Visual

They sound like neocons. Promoting Israel, criticizing Islam, decrying the lack of democracy in Iran. In reality leftist radicals, ANTIFA (Anti-Fascist Action) aren’t the most orthodox progressives. All the same, it’d be difficult to argue that they weren’t fellow travelers, either. Blame it on a fondness for appropriating imagery from Hollywood films, and comic books, like this sticker’s use of a scene from Marjane Satrapi’s award-winning Persepolis.

If this were a music mag, it would have made for a great advert. “Rage against the machine,” read the headline gracing the cover of the October 22nd edition of The Economist. The subheadline, however, was a bit more in keeping: “Capitalism and its critics.” Reinforcing the message was a photo of a concerned young man next to a US flag, a dollar bill taped across his mouth. (More…)

In most countries, attacks on television are outdated. If you find the content objectionable, just change the channel. For example, Americans have liberal broadcasters such as Current and LINK TV, in addition to Fox News and the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Europeans have ARTE , France 24, and the BBC, not to mention access to the Internet. (More…)

If the Arab Spring has a soundtrack, it’s hip hop. Chalk it up to an online meme that went viral during the protests leading up to the Libyan War. Credit US public broadcaster National Public Radio with helping acquaint American audiences with it via the voices of Libya’s boisterous MCs, many of whom have not been heard from since. (More…)

In an ideal world, one would be justified in cutting Obama out of this picture. Silvio Berlusconi makes a fine “First Enemy” all on his own. Unfortunately, considering the President’s own failures, as shocking as this pairing seems, he had it coming. (More…)

Visitors to SFMOMA‘s rooftop sculpture garden may notice the infamous Waldo of Where’s Waldo? across the way, smiling from another building. Like the WALK sign, it is a man with a forward gait. Without the camera’s zoom, or prior cognizance, it’s barely noticeable. Isn’t that the existentialist lesson of Waldo? A man lost in a crowd, as seen by a vacant, omniscient entity? (More…)

Although it’s been decades since baseball was as popular as football, proponents still insist that it is America’s “national pastime.” At first glance, this may appear to represent wishful thinking. But as the fascinating new film Moneyball implies, this conclusion fails to account for the peculiar connotations of the word “pastime.” (More…)

I pedaled leisurely rather than furiously, making no quick turns, hopping over no jutting tree roots, never trying to weave in and out of the other riders. But there I was, on the Helltrack qualifying course, riding BMX with the likes of Eddie Fiola, Martin Aparijo, Kevin Hull and Everett and Beatle Rosecrans. (More…)

Berlin head hunters display their kills. Cafe window installation, Neukölln. August, 2011.

Six months ago, when Phil Dellio and Jeff Pike asked me to join a Facebook group where we would list and discuss our fifty favorite movies, I responded with a question: would this be a list of our favorites, or a list of the best? While they sympathized with my frustration to varying degrees, they didn’t feel this distinction would be a problem for them. But I was worried. (More…)

We were stopped at a rundown liquor store, only a few miles from the Mexican border, when I saw it. My son and I had been driving a lonely stretch of Arizona Highway 92, with little to see except dry grasslands stretching in all directions towards distant broken mountains on the horizon. He was thirsty. This was the only place to get a drink. And yet there, in the distance, was the tattered dome of a church rising from the desolate landscape. I pointed to the complex and told my son, “We’re going in.” (More…)

One of the world’s greatest media museums sits just across the river from my apartment. Its name is the Museo Nazionale del Cinema (National Museum of Cinema.) Located inside Torino’s Mole Antonelliana, a 19th century building originally designed to be a synagogue, the place still has something of a holy purpose. Especially for an LA native, like me. (More…)