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Obama on Israel
SNATCH & GRAB
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Sundance Celebrates Silver Year of Cinema
Considering it was the silver anniversary for the Sundance Film Festival this year, the annual event held from January 15-25 in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah was a rather subdued affair.
The most significant film festival of its kind in the world, this year's Sundance was plagued by a sagging economy, a Proposition 8 boycott against Mormons by the GLBT community, and a low turnout. The festival also faced competition from one of the most significant presidential inaugurations in history. Clearly the vibe was that this was not the time for fame and fashion so much as it was about finances, fun, and film.
Although the official stance is that Sundance is not a political film festival—but, rather, a cultural organization fostering good storytellers—there was no shortage of political films this year. Here are just a few examples.
The Cove - Winner of the Sundance audience award for best U.S. documentary, director Louie Psihoyos's espionage thriller about exposing a town of dolphin killers is a benign call to activist arms. The trainer of TV's Flipper, Ric O'Barry, had become the biggest nemesis of the "ocean parks" (e.g., Sea World) business and the worldwide trade in captive dolphins. Angered by the mistreatment of these highly sentient beings, O'Barry does not stop at the law to do what is right. Fed up with the bloodshed, he and Psihoyos hire an Ocean's Eleven crew and head into a secret area where dolphins are slaughtered for no good reason. If this wonderful documentary manages to swim in the same fiscal waters as March of the Penguins, we can expect a change in how America spends its money on entertainment and seafood.
Earth Days - Directed by Robert Stone (Oswald's Ghost), this documentary recounts the early history of the modern American environmental movement from the mid-20th century through the Reagan years. Stone's wide focus brings nine primary voices to cover nearly 50 years of political history via biology, ecology, ideology, and mythology in 101 minutes. The result is a tepid recount of grand moments in American history.
According to reliable resources there were plenty of environmental films like this submitted to Sundance this year, yet this one made it. Why? Earth Days is not a complete waste of time, but one could spend their finite existence environmentally elsewhere.
The End of the Line - In just a few decades there will be almost no more fish to eat. Technology and greed are wiping out the ocean's population. Money is to be made. Stomachs are to be filled. Ecological destruction is on the way. Those are the warnings of Rupert Murray's half-baked documentary. To its credit, Murray illustrates through science, scientists, and other data how the current rates of fishing and consumption have diminished the ocean's sea population already. He also shows how cruel the fishing can be. What he fails to examine is our right to eat fish in the first place or the environmental impact of operating a fishing vessel (those boats do not get good MPG). For the participants in the film, the answer is not to stop eating fish altogether, but, essentially, how to rebuild the seafood population so that future generations may enjoy the cuisine of their slaughter.
Endgame - As South Africa plans, wheels, and deals in preparation for the World Cup next year, it is helpful to remember the recent political climate. Just decades ago, the black majority of South Africa's people were second class citizens who fought and negotiated for equal rights by any means necessary. In this drama by Peter Travis, sanctions are killing the economy, ANC attacks are escalating, and cops are cracking down on the poor. Focusing on the UK talks, Endgame is a riveting recreation of those tumultuous times that changed a nation, generation, and the world. William Hurt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jonny Lee Miller, and Mark Strong are the featured players.
I Love You Phillip Morris - Based "80 percent on reality" according to co-directors/co-writers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, this stranger-than-fiction tale features Jim Carrey as Steve Russell, a person who never knew who he was, but wanted people to love him nonetheless. A professional Lone Star conman running amuck while Dubya was the Texas governor, after a series of misadventures, Russell winds up in the Texas big house where he meets the love of his life, Phillip Morris (Ewan McCregor). A gentle soul always being taken advantage of (so he says), Morris gives Russell a new look on life. However, once out of prison, Russell is back to his old tricks, taking down his lover in the process. A hilarious romp taking more than a few sweet shots at the legal system of "fucking Texas," this film has all the makings of a commercial hit despite the inevitable homophobic reactions. What Carrey fans will make of it is hard to tell (there's a lot of hugging and a kissing between men), but this film has everything going for it: passion, story, timing, sincerity, and some of the funniest moments of any film I have seen so far this year.
O'er the Land - The public screening of Deborah Stratman's O'er the Land had more early departures than any other film I attended. This was a New Frontier selection, described in the Sundance program as "Stratman's meditation on freedom and technological approaches to manifest destiny." From that description, I don't think audiences were expecting a story about a nerd with a cool name or U2 in 3D. What they got was images of outsiders doing the strangest, and sometimes noisiest, of jobs—such as putting out fires in the middle of monstrous factories or putting out fires in seemingly nowhere. In one story-line, Colonel William Rankin recounts his 40-minute fall from the sky after ejecting from a plane (holy hell, what an anecdote) while clouds and noise roll by. Stratman also draws attention to Americans getting off on senseless destruction with machine gun rentals, fire-gun painting, and other narratives of people or ontology one rarely notices in the reel or real life. Upon closer inspection these say a lot about the human condition, the American one in particular. While Stratman is a bit too obsessed with the, sometimes, banal order of things for my taste, her lingering images are refreshing alternatives to macro and micro mediums of expression.
Shouting Fire - The McCarthy era, political incorrectness, PATRIOT Act—without the First Amendment, all other rights fail. Yet too many Americans are willing to sacrifice free speech when people in power say it is in their best interest. When the New York Times tried to publish the "Pentagon Papers," the government sued. When Nazis insisted on marching, their ignorant hatred was marched right out the doors of law. When a Colorado professor dared to challenge the jingoistic jingles of American policy after 9/11, he was fired. When a woman who speaks Arabic tried to open a bilingual school, her resignation was in demand. They are just a few of those who said and did the wrong thing at the wrong time. Staging historical cases, film clips, and interviews with her father, legendary lawyer Martin Garbus, Liz Garbus tells how America often finds itself fighting for its most important right. At 74-minutes, Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Speech is a quick and entertaining reminder that those who are willing to sacrifice free speech in the name of security are asking for a personal/political cap in the arse.
Wounded Knee - Examining the circumstances leading to the seizure of a few major buildings on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on February 27, 1973, Stanley Nelson's 90-minute documentary does not reveal much new information about the occupation of Wounded Knee, so much as it reminds us how this country was founded on the genocide of its native inhabitants and how their descendants still know no peace.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; email@example.com; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: email@example.com; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; email@example.com; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.