Culture

In Memory of Woody Allen

Remember Woody Allen?

I do. I once thought he was a great film maker.

The problem isn’t so much, “How did he get away with being a predator for so long?” Rather:

“How did he get away with making such shoddy films for so many years?”

A Handful of Classics?

As a young person, I thought Love & Death, Sleeper, and especially Annie Hall were great films – funny, rich with observation and meaning, well-written. I learned a lot about writing from the non-linear, anecdotal style of Annie Hall.

Then came Manhattan. Very artsy, black-and-white, new-yorkey. I really wanted to like it. But I didn’t.

Honestly, the 17-year-old kid in bed disturbed me. I wondered – where are her parents? Do they notice she didn’t come home at night? Do school officials notice him lurking around the playground?

Isn’t New York Lovely?

But that was secondary to my disappointment with the film itself. The visuals were predictable and saccharine – the direct forerunners of a piece of schlock like Serendipity. It’s as if every still shot had a title under it saying, “Isn’t New York lovely?”

Worse – the writing. A typical blundering scene: Woody and the other male lead are arguing in a classroom. Between them is a chimpanzee skeleton – remember? A rather obvious symbol, no?

Apparently the auteur wasn’t so confident in his work – because Allen’s character actually says: “We’re no better than this chimpanzee!”

Wow! Talk about subtle insights from a cinematic master! Roll over, Truffaut!

Cheap Knockoffs – Of His Own Films

The whole film is in that vein. I saw it several times when it came out, hoping to find more in it -and finally had to realize it was just a cheap knock-off of Annie Hall.

And so it has gone ever since. About once a decade I accidentally see one of his films, mainly because the old video boxes used to hide his name in the fine print and play up the famous actors he suckered into believing he was an important film maker.

A few years ago, I read a short interview with Allen in which he was asked why he made so many films, instead of focusing on one project for longer. His answer:

“After six months I get bored with the project.”

We’re Bored Too

Woody – read that sentence aloud. You’re bored – and so are we.

That will be history’s verdict on Allen – not so much the predator stuff, which will tarnish many a Hollywood legend as the truth comes out.

No – he’ll be remembered for making a couple of funny films, followed by an endless string of shoddy, repetitious dreck.

And that will be true justice.

Photo: Take a nap, Woody!

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*****

activism, Culture, Resources & Downloads

Resistance Chants!

Campfire Chants, released by Reclaiming, features a dozen street-friendly chants and songs written by Starhawk, T. Thorn Coyle, Suzanne Sterling, Ravyn Stanfield, and others.

Several of these chants were written for specific street actions – see the Lyrics and Lore booklet for details (see below).

Chants recorded by a small grassrootsy ensemble backed by conga, guitar, flute, fiddle, and more. Mixed ages and genders, with women’s voices up front. (Word is that Direct Action author Luke Hauser can be heard harmonizing in the background!).

Songs stream and download on all the usual sites – search <Reclaiming Campfire Chants>. Help boost the album by visiting Spotify and Youtube and giving it some Likes!

Free downloadable Lyrics and Lore book accompanies album – visit our website.

Visit CampfireChants.org

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Culture, Satires

America Struggles With Boot-Polish Addiction

Epidemic having deleterious impact on democracy

The United States, already mired in an opiod crisis, is now struggling with a massive addiction to boot polish.

A wave of addictions and abuse have swept the South and the lower Midwest in the past two years, and taken strong hold in the old Rust Belt states.

Many people begin by drooling after the shiny loafers of Fox News commentators. But soon they are subscribing directly to the President’s Twitter feed, lusting after even a glimpse of his buffed leather shoes.

Once hooked, only daily infusions of a thin veneer of recently-applied polish can satisfy the craving.

While the addiction is seldom fatal to individuals, its cumulative impact on democracy is already devastating.

The only possibly cure is for addicts to give up their habit cold turkey by turning off Fox and reading the Guardian, the Times, and the Post.

activism, Culture, Satires

Online Underwear Ads – Was It Mom?

Underwear Ads & Maternal Concerns

Am I the only one that gets these bright, cheery underwear ads on the home page of my favorite pop-news website? Little pictures of the midsections of svelte young models wearing tight, colorful briefs.

DA-Blog-Undies03-boxersThe JPGs alternate in what old-school binarists would label a male/female pattern, which bothered me at first. But in my experience there are no hard and fast boundaries about who wears what undies, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that count.

But I had to wonder – why do I get underwear ads, period, when I’ve never ordered underwear online? Continue reading “Online Underwear Ads – Was It Mom?”

Culture, Economics, Resources & Downloads

Marx’ Capital – New Audio Version

Capital Volume I: A Critique of Political Economy

by Karl Marx | Read by Derek Le Page

Audio Recording Via Audible

Capital is one of the half-dozen most important economic texts of the past 200 years – and perhaps the most readable. Volume One contains the key material. How great to settle into a good reading.

Marx takes the labor theory of value as developed by Adam Smith and others and shows its implications for workers, managers, and owners – a worthy goal, and critical reading for anyone interested in economics regardless of your outlook.

No, Marx can’t “prove” that labor is the basis of all economic value. That’s because you Continue reading “Marx’ Capital – New Audio Version”

Culture, Resources & Downloads, Satires

Funky Nixons – Now Streaming!

Berkeley’s finest all-weather activist ensemble, the infamous Funky Nixons, are now streaming online at all sites.

The band, known locally as The House Band of Peoples Park, features a bend of rock, rap, and country, and provides expert commentary on the burning issues of our time.

Listen free on Youtube | Spotify

Free downloads of mp3 files also available.

Click here for more info and links.

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Culture, Satires

Eat4U – New Restaurant Sensation!

Move to San Francisco to be near all of the great restaurants, and never have time to dine out?

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Tired of eating GrubHub’s warmed over versions of yesterday’s leftovers?

Too lazy to order Hello Plastic and cook a shrink-wrapped meal for yourself?

You need Eat 4 U!

Eat 4 U – the amazing new restaurant service that let’s you, the customer, take charge of dining out!

You choose the restaurant. You choose the menu items. You even choose Continue reading “Eat4U – New Restaurant Sensation!”