Last week we brought you Part 1 of an interview with Jayne Loader, one of the directors of the classic 1982 film documentary called The Atomic Cafe, a darkly comic and horrifying collage of government propaganda clips and popular culture surrounding the development and deployment of US nuclear weapons. In Part 1 we talked about the dropping of the A-bomb and the lies that were told about it. This week, Jayne talks about how she and her co-directors obtained the material and the impact the cold war and nuclear weapons had on American culture from duck and cover drills in schools to the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
Here now is Part 2 of my interview with Jayne Loader director of The Atomic Cafe.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the interview as broadcast on the Arts Express radio program this week on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Forget about Oppenheimer. The year 1982 saw the release of one of the darkest, most horrific and yes, funniest documentaries ever made. I’m talking about film The Atomic Café which was a head-spinning stew of actual atomic age propaganda of the 1940s fifties and beyond, crafted from government-produced educational and training films, newsreels and advertisements. The film exposed the vast propaganda machine that the US state uses to deceive and market its insane atomic policies. Now it’s in re-release, and I think more relevant than ever, and I was very happy to be speaking today with one of the original directors of The Atomic Café, Jayne Loader.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear Part One of my interview with Jayne Loader as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio show heard on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Veronica White was a local artist and activist who was full of surprises. In a new short film documentary called Veronica White: A Life in the Key of the Community, her many facets are explored. I was happy to speak with Director Chuck Moss and Executive Producer Julius Hollingsworth about the film.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the conversation as broadcast yesterday on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Alan Arkin died this week. Something about the guy that had this core of humanity in whatever he did. I first saw Alan Arkin when I was a teen, before he became famous. He was a member of the famed Second City improv group which was a totally new kind of thing at the time. The audience would call out a time, place, and a beginning and closing line, and then the actors would improv some hilarious scene on the spot incorporating those elements. The performers were all very good, but Arkin was the standout by far. And then he was in the play of Murray Schisgal’s Luv, where he spends the whole play on top of a bridge, ready to jump, because he feels unloved, and he made that true, but very funny too. He could handle drama also–his role as one of the real estate agents in David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross was really excellent and touching. He was really a unique presence in everything he did. You knew you would see something interesting no matter how good or bad the rest of the movie or play was. Above you can see him in a scene with Ed Harris in Glengarry Glen Ross as a failed real estate agent trying to get the good leads. In his later years, he wasn’t always the lead, but he often stole them.
It’s quite wonderful how powerful and evocative our sense of hearing can be. Worlds can be conjured up and recalled from just a subtle sound. It may seem contradictory, but my guest on Arts Express this week was the creator of a new film all about sound, 32 Sounds, Sam Green. We had lot of fun discussing that favorite topic of ours.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my interview with Sam Green as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program as heard on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.
Before there was Covid, before there was Swine flu, there was a then mysterious sickness called Lyme disease. When Lyme disease was first identified in 1975, little did the medical community suspect that soon Lyme disease would become the center of one of the most controversial, divisive, and vicious medical debates in medicine today. A new film called The Quiet Epidemic explores that controversy by focusing on one young girl from Brooklyn and a doctor who refuse to abide by the conventional medical wisdom. I talked with the directors of The Quiet Epidemic, Lindsay Keys and Winslow Crane-Murdoch, for Arts Express radio.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the inteview as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio show on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.
Last week I took a look at the theatrics of a classic con game, three card monte. This week, I take a look at some of the most interesting films that have been made about con artists–and there are a lot of them. I managed to con myself into watching or re-watching hours of such movies this week, and if I don’t mention one of your favorites, rest assured this is not a definitive list by any means, just the ones I caught this week. I’ll rate them from one to five stars just for fun.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the review as broadcast on the Arts Express radio program today, heard on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.
What does it take for a writer/actress to perform a play she’s written about prisons, at a prison? And in particular, at one of the most notorious prisons in the country, Angola, the Louisiana State Penitentiary, America’s largest prison-plantation. A new documentary about that performance and its aftermath, titled Angola Do You Hear Us?, has been shortlisted for the Oscar for Documentary Short Subject. I was happy to speak with the director of the film, Cinque Northern, and the playwright/performer, Liza Jessie Peterson.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the interview as broadcast on the Arts Express radio program today, aired on WBAI -FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Why would a man shoot himself in the chest 192 times? In a country that worships guns, explosives, and comic book super heroes, what kind of stories move product? And finally in a country that professes to be deeply Christian and compassionate is there a second chance for all of us—even the worst among us? All this and more are explored in a really intriguing documentary called 2nd Chance. I was happy to talk to the director of 2nd Chance, Ramin Bahrani.
To hear the interview as broadcast today on the Arts Express program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation, click on the triangle or mp3 link above.
The twists and turns of the last three years add up to several lifetimes. But somehow, with all of Covid’s initial attendant panic, fear and isolation, and the major film studios shut down, filmmaker and writer Peter Hedges decided to make a film during the very heart of the pandemic. The result was a unique film project called The Same Storm, the interlocking stories of some two dozen characters facing life as the world turned upside down. I was very happy to be talking with the creator of TheSame Storm, Peter Hedges.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my interview with director Peter Hedges as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI-FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Animator, Director, Artist, Scapegoat Nina Paley recently completed her Apocalypse Animated project–that is, her unique animations (illuminations?) as applied to the Book of Revelations. She then took the animations and repurposed them to the short three minute video above.
** Fighting Times: Organizing on the Front Lines of the Class War: a special extended conversation with veteran union UAW organizer and hellraiser, Jon Melrod
**Little Amal Comes to Brooklyn: Little Amal is a 10-year-old refugee from Syria. She is also a 12-foot puppet who has traveled 5,000 miles across Turkey and Europe and now to Brooklyn, in search of her mother. A photo essay.
** Dennis Broe on Robert Colescott’s Anti-Racist, Anti-Imperialist paintings
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Medical bankruptcy is the number one cause of family bankruptcy in the US. But maybe what’s not as well known is that the major factor driving up the cost of healthcare in the US is due to hospital mergers. Now in a new documentary, Inhospitable, director Sandra Alvarez shows that hospitals are big business and even when dubbed non-profit, the money flows in a way that is not about prioritizing patient care or patient finances.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my review of InHospitable as broadcast today on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
In preparation for this labor-day weekend, I thought it might be fun to watch and rewatch a bunch of labour-related films, in particular those that highlight union or workplace struggles. Well, I am somewhat bleary eyed from my home film fest, but I am going to focus on a half dozen of the films that I most enjoyed.
Click on the grey triangle or Mp3 link above to hear my picks as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program, heard on WBAI FM and Pacifica affiliates across the country.