Archive for the 'documentary' Category


Great Moments in Black History: #3

Shirley Chisholm declares presidential bid, January 25, 1972

When I wear my “Shirley Chisholm for President” button, I get two reactions. The first–usually from someone over the age of 50–is an enthusiastic smile before they ask where I got it.  The second, more common reaction is, “Who’s Shirley Chisholm?” After I sigh and hang my head briefly–especially when asked that by a person of color–I explain that she was the first Black woman elected to Congress, and the first Black person to seek a major-party’s Presidential nomination.

I could tell you about how kick-ass Ms. Shirley was, but instead I’ll direct you to Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed, so you can see for yourself.


Electric Purgatory: The Fate of the Black Rocker

This documentary film from Raymond Gayle examines “the struggles of the black rock musician and the stigma they face in the black community and the music industry.”  It features tons of great performance footage and interviews with journalists and musicians like Angelo Moore of Fishbone, Vernon Reid of In Living Color, and Cody ChesnuTT. Although the film is a bit rough around the edges, it’s got a lot of heart and certainly tackles an interesting and timely subject.  The success of bands like TV on the Radio (one white guy) and Bloc Party (fronted by a black guy) might signal a shift toward an acceptance of more rockers of color.  Watch it here, or by all means go buy a copy.

And here’s the Saturday Night Live performance that first made me a Fishbone fan.

Fishbone – Everyday Sunshine Live at Saturday Night Live

daniele | MySpace Video


Taken for a Ride

Whenever I find myself bogged down in LA’s notorious traffic, the following two thoughts invariably pop into my head.

1.  Get the fuck out of my way!

2.  It didn’t have to be like this.

Taken for a Ride is a 1996 documentary that lays out some of the circumstances that led to America having “the worst public transit in the industrialized world.” It’s informative, infuriating, and should be mandatory viewing for every American who lives in an urban area.  I watched in on Christmas Eve.  Luckily, the next day I was able to retreat into the Paris Metro system, thanks to this amazing gift from my wife.


Free Book:Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72

Left outside AOC early this afternoon.  Suggested to me by my man Jim.  Luckily, I watched One Bright Shining Moment not too long ago, so a lot of the people and events were still fresh in my mind.  In my current hyper-pessimistic state, I’m not sure it was a good idea to read a first hand account of how when America came to a crossroads, they decided to take a hard right.  Still, it was an entertaining read.


The drug war comes to Pine Ridge

In 2000, Alex White Plume and his family had a great idea. After attempts to raise alfalfa, barley and corn on the tough soil of South Dakota’s Pine Ridge reservation, they decided to give industrial hemp a try.

Hemp is not marijuana.

Hemp has less than 1% THC, has over 25,000 uses, and is a hearty and relatively easy crop to grow. Buying hemp products in the US is totally and completely legal. Growing hemp, however, is not.
The White Plumes figured that, since their reservation is sovereign land, they would be able to grow hemp without the intrusion of the government. The DEA had other ideas.

Read more about their struggle in this NY Times article, and check out the website for the PBS series P.O.V, and the filmmakers own site.

Bonus hilarious video. Bush tries, in vain, to define sovereignty. What an idiot.


Big Bucks, Big Pharma.

If you watch this entire documentary, you’ll want to bang your head against the wall for an hour before you run to your computer to type out an angry letter to your congressman. On second thought, write the letter before you bang your head against the wall.

Big Bucks, Big Pharma: Marketing Disease & Pushing Drugs calmly and plainly exposes the ways that the pharmaceutical industry tricks millions of Americans into believing that they need the various snake oils and tonics that are flooding the market.

No, Amy Goodman’s aggressive monotone is no match for Michael Moore muckraking in Guantanamo Bay. But I doubt that you could find a more informative account of just what Big Pharma is doing to hurt this country’s health.

Oh yeah. I did not watch SiCKO via the internets. So, there’s no way that I could possibly tell everyone within the sound of my voice how great it is and that they should pay to see it in theaters on the day that it opens. I know I’m going to.

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