August: Osage County has garnered mostly lukewarm reviews. This is somewhat of a surprise: the movie is based on the Pulitzer-winning play by Tracy Letts and the film’s cast is packed with talented actors. Although both Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts were nominated for Golden Globes for their powerful performances, both of them walked away from the award ceremony last Sunday night empty-handed.
But then, this is a movie that is, unambiguously, about women. August: Osage County is about morally flawed, sometimes cruel, and often unlikable women. And that’s what makes August: Osage County good.
• In case you forgot, Sarah Palin is the worst. She wrote to Obama on her Facebook page yesterday, "Mr. President, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and all who commit to ending any racial divide, no more playing the race card." [The Week]
• Grantland's editor-in-chief apologized for running an article last week that posthumously outed a transgender woman. Editor Bill Simmons' apology defends the story in some ways, but ackowledges that the editing team definitely screwed up. A more compelling summation of the problems with this story comes from sportswriter Christina Kahrl, who penned a piece called "What Grantland Got Wrong." [Grantland]
It was the bounty heard ‘round the world last week when Jezebel offered $10,000 for unretouched photos of Lena Dunham in Vogue. Jessica Coen, editor of the Gawker-run women’s site, wrote that they were offering cash for the before pics from Dunham’s cover shoot because the after images are, “all in all, quite nice. She's well-styled and looks fantastic. As if Vogue would have it any other way.”
• In other news, Grantland published an appalling article last week that centers around outting a golf club designer as a transgender woman. The designer, named Dr. V, became so upset as the reporter dug into her life that she killed herself before the article was published. Among the numerous reactions to this upsetting article, Melissa McEwan at Shakesville explains how the article is"careless, cruel, and unaccountable" and Katherine Cross writes an elegy for Dr. V. [Shakesville, Feministing]
Above: A still from Kibwe Tavares' beautifully shot short film Jonah.
Curious about emerging indie film directors but don’t have a few thousand dollars lying around for plane tickets and festival passes to this year’s Sundance Film Festival? Then mark your calendar, rearrange a decimal point on the admissions price, and wait for Sundance to come to you: Selected shorts from last year’s festival are screening across the country at independent theatres through January and February.
Last Tuesday night, I caught a screening in New York at the IFC Center. The polar vortex had made Manhattan feel like an arctic ghost town all week, but still the theatre was packed. Why were people braving -8 degrees temperatures on a weeknight to see a collection of short films? Because shorts are where they’ll discover their new favorite director.
This week, I wrote about a new album of North Carolina musicians making songs inspired by that state's Moral Monday protests. Listening to their album made me hungry for a whole playlist of American protest music.
So, I spent way too long putting together this mixtape of great American protest songs. It's an eclectic mix of hip-hop, rap, dance, and folk—it includes no punk, because that's just my taste. My desire was to make a mix that's enjoyable to listen to, in addition to being all about politics. The songs address a wide range of issues in American history, including racism, sexism, police brutality, inequality, and war. I put some serious classics on there (like "Talkin' Bout a Revolution") and some songs that make me laugh (like Peggy Seeger's "I'm Gonna Be an Engineer.") I put Nina Simone on there twice because she's Nina Simone.
Ironically, when I bought Barbara Dane's song "I Hate Capitalism" on iTunes, there was a glitch and iTunes wouldn't let me listen to it. I had to buy the song off Amazon. What can I say? Capitalism is one tough glitch.