Posts tagged ‘culture’

Two thoughts on Bob Dylan’s reaction to the Nobel

by , posted on Monday, December 12th, 2016 at 12:57 pm

1. Let’s not overdo the importance of “credit in the straight world,” i.e. mainstream acceptance. These are the same people, let’s not forget, that gave Henry Kissinger a Peace Prize. Whose awards in the sciences have repeatedly omitted women’s contributions. Dylan did acknowledge the prize. He just didn’t jump when they said jump. He sent the Swedish Academy an acceptance speech that thanks them for the unexpected honor, but also makes it quite clear that he is a bit ambivalent about the prize. Would we have expected modern artists to bow down before the Paris Salon when the academic painters finally got around to acknowledging them? Of course not. Why expect Dylan to be any different?

2. Dylan is routinely found on lists of famous people most likely to have Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s entirely possible that his social awkwardness — readily apparent since Day One with him — has as much, or more, to do with the way his brain is wired than it does with a simple lack of manners. The only thing he didn’t do, really, was heed the call for a command performance in the form of a speech delivered in person. I’m not surprised. Dylan almost never speaks to his audience when he performs. Never has. And one sees in interviews, which he rarely has given, that he isn’t particularly comfortable even making eye contact with people. He doesn’t need the approbation of the Swedish Academy, and he doesn’t need their money. Why voluntarily put yourself in the middle of an extremely uncormfortable social situation if you don’t need to?


Food for Thought: Larry Grossberg on Cultural Studies

by , posted on Thursday, November 15th, 2012 at 9:00 am

“For me, cultural studies was always partly a response to the dominant practices of the academy, and the dominant practices of knowledge production. … It seemed to me that cultural studies was an attempt to find a different way to be an intellectual, a different way of bringing politics into the academy, and a different way of producing knowledge.” — Larry Grossberg

This video is a preview of a full length conversation with Larry Grossberg, an internationally renowned scholar of cultural studies as well as popular culture, conducted by University of Ottawa professor Boulou Ebanda de B’béri and his research assistant Michael Audette-Longo.

Part 1: Cultural studies as a specific project
Part 2: Discussion on articulation
Part 3: Discussion on past and present projects
Part 4: Discussion on modernity

The full-length conversation can be found after the jump.



Walking Through the Halls of Power

by , posted on Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Reflections from the Workers United Hall at 333 S. Ashland Ave., Chicago IL on July 30, 2012 – Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign meeting.

Present, past and future merge –

strolling through the halls of power
Walking in their footsteps – gaining strength hour by hour

Their voices echo off cold brick walls – shattering doubt and despair.
Only resolve lives here!

Great women and men sat on this very chair – plotting justice.
Alive and well – justice lives here!

Their rough hands pounded on this table – a solidarity drum – Here! Here!
Only solidarity lives here!

From the stage, the people’s voices gave democracy birth – the birth pains of revolution –
America, Democracy lives here!

It is here that anguish and anger

chiseled change – challenging pragmatism’s powerful, “no.”
Si, Se Puede is all we know – hope lives here!

Ours is not the first nor the last – today’s struggles strengthened by the past
Worn steps, worn bodies – warm welcome comrades!
Power through unity – our future lives here!


Found Objects for a Friday Afternoon: Tomorrow Is Already Here

by , posted on Friday, December 2nd, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Originally this set up to serve society
Now the roles have been reversed
That want society to serve the institutions

“Tomorrow Is Already Here,” by Stereolab
from Emperor Tomato Ketchup (1996)


GRITtv documentary of the week: Aurora’s own “Prison Terminal”

by , posted on Saturday, May 14th, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Last week a clip from a work-in-progress by Aurora filmmaker Edgar Barens was featured on GRITtv with Laura Flanders as their documentary of the week.

More GRITtv

“The circle of life doesn’t end when people begin a life behind bars. Incarcerated women give birth; others become gravely ill. Do prisoners have the right to comfort as they approach death? If so, who will provide it? These are real questions that many working in the prison system have ignored–but not everyone. Our documentary of the week goes behind the walls of the maximum security Iowa State Penitentiary, where a prisoner-staffed hospice program has been touching the lives of patients and caregivers alike. Filmmaker Edgar Barens spent six months embedded with program participants, and the resulting film is the intimate Prison Terminal.”

To see more video from Prison Terminal, click here. For more information on the documentary, click here.


Found Objects for a Friday Afternoon: Jenny Holzer

by , posted on Friday, June 4th, 2010 at 12:00 pm



Some of My Best Friends: A Conversation with Pansy Division’s Jon Ginoli

by , posted on Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 at 9:48 am

Before Peoria-native Jon Ginoli was even out of his twenties he had done seemingly everything there was to do in music. Having moved to Champaign-Urbana to attend the University of Illinois, he had written for a series of music magazines and fanzines,

been both a radio and club dj, worked in a campus record store, and brought some of the most legendary indie rock bands of the day to town as a concert promoter.

He also played in a band of his own, The Outnumbered, a mainstay of the local music scene in the mid-1980s that released three albums and toured widely, and was remembered by one writer who knew them well as “perhaps the world’s only all-male feminist band, performing anti-misogynist, anti-capitalist, anti-war rants at the height of the Reagan era.”

He is best known, however, for his next band, the path-breaking gay rock band Pansy Division, which he founded in 1991 after moving to San Francisco. Eighteen years later Pansy Division is still around, still recording new material and performing live when most veterans of the earliest days of the gay rock scene have long since disappeared. In March Jon’s memoir, Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division – “The Inside Story of the First Openly Gay Pop-Punk Band” – was published by Cleis Press. Also, a documentary about the band, Pansy Division: Life in a Gay Rock Band, has been screened at several gay film festivals this past year and has just been released on DVD by Alternative Tentacles Records. And, to top it all off, Pansy Division has just released a new CD, That’s So Gay, also on Alternative Tentacles.

I recently caught up with Jon on his book tour for Deflowered and we sat down one evening to talk about, what else, life in Pansy Division. (More on whether it’s a “pop-punk” or “rock” band or both, among other things, after the jump.)