Archive for September, 2009

Record of the Week — THE VERY BEST

Stop Smiling presents a new mp3 blog, in which we’ll showcase one new release each Tuesday, along with a track from the albumwarm-heart-cover +++ The Very Best - Warm Heart of Africa - Green Owl Records: The first legitimate release from Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya and Euro hotshot production duo Radioclit lives up to neither the free mixtape they put out last year nor their tantalizing live performance (those who skipped yet another sparkly spectacle from the Flaming Lips at this year’s Pitchfork Music Fest and opted to watch TVB on the B Stage were in for a treat); however, the 12 original tracks on Warm Heart of Africa still express a beaming optimism, danceability and, yes, warmth, that set it apart from other gimmicky African-based offerings that have flown in on the wings of MIA’s “Paper Planes” +++ Audio - The Very Best - Warm Heart of Africa. - Post by Nate Martin

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Wiki-Polanski

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.

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Ethiopia Everywhere

blog_ethiopiaLast weekend Ethiopian distance runner Haile Gebrselassie, who holds the world record for fastest marathon at 2:03:59, schooled the competition in Berlin for the fourth straight year, calling the win “good for my collection;” farmers in Kansas lately have been growing an Ethiopian grain — teff — that is gluten free, packs more protein than wheat, and can withstand drought and floods; and the Washington Post profiles Haile Gerima, an independent Ethiopian auteur whose internationally acclaimed 11th film, Teza, has its American debut today; STOP SMILING took a taste of Ethiopian cuisine for a restaurant profile in its DC Issue. -SS

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Granta Does Chicago

blog_grantaThis week, UK-based literary journal Granta will descend upon the Windy City to celebrate the launch of its new issue, which is dedicated entirely to Chicago; the publication will host a series of events around the city, including one at the STOP SMILING Storefront on Tuesday, September 15; contributions to the issue include fiction and essays by George Saunders, Stuart Dybek, Aleksandar Hemon, Don Delillo, and Sandra Cisneros, a photo essay by Camilo Jose Vergara and a book jacket designed by Chris Ware; Stop Smiling put out its own Chicago Issue in 2006, which is available via our online store.

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Goose Island Update

blog_gillmanLast winter a group of unionized workers in Chicago occupied their workplace — a windows and doors factory on Goose Island — when its owners tried to surreptitiously shut it down after having their line of credit cut by Bank of America, prompting nationwide news coverage and support from labor advocates; yesterday, In These Times reported that the factory’s former president has been arrested and charged with felony theft and money laundering related to his efforts to secretly move equipment from the Chicago factory to a non-union plant in Iowa; a book about the factory takeover by Kari Lydersen, Revolt on Goose Island, was released by Melville House this summer with a reading and discussion at the STOP SMILING Storefront.

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Wage-Earners Beware

blog_cashierA roundup of articles today looks at the potential foes one might face while working for a wage in the United States: First, a jaw-dropping new study shows that if you’re a low-wage worker, you’d do well to watch out for your employer — a whopping 68 percent of those interviewed reported at least one pay-related violation in the previous week; if you’re working in the American South, a new book advises that the media is against you, as it has historically acted as a mouthpiece for racist politicians who bash unions, civil rights and communism all in one fell drawl; surely by now you have guessed that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey might not be the best friend to his “team member” employees seeking health benefits from a program riddled with hidden system charges; finally, an Irish Bostonian comes forth to argue that Ted Kennedy was not the friend to the working man that his glowing obits make him seem.

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