Mighty May’s Magazine

This month in the Arts Express Magazine:

** Veteran Actor Jim Broadbent on playing a true-life working class hero in The Duke

** Artist Tom Keough shares scenes from his graphic bio about the Irish revolutionary, James Connolly

** Dennis Broe on the constructed media representations of Zelensky in “Mr. Zelensky Goes to Washington”

and more!

View online here: May 2022 Arts Express Magazine

Get your free subscription to the Arts Express Magazine, the companion magazine to Arts Express Radio, by sending an email with the word “subscribe” in the subject line to: artsexpresslist@gmail.com

April’s Artists

April issue here

** Veteran Danish Director Bille August discusses his new film, The Pact, and Ingmar Bergman

**An Arts Express exclusive excerpt from the re-release of the Ballad of An American: the Autobiography of Earl Robinson, the composer of “Joe Hill,” “The House I Live In,” and “Ballad for Americans”

**Our April Fools “Dear Ethicist”–advice for the morally confused

**The Freebie Zone: The best of the free ‘net

and more!

Listen to Arts Express Radio Saturdays 6AM ET on WBAI.org and WBAI 99.5 FM NYC

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Ballad Of An American: The Autobiography of Earl Robinson

Earl Robinson may not be so well known nowadays as he once was, but in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, a huge number of Americans knew his music. He was the composer of “The House I Live In,” “Joe Hill,” “Ballad for Americans,” and many others. Singers of his works included Paul Robeson, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Joan Baez, and Three Dog Night. His music crossed the boundaries of folk, Broadway musical, classical, and even rock. Throughout his life he was driven by a need to improve working people’s lives, and he was a longtime member of the Communist Party, which resulted in his being called before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. His autobiography, Ballad of an American, written in collaboration with author Eric Gordon, was released in 1998, and has been out of print. Now it is being re-released, and we are happy to bring you, through the permission of Eric Gordon, this extract from the book, where we enact, in Earl’s words, his tangle with the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

Click on the triangle above to hear the reading as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI-FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.

March Arts Express Magazine

Get your free subscription to the Arts Express Magazine, the companion magazine to Arts Express Radio, by sending an email with the word “subscribe” in the subject line to:

artsexpresslist@gmail.com

This month in the Arts Express Magazine:

** The Unforgivable: Director Nora Fingscheidt on the Sandra Bullock film about eviction and life after incarceration

** Caitlin Johnstone’s Three Poems for Today: “Sources Say,” “To-do List” and “Crazy”

** Red Book Day Art--International celebrations of Left books and the anniversary of the Communist Manifesto.

** War Is A Racket

**The Freebie Zone: The best of the free ‘net

and more!

Click on the logo above to view

Mario The Maker Magician!

I saw Mario the Maker Magician by accident some years ago; he was giving a full outdoor performance in Madison Square Park in Manhattan, and it became apparent to me that he was the best children’s magician I had ever seen. His inventiveness, love of children, and inspirational aura put him into a class by himself. Watch this clip to see how he gets the children’s attention and then switches over into a wonderful positive message about artistic experimentation.

BTW, he makes all of his own robots and teaches children how to do the same.

See the rest of the act at oldchurchpdx and more of Mario at Mario the Maker Magician

What Is Art For?

As we begin a New Year, here is the editorial I printed in the latest Arts Express Magazine talking about how art may help in the coming year.

A year ago, we had hoped that the worst days of the COVID pandemic were on the wane, and that the Democrats would offer perhaps an eyedropperful more in the way of healthcare and economic help. But even with our low expectations, the new regime managed to disappoint still further, and we had yet another year of deaths and hardships.

In the midst of this, it’s worth asking what is the role of art, both the performing arts and the visual arts in all this? How can they help us in our circumstances?

As we see it, on the most rudimentary political level, art can teach us; it can tell us stories of resistance, struggles for equality and justice, rising up against oppressors, uncover unknown stories that might prompt us to action. Art can also provide us with courage and inspiration, as when we sing in unison with our comrades, or cheer a protagonist in a film. These are important aspects of art, but we want to advocate, too, for some of the less acknowledged qualities of art, equally important, as opposed to the more overtly political.

The very making of art means that an artist is a human who observes the world, interprets it, and responds to it. The artist is an active agent in making the world rather than just accepting it. The act of sharing is important too; the artist says: the world looks this way to me, how about you?—even if we’re just talking about a bowl of fruit.  We can only understand this life by checking with others what their experience is, and sharing our own.

Crucially, though, in art we use our imaginations to tell the stories of others. In that act of imagination, artists explore the experiences of others, try on new roles for themselves. Although we only present a tiny slice of what we are and can be in our “real lives,” we begin to understand that each one of us contain multitudes. The real freedom artists allow themselves in creation is a wake-up call to the rest of us that most of the time we are walking around half-blind: blind to the possibilities of the world around us and blind to the possibilities within ourselves as human beings. That realization alone brings hope–and battles despair–as we try to live our fullest lives. We wish you all a happy and healthy year full of possibilities.

For a free email subscription to the magazine, send an email with the word “subscribe” in the subject line to artsexpresslist@gmail.com

Rebel Hearts: Defiant Nuns of the Immaculate Heart

In the early nineteen sixties, a hidebound Catholic Church attempted to modernize with a movement known as Vatican 2. But some Church people, nuns and priests, wanted changes that were a bridge too far for Vatican 2. In Los Angeles, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary went toe to toe with the church hierarchy, involving themselves in anti-war and social justice movements. I was happy to speak with Pedro Kos, the director of a new film documentary called Rebel Hearts about those women of the Immaculate Heart who insisted on staying true to their consciences.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the interview with Pedro Kos as broadcast today on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica stations across the nation.

To God And Truth

(Click to enlarge)

From the museum description: “Bisa Butler used thousands of brightly colored textiles to create these figures taken from an 1899 photograph of the Morris Brown baseball team. Combining hand woven Kente cloth, Nigerian hand-dyed batiks, and African and Dutch wax-resist printed cottons, Butler portrays these athletes life size…”

Museum of Fine Arts

Boston, Mass.

World View

(Click to enlarge)

It may be hard to tell without blowing up the photo, but the sphere by artist Virginia Jacobs, entitled “Krakow Kabuki Waltz” is covered with various kinds of fabric, a quilted ball. The artist says that it is “a distillation of the continuity and indefatigability of the spirit of folk music, dance and costume.”

Museum of Fine Arts

Boston, Mass

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck In Time

Kurt Vonnegut’s humorous and fantastical novels are all still in print today. Certainly, if you were a college student of the 60s, 70s or 80s, you probably know lines from Vonnegut novels by heart. Producer, director and writer Robert Weide has come out with a new documentary on Kurt Vonnegut, which includes Mr. Weide’s personal relationship to Vonnegut, called Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time. I was happy to interview Robert Weide for Arts Express.

Click the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my interview with Robert Weide, as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NYC, and Pacifica stations across the country.