I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx


by Whitney Weiss
Feb. 6, 2016

Martin Scorsese is one of those American directors whose complete oeuvre is more varied than regular people initially realize. Those unfortunate enough to come of age in what some say is his era of decline might even have a tragically skewed perception of his films, assuming that they're all beat-em-up people pleasures (or vehicles for a portly Leonardo DiCaprio). On some level, the former's not entirely off; dads and teenage boys love Casino, Goodfellas, and The Departed because, on the surface, they're movies about wise guys, gangsters, crooks, crooked cops, and the women unfortunate enough to end up married to or sleeping with them. Look a little closer, though, and there's plenty more going on in those films than the tired old glorification of macho guys. And much like his movies, Scorsese is the kind of director (and person) who is far more complicated than first impressions might lead you to believe. 

Whitney Weiss lives in Buenos Aires, where she DJs, throws a party called Father Figures, and is one-half of a band that bridges the gap between Snap! and Quad City DJs. If you want to hear what she's up to, you should visit soundcloud.com/djwhitneyweiss.

by Thomas Michalski
Feb. 5, 2016
It might have something to do with its origins in French film theory, but people tend to only toss around the word “auteur” when it comes to highbrow directors, your Kubricks and Kurosawas, but the term is by no means an indicator of commonly accepted notions of quality cinema, having more to do with the structure and consistency of vision evident in a filmmaker’s body of work than the perceived cultural or artistic importance of that output. When considered without the bogus cinephile pretension, the term could arguably be applied to everyone’s favorite directorial whipping boy, Ed Wood, and is certainly apt, as David K. Frasier points out in his book-length examination of the accomplished sleaze purveyor, for Russ Meyer. Meyer’s films weren’t of the sort to garner nods from the Academy, in fact they were more likely to get him thrown in jail, but there’s no denying that over the course of his infamous career, lasting over a quarter of a century, the filmmaker established and expanded upon his own unique aesthetic, using it to explore subject matter both personal and political. The fact that that aesthetic revolves almost exclusively around scantily clad women with enormous tits is totally irrelevant...
Thomas Michalski is a writer and radio host from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You can keep up with his comings and goings over at http://www.voodooinspector.com/

by Ryk McIntyre
Feb. 3, 2016
I owe Disco an apology. I suspect that a lot of people my age do, and rightly so. Myself, I went to High School with Disco and I am shamed to say that I was kind of a bully. I gave Disco crap all the time, and while Disco brought some of that upon itself, what with the way it dressed and the subject matter of its almost hypnotic way of speaking to us of the boogie and of oogie, and the dancing... like it was an end in and of itself.

Watching this collection of music show appearances and proto-videos, puts payment on the rallying cry of the mid to late 70s: Disco Sucks! From the Big Apple Band’s “Get Away” it’s clear there was a level of musicianship that redeems the usually perfunctory lyrics (often about getting down and achieving a level of funkiness hitherto unseen) and makes similar music today seem so anemic and cold by comparison. “Oh sure,” you say to yourself, “old men always think the past was better than now!” Well, in this case, it’s true, and...

Ryk McIntyre is a Multi-Hyphen sort of person. Poet, critic, performer, workshop facilitator and co-host at both GotPoetry! Live (Providence) and Cantab Lounge (Cambridge,MA). He's been living in RI for the past 6 years, with his wife and daughter. Ryk has performed his work at Boston's ICA, NYC's New School, Portsmouth, NH's Music Hall and Lollapalooza, to name just a few. He has toured the US, performing in countless Poetry open mics and festivals.  He turned down Allen Ginsburg once.

by Joe DeMartino
Feb. 2, 2016
Most car accidents happen close to home, a truism that holds up in space travel. The actual travel itself has proved much less fatal than actually getting there and back, which requires nerves and heat shields and complex math. Out of the hundreds of manned missions we’ve sent into space, including a number that required astronauts to untether themselves in low earth orbit and nine that actually sent them to (or around) the moon, the only people to have actually died in space were the unlucky cosmonauts of Soyuz 11, who perished when a valve jolted loose during preparations for re-entry. The three men, none of whom were wearing full protective suits at the time, asphyxiated within seconds from the rapid loss of pressure inside their capsule...

Joe DeMartino is a Connecticut-based writer who grew up wanting to be Ted Williams, but you would not BELIEVE how hard it is to hit a baseball, so he gave that up because he writes words OK. He talks about exploding suns, video games, karaoke, and other cool shit at his blog. He can be emailed at jddemartino@gmail.com and tweeted at @thetoycannon. He writes about sports elsewhere. The sports sells better.

by Robert Ham
Jan. 31, 2016
Don Cherry's stepchildren likely didn't need to take his last name as their own. Nor did his son David Ornette Cherry need to emphasize his surname on the covers of his many albums by highlighting it in red. But there's a connection there that they obviously feel to their father/stepfather. Something that runs much deeper than—in the case of stepchildren Neneh and Eagle Eye—wanting to relate their musical efforts to the deep, deep artistic legacy of Don. There's an obvious amount of love and respect for Don that thrives still today. For example, on David's recently released album Eternal Monologue, one of the centerpieces of the disc is the song "Groove For My Father." When I spoke to David about it for a piece I wrote on him for Willamette Week, he said that he was inspired to write it when he was visiting his father's old hometown of Los Angeles.
Robert Ham is a writer based in Portland, OR where he's a regular contributor to Willamette Week and The Oregonian. You can also read his work in Alternative Press and self-titled magazine. He likes black-capped chickadees and Chinese noodles.