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Twenty minutes into 1991: The Year Punk Broke, Dave Markey’s ragged documentary of a European tour featuring Sonic Youth, Nirvana and assorted other “alternative” acts, Thurston Moore conducts an impromptu interview with a group of fans. They appear to be in the 18-24 range, what Americans call “college age.” (More…)

The music business is brutal. Even if you succeed – your music gets released by a label, people buy it and fans come to your gigs – there is no guarantee that your career won’t crash and burn. The history of rock and pop is filled with artists that disappeared as suddenly as they arrived. A hit album or two and then the follow-up stiffs. In memorium: Terence Trent D’Arby, Elastica, Kula Shaker…the list goes on. (More…)

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has long epitomized the liberal, pro-Israel pundit. So, it was no surprise that his latest column was an assault on Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s foreign policy. (More…)

When it was clear that the Mubarak government was on its last legs, and the Egyptian revolt was succeeding, I estimated that Sadat’s peace treaty with Israel would last only two or three years.  I was wrong. It will probably be abrogated even more quickly.  The consequences will prove a disaster for Israel, Palestine, the Middle East and the world. (More…)

Besides mole and embroidery, Oaxaca is known for the Guelaguetza, an annual dance festival sponsored by the state and federal governments. The festival takes place in an enormous glaring white pavilion on the green hillside overlooking the city. The odd structure looks like a giant nun’s wimple fluttering in an updraft. It’s strangely menacing, as if just descended from the heavens, waiting to conquer the city. (More…)

Part of my daily routine includes a walk to and from a subway station located at Bloor and Jane, one of the streets I walk almost every day. This route has become almost second nature to me. I can almost walk it with my eyes closed. In fact I often do, trying to find my footing, one step in front of the other, by listening. (More…)

You can’t get to know a place without knowing what the folks in town listen to. The best way to do that is to keep your eye out for gig flyers. In all likelihood, the shows have already taken place. Still, what you’re left with is, at best, a testimony to local music, at worst, the work of an overzealous label intern. (More…)

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…)

Next week, the Palestinians will get the United Nations General Assembly to endorse their right to an independent state, and possibly to grant them non-member observer status in their global body. This proposal has become a virtual obsession in both Jerusalem and Washington. As the date approaches, the hysteria is reaching a fever pitch. (More…)

Campaigns to reinforce public morality solidify weakening structures of oppression. Their existence is sufficient evidence of this point. Were public morals to meet the approbation of of the so-called authorities, there would be no need for such corrective efforts. But prescriptive morality is by nature a political tool, meaning that supposed general moral inadequacy is a function of its usefulness. (More…)

Spending time in the center of town, it’s easy to believe that Oaxaca de Juarez is a thriving, middle class city. However, if you pay attention to the details, even the most ignorant visitor can notice signs of discontent. Besides the street art, there’s the political banners hung in the zocalo, and the posters pasted on public phones and the ancient stone walls of the city. Street vendors are often as young as six-years-old. (More…)

Because we didn’t want our two-year-old daughter’s head to be filled with disturbing images, we had avoided them ourselves. When I headed out to pick up a video for her to watch, it had been hours since the first attack. Walking into Blockbuster, I expected to see what I always saw, with new movie releases playing on its many television screens. But every single one of them was tuned to CNN. They were showing the footage of the second plane’s strike that had just become available. (More…)