Archive for MEDIA


blog_wikipolanskiThe arrest of Roman Polanski and the impending extradition attempt by the United States for the filmmaker’s 1977 conviction for having sex with a 13-year-old girl set off such a buzz on Wikipedia that the website’s administrators froze his entry — warring factions were battling over whether the director’s cinematic achievements deserve more space than his extra-legal affairs; Wikipedia’s policies have been under increased scrutiny since it announced last month it would review public edits before they go live, and additions to the site overall have seen a general slump in the past few years — stats show its most frequent editors are a mostly homogeneous group, which is contrary to the idea of the whole project; meanwhile, Criterion released a new version of Polanski’s Repulsion this month, sales of which his arrest will certainly not hurt.

| |

The Oscars, Inside and Out

Among subjects receiving attention during this year’s Oscar season are the effects some prominent films might have (or might have had) on the world outside the red carpet: Slate wonders if an earlier release of Gus Van Sant’s Milk would have effectively encouraged California voters to turn down Proposition 8; the Chicago Tribune hopes that Sam Mendes’ Revolutionary Road will resurrect interest in Richard Yates’ outstanding novel from which the movie was adapted. Meanwhile, New York Times notes that while the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is becoming more artistic and elite, the hubbub surrounding its awards is as silly as ever.

| |

To Give and to Take

During this recession holiday season, it’s widely understood that creativity and heartfelt sentiment might have to compensate for monetary value when it comes to giving gifts — we might bake our children their favorite cookies instead of dropping iPhones into their stockings; we might cut costs by making cards from cutouts of old magazine covers. For the journalists who used to work for those magazines, Typepad parent company Six Apart is offering laid-off journalists the gift of a free professional blog account (worth $150 annually) to help get them back on their feet; meanwhile, although his campaign promised increased funding for an array of national arts programs — including health care for American artists — the recession will likely prompt Obama to save up for next year and give for now what he gives best: high hopes; finally, In These Times features an excerpt from a new book that shows how some companies have been padding their Christmas-present accounts: by stealing from their workers.

| |

Radio is a Sound Salvation

As print publications bite the dust left and right in the Internet age, radio remains largely unscathed, and seems to actually be flourishing. In today’s Washington Post, Kathleen Parker reminds us that for the cost of six Apache helicopters the US can continue to fund Radio Free Europe, which acts as an information lifeline in censorship-friendly places like Iran and desolate countries like Afghanistan; STOP SMILING has done a fair share of profiles on prominent radio personalities like Ira Glass, Studs Terkel, Garrison Keillor and Spalding Gray; and many of the events STOP SMILING puts on are recorded for WBEZ Chicago, 91.5 FM, and are available on its website — these include readings by Nathaniel Rich and Alexander Hemon, and musical performances by Fred Anderson & Hamid Drake and Plastic Crimewave. STOP SMILING plans to launch its own podcast early next year, the first shows of which will feature David Sedaris (pictured here), Kurt Vonnegut, Lewis Lapham and more.

| |

BMC on the DNC

From his writing in the Village Voice in the 80’s to his film industry debut as the screenwriter for the monumnetal New Jack City, Barry Michael Cooper has been a cultural commentator of the highest order for over two decades, a eloquent and outspoken voice of the hip-hop generation and beyond. His most recent writings on the DNC continue on the same path, linking political commentary with pop culture references; particularly insightful is his most recent entry which pairs Michelle Obama’s moving speech with Jay-Z and Beyonce’s hit song ’03 Bonnie & Clyde. Big shout to Barry Michael Cooper, he of the un-knockable hustle.

| |

Printers Ball Afterparty Tonight in Chicago

If you’re in Chicago tonight, we’re throwing an afterparty for the Printer’s Ball, an annual celebration of printed literature from Chicago.

The party will be thrown in conjunction with Superfunk, a monthly soul & funk party with world-renowned DJs / record collectors. Your DJs will be Supreme Court (Sheer Magic, aka Soul Night @ Danny’s), Jeff Parker (Tortoise) and Joe Bryl (Sonotheque), playing the best soul and funk records that you’re going to hear anywhere in Chicago. Bring your dancing shoes.

It’s at Sonotheque, 1444 Chicago Ave, starting at 10pm.

| |

Heavy Metal Alive and Well in England

Indie-rock magazines need help. Metal doesn’t. Explanation here.

| |

Katrina Benefit in Chicago with PFFR!

PFFR, the brilliant band / art collective behind Wonder Showzen and Xavier: Renegade Angel is doing a benefit for South Toward Home, an organization devoted repairing and rebuilding the portions of the Gulf Coast that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The evening, from what we can surmise, will be screenings of a bunch of PFFR films from throughout their career. If you haven’t seen either of their shows, a quick Youtube search should soldifiy your attendance if you are in Chicago the night of July 31st. The show is at the Lakeshore Theater, and here’s a trailer with all necessary info for the evening.

| |

Pitchfork Picks.

Now that Chicago summers have become blanketed with music festivals, we would feel remiss not to mention a few of our favorite bands that are coming through here this year. Pitchfork’s festival is up first, and for the second year in a row, they partnered up with All Tomorrow’s Parties for their kick off night: three bands doing their most seminal albums in its entirety. Mission of Burma is doing their 1982 opus Vs., which, one hopes, the younger indie rock crowd at Pitchfork recognizes as a starting point for much of what their beloved modern set churns out these days. Sebadoh’s Bubble and Scrape will provide light filler, but most eyes are on Public Enemy on Friday night, doing It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back, arguably (read: in this writer’s humble opinion) the best hip-hop album ever recorded. Chuck still fights the good fight, we all know what Flav is up to, and last we heard, Terminator X was ran his own ostrich farm. So there’s a lot of room for disappointment. Still, the potential for a monumental performance is omnipresent in everyone’s mind who grew up listening to them (rumor has it they’re even bringing the S1W’s!)

The line-up on Saturday kicks off with Gypsy brass kingpins Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar, but the early afternoon one to watch is Jay Reatard. His brand of punk-tinged garage rock is infectious to say the least, and his live show is notoriously insane (which is the only reason we can figure he’s playing so early in the line-up: the less booze and people there are, the less chance of something crazy happening). Miami Ice, the out-pop album that Icy Demons let loose last year is a dazzling and bizarrely angular piece of work, and they never disappoint live. Vampire Weekend dubs themselves “Upper West Side Soweto”, which is reason enough to make their 5pm slot your dinner break, and then return to see Kenyan Benga rockers, Extra Golden. Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker is an undeniable force who, at 45, still outperforms people half his age. LA duo No Age is blazing a trail of skate-rock anthems and punk rock inspiration across the world, and Pitchfork deserves a nod for letting them headline one of the stages Saturday night.

The festival has been paying a cursory tribute to the heavier side of rock, last year with Mastodon and this year with Japanese stoner-rock trio Boris playing earlier in the day on Sunday. King Khan & The Shrines’ soulful-garage rock sets are great fun. Ghostface and Raekwon will undoubtedly blow through an assortment of Wu-bangers, and Dinosaur Jr. — if their last live tour was any indication — have shown little sings of deterioration as they’ve gone on in years. And although Spoon has played the festival in the past, their sets can be unpredictably good.

| |

The Best $5 You’ll Spend This Week

We’ve been fans of Steve Stein‘s (aka Steinski) for a while: We published an interview with him in our Hip-Hop Nuggets Issue, and we count he and his partner Double Dee as legends in the hip-hop world, and in music production in general (read up here). In January of 2008, the duo opened up for DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist on their “Hard Sell” tour and the end result is “Who Owns Culture?” a 60-minute live mix from those nights that is as eye-opening and profound as it is light-hearted and head-nod-inducing. Keeping hip-hop as the unifying theme throughout the set, the pair runs through a dizzying series of quick cuts, and brilliant spoken word samples, ranging from soulful sermons to snippets from the Big Lebowski. And at 5 dollars for 60 minutes worth of music (encoded at 320 kbps in case you were worried about the sound quality), it’s a damn good deal. You’re going to nod your head, learn something and get a bargain. Don’t think, just click.

| |

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »