WBEZ | Art http://www.wbez.org/sections/art Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Strandbeests Exhibit Opens In Chicago http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2016-02-05/strandbeests-exhibit-opens-chicago-114742 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/18%20-%20Animaris%20Currens%20Ventosa%2C%20Oostvoorne%2C%20Netherlands%20%281993%29.%20Courtesy%20of%20Theo%20Jansen.%20Photo%20by%20Adriaan%20Kok.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Theo Jansen’s Animaris Currens Ventosa, Oostvoorne, Netherlands- 1993. (Courtesy of Theo Jansen. Photo by Adriaan Kok)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/245647577&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;">Weekend Passport: Artist Theo Jansen&rsquo;s beach creatures</span><br />Each week global citizen Nari Safavi helps listeners plan their international weekend. &nbsp;You may not know the name Theo Jansen but you might have seen his walking &ldquo;beach creatures.&rdquo; The Dutch artist&rsquo;s kinetic sculptures, known as &ldquo;strandbeests&rdquo; are powered by the wind. &nbsp;A free exhibit of his work is on display at the &nbsp;Chicago Cultural Center. &nbsp;Jansens joins us to talk about his work.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Guests:</strong> Nari Safavi is one of the founders of Pasfarda Arts and Culture Exchange<br />Theo Jansen is an artist.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SEG%20B-%20Greece.jpg" title="Members of the PAME Communist-affiliated hold a banner reads in Greek ''Social Security'' during a 24-hour nationwide general strike in Athens, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. Combine a rapidly aging population, a depleted work force and leaky finances and any country’s pension system would be in trouble. For debt-hobbled, unemployment-plagued Greece, it’s a nightmare.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/245647585&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;">General strike interrupts life in Greece</span><br />A general strike this week in Greece shut schools, businesses and even had some hospitals running with only emergency staff. &nbsp;Greeks were protesting pension reforms that have been demanded by the country&rsquo;s international creditors. Pensions have already been cut in recent years. We&rsquo;ll take a look at what kinds of reforms are being considered and how they could impact Greeks with Nick Malkoutzis, deputy editor of the Greek daily Kathimerini English Edition and editor of the economic and political analysis website Macropolis.</p><p><br /><strong>Guest:</strong> Nick Malkoutzis is the deputy editor of the Greek daily Kathimerini English Edition and editor of the economic and political analysis website Macropolis.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" angeles.="" at="" by="" class="image-original_image" feb.="" in="" invision="" jordan="" los="" on="" photo="" regency="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SEG%20C-Hail%20Ceasar.jpg" strauss="" the="" theatre="" title="Ethan Coen, left, and Joel Coen arrive at the world premiere of " village="" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/245647589&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;">New Coen brothers&rsquo; film takes on Hollywood</span><br />&ldquo;Hail Caesar!,&rdquo; the latest film by the Coen brothers, &nbsp;centers around a fixer &nbsp;who works for a movie studio and tries to solve their problems. &nbsp;He&rsquo;s called in when a studio star (played by George Clooney) is kidnapped. Film contributor Milos Stehlik shares his take on the film.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Guest:</strong> Milos Stehlik is the director of Facets Multimedia</p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2016-02-05/strandbeests-exhibit-opens-chicago-114742 Theft and Artistry: Coldplay, Beyoncé in India Spark Discussion on Appropriation http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/theft-and-artistry-coldplay-beyonc%C3%A9-india-spark-discussion-appropriation-114756 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/beyonce-video-a18c184763e3c9d31b4c5d5ffeb27da58b02d5eb-s800-c85.png" alt="" /><p><p>Here&#39;s what we know: Coldplay and Beyoncé will perform at Sunday&#39;s Super Bowl halftime. The duo just released a song called &quot;Hymn for the Weekend.&quot;</p><p>But they won&#39;t be performing it &mdash; because it&#39;s too new, according to the band. &quot;I don&#39;t think it would be quite right,&quot; said frontman Chris Martin,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.oregonlive.com/nfl/index.ssf/2016/02/what_will_coldplay_sing_at_sup.html">according to The Associated Press.</a></p><p>The decision comes as the song&#39;s music video has ignited a heated debate about cultural appropriation. The video, which uses India as a backdrop, has drawn a focus on where we draw the line between what&#39;s acceptable and what&#39;s offensive.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="435" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YykjpeuMNEk" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Recently, the debate over cultural appropriation hasn&#39;t been very hard to find. Just look at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100">the top of the pop charts</a>, right now. At No. 2 on the Hot 100 is Justin Bieber&#39;s &quot;Sorry,&quot;&nbsp;a song that takes inspiration from Latin-American&nbsp;reggaeton.</p><p>Bieber dropped that single in October, and just as quickly &mdash; and thousands of miles away in Chile &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://pousta.com/reggaeton-justin-bieber/">a blogger called him out on it</a>.</p><p>&quot;The new single by Bieber is a tutorial from Skrillex on how to make reggaeton for white people,&quot; Maximiliano Jimenez wrote.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="435" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fRh_vgS2dFE" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Jimenez runs a runs the pop culture site&nbsp;<a href="http://pousta.com/">Pousta</a>&nbsp;and he said the song is a type of cultural colonialism.</p><p>&quot;The music business sees Latin America and this kind of music as an inspiration to make more money,&quot; he said.</p><p>Greg Tate, a musician who wrote a book about appropriation titled&nbsp;Everything But the Burden,&nbsp;says it&#39;s more complicated than that.</p><p>He says there is a key tension in any conversation about appropriation: First there is an artists&#39; desire to receive credit for their work &mdash; whether monetarily or artistically &mdash; and then there&#39;s the fundamental relationship between art and theft.</p><p>&quot;Your training as an artist is essentially about impersonation, imitation,&quot; he said. &quot;You learn to get better by kind of borrowing or adapting or training yourself in the way of the people who came before you.&quot;</p><p>In a lot of ways, that&#39;s why we keep having this conversation. We had it in the &#39;60s when George Harrison included a sitar in&nbsp;Norwegian Wood.</p><p>And then 20 years later, Paul Simon released&nbsp;Graceland,&nbsp;a lush album in which Simon reworked South African songs.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/09/03/160394864/paul-simon-on-making-graceland">In an interview with World Cafe</a>&nbsp;in 2012, Simon said that his intention wasn&#39;t to document the plight of black South Africans suffering under the oppression of Apartheid. It wasn&#39;t even to bring their music to the Western world. Instead, he said, wanted to make a good album.</p><p>&quot;My idea was, they play their best, I&#39;m going to play my best,&quot; he said. &quot;And that was my way of saying that I thought that they were extraordinary.&quot;</p><p>At the time many of the black musicians who played and sang on the album said they were happy with the collaboration in part because it had brought South African music to the global stage.</p><p>The legendary South African musician Jonas Gwangwa was one of the few dissenters.<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/apr/19/paul-simon-graceland-acclaim-outrage">As The Guardian tells it</a>, when he heard someone praise Simon for shining a spotlight on South African music he replied: &quot;So, it has taken another white man to discover my people.&quot;</p><p>Since then, there have been many more examples. From the obvious:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theroot.com/blogs/the_grapevine/2014/07/katy_the_queen_of_cultural_appropriation_perry_is_at_it_again.html">Katy Perry in cornrows</a>&nbsp;and a Taylor Swift video&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/09/01/436653602/taylor-swift-is-dreaming-of-a-very-white-africa">filmed in an entirely white Africa</a>. To the more complicated: Shakira, a Latina of Arabic descent,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BzkbSq7pww">belly dancing</a>&nbsp;and Macklemore acknowledging the theft of black culture&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_rl4ZGdy34">in a nine-minute song</a>&nbsp;that exploits the very thing he&#39;s railing against.</p><p>Nitasha Tamar Sharma, a professor at Northwestern University who studies hip-hop, says she&#39;s not that interested in talking about when appropriation is right or wrong. She&#39;s not really interested in talking about why Eminem is controversial but Adele, who borrows from the tradition of soul, is not. She said ultimately what she thinks is important is the effect that thoughtless appropriation &mdash; perpetrated by a white person or a person of color &mdash; has beyond culture.</p><p>When we&#39;re presented with caricatures of other cultures, she says, it&#39;s easier for people to view them as sub-human. It&#39;s easier to pass unfair economic policies, for example, or even to start a war.</p><p>&quot;I think when people of color and dominated groups just become a backdrop with no voice and context, no humanity,&quot; she said, &quot;I think that&#39;s the problem.&quot;</p><p>That&#39;s what the video that goes along with Bieber track accomplishes she said.</p><p>&quot;For the most part, [the women] are just props: scores and scores of generally undifferentiated women,&quot; she said. The message he&#39;s sending is that &quot;he is drawing from Black and Brown cultural formation (with the track and the dances) absent the full presence of Black and Brown people and can do it just as good as they can.&quot;</p><p>Sharma said the same can be said of the Coldplay and Beyoncé song. Indian culture, she said, is presented with the same old stereotypes and it is relegated to a background.</p><p>Tate, the musician, has a much similar criticism of the song.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s just seems so damn corporate,&quot; he said. &quot;Something that a Duran Duran might&#39;ve done in 1985 and that just makes it mediocre.&quot;</p><p>However, Tate said, the discussion on appropriation is necessarily subjective, so he chooses to subscribe to the wise words of Public Enemy&#39;s Hank Schocklee.</p><p>&quot;He said the only question that matters is whether or not it&#39;s dope,&quot; Tate said. &quot;They may be offended but at the same time, they&#39;ll just have to admit you made something that works.&quot;</p><p>The bottom line, he said, is that the Coldplay/Beyoncé collaboration is not dope.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/02/06/465622102/theft-and-artistry-coldplay-beyonc-in-india-spark-discussion-on-appropriation?ft=nprml&amp;f=465622102"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/theft-and-artistry-coldplay-beyonc%C3%A9-india-spark-discussion-appropriation-114756 Theater Company Uses Art To Take On A Dictator http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2016-02-03/theater-company-uses-art-take-dictator-114694 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IraqPolice1.jpg" title="Iraqi police commandos march during a ceremony marking Police Day at the police academy in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/245312188&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Progressive Political Movements in Iraq</span></p><p>Ali Issa is an organizer with War Resisters League, an NGO that &ldquo;works to sow and grow seeds of peace and liberation in our time.&rdquo; His new book <em>Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq</em> details numerous interviews and encounters he had with Iraqis and Iraqi activists working on progressive policies.</p><p>Issa talks with us about his mission to show the West that despite the sectarian strife and war with groups like ISIS, there is a vibrant pro-democracy, pro-modernity movement in Iraq.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong> Ali Issa is a national field organizer with the NGO, War Resisters League. Author of the book&nbsp;<em>Struggle Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq</em>.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/KingLear3.jpg" title="King Lear in Belarusian by Belarus Free Theatre (Photo by Simon Kane)" /></div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/245312186&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The Belarus Free Theatre Takes on Government and &lsquo;King Lear&rsquo;</span></p><p>Belarus has been under the authoritarian rule of president Alexander Lukashenko for more than 20 years. Observers view his rule as a throwback to the Soviet Union. Civil liberties and free artistic expression are commonly suppressed.</p><p>The Belarus Free Theatre was founded in 2005 by co-creator Natalia Kaliada. The group was banned by the government and forced to go underground. BFT produces numerous works critical of authoritarianism, including its most recent work- an interpretation of Shakespeare&rsquo;s <em>King Lear</em>.</p><p>The play opens this Friday in Chicago at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre as part of its yearlong &ldquo;Shakespeare 400&rdquo; celebration. We first spoke with Kaliada in 2011. She&rsquo;s back to update us on her work and the situation in Belarus.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong> Natalia Kaliada is the co-creator of Belarus Free Theatre.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Sainkho.jpg" title="Sainkho Namtchylak’s latest album “Like a bird or spirit, not a face” is available now through Ponderosa Records." /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/245312184&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Global Notes: The Music of Sainko Namtchylak</span></p><p>This week on Global Notes we bring you the sounds of Tuvan throat singer Sainko Namtchylak, who&#39;s just released her 45th album!</p><p>On this latest album, she teams up with a couple members of the Tuareg desert blues band Tinariwen - the Steppes meet the Sahara. It&rsquo;s a new twist on the ancient tradition of throat singing, which was first developed by nomadic herdsmen in Central Asia.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong> Tony Sarabia is the host of Morning Shift and Radio M.</p></p> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 16:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2016-02-03/theater-company-uses-art-take-dictator-114694 Charlotte Moorman Comes to Block Museum http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-19/charlotte-moorman-comes-block-museum-114506 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Hartmut Beifuss closeup.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Charlotte Moorman was a classically trained cellist and advocate for the avant-garde movement, but it was her provocative performances that garnered the most attention.</p><p>Moorman earned the moniker &ldquo;the topless cellist&rdquo; after baring her chest behind the strings of her instrument while on stage. After one particular performance in 1967, she landed in jail on charges of indecent exposure. And while that event put the artist&rsquo;s name out there, it also dismissed much of her other work.</p><p>&ldquo;It sort of eclipses all the other things that she&rsquo;s done in terms of bringing avant-garde art and music to a very broad public,&rdquo; says Corinne Granof, a curator at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University. Northwestern University Libraries owns the Charlotte Moorman collection, and worked in partnership with The Block&nbsp;for the new exhibition &ldquo;A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s-1980s.&rdquo;<br /><br />Granof and her fellow curators say the goal of opening the archive is to bring a deeper understanding of the artist, so she&rsquo;s known for more than that one infamous performance. Moorman was able, however, to use the arrest to her advantage. Granof says it gave the artist opportunities to spread the word about the avant-garde movement outside the art world. She made appearances on popular talk shows like &ldquo;The Mike Douglas Show&rdquo;, &ldquo;The Merv Griffin Show&rdquo; and &ldquo;The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.&rdquo;<br /><br />But the arrest followed her. Curator Granof explains that when Moorman went for a permit to host a festival at New York City&rsquo;s 69th Regiment Armory, she had to promise &ldquo;there would be no nudity, no politics and no drugs.&rdquo; She agreed to those terms so New Yorkers could see and hear the work of her fellow artists and friends. The annual festivals were no small affair. Moorman organized the fests from 1963-1980 and managed to get permits to host them in places like Shea Stadium, the World Trade Center, even the Staten Island Ferry. Granof says the goal was to create &ldquo;a real intersection between avant-garde and the public.&rdquo; Posters from those festivals are featured in the exhibition, along with the artist&rsquo;s performances on her cello, and ephemera that offers a glimpse into her life as a poor, working artist.<br /><br />&ldquo;A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s-1980s&rdquo; runs through July 17.<br /><br /><em><strong>Correction: January 21, 2016</strong><br />This story previously misstated the owner of Charlotte Moorman&rsquo;s archive.&nbsp;Northwestern University Libraries owns the collection, and worked in partnership&nbsp;with the Block Museum to present the exhibition.</em></p></p> Tue, 19 Jan 2016 10:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-19/charlotte-moorman-comes-block-museum-114506 Rock Icon David Bowie Dies At 69 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/rock-icon-david-bowie-dies-69-114437 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-85057401_custom-f865d003d25a1da5c2dfcf2512b5a3fde118483b-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Iconic rock musician David Bowie has died of cancer at age 69. The news was announced in a statement on Bowie&#39;s social media sites:</p><p>&quot;David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer,&quot; it said.</p><p>Bowie&#39;s death was confirmed by his son Duncan Jones who tweeted, &quot;Very sorry and sad to say it&#39;s true. I&#39;ll be offline for a while. Love to all.&quot;</p><p>The singer released&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2015/12/17/460023894/all-songs-1-david-bowie-fulfills-his-jazz-dream">his latest album,&nbsp;<em>Blackstar</em>,</a>&nbsp;on his birthday on Friday.&nbsp;<em>The New York Times</em>&nbsp;described the album as &quot;typically enigmatic and exploratory.&quot;</p><p>In a career that spanned decades and incorporated various personas, including Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke, Bowie was known for his innovative and wide-ranging musical styles and his highly theatrical stage presentation.</p><p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/12/arts/music/david-bowie-dies-at-69.html?_r=0" target="_blank">The New York Times reports</a>:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Mr. Bowie was his generation&#39;s standard-bearer for rock as theater: something constructed and inflated yet sincere in its artifice, saying more than naturalism could. With a voice that dipped down to baritone and leaped into falsetto, he was complexly androgynous, an explorer of human impulses that could not be quantified.</p><p>&quot;He also pushed the limits of &#39;Fashion&#39; and &#39;Fame,&#39; writing songs with those titles and also thinking deeply about the possibilities and strictures of pop renown.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>Bowie&#39;s popularity hit another peak in the &#39;80s with the release of&nbsp;<em>Let&#39;s Dance</em>. Hit singles from that album included the title track as well as &quot;Modern Love&quot; and &quot;China Girl.&quot;</p><p>In addition to his musical career, Bowie was an actor, appearing in films including&nbsp;<em>The Man Who Fell to Earth</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>Labyrinth</em>.</p><p>Bowie is survived by two children and his wife, the model Iman.</p><p><em>&mdash; via&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/11/462625874/rock-icon-david-bowie-dead-at-69?ft=nprml&amp;f=462625874">NPR News</a></em></p></p> Mon, 11 Jan 2016 08:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/rock-icon-david-bowie-dies-69-114437 Kendrick Lamar: 'I Can't Change the World Until I Change Myself First' http://www.wbez.org/sections/art/kendrick-lamar-i-cant-change-world-until-i-change-myself-first-114307 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/lamar.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When you think of music in 2015, you have to think of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/166009689/kendrick-lamar">Kendrick Lamar</a>.&nbsp;To Pimp a Butterfly&nbsp;recently scored 11 Grammy nominations, more than any other artist, and &quot;Alright&quot; became an anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement against police abuse.</p><p>Lamar grew up in Compton, Calif., in the &#39;80s and &#39;90s, surrounded by poverty and gang wars. He says he witnessed his first murder at age 5.</p><p>&quot;It was outside my apartment unit,&quot; Lamar tells NPR&#39;s David Greene. &quot;A guy was out there serving his narcotics and somebody rolled up with a shotgun and blew his chest out. Admittedly, it done something to me right then and there. It let me know that this is not only something that I&#39;m looking at, but it&#39;s something that maybe I have to get used to &mdash; you dig what I&#39;m saying?</p><p>&quot;You grow up inside these neighborhoods and these communities, and you have friends, friends that you love, friends that you grew up with since elementary. And you have their trust, and you have their loyalty. So it brings influence. So no matter how much of a leader I thought I was, I was always under the influence, period. Most of the times, when they were involved in these acts of destruction, I was right there.&quot;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z-48u_uWMHY" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Kendrick Lamar doesn&#39;t have a rap sheet himself, but he says he&#39;s hurt people. Music saved him: He spent long nights in the studio instead of on the streets, and two years ago, his album&nbsp;good kid, m.A.A.d city&nbsp;went platinum. But for a young man who grew up in Compton, sudden success was overwhelming.</p><p>&quot;You can have the platinum album, but when you still feel like you haven&#39;t quite found your place in the world &mdash; it kind of gives a crazy offset,&quot; Lamar says. &quot;When you go inside these places, no matter how much money you have, no matter how much success, when you still feel like you&#39;re not comfortable, where&#39;s the feeling in that?&quot;</p><p>On&nbsp;To Pimp a Butterfly, Lamar confronts these emotions. There&#39;s a refrain that he keeps coming back to, a spoken-word piece of sorts: &quot;I remember you was conflicted, misusing your influence. Sometimes I did the same, abusing my power, full of resentment, resentment that turned into a deep depression.&quot; Then there&#39;s a night in a hotel room, where he describes himself literally screaming out in agony.</p><p>&quot;What was the feeling? The feeling was missing home,&quot; Lamar says. &quot;The feeling was, I should be with my family right now when they&#39;re going through hardships, with the loss of my dear friends that&#39;s constantly passing while I&#39;m out on this road. The feeling was, &#39;How am I influencing so many people on this stage rather than influencing the ones that I have back home?&#39; That&#39;s the feeling: being inside the hotel room, and these thoughts I&#39;m just pondering back and forth while I look at the ceiling all night.&quot;</p><p>Back home, Lamar says, he &quot;probably lost more friends in this past summer than any other summer.&quot; One sticks out.</p><p>&quot;Chad Keaton. He was like my little brother; we grew up in the same community,&quot; Lamar says. &quot;I was actually best friends with his older brother, which is incarcerated right now. And him just always telling me to make sure that Chad is on the right path. And, you know, he&nbsp;was&nbsp;on the right path. But, you know, things happen where sometimes the good are in the wrong places, and that&#39;s exactly what happened. He got shot.&quot;</p><p>As much as Lamar makes the songs on&nbsp;To Pimp a Butterfly&nbsp;personal, people have taken the music to mean much more. In &quot;The Blacker the Berry,&quot; there&#39;s one line that created a lot of controversy &mdash; &quot;So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street, when gang-banging make me kill a n**** blacker than me? Hypocrite!&quot; &mdash; especially because he&#39;d become such a hero in the Black Lives Matter movement. Lamar insists he was singing about himself, but some think he&#39;s calling on people to look at their own behavior before they take out anger on the police.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s not me pointing at my community; it&#39;s me pointing at myself,&quot; Lamar says. &quot;I don&#39;t talk about these things if I haven&#39;t lived them, and I&#39;ve hurt people in my life. It&#39;s something I still have to think about when I sleep at night.</p><p>&quot;The message I&#39;m sending to myself &mdash; I can&#39;t change the world until I change myself first,&quot; he adds. &quot;For instance, when Chad was killed, I can&#39;t disregard the emotion of me relapsing and feeling the same anger that I felt when I was 16, 17 &mdash; when I wanted the next family to hurt, because you made my family hurt. Them emotions were still running in me, thinking about him being slain like that. Whether I&#39;m a rap star or not, if I still feel like that, then I&#39;m part of the problem rather than the solution.&quot;</p><p>For Kendrick Lamar right now, this somber mode is crucial, even as he realizes that the party is important, too.</p><p>&quot;I think that the depth is needed,&quot; he says. &quot;And there&#39;s a lot of other artists doing things outside of that depth that I enjoy &mdash; that music that I can actually have fun to, and not be in depth and think about, then I appreciate that. But as long as I&#39;m doing it right now, I&#39;ma continue to say just a little bit more that pertains to what&#39;s going on.&quot;</p><p><em>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/12/29/461129966/kendrick-lamar-i-cant-change-the-world-until-i-change-myself-first">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Tue, 29 Dec 2015 10:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/art/kendrick-lamar-i-cant-change-world-until-i-change-myself-first-114307 Progress for Pullman artists lofts http://www.wbez.org/sections/art/progress-pullman-artists-lofts-113527 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Pullmanloft.png" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">A proposed affordable housing development for Chicago&rsquo;s historic Pullman neighborhood appears to be gaining steam after a community meeting on Monday &nbsp;addressed some residents&rsquo; concerns.</p><p dir="ltr">The Pullman Artspace Lofts would be geared toward artists in a yet-to-be-built 39-unit, three-story apartment complex at 111th Street and Langley Avenue, just west of the Bishop Ford Expressway.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think this is a terrific project,&rdquo; attorney Leon Walker, who grew up near the Pullman area and now runs a law office located, said following the two-hour meeting where more than 150 people packed the offices of the Historic Pullman Foundation.</p><p dir="ltr">Walker says he&rsquo;s excited about the idea of a housing complex that would be aimed at attracting artists to the neighborhood, designated a national monument by President Obama earlier this year.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The artist community is fantastic for helping a neighborhood stabilize and to grow and recapture its strength again. Artists bring an activity, it really brings some vibrancy,&rdquo; Walker said. &ldquo;Kids get inspired by artists.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The Pullman Artspace Lofts, touted as affordable, mixed-used housing, are backed by the Minneapolis-based Artspace, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives and PullmanArts. VOA Associates is the architecture firm behind the project.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Art-Space has been successful not only in Chicago but across the country. The impact could be tremendous in a community as you bring artists into that area,&rdquo; Walker said.</p><p dir="ltr">At a previous meeting in early October, about 100 residents showed up and voiced concerns about whether the new structure would fit Pullman&rsquo;s historic character.</p><p dir="ltr">Bob Vroman, who lives right across from where the new structure would be built, doesn&rsquo;t think so.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It is not a Pullman structure. It is not put on the original footprint of the Pullman buildings that were originally here,&rdquo; Vroman said. &ldquo;And now that we are a national monument, how they could get away with building anything other than a reproduction of the buildings that were here,&rdquo; he continued. &ldquo;It just doesn&rsquo;t fit in.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">There was also concerns about whether the project would attract low-income tenants.</p><p dir="ltr">One resident at the meeting told Artspace officials that Pullman does not need affordable housing or more artists, and suggested the project might work better in a neighboring area such as Roseland or in North Pullman.</p><p dir="ltr">Artspace&rsquo;s Sarah White had to fend off concerns that the complex could become part of the Chicago Housing Authority.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We are not involved with CHA,&rdquo; White said. &ldquo;Artspace are stable, long-term owners.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Compared to previous gatherings, there appeared to be fewer naysayers at Monday night&rsquo;s meeting.</p><p dir="ltr">Lenny Carlson, who&rsquo;s lived in Pullman for 20 years, came to the meeting to find out more after hearing negative reviews.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The reason I&rsquo;m here tonight is because someone came to my house who objected to it because it was low-income housing. I thought that is no reason not to look at a project. I wanted to find out more about it,&rdquo; Carlson said. &ldquo;I see nothing that says this is a &nbsp;negative. I only see this a positive.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Carlson&rsquo;s wife, Helena Eckels, says she thinks the project is exciting.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I love the idea that there will be more artists here in Pullman,&rdquo; she said.</p><p dir="ltr">When asked if she feels the projects fits with Pullman&rsquo;s history, Eckels says,&rdquo;The town of Pullman was based on working-class people. Artists are working-class people. The architecture in Pullman is artwork. We&rsquo;re talking about artists providing more artwork.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Officials say at least one more community meeting will be scheduled before the end of the year.</p><p>Although more approvals are needed from the city, backers hope to have Pullman Artspace Lofts ready to accept tenants by early 2018.</p></p> Tue, 27 Oct 2015 18:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/art/progress-pullman-artists-lofts-113527 Saudi Arabia escalates attacks in Yemen http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-08-28/saudi-arabia-escalates-attacks-yemen-112764 <p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>Sheila Carapico says Saudi Arabia seeks hegemony over Yemen</strong></span></p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-d5363326-7617-f9aa-ab49-4abce8b3e762">News coming out of Yemen seems to indicate that Saudi Arabia is making bold moves to establish a foothold in the country to counter its rival, Iran. Reports suggest that the Saudis now have boots on the ground in Yemen as it continues bombing raids against Shiite Houthi rebels. But many observers, like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, feel more attention must be paid to the &ldquo;catastrophic&rdquo; humanitarian crisis resulting from the conflict. Sheila Carapico, political science professor at the University of Richmond, will tell us why she thinks most of the news coming out of Yemen is Saudi propaganda meant to take the eye off the slaughter of civilians.</span></p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-d5363326-761e-9a34-8bd2-6b4c2e091faa"><a href="http://polisci.richmond.edu/faculty/scarapic/">Sheila Carapico</a> is</span>&nbsp;professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Richmond</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/221328803&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>Hubert Sauper&#39;s film &quot;We Come as Freinds&quot; is on Western exploitation of Sudanese</strong></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-a7cf3a61-7619-6732-9b31-05a4a66f2aa3">This week, President Salva Kiir of South Sudan signed a peace accord aimed at ending nearly two years of conflict. Since the start of the civil war in 2013, at least eight peace deals have collapsed before ever taking effect. &nbsp;The conflict began as power struggle between Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar. &nbsp;The latest film by director &nbsp;Hubert Sauper, &#39;<a href="http://www.wecomeasfriends.com/us/">We Come as Friends</a>&#39;, explores the moment when Sudan was being divided into two nations. &nbsp;Film contributor Milos Stehlik and Hubert Sauper join us to discuss the film and what is happening in South Sudan.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><strong><span>Guests:&nbsp;</span></strong></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-a7cf3a61-761d-e247-4199-2453815fb63b">Hubert Sauper is the director of the film &quot;We Come As Friends&quot;.&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr">Milos Stehlik is the director of Facets Multimedia and WBEZ&rsquo;s film contributor.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/221330807&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>Weekend Passport: Ania Jaworska exhibit,&nbsp;<span id="docs-internal-guid-8ac0c89c-761a-f718-862c-aaae0b0fadfa">Chicago Dancing Festival</span>, Ugandan Kid&rsquo;s Choir and &#39;Art&#39; by Gorilla Tango</strong></span></p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-8ac0c89c-761b-5d85-394b-248ab47f0f16"><span id="docs-internal-guid-8ac0c89c-761c-7da3-4017-dfd5477d27a8">Each week, global citizen, Nari Safavi, helps listeners plan their international weekend. This week, we&rsquo;ll hear about an <a href="http://www2.mcachicago.org/exhibition/bmo-harris-bank-chicago-works-ania-jaworska/">exhibit</a> featuring the work of Polish artist Ania Jaworska.</span></span></p><p><strong>Guest:</strong> Nari Safavi is co-founder of Pasfarda Arts and Cultural Exchange</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/221330807&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-08-28/saudi-arabia-escalates-attacks-yemen-112764 'Straight Outta Compton' is the lamest kind of gloss-over musical biopic http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-08/straight-outta-compton-lamest-kind-gloss-over-musical-biopic-112628 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/NWA1.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 640px;" title="(Jaimie Trueblood/Universal Pictures)" /></div><p>We might expect that a big-budget Hollywood biopic produced or guided by the surviving members of N.W.A would sidestep the most troubling aspects of the hip-hop giants&rsquo; legacy: the cynical celebrations of the violent gangster lifestyle and, most troublingly, the level of sheer hatred toward women that still stands as a record low in the annals of musical misogyny.</p><p>What we wouldn&rsquo;t expect is an even bigger flaw in <em>Straight Outta Compton</em>, which opens this weekend and is expected to dominate the box office. At a bloated 147-minute running time, it often makes the explosive story of the self-professed &nbsp;&ldquo;World&rsquo;s Most Dangerous Group&rdquo; downright bland and boring.</p><p><a href="http://variety.com/2015/film/reviews/straight-outta-compton-review-1201553979/">Some fawning reviews</a> have compared the movie to another recent biopic of a West Coast musical legend, <em>Love &amp; Mercy. </em>But a few strong performances aside, the more apt comparisons are to other yawningly mediocre big-budget films that erase the rough edges of their subjects and somehow douse the fire at the heart of some of the most incendiary music ever made. Think <em>The Buddy Holly Story. </em>Think <em>La Bamba. </em>Think any made-for-VH1 movie, or <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-11/aaliyah-deserves-better-her-lifetime-biopic-111082">Lifetime&rsquo;s recent <em>Aaliyah: The Princess of R&amp;B</em></a> (whose star, Alexandra Shipp, appears here as Ice Cube&rsquo;s wife Kim, one of a handful of women briefly and grudgingly given speaking roles).</p><p>Better yet, think about sparing yourself the nearly 2.5 hours (<a href="http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2015/08/11/3757813/director-defends-straight-outta.html">reportedly cut down from 3.5</a>) in front of the big screen and wait for Netflix, if you must.</p><p>Like any music critic with a moral conscience who charted the group&rsquo;s rise and wrestled with it in the three and a half decades since, N.W.A always has left me severely conflicted. The seductive production of its debut album <em>Straight Outta Compton </em>(1988) set the blueprint for the West Coast sound and everything Dr. Dre has done in its aftermath. And the undeniable rage of the epic Cube-driven &ldquo;F--- tha Police&rdquo; is so monumental that the disc&rsquo;s occasional glorification of black-on-black crime and rampant misogyny can almost be overlooked. That is not the case with the Cube-less second and last release <em>Niggaz4Life.</em></p><p>&ldquo;This is an album of hate-filled songs that glorify gang rape and beating women to death, an album so nihilistic that its lyrics brag about making money from these topics,&rdquo; I wrote upon its release in 1991. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the most vile, rancid, festering pile of crap I&rsquo;ve heard in my life. It is also one of the top-selling albums in America for the third week in a row.&rdquo; (The full text of that review, which ran in the Minneapolis weekly <em>City Pages, </em>follows below.)</p><p>Hateful jams and skits such as &ldquo;To Kill a Hooker,&rdquo; &ldquo;One Less Bitch,&rdquo; &ldquo;Findum, F---um &amp; Flee,&rdquo; &ldquo;She Swallowed It,&rdquo; and &ldquo;I&rsquo;d Rather F--- You&rdquo; are conveniently sidestepped in the movie. You can&rsquo;t include everything, one might argue. But there is no exploration of what prompted this hatred of women&mdash;not that anything could excuse it&mdash;even as the film strives in ridiculously exaggerated ways to lay the pre-Rodney King groundwork for the group&rsquo;s disdain of the men in blue. (<a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/08/04/straight-outta-compton-fact-check-how-true-is-the-explosive-n-w-a-biopic.html?via=mobile&amp;source=email">The Daily Beast has a useful fact-check</a> on the realities of N.W.A&rsquo;s interactions with the police, though it only scratches the surface of the film&rsquo;s many distortions and pure fictions.)</p><p>Niggaz With Attitude&rsquo;s attitude toward women was, disgustingly and infamously, not confined to the lyrics. But we don&rsquo;t see Dre&rsquo;s vicious 1991 attack on journalist Dee Barnes, or learn that Eazy-E fathered seven children with six different women. Nor is there any examination of how Eric Wright caught AIDS, which would claim his life at age 31, aside from a fleeting mention that you can contract it from heterosexual sex. (We don&rsquo;t even see much of that with his character; in fact, Neil Brown Jr.&rsquo;s DJ Yella is portrayed as the horndog of the crew in the many scenes with gratuitously naked and nameless groupies.)</p><p>Instead, Eazy (Jason Mitchell), Dre (Corey Hawkins), Cube (the real rapper&rsquo;s son O&rsquo;Shea Jackson Jr.), and Ren (Aldis Hodge of TV&rsquo;s <em>Leverage</em>) emerge as relatively cute and cuddly, as well as utterly guileless as they are preyed upon by the film&rsquo;s three cartoonish villains: manager Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti), Priority Records chief Bryan Turner (Tate Ellington), and the notorious Suge Knight (R. Marcos Taylor). The bounds of credulity are stretched past the breaking point when we&rsquo;re asked to accept that these whip-smart and streetwise hustlers were so easily duped by bullying music-biz bad guys, whose caricatures are even more simplistic and one-dimensional than those in Spike Lee&rsquo;s harshly criticized <em>Mo&rsquo; Better Blues.</em></p><p>Nor is there a hint of the cold calculation at the heart of the group&rsquo;s art. Its depictions of drug deals and gang killings are merely &ldquo;reality rap,&rdquo; as if the artists just walked down the street and told us what they saw. But it always was much harder to accept N.W.A as &ldquo;the CNN of the streets&rdquo; than it was Public Enemy. The West Coast rappers distorted, exaggerated, and championed the harshest realities of a small sliver of the black community to sell as violent comic books to a mass audience eagerly waiting to lap up the Nihilistic clichés and one-dimensional stereotypes. Like skilled pornographers, they knew what would sell and they enthusiastically sold it, moral qualms and any devotion to accuracy be damned.</p><p>And here they are selling it again, in an even shinier package aimed at an even bigger audience and designed to make it all seem safe and even noble.</p><p>N.W.A <a href="http://pitchfork.com/news/60479-nwa-planning-reunion-tour-with-eminem/">may or may not</a> be planning to capitalize on this rewriting of history with a reunion tour that may or may not find Eminem filling the role of Eazy-E. Either way, that&rsquo;s only the short-term scam, and these artists always have played the long game. In the end, despite a few merits&mdash;those performances by Jackson and Mitchell, a handful of hearty belly laughs, and a nice scene depicting the young Dre lost in a pile of vinyl that stands with the similar one in <em>Almost Famous </em>as a classic depiction of the ineffable seduction of music&mdash;<em>Straight Outta Compton </em>peddles a simplistic myth that has as much in common with complicated realities as Disneyland has with Compton.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/NWA2.jpg" title="N.W.A real and fictional: Top row: DJ Yella, Ice Cube, MC Ren, Dr. Dre; bottom: Neil Brown Jr., O’Shea Jackson Jr., Jason Mitchell, Aldis Hodge and Corey Hawkins. (Jaimie Trueblood/Universal Picures)" /></div><blockquote><p align="center">&nbsp;</p><p align="center"><strong>FLASHBACK REVIEW:</strong><strong> N.W.A, <em>Niggaz4Life</em></strong></p><p align="center"><strong><em>City Pages,</em> July 3, 1991</strong></p><p>This is an album of hate-filled songs that glorify gang rape and beating women to death, an album so nihilistic that its lyrics brag about making money from these topics. It&rsquo;s the most vile, rancid, festering pile of crap I&rsquo;ve heard in my life. It is also one of the top-selling albums in America for the third week in a row.</p><p>That alone is enough to make me consider booking one-way passage on a freighter to New Zealand, but two weeks ago, I also heard rock critic and anti-censorship zealot Dave Marsh tell a crowd at the Hungry Mind bookstore in St. Paul that <em>Niggaz4Life </em>is &ldquo;great vulgar art.&rdquo; Marsh, the man who excluded the Rolling Stones&rsquo; &ldquo;Brown Sugar&rdquo; from <em>The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1,001 Greatest Singles Ever Made </em>because he considers it racist and sexist, went on to compare <em>Niggaz4Life </em>to Henry Miller&rsquo;s <em>Tropic of Capricorn, </em>a great book mistaken for pornography.</p><p>The fact is <em>Niggaz4Life </em>is a pathetic con designed to cash in on its transparent controversy. The most sensible response would be to ignore it, but the fact is it&rsquo;s impossible to avoid, sitting on top of the charts, flaunting its PARENTAL ADVISORY, EXPLICIT LYRICS sticker. Its debut at No. 2 was the highest since Michael Jackson&rsquo;s <em>Bad </em>in 1987; it rose to No. 1 the next week and is now at No. 3. This success flies in the face of a complete lack of play on radio or MTV and comes in the midst of <em>Billboard </em>magazine&rsquo;s much-ballyhooed revamping of the charts to reflect actual sales in the Musiclands and Kmarts of heartland America.</p><p>This means fifteen-year-old white kids in [Minneapolis suburbs] Edina and Eden Prairie, Chanhassen and Chaska are buying <em>Niggaz4Life, </em>and that&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s the center of a renewed attack by the labeling and censorship crowd; last week, Florida attorney Jack Thompson announced plans to sue Musicland for selling the album, so the battle will be fought right in our backyard. No doubt kids are buying it simply because it&rsquo;s the most vile shit available; as our culture gets more and more jaded in the wake of Freddie Krueger and the Terminator and <em>American Psycho </em>and the beautiful fireworks over Baghdad, it gets harder and harder to shock the folks. Thompson&rsquo;s crew says kids need to be protected from this stuff, just like they need to be protected from the Anoka-Hennepin school district&rsquo;s sex and AIDS curriculum. What they always fail to realize is that the kids are rejecting <em>them.</em></p><p>Marsh and the other critics defending <em>Niggaz4Life </em>could see the war clouds on the horizon, and that may be why they&rsquo;re so dogmatic: If you&rsquo;re not for &rsquo;em, you&rsquo;re agin &rsquo;em. They ask us to excuse N.W.A&rsquo;s hate as fantasy and accept the group as the &ldquo;underground reporters&rdquo; they boast about being on their 1-900-2-COMPTON phone line (a dollar forty-nine per minute). But why can&rsquo;t you be for the First Amendment and against misogyny? I despise any attempt to limit free expression in music and believe N.W.A had every right to make the album they wanted to make. But this is a record review, not an editorial, and I&rsquo;d be betraying everything I believe is implicit in the reader-critic relationship if I didn&rsquo;t say you&rsquo;re a fool if you buy it and more than a little bit warped if you like it.</p><p>Musically the album is wack, all ultra-familiar grooves powered by whining, repetitive four- and five-note Casio rifts. It&rsquo;s not half as effective as Public Enemy&rsquo;s white-noise assaults or De La Soul&rsquo;s psychedelic sampling. Of course it&rsquo;s the words that set N.W.A apart.</p><p>The group struck a nerve even before Rodney King with &ldquo;F--- Tha Police&rdquo; on its platinum-selling debut, <em>Straight Outta Compton. </em>Since then, the Geto Boys and 2 Live Crew have upped the ante on outrageous rap lyrics, and like grammar school kids at a lunchroom table, N.W.A is determined to out-gross and gross-out all comers. They even own up to the scam: &ldquo;Why do I call myself a nigger you ask me?/Because my mouth is so mother----ing nasty/Bitch this, bitch that, nigger this, nigger that/In the meanwhile my pockets are getting fat/I&rsquo;m getting paid to say the s--- here/Making more in a week than a doctor makes in a year.&rdquo;</p><p>To drive the point home the album concludes with the line, &ldquo;Ha, another album. The joke&rsquo;s on you, jack.&rdquo; (I wonder if they meant Thompson or Musicland&rsquo;s Jack Eugster?) The album&rsquo;s first half offers more of N.W.A&rsquo;s muddled politics (remember, Eazy-E&rsquo;s the guy who paid to attend a Republican fundraiser). Between threats to f--- former collaborator-turned-rival Ice Cube up the ass with a broomstick and skits such as N.W.A gunning down picketers outside one of its shows, the songs &ldquo;Real Niggaz Don&rsquo;t Die,&rdquo; &ldquo;Niggaz 4 Life,&rdquo; and &ldquo;Real Niggaz&rdquo; set a record for repetitive use of a word that&rsquo;s still despised by much of the African-American community. N.W.A could almost be seen as adopting Lenny Bruce&rsquo;s tactics on co-opting racial slurs: Claim the word as your own and it ceases to hurt (it&rsquo;s hard not to laugh when the group croons jingle-style, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m a nigger/You&rsquo;re a nigger/He&rsquo;s a nigger/We&rsquo;s some niggers/Wouldn&rsquo;t you like to be a nigger, too?&rdquo;).</p><p>If this was the intention it&rsquo;s ruined when Eazy-E, M.C. Ren, D.J. Yella, and Dr. Dre trot out more racial stereotypes than you&rsquo;d hear at a KKK rally. In their world, a &ldquo;real nigger&rdquo; is not a black human being but someone who lives by the trigger, prefers cocaine to wine or weed, and knows how to handle the bitches (&ldquo;Hop in the pickup/And suck my d--- up &rsquo;til you hiccup&rdquo;).</p><p>In their zeal to fight the good fight censorship&rsquo;s foes are too quick to put aside N.W.A&rsquo;s misogyny, which is overwhelming and sickening throughout the second half of the album. In the songs &ldquo;To Kill a Hooker,&rdquo; &ldquo;One Less Bitch,&rdquo; &ldquo;Findum, F---um &amp; Flee,&rdquo; and &ldquo;She Swallowed It,&rdquo; the group makes its opinion of women clear: &ldquo;To me all bitches are the same: money-hungry scammers, groupies, whores that&rsquo;s always riding on a nigger&rsquo;s d---, always in the nigger&rsquo;s pocket, and when the nigger runs out of money the bitch is gone in the wind. To me all bitches ain&rsquo;t shit.&rdquo;</p><p>When N.W.A picks up a woman and beats her to death because she&rsquo;s a prostitute it&rsquo;s one of the most stomach-churning sound collages in the history of pop music. Marsh can dismiss this as fantasy and <em>Cashbox </em>can contend that &ldquo;portrayal must not be confused with advocacy. &ldquo; But &ldquo;To Kill a Hooker&rdquo; ends with an evil laugh that&rsquo;s too real for comfort. It makes me want to puke, while N.W.A is laughing all the way to the bank.</p></blockquote><p><strong><em>Straight Outta Compton</em></strong><strong> (Universal/Legendary Pictures; 147 minutes, rated R)</strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the 4-star scale: 1 star.</strong></p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast or stream </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Wed, 12 Aug 2015 09:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-08/straight-outta-compton-lamest-kind-gloss-over-musical-biopic-112628 China Markets in Freefall http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-07-31/china-markets-freefall-112535 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/China%20stock%20market%201.jpg" title="A Chinese investor walks past displays of stock information at a brokerage house in Beijing, Tuesday, July 28, 2015. Shanghai stocks were volatile Tuesday after falling the most in eight years the day before while other Asian markets also flitted between gains and losses. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)" /><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/217229042&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>China Markets Spiraling</strong></span></p><p>China&rsquo;s economy and stock markets have been on a &nbsp;deep decline. Hundreds of billions of dollars have left the country in the last year. &nbsp;The Shanghai Exchange, on Monday, &nbsp;posted its biggest loss since 2007. The markets bounced back slightly this week, after Beijing announced moves to restore confidence, such as buying back stocks, easing fiscal policy and aggressively restricting unethical practices like &ldquo;stock dumping.&rdquo; The regional reverberations have hit hard at countries like Australia, a major exporter to China. Observers warn that if the downward spiral doesn&rsquo;t turnaround soon, China will displace Greece as the world&rsquo;s most dangerous financial crisis. We&rsquo;ll talk about China&rsquo;s economic slowdown with <a href="http://www.eurasiagroup.net/about-eurasia-group/who-is/consonery">Nicholas Consonery</a>, Asia director for <a href="http://www.eurasiagroup.net">Eurasia Group</a>, a &ldquo;global political risk research and consulting firm.&rdquo; He leads the firm&#39;s consulting and advisory work on China.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong>&nbsp;Nicholas Consonery,&nbsp;Asia director for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eurasiagroup.net">Eurasia Group</a>, a &ldquo;global political risk research and consulting firm.&rdquo; He leads the firm&#39;s consulting and advisory work on China.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/217229789&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:24px;">Milos Stehlik Reviews&nbsp;&ldquo;A Pigeon Sat on a Branch&quot; and &quot;Shaun the Sheep&quot;</span></strong></p><p>Film contributor Milos Stehlik joins us to discuss the latest film from Swedish director Roy Andersson - <a href="http://www.magpictures.com/apigeon/">&ldquo;A Pigeon Sat on a Branch.&rdquo;</a> &nbsp;&nbsp;It&rsquo;s the third film in a trilogy that Andersson says looks at the human condition. The film opens this weekend in Chicago at the Gene Siskel Center. &nbsp;Milos also gives his take on the new animated film, <a href="http://shaunthesheep.com/">&quot;Shaun the Sheep&quot;</a></p><p><strong>Guest:</strong> Milos Stehlik is WBEZ&#39;s film contributor and director of Facets Multimedia<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/217230650&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr"><strong><span style="font-size:24px;">Weekend Passport</span></strong></p><p dir="ltr">Each week global citizen, Nari Safavi, helps listeners plan their international weekend. &nbsp;This week, he&rsquo;ll tell us about an exhibition of street art from Greece and a play that looks at the role food plays in communities.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Guest:</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-2e91bfd6-e59e-640e-dc4a-c304d3205206">Nari Safavi, co-founder of <a href="http://www.pasfarda.org/">Pasfarda</a> Arts and Cultural Exchange</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-2e91bfd6-e59e-640e-dc4a-c304d3205206">Connie Mourtoupalas, curator of the <a href="https://www.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/">Hellenic National Museum</a> exhibit, &quot;The Street is My Gallery&quot;</span></p></p> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 09:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-07-31/china-markets-freefall-112535