United States musician Tom Morello interviewed

This video from the USA says about itself:

22 June 2016

Legendary guitarist and activist Tom Morello is interviewed by Cenk Uygur on The Young Turks. Tom discusses the new supergroup, Prophets of Rage, that includes Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk, as well as Public Enemy‘s Chuck D and Cypress Hill‘s B Real.

Erdogan’s Turkey, anti-Radiohead fans police brutality

This music video is by British band Radiohead – the song I Will, with subtitles in Spanish.

The lyrics are here. The song is a protest against the United States air force killing children in Iraq.

I will is from the 2003 Radiohead album Hail to the Thief, about ‘”the general sense of ignorance and intolerance and panic and stupidity” following the 2000 election of US President George W. Bush.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Turkish police attacks protest against Radiohead attack

Today, 04:50

In Istanbul last night a protest against the attack on visitors to a music party was ended harshly. Several hundred people had taken to the streets to express their anger at the violence of Friday night, but the police was not amused and drove the demonstrators away with tear gas and water cannons.

On Friday a group of men invaded a music store where at that time were gathered fans of the band Radiohead. The attackers are said to have been angry that the music lovers drank alcohol. They had sticks with them and smashed beer bottles to pieces on visitors’ heads. At least one man was injured.

The protesters turned their anger last night against the AK Party of President Erdogan, whom they accused of treason. The police were present en masse and arrested some demonstrators.

This video shows the extreme right thugs’ violence at the music store.

Turkish music fan injured by thugs

This photo shows a Radiohead fan, injured by these thugs.

British rock band Radiohead condemned an attack on customers at an Istanbul record store attending their album release party: here.

Radiohead Respond to Istanbul Attack: here.

Love & Friendship, unpublished Jane Austen novella now film

This video says about itself:

Love & Friendship Official Trailer #1 (2016) – Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny Movie HD

Lady Susan Vernon takes up temporary residence at her in-laws’ estate and, while there, is determined to be a matchmaker for her daughter Frederica — and herself too, naturally.

By Joanne Laurier in the USA:

Love & Friendship: An early Jane Austen work adapted

8 June 2016

Written and directed by Whit Stillman; based on an unpublished novel by Jane Austen

Whit Stillman’s new film, Love & Friendship, is based on a novella by Jane Austen entitled Lady Susan, which the British author probably penned in the mid-1790s, when she was 19 or 20. Complicating matters, however, Stillman has actually borrowed the name of his film from another piece Austen wrote when she was merely 14. Neither work was published during Austen’s lifetime.

In England in 1790, the widowed Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale) is more or less fleeing the estate of the married Lord Manwaring (Lochlann O’Mearain), leaving that household and its relationships in some disarray.

Penniless and without prospects, Lady Susan takes up residence (“We don’t live, we visit”) at the home of her brother-in-law, Charles Vernon (Justin Edwards), and his wife, Catherine (Emma Greenwell). Catherine is not looking forward to her captivating but troublesome guest—“the most accomplished flirt in England.” Susan’s lady-in-waiting and unpacker of her clothes is unpaid, as the former feels “the paying of wages would be offensive to us both.”

Men are nothing but prey to Susan and she sets her sights on the naïve younger brother of Catherine, Reginald DeCourcy (Xavier Samuel), heir to a considerable fortune. While Reginald is in the process of falling victim to Susan’s duplicitous charms, Catherine and her parents (James Fleet and Jemma Redgrave) plot to break up the budding love affair.

Meanwhile, back in the land of feminine wiliness (and, of course, such wiliness was forced on women by their social vulnerability), Susan’s co-conspirator is the American Mrs. Alicia Johnson (Chloë Sevigny), who is, if anything, a bigger schemer than her friend.

If Alicia continues her friendship with Susan, however, her husband (Stephen Fry) threatens “the severest punishment—sending me back to Connecticut.” Susan worries Alicia might get “scalped” in that “nation of ingrates”—this is in the wake of the American Revolution—and observes in regard to the Americans, “Only having children makes you understand such behavior.” Susan also opines that “facts are horrid things” and laments that Alicia’s husband is “too old to be governable and too young to die.”

As Susan is tightening the net around Reginald, her daughter Frederica (Morfydd Clark) shows up at the estate, having left a school where, according to her mother, “the fees are too high to even think of paying.” Frederica is horrified by her mother’s proposal that she should be married off to Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett), a wealthy but hopelessly silly man: “Cowper the poet? He also writes verse? Most impressive!” (William Cowper 1731–1800, an English poet much admired by Austen). James has, according to Susan, “the one thing of value—his income.”

“But marriage is for one’s whole life!” Frederica protests. “Not in my experience,” replies her mother, who in the end, creates the dynamic that she desires and deserves! (Lady Susan, in Austen’s novella: “My understanding is at length restored, and teaches no less to abhor the artifices which had subdued me than to despise myself for the weakness on which their strength was founded.”)

Whitman’s [sic; Stillman’s] version of Austen’s Lady Susan is conscientious. He spent some years transforming an epistolary novel into a screenplay, and the results indicate the pains taken.

Stillman (born 1952), the son of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administrative aide, is best known for three brittle, articulate films he did in the 1990s, Metropolitan (1990), Barcelona (1994) and The Last Days of Disco (1998), which were fairly realistic depictions of life within a layer of the upper middle class, or, as the director termed it, the “urban haute bourgeoisie.”

In regard to The Last Days of Disco, which also featured Beckinsale and Sevigny, the WSWS commented: “Stillman’s films are intelligently written. His direction is discreet and well-paced. He has a feel for the dynamics and conviviality of people in social settings. Indeed his group scenes are invariably greater than the sum of the one-on-one encounters that go on. …

However, “Stillman makes fun of his characters’ brainlessness … and then asks us to take their emotional traumas seriously. He wants credit both for exposing their amusing prattle (which also serves the purpose of demonstrating that he is smarter than they are) and for demonstrating sensitivity about their dilemmas. … Alternately sneering at, speaking through and seeking sympathy for his characters Stillman is incapable of providing a satisfying perspective on them. One doesn’t know which attitude to trust.”

In fact, Stillman wanted credit for making relatively sharp and incisive films about a certain milieu without ever having made up his mind about the overall society to which it belonged. Some of the same issues hold true for Love & Friendship .

A lot of obvious care went into the look of the film. The performances are all noteworthy. Beckinsale tackles her demanding role with finesse and intelligence. Sevigny is sufficiently conniving. The general artistic level of Love & Friendship is raised by the contributions of outstanding character actors who bring substance and verve to the project.

Our times cry out for savage satire. The endless wars justified on the basis of hypocrisy and lies, the ever more noxious politicians, the dreadfulness of the media and the celebrity culture, the gaping social inequalities––all this demands mockery, derision, ridicule, most especially in the US.

One only wishes this latest Austen project could be half of that, even in historical guise. But Whitman’s Love & Friendship is too polite, too blunted, too oblique. The fact that the writer-director can come up with a number of pointed, scathing lines makes it all the more unfortunate that he pulls his social punches.

Stillman wants to have his cake and eat it too. Why make this sort of social satire if one does not have present circumstances in mind? However, it is demanding too much of and is unfair to Jane Austen to make an unpublished novel of hers the medium for a serious critique of contemporary life. It doesn’t wash.

Furthermore, what would Austen have thought about the quality and maturity of the work, Lady Susan, on which the film is based? In her best-known novels, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma (all published between 1811 and 1816), she went considerably beyond her undeveloped adolescent writings. Those later novels presented considerably more of a broader and deeper picture, which helps explains their tremendous success. Whitman has chosen something earlier and narrower, although, unlike much of the fiction of the time, it does portray the female on equal footing with the male as predator.

Austen (1775-1817) lived through a period of vast upheaval (the American and French Revolutions, the Napoleonic Wars and the Industrial Revolution). She herself was known for her conservative, staid social outlook, but this does not mean she went unaffected by the tumultuous times. Of course, although it may never have occurred to her, the very fact that she, as a woman, was writing and publishing novels––and eventually making a name for herself by doing so––was itself a product of a transformative age. In fact, Austen belonged to that group of remarkable women writers who left such a mark on English literature, including Fanny Burney, Maria Edgeworth, Mary Shelley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë, and George Eliot.

Austen, above all, was a great realist, who penetrated the everyday appearance of life and the official motivations of her characters to reveal what lay beneath. It fell to Sir Walter Scott, probably the most popular author on earth at the time and very much the opposite of Austen in terms of style and subject matter, to pay her one of the most heartfelt and accurate tributes.

Scott noted in his private journal in 1826: “Also read again, and for the third time at least, Miss Austen’s very finely written novel of Pride and Prejudice. That young lady had a talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life, which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The Big Bow-wow strain [!] I can do myself like any now going; but the exquisite touch, which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting, from the truth of the description and the sentiment, is denied to me. What a pity such a gifted creature died so early!”

Mapuche rap music

This video from New York City in the USA says about itself:

7 June 2016

This week we recap an indigenous Hip Hop event in the South Bronx, featuring the words of Minuto Soler, a Mapuche rapper preserving his people’s language through Hip Hop culture.

Bernie Sanders song from the USA

This music video from Leon Rosen in the USA says about itself:

We Will Only Stop to Roar (A Bernie Song for Justice and Celebration!)

30 May 2016

The second track on my upcoming EP, this song is dedicated to Bernie Sanders.

Lyrics: Good night good luck good evening I know I’ll see a brighter day the rest will fall away

I’m a know it all and best of all good luck to you fair gentle ones recall we can’t save it all

I will know that I will not be found If I keep on hiding underground

And know its not like everybody thinks of us as more the writing’s on the floor and we will not be falling evermore

And know that we could fall apart before too long before too long before too long!

So why not try and fix the evening bring a brighter day for the evermore its so clear of course

to take from us the best in us to bring it out and join with all the world Its so clear of course

westward ho the wagons roll no more and can’t you see the writings on the floor

and we will never stop no we will never stop we will never stop no we will never stop we will only stop oh we will only stop to roar

and we will never stop no we will never stop we will never stop no we will never stop we will only stop oh we will only stop to roar.

The song has not been released for download yet. I will run a pledge music crowdfunding campaign later this summer to put the resources together to do a full release etc. For now, enjoy!

I made this video slideshow to the song of all the civil rights heroes, instead of a lyric video or single/cover art video. More to come, of course.

For more info on Leon Rosen and my band, hit me up!

ZACH CARTER: ‘THE BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN DIDN’T MATTER’  “Bernie Sanders did not create the movement that political pundits like to credit him with. He has, instead, spent a year serving, rather effectively, as the voice of people left behind by a broken economy. And until that economy is fixed, the movement will not go away, no matter who rises to lead it.” [Zach Carter, HuffPost]

Anohni’s new anti-war music album

This March 2016 music video is called ANOHNI – Drone Bomb Me.

By Zac Corrigan in the USA:

Anohni’s Hopelessness: A protest against war, drone bombings and more

“If I killed your mother with a drone bomb, how would you feel?”—Crisis

6 June 2016

Anohni is the British-born American transgender singer formerly known as Antony Hegarty. She released five albums between 2000 and 2012 under the name Antony and the Johnsons. Hopelessness is her first offering as Anohni.

Anohni’s unique and extraordinary singing voice strikes one immediately with its androgynous quality and heavy vibrato, and she is particularly adept at expressing sorrow. This has been the case throughout her career, but the songs on Hopelessness stand out for a further reason: many of them directly take up and condemn phenomena like drone bombings, executions without trial, torture, state spying and the persecution of whistleblowers. …

In a wonderful passage toward the end of the song “Crisis,” Anohni, adopting the persona of US imperialism, sings, “If I filled up your mass graves/and attacked your country on false premise / I’m sorry.” She repeats “I’m sorry” several times. At first, it strikes one as a satirical presentation of a war criminal’s crocodile tears, but as the line is repeated one can hear that the singer is actually choking back real tears. A transition takes place and what begins to find expression is genuine empathy for the victims of these crimes. It is a powerful moment.

The song that works the best overall is a darkly comedic one, entitled “Watch Me,” about state spying. Anohni sings, “Watch me in my hotel room / Watch my outline as I move from city to city / Watch me watching pornography / Watch me talking to my friends and family / I know you love me because you’re always watching me / Protecting me from evil / Protecting me from terrorism / Protecting me from child molesters.” Then, the chorus goes “Daddy, oooh!” One gets the sense of a Big Brother spying on everyone, as if for their own good.

Elsewhere Anohni seeks to evoke an emotional response with mixed results, even as she tackles significant subjects. On “Drone Bomb Me,” she sings as a girl living in the mountains in perhaps Afghanistan or Pakistan, begging a drone in the sky to put an end to her life. The lyrics describe the girl’s yearning for her “crystal guts” to be spilled on the ground.

“Drone Bomb Me” is a disturbing and sardonic song in many ways. It focuses on the single instant of a young girl’s yearning for death. But what is her life like? Why does she want to die? We are meant to feel sympathy for the girl, and disgust at whoever is responsible for her plight, but she remains something of an abstraction to us.

Anohni is no doubt making reference to the fact that children growing up in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen now fear death by drone strikes on a daily basis. …

At the same time, there is a degree of pessimism that pervades the work, clearly reflected in the album’s title, Hopelessness. She seems to take the position that people are perhaps willfully ignorant, or they just don’t care about all of these terrible things. They need to “wake up” and stop being so complacent.

As Anohni put it in an answer to emailed questions from the World Socialist Web Site, “I want to use my voice to break bones that I fear are healing in deformed ways.” In fact, there is no shortage of anti-war sentiment nor a lack of concern about the environment among masses of people. The problem is one of political understanding and perspective. Who is behind these crimes, and what could put an end to them?

The artist doesn’t have to provide an explicit answer, but to create the most powerful and enduring work, he or she must have some understanding, even an intuitive one, of the basic social forces at work and also have some confidence in the population itself. In the end, pessimism and quasi-misanthropy are incompatible with advanced aesthetics.

Anohni is backed here by two experienced and creative electronic music producers, Daniel Lopatin (who records as Oneohtrix Point Never) and Ross Birchard (Hudson Mohawke). The music is generally tasteful and well-executed, but the sound palette belongs to the dance club or the rave. It is not immediately clear what relationship these sounds and rhythms have to the victims of war or to the world’s threatened biodiversity.

Police stops Surinamese-Dutch rapper for driving while black

This December 2015 Dutch music video is the song Niet Weglopen, by well-known Surinamese-Dutch rapper Typhoon.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The [political party] PvdA has asked parliamentary questions in response to the police stopping rapper Typhoon. Police in Zwolle stopped Glenn de Randamie, as the rapper is called, from driving because a cop thought there was no match between him and his new car.

According to a police spokesman in the eastern Netherlands Typhoon was stopped because of his “young age and his brand new luxury car. But his skin colour played a role as well.” Police have apologized for the incident.

Labour leader Samsom says that there is a structural problem. “Ethnic profiling happens, also by police. This is not a single miss by an individual police officer. Racism and discrimination are persistent deep within society.”

Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant today:

“This is a big error in Dutch society,” De Randamie writes on Instagram. “The investigating officer … admitted that he was biased, and took into account that it could be drug money. Unfortunately, this is the umpteenth time this happens to me and I happen to be ‘famous’ and the atmosphere is less tense after recognition. Many people do not have that privilege.”