WBEZ | generation x http://www.wbez.org/tags/generation-x Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en This generation of military families faces the prospect of 20 years of deployments http://www.wbez.org/programs/takeaway/2015-10-20/generation-military-families-faces-prospect-20-years-deployments-113421 <p><p><img alt="" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_main/public/story/images/mil-families.jpg?itok=c0ETzYt7" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Friends and family watch as paratroopers with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, return home from Afghanistan at Pope Army Airfield in Fort Bragg, North Carolina November 5, 2014. (Chris Keane/Reuters)" /></p><div><p>Mason&nbsp;Bontrager&nbsp;joined the military right before 9/11. Since then, he has deployed five times &mdash; twice to Iraq and three times to Afghanistan.</p><p dir="ltr">With President Barack Obama recently announcing that he would suspend the drawdown of troops from the US, that means he may deploy once again.</p></div><p dir="ltr">His wife,&nbsp;Amy, says her family is part of a new generation of military families facing unprecedented circumstances. For many young military couples like the Bontragers, their entire marriage has come with the threat of war, and there appears to be no end in sight.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We&rsquo;re definitely facing this reality of what it looks like to raise children in this lifestyle,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;We could be the first generation that&rsquo;s going to experience 20 years of deployment. What that&rsquo;s like to raise a family &mdash; we have nothing to compare it to. We&rsquo;re learning as we go, but we also rely heavily on the support of our country so that we can continue to serve this mission.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">And that&rsquo;s just a hard reality of America&rsquo;s longest war: After more than a decade, servicemembers are being called to battle &mdash; again and again and again.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Deployments are challenging and it&rsquo;s hard, and each time he goes there are uncertainties,&rdquo; Amy says. &ldquo;We have to accept that mission because that&rsquo;s the mission that&rsquo;s been given to us by our commander-in-chief. This is new to millennials. In 2001, did we think we&rsquo;d still be at war? That probably wasn&rsquo;t even a thought. But this is our reality. We realize that the mission is much greater than us, and we stand ready to serve. That&rsquo;s what it means to be in the military today.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Over the course of nearly 10 years of marriage, the Bontragers have lived in five different locations. Though her husband has completed five tours of duty, he&rsquo;s not ready to quit &mdash; Amy says her husband is part of a group that feels it is their obligation to put in an end to the conflict, because they were the ones fighting in the beginning.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;That&rsquo;s a conversation that happens in a lot of homes, and day-to-day it changes &mdash; do you stay in or do you get out?&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;But it goes back to that commitment, and you realize that, for some of these guys, they feel they&rsquo;re called to do this and this is what they&rsquo;re built for and they&rsquo;re trained for. It&rsquo;s hard &mdash; you look at these children and think this is a very different lifestyle that they are being brought up in when compared to other children in our country. But then you realize that it&rsquo;s something that&rsquo;s much greater than us.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bluestar.JPG" style="height: 194px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="(Via BlueStarFam.org)" />Amy, who has a master&rsquo;s degree in philanthropy, has had to change jobs to meet the needs of her family. Now she&rsquo;s the program manager with<a href="https://www.bluestarfam.org/"> Blue Star Families</a>, an organization formed in April 2009 by a group of military spouses. The group works &ldquo;to create a platform where military family members can join with civilian communities and leaders to address the challenges of military life,&rdquo;&nbsp;<a href="http://bluestarfam.org/about">according to</a>&nbsp;a statement on the Blue Star website.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&rsquo;m really excited that I&rsquo;ve been able to give back through the organization that I work with,&rdquo; Amy says. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of work to be done, and we do have support, but we&rsquo;re going to continue to need that support.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&mdash;<a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-10-20/generation-military-families-faces-prospects-20-years-deployments"><em> via The Takeaway</em></a></p></p> Tue, 20 Oct 2015 10:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/takeaway/2015-10-20/generation-military-families-faces-prospect-20-years-deployments-113421 The evolution of Gen X filmmakers Whit Stillman and Richard Linklater http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-05/evolution-gen-x-filmmakers-whit-stillman-and-richard-linklater-99452 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gen x film 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/JBDYl-p9dH4" width="560"></iframe></p><p>This spring has brought a good crop of cinematic pleasures (yay for the creepy and clever <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXfc12BqFkc"><em>Cabin in the Woods</em></a>!), chief among them new films from Whit Stillman (<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0RrTl3tA1w"><em>Damsels in Distress</em></a>) and Richard Linklater (<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEs7l6JTAc4"><em>Bernie</em></a>). And though they vary wildly in their choice of subjects and style, the two are bound by a notable distinction: Both made mighty contributions to one of my favorite periods/genres of movie-making: the &#39;90s era, Generation X film.</p><p>Now, if we limit the genre to films made by actual members of Gen X then neither would qualify &ndash; both were born prior to 1961. But to quote Stillman&#39;s film <em>The Last Days of Disco</em>, &quot;for a group to exist someone has to admit to being part of it.&quot; In their shared interest in a cohort emerging out of the ashes of the Baby Boomer cultural free-for-all and headed into the full-on fire of Reaganomics, Stillman and Linklater clearly reveal an affinity for the concerns of X.</p><p>Linklater fits more comfortably or obviously within the category, thanks to the shambling, grunge-appropriate attitude of films like <em>Slackers </em>and <em>Before Sunrise</em>, which are kissing cousins to other ur-Gen X texts like <em>Kicking and Screaming</em>, <em>Reality Bites</em> and <em>Clerks</em>. But in his comedy of manners or &quot;doomed bourgeois in love&quot; trilogy (<em>Metropolitan</em>, <em>Barcelona</em> and <em>Disco</em>) Stillman too mines specific subcultures and generational shifts. He&#39;s just chosen to focus on the more rarefied end of the social spectrum: the upper class, or the 1 percent, as we now hail them.&nbsp;</p><p>The two do share a number of hallmarks. Each has an interest in deeply self-conscious and self-absorbed protagonists who find themselves at odds with or at least freely floating through their times &ndash; in but not of the scene. Fittingly, their narratives are driven less by plot, more by endless talk and potentially awkward social situations. Each made films of their moment and films that looked back (<em>Dazed and Confused </em>takes place in 1976, <em>Disco</em> &quot;sometime in the early &#39;80s&quot;). And both helped launch the careers of actors who not only came of age during the Gen X years but literally became the face of it: Chloe Sevigny, Chris Eigeman, Ben Affleck, Parker Posey.&nbsp;</p><p>So, are their concerns still aligned with those of Gen X? <em>Damsels in Distress</em> is Whit Stillman&#39;s first film in over a decade. And at first glance yes &ndash; he&#39;s still observing young, upper crust Ivy League types still caught between holding onto and updating the rules of their game. His damsels are&nbsp;an appealing blend of wit, snobbery and much discussed if poorly actualized sexuality. They look as if they&#39;ve shuffled on over from a Doris Day film and their agenda is likewise out of step with the times: to ward off depression and male barbarism through a quixotic application of proper hygiene and sedate tap dance routines.</p><p>But by casting Generation Y actors (Greta Gerwig, Adam Brody) Stillman gets to remain in place and catch up with the new kids: he&#39;s like Woodson, Matthew McConaughey&#39;s character in <em>Dazed and Confused</em>, who loves high school girls because even as he gets older &quot;they stay the same age.&quot; What&#39;s different is that Stillman has turned up the fantasy or fairy tale elements that simmered through his previous films, a move that pays off in authenticity. Their mission may be frivolous but the director and his actors fully commit. Which makes&nbsp;<em>Damsels</em>&nbsp;the perfect feel-good film: an indie musical that&#39;s silly on the surface, sincere at heart, and slays the hell out of the average Hollywood rom-com.</p><p>Linklater&#39;s <em>Bernie </em>is simultaneously more mannered and more deeply rooted in the realism that defined a film like <em>Slacker</em>. The film&#39;s based on a real-life crime and Linklater employs a documentary technique &ndash; the talking head &ndash; as a kind of Greek chorus/commentary on the doomed relationship at the center of his film. The heads are both actors and actual members in good standing of Carthage, Texas, the community where Bernie is set. These plain-spoken folk come off as a cast of stereotypes, especially in their preference for colorful turns of phrase. But paradoxically they serve to deepen the character of the film. Which is welcome, because the relationship between the main characters, played by Jack Black and Shirley MacClaine, is more lightly sketched than fully fleshed out.</p><p>Black gets the better end of the deal &ndash; his development as an actor is wonderful to watch (and his singing and dancing is superb).&nbsp;Linklater too has matured. He long ago moved away from a singular focus on the &quot;frozen&quot; or stuck youth that define Gen X films, to a wider world, one that can embrace both <em>Bad News Bears </em>and Orson Welles. But he&#39;s remained committed to exploring the concerns and values that bind groups together, and in doing so, has produced a deeply layered and nuanced portrait of a faith community (he also conveys the regional differences that break Texas into geographical factions as at odds with one another as are Sunnis and Shites).</p><p>At a moment when political disputes are easily and hatefully translated into cultural or religious divides, how welcome it is to encounter a community taking positions that don&#39;t necessarily have a right or a left. These people are free spirits &ndash; and they are&nbsp;spiritual. Like the young protagonists of <em>Damsels</em>, they want to do good <em>and </em>do right by one another. Only difference is, they&#39;ve got a much stronger &ndash; or shared &ndash;&nbsp; grip on how best to proceed.</p></p> Wed, 23 May 2012 00:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-05/evolution-gen-x-filmmakers-whit-stillman-and-richard-linklater-99452 Independence and commitment explored in new film 'Loveless' http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-11/independence-and-commitment-explored-new-film-loveless-82158 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Loveless.jpeg" alt="" /><p><p>Gen Xers are generally not shy when it comes to self-reflection. They&rsquo;re always searching for the meaning of life - maybe having a quarter-life crisis along the way. Much of that questioning is spurred by an ongoing tension between competing needs &ndash; to maintain independence<b> </b>and find commitment.<br /><br />Chicago native <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0785723/" target="_blank">Ramin Serry</a> explores these issues and more in his new film <a href="http://www.lovelessthemovie.com/LOVELESS/LOVELESS_THE_MOVIE.html " target="_blank"><em>Loveless</em></a>. The film has its world premiere Friday at the <a href="http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/" target="_blank">Gene Siskel Film Center</a> and Serry&rsquo;s exploring the issues in his film by doing it in a very Gen-X fashion &ndash; delving into people and stories from his own life. Host Alison Cuddy spoke with the filmmaker about his labor of love.<br /><br /><em>DJ M. Sylvia Music Button: Booka Shade, &quot;Body Language&quot; (Interpretation mix), Movements (Get Physical Music)</em></p></p> Fri, 11 Feb 2011 14:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-11/independence-and-commitment-explored-new-film-loveless-82158