critical Moment.
I can’t wait.
There will be a town hall forum on “the Future of Diversity in the Nation’s Media” tonight, October 19, at 6:00 pm at Hunter College’s Kaye Playhouse, located at East 68th Street between Park and Lexington Avenue.
In attendance will be the two Democratic members of the FCC, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein. M1 from Dead Prez is also scheduled to attend, thanks to the work of R.E.A.C.Hip-Hop, which is asking people to represent for hip hop at the forum by wearing red. And Betty Ellen Berlamino, vice president/general manager of WPIX-TV, New York, will be there.
(Does anyone else remember the Space Invaders-inspired contest WPIX used to host way back in the day where a lucky caller – usually a kid after school – made the spaceship fire by saying “pix” into the phone? Anyone who can tell me what the stakes of that contest were gets a one-year subscription to Clamor Magazine.)
I don’t know if there will actually be a chance for everyone to speak at the forum, but if you are looking for inspiration, you can browse the statements from the now-legendary 2004 FCC hearing in San Antonio.
Keep in mind that tonight’s event is a public forum, but it is not an official FCC hearing. That means, if you want your comment to count, you need to submit it to the FCC, regardless of whether you say it at the forum. StopBigMedia.com has helpful online tools for that and other actions.
The ownership debate comes in many forms. The focus of tonight’s discussion is the “ownership proceedings” in which the FCC will consider easing restrictions on cross-ownership of newspapers and raising the limits on how many broadcast outlets one entity can own in a single market.
More pressing, at least in terms of deadlines, is the proposed merger between AT&T and BellSouth, which the FCC is currently reviewing. The $78 billion deal would yield a communications behemoth that would control nearly half of all US telephones with 70 million phone customers. It would also own Cingular, the largest cell phone provider in the country, including the spectrum controlled by the wireless carrier. The new company would also be a close second to Comcast in the broadband market, with 9.1 million customers.
AT&T is trying to convince the FCC to approve the deal by promising things like $10 introductory rates for DSL service and free modems, which sound more like good marketing ploys than public interest concessions. Copps and Adelstein are pushing for more substantive conditions.
For a gripping and detailed explanation of the status of that merger, I refer you to Harold Feld, Senior Vice President of the Media Access Project and his Tales of the Sausage Factory. He includes instructions for how to comment on that deal.