Film: 12 Criterion Releases That Made My 2014

● by Craig J. Clark

As any self-respecting cinephile can tell you, the Criterion Collection is an invaluable and expertly curated resource for anybody looking to be a well-rounded movie-lover. Releasing dozens of films a year (at the rate of 6-8 a month with the occasional boxed set thrown in for good measure), there’s never a shortage of goodness to be had on Criterion’s slate. (This also includes their periodic Blu-ray upgrades, which often come with new supplements that weren’t included on the original releases.)

Before we get too far into 2015 (which is yielding its own crop of must-buys, including Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, and Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le silence de la mer), I’d like to highlight a dozen of their best titles from 2014 – one for each month. Read more

An Energetic And Raw Romeo & Juliet

● by Chris Lynch

Students in Indiana University’s theater department will premiere a new production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, directed by professor Nancy Lipschultz, on February 27. According to the director, “Our approach is totally traditional this time. I’m not really known for that. I’m known for mixing it up and doing things like Les Liaisons Dangereuses with Jay Z, but this time we’re going late Renaissance. The stage is sort of a replica of [Shakespeare’s] Globe stage, the costuming traditional, and there will be traditional music—lute, drums, mandolin, and some singing of lullabies and Elizabethan drinking songs at the beginning.” Lipshcultz felt that “it might be nice to have the students do a full-on late-Renaissance Romeo and Juliet without, you know, adding the Dixie Chicks.” Read more

Chadors And Shadows

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and the Iranian Vampire Western ● by Tom Prasch

Alone in her room, dancing by herself in a windowless, barely furnished space, walls papered with vintage-feeling (80s-ish) pop posters , with her pixie-cut hair and striped shirt, the girl seems to be channeling Jean Seberg ala Godard, back when the nouvelle vague was still new. But when she dons the black chador to go out into the streets, prowling the menacingly empty desolate night spaces of her oil-industrial city, she becomes something else: a dark-clad vampire who mirrors the movements of her prey before her incisors snap forward like a switchblade and she goes in for her kill. Read more

Celtic And American Roots Music

● by Jamie Gans

Much like the Blues and Appalachian music, the Celtic roots revival began to re-sprout within its own cultural and ethnic regions of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany by the late 1950’s. Over those past fifty plus years the music has expanded its boundaries throughout the world. On both sides of the Atlantic and beyond, musical tradition and innovation continue to thrive from Kentucky old time to Gaelic sean-nós. Here are some recent releases that represent the best in Celtic roots. Read more

The Unionization of Bloomingfoods, Part 2

In Order to Form a More Perfect Co-op ● by Robert F. Arnove with Peter LoPilato

[This is the second of two parts. Part 1 was published in our December issue. Interviews for this story were conducted after the Bloomingfoods union was certified and reveal different perspectives. Some see the union as a welcome change, long overdue, and one that will strengthen the Co-op and help it withstand impending threats from Lucky’s Market and Whole Foods, both of which plan to open locations in Bloomington. Nevertheless, although Bloomingfoods employees are by and large pro-union, some expressed only lukewarm support for the Co-op union. They see the organizers as opportunistic, calling for unionization when Bloomingfoods is especially vulnerable. As one long-time member owner put it: “The pay has never been great for a starting employee. But the benefits are reasonable for what might be called a low-skill job. The insurance is really good. I’m pro-union. But some of these kids have never worked before and don’t know what it is to work. They’re complaining about things when, really, they should just be taking care of business.”
Read more

Breaking Boundaries

Burlesque and the The No-Wave, Post No-Wave Career of Beth B. ● by Joan Hawkins

Beth B. comes out of the edgy DIY movement that started in New York in the mid-1970s.  Like a lot of people in her generation she started out in art school, but the art school scene irritated her.  “Art seemed a bit frivolous, an aesthetic indulgence to which I no longer felt connected.  I began to question art as a valid form of expression.  I had a kind of idealism.” She dropped out of art school and at the age of 18, went to Israel to study at the Jerusalem University.  It was 1973 and when the Yom Kippur war broke out she left school altogether.  For 8 months she hitchhiked back and forth in the war zone, “picking up soldiers with their Uzis and tanks, talking to people on both sides.”  Toward the end of the war, her Israeli boyfriend disappeared. Read more

Handel’s Alcina

Handel’s Alcina ● by Chris Lynch

This February, Indiana University Opera will present Handel’s fantasy opera Alcina in a new production designed by Robert Perdziola, directed by Chas Rader-Shieber, and conducted by Arthur Fagen. Although the opera was written in 1735, according to Rader-Shieber, “Handel has created characters that still speak to us today; that suffer the same pains, glory in the same loving gestures, and interact with the same bittersweet Read more

Good Kids

Naomi Iizuka’s new play confronts sexual assault on campus ● by Bruce Walsh

Naomi Iizuka has made a career out of telling other people’s stories with a deep and abiding empathy. Over the last 20 years, her singular works – like Polaroid Stories and Skin – have been regularly produced around the country and Off-Broadway. Though she doesn’t typically write from her own experience, her plays have a distinctly personal air about them. One of her best-known early works, Tatoo Girl, is a dreamlike tale of mid- Read more

Roy Lichtenstein

“The doodling of a five-year-old” at the IU Art Museum ● by Ethan Sandweiss

Armed with their resilient images of the modern artist as a brooding, tortured soul, living in poverty and sacrificing everything for the sake of art, Americans of the 1960’s were ill-prepared to imagine the artistic bohemian as a nice Jewish boy from the Upper West Side, a fraternity brother and a tenured professor Yet the pop art movement destroyed such artistic conventions by embracing the humorous and ironic–and Roy Lichtenstein exemplified its new sensibility. Read more

The Year in Soundbytes

● by Kevin Howley

During a “routine” traffic stop in Columbia, South Carolina, State Trooper Sean Groubert shot Levar Jones as the unarmed black motorist complied with the white patrol officer’s request to see his driver’s license. In a dashboard video that went viral, an incredulous, but remarkably composed Jones asks the patrolman, “Why did you shoot me?” Mr. Jones’ question – one that succinctly captures the tragic state of race relations in America today – was one of the more dramatic, and disturbing, sound bites of 2014: a year that saw racial politics, midterm elections, popular uprisings, Ebola outbreaks, and the Islamic State dominate the headlines.

10. I’m not a racist, I love people. I always have. But those words came out of my mouth I guess.” Read more

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