For almost 40 years, go-go has musically defined the nation’s capital. The beat has provided a proud cultural and musical tradition attracting generations of fans. But in recent years, gentrification has threatened the musical genre’s hold over the city. “The state of D.C. is not D.C. anymore, it’s not Chocolate City,” says Anwan “Big G” Glover of Backyard Band.
Since 1990, Backyard Band, led by frontman Glover, has dutifully kept the music alive. Glover, whose 6’6” frame and raspy leading voice make him something of local celebrity, is recognized nationally for his acting role as Slim Charles in HBO’s The Wire. “Our music means everything to us,” says Glover. “And it’s hard to give that up.” In this short documentary, Glover and the Backyard Band introduce the sounds of go-go and explain the existential threats facing the music.
In Pakistan, women are often excluded from mosques, says the artist Anila Quayyum Agha. In the entire time she lived in the country, Agha maybe went inside a mosque five times, and it was never to pray. “That was a public space that could have been a world of creativity for women, but they’re not allowed to be in there culturally,” she says in this short profile by Walley Films, commissioned by the Rice University Art Gallery. “Taking that world of creativity that was kept away from me, I’m using that to create this,” she says of her new installation titled Intersections. It’s a large wooden cube that’s carved with Islamic designs inspired by the Alhambra palace in Spain. When lit from inside, it bathes the room in delicate shadows—a “mosque-like space,” says Agha.
The installation runs until December 6, 2015, in the Rice University Art Gallery. More information about the artist can be found on her website.
Israeli-born architect Eyal Weizman founded his research project, Forensic Architecture, in response to the growing number of civilian conflicts around the world that now take place in cities. “When violence takes place in cities, people die in buildings,” he says, “and buildings become evidence.” Weizman and his team collect videos, photos, and satellite images as forensic evidence of war crimes. In this short documentary by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, they investigate the origins of violence on “Black Friday,” the bloodiest day of the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict.
From Debra Granik, director of the Oscar-nominated Winter’s Bone, comes the documentary Stray Dog, a portrait of a motorcycle-riding Vietnam veteran. Ron “Stray Dog” Hall is married to a Mexican woman named Alicia, and in this short clip from the film the couple drives to Mexico to take Alicia’s two sons back to Missouri. This is the second of two clips, courtesy of Independent Lens (you can watch the first here). The film is currently streaming on PBS until January 7, 2016.
Sometimes, people call the filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki the “Japanese Walt Disney” (even though he’s said to hate it). In his 40-year career, Miyazaki has created such films as Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away. In this 17-minute video essay, Lewis Bond takes us through Miyazaki’s genius and how he excels at bringing three-dimensional characters to his two-dimensional films. “His aim wasn’t to make films that spoke down to children. His aim was to make films that would help us all understand the human condition,” Bond says. Video essays like this and more of Bond’s work can be found on his YouTube channel.
Via Daniel Lombroso