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WORTH REPEATING: Can’t Happen Here?

Friday, September 30th, 2016

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NEW YORK TIMES: Mr. Ullrich offers a fascinating Shakespearean parable about how the confluence of circumstance, chance, a ruthless individual and the willful blindness of others can transform a country — and, in Hitler’s case, lead to an unimaginable nightmare for the world. Mr. Ullrich, like other biographers, provides vivid insight into some factors that helped turn a “Munich rabble-rouser” — regarded by many as a self-obsessed “clown” with a strangely “scattershot, impulsive style” — into “the lord and master of the German Reich.”

• Hitler was often described as an egomaniac who “only loved himself” — a narcissist with a taste for self-dramatization and what Mr. Ullrich calls a “characteristic fondness for superlatives.” His manic speeches and penchant for taking all-or-nothing risks raised questions about his capacity for self-control, even his sanity. But Mr. Ullrich underscores Hitler’s shrewdness as a politician — with a “keen eye for the strengths and weaknesses of other people” and an ability to “instantaneously analyze and exploit situations.”hitler-copy

• Hitler was known, among colleagues, for a “bottomless mendacity” that would later be magnified by a slick propaganda machine that used the latest technology (radio, gramophone records, film) to spread his message. A former finance minister wrote that Hitler “was so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth” and editors of one edition of “Mein Kampf” described it as a “swamp of lies, distortions, innuendoes, half-truths and real facts.”

• Hitler was an effective orator and actor, Mr. Ullrich reminds readers, adept at assuming various masks and feeding off the energy of his audiences. Although he concealed his anti-Semitism beneath a “mask of moderation” when trying to win the support of the socially liberal middle classes, he specialized in big, theatrical rallies staged with spectacular elements borrowed from the circus. Here, “Hitler adapted the content of his speeches to suit the tastes of his lower-middle-class, nationalist-conservative, ethnic-chauvinist and anti-Semitic listeners,” Mr. Ullrich writes. He peppered his speeches with coarse phrases and put-downs of hecklers. Even as he fomented chaos by playing to crowds’ fears and resentments, he offered himself as the visionary leader who could restore law and order.

• Hitler increasingly presented himself in messianic terms, promising “to lead Germany to a new era of national greatness,” though he was typically vague about his actual plans. He often harked back to a golden age for the country, Mr. Ullrich says, the better “to paint the present day in hues that were all the darker. Everywhere you looked now, there was only decline and decay.”hitler-copy

• Hitler’s repertoire of topics, Mr. Ullrich notes, was limited, and reading his speeches in retrospect, “it seems amazing that he attracted larger and larger audiences” with “repeated mantralike phrases” consisting largely of “accusations, vows of revenge and promises for the future.” But Hitler virtually wrote the modern playbook on demagoguery, arguing in “Mein Kampf” that propaganda must appeal to the emotions — not the reasoning powers — of the crowd. Its “purely intellectual level,” Hitler said, “will have to be that of the lowest mental common denominator among the public it is desired to reach.” Because the understanding of the masses “is feeble,” he went on, effective propaganda needed to be boiled down to a few slogans that should be “persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward.”

• Hitler’s rise was not inevitable, in Mr. Ullrich’s opinion. There were numerous points at which his ascent might have been derailed, he contends; even as late as January 1933, “it would have been eminently possible to prevent his nomination as Reich chancellor.” He benefited from a “constellation of crises that he was able to exploit cleverly and unscrupulously” — in addition to economic woes and unemployment, there was an “erosion of the political center” and a growing resentment of the elites. The unwillingness of Germany’s political parties to compromise had contributed to a perception of government dysfunction, Mr. Ullrich suggests, and the belief of Hitler supporters that the country needed “a man of iron” who could shake things up. “Why not give the National Socialists a chance?” a prominent banker said of the Nazis. “They seem pretty gutsy to me.”

• Hitler’s ascension was aided and abetted by the naïveté of domestic adversaries who failed to appreciate his ruthlessness and tenacity, and by foreign statesmen who believed they could control his aggression. Early on, revulsion at Hitler’s style and appearance, Mr. Ullrich writes, led some critics to underestimate the man and his popularity, while others dismissed him as a celebrity, a repellent but hitler-copyfascinating “evening’s entertainment.” Politicians, for their part, suffered from the delusion that the dominance of traditional conservatives in the cabinet would neutralize the threat of Nazi abuse of power and “fence Hitler in.” “As far as Hitler’s long-term wishes were concerned,” Mr. Ullrich observes, “his conservative coalition partners believed either that he was not serious or that they could exert a moderating influence on him. In any case, they were severely mistaken.”

• Hitler, it became obvious, could not be tamed — he needed only five months to consolidate absolute power after becoming chancellor. “Non-National Socialist German states” were brought into line, Mr. Ullrich writes, “with pressure from the party grass roots combining effectively with pseudo-legal measures ordered by the Reich government.” Many Germans jumped on the Nazi bandwagon not out of political conviction but in hopes of improving their career opportunities, he argues, while fear kept others from speaking out against the persecution of the Jews. The independent press was banned or suppressed and books deemed “un-German” were burned. By March 1933, Hitler had made it clear, Mr. Ullrich says, “that his government was going to do away with all norms of separation of powers and the rule of law.”

• Hitler had a dark, Darwinian view of the world. And he would not only become, in Mr. Ullrich’s words, “a mouthpiece of the cultural pessimism” growing in right-wing circles in the Weimar Republic, but also the avatar of what Thomas Mann identified as a turning away from reason…” MORE

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Win Tix To See James Blake @ The Electric Factory

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

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Prismatic Brit electro-soul cipher manboy James Blake is blowing our frickin’ minds. What’s that you say? You never heard of James Blake? Let’s ask Wikipedia:

James Blake Litherland (born 26 September 1988),[1] known as James Blake, is a British singer, songwriter, musician and producer from London. He first received recognition in 2010 for a trio of dubstep-influenced EPs, and the following year his self-titled debut album was released in the United Kingdom[2] to critical praise. His second studio album Overgrown was released in 2013 and was awarded the Mercury Prize.[3] His third studio album The Colour in Anything was released in 2016.[4] Blake’s early releases are fragmented electronic works[42] influenced by UK dance and bass styles, (such as 2-step and the stark dubstep of artists like Burial and Digital Mystikz), ’90s trip hop, and contemporary R&B.[43][44] On his acclaimed trio of 2010 EPs (The Bells Sketch, CMYK, and Klavierwerke), Blake’s own voice is obscured or processed in favor of vocal samples from ’90s R&B, prominent sub-bass frequencies, and minimal, jittery rhythms.[43][45][46] During this period, Blake’s work was tagged by journalists as “post-dubstep“, alluding to his movement beyond the style’s characteristics.[47][48] By the time of his 2011 debut album, Blake’s vocals and piano had become more foregrounded while traditional song structures became increasingly apparent, reflecting the influence of gospel, soul, and ambient music.[45][49] His second album Overgrown (2013) continued this trend, integrating an electronic approach with balladry and Blake’s soul-inflected vocals, and featuring contributions from hip hop artist RZA and electronic musician Brian Eno.[42][43] Discussing his stylistic development, critic Mark Fisher wrote that “listening back to Blake’s records in chronological sequence is like hearing a ghost gradually assume material form […] out of digital ether.”[43] Author Madison Moore noted the prominent use of minimalism, sparseness, and silence in Blake’s work, a quality also noted by Eno in 2013: “he takes a lot of stuff out and ends up with very skeletal pieces.”[50]

Thanks, Wikipedia, you know everything! Sounds pretty badass, right? We have a pair of tix to see him perform at the Electric Factory on Friday. To qualify to win, send an email to Phawker66@gmail.com with the answer the correct answer to the following question: What is the name of the song James Blake and Bon Iver collaborated on? Put the magic words POST DUBSTEP in the subject line and include your full name and a mobile number for confirmation. Good luck and godspeed!

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ARTSY: Being David Lynch

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Playing Lynch: Official trailer to Psychogenic Fugue from Squarespace on Vimeo.

Psychogenic Fugue is the full length Director’s Cut film from the project “Playing Lynch”, a collaborative meditation on the work of David Lynch. Hosted by Squarespace, and directed by Sandro, this film features seven re-creations of some of Lynch’s most iconic characters, as performed by John Malkovich, and featuring the music of David Lynch, as performed by artists like The Flaming Lips and Angelo Badalamenti. The film was lovingly created for the benefit of the David Lynch Foundation.

RELATED: “It’s Like You’ve Gone Through a Black Hole:” Five Artists on the Impact of David Lynch’s Music

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NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

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FRESH AIR: Donald Trump has refused to release his income tax returns. This has left unanswered questions about his business practices and possible conflicts of interest between what’s best for his international businesses and what’s best for our country. My guest, Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold, has found an alternate window into some of Trump’s finances. Since January, Fahrenthold has been looking into Trump’s charitable giving. His reporting has raised questions about ways in which the Trump Foundation may have violated the law. He’s found that Trump hasn’t always followed through on donations he’s committed to, and some charitable donations that Trump claims to have made from his own pocket actually came from money others donated to his foundation. Fahrenthold also discovered that Trump has sometimes requested that money owed to him be paid to the foundation, which may have enabled him to avoid paying taxes on that money. Fahrenthold has used crowdsourcing on Twitter to help him find information on whether Trump has fulfilled his financial promises to charities and how he’s used his foundation’s money. Fahrenthold’s Twitter account was described as one of the most surprise sensations of the election year by CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter. MORE

RELATED: The Complete History Of Trump Vs. Rosie O’Donnell

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SIDEWALKING: I’m With Her

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

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8th & Master yesterday via @DanMcQuade

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EIGHT MILES HIGH: Q&A With Mild High Club

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

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Dylan_LongBY DYLAN LONG Sitting down for 5 minutes and watching a Mild High Club music video is a journey. The solo project founded by jazz studies major Alex Brettin turned full band serves as a portal to another dimension; their very own dimension, crafted by the sights and sounds of who knows how many acid trips. Signed to Stones Throw Records, the band has two full albums out and have embarked on a lengthy countrywide tour in support of their latest album, Skiptracing. In advance of Mild High Club’s PhilaMOCA show tonight with Louie Louie and Point Breeze Country Club, we got on the phone with lead vocalist and founder Alex to discuss sex on planes, drugs and baby starfish.

PHAWKER: Hey Alex, this is Dylan from Phawker. How’s it goin’?

ALEX BRETTIN: Hey man, I’m good.mildhighclub

PHAWKER: So, Mild High Club. I’m assuming that’s a knock off of the Mile High Club, which is a club reserved for people who have successfully had sex on a commercial flight. Are you apart of that club, and if you are what is your advice for others who aspire to join?

ALEX BRETTIN: I’m not apart of the Mile High Club yet, so I can’t say, but I am apart of the “ate pot brownies on a plane and fell asleep” club.

PHAWKER: What is the worst part of living in Los Angeles?

ALEX BRETTIN: Probably either the cars or the smog. Just driving in general, there’s a lot of cars.

PHAWKER: Let’s talk drugs. How many times have you taken psychedelic drugs, and what was your best trip? Where were you, who were you with, etc.

ALEX BRETTIN: I’ve probably taken 4…20…69 trips all over the world, in various incarnations and with various groups of my friends; strangers as well. I couldn’t put a number on it.

PHAWKER: Is there any trip that stands out amongst the rest of them as best or worst?

ALEX BRETTIN: I mean… they’re all tight. There was one time where my friends and I went to the beach and we discovered this crazy cycle of life in a tide pool. During low tide we found a ton of baby starfish that came in, like a whole colony, and they were super weird and moving all around and shit. That was one of the coolest trips.

PHAWKER: Is there any drug you would never take under any circumstance?

ALEX BRETTIN: I wouldn’t take a bunch. I wouldn’t take rat poison, I wouldn’t take Wikki Stix, nothing that would kill me.

PHAWKER: No research chemicals?morrocco-mole

ALEX BRETTIN: No, those are kinda cool I guess, I don’t know. I don’t really know what to say, my mom is probably gonna be reading all this… so I think I wanna keep all that off the records for now.

PHAWKER: If you could be any cartoon character for a day, who would it be and why?

ALEX BRETTIN: Hmmm. I would definitely be this one guy, I forget who he is, he wears a fez and he’s a mole. [His name is Morocco Mole. — The Ed.] I’d be Woody the Woodpecker… dude I’d be all of them, I love cartoons. Especially from the Warner Bros closet. Definitely not Disney Channel or any of that. Road Runner would be cool.

PHAWKER: Last question, your bio says you’ve worked with Ariel Pink. I was wondering if you could tell us something about him that people would be surprised to know, or wouldn’t suspect of him.

ALEX BRETTIN: *pause* Shit, I don’t know. I feel there’s everything out there about him ever. I’m sure people have said it before but he’s a very, very nice guy. Yeah. He’s a genuine sweetheart, always been a great friend.

PHAWKER: Thanks for your time man.

ALEX BRETTIN: Yep, no problem.



MILD HIGH CLUB PLAY PHILAMOCA TUESDAY SEPT. 27TH $10

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Trump Gives The Children Of America Dick Lessons

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

By SuperDeluxe

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FOUND: The Lost Bowie Album Recorded In Philly

Monday, September 26th, 2016

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THE TELEGRAPH: A lost album from David Bowie might seem like the holy grail of pop music yet the peculiarly named The Gouster, raised from the archives, is right here as the centrepiece of a handsome new 12-CD box set, Who Can I Be Now? (1974-76). The 27-year-old Bowie stares from the sleeve, draped in a newspaper and the American flag, looking unusually anxious, as if wondering what posterity might make of a collection of recordings he, himself, deemed unfit for release. He needn’t have worried. The Gouster turns out to be a minor joy from a major artist, a soulful stepping stone on the way to inventing a whole new genre of music. Between 1969 and 1980, Bowie released 13 astonishing albums. In the two-year, 1974-76, period alone he put out three albums: Diamond Dogs, Young Americans and Station to Station – all included in the new box set in various mixes. And now, it turns out there’s more. Well, sort of. Recorded in that same “American” period, during a break from touring over two incredibly productive weeks in Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia, The Gouster has been restored from original mixes by producer Tony Visconti. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: Q&A With Tony Visconti

PREVIOUSLY:
David Bowie Will Never Die

EDITOR’S NOTE: Glouster begins @ track 60.

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WORTH REPEATING: Dear White People, It’s Time We Talked Seriously About This Trump Noise

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

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DAILY KOS: I know it’s been a good long while since we had an honest and open conversation. I can’t say that I speak for everyone from my particular demographic of African Americans, because we don’t all agree—just as we all know not every Caucasian American thinks or believes the same. But before things go too much further and get too much worse, we need to talk. Seriously talk. Not at each other, not about each other from another room, but to each other. First: Let’s get to brass tacks about this Trump guy.

He says he wants to make things better for all of us, which would be nice. However his track record is a bit spotty. He once did something nice for Jesse Jackson. Okay, that’s cool. But he was also president of his father’s company when they were deliberately trying to keep black people from living in their buildings. Yeah, sure, that was a long time ago. In the meantime there was the Central Park Five incident, when he called for the death penalty to be used on five innocent black teenagers accused of a brutal rape. That one still kinda burns.

Trump had nothing to say about the shooting of Philando Castille, who had a legal gun permit. He had nothing to say about Castille having been pulled over 52 times and never getting arrested. He had nothing to say about the killing of Alton Sterling, in a state that doesn’t require a permit to open carry. He had nothing to say about he killing of 13-year-old Tyre King, who had a realistic looking BB gun—but then again, Ohio is also an open-carry state. He didn’t say anything when Officer Slam threw a 13-year-old girl across a school room.  He didn’t say anything about the McKinney, Texas, pool party incident. He had nothing to say about the shooting of Laquan McDonald, even though police clearly lied about what really happened and tried to cover it up.  And he had nothing to say about the officer who lied and falsely arrested Sandra Bland. He didn’t say anything about any of that until he was specifically asked at a black church. MORE

POLITICO: The 87 Biggest Lies Donald Trump Told Last Weektrump89

NEW YORK TIMES: The 31 Biggest Lies Donald Trump Told Sept. 15th-21st

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Donald Trump says that taxes in the United States are higher than almost anywhere else on earth. They’re not.  He says he opposed the Iraq war from the start. He didn’t. Now, after years of spreading the lie that President Obama was born in Africa, Trump says that Hillary Clinton did it first (untrue) and that he’s the one who put the controversy to rest (also untrue). Never in modern presidential politics has a major candidate made false statements as routinely as Trump has. Over and over, independent researchers have examined what the Republican nominee says and concluded it was not the truth — but “pants on fire” (PolitiFact) or “four Pinocchios” (Washington Post Fact Checker). MORE

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INCOMING: Straight Outta Christchurch

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

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On the whole, Philadelphians don’t take good times for granted, yes? (We savored the Phillies’ quasi-dynasty last decade; ditto for that ‘74-75 brace of Stanley Cups.) Let’s make sure this positive approach includes the current surfeit of notable New Zealand recording artists coincidentally touring through town here in late September. (Fact: 3 Kiwi acts are playing Philly within six days of each other, all hailing from NZ’s pastoral South Island; while bigger than the country’s commercial/ political hub of North Island, its 1,076,300 residents are but a quarter of its population. Fascinating.)

Most immediately, the Renderers play Kung Fu Necktie this Saturday. Founded in 1989 by couple Brian and Maryrose Crook of Christchurch, they did what many of New Zealand’s internationally celebrated underground/ indie rock bands have done since 1981: put out their first album on local NZ label Flying Nun. 1990’s Trail of Tears established their darkly sparse,  country/ bluesy songcraft, a signature sound through to this renderers3year’s excellent In The Sodium Light. An appealing, sepia-toned melancholia pervades all, with Maryrose and Brian each singing (so well) and applying moody, unhurried guitar+more play to gorgeously atmospheric, sometimes spacey effect. It works. Any fans of the Dirty Three who aren’t already in their dusty corner should head over.

As with other quality NZ acts, there’s a Philly angle – and it does, like said others, involve eternally estimable local label Siltbreeze, who put out the Renderers’ acclaimed A Dream of the Sea in 1998. (The Crooks, who recently relocated to the Mojave Desert, will be re-releasing the album on their own Tinsel Ears imprint soon.) More local score: Rosali, the compatible Philadelphia-based “psych-folk” opener on Saturday, released her oft-shimmering, feathery-fine debut Out of Love on Siltbreeze earlier this year.

“But the big [Siltbreeze-connected successive-Kiwis-LIVE-in-Philly] story” this week is still The Dead C’s cathartic, sonic guitar-squall, controlled art-noise set @ Johnny Brenda’s on Wednesday. The New Zealand trio has earned legendary status over its three decades for producing dense yet ingeniously textured, highly listenable (yes!) slabs of “lo-fi” sound-sculpture via guitars/ amps/ pedals/ etc. It’s gone out on record – Flying Nun; Xpressway (member Bruce Russell’s label, which also, BTW, released Renderers’ Brian Crook’s earlier band, the Terminals); a slew of revered ‘90s albums on Siltbreeze; and the brand new Trouble – and it was conjured onstage in Philly, one of just four USA tour dates.

If you missed it, I’m sorry – it may be because neither The Dead C nor the Renderers, to date, got ANY known press in Philly, preview or review – but … An unbroken, shifting, droning, enthralling soundscape of nearly an hr was created by Russell and Michael Morley working their gear, with scattered drum loops from a missing Robbie Yeats (who has played on some Renderers tracks), held up by visa problems. Oh yeah: for a different flavor of Kiwi, there’s the sweet-voiced country-indie stylings of Marlon Williams (Gram Parsons-indebted, down with Townes V.Z., etc.), playing Boot & Saddle on Tuesday. Dude’s way New Zealand – Maori, actually, descended from the Ngāi Tahu, indigenous to Te Waipounamu (that’s a co-existing official name of South Island – respect).– DAVID R. STAMPONE

THE RENDERERS + PIGEONS + ROSALI @ KUNG FU NECKTIE TONIGHT

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TONIGHT: Teenage Symphonies To God

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

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Love & Mercy tells the harrowing, heartbreaking story of the life of Brian Wilson — Beach Boys auteur and resident genius — which goes like this: Angel-headed boy from Hawthorne, California, at the dawn of the 1960s, smitten by the harmonic convergence of The Four Freshman and the shimmering Spectorian grandeur of “Be My Baby,” forms band with his two brothers and asshole cousin, calls it The Beach Boys, writes uber-catchy ditties of Zen-like simplicity about surfing, hot rods and girls (despite being slapped deaf in his right ear by his sadistic tyrant of a father), boy becomes international pop star, boy has nervous breakdown and retires from touring and retreats to the studio where he gets into a pissing match with the Beatles and the race is on to get to the next level first, boy takes LSD, boy blows mind, boy sees God, boy starts hearing strange and beautiful music in his head, boy plays the studio like an instrument, sings choirs of angels, creates music of overarching majesty, astonishing beauty and profound sadness, boy makes greatest pop album of all time (Pet Sounds) and the greatest song of the 20th Century (“Good Vibrations”), boy starts hearing terrifying voices in his head, beset by demons from within and without (his sadistic tyrant of a father, his asshole cousin) boy loses mind and, eventually, the confidence of his band mates who pull the plug on his game-changing “teenage symphony to God” originally called Dumb Angel, but later re-titled Smile, boy retreats into a years-long bedroom hermitage of Herculean drug consumption, morbid obesity and sweet insanity, columnated ruins domino, family hires Mephistophelian psychiatrist/psychic vampire Dr. Eugene Landy (played with satanic aplomb by Paul Giamatti), who switches out boy’s steady diet of cocaine, LSD, sloth and self-pity for a zombie-fying regimen of prescription narcotics, fitness Nazism, and 24-7 mind control, boy meets girl (Melinda Ledbetter, his soon-to-be second wife, played by a big-haired, puffy-shouldered Elizabeth Banks) at a Cadillac dealership and falls in love, girl rescues boy from the clutches of evil doctor, boy lives happily ever after, or a reasonably close approximation thereof.

Pretty simple, really.

Granted it’s not a story that lends itself to the linear-flow cradle-to-grave biopic treatment, which is no doubt why Love & Mercy director Bill Pohlad (executive producer of Brokeback Mountain, 12 Years A Slave and Tree Of Life) and screenwriter Oren Moverman (I’m Not There, Jesus’ Son) elected to craft a bi-polar narrative that switches back and forth from the middle-aged Brian (played with aptly vacant affect by John Cusack, who eschews impersonation for for understated evocation) and young genius Brian (played with doughy intensity and uncanny resemblance by Paul Dano, who does not so much impersonate young Brian Wilson as inhabit him), in a race to the middle where they collide in the time-space-continuum of Brian’s bedroom in a mind-bending montage that is both loving homage and direct quote of the mysterious metaphysical endgame of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The ancient, iconic moments of Wilsonian mythos — the barefoot, white Chinos- &-blue-Pendelton shirt-wearing, surfboard-toting photo shoot idylls; the terrifying nervous breakdown at 20,000 feet; the acid-fueled, poolside transfiguration; the Wrecking Crew’s adoration of his otherworldly compositional prowess; the drug den wigwam in the living room and the piano in the sandbox; the fireman-hatted Smile session meltdown; the prison of belief in Landy’s methods (less a therapist than a sinister puppeteer) — are recreated in arresting, picture-perfect period detail. The cinematography nails the shifting tone and color and tint of the times and the score and sound design is suitably mind-altering. Pedestrians may quibble, but that will fall away in time. Love & Mercy is a grand and lasting monument to the noble beauty wrung from one man’s epic suffering. It is the story of Icarus on the beach, of the boy who got too high — flew too near the sun on wings of wax — and the man who fell to Earth. – JONATHAN VALANIA

BRIAN WILSON PERFORMS PET SOUNDS @ THE TOWER THEATER TONIGHT

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BETWEEN TWO FERNS: Hillary Clinton

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

“Are you excited to be the first girl president?”

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WORTH REPEATING: ‘Did They Have To Kill Him?’

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

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FACEBOOK: Today at school, our staff decided we needed to press pause and create a space for kids to share their thoughts and feelings in response to the killing of Mr. Crutcher. I was part of facilitating three small group discussions throughout the day: a fifth grade group, a sixth grade group, and a seventh/eighth grade group. I want to share what I experienced with the kids today, because I am convinced that if you can put yourself in the shoes of a child of color in Tulsa right now, you will have a clearer understanding of the crisis we’re facing and why we say black lives matter.

1. I look at the wide-eyed faces of the fifth graders surrounding me: 10 and 11 year olds, waiting to hear what I had to say. I tell them we will read a news article about the shooting together so we can all be informed. As I read, the students busily highlight and underline parts that stand out to them: Fatally shot. Hands raised. “Bad dude.” Motionless. Affected forever. I finish and I ask them, “What are your thoughts?”

They answer with questions. Why did they have to kill him? Why were they afraid of him? Why does [student] have to live life without a father? What will she do at father daughter dances? Who will walk her down the aisle? Why did no one help him after he was shot? Hasn’t this happened before? Can we write her cards? Can we protest?

As the questions roll, so do the tears. Students cry softly as they speak. Others weep openly. I watch 10 year olds pass tissues to each other, to me, to our principal as he joins our circle. One girl closes our group by sharing: “I wish white people could give us a chance. We can all come together and get along. We can all be united.” Let me tell you, these 10 year olds are more articulate about this than I am. We agree to love one another, to take care of one another. I tell each of them that I am white and I love them and they matter to me. MORE

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Via BuzzFeed

Cost of the War in Iraq
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