Posted tagged ‘politics’

Personal Expression vs. the Powerful’s Repression

2012/03/12

Personal expression takes on many forms. Got something to say? Write a song. Draw a picture. Compose a poem. Do a dance. Heck, you can even express yourself by going for a run – as proved by Kevin Bacon in the film Footloose. As everyone knows, Bacon used running and dancing to not only express himself, but to help solve his problems and save the youth in his town from the repression of Jon Lithgow. Oh, and I guess he used gymnastics too.

pick up your Sunday shoes, Kevin.

Lithgow thought he was keeping kids safe from the dangers of rock ‘n’ roll. He decided that music and dancing threatened youth, and used his authority on the Town Council to get them banned. He connected personal expression with societal ills that were a blight on respectable values, and kids’ safety. Dancing was a gateway drug to trouble.

(more…)

There’s No Tim in Team: A Modest Proposal for the Political Influence of Entertainers

2012/02/27

While growing up in a country that relentlessly bombards youth with the social conditioning to be obsessed with ice hockey, it’s not surprising that I spent a large chunk of my allowance collecting hockey cards (the rest was spent, of course, on comic books and 5 cent candies). I had a lot of great ones – a card commemorating Wayne Gretzky’s “1000th point,” heck, I think I had the card of every Edmonton Oiler that was later sold off or traded for a profit at a loss to the community. Yep, I had a pretty big collection. Also, I think I have bitterness issues still resonating from the late 1980s and early 90s.

This card is tucked up under my 50 mission Cap

(more…)

An American Composer in Prague

2011/05/26

In 1970, a young American composer named Martin Bresnick traveled to Prague to present a short film. He had written its score. As a member of the Students for a Democratic Society and a musician, Bresnick was no stranger to the relationship between politics and music, especially directed towards protest of the Vietnam War. Behind the Iron Curtain, he experienced this relationship again – in a city that had shorty before suffered a harsh reprisal for attempts at liberalization.

“Prague 1970: Music in Spring”
By MARTIN BRESNICK
May 25, 2011 The New York Times

GERARD LEROUX/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The above picture is from 1969, and highlights a tragic, and far too common form of protest:  “people of what was then Czechoslovakia paid tribute to Jan Palach, a student who had set himself on fire to protest Soviet occupation.” (thanks nytimes)

tonight’s the night

2011/04/25

25 April 2011. Tonight’s the night that theatre and politics intertwine all across Canada. There’s a federal election afoot, and the arts community is banding together to put on a political show. In Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Victoria, and Edmonton too – cabaret performances will be taking place in tandem, all with music, art, spoken-word…and politicians.

Edmonton’s event will be at Avenue Theatre. 9030 118 Avenue NW. Doors at 7:30, show at 8:00 pm. Click below for more info.

(more…)

Here we are now. Entertain us: The politics of boredom

2011/03/15

Late 1991. A couple kids from an affluent family gets picked up by their parents from soccer practice and are chaffered to their safe suburban home. While the youths are waiting for dinner to be ready, they turn on MTV. But instead of MC Hammer dancing around in really baggy pants denying them even the chance to touch…this…they see something different but at the same time familiar: kids that are waiting for something to happen. Kids that are disaffected and bored. Kids just like them. And then there’s a guy with a guitar on the screen, not wearing Hammer pants or dressed like Gene Simmons or Vince Neil or even Axl Rose.  Hold on  a second – he’s just like them. And he’s screaming out the words, “here we are now, entertain us.”

It seemed like in an instant, these kids finally had a soundtrack for how they felt about their lives.

The beginning riff in the Nirvana video for their song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was the exact moment that the politics of boredom hit the mainstream. They’d been around in the underground for ages before that though. Let’s go for a listen through history and see what that tells us.

copyright John Mostrom 2003

(more…)

With a Rebel Yell

2010/12/15

Power of the people: The Velvet Revolution

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter that likes to write a lot.

He was in Eastern Europe when the Iron Curtain was crumbling.

And if you go to Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, tomorrow morning (Dec 16 2010) at 10:00AM you’ll see him and others promoting the importance of civil disobedience.

Here’s his article on the role rebellion held in ridding Eastern Europe of communist control, and why he thinks efforts of subversion are just as vital today: 

Every Act of Rebellion Helps Tear Down Our Corrupt System 

Making the World Safe for Punk Rock

2010/11/11

doa_talk_action_=_0Before Blink 182, Nirvana, Rancid, Green Day, Pennywise, NOFX,  or the Offspring, there was D.O.A.

Before bands and the wider independent music community created a network that enabled bands to survive on the road and (almost) make money, there was D.O.A.

Before it was trendy for musicians to support environmental causes because it could increase their own popularity, there was D.O.A.

Before the Iron Curtain fell and bands didn’t play in Eastern Europe, there was D.O.A.

Joey “Shithead” Keithley

On the frontlines of punk rock since the late 1970s, the Vancouver band D.O.A. has been playing music, touring the world, supporting political causes, and developing alternative cultural institutions….mostly all out of a broken down van. D.O.A. has gone through many changes over the years, but the one person that has stayed steadfast, loyal and true is Joey “Shithead” Keithley. Not only that, but he’s written a book.

(more…)