Monday, March 23, 2015

The Real Crime of Municipal Violations

John Oliver's main segment last night on how local towns and cities--even beyond Ferguson--use ticketing to pay for government, and how so many people wind up with massive bills or even end up in jail.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Best of Townes

I've wanted to do this for awhile, so why not now?  Some of us--a few of us--consider the late great Townes Van Zandt one of the great American songwriters ever (and great American fuck-up).  You may have heard of him, or not.  You may have heard one or more of his songs, or not (or more likely heard them, even in True Detective, and not known it was by him).  So here's what I consider his greatest, in no order, both his versions or great covers of his songs by others.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Greatest Song Inspired by Civil Rights Struggle and Dylan--and "Ol' Man River"?

Update:  Great new article at The New Yorker covers what I wrote last year (below) and much more. 

As I've posted before, I consider Sam Cooke's "Change Is Gonna Come" the greatest song of our era.   It's still little known that Sam's response to Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" becoming the new anthem of the civil rights movement--as it was enshrined at the March on Washington in 1963, via Peter, Paul and Mary--was to 1) record that song himself  2) determine that a black writer should pen such an anthem.  So he wrote "Change Is Gonna Come," inspired you might say by Dylan and Martin Luther King Jr.   Here's Sam and below that the Peter, Paul and Mary performance at the march.  -- G.M.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Durst 'Confession'--The Extended Cut

From Funny or Die...

Recalling "Bloody Sunday"

Something happened to remind me that one of my favorite movies since 2000 is Paul Greengrass's early film Bloody Sunday.  James Nesbit got an Oscar nomination and yes, the U2 song closes the film.  I followed the official inquiry and legal cases--which the film sparked--ad read the excellent book by (and chatted with) witness Don Mullen, and more.  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Life is a Beach

First trailer for the Brian Wilson bio-pic coming in June--w/ Paul Dano as young Bri and John Cusack as older version...

March Sadness

Post up: John Oliver last night with main segment vs. NCAA financials--and unveils his own video game that captures where the riches go and don't go.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Lego Version of "Dr. Strangelove"

A truly amazing version of Stanley Kubrick's greatest movie (released 51 years ago this year)--via Legos.   Part II features the good doctor and the "mineshaft gap" scene. Yes, that's the actual dialogue (and voices of actors) from the film. (Also, see wild, original trailer for the film, which was axed by the studio.)-- G.M.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Did You Ever Go Clear?

Trailer for Alex Gibney's Scientology doc opening this week (and coming to HBO).

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Leonard Rings Belz

Great find by Dangerous Minds:  Leonard Cohen on Richard Belzer's short-lived talk show back in 1985 at the lowest point of his popularity.  The album they talk about at the beginning, rejected by Columbia, included..."Hallelujah."  Whoops.  Famous line by Columbia exec to Leonard: "We know you're great but we don't know if you are any good."  (h/t Stu Levitan)


Monday, March 9, 2015

Oliver's Army

Last night John tackled elections ads in Israel, asked how Daylight Savings Time could still be a thing, and in major segment hit lack of voting rights of U.S. territories such as Guam...

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Mixing up the Medicine

Fifty year ago today the song that would change (nearly) everything was released--Dylan's first electric single, "Subterranean Homesick Blues."  Not a giant hit but every single rocker and folkie was listening (including Bob).  Also, you might say, the first "rap" single.  Also sparked what some call the first true "music video" precursor, the opening of D.A. Pennebaker's "Don't Look Back" doc.   Bob was turning rather "apolitical" then but the song lyric even lent the name for the radical group The Weathermen.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Bill Keller, Bully

March 7, 2014:  Lisa Adams has finally lost her gallant struggle with cancer.  See below for my reporting one year ago when Bill Keller and wife went after her. 

Thursday UPDATE:  Lengthy explanation by a top editor at  The Guardian on why he took down the Emma Keller piece, and her response.  Must-reading. 

Wednesday UPDATE:  The NYT carries several letters, including one from Lisa Adams' brother, roasting Keller.  On Twitter she says she is pleased.

Tuesday UPDATE:   Not much new overnight.  Just a lot more coverage from news outlets and bloggers.  Guardian "investigation" continues.   Wash Post here.   Wired here.   Digby here.

And don't miss Meghan O'Rourke at The New Yorker, probing why some of the Kellers' points were very good but their overall tone very bad.  "While many of the questions addressed in each column could have led to a worthwhile discussion, their approaches were ad hominem and, at best, insensitive to the lived realities of Adams’s life. She may be allowing us to overhear her decisions, but she is not asking us to callously debate them as if she were not still here."

UPDATE #4:  The NYT posts a news story tonight on The Guardian deleting Emma Keller's column--and gets new comments from her husband on his own horrid Times piece.  B. Keller continues to defend his piece, blaming criticism on "political correctness" and citing "perverse" complaints about his wife's opus.   The Times reporter, in citing complaint about killing Guardian column, seems unaware that likely reason was not stifling opinion but E. Keller's unethical use of quotes from patient Adams. 

UPDATE #3: As I suggested below (and fully expected a positive response) the NYT's fine public ed. has now weighed in, breaking her usual policy of not commenting on the views expressed in opinion columns by critiquing Keller.  She also asked for and got Keller's response to the wide criticism of what he wrote (as in his replies to criticism of his war hawk views he is largely dismissive) and the fact that his wife had taken up the subject just a bit earlierKeller claims critics "misread" or "missed the point" of the column when the reality is we have recognized what he's getting at all too easily.  Right down to the therapy dogs.

And as Sullivan writes:  "Mr. Keller’s views here fall within what journalists would call 'fair comment' only to the extent that they are based on facts."  His column suggests Keller "didn’t make a full effort to understand the point of view of the person he’s writing about."

UPDATE #2:  Intrigue? Now The Guardian says the E. Keller piece was pulled "pending investigation." Wonder if the Kellers protested...

UPDATE:  The Guardian just deleted the offensive Emma Keller piece that kicked this off, saying it is (now judged) "inconsistent" with their "editorial code."  It's cached here.  Your move, Bill--and NYT public ed. Margaret Sullivan.

Earlier:  Bill Keller, the now-laughable NYT columnist who, as executive editor defended Judy Miller and mocked critics of the Times' Iraq WMD coverage (and, learning nothing, recentlh called for bombing Syria and aiding the al-Qaeda rebels), now hits a cancer victim when she's down--after Bill's wife Emma Keller did the same over at The Guardian).  Basic message, between the lines:  Just die, woman, though with dignity.  Papa Bill knows best.  Much more from me on this at The Nation.

For now:  follow @Xeni (that would be Jardin), quoted by B. Keller out-of-context, she sahs.  The woman in question, Lisa Adams @adamslisa points out errors of fact and other issues.  And Ruben Bolling tweets:  "Bill Keller is against women fighting cancer, unless anonymous Bush administration sources say Cancer has WMDs -- then: TO WAR!"  Sidelight: New York magazine profile of Bill Keller mentions Emma.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

To Kingdom Come

On anniversary of tragic death (by hanging) of The Band's great Richard Manuel, Mojo carried this tribute last year, and now it's come along along.   We all know that Music from Big Pink changed the course of rock, and the life of many musicians, such as Eric Clapton, and here's Eric:  "For me he [Richard] was the true light of The Band. The other guys were fantastic talents, of course, but there was something of the holy madman about Richard. He was raw. When he sang in that high falsetto the hair on my neck would stand on end.”  I've posted this before, but here's a true highlight below, famously shot in Sammy Davis Jr.'s pool house in L.A.  Plus his immortal "Whispering Pines."  And Lucinda's recent version of it.  And "Tears of Rage" at Woodstock--yes, Richard co-wrote one of the greatest songs of the century.  I always liked Levon's explanation for why he thought The Band could go out on their own in 1967: "Well, we had the best singer."

Monday, March 2, 2015

Infrastructure Not Boring

Great John Oliver full segment last night...  Plus: celebrating Net Neutrality win (which John had helped promote).

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gaza Tourism

Powerful new two-minute film, allegedly by Banksy, exposing conditions in Gaza today (as tongue-in-cheek tourist destination).   Yes, there's a little Banksy on a wall or two, also.

Foxed Up

Jon Stewart, after getting hit by Fox, can't resist a highlight reel--but with a very serious edge.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Crane Gonna Leak

Fifty years ago today one of Bob Dylan's most famous interviews--on Les Crane TV show.  Unfortunately the video disappeared long ago.   I like when Bob offers mock surprise that Allen Ginsberg earlier on show spoke of virtues of pot.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Underrated Lesley Gore

Reports that the singer has died at 68 from cancer.  Carried through "You Don't Own Me" to being openly gay and outspoken years later, even hosted PBS "In the Life" series in 2004.  Quincy Jones was early producer.   "Maybe I Know" was Barry-Greenwich perfection.  Won Oscar nomination for song in "Fame." Even played "Pussycat" on the original "Batman" TV series (see below).