I’m almost speechless. Just bashing out “FUCK TRUMP” here would be trite and I feel like social media avatar activism is part of what got us into this shit storm. Hopefully we’ve not become so desensitised to the cause of the moment that we rant and break stuff until the new Emoji update distracts us. It’ll get a lot worse before it gets better.
One tiny sliver of positivity in this fuck up is the inevitable anger-driven art that will emerge. With that absolute dickhead set to make D.C. his home, let’s focus on a D.C. legend who helped make masterpieces under Reagan’s reign — the trailer for the Finding Joseph I documentary about the erratic, brilliant, troubled Bad Brains frontman did the rounds a couple of years ago, but there’s a new excerpt out there now via Small Axe and it looks very promising indeed. Continue reading BANNED IN D.C.
Clockers is one of my favourite films of the 1990s. An expansion of Spike Lee’s cinematic vision, aided by Richard Price’s forensic precision, it preempted the grittier, uncompromising procedural depth of The Wire years later (and Price was writer on several episodes, as well as HBO’s American remake of The Night Of). It also managed the feat of nearly topping the Crooklyn Dodgers’ classic 1994 all-star posse cut with a whole new roster and producer for the movie’s soundtrack. I only recently discovered that Saul Bass was very annoyed by the film poster’s Anatomy of a Murder tribute (resulting in an alternate edition with a more generic chalk outline character), telling Entertainment Weekly that, ”The convention is when anyone steals something, they call it an homage.” One-sheets aside, the film itself always felt fresh to me. On that topic, this movie and the previous year’s Fresh were a million miles from the ghetto clichés that distributors were buying up at the time and suffered as a result — those who wanted formulaic hood morality tales were bored, while an audience didn’t bother attending or renting because they thought it was going to be more of the same. This footage, uploaded by Zeke62 Nostalgia, of Ralph McDaniels presenting a Video Music Box show from the Clockers premiere party in 1995 is solid gold.
God bless social media. Even a modest following contains some knowledge kings and Nick Woj (of Cold World/Nervous Juvenile) is no halfway culture kid. Nick cleared up an age-old mystery for me with the most logical answer I’ve heard for it. You’ve probably seen Dennis Hopper’s 1980 film Out of the Blue if you visit this blog a bit, because it’s a cult favourite round these parts (not least for Hopper’s mad performance, that matches Frank and Feck for wild-eyed mania) — this Canuck production one-third slow-burner, one-third teen punk classic and one-third memorable melodramatics. Continue reading PUBLIC ENEMY & STENCILS
I wrote a little piece for my friends at Complex on the 30th anniversary of Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It and its subsequent influence on sports footwear and the Air Jordan line. You can read it HERE or by clicking on the image above. A couple of bits that never made the final edit are below, because this place is a good place to dump unwanted paragraphs. Continue reading 30 YEARS OF SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT & MARS’ AIR JORDANS
We’ve covered this here before, but I buried it with a load of other strange topics. You can see JA and friends’ throwups and tags in a lot of NYC films, documentaries and TV shows from the late 1980s and early 1990s based on their sheer ubiquity, but it’s the other curious on-screen places they’ve ended up that are mind-boggling. If the quest was to find that visible, hard-to-reach spot, an alleyway in the Shrek the Third‘s computer animated Kingdom of Far, Far Away or the questionable future ghetto of Elysium‘s 2154 Los Angeles were pretty impressive seeing as they don’t actually exist. Continue reading XTC MEETS ROCKY
If you haven’t watched Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives yet, you’re slipping. It’s one of the great hip-hop documentaries, and one that seems to have satisfied even the most ardent backpack rap fundamentalists in its running time. I bet there’s still a ton of stuff that never made the final cut though. Continue reading LIFE CHANGING
If you’re willing to make the effort (and it’s well worth it), I only just noticed that some of the French documentary, Larry Clark, Great American Rebel is online in pieces. This one-hour 2003 film features plenty of good insight into Clark’s work and it’s the source of the popular making of Kids video on YouTube. Continue reading AMERICAN REBEL