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David Chang, Stephen Starr, Keith McNally, and More: NYCs Biggest Restaurateurs on the Future of Dining – Eater NY

The roots of New Yorks restaurants run deep in some cases, they go back centuries. But the dining scene as we know it now was born in 2004.

It was the year that French fine dining gave up the ghost: Places like La Caravelle made way for a new zeitgeist, a far more casual one where louder flavors reigned. People like April Bloomfield, who brought Michelin-worthy sensibilities to pub fare at the Spotted Pig, and David Chang, who got New Yorkers hooked on bold, cross-cultural flavors in stripped-down rooms at Momofuku, ushered in the era. Danny Meyer, who had built a culture of personable service and greenmarket dining in the 1980s and 90s, opened Shake Shack. The thoughtful burger joint launched a million elevated quick-service concepts. The new high-end, meanwhile, was redefined by the Time Warner Center, where Masa Takayamas eponymous sushi bar and Thomas Kellers Per Se would raise the limit on how much New Yorkers would spend on food.

The pre-crash aughts also saw the rise of modern cocktail culture, fueled by PDTs Jim Meehan, Clover Clubs Julie Reiner, and Milk & Honeys Sasha Petraske, who led a movement that prompted even middle-of-the-road restaurants to hire professional bartenders. High standards for simple yet ambitious cooking at cozy neighborhood restaurants in part grew out of Gabriel Stulmans West Village spots, Andrew Tarlows Williamsburg venues, and the Franks fiefdom of unpretentious Italian go-tos. As the recession years and a desire for classic comfort faded into the background, chefs started experimenting again: At Estela, Ignacio Mattos stunned diners with visually striking small plates, hiding proteins under canopies of foliage. Danny Bowien, in turn, attracted a citywide following for his freewheeling take on Chinese fare at Mission Chinese, while Carlo Mirarchi grew a quirky pizza empire called Robertas out of a garage in Bushwick.

There was also the ascent of food television to bona fide national pastime, from the Food Network to Top Chef. It solidified restaurant personalities growing status as a new kind of counter-cultural celebrity, a reality that would, at its worst, exacerbate a longstanding culture of excess and harassment until the MeToo movement came to a head in the late teens.

New York is a town of empire builders, but when one thinks about the dining and drinking scene today, these are the restaurateurs whose influence and accomplishments are always front of mind. Once the vanguard, theyre now the establishment. For Eater New Yorks special issue, several of these players discussed what it means to find themselves in the seats of power. Their condensed answers to Eaters questions are presented below.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I think our legacy is already taking shape through the community that has grown out of these businesses. So many people who have spent time teaching, learning, and growing with us have branched out to create the next generation of hospitality Caroline Fidanza of Saltie, who is now back with us as our Culinary Director; Sarah [Sanneh] and Carolyn [Bane] of Pies n Thighs; Nick [Perkins] and Leah [Campbell] of Harts and Cervos; the Meat Hook; and Drifters Wife in Maine; and Mike [Fadem] and Marie [Tribouilloy] just celebrated three years at Ops in Bushwick, the list goes on.

My oldest son Elijah, who really grew up in Diner, is now working on the line in the kitchen there, so things are coming full circle in that respect, too.

Who do you think is shaping the next decade of dining in New York?

Im really inspired by the work that organizations like Drive Change (a paid culinary fellowship program for formerly incarcerated youth) are doing to provide learning and development opportunities to people who might not have otherwise considered a profession in this industry.

What does the next decade look like for you?

The next decade is still really open. I want to continue to grow organically and find projects that really resonate with my team. My focus will also continue to be on deepening the connections along the path from our guests to our farmers, the ingredients, and the soil.

Whats one piece of advice youd give to a NYC restaurateur whos less established than you?

Dont forget why you chose to do this work. Define your own version of success, and then take time to reflect on whats worked and what hasnt.

What do you want your legacy to be?

Using the vehicle of food to show people that were all more alike than different.

Who do you think is shaping the next decade of dining in New York?

A lot of it will be defined by real estate. Its going to go up and down and look a lot like metropolitan cities in Asia. Youll find restaurants pop up where you never thought they would be. The next decade is [also] defined by the environment, the pressing issue of our time. Lastly, it will be driven by rising costs.

What does the next decade look like for you?

No idea. Im taking things a year at a time.

Whats one piece of advice youd give to a NYC restaurateur whos less established than you?

Dont do it like everyone else. Dont become a statistic.

What do you want your legacy to be?

Being Dale DeGroffs protg came with a high degree of visibility, and I wanted to use my advantage for good. My vision was to radically transform how America drinks.

I studied my ass off, mastered my trade, and began my swim upstream. As a mentor, Im proud to say that Ive trained an entire generation of some of the very best bartenders in New York. I taught them how to properly utilize then-obscure ingredients such as gin, rye, vermouth, [and] amari. I shunned soda guns and instead utilized bottled sodas and fresh produce. I also provided them with good ice (first Kold-Draft machine in NY since 1982), fresh-squeezed juice, artisanal cherries, proper tools, and appropriate, thoughtful glassware. The word began to spread to other bartenders and bars, and the use of these ingredients proliferated across the country. To this end, not only did the craft cocktail industry boom, but an entire craft distilling industry has also seeded, grown, and flourished as well.

This is also my 16th year as the beverage director for the Citymeals on Wheels Chefs Tribute to James Beard event. The very first job I ever had was helping out at a local senior center, so this position is personal for me. I created the beverage component for them and have raised over $600,000 for them at this point.

Who do you think is shaping the next decade of dining in New York?

I think NYC landlords will play a large role here. I believe that the combination of escalating rents and minimum wage increases will dictate what establishments will look like, size-wise, and ultimately, dictate their longevity as well.

What does the next decade look like for you?

My parents have always been my closest friends and their welfare has always been a priority for me. I had begun working on a small mixology school with my husband Robert Hess back in 2015, but soon thereafter had to put it on the back burner when my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. I lost her just a year ago, and only just lost my dad a few weeks ago, and I miss them terribly. Right now, I am taking some personal time to heal myself, reset, and reflect on both the past and future. After that, writing my mixology book and rebooting the school will be the next step because they wouldnt have it any other way.

Whats one piece of advice youd give to a NYC restaurateur whos less established than you?

Hire good, kind, thoughtful people who truly enjoy giving of themselves. You can teach anyone proper procedure, steps of service, and standards, but you cant teach them to be warm or kind. Its a quality that comes from within, and the one that speaks to everyone. Folks go out not just for a good drink or great meal; equally important is that they are also going out for the experience. Caring, thoughtful service is the very stuff that the best memories are made of, and wildly more important than any hand-crafted ice cube could ever be.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I look forward to seeing my lifes work continued by my children and my employees past, present, and future. I believe that food is central to peoples lives and that experiencing world cultures through cuisine brings joy to people and enriches life. This is what I work to bring to the Japanese food scene in New York, and I hope to inspire all who work with me to carry on my vision by continuing to cultivate Japanese culture and cuisine for people around the world to enjoy.

Who do you think is shaping the next decade of dining in New York?

New Yorkers and patrons of the restaurants in New York will continue being the most influential force in shaping the next decade of dining. New York has always played a central role in popularizing new cuisines, and will continue to be a destination city to enjoy food that is familiar or pushes the envelope. Its also up to New Yorkers to keep encouraging up-and-coming restaurateurs as well as supporting mom-and-pop neighborhood favorites. How? By choosing to dine out and to explore. Its a great city for that.

What does the next decade look like for you?

Japanese cuisine has an enormous variety of cooking styles and flavors to offer that are not yet well-known, and I hope to continue being a leader in introducing new flavors of Japan to New York.

Whats one piece of advice youd give to a NYC restaurateur whos less established than you?

As a budding restaurateur, you need a lot of patience. Find out what people need, whats missing in the food scene, and dont give up even though its hard. It helps to be inspired by others, but as you grow, remember to create your own style. Always try to improve on what came before and bring something new to the table.

What do you want your legacy to be?

Anyone conceited enough to even think of such a self-aggrandizing word as legacy in terms of himself doesnt deserve to be in the restaurant business in the first place. If Im remembered at all, Id like it to be for treating my staff well.

Who do you think is shaping the next decade of dining in New York?

I tend to think about what is shaping trends in dining, not who. I think therell be less and less meat on menus. And as a result of astronomical rents for ground floor spaces, I see a major increase of restaurants on second floors.

What does the next decade look like for you?

Over the next 10 years Id like to make life better for my staff and try to emphasize the quality of food and service at the restaurants I already have, instead of fantasizing about future projects.

Whats one piece of advice youd give to a NYC restaurateur whos less established than you?

Never take advice from someone who tells you they know what theyre doing.

What do you want your legacy to be?

First and foremost, to have created a company where employees feel they can build a career and unravel their potential, and where clients have a long-standing and special connection to our brands. And next, maybe to have a small spot in the wonderful journey and legacy of Italian cuisine in America.

Who do you think is shaping the next decade of dining in New York?

Today all senses need to be stimulated concurrently and holistically: taste in great food is one factor, but more customized service, visual appeal, soundtrack of the venue, a lighting program for the evening, and so forth. Second, with the advent of technology and smartphones, the client can instantly record and share that experience. We have to listen very carefully to our clients and all feedback mechanisms more than ever. New technology tools will continue to evolve in delivery portals, reservations, and client information data as seen with SevenRooms (a restaurant reservation app).

What does the next decade look like for you?

We will build out our core platform and proven brands on both the more elevated, luxury side and the quality casual spectrum, and in different neighborhoods and geographies. We see a greater footprint outside of New York and internationally.

Whats one piece of advice youd give to a NYC restaurateur whos less established than you?

Dreams can turn quickly into nightmares. Be sure to understand and be diligent on all the components of the business at the outset: from capital to leasing to licensing and permitting, to inspections to infrastructure, and to cost. The potential pitfalls before even cooking your first dish are everywhere.

What do you want your legacy to be?

[Its] hard to refer to myself as a legacy at the moment, but I am most proud of the impact that I was able to make in the city of Philadelphia. The economic reverberations that Starr Restaurants was able to, and is still able to create in Philadelphia is what Im most proud of. We created a ton of jobs and a real dining scene which hopefully paved the way for future generations of chefs and restaurateurs.

Who do you think is shaping the next decade of dining in New York?

There are so many creative and skilled artisans in New York bringing insanely good cocktails, pastry, dumplings, whatever their gift is to the dining scene. But truthfully, I think its the diners themselves the people who eat out in NYC [who] are the ones shaping the next decade, and if were smart, well listen to them.

What does the next decade look like for you?

The next decade is going into the hotel business, that industry is something Ive always wanted to do.

Whats one piece of advice youd give to a NYC restaurateur whos less established than you?

Dont assume your idea is great because you really believe in it. Take the idea, write all the reasons why it wont work, then a list of the reasons why it will the list with the longest reasons is the one you should listen to.

What do you want your legacy to be?

The question of legacy is a hard one, because were all invariably imperfect, so I think of it as more of a pursuit. I also think there are two legacies that one leaves behind: their personal legacy and their professional one. For me, my personal legacy is more important. There, Id like to be remembered for being generous, others-centered, and actively loving the people in my life: my wife, my family, my friends, and my community.

On the professional side, Id like to be remembered in a couple ways. First, as someone who created restaurant environments defined by gracious hospitality both for the guests, and for all the people that gave so much of themselves to those restaurants in helping create memorable experiences for those guests. And as someone who strived to create community around hospitality through things like the Welcome Conference (an annual conference for people in the hospitality industry) for my peers in the dining room and anyone in any industry that derives significant and genuine pleasure out of bringing joy to others.

Who do you think is shaping the next decade of dining in New York?

Id like to call attention to Gabe Stulman and his incredible group of partners at Happy Cooking. Ive been incredibly inspired by him over the last couple years, because he puts more intention, thoughtfulness, and attention to detail into a 30-seat restaurant than most do into a 100-seat restaurant. And from my perspective, he doesnt do it for accolades, or fanfare, or even reviews (less than half of the restaurants hes opened have even gotten reviewed). Instead, he just does it for the love of the game. The best example is perhaps his most recent restaurant, the Jones. I honestly dont know who is shaping the next decade of dining in New York City, but I hope that his example is one that more of us are inspired to follow.

What does the next decade look like for you?

Im writing my next chapter as we speak, more to come.

Whats one piece of advice youd give to a NYC restaurateur whos less established than you?

Most of the lessons that I find myself sharing are ones that I learned from my dad, Frank Guidara. Ill share two here: First, early in your career you should articulate as best you can why you fell in love with the restaurant business and chose to give your life to it in the first place. There will be moments where you need to tap back into that perspective, and you always want to have it at the ready. Second, something he always says is, adversity is a terrible thing to waste. In life, and in business, there will invariably be bumps in the road. We cant always control what comes our way, but we can control how we react. If youre able to step back and take a deep breath, sometimes your greatest challenges can end up being your greatest opportunities.

What do you want your legacy to be?

Wed like to be thought of as a company that made significant strides toward bridging the gap between whats refine[d] and whats fun, what is art and what is commerce.

Who do you think is shaping the next decade of dining in New York?

I think the single most significant person shaping the next generation of New Yorks dining scene is the exact same person its been since the very first day of hospitality. Its the customer. They are the ultimate judge and juror of what we do. It doesnt become a trend or a fad or an institution without them.

What does the next decade look like for you?

Were looking at what challenges hospitality can present to us next and what opportunities we can provide for our team. I think operating our own hotels is absolutely on that list and something were actively working on. The sum of our parts has never been stronger, so absolutely anything is possible.

Whats one piece of advice youd give to a NYC restaurateur whos less established than you?

Set reasonable goals and work unreasonably hard towards them.

What do you want your legacy to be?

Legacy is a pretty heavy concept! Im best carrying myself, my work, and my place in the world one day at a time. I believe in being a steady, dependable, and joyful individual. One not afraid to ask questions, be pushy, and blaze a trail through the tricky, sticky jungle of life. I hope that daily approach to humanity and curiosity is one that grows beyond me and continues far beyond my reach, whether through questioning the frosting on the side of a cake, steeping cereal in milk to use for wacky things, being a grownup that is adamant about making friendship bracelets for strangers, or making the aisles of the grocery feel a little more adventuresome.

Who do you think is shaping the next decade of dining in New York?

Yewande Komolafe. When we worked together over a decade ago, she was still finding her way in the world of food. Choosing every avenue of cuisine but the one that defined her palate, she now builds and shares the recipes, the flavors that are home to her, true to her. And our taste buds are listening. With unapologetic truth, individuality, Yewande and a handful of others are shaping the next decade of dining in and dining out.

What does the next decade look like for you?

See 1 🙂

Whats one piece of advice youd give to a NYC restaurateur whos less established than you?

Know yourself. Know your North Star, be incredibly flexible and nimble in between. All the fun (rollercoasters galore) happens there.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I honestly havent ever thought about my legacy, its not very important to me at the moment. In my 15 years as a business person in NYC, I have done a ridiculous amount of damage to the environment and the animal world on this planet; before considering my legacy, Id like to settle up my carbon and karmic footprint.

Who do you think is shaping the next decade of dining in New York?

I work a lot these days and keep my head down, [so] I dont pay much attention to whats going on in the NYC dining scene. Id have to say the people that are shaping the next decade are the ones that are implementing the best sustainability practices. This planet is headed for destruction; if everyone as a whole doesnt consider the way they run their businesses, there wont be much of a dining scene to shape in the future.

What does the next decade look like for you?

For me, the next decade will look similar to the last except on a much larger scope and in many more markets than NYC. We will continue to innovate in the ways of plant-based foods and to hone our sustainability practices and hopefully teach and influence others to do the same.

Whats one piece of advice youd give to a NYC restaurateur whos less established than you?

Like an artist or musician has a gift and passion for what they do, you should only enter this business if you have the same qualities. Its more of an art than a business, and you have as much chance of success as you do at becoming a successful painter. And, if you do go for it, please consider the future and try to leave your small corner better than when you arrived.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I would like my legacy to focus around my dedication to raising the platform for women in a male-dominated industry. Via my partnership in my bar, Leyenda, with three women or the many women and minorities we hire there, and my work with Speed Rack (an all-women bartending competition that highlights up-and-comers in the cocktail industry), I hope to see people of all sorts and kinds being seen more at the top of the game.

Who do you think is shaping the next decade of dining in New York?

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David Chang, Stephen Starr, Keith McNally, and More: NYCs Biggest Restaurateurs on the Future of Dining - Eater NY

Body positivity has had its day. Lets find peace with ourselves – The Guardian

If the beginning of the decade in bodies was defined by size zero, clavicles worn proudly by tanned celebrities as if Cartier necklaces, and the end was defined by a loudly proclaimed yet slippery embrace of body positivity, where are we right now on the body hatred spectrum?

Much came in between the two, of course, and little of it good. There were the eating disorders (hospital admissions for which continue to rise sharply), which sistered a worldwide obesity epidemic, and the pills that helped desperate women defecate fat. There was the speed at which it had become familiar to see an actress turn to the side on a red carpet and simply disappear. In January 2010, three diet TV shows competed for ratings: Fat Families, Generation XXL and My Big Fat Diet Show, an interactive diet-along.

Over the years these weight-loss stories moved online, regifted as empowerment. There were the gurus of weight loss, then fitness, and later clean eating; there were the plus-sized bikini models laughing on Instagram. There was Dove, with its soaps expertly marketed to cure women of their bodies. There was Lena Dunhams belly, site of a thousand think pieces, only 300 or so by me. There was the supermodel-esque actor Jameela Jamil who, in campaigning against unrealistic body ideals inspired thousands of women, but made an equal number very cross indeed.

Across the decade, one mantra of mainstream feminism was to love your body through any means necessary. Plastic surgery and injectibles became normalised overnight, with new lips as easy to buy in a lunch hour as a Boots meal deal. On Love Island, nobody ever shaved their legs all hair had been lasered off their generation the day it became pubic. The ideal body shape rebuilt itself before our eyes, from something made of bones with eyes to something made of bones with an arse the Kardashian family, their narratives about sex and fertility and cash and race written on their skin, take up a whole chapter here, size nine font, 1,000 pages.

I support a move towards proud ambivalence

So now what? So now, standing here in the classic pose, underwear-clad before a mirror, pinching the sides of our hips with fingers once disgusted, where are we? For all the journeying we appear to have done, for all the magazines that banned diet recipes but pivoted to clean eating and a dash of Botox, for all the brands, like Weight Watchers, that frantically attempted to catch up with the zeitgeist but appeared to break down somewhere near Heston Services, it feels to me as though weve not moved forward, instead, veered just a little to the side.

Because while the body positivity movement celebrates all bodies that spill over the waistband of what is currently acceptable, it fails to illuminate the reasons why so many people have such bitter and violent relationships with their bodies to begin with. By skipping those sticky conversations, ones that reach into the offal of politics and families, and the day-to-day existence of being a fat person in the world and instead leaping straight to the friendly hashtag, complete with women detailing their own blessed journeys towards inner beauty, it heaves all responsibility for feeling better about ones body on to the shoulders of the person within it.

The reasons so many people hate their bodies go deeper than a Dove ad can explain, and they are good reasons they may not be correct, they may be horrific and mean and based in decades of well-funded sexism, but they are logical, and they were taught to us young.

So the impact of enforcing body positivity on people who, under their skin, know there are rational reasons they have sex with the lights off, or fear exercising in public, or click on Instagram links to cosmetic surgeons in Turkey, or have been on diets since they were 12, can feel like two trucks crashing in their throat. Everybodys beautiful, and all bodies are perfect! said 2019, to a small murmur from those pointing out that the workplace, Tinder, fashion and health professionals disagree. The effect, then, was a feeling of isolation, and a doubling of guilt. Guilt both for living in a body that doesnt fit and for wanting to change it.

Which is why I support a move away from body positivity, and all the smile for the camera pressures that involves, and towards a new era of body neutrality. Of proud ambivalence. Here theres plenty of room, both for those who revel in their physical strength and beauty, and those who dont want their bodies to be political statements, read as branded content, or even to think about them much at all. After a draining decade in body image, Im hoping that until the messy little business of restructuring the world in order to find true equality is completed, the message of the next 10 years will be, not to love your body, but instead, find peace with it.

Email Eva at e.wiseman@observer.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @EvaWiseman

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Body positivity has had its day. Lets find peace with ourselves - The Guardian

John Carlos Responds to the New Olympics Ban on Political Protest – The Nation

John Carlos, right, and Tommie Smith, center, raise gloved fists in protest at the 1968 Summer Olympics. (AP Photo)

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Olympic athletes competing in Tokyo have been put on notice. They are there to be seen and not heard. A new list of restrictions against political speech or gestures was released on Thursday by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The move is as arrogant as it is censorious. Any athlete who may have planned to take a knee like Colin Kaepernick, or raise their fist like John Carlos or Tommie Smith in 1968, will have to think again. Make a gesture of solidarity with your oppressed brethren in your home country as 2016 Olympian Feyisa Lilesa did and you could find yourself ostracized.Ad Policy

The actual punishments for political speech are opaque but threatening, the IOC saying that such will be determined on a case by case basis. In the official statement, Olympic organizers write:

The unique nature of the Olympic Games enables athletes from all over the world to come together in peace and harmony. We believe that the example we set by competing with the worlds best while living in harmony in the Olympic Village is a uniquely positive message to send to an increasingly divided world.

This is why it is important, on both a personal and a global level, that we keep the venues, the Olympic Village and the podium neutral and free from any form of political, religious or ethnic demonstrations.

There is something particularly ironic about the fact that the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) just admitted John Carlos and Tommie Smith into its Hall of Fame last November, 51 years after they raised their fists on the medal stand in 1968. The ceremony was meant to be a celebration of reconciliation and a tacit acknowledgment by the USOPC that it was wrong to ostracize the two runners. This new ruling sends a hell of a message that the Olympic movement wants to absorb the protest into the past and criminalize it for the present and future.

I spoke to John Carlos on the phone and, as one might expect, he was livid. Heres what he told me:

This is nonsense. Theyre way out of line with this. Theyre trying to take peoples rights away and its ridiculous. They are saying that they dont want politics at the Olympics but this is a political move. The silencing of people is political. We all love the Olympics but Im not sacrificing my humanity to win a medal. Every time they go to different nation for a different Olympics, are you going to tell me that the choice of the country isnt politically motivated? I aint buying that. The athlete should be able to make a statement on that medal stand. They are not disrespecting a flag. They are using their time to do what they think is right. They are trying to save lives. No one has the right to take away whats inside you or silence what you want to say.

I asked Carlos how he squares being inducted into the USOPC Hall of Fame and then given this anti-political crackdown. He said:

It shows that if you stand with it, youll be accepted in time. But people have to have the courage to step up. Ive done mine. Ive been stepping up and living by the truth of that gesture for 51 years. Its time for that next generation to step up and show their moral characterIf you think all is fine, and you go to the Olympic Games with your mouth zipped, youll find youll regret it.

The brazen contradiction is of course that the Olympics are already political from top to bottom. They are political in the host country, where the head of state makes the argument that the Olympics will benefit the country economically. Government leaders also inevitably argue for national unity in support of the games, no matter how much debt is accrued, how much militarization is demanded, and how many people are displaced. The games are are political for the sponsors who use the Olympics to hawk their products, in a process one could call sin washing. Sponsors like McDonaldswhich pushes the utter opposite of an Olympic dietsell their wares and benefit from the warm glow emitted by the Olympics. The games are political for the environment, which suffers a gigantic global footprint during the course of the Games. And in this era of political athletes, there is of course something political about an edict that aims to shut them down.

I reached out to Jules Boykoff, author of four books on the Olympics, including the forthcoming NOlympians: Inside the Fight Against Capitalist Mega-Sports in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Beyond. He said:

The IOCs edict, as laundered through its Athletes Commission, brims with hypocrisy. Athlete activism emerges from overlapping systems of injustice. To deny athletes the right to express their thoughts and feelings on the political injustices that wrack the world today reeks of authoritarianism, which is political in itself. This policy is a slap in the face to the exciting zeitgeist of smart, savvy athletes who are not willing to check their brains in at the Olympic door.

One thing is certain. As long as athletes are willing to confront their fear and risk punishment to speak their truth, this issue is going nowhere.

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John Carlos Responds to the New Olympics Ban on Political Protest - The Nation

Melody Makers Pays Tribute to the Bible of Rock ‘n’ Roll – Random Lengths

By Melina Paris, Arts and Culture Reporter

It was a chance encounter. A young photographer, Barrie Wentzell, tells the story of being at the BBC Studios it was October 1965 to shoot some pictures during the taping of the weekly TV show Top of the Pops. He had ventured up to the rooftop bar during a break.

Diana was sitting at a table talking to a reporter from the Melody Maker and I asked her if it was O.K. to take a few pictures of her while she was being interviewed, Wentzell said. She smiled and said that it would be fine. After she left, the reporter suggested that I send some pictures to the Melody Maker, which I did, never thinking that they would be used. The following Wednesday, I saw the paper at my local newsstand and there was my photo on the front page along with my name credited. Wow! A few days later, I got a call from Bob Houston, Melody Makers assistant editor, offering me a job as chief freelance photographer, which I gladly accepted; thanks to Lady Diana Ross!

This happy accident began Wentzells decade-long adventure with the most renowned music publication of the time. Melody Makers, a documentary film directed by Leslie Anne Coles, details how the magazine shifted the focus of its coverage from jazz to rock n roll and consequently helped define music journalism and rock photography. The multi-award winning film festival darling recently screened in Los Angeles.

Founded in 1926, Melody Maker was one of the worlds earliest music weeklies. It began as a musicians trade paper, listing gigs and services, advertising for the BBC Radio program and writing about the musicians union with a concentration on jazz.

In her film, Coles tells the story of Melody Makers steady evolution and growing influence through the lenses of Wentzells cameras with the perspective of his experiences as chief contributing photographer from 1965 to 1975. During those years Wentzell photographed The Who, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Jethro Tull, Yes, Elton John, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and other rock gods during the era when they, like Wentzell, were just emerging. Some 50 years after Wentzells photos generated the magnetism that drew a following to Melody Maker, the magazine, the main attraction of Melody Makers, the movie, lies in the photos on display along with the tales of the discussions shared between the writers and musicians, who often stopped by the magazines office to do their interviews.

The film chronicles the rise and fall of the magazine which ushered in a style of rock n roll journalism that no longer exists. It was the mid-60s, the music landscape had and so did Melody Maker. Rock and folk music dominated. Excited fans had a desire to know the musicians they loved, like The Beatles, who inspired them. The publication began moving from stock photos to employing photographers who captured musicians in their element. With a fresh new look Melody Maker became the vanguard, approaching music and musicians as subjects for serious study rather than entertainment.

More importantly, Wentzell and the Melody Maker journalists nourished their relationships with the young rock stars, developing a trust between them. Wentzell was witness to many scenes of bad behavior. But not to spoil the relationships between musicians and writers who had total access, discretion was used. There were no makeup artists or publicists around. It was only a bunch of friends together when the writers, photographers and musicians hung out.

The film tells of the tragic day that the Rolling Stones learned that the bands founder, Brian Jones, had drowned. The Stones were in a recording studio, and a journalist was, too, gathering information for a story. But instead of reporting the scoop, the writer was cornered by Keith Richards, who made him pledge secrecy until the band had informed Brians family.

Melody Maker educated its readers, featuring heretofore unknown artists the magazine considered vital rather than covering musicians their audience already knew. This practice helped the magazine break bands and garner credibility and respect throughout the industry. Newspapers had tremendous power at the time. And Melody Maker felt it had a role to play to foster a deeper understanding of the artists and their work not simply to promote music. Coles captured this period of rock n roll history in interviews with journalists, musicians and those who worked behind the scenes. Artists in the film include Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, Eric Burdon of The Animals and members of Yes and Nazareth.

Melody Maker deputy editor Richard Williams described the magazine as a cause. Music defined who you were in the mid-60s. Coalescing around the womens movement, the environmental movement and Vietnam war protests, the youth created the zeitgeist and the belief in the power of music. The publication evolved into a bible for talent scouts and journalists. It became a cause for musicians who knew it was worth reading. In fact, writer Mick Watts wrote a profile on David Bowie when the pop star came to the office in a caftan and makeup and announced, Im gay and always have been, even when I was David Jones. The headline read, Oh You Pretty Thing, quickly becoming a part of pop mythology to which Bowie later attributed his success.

The magazine served as inspiration for a young Jann Wenners first issue of the San Franciscobased Rolling Stonepublished in November 1967. But ultimately, Wenner lacked the same vision the editorial staff of Melody Maker adhered to in standing by their ideals of discretion.

Wenners biographer Joe Hagen, a journalist who also worked at Rolling Stone in the 90s and the author of Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine wrote, Wenners vision was begged, borrowed, recycled, and stolen. From the first issue, the editorial philosophy of an underground newspaper that took rock n roll seriously, the layout and even its subscriber basewas based on a previous publication, or somebody elses original idea.

Further, as the news of the time intensified, with the Kent State massacre, riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention and escalation of the Vietnam War, rock n roll and the counterculture had a split and Wenner aligned with rock n roll.

During this time, the same shifts hit the British music culture. In Melody Makers case, an older staff who had flourished at the dawn of rock counterculture were not as into the new scene. A rival publication, New Musical Express, was ahead of the curve on the evolution into punk, covering the Ramones and Sex Pistols. Many writers didnt understand it, nor did they care to. Eventually, a fragmented music market diminished the audience of the once highly demanded magazine.

The film is a visual treat with the added pleasure of amazing rock star stories, which you may come away from yearning for more of. Ultimately, it pays tribute to a style of music coverage not often seen, where everyone, artist, journalist and reader, played an equal and satisfying part.

Melody Makers is available on video on demand: IMDb, Tubi and Amazon Prime Video.Details: http://www.melodymakersmovie.com

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Melody Makers Pays Tribute to the Bible of Rock 'n' Roll - Random Lengths

If People Can’t Get Married On Plantations, They Can’t Marry Anywhere – The Federalist

The Knot, WeddingWire, and Pinterest are seeking to limit content on their websites that promotes Southern plantations as a wedding venue. Weddings should be a symbol of love and unity. Plantations represent none of those things, declared a Pinterest spokesman, calling the glamorization of these estates a disrespectful practice. Pinterest visitors who search for plantation weddings or similar terms will now be warned that some results may violate the sites policies, de facto making plantations the equivalent of pornography.

The organization behind this growing movement, Color of Change, indicts vendors for using words like breathtaking to describe plantations. Black people dont have happy memories of the antebellum period and plantations, where our ancestors were beaten and tortured, said senior campaign director Jade Magnus Ogunnaike. Its important the reality of what happened in these spaces is present, versus a romanticization of human rights abuses.

Strange are there actually any African Americans who have memories of the antebellum period, given that it ended 160 years ago? Indeed, I wonder how many black Americans even have a deceased grandparent who could have had a memory of antebellum America.

This is not to say there isnt something a bit discomforting about vendors labeling slave cabins on these properties as evoking an elaborate past, as if blacks were happy, willing participants in a fanciful world of white gentry as portrayed in Gone with the Wind. All the same, targeting Southern wedding venues for bigotry reflects yet another manifestation of a purification of our culture and history.

In its zealous desire to right previous wrongs, this goes too far in the other direction, and in the process, undermines the historical fabric of our nation. It also reflects the vulnerability of American businesses to the whims of leftist protest movements.

The underlying premise of the anti-plantation movement is that Southern plantations cannot be romanticized. Surely, we do not want to pretend these places dont have a violent, racist past. We also dont need to police their repurposing. Many of them, even their detractors must admit, are beautiful, both in reference to their natural surroundings and their architecture. Is it not appropriate to celebrate momentous occasions in beautiful places?

If such locales have tragic histories, this is all the more reason to reimagine them in ways that both recognize and overcome that past. An example of this occurred in December, when a number of black medical students posed for a photo at a former slave plantation, a site some of them called holy. Heck, why not celebrate their graduation there? Now, thats poetic justice.

We might also remember that many of the most celebrated and visited historical sites in our country are Southern manors built and worked by slaves: Mount Vernon (itself a wedding venue), Monticello (another wedding venue), and Montpelier (also a wedding venue) among them. Will we need Google to warn us that searching for such places or even worse, planning a vacation to visit them are microaggressive acts, as if we are unable to contemplate both the good and bad of such places?

Moreover, blacks, both free and slave, provided the bulk of labor that built the White House, the U.S. Capitol, and other early government buildings. All of these places, despite their histories, are objectively beautiful. Because of the tragedies that transpired therin, they powerfully communicate how far America has come.

Its also not as if Dixie estates were the only sites where acts of brutality were committed by one group of Americans against another. Violence against blacks and other disenfranchised groups have occurred across our nations landscape, many in popular and well-trod locales, North and South, East and West.

Moreover, the entire country was once the land of American Indians, and a good deal of it deceptively or violently taken from them. Catholics in the 19th century suffered violent assaults at the hands of anti-papist mobs on the streets of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York. The only way to avoid offending anyone would be to stop celebrating anything, anywhere, at any time.

This gets to the broader dilemma with our zeitgeist, which combines woke deconstructionism with a modern version of damnatio memoriae, or condemnation of memory, an ancient Roman practice whereby persons vilified by the state were erased from public memory. The modern application of this practice is also redolent of any of those ancient heresies that are uncomfortable with the complicated reality that vice and virtue, spiritual and material, co-exist within the human experience.

Simply by virtue of ones social justice warrior credentials and alleged victimhood status, these people deputize themselves the cultural police of our history, our language, and now apparently our wedding venues. Their appetites will not be satisfied until all things and persons associated with injustice, real or imagined, are expunged from public experience and memory. William F. Buckleys popularization of Eric Voegelins warning is apt: Dont immanentize the eschaton!

Protest movements that perceive victimization and microaggression under every rock also wreak havoc on our countrys economy. A Pinterest representative, for example, announced that the website is working on de-indexing Google searches for plantation wedding. In December, a coalition of Alabama activists protested a Plantation Christmas event held at the Belle Mont Mansion near Tuscumbia, Alabama, because it memorialized white supremacist celebrations of Christmas. So all the people who work at these historic plantations, regardless of their race, sex, or income, must suffer the economic consequences of what feelings their employers history might provoke.

Nor do the sins of our forefathers nullify their many acts of virtue or the great political and cultural gifts they bestowed upon future generations. Indeed, it is the Christian character of America that has allowed us to recognize and seek to rectify our past errors. How many of the great nations of human history have so actively beat their breasts over their sins, both against their own citizens and the peoples of the world? Only a country with a conscience in our case informed by the Christian beliefs of our ancestors would bother to engage in the kinds of self-criticism and atonement visible in American society.

Moreover, are the perpetrators of our historical-cultural cleansing so naive to think their children and grandchildren wont do the same thing to them, who have fostered and encouraged a paradigm of national seppuku? Whats good for the goose is good for the gander, and one would have to be a clinical narcissist to think future generations wont find us at fault for any number of things. Chronological snobbery, as C.S. Lewis called our tendency to view our own age as superior to others, is a dark chasm ending in our own destruction.

Yes, its true that some historical artifacts across Americas landscape are honored in ways that belittle or demean our fellow countrymen. Plantations used for bourgeois ceremonies with language that obscures or even glorifies the estates dark past are one example. Yet self-righteous assaults on these places and the many ways they are used will not bring restorative justice. And in the process, these attacks have unintended economic consequences on working-class Americans.

Id suggest a far better solution for prospective newlyweds, regardless of race or ethnicity, would be to get married where they should: in a church. Then they could celebrate their wedding reception at a Southern manor and have a hell of a good time. That seems far more justified than puritannical policing of plantations.

Casey Chalk is a columnist for The American Conservative, Crisis Magazine, and The New Oxford Review. He has a bachelors in history and masters in teaching from the University of Virginia, and masters in theology from Christendom College.

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If People Can't Get Married On Plantations, They Can't Marry Anywhere - The Federalist

Gucci’s first menswear show in three years was a tribute to masculinity and youth – i-D

Fashion is nothing if not a pendulum swinging back and forth. Trends come and go (and come again, and go again). The return of something is continuously being heralded. Maximalism one minute, minimalism the next; monochrome or neon; glamour or grunge. At Guccis menswear show in Milan, its first since going co-ed on the womenswear schedule three years ago, a giant Foucauldian pendulum swung in the middle of the Elizabethan-style amphitheatre.

Backwards and forwards it went, until the show started, when it began to went all over the place, not unlike Alessandro Micheles ever-wondering eye for disparate references (preferably all at once). But a pendulum is also a symbol of time, which was just as fitting as the designer wound back the clock to his childhood, examining the freedom and naivety of youth as a way of re-piecing the concept of masculinity at a time when the term is usually preceded by the word toxic.

Hence shrunken proportions of babydoll dresses, gingham smocks, Little Lord Fauntleroy breeches and variations on traditional school uniforms, worn with biscuit-tin bags and classroom sandals. I wanted to be back in time, to be a child again, Alessandro explained. Childhood is a time when you are free and there are fewer labels, you can be yourself. When you grow up you get told how youre going to behave.

His idea was that masculinity needs to be re-rooted relearnt to create a better world for men and women, and it needs to be addressed at an early age. The toxic violence of masculinity is based on stereotypes which is dangerous for both men and women. It enslaves men and oppresses women. When we were in kindergarten we were all on the same footing as children we were allowed to be ourselves. When you grow up, you get told how youre going to behave.

In the five years since his first show can you believe its only been five years? Michele has dramatically shifted fashions parameters, most significantly ushering in gender-fluidity to the mainstream. It was interesting because I had this opportunity of coming back to Milan and to reconsider my past, he said.

When he sent out boys in pussy-bow blouses and fur-lined slippers for his debut show (a menswear one nonetheless) it was a spontaneous moment that captured the zeitgeist, more so than girls in mens suiting. Seemingly overnight, it snowballed into a quixotic universe that has reconfigured the gender and style for Gen Z, becoming the sartorial soundtrack of a wider iPhone-era identity-political movement. Little by little, I realised things had a meaning and weight even in a world that is free, like fashion. Now, it just seems second nature, so much so that this collection could have been yet another co-ed show.

In equal measure, he established a craze for genre-hopping opulence, everything embellished or laden with logos. This show was also significant in that it marked a continuation of Alessandro dialling it all back, something he started at his last womenswear show. Instead, there were clothes that looked old, not just sentimentally vintage. Grass-stained slouchy denim came with tattered hole and moth-eaten sweaters, while jackets were too-big and jumpers too-small as if they were childhood hand-me-downs.

Thats a powerful image at a time in which second-hand shopping is considered the most sustainable form of consumerism. If this show was about going back to the simplicity of childhood, to the optimism of youth, then it manifested in a more streamlined you could even say grown-up vision for Gucci and its non-toxic men.

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Gucci's first menswear show in three years was a tribute to masculinity and youth - i-D

‘My Parkdale is gone’: how gentrification reached the one place that seemed immune – The Guardian

By now, Michael Nguyen expects them: every month or so, someone representing one international real estate investment firm or another crosses the threshold of the Parkdale Intercultural Centre, a non-profit immigrant settlement agency he runs on a busy stretch of Torontos Queen Street West.

Its the same every time: Who owns the building? How do I get in touch with them? Do they want to sell? shrugged Nguyen, whose centre has been helping new immigrants adjust to Canadian life for decades. Were fortunate the owner believes in what we do, so we feel safe. But you know the same questions are being asked of everyone all around here. And not everyone is going to say no.

Torontos much-vaunted international brand the poster-child for extreme diversity, a global social experiment done right has become a faded myth in many of its inner-city neighbourhoods. Property values have soared beyond the most fevered speculators imagination, mostly relegating those representing Torontos vast swaths of difference to the suburbs.

Parkdale, however, an inner-city neighbourhood just six kilometres west of downtown along Lake Ontarios shore, has long been an outlier. As Nguyen spoke, runny-nosed toddlers fiddled with coloured blocks, while their parents, all recent immigrants, tried to focus on an English as a second language class. Outside, Queen Street bustled with an almost fairy-tale version of multicultural Toronto: Tibetan monks in flowing orange robes slipping into a flow of South Asian, Caribbean and African immigrants; a mom-and-pop grocer sells roasted barley, a favourite Tibetan snack; other restaurants offer roti, a Jamaican/Indian wrap that fuses the spicy flavours of both cultures.

But the lively streetscape here masks a threat to what could very well be the last island of diversity in a city swamped by the flood waters of global capital. Huge international real estate investment firms have embedded themselves in Parkdales urban fabric, buying dozens of apartment towers and thousands of rental units. Residents claim that threats, intimidation, rampant eviction notices and strategic neglect have become common. So too have tenant protests and rent strikes, where slick corporate offices find themselves occupied by hundreds of angry tenants demanding redress.

Those protesting, however, are the lucky ones. In a city famous as a landing pad for immigrants, many recently-arrived residents, often without either English or an understanding of Canadian legal protections around tenancy, simply pack up and leave.

Gone are the days of the mom-and-pop slumlord, which was the dominant make-up of the rental housing market in Parkdale for years, says Cole Webber, a legal aid worker with the Parkdale Community Legal Services (PCLS), a provincially-funded agency for free legal services (which was itself evicted from its long-time Parkdale offices last year). The fact of it is that the primary impediment for these corporations increasing their profits is the ongoing tenancy of working-class people who live in Parkdale. The only reason these companies bought these properties is so they can turn over the units. Period.

Parkdale has become one of those neighbourhoods, following a familiar script. Inner-city working-class suburb, the last bastion of affordable rent, becomes popular with artists and students, who lend it a certain zeitgeisty sheen; property speculators follow; rent and property value increase; condos sprout like weeds; neighbourhood becomes a whitewashed nowhere, like so many before it: Brooklyns Williamsburg, Londons Hackney, Berlins Kreuzberg, San Franciscos Mission. Indeed, Akelius, the Swedish investment firm that now owns many thousands of apartment units throughout Europe, made that exact comparison about Parkdale in its most recent annual report.

There goes another community center, quipped the Instagram account @parkdalelife about an infamous all-night McDonalds being demolished to make way for a 700-plus unit luxury condo building, leeringly named XO. It was just the kind of hipster fatalism that infects neighbourhoods in the grips of late-stage gentrification. The McDonalds, at Parkdales nexus of Dufferin and King Streets, had served as an informal refuge for Parkdales legions of homeless and mentally ill for decade. And by the time blas youth in search of urban grit arrive just in time to become cheekily indignant about displacement, its already far too late.

I lived in Parkdales orbit for almost 20 years, first in the late 1990s on its eastern boundary, and then its west a decade later.

The neighbourhoods infamous liquor store at Queen and Brock Streets was the only one I knew with a full-time police detail. Depending on the night, you could see a scuffle in the whiskey aisle, an arrest, or a fistfight or overdose in its parking lot; often, there would be a solicitation for a low-priced trick from one of the prostitutes who routinely patrolled its perimeter. Once, I was witness to a tooth being knocked out, one homeless man to another, over an allegedly stolen beer. (In one of the few good news stories to come out of Parkdale recently, the city is trying to acquire the site of the store, now closed, to build affordable housing.)

In a country like Canada, where we speak smugly of social safety nets and institutionalized humanity, here was a place that made it feel like that was all talk. In the late 1990s, Parkdale could be chilling: group homes housed hundreds battling mental health and addiction issues; the less fortunate were left to the precarious realm of government rent subsidies and dilapidated, poorly-maintained rooming houses or, just as often, the street. Along a deadened streetscape of mostly empty storefronts, drug deals happened in broad daylight, addicts raged and twitched, and Parkdale earned another name, Crackdale, day by day.

Its not hard to see Parkdale as doomed from the start. It was built in the late 19th century as a summer refuge for the citys wealthy, with opulent brick mansions on a small bluff overlooking the water. Six kilometres from the smoky and bustling downtown, it was close enough for those with means to easily reach and to keep those without away.

In less than two decades, rapid industrialization clustering along the waters edge changed all that. Apartment houses were built to accommodate workers, many of them immigrants, for the nearby factories and abattoirs; hastily-sold grand Victorian homes were repurposed into multiple single-room dwellings.

The decline of industry across North America in the 70s and 80s dealt Parkdale another blow, leaving the spartan workers housing to rot. The nearby lake now toxic and the six-lane expressway, built in the 1950s along the shore, ensured its squalor. Around the same time, the province of Ontario deregulated mental health care and shut down psychiatric hospitals, releasing psychiatric patients to seek refuge in privately-run care homes; they found Parkdales chopped-up manses ready to receive them.

Its not going to be Little Tibet much longer. Were losing the community we built over years

Over the years, poverty and marginalization became deeply embedded. Social service agencies clustered in Parkdale to serve a disempowered population, and, by their sheer density, drew more into the neighbourhoods orbit. Addiction made Parkdale a hotbed of a predatory illegal drug trade; prostitution became rampant. Concrete slab apartment towers, built as slum-remediation in the urban renewal zeitgeist in the 50s and 60s, became vertical manifestations of the social ills they had been intended to erase. Drugs and crime settled into their concrete walls.

Gentrification, on the surface, seemed less of a threat than an impossibility. As the rest of Toronto surged upward in the early 2000s, Parkdale was forever up and coming real estate code for a litany of social ills and a target for only the heartiest of speculators. Some did come, sprucing up half a block here, a cluster of houses there, but Torontos real estate boom left Parkdales intractable poverty largely intact.

The people who did come were new immigrants and refugees, heading to the last inner-city refuge of low rent. The tower units were squalid but cheap. And slowly, the tide of crime and drugs began to recede. Thanks to a long-standing federal policy, Tibetan refugees fleeing persecution in China took particularly strong root through the 2000s and 2010s, opening restaurants and grocery stores along Queen Street.

Immigrant groups had always filtered through Parkdale, finding their feet in a new country before moving on. But the Tibetans stayed, slowly transforming the broken and neglected district into a bright, vibrant family neighbourhood. Look at Google maps and youll see Little Tibet in the crook where Queen Street and Jameson meet. Tibetans really broke the mould here, Webber said. They turned the neighbourhood into their social and cultural hub. Theyre a stabilizing force, for sure.

Approximately 8,000 Tibetans call Canada home, and more than 6,000 live in Toronto, the bulk of them in Parkdale. That makes the neighbourhood the largest Tibetan community outside the countrys borders, though for how much longer is anyones guess. All my family and friends who are in Parkdale, they tell me about people coming to Canada and not able to find a place in their budget in Parkdale anymore, said Tenzin Tekan, one of Webbers colleagues at PCLS, who came to Canada in 2006 with her family. Its not going to be Little Tibet much longer. Were losing the community we built over years.

Parkdales burgeoning crisis isnt unique. Working class neighbourhoods in cosmopolitan cities all over the world have been transformed into urbane playgrounds for the moneyed set. And global investors muscling into the rental housing market is no Toronto phenomenon. After the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US cratered the property market there, note Canadian professors Martine August and Allan Walks, huge swaths of rental housing were acquired by investment firms willing and able to wait out the market dip to recapitalize on the rent gap as the economy recovered.

Last year, one of them, Blackstone, an international private equity firm that the UN recently accused of wreaking havoc on the global affordable housing market with aggressive evictions of low and middle income tenants, recently entered an acquisition deal with the Toronto-based firm Starlight Investments. In the fall, Starlight bought a $1.72bn (1bn) portfolio of apartment towers; one of the largest is in Parkdale.

Its a narrative of numbing sameness from which no city no desirable city, at least is immune. But things were supposed to be different here. As Manhattan became a mall for the global elite, and as San Franciscos homeless population climbed into the thousands, Torontonians like me were smug civic boosters of our anomaly status. Here we were, a big city that worked, where different kinds of people could choose and afford to live shoulder to shoulder and be better for it.

And for a moment, it was true. But capital moves quickly, and policy much less so. In less than two decades, housing prices in Toronto doubled, then trebled, then quadrupled: the average price of a single-family home went from $251,267 in January 2000 to $1,044,527 in late 2018. Toronto, a fabled city of immigrants, was fast becoming something else entirely. Whole immigrant communities who had gained a toehold in the citys core were selling high and decamping for the suburbs, which is where the citys vaunted diversity now lives.

Homogenous, predictable, corporate and maybe even securitized that certainly seems like the fate of Toronto

Real estate became a bloodsport, and Parkdale became convenient hyperbole for last-resort gentrification narratives. We Bought a Crackhouse read the headline of an infamous 2017 story in Toronto Life magazine, about a young familys Parkdale renovation journey that included moving on the addicts splayed unconscious in the basement. The story tore open a gash in an urban skin already rubbed raw with rising inequity. The backlash was intense, vicious and unrelenting. It became an emblematic tale of the citys escalating class war, pushed past the point of no return.

Rising property values have brought about a full-blown housing crisis on all fronts. 8,700 people in Toronto are homeless; 100 now die on the streets each year. The waiting list for social housing sits at 98,000. Residential rents, even in a rent-controlled environment, have more than doubled in three years, according to the research firm UrbaNation. Vacancy hovers at 1%. And Parkdale is the last chapter of an urban narrative fast fading into myth.

I used to say, in a kind of flip way, that I gave up on the inner city years ago, says Deborah Cowen, a professor of geography who studies cities and social justice at the University of Toronto. Cowen lived in Parkdale in the 90s, when it was bottoming out. Even then, she says, you could see subtle pressures of gentrification building. In terms of being homogenous, predictable, corporate and maybe even securitized that certainly seems like the fate of Toronto, and without some kind of dramatic change, it will be.

How dramatic? Just last month, Cowen says, the city announced a $24bn affordable housing strategy with provincial and federal support. Im not convinced even that is enough to effect the change we need, she says. Bureaucracies walk, while capital sprints: by the time anything gets built eight to 10 years from now, or more what kind of city will be left to save?

Nerupa Somasale doesnt need academic studies or government statistics to understand what shes lost. Somasale, 23, bright and articulate with an engaging laugh in many ways epitomises Torontos global brand of harmonious multiculturalism. In the 1990s, her mother, from the Philippines, landed in Parkdale where she met Somasales father, a refugee from India.

Oh my God, I hate that. I hate it so much, Somasale says, when I ask her about the citys rosy reputation. This whole idea of multiculturalism, diversity its still used as something we should be proud of. But it suggests equity, like we all have a stake. Its just not true. Its the opposite. Its branding for politicians and for tourists, nothing more.

Somasale, an undergraduate student in her final year of curatorial studies at Ryerson University, was born on the 19th floor of the building at 105 West Lodge Avenue in Parkdale where recently the elevators stopped working, prompting raucous protest at the landlords offices over its alleged mass-eviction campaign. For better or worse, Parkdale has always been her home: through the 90s, when the crack trade was brisk and relentless; through the 2000s, when adventurous urbanites were drawn further westward to a growing array of nightclubs and late-night restaurants; and finally the last decade, where change was inflicted most visibly by a particularly aggressive corporate newcomer that saw the opportunity to craft a new identity for Parkdale entirely.

It had that feeling: Theres nothing here, so lets just make it into whatever we want'

It started in 2016, when an outpost of the Los Angeles vegan restaurant Doomies opened on Queen Street, swiftly followed by a non-dairy ice cream shop and a lifestyle boutique. Last year, 5700, which owned all these ventures, announced it was rebranding the neighbourhood Vegandale, with a slate of international food events under that banner.

Vegandale, to many, was the same brutal invasion at street-level that was happening in the towers just a few blocks away. It was a really tumultuous moment, like everything that had been happening here the past few years just burst out on to the street, Somasale said. It shifted things for her. She became more engaged in activist efforts, more involved in the protest movement. It was an erasure of history, and an intentional one, she said. They wanted to change a chunk of the neighbourhood in a way that didnt benefit anybody that had lived here for years. It had that feeling: Theres nothing here, so lets just make it into whatever we want.

There is, of course, a great deal here, which makes Parkdales quick transformation so alarming. But for Somasale, theres little reason for hope. Half the people I grew up with, whether they were my age or they were family members that were much older who had lived there for decades, have been displaced, she says. Because they cant afford it me included.

On a bright, early autumn day, Somasale asked that we meet in Kensington Market, a vibrant, ramshackle cluster of Victorian houses converted into cafes, fruit stands and vintage shops on the western fringe of Torontos downtown. Earlier this year, Somasale left her lifelong home, finally broken by non-functional elevators, floods and the enveloping chaos of the landlord-tenant war. In Kensington, she shares a one bedroom apartment with two friends there is no escaping Torontos merciless rental rates.

I wanted so, so badly to stay in the neighbourhood. I looked for a year-and-a-half. It was like a horror story. For $600, I couldnt believe what I saw. It was disgusting, terrifying. But theyd get away with it because someone would be desperate.

She sighs. I have a weird relationship to this feeling of home, because I cant even live there, she says. I visit every other week. But it changes so fast. It feels like neighbourhood amnesia.

By 2016, the last time the Canadian government collected census data, on paper, Parkdale had changed little: Almost 90% of its residents were renters, versus less than half for the city as a whole, making its 35,000 people more vulnerable to rental market swings than anywhere else. More than a third lived below the poverty line, 50% more than the broader city. While the immigrant population had grown to almost 50%, the data still showed that Parkdale was very much what it had always been: A haven for the vulnerable, reliant on the density of social services that had long clustered there. Nearly half of Parkdales residents were seniors, living alone, often in the rooming houses now under threat of reinvestment and renovation.

What the data didnt pick up was how the neighbourhood had changed on street level, and the three-year gap between then and now might as well be a lifetime. When Akelius, the Swedish real estate juggernaut with some $8bn in global assets settled its gaze on Toronto in 2011, Parkdale was a low-income immigrant neighbourhood. But it was no longer a bleak urban sinkhole. Thanks to the Tibetan community, and the hipster incursion that the Tibetans stabilising presence had drawn, it was an opportunity.

In 2012, the firm started acquiring mid and high rise concrete slab apartment buildings in Toronto; by 2016, it had amassed 37, and more than 3,000 apartment units. Many of them were along Jameson Avenue, which links Parkdale to the Gardiner Expressway, shuttling commuters to and from the citys core.

Akelius had already developed a successful business model in Sweden, Germany and the UK: identify neighbourhoods adjacent to fully gentrified districts like Kreuzberg, a longstanding haven for Berlins Turkish population and exploit the undercapitalization of its rental housing.

The company had identified a weakness in the citys rent control regulations, which typically tie annual rent increases to inflation, usually less than 2%. In its most recent annual report to investors, Akelius demonstrated its loophole: When properties are modernized, the rent for existing tenants can be increased by up to 9% above the guideline over a period of three years. By 2014, Akelius was improving things like lobbies and balconies, and serving large rent increases or eviction notices en masse. In 2015, when tenants, many of them Tibetan refugees, complained of back-to-back annual rent increases as much as five times higher than the provincial guideline, Akelius spokesman Ben Scott, in a statement to the Toronto Star, explained that the increases were intended to subsidize costs to the company from taxes, utilities and extensive renovations.

Its not how do we stop it'. Its how do we capture some of the benefits of the changes for people who live here now?'

Other landlords took Akelius as a model. MetCap Living, Parkdales biggest landlord with more than 20 apartment buildings, was accused of starving out tenants in 2017 on unheeded maintenance requests and issuing heavy rent increases in an effort to drive out low income tenants and attract new ones. Current rents on new units are said to often be double those paid by longtime tenants. MetCap president Brent Merrill, also speaking to the Star, said he had made every effort to manage maintenance requests, including a tenant hotline.

Tenants pushed back with a rent strike at 12 buildings. The conflict peaked when a video emerged of Merrill narrowly missing a protester with his pickup truck. Merrill told the Toronto Star he was rescuing a terrified property manager from an angry mob.

When the strike stretched out over two months, the company agreed to reduce its above-guideline rent increases to the provincially-mandated levels.

As the rental market tightened, the presence of private equity firms grew. Timbercreek, with $10bn in assets across North America, Europe and Asia, bought several Parkdale buildings in the fall of 2018, including the two hulking towers on West Lodge Avenue where Somasale grew up . Tenants there had endured semi-functional heat and hot water for years, as well as leaks, floods and pest infestations. Elevators in the two 19-storey towers were often out of service for weeks.

By the winter of 2019, tenants reported a rash of eviction notices. In March, dozens of hired a bus to take them to Timbercreeks corporate head office in Toronto to serve their new landlord with hundreds of maintenance requests and a notice of their own. In a video of the event, one of the protestors made clear their chief concern: that the company was taking people to the landlord-tenant tribunal to evict them, and that, internally, Timbercreek had likened tenant removal to putting a building through a car wash. This is the dirt youre trying to wash away, the protestor continued, gesturing to her protest sign-holding neighbours. We are here to put you on notice: You have no idea the neighbourhood you are messing with.

Colleen Krempulec, Timbercreeks executive director of marketing told the Guardian that the company had evicted some tenants, usually for non-payment of rent, but the number was small: 17, in a property with more than 700 units. And were not talking about a few weeks of arrears were talking about months and months, she said.

In the months that followed Timbercreeks acquistion, Krempulec said, the enormity of the maintenance challenge emerged. These buildings were neglected for decades, she said. I would say West Lodge was in the worst state of repair weve ever seen. Since taking ownership, Krempulec said the company had worked through more than 2,500 tenant maintenance requests, and had replaced all eight of the buildings elevators, as well as the heat and hot water systems.

The accusation that were deferring maintenance to encourage people to leave nothing could be further from the truth, she said. Its been a challenging project, there is no doubt more challenging than we had originally bargained for. But were a long-term investor. Were not coming in to flip the property. We have a long-term horizon.

In November 2019, Starlight Blackstones Canadian partner firm found itself on now-familiar ground: tenants, angry at rent hikes they claimed were well above the guideline rate, occupied its head office with a stack of unheeded maintenance demands. For Katrina Potts, who led the protest, the gap between tenant and landlord was stark. The office was all waterfalls and glass and luxury, she said. Were arguing with them over $100, $200, $300 a month, and theyve just spent $1.72bn. You have to wonder if thats a war we can win.

Parkdale, though, is not the kind of place where people give up. Tenant groups are organized and armed with legal aid, and new ideas incubate here among academics and activists. The pace of change, however, is something none seem able to solve. In 2010, Kuni Kamizaki, then a graduate student at the University of Torontos urban planning department doing a placement at a community agency and social hub for Parkdales low-income residents, developed an idea. He wanted to build a non-profit community land trust, in order to bank land and housing and rent it back to low-income residents at fixed rates below market value. Government had long-since abandoned building affordable housing itself, choosing instead to subsidize rent for qualified tenants in privately owned buildings. That meant public money was being used to pay off private mortgages, with nothing to show for it at the end. Wouldnt that money be better spent paying for a permanent community asset? Kamizaki thought so, and the trust was born.

In 2010, its goals seemed reasonable. Land values were rising, but Parkdales built-in buffers the towers, a welter of social service agencies, dilapidated housing stock made the pace seem manageable. There was time. When the trust finally secured seed funding and undertook a community-based planning initiative, it was 2015, and the landscape in Parkdale had shifted intensely. Akelius was ensconced; others had followed and were applying its techniques with ruthless efficiency. And no fewer than a dozen new luxury condo developments were on the horizon.

Everything was just happening so, so fast, Kamizaki said. Big corporate investors were suddenly everywhere how could we even start to grapple with that?

The land trust is still up and running, and can claim some small victories: a community garden; 15 refreshed apartments it rents to vulnerable tenants at rates well below the market rate.

Joshua Barndt, the trusts development coordinator, is clear-eyed about what the trust can achieve in this climate, and what it cannot. In the face of multi-billion dollar acquisitions, its not how do we stop it, he said. Its how do we capture some of the benefits of the changes for people who live here now? How are we intentionally a part of it? Instead of being pushed down the river, how do we ride along with it?

Many others are struggling to simply leave the river behind. On a bright day far from Parkdale, Somasale is haunted by a past to which she can no longer connect. For my family, Parkdale wasnt a choice, she says. It was all we had. So its hard to move on.. I dont feel like I can make it here in Toronto any more, she says, musing about new horizons Montreal, maybe, where rent is lower. Its sad, she says. Parkdale will always feel like home, but it doesnt look like any home I ever knew anymore. My Parkdale is gone.

For Somasale and thousands of others, the loss is absolute a place knit into your psyche, torn out and walled off, forever. For the rest of us, the loss is more abstract: of a city we were foolish enough to believe was different, or better, that was more than land values and profit margins that, against all reason and odds, worked. A city we dared to love, and believe in, never more to be.

Murray Whyte, the long-time art critic at the Toronto Star, is now the art critic at the Boston Globe

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'My Parkdale is gone': how gentrification reached the one place that seemed immune - The Guardian

The resurrection of a ‘modern’ house in the Berkshires | – theberkshireedge.com

View of the house from Summit Road in Richmond. These houses and this one in particular -- were not afraid to cantilever sections of the house above the ground, creating the impression of floating.

Richmond Modern houses, a k a Mid-Century Modern houses, are making themselves a big part of my life these days. I dont believe in coincidence, but when, recently and in quick succession, I:

I knew something was up.

The first houses I studied in the fall of 1971, as a freshman at Cornell Universitys College of Art, Architecture and Planning, were the predecessors of the Mid-Century Modern houses Le Corbusier, in particular, but also Alvar Aalto, Frank Lloyd Wright, Breuer and Walter Gropius. These five were spiritual precursors of the lesser known, but eminently talented, architects like A. Quincy Jones, Whitney R. Smith and Craig Ellwood who were designing in Los Angeles in the late 1940s.

My own architectural zeitgeist as is evident from my work here in the Berkshires is obviously sympathetic with the architectural thinking of all of these guys. That, coupled with the five years I spent as a child living with my family in a classic 1950s ranch house (the somewhat estranged cousin of the modern movement), and you can see why it was an easy choice to start my writing for The Berkshire Edge with the house renovation in Richmond.

View of entry as it is before construction.

Construction has yet to start so we have only before pictures, but this is clearly a Mid-Century Modern house. Although it was built sometime between 1955 and 1960, its credentials are impeccable. This largely one-story residence presents a bold, horizontal design, floating gracefully above the deeply sloping site; this is especially evident as you approach from Route 41 along Summit Road. The strip windows running along the southern elevation (roughly parallel to Summit Road) further emphasize the horizontality of the design. In general, the house has open plans, creating living space living, dining and kitchen areas with as few walls as is practical.

Plan for the entry level.

These houses and this one in particular were not afraid to cantilever sections of the house above the ground, creating the impression of floating. Finally, like most Modern houses, this house has a flat roof. Not all modern houses have flat roofs, but most do; if not flat, then a very minimal slope. Why? Primarily because Modernism emerged from the older European International Style most commonly associated with the Bauhaus and the work of Walter Gropius; like the International style, Modern buildings eschewed excess or extraneous areas in any building such as attics and wanted the finished building to reflect both its function and structure as honestly as possible. Last, but not least, these designers saw the roof as a possible outdoor living area, not simply a way to keep the rain and snow out. I recommend reading Toward a New Architecture by Le Corbusier, the seminal treatise of the International design movement, profoundly affecting the architecture and furniture even the art of the time a book I spent many hours studying in college.

The great progenitor of Modernism, American architect Louis Sullivan, summed up the ethos of the cutting-edge designers and architects of the time in three words: form follows function. That clarity included even the basic layout of the house. We were taught that each building must be organized by parti; in simplest form this meant that the houses plan layout, viewed from above, would resemble a giant letter of the alphabet, most commonly, H, T, L, O (like the new Apple headquarters) or even S (a bit like Aaltos Baker House dormitory building at MIT.)

View of the master bedroom.

The parti of the Jaffee Residence is a T, with the primary entry at the intersection of the horizontal and vertical segments of the T. The house was not built as it is now all at once: the master bedroom suite was added later (as best I can tell) further emphasizing the T parti. This addition was added relatively soon after the main house was constructed, and every effort was made to blend the addition with the original house design. In fact, seeing it today, one could easily be forgiven for thinking it was all built at the same time.

But heres the rub: unlike the houses shown in the book mentioned earlier about the Crestwood Development in Los Angeles (Cory Buckners Crestwood Hills / The Chronicle of a Modern Utopia, Angel City Press), this house is located in New England. This is no small matter; often, when reading Dwell, Architecture Magazine or Architectural Record, I sometimes stare wistfully at a lovely assemblage of glass and steel floating gracefully above the landscape only to crash back to earth, realizing it was built in Los Angeles or another relatively winter-free location. Yes, the sun can be brutal, but nothing compares with frost heaves, ice-dams and frozen pipes to challenge a buildings longevity. Maintenance is critical for the well-being of any building, but especially for a Mid-Century Modern house in the Berkshires. It doesnt take many winters (roughly one) without adequate preparation and maintenance to destroy such a house in this climate. Given the challenges this house has faced, it has emerged relatively unscathed. Best of all, the new owner is determined to both keep its identity and restore its luster, functionally and aesthetically.

Sketch of the front view, before renovation.

Thats fortunate: this house is an excellent and visually bold example of the Mid-Century Modern style. Renovations like this are done for many reasons, but the top three reasons are economic, practical considerations, and love. This renovation combines a bit of all three but love played no small role in the owners decision to do this work; he fell in love with the house and wanted to bring it into the 21st century. This meant as you can see from comparing the now photographs with the proposed design sketches that while we are keeping the plan largely unchanged (because it works very well as it is), we are upgrading the electrical / lighting system for both functional and code compliance reasons, adding some insulation, repairing any rotten siding, painting inside and out, and, perhaps most importantly, replacing the roof. While maintaining the flat roof appearance, we are adding some slope to the new design to keep water from ponding, as it does now, with adequate vertical leaders to drain it effectively. We are also adding some new plumbing fixtures for functional purposes and re-grading the site to make certain rain and snow melt runs away from the house.

South facade of the house with strip windows.

The site the landscaping and hardscaping is a critical part of the beauty of this house. The owner rightly nixed my effort to loop the driveway directly in front of the original entry because it would compromise the stunning grove of birch trees on the east side of the house. While we both agreed with my decision to make the original entry the main entry again as opposed to the little stairway off the screen porch we decided to place visitor parking on the north east side adjacent to the garage, requiring a short, but pleasant, walk to the front entry, thereby creating a real connection between the parking area and the main entry. An elegant entry to an elegant house.

Earlier, I mentioned a dream I had about my time in a house designed by architect Richard Neutra in Hamburg, Germany. I was working in Germany that summer between my first and second years at Cornell. I had a year of architectural design under my belt by then, but frankly, I was lost. I had no idea of what constituted good architecture or how I would go about creating such a thing. My confusion ended the day I arrived at the Neutra house.

Here, for the first time, I experienced a magnificent piece of architecture, a house that functioned beautifully and looked amazing. It was suffused with light, wonderfully open within, and connected gently and thoroughly to the garden outside. Even more amazing, especially after the relentless seriousness of my first year of studies, it was playful! As you moved through the house and garden, delightful surprises were the norm: new vistas opened unexpectedly to a lovely tree in the garden beyond, a sunset blazed through a small window at the end of a hall, rugged stone walls were separated by a single tree from polished marble walls, and hanging vines draped everything outside in a green tracery of leaves. The sun was not bluntly blocked by venetian blinds, but gently corralled by the roof overhangs. It was an awakening for me about what architecture should be. It is not an overstatement to say that I returned to school a different student, one who now got it.

Finding this house in Richmond reminds me of that initial excitement.

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The resurrection of a 'modern' house in the Berkshires | - theberkshireedge.com

Looking Backwards: Taking Stock of the 10 Key Moments and Trends of the Last Decade – OB Rag

Occupy Wallstreet movement in San Diego. First day of occupation. Photo by Doug Porter.

By Jim Miller

I took a week off from my soapbox for some holiday traveling and came home to a world on the brink of spiraling into a dangerous new global conflict. It wasnt surprising.

In fact, crisis-all-the-time is our new normal, the zeitgeist of our era. While it would be easy to point to Trump as the central player in our increasingly overwrought national drama, the fact is that many of the trends that helped to shape the present preceded his presidency.

Thus, as we head into a new decade with the future on the line like it never has been before, it might be useful to consider some of the key moments of the last ten years along with the social, political, and economic forces that fostered them.

What are the ten most important happenings of the last American decade? Here is my best shot at the inevitably imperfect quick instant history:

* Occupy Wall Street: In the wake of the economic crisis and the steady, decades-long growth of economic inequality and bipartisan embrace of neoliberalism, Occupy exploded onto the American scene and forced issues of inequality, plutocracy, and the threat to American democracy into mainstream media circles and our national political discourse. However short-lived the occupations themselves were, the impact on our politics was profound. The rising consciousness of economic injustice helped make Bernie Sanders critique of the billionaire class a central part of American politics and enabled Trumps cynical rightwing populism. The 2020 election continues to be contested on this terrain.

* The New Civil Rights Movements and the Subsequent Backlash: Black Lives Matter, Immigrants Rights, #MeToo, the legalization of gay marriage, and the push to recognize Transgender rights transformed the American social and political landscape for the good AND produced a homophobic, patriarchal, xenophobic, white-supremacist backlash. There is much to celebrate in the gains and new awareness produced by these movements on multiple fronts, but the ferocity of the hateful backlash of a shrinking, largely older and whiter America has done serious harm. On this front, its clear that the future will be won by a more diverse, tolerant, and equitable Americathe only question is how long this will take and how much damage will be done to the body politic before the national demographics ultimately creates a new destiny.

* Mass Killing as a New Normal: Along with the routine news of international terrorism, domestic killing in the form of public massacres, school shootings, and other acts of both targeted and indiscriminate mass slaughter have become our new normal. From Newtown to Paris to Las Vegas to El Paso to Dayton, etc., ad nauseam, images of shooters, frequently lone men, have become the stuff of our all-too-routine nightmares. We now live in an era of murderous rage and an accompanying political impotence when it comes to meaningful responses.

* The Assault on Public Education and the Militant Response of Labor: Over the last decade, countless millions of dollars have been spent by corporate education reformers, much of it by, as Diane Ravitch has named them, the billionaire boys club, to disrupt, defund, and privatize public education. This historically unprecedented assault on our educational system and, by proxy, the public sphere and democracy is the tip of the spear of the total corporatization of American life. As disheartening as this never-ending offensive against the democratically controlled institution of public education has been, the wave of teachers strikes from West Virginia to Los Angeles and elsewhere along with the strong public support for their struggles is a sign that Americans are not too keen on surrendering their schools to the machinations of the rich just yet. One of the positive ripples in the wake of the teachers strike wave has been the accompanying revival of striking as a weapon for American workers elsewhere in the private sector as we saw with the successful autoworkers strike and other militant struggles across the country. The battle continues in earnest.

* Technological and Social Media Addiction: While much attention has been rightfully given to the horrible toll of opioid addiction in America, perhaps even more important socially is the absolute capture of the national mind by the myriad of technological devices and various forms of social media. The world my 16-year-old son now occupies is fundamentally and permanently transformed from the one I knew as a young man. I will leave it for the technophiles and Silicon Valley types to sing the praises of the brave new world we occupy. From our current vantage point, the wages of this sea change, particularly over the last decade, are almost entirely negative with regard to perpetual distraction, the loss of the ability to focus on longer narratives, and the triumph of fast capitalism. In sum, we have rapidly transformed ourselves into a nation of atomized consumers inseparable from our screens, beyond alienation.

* The Implosion of the Master Narrative of the Mainstream Media and the Death of Facts: Along with the atomization that is a result of our addiction to social media is a newly intensified siloing when it comes to the consumption of information. The decline of print media and the growth of alternative sources for news had been happening for years before the past decade, but it was during the 2010s that we saw not just a retreat of news consumers to hermetically sealed ideological silos but an assault on the very idea that there are verifiable facts that maintain their veracity even in the face of ones chosen political creed. Trumps rejection of the facts he hates as fake news and his assault on science are easy targets here as is the penchant for conspiracy theories on both the left and right. A dangerous trend to be sure.

* The Rise and Legitimization of the Far Right: Anyone who was at any of the Tea Party inspired protests at the congressional town halls during the debate over the Affordable Care Act saw it coming. The blatantly racist attacks on Obama combined with antisemitism and black helicopter wingnut rightwing conspiracy stuff was on full display. That was followed by the Koch-funded assault on labor in Wisconsin and elsewhere, the dominance of dark money in our politics, the attacks on voting rights, climate denialism, extreme anti-immigrant hysteria, and the mainstreaming of extreme libertarian economic policy all began before Trumps election as the dual forces of rightwing billionaire money and what Thomas Frank has labeled backlash populism that replaces economic grievances with rage against the cultural elite have transformed the Republican Party, USA into what, historically speaking, is an extreme right party with a crush on fascism.

* The Naturalization of Permanent War: There are now millions of Americans who have not been alive when the United States was not at war. Indeed, the fear that we are going to start a war with Iran ignores that fact the we have never stopped being at war in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere. Those who feared that the wholesale, largely bipartisan embrace of the War on Terror in the post 9/11 moment was a dangerous step toward permanent war have been proven right. During the last decade, hopes that Obama would significantly roll back the excesses of Bushs war on terrorism were dashed, and, as recent reports suggest, we were deceived that the war in Afghanistan was coming to a close. All one need do is watch the sycophantic embrace of all things military industrial complex on liberal outlets like MSNBC to see how deeply entrenched the new hegemony is. We have sacrificed truth, trillions of dollars, civil liberties, and countless lives in the service of killing to stop killing. War is how we live now.

* The Greening of America: One of the more interesting changes over the last decade is the widespread decriminalization and legalization of marijuana, and, quite recently, the decriminalization of psilocybin in Denver, Colorado and Oakland, California. In some ways this push is in line with the movement for criminal justice reform by ending laws that were disproportionately enforced against people of color. Its also evidence that the culture warriors on the right are living on borrowed time as social attitudes of Americans, younger Americans in particular, are trending hard against them. As the new wave of interest in psychedelics shows, folks are open to changing their minds, as Michael Pollan puts it, and looking for some kind of antidote for what ails us.

* Living the Climate Catastrophe in Real Time (the Naturalization of Ecocide): Even as the nihilist right clings to climate denialism, a clear majority of Americans see that climate change is happening and know it needs to be addressed to avoid dire consequences. On a regular basis we watch catastrophic fires and storms, and read about melting polar ice, dying coral reefs, extreme heat, species extinction, and other horrifying phenomenon and future perils. This has spurred some of the most inspiring global protests by young people and others seen in years and forced many usually reclusive scientists to raise the alarm. And yet, as with our endless wars, the political response has been dismayingly inadequate and too many of us have naturalized the bad news as some kind of inevitable outcome. Indeed, over the last ten years there has not been anything close to a political proposal commensurate with the existential threat we face until quite recently. As we pivot toward the next decade, we will either embrace something like a Green New Deal for the planet or waste the last window we have to create a livable world for the future.

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Looking Backwards: Taking Stock of the 10 Key Moments and Trends of the Last Decade - OB Rag

An expert in fan behavior explains why fans have it in for Patrick Reed – Golf Digest

This may blow over. The jeers in Melbourne mere gamesmanship, the shout in Maui a lone wolf. It could wash away with a mea culpa or be replaced with another controversy in the never-ending news cycle.

There is also a chance Augusta National dyes Raes Creek pink.

In all likelihood, the past month for Patrick Reedwhat it has produced in sounds and scenes and sentimentsis his new reality.

In a sport like golf where the rules are sacrosanct, thats a tough label to shake, says Dr. Sam Sommers, author of This is Your Brain on Sports and a professor of psychology at Tufts University.

The label Sommers is referring to is the yell directed at Reed in sudden death at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, a label that threatens to menacingly hover over the 29-year-old this season, if not longer.

In a game comfortable with the status quo, Reed has long been a disruptor. But that was a station built on behavior that was coarse and brash yet not necessarily malicious, and while his past is cloaked in smoke, a smoking gun has been absent.

Then came the Hero World Challenge, where Reed very visibly broke a rule. He said a bad camera angle was to blame, but that answer was not satisfying to some who watched the replay, as well as other videos surfacing on social media suggesting similar movements from past tournaments. In the face of mounting criticism, Reed remained unrepentant, doubling-down on his defense by pantomiming the use of a shovel at the Presidents Cup. It was behavior that to many confirmed their thinking on Reed. His reputation had a new, permanent mark.

We operate in the context of our previous actions and the narrative created regarding our tendencies, Dr. Sommers says. Once that reputation is in place, it colors everything that comes after.

RELATED: Patrick Reed needs to rethink his approach because the bad days aren't going away

On the surface, whats at hand seems elementary. In A Qualitative Inquiry on Schadenfreude by Sport Fans, authors Vassilis Dalakas, Joanna Phillips Melancon and Tarah Sreboth note the feelings of pleasure and joy that one party experiences at the misfortunes [of others] are inherent to watching competition. Reed, well before the Hero, was a player golf fans were prone to root against. This was purely new fodder.

Yet to chalk what was viewed and heard at the Presidents Cup and the Sentry TOC to this notion is not grasping the situation at hand.

Dr. Sommers is one of the leading authorities on the behavior of sports fans, and thus the perfect man to turn to in a situation such as this. For whats important now is not what happened, if it could have been prevented, what parties and factors served as enablers ... but what comes next.

Our moral compass can be selective and subjective, Sommers asserts. There is no reason why the indiscretions that stick to some slide off others. However, when these transgressions do stick, theyre tough to unglue. A substance abuser or someone convicted of assault, you would think those labels would be harder to shake, Dr. Sommers said. But thats clearly not the case. There is something about violating the rules in certain sports that rankles a lot of people.

It is an assertion that rings true nowDr. Sommers mentions the New England Patriots litany of alleged rules violations, the Houston Astros stealing signsand in the past, especially for golf. Vijay Singh is a more complex man than hes credited for, yet his ban from the Asian Tour for doctoring a scorecard followed him to the United States. Gary Player was followed by whispers, which grew louder when Tom Watson called him out during the 1983 Skins Game.

Reed wont have to face the infamous Waste Management Phoenix Open crowdhell be growing the game that week at the Saudi Internationalbut catcalls are not specific to TPC Scottsdale, and have been directed at players for far less. In the past year, Matt Kuchar heard taunts for stiffing a caddie, highlighted by publicized cracks at Riviera and the U.S. Open. Ian Poulter routinely deals with heckling, mostly because hes a formidable Ryder Cup opponent, going so far as to throw a fan out in Memphis for idiot behavior.

The Bethpage crowd collapsed on itself during the PGA Championship on Sunday for no reason at all, cheering Brooks Koepkas bad shots and yelling in Dustin Johnsons backswing on the 71st hole.

Reeds treatment in Melbourne and Maui? That likely was only the beginning.

Thats because, according to Dr. Sommers, Reed has tapped into a societal outrage that, for better or worse, has captured the zeitgeist. Some of it is extremely serious, such as the Me Too Movement or the impeachment hearings. But othersthink of the college admissions scandalcan get a disproportionate amount of attention.

They [Reed, the Houston Astros stealing signs, parents of the admissions scandal] all are fraught with morally problematic actions, but we can agree they are not the biggest crimes in our society today, Dr. Sommers says. But the outrage, however misguided, is still there.

It will likely remain there during the Florida swing events, where spring breakers often join the galleries. And during the U.S. Open, against an irreverent New York crowd. And perhaps the Open Championship, with fans hes previously riled up at Ryder Cups. Maybe any rank-and-file tournament event, frankly. Golf insults are tame compared to an average NFL game day experience. Yet they sound jarring against the games hushed backdrop, and ethos.

"[His past] certainly ups the ante and increases the probability of more fan behavior to happen," Dr. Sommers says.

In short, it is going to get worse. Probably much worse. Unfortunately for Patrick Reed, this is a lie that can't be improved.

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An expert in fan behavior explains why fans have it in for Patrick Reed - Golf Digest

Penn Badgley Swears It’s a Coincidence That He Always Plays the Social Media Creep – Yahoo Lifestyle

The 92nd Street Y on Manhattans Upper East Side is teeming with women of varying ages wielding smartphones and toting copies of Hidden Bodies, Caroline Kepness fast-paced thriller that inspired the second season of Netflixs alarmingly bingeable series You, available to stream now. Theyve come to Dan Humphreys old stomping grounds to capture a glimpse (and no doubt, an Instagram post) of another tortured New York protagonist, Joe Goldberg, a creepy-yet-charming stalker and bookstore clerk prone to developing toxic, delusional obsessions with the objects of his affection.

Since being picked up by the streaming behemoth after a short-lived stint on Lifetime, the show has been propelled into the cultural zeitgeist, igniting conversations around hot-button topics like abuse, social media safety, and white male privilege. The first season centers on Joes pursuit and subsequent gruesome murder of Guinevere Beck, a struggling MFA student and aspiring writer. To fuel his infatuation, he relied on social media to follow her every move, murdering anyone who could potentially interfere with their courtship.

Yet despite Joes despicable behavior, the internet writ large was collectively thirsty for him, spawning tweets romanticizing his character, including a widely-circulated one that read, Kidnap me pls. Badgley himself was quick to remind everyone that, um, Joe is literally a murderer and not someone deserving of admiration or a fantastical crush.

Its always been tongue-in-cheek, Badgley said of his now-viral responses to the tweets. Part of the strangeness of the concept for me is exactly why were all watching: Why are we making it? Why is it doing so well? These are interesting questions that have something to do with where we are all at, societally.

Similar to Zac Efrons portrayal of Ted Bundy, the widespread intrigue surrounding a homicidal heartthrob is troubling, but not if you consider Joes duplicitous nature. When hes not out for blood, he exhibits behavior thats thoughtful, even paternal. There are times where Joe is so impossibly sympathetic and even honest and brave, Badgley says. Sometimes hes the exact perfect balance between chivalrous and allowing his partner to be autonomous and empowered. Hes actually in some ways made to be the perfect guy that does this really to even say its terrible is kind of an understatement thing.

In season two, Joe, armed with the new identity of Will Bettelheim, relocates to sunny Los Angeles for a fresh start, but soon falls into his old ways when he meets a new love, appropriately named Love, who turns out to be (spoiler alert!) a killer herself. In a surprising role reversal that audiences never saw coming, Love admits that she made Joe fall for her using all the tricks from his own twisted playbook.

And just today, Netflix revealed that You has been renewed for a third season.

Ahead of Badgleys discussion with Kepnes and You co-creator Sera Gamble at the 92nd Street Y, we talked to Badgley about the role, Los Angeles versus New York, and his political activism.

InStyle: The publics fascination with Joe is similar to how some idolize Patrick Bateman, even though hes a sociopathic monster. What attracted you to the role in particular?

Badgley: First of all, were not yet at the stage collectively where were able to watch anything and not ultimately glorify it. And then you cast people like Christian Bale, whos this tall, gorgeous talented young man, and he gives a great performance. The way that we capture things on camera is a bit surreal. Its made to be compelling in a way that may not be exactly like real life. In a way, everyone is always being toyed with.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Easy A. Between Olives webcam, You, and Gossip Girl, are you generally drawn to social media-centric projects?

Its funny, I hadnt even made that connection with Easy A. I think I just happened to have found myself in projects like that it hasnt been conscious. When I first read the pilot script for You, I definitely saw the similarities. I think I was really caught between being able to appreciate how thats an interesting progression of things for me, but also how its not. We pulled off this somewhat remote possibility of the show doing just what its done. I feel like the fact that Im the person helps it be just that thing, because I was Gossip Girl.

CW Network/Kobal/Shutterstock

The You memes flying around are pretty incredible. Have you seen them and do you have a favorite?

Yeah, a few people have been texting them to me and Ive seen some. I think the one that made me laugh out loud was the one where Ive been given nails and hoop earrings. And there was a tweet with that meme that has been used so many times ["distracted boyfriend"], for so many different purposes to varying effect, and the picture finally had no text on it. The simplicity of that one was very funny to me.

People are also calling out how Joes baseball hat functions like an invisibility cloak. Is it really meant to be a full disguise?

I dont know! [Laughs] Trust me, as an actor, I find it very challenging to sometimes suspend my disbelief when youre forced into a position that is just in the literal sense of the word incredible. Thats the interesting thing about this show it works.

I wonder if people in the media have been doing a huge disservice even as they strive to do the opposite, which is to inform and inspire and educate. Weve gotten here partly because the media is a literal circus People who are quietly doing good work do not receive the same kind of attention that people with loud mouths and sensational hot takes get.

I think its also time to recognize that its not Hollywoods job to explain its condition to the world it doesnt represent the average upperclass white man, let alone the average white family, let alone the average American family. People are not going to be persuaded by this small segment of society that is privileged and in some cases out of touch.

What?!

Yeah. It was at a New York Observer party.

I literally have no recollection of that.

Speaking of headlines, this season tackles the #MeToo movement with the introduction of Henderson. Was his stand-up comedian character arc inspired by Bill Cosby and Louis C.K.?

Everybody says its ripped from the headlines. We know that all kinds of icons now are being revealed to have behaved poorly, so as much as anyone else is able to make the connection, its there. Its a guy behaving badly. I never actually talked to the writers about the details.

RELATED: Its Actually Okay if Youre Attracted to Zac Efron as a Serial Killer

You and your wife, Domino, have chosen to live in New York. What are your least favorite things about L.A.?

The hardest thing about Hollywood as an actor is that everyone is trying to do the same thing its pretty homogenous. Whats great about New York is that the industry is simply not at the forefront of peoples minds. To me, thats always been really refreshing. Nearly all of my friends dont work in the same business as me, and Ive always been drawn to them. At the same time, I will say I really enjoyed working in L.A. for the second season. Its a place that I can visit, its just not a place that I want to live.

Sylvain Gaboury/Getty Images

Whats a typical date night for you two?

We just had one last night we went out and got pasta! It was very nice.

This conversation has been edited and condensed.

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Penn Badgley Swears It's a Coincidence That He Always Plays the Social Media Creep - Yahoo Lifestyle

Roger Scruton and the burden of non-conformism – Spiked

The death of Roger Scruton is a devastating loss for his family, and also for the intellectual life of Europe.

He was without doubt the continents leading conservative thinker. Unlike most philosophers, he was an active public figure who bravely fought for unfashionable but vitally important causes. He was a traditional Tory who served as an adviser to Margaret Thatcher and other party leaders. Yet in my conversations with him, I was never in any doubt that I was talking to a genuine Renaissance man.

He could effortlessly shift the discussion from Kants Critique of Judgment to Burkes idea of the sublime and then offer reflections on current trends in art, music and culture.

He was a prolific writer, whose interests ranged from wine to sexual desire through to beauty and aesthetics. His writings on the meaning of conservatism stand out as some of the most accessible contributions to that political tradition.

His writings inspired many to understand that our traditions are precious assets that must be preserved for the benefit of future generations. He taught that art and education must be appreciated in their own right. In contrast to the current relativistic climate, he upheld the primacy of moral judgment. His views were dismissed by his utilitarian and technocratic critics as old-fashioned and irrelevant. However, his writings showed that humanitys legacy, its past moral and aesthetic achievements, endured and continued to inspire those who cared to open their eyes.

Though many saw Scruton as an archetypal English patriot and intellectual, his influence extended throughout the world. He inspired conservatives throughout Europe, the United States and Australia. He was particularly loved by Eastern Europeans: they remembered his solidarity and support for dissidents in the Cold War era.

He became a point of reference for people who took pride in their national traditions and way of life. In my travels throughout Europe, I frequently get the impression that Scruton is more widely read and appreciated outside the UK than within it.

In the current era, it is not easy to be a conservative intellectual. Anyone who upholds traditional conservative ideals is likely to court unpopularity. Those, like Scruton, who speak with great eloquence and subtlety often find themselves maligned by the post-Sixties cultural establishment.

I first encountered the venomous hatred these people directed at him in the spring of 1987. I was sitting in the senior common room of my college, perusing a copy of his book Art and Imagination, when one of my colleagues confronted me and asked: Why are you reading that shit? When I explained that I was interested in the philosophy of mind, my colleague gave me a look of contempt and reprimanded me for wasting my time on a right-wing bigot.

Sadly, in recent years the climate of intolerance towards conservative voices has intensified and Scruton had to bear the brunt of the animosity against cultural dissidents. Throughout his life, he bravely faced his critics. However, even he must have been unprepared for what he described as the hate storm provoked by his appointment as chair of the UK governments Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission in 2018.

He was brutally attacked by sections of the media following the publication of a heavily doctored interview in the New Statesman that suggested he was a bigoted anti-Semite. What must have pained him most was the refusal of Theresa Mays Tory government to support him. The government responded to the witch-hunt by relieving him of his post. Officials cowardly acquiesced to a campaign designed to ruin Scrutons reputation and name.

Fortunately, the New Statesman interview was eventually exposed for what it was: a lowlife journalistic hit-job. Nevertheless, this incident, which coincided with Scrutons failing health, took its toll. Reflecting on the events of 2019, Scruton noted that during this year much was taken from me my reputation, my standing as a public intellectual, my position in the Conservative movement, my peace of mind, my health.

Last month, when I saw Roger at the Hungarian Embassy in London, where he was awarded an honour by prime minister Viktor Orbn, I was struck by the serene fortitude of a man facing the end of his journey. He must have known, though, that although he was frail in body, his formidable contribution to European culture remained strong and would continue to influence and inspire future generations.

Conservatives are often dismissed as boring conformists. Scruton was anything but boring. Through the example he set, he demonstrated that genuine conservatism is antithetical to the cultural conventions of our time. His refusal to acquiesce to the prevailing zeitgeist suggests that in todays Anglo- American sphere, genuine conservatives must now be ready to bear the burden of non-conformism.

Frank Furedis How Fear Works: the Culture of Fear in the 21st Century is published by Bloomsbury Press.

Picture by: Getty.

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Roger Scruton and the burden of non-conformism - Spiked

The Chaotic, Beautiful Larks of Elizabeth Wurtzel – The New Yorker

About a decade ago, when the writer Elizabeth Wurtzel rounded forty, her workpreviously a gale-force project of unbridled self-mythologizingstarted to look backward and inward in a different way. She began dealing more explicitly in unease and defiance, and she considered what her mythology had wrought. She wrote a piece for Elle, in 2009, about having been temporarily credentialed by extraordinary beautygrowing up thinking that love would be simpler than tying a string bikini, the kind I wore a lot while waiting on the beach for my ship to come in. She had figured out how to get what she wanted in most situations, she explained, but she hadnt learned, either as a terrifically brooding and mature teenager or as a whiny and puerile adult, how to actually connect with the men she was chasing. Now shed finally begun to find some attractive stability, graduating from Yale Law School and working as an attorney at Boies Schiller Flexner. But she was forty-oneon the cusp, she believed, of losing the lambent physical magnetism that shed both used perfectly and perhaps only ever misused.

Four years later, Wurtzel published one of the best things she ever wrote, an essay for New York magazine about what she termed her one-night stand of a life. I am proud that I have never so much as kissed a man for any reason besides absolute desire, she wrote, and I am more pleased that I only write what I feel like and it has been lucrative since I got out of college in 1989. Prozac Nation, her blockbuster memoir from 1994, had bought her freedom, and she had spent that freedom carelessly, and with great gratitude, she wrote. Why would I do anything else? Then a stalker named Maria appeared in Wurtzels Bleecker Street apartment and threatened to slash up her face. Being unmoored instantly lost its glamour: At long last, I had found myself vulnerable to the worst of New York City, because at 44 my life was not so different from the way it was at 24. This ordeal had made her harsh and defeated, and yet, she added, the story had the best possible ending: she herself was telling it.

In 2015, Wurtzel wrote for Vice about being diagnosed with breast cancer, and mocked the very prospect of anyone feeling sorry for a woman like Elizabeth Wurtzel. (Later, in the Guardian, she wrote, I am worse than cancer. And now I have cancer. All anyone can do is forgive me. Which is exactly what they have been doing all along.) All my life, I had problemsgalore!with no answers, she wrote. At long last, I find myself in trouble and there are solutions. She knew that her cancer might kill her, but depression and drug addiction had taught her that we are never so free as when we are running for our lives.

A little more than a year ago, she published an essay titled Bastard, about learning, at age fifty, that the man shed thought was her father, a distant nonentity with whom shed long fallen out of touch, was not her father. Her biological father was the photographer Bob Adelman, famous for his photos of the civil-rights movement. Wurtzel saw that she had been trying, all her life, to solve the wrong problemand that those flailing attempts to make sense of herself constituted her life. I never understood why I was so wild, she wrote. I never knew how come I had to be a firebrand. I thought there was something wrong with me. Then I realized there is something right with me. Now I know I was born this way. I did not invent myself after all. She also learned that she had inherited the BRCA mutation that caused her breast cancer from Adelman, but she didnt report how she felt about that. People see me now, I look the same, there I am with the same artificial blonde hair Ive always had, and they think cancer was a phase, she wrote. If it was a phase, she wasnt out of it. Before she died, Wurtzel was putting together a manuscript for a book called Bastard, which, she told me, she often wrote on her iPhone while she was taking her dog, Alistair, to the park.

I was friends with Elizabeth Wurtzel, though something cautions me against overstating the matter. I met her in 2015, after trying to interview her, getting stalled by a publicist, and, weeks later, receiving a late-night, two-hundred-and-seventy-word text message that began Jia. Hi. This is Elizabeth Wurtzel. During the next few years, I became familiar with her West Village apartment, stacked floor to ceiling with books and CDs and records and filled with plants and candles and amazing curios and photos, often of her. We went out to dinner in dark downtown restaurants, sometimes with Alistair, an aloof and striking husky mix, who rebuked me with a nip every time I tried to pet him. (People think he has this great personality, she said. But really its just that hes so beautiful everyone gets confused.) There was always red wine, and then more red wine, in little glasses; always her long hair and huge brown eyes floating in front of me, as if she was a deviant Alice in Wonderland and a grinning Cheshire Cat both. Returning the relentless volleys of her arguments and proclamations, I felt alternately trapped and enthralled, infuriated and liberateda grain-alcohol-strength distillation of the way it sometimes felt to read her work. I had the sense that I was occupying a place in a procession of younger female writers in whom shed perceived a resemblance. Like others, I was grateful for thisfor the way shed lived out an advance trajectory of what might happen when your writing career centers on your charisma and the strong feelings that people tend to have about young women, how that could boost and confine you, could make you dissemble (she once told me that she didnt read her press or think about how her success had to do with her being beautiful), and could acquaint you with exactly who you are.

I also just liked her. I admired her singularity, and I loved her absolutely chaotic instincts. More than once she suggested that I ought to break up with my boyfriend, even though Id given no signs of wanting to do so. Shed stopped doing drugs a long time before, but she still remembered all the best restaurant bathrooms in Manhattan for doing cocaine. She had lived through the experience of being a generational icon, and shed only ever understood herself as someone who would be loathed and fawned over; all her recent writing had analyzed, with more devotion and brutality than anyone else could possibly muster, exactly how that had warped and lit up her life. I found these later essays much more interesting than Prozac Nation, the memoir that had prompted the Times Book Review to call her Sylvia Plath with the ego of Madonna and had expressed an irreconcilable tension between Wurtzels desire to represent a collapse at the center of the Zeitgeist and her desire to be more special, more unusual, more everything than everyone else.

The original cover of her second book, Bitcha collection of essays that was published in 1998 and was subtitled In Praise of Difficult Womenshowed Wurtzel topless and giving the finger. The books analytical framework was amazingly inconsistent, but the essays were often several orders bolder than the endless Internet-era deconstructions of complicated female pop-culture icons that would follow. They mostly concern women who, like Wurtzel, manifested a mixture of prettiness and pollution so striking and inexplicable that it is as hypnotic and paralyzing as a skyscraper burning down, so strange that mystification becomes inevitable. She wonders if bad girls often meet nasty ends because of a lack of conviction: they recoil at their own badness and try to be the sweethearts they were raised to be.

But my favorite book of Wurtzels is More, Now, Again, from 2001, which approaches the territory that her later essays would cover, finally admitting the real possibility of regret. Its a memoir of her prodigious descent into Ritalin and cocaine addiction while working on and promoting Bitch, a process that involved literally moving into her publishers office and getting drugs FedExed to stops on her book tour. Tweaking out in Florida, she becomes fixated on abolishing the death penalty; she tweezes out all her leg hairs individually; she spends days online tracking the status of Mir, the Russian space station. In the clarity of recovery, she announces, I think I am ten times prettier than I actually am. She wonders if maybe all the mess shes made will be worth itmaybe shell have produced a work of genius. Trouble is, you never know, she writes. You never know until its all done.

I havent been able to concede yet that that moment has come for Wurtzel already. I was always terrified of the way she spoke about death, as if it were a joke shed been telling to the devil for years. I hope she wrote enough of the Bastard manuscript that we get to read it. A new kind of grace was emerging in her writing, which felt all the more profound for coming from a person whod long had more interest in being shocking than in being graceful. I have always made choices without considering the consequences, because I know all I get is now, she wrote, at the close of her essay for New York, seven years ago. Maybe I get later, too, but I will deal with that later. I choose pleasure over what is practical. I may be the only person who ever went to law school on a lark. And I wonder what I was thinking about with all those other larks, my beautiful larks, larks flying away.

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The Chaotic, Beautiful Larks of Elizabeth Wurtzel - The New Yorker

25 Years Later: Smif-N-Wessuns Dah Shinin Is a Testament to an Era That Defined Hip-Hop – DJBooth

Photo Credit: Apple Music

New Yorks vaunted golden age of hip-hop in the 90s was born from a can-do ethos that belied the exigencies of survival. Amid the imperilment of structural poverty, a generation of incidental musical icons took a blue-sky approach to overcoming their circumstances, and with it, recast the boundaries of global pop culture.

As part of the Boot Camp Clik supergroup, Brooklyn twosome Tek and Steele, known cooperatively as Smif-N-Wessun, were elemental in the East Coast rap renaissance that turned their borough into an internationally recognized sound. While sweeping commercial success may have eluded them, the duos acclaimed 1995 debut Dah Shinin became a perdurable New York classic.

An unblemished collection of street tales chronicled over Da Beatminerzsexemplary brand of boom bap, Dah Shinin encapsulated the spirit of the epoch. A New York where creativity outweighed opportunity, beats were prospects, and rhymes were therapy. Symbiotically, the Boot Camp Clik representatives captured the zeitgeist of a period that promised fortune, while simultaneously insulating its poorest neighborhoods from any associated trickle-down effects.

The largest and richest city in the US had entered the 1970s with a fully functioning welfare system. New York boasted the only municipal university system in the US offering free higher education. There were 19 public hospitals, state-run daycares, and subsidized drug programs. But come the summer of 1975, all that was to change. New York was in debt, crippling debt.

As every respectable financial catastrophe necessitates, responsibility for the crisis rested firmly at the feet of the poor. The problem, according to the mayor and governor, was that the needy were using too many of the public services offered to themand had tanked the citys economy. The solution? Budget cuts. First, a group of power brokers and financiers co-opted the citys economy. Then, the Federal Government stepped in with a loan, conditional to draconian cutscuts that would ensure generational poverty.

New Yorks public sector was systematically ravaged. Tens of thousandswere laid off; school budgets slashed; hospitals, libraries, and firehouses closed; and education now came with a price tag. Within a few short years, New York had become the fulcrum of a conservative movement that would set the stage for national supply-side Reaganomics. Life in the citys poverty-stricken communities became infinitely more precarious.

The Brownsville section of Brooklyn had long been New Yorks most impoverished area and bore the brunt of its fiscal ruin. Children born into the one square mile of municipal tenementsthe highest concentration of public housing in the USwereraised in poverty. Life expectancy was (and still is) the lowest in the city. It was in Brownsville where Smif-N-Wessun came to be. Infants during the citys takeover, Tek and Steele were born into monumental austerity and raised through the ensuing crack epidemic that cultivated crime and conviction at improbable rates.

The unsympathetic surroundings begot predictably hostile fruit. Before sporting fatigues in their videos, Tek and Steele were earning their stripes in the infamous New York street gang, the Decepticons. When General Steele began rapping as a teen, his childhood companion worked his security. When Steele suggested Tek join him as part of a group, he wrote his brother in arms first rhyme. The pair were barely out of high school when they seized upon the opportunityto create a cult classic that would define the experiences of a generation growing up in New Yorks Medina.

Debuting on Black Moons showpiece, Enta da Stage, in 1993, Tek and Steele preordained their entry into rap folklore six months later, when they flipped the woodwind swing of Jack Bruces Born to be Blue into an ode to the borough itself, Bucktown. A canorous dedication to their city within a city, Bucktown became an underground success, climbing to the top of the Billboard Hot Dance Singles Chart and setting the table for an impending long play.

However, the groups indelible contribution to the 90s hip-hop playlists wasnt even slated as Dah Shinins lead-in. The duo scheduled Nothing Move But the Money as the first single, but Rod Temperton wouldnt rock with the Heatwave sample clearance. Unable to decide between Bucktown and Lets Git it On as its replacement, the group took the offbeat step of releasing the two tracks as a Double A side. A roughhouse opera with a bassline that rumbles like the L over Van Sinderen, the baleful Lets Git it On still ranks among the parabolic golden ages finest compositions.

Emerging at the dawn of 95, Dah Shinin came on theheels of a boom bap year that had witnessed the Kings County leave its unfading imprint on the genre. Post Bucktown, Gang Starrs Hard to Earn, Jeru the Damajas The Sun Rises in the East, O.C.s Word...Life, Digable PlanetsBlowout Comb, and, of course, The Notorious B.I.G.s Ready to Die had already canonized Brooklyns contribution to hip-hops greatest year.

In the same D&D studios DJ Premier was squandering sampled crack on Group Home, producers Da Beatminerz and Smif-N-Wessun were working in synergy to cut 15 virulent tales of life in Brooklyn, before it was a brand. The architects of Black Moons Enta da Stage two years prior, DJ Evil Dee, Mr. Walt, Baby Paul, and Rich Blaks subterranean riddims would become the bedrock of Smif-N-Wessuns forbidding aura.

Filtering their seemly samples into ominous, low-end basslines and marrying them with radioactive percussion, Da Beatminerz undeniably advanced the decorum of the boom bap onomatopoeia on Dah Shinin. Fellow New Yorkers Pete Rock, Q-Tip, and Large Professor had filtered samples before them, but Evil Dee and Mr. Walt fine-tuned the technique into a profession. Coalescing the esteemed sine wave bass of Mr. Walts Akai S950 with Evil Dees illustrious SP-1200, Dah Shinins brooding sonata was scored with a precision that distinguished it from Enta da Stage.

The riddims, like the matter, were trenchant throughout; fulsome grooves set off with uppercut snares and unsparing stanzas. Evil Dee attributed the overarching menace of Dah Shinin to an attempt on his behalf to create a soundstripe to their nocturnal corner activities, a mood that wasnt best accompanied by early hour radio slow jams. Careless Whisper may have been ill-suited, but Wrekonize could score a beatdown. If music for mal-intent was the grail, Sound Bwoy Bureill was the records apogee, a harbinger of villainy that goaded Tek and Steeles most calculated, patois peppered strophes.

The albums cover was purloined from Roy Ayers Ubiquitys Hes Coming. From the LPs crest, We Live in Brooklyn, Baby, came Home Sweet Home, a spiritual sequel to Digable Planets Borough Check. Baby Pauls orchestrated tour of Crooklyn was a lucid tale of turf wars and local pride, in spite of the unpredictable surroundings (We cant afford to take shorts or be playing sports/Empires need to be built, mack 10s bought.)

Immersed in a studio haze of sleep deprivation and lye, the vibrant pulse of Wrektime and Isaac Hayes imbued Stay Strongwerecontact high psalms for soupy night stoopcotching. Robbery, Timbs,and teenage resiliencerolled into a blunt assessment of success relative to circumstance. The album also harkenedthe arrival ofO.G.C. and Heltah Skeltah and marked the official formation of the Boot Camp Clik on the minatory posse cut,Cessionat daDoghillee.

Despite displaying all the trappings of a classic, The Source bestowed a miserly three mics on Dah Shinin. Rightfully aggrieved, the Clik wrote a letter to the steadily depreciating publication, calling their incredulous rating a blow to the head of every individual who lives for hip-hop. The review may have tempered expectations, but Dah Shinin would still go on tosell over 300,000 copies, a significant achievement for the humble Nervous imprint, Wreck Records.

Though a quintessentially New York record, Dah Shinin unwittingly offered an olive branch to the west in the middle of the ruinous Coast Wars. Hidden in the linear notes of the album was a dedication that flew in the face of rallying war cries towards California, a message to an incarcerated 2Pac, keep ya head up. The gesture was not taken lightly. Upon his release, 2Pac flew Smif-N-Wessun and Buckshot to LA in an attemptto bridge the gap between the East and West Coastwith an ultimately ill-fated collaborative album.

While 2Pac would pass before hisOne Nationvision could be realized, the preternatural marriage between Smif-N-Wessun and Da Beatminerz would play a seminal role in a Brooklyn behavioral cusp with universal significance. As one of an ineffable collection of albums that thrust the boroughs name into the vocabulary of millions across the globe, Dah Shinin gave rise to an international standard of what hip-hop should sound like, that endures to this day.

A quarter of a century removed, Smif-N-Wessuns triumph abides as a testament to an era that defined a genre. All heads realize.

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25 Years Later: Smif-N-Wessuns Dah Shinin Is a Testament to an Era That Defined Hip-Hop - DJBooth

36 Movies Worth Watching in Seattle This Weekend: January 912, 2020 – TheStranger.com

Traditionally, January is not an auspicious month for film releasesbut as you can see in this list, Seattle is still swimming in cinematic brilliance. Watch Michael B. Jordan in the based-on-a-true-story Just Mercy, see Audrey Hepburn's Oscar-winning turn in Roman Holiday, or witness the brilliance of the poaching documentary When Lambs Become Lions. See all of our film critics picks for this weekend below, and, if you're looking for even more options, check out our film events calendar and complete movie times listings. In the South Sound? Check out our guide to movies playing in Tacoma this weekend.

Movies play ThursdaySunday unless otherwise mentioned.

1917Legendary screenwriter William Goldman once said of the film industry, Nobody knows anything, and this is still mostly true, with one exception: If cinematographer Roger Deakins shot the movie, that movie is worth seeing on the biggest screen possible. Even if 1917 were solely the most impressive work of Deakins remarkable careerwhich it isId be recommending it. But the World War I movie is also one hell of a stunning storytelling experience from director Sam Mendes, co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns, and editor Lee Smith. But wait, you say, isnt the whole point of this movie that there arent any cuts? Why did they need an editor at all? 1917s hook (or less generously, its gimmick) is that its meant to unfold in a single, unbroken take. Its one of the rare instances of a films marketing actually benefiting the finished film, because of the way this knowledge is both paid off... and then subverted. BOBBY ROBERTSVarious locations

American PsychoBased on the much-reviled book by Bret Easton Ellis, the movie is actually pretty good. Really. Set at the height of the Reagan '80s, American Psycho deftly satirizes the deadening effect of unchecked corporate wealth and power. ANDY SPLETZERCentral CinemaFridaySunday

A Beautiful Day in the NeighborhoodIts unusual to witness real cinematic magic these days, but the Fred Rogers biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood absolutely has it. Director Marielle Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl, Can You Ever Forgive Me?) wisely avoids the visual slickness one might expect from a Tom Hanks-centric melodrama, instead employing a lived-in style and scene transitions that consist of miniature cities harkening back to the opening of Mister Rogers Neighborhood. Hanks is totally committed to Rogers appearance and manner, but A Beautiful Day is more about Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) a fictional journalist profiling Rogers. (Vogels work is based on a 1998 Esquire profile by Tom Junod; as is the case with the film, Junrods piece sketches a beautiful yet enigmatic image of Rogers.) Where Hellers film becomes transcendent is in its cinematic pressure points: The striking slowness of the narrative (its meant to emulate the pace of Rogers show, and you get used to it), the mirroring of Rogers and Vogel in their interview styles and drawn-out reaction shots, and a profound moment of silence that grips your heart like, Did that really just happen? Why was that so intense? SUZETTE SMITHVarsity Theatre

BombshellWhen Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, and Margot Robbie all link up, what have you got? Well, a sizeable chunk of the Fox Newsroom, as it turns out. In this movie adapted from real-life events, Bombshell follows three women who accused late Fox founder and CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment, and the fallout when their accusations are made public. Kidman portrays former Fox host Gretchen Carlson, Robbie plays a fictionalized producer, and Theron seemingly fully transforms into Megyn Kelly. Announced in the months following Ailess death, the film will explore the toxic environment brewing over at the presidents favorite news channel. JASMYNE KEIMIGVarious locations

CatsSome people will never be able to enjoy a sung-through musical. Know going in that there is very little dialogue. Think of it as an opera that purrs. Many will also find humanoid cats with "digital fur technology" to be too freaky or sexy. I think this opinion is very suburban, even a tad snowflake-y, but also completely within reason. Andrew Lloyd Webber himself said Cats was a suicidally stupid musical. No one is under any illusion that this is Dunkirk. So, before you go and see Cats, which you should and will, I want you to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself: "What do I want from Cats?" Because I bet you will get exactly what you want. Or, perhaps, deserve. There continues to be a lot of pearl-clutching from critics and trailer-viewers around these kitties' bodies, and their lack of genitalia and buttholes, but I think these animated fur-bodies are respectfully similar to the stage musical's fur-bodiesexcept for one distinct, erect difference: their tails. Jason Derulo did not need to worry about his penis being erased in Cats' post-production, because his tail leaves little to the imagination. CHASE BURNSMeridian 16 & AMC Pacific Place

Days of HeavenDays of Heaven, which stars a young Richard Gere, is by far Terrence Malicks best film. Its also his second feature, was shot in the mid-1970s, and released in 1978. The films story is not worth mentioning, but its cinematography (Nstor Almendros Cuys and Haskell Wexler) is just out of this world. After completing his masterpiece, which followed his first and second-best work, Badlands by five years, Malick did not make another film for two decades. His point of return was The Thin Red Line (1998), which is unwatchable. Malick has since made eight more films, none of which are any good. CHARLES MUDEDESIFF Film Center

Duet for CannibalsThe great Susan Sontag, best known for her philosophical essays and fiction, also directed four films, the first of which was this Swedish-made dark comedy about partner-swapping intellectuals. When a German revolutionary instructs his young male student/secretary to keep his wife "company," it kicks off a round of dangerous romantic/sexual competition. It's screened here in a 2K restoration. Northwest Film ForumSaturdaySunday

Fantastic FungiAt its worst, Fantastic Fungi gets too woo-woo wacky for its own good (when the films discussion turns to magic mushrooms, the visuals turn into what is, as far as I can tell, just a psychedelic screensaver from Windows 95), but at its best, the doc pairs fantastic time-lapse imagery with a good dose of actual, mind-blowing science. Affable, passionate mushroom researcher Paul Stamets is joined by talking heads Michael Pollan, Andrew Weil, and narrator Brie Larson to examine everything from massive fungal networks that carry signals between disparate, distant plants to the psychological benefits of psilocybin. Its an uneven trip, but a good one. ERIK HENRIKSENVarsity Theatre

Ford v FerrariIf youre a lover of car-racing movies, you should probably check out Ford v Ferraribecause this film is likely to be one of the last of its kind. A biopic about the late 60s rivalry between failing racecar company Ferrari and the wants to be sexy soooo bad Ford Motor Company, F v F is about how corporations cant help but crush the passion and innovation they so desperately need. In this case, the crushees are race car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and driving phenom Ken Miles (Christian Bale), both of whom are forced to cajole, finagle, and manipulate the suits at Ford in an attempt to win the famed Le Mans road race. Its impossible to ignore the two elephants in this room: The fetishization of white male toxicity and car culture, topics which society is trying to deal with and solve not celebrate. This makes Ford v Ferrari a very good movie that, a decade ago, wouldve been considered great. Now it feels like a brand-new film thats already an antique. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREYMeridian 16

Frozen IIIt starts out with Young Elsa and Young Anna, and, I dont know, this is just my opinion, but I didnt think that part was very necessary, necessarily? I thought the story was good. I thought the parts were well thought out and they had some depth to them, if you know what I mean? Like some parts were really sad, and some parts could be interpreted in a lot of different ways. Also, you know how in the first Frozen, theres like this main song that you know is the main song? In this one, theres like three or four different songs that could be that main song. There were songs that like Elsa and Anna and Kristoff sang that could qualify for that position. I thought they were fine. SIMON HAM, AGE 12Various locations

Fuselage Dance Film Festival: Winter ProgramThis program boasts short films of dancers in natural and interior settings around the world, from Seattle to South Korea to Ireland. They explore loneliness, isolation, memory, attachment, and other poignant emotions.Northwest Film ForumFriday only

The Good LiarThe Good Liar is likely the most bonkers film I will see this year. What begins as a cautionary tale about the dangers of grandmas online dating unfolds into a baffling series of reveals, all of which support the twist that we already gleaned from the trailer: Roy (Ian McKellen) is trying to double cross Betty (Helen Mirren) and take her money... but she's not that easy to trick! How all that happens, though? I could never have predicted it. What a septuagenarian mine cart ride! SUZETTE SMITHCrest

GunbusterThis was the directorial debut of Hideaki Anno, the creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion. A young girl enters the Okinawa Girls Space Pilot High School, hoping for revenge against the alien forces that killed her father.The BeaconSunday only

Hecklevision: Tammy and the T-RexDenise Richards and Paul Walker star in this 1994 comedy, in which cheerleader Tammy (Richards) discovers that the brain of her boyfriend (Walker) has been transplanted into the body of a robotic tyrannosaur. You should see this movie because it's ridiculous and terrible and you need your brain flash-evaporated once in awhile. (Also, it's in "Hecklevision," which allows you to text snarky comments to the screen.) JOULE ZELMANCentral CinemaThursday only

A Hidden Life The first half of Terrence Malick's A Hidden Life stacks up with some of the best work the legendary filmmaker has ever doneright up there with Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, and Tree of Life. The second half, though, feels a lot more like... uh, what's the term for Malick's more recent movies, like Knight of Cups, and that one about music, and that one with Ben Affleck? N-Malick? Let's go with n-Malick. N-Malick movies aren't badeven at their worst, they're generally better than many arthouse efforts, and there's never a shortage of the director's striking soundscapes and achingly beautiful visualsbut compared to Malick's best stuff, they rarely compare. (To be fair: Not many movies can.) Which is what makes A Hidden Life so frustrating: For a good chunk, it is that good, and then for another chunk, it's not. And it'd be a lot easier to justify the second half's n-ness if A Hidden Life wasn't three hours long. ERIK HENRIKSEN SIFF Cinema UptownThursday only

The Hottest AugustIt's August 2017 in New York City, and it feels like the end of the world. In this strikingly shot documentary, Brett Story explores the apocalyptic fears of the current zeitgeist, touching on everything from white nationalism to climate change-induced natural catastrophes. Sinister, beautiful, tense. Northwest Film ForumSunday only

Ip Man 4In the finale to the Ip Man saga, the Wing Chun genius and his son fly to San Francisco to settle a feud and mentor the young Bruce Lee. There, he discovers that homegrown American classic: brutal xenophobia. Watch those thrilling fight scenes as Ip Man battles disgruntled kung fu masters and bigoted policemen. AMC Pacific Place & Regal Thornton Place

Jojo RabbitThe latest from Taika Waititi starts off with a bright, Wes Andersonian whimsiness: Young Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) joyously bounces about at summer camp, having the time of his life as he frolics and laughs with his second-best friend Yorki (Archie Yates) and his first-best friend, the imaginary Adolf (Waititi). Just one thing: Jojo is at Hitler Youth camptheir campfire activities include burning booksAdolf is Adolf Hitler, and World War II is winding down, with Germany not doing so great. Both because of and in spite of its inherent shock value, Jojo Rabbitbased on a book by Christine Leunensis just as clever and hilarious as Waititis other movies, but as it progresses, the story taps into a rich vein of gut-twisting melancholy. Theres more to the complicated Jojo Rabbit than first appears, and only a director as committed, inventive, and life-affirmingly good-hearted as Waititi would even have a chance of pulling it off. He does. ERIK HENRIKSENAMC Pacific Place

Just MercyIn this dramatization of a true, infuriating story, Michael B. Jordan plays the lawyer Bryan Stevenson, who, with the help of activist Eva Ansley (Brie Larson), fights racism and systemic legal injustice to save the life of an innocent condemned man, Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx).Various locations

Knives OutKnives Out [is] Rian Johnson's phenomenally enjoyable riff on a murder-mystery whodunit. The less you know going in, the better, but even those familiar with mysteries will likely be caught flat-footed. Things begin in the baroque mansion of famed mystery novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), who is very, very dead. Through flashbacks, monologues, and the genteel but razor-sharp questioning of investigator Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), we meet the rest of the Thrombeysplayed by Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, Katherine Langford, and more, with everyone clearly having a goddamn blastand we hear about a billion motives and a billion alibis. Somebody killed Harlan, and while Benoit Blanc is on the case, Knives Out quickly spirals into unexpected territory. In a time when filmgoing is dominated by familiar franchises, seeing an original movie executed with as much care, glee, and skill as Knives Out feels like an experience that's entirely too rare. ERIK HENRIKSENVarious locations

Literary Nerd Hour: Z-Sides Screening and Quiz ShowObsessed with local literature? Turn to this televised program run by Jekeva Phillips, a wildly talented and active figure in Seattle's theater and literature scenes. Watch a screening of the bibliophilic Z-Sides, featuring readings and conversations with PNW writers,and then compete in a quiz game (with prizes!).Northwest Film ForumThursday only

Little WomenI loved Greta Gerwigs Lady Bird so much that I went into Little Women with trepidation. Making a follow-up to a movie everyone loved is tricky! And every hater on my block asked why we needed another Little Women movie when the 1995 version is perfectly fine and has Winona Ryder in it. The answer: You dont know how good you can have it! You dont know how good Little Women can be, you poor fools! Gerwigs Little Women is Romance-era-oil-painting gorgeous, but its also realistic, thanks to the performances of the films star-studded cast of March sisters: Saoirse Ronan as Jo, Emma Watson as Meg, Florence Pugh as Amy, and Eliza Scanlen as Beth. Directing her actors to talk over each other, Gerwig turns family scenes into rampaging rivers of voices, while also making sure nothing is lost in the chaos. We see the Marches as we see many families: A force bursting into a room. Laura Dernfor the first time in cinematic historygives the girls mother a full personality. And when the girls father turned out to be universally beloved Bob Odenkirk (!) my friend straight-up punched me in the arm because she was already crying and couldnt talk. SUZETTE SMITHVarious locations

Midnight FamilyBoth responding to a social need and out to make a buck, extralegal ambulance companies are essential in Mexico City, which only has 45 official ambulances. The Ochoa family strives to serve patients and stay afloat in the face of a corrupt police force.Northwest Film Forum & AMC Pacific PlaceThursday only

Kino Lorber

My Twentieth CenturyThis sensual, feminist Hungarian fable by the surrealist filmmaker Ildik Enyedi follows two separated identical twins, Dra and Lili, who wind up on wildly different paths: One becomes an honest anarchist, the other a glamorous jewel thief. The BeaconFridaySunday

One Sings, the Other Doesn'tWhen you think of Serious French Cinema, as embodied by Major French Filmmaker Agns Varda (Faces Places, The Gleaners and I), you might not think of a joyful hippie musical about abortion, marriage, and sisterhood. Yet this 1977 Belgian-Venezuelan-French co-production is exactly that.SIFF Film CenterSaturday onlyPart of The Restless Curiosity of Agns Varda

ParasiteParasite is director Bong Joon-ho at his very best. It's a departure from the sci-fi bent of his recent movies, though it's no less concerned with the state of society today. Set in Seoul, South Korea, the families and class issues at play reflect our global era, in which the disparity between the haves and have-nots seems to be widening. Parasite follows the Kim family, who secretly scam their way into the lives of the wealthy Park family. Slowly and methodically, the Kims begin to drive out the other domestic workers at the Park residence, each time referring another family member (who they pretend not to know) for the vacant position. And so the poorer family starts to settle comfortably into the griftuntil a sudden realization turns their lives upside down. The resulting film offers an at turns hilarious and deeply unsettling look at class and survival, its essence echoed in the environments the characters inhabit. JASMYNE KEIMIGVarious locations

Pauline at the BeachThis, for me, is the core pleasure of French director Eric Rohmer's cinema: the movement of (usually two) actors during a long (and usually heady) discussion. For example: As a man says something philosophical about love to a woman, he walks to a huge nearby rock and puts a hand on it; as the woman responds by saying something about how his ideas about love are self-serving, she steps away from the man and looks at some trees in the distance. The flow of words is sequenced with the motion of bodies. Rohmer also manages to keep these movements as realistic as possible. They never overflow from the zone between natural and artificial, walking and dancing. The art of this great French director, who died in 2010, is the ballet of a conversation. SAM and Alliance Francaise de Seattle are celebrating his centennial during a nine-film series. CHARLES MUDEDESeattle Art MuseumThursday onlyPart of French Pleasures: The Films of Eric Rohmer

Paramount

Roman HolidayA sprightly young Audrey Hepburn and a charming (if slightly wooden) scooter-riding Gregory Peck make an odd pairing in this classic rom-com from '53. Hepburn won a Best Actress Oscar for this performance, which was also her first starring role.Central CinemaFridaySunday

Set It OffIn Set It Off, four black women are squeezed into crime. One loses a job and her only way out of the ghetto; another loses her child to the state because she cannot afford childcare while she works for low wages; another is battling to keep her brother off the streets and on the path to college; another wants to buy the freedom to express her love for a woman (the last is convincingly played by Queen Latifah). These are not bad people. Their transformation from law-abiding citizens to villains is not simple, but accumulative. The numerous steps leading to their crime spree are clear and understandable. Indeed, the best and most touching scene in the movie happens right after they rob a bank for the first time and are splitting the loot. One of them (Tiseanthe woman who has lost her child to social services) is told by another (Frankiethe woman who recently lost her good job over bullshit) that she doesn't deserve a cut because she got cold feet before the heist and split. But pressure from the other two women makes Frankie submit and agree to give Tisean her undeserved cut. At the end of the day, she is one of them. If that scene does not make you feel all warm inside, you are a monster. CHARLES MUDEDEThe BeaconSaturdaySunday

Spies in DisguiseI thought Spies in Disguise was very excellent. The plot device of someone turning into a pigeon through genetic manipulation was unique, to say the least. I think it may have been a little too complicated for some younger kids who may have been the target audience. I think some of it may have gone completely over their heads. Although that might not be true in any way. Im almost definitely sure theres going to be a second one of these. SIMON HAM, AGE 12AMC Pacific Place & Thornton Place

Star Wars: The Rise of SkywalkerI found The Rise of Skywalker, the last film in the Skywalker saga, boring. And it was not even a long movie, and I'm a fan of the director's (J.J. Abrams) work (particularly Mission: Impossible IIIthe best in that franchise), and many of the visual effects are impressiveparticularly the haunting business of bringing the late Carrie Fisher back to life. But all together, the film is burdened by too much sentimental family stuff (you are my granddaughter, you are my son, you killed my parents, and so on), and its end did not know how to end for a very long time. CHARLES MUDEDEVarious locations

TangerineFeydeau in the neighborhood, this film has all the elements of classic farce, the prisoner just out of jail, the best friend, the faithless husband, the cheating boyfriend, the mother-in-law from hell - but played at an entirely different pace, and with characters who radiate truth and immediacy. BARLEY BLAIRScarecrow VideoFriday only

Tremors (Temblores)Not to be confused with the 1990 film about giant tunneling worms. Jayro Bustamante, Guatemalan director of the critically acclaimed Ixcanul, returns with the story of Pablo, a beloved member of a rich Evangelical family who turns their lives upside down when he leaves his wife for another man. But the homophobic family is not about to give up their father/son/husband so easilyeven if their efforts to keep him in their religious community ruin his life. Carlos Aguilar of TheWrap.com writes that "the film isnt kindly asking for tolerance but bluntly exposing the torment inflicted in the name of a prejudiced God." Grand IllusionThursday only

Uncut GemsAs Howard Ratner, a professional jeweler and asshole in Manhattans Diamond District, a great Adam Sandler rarely leaves the screen in Uncut Gems, and the plot is basically Howard and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. That isnt a shock, considering the film comes from brothers/writers/directors Josh and Benny Safdie, who party-crashed the arthouse scene with 2017s Good Time (in which Robert Pattinson was the one playing an asshole having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day). Uncut Gems is larger in scope, but like Good Time, it has a moral vacuum at its centerit takes place in the no-mans-land where societys walls crumble, and where those who look out only for themselves can best navigate the rubble. The Safdies arent interested in morality tales but amorality tales, and their stories no-holds-barred recklessness, at first freeing, steadily grows exhausting. Thankfully, the Safdies also know how to shoot, cut, and score like nobody else. Theres a twitchy, addictive energy to Uncut Gems, and the Safdies choppy, rapid-fire cuts coalesce into a surreal, exhilarating landscape of prismatic hues, blaring fluorescents, and sharp LEDs, all while the analog synth score by Daniel Lopatin (AKA Oneohtrix Point Never) adds to the lurid beauty. ERIK HENRIKSENVarious locations

Varda by AgnesThe important French director Agns Varda, whose career spanned the 1950s to the 2010s, made one last film before her death in 2019 in which she traced the course of her life and career.SIFF Film CenterPart of The Restless Curiosity of Agns Varda

When Lambs Become LionsMany of the reviews of the brilliant documentary When Lambs Become Lionsabout elephant poaching in modern-day Kenyawill claim that the director, John Kasbe, does not take sides on the issue. The director hunts elephants with the poachers, and he patrols the park with the armed game rangers. The poachers dont give a fuck about the elephants. They are poor, and they need the money. The rangers also need money, as they have not been paid in ages by the government. And it is here that the director takes a clear side, his film clearly denounces the extreme poverty that both the poachers and the rangers face. If the poachers stop killing elephants, then the rangers will lose their jobs. Therefore, we have the poachers exploiting the elephants, and the rangers exploiting the poachers. The problem then is not the poaching; it is, of course, capitalism. CHARLES MUDEDEGrand Illusion

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Continued here:

36 Movies Worth Watching in Seattle This Weekend: January 912, 2020 - TheStranger.com

8 ways wine will change in 2020 – BusinessWorld Online

By Elin McCoy, Bloomberg

WHAT A decade this has been for wine both good and bad.

The 2010s saw the rise of serious global concern (at last!) about the effect of climate change on wine. That will continue big time, especially with 2019s scorching heat waves in France and catastrophic fires in Sonoma, California, and South Australia.

The ros juggernaut of the past decade continues, as luxury players move in to Provence. LVMH acquired two ros producers last year, including a majority share of Chteau dEsclans, maker of ubiquitous Whispering Angel. Chanel, owner of three Bordeaux chteaux, snapped up Domaine de lIle.

Natural wine captured the zeitgeist of the decade, which ended with trade wars slamming wine in the form of US tariffs on French, German, and Spanish reds and whites, with the uncertainty of more to come in 2020. Brexit is still a problem, and wine caves, once a major tourism attraction in Napa, California, turned into political footballs. (Tip for cave owners: Dont turn on the chandelier.)

Hard seltzer also captured hearts, minds, and tongues this past year, with sales surging 210% in the US. To my dismay, theyre poised to triple by 2023, according to the drinks market analysts at IWSR. Why not make wine spritzers?

On the plus side, fizz continues to effervesce, even though the French are drinking much less Champagne. To supply ever-increasing global demand (and at lower prices), Brazil, California, New Zealand, Oregon, and Tasmania are producing better sparklers than ever.

At least, unlike the roaring 20s of a century ago, 2020 wont begin with Prohibition.

Heres what else I see in my crystal glass for 2020:

1. GLOBAL WARMING WILL RAMP UP WINE EXPERIMENTS EVERYWHEREYoull see the bottled results of dozens of experiments, and more will be started. Sparkling wine from Nova Scotia? Definitely. Historic and new hybrid grapes that can cope with heat better? Spains Torres winery is on it; ditto Bordeaux, Champagne, and Napa. Fresher, brighter whites from high-altitude vineyards? Look to Chile and Argentina, including even the cold extremities of Patagonia.

2. UNFUSSY PIQUETTE WILL BECOME A THINGCasual, low-cost, and low-alcohol drinks that offer gluggable simplicity are having a moment, and theyll be even more important in 2020.

The fashion for pt-nats (ptillant naturel wines) and even hard seltzer (ugh!) are part of this trend. The latest addition is piquette, a workers drink popular centuries ago. Not technically a wine, its made by fermenting pomace the leftover skins, seeds, and stems of grapes to create a drink thats 4% to 9% in alcohol with light bubbles to perk it up. Its zippy and refreshing, akin to a sour beer. Wild Arc Farm in the Hudson Valley released four in 2019, including one in cans.

3. YOULL LEARN ABOUT WINE IN SPACEThe past decade has seen wineries experiment with aging their wines under the sea. For 2020 and beyond, theyll look to space.

This past November, Luxembourg-based Space Cargo Unlimited started a project that sent bottles of red wine to the International Space Station to be aged for 12 months. The idea is to investigate how exposure to more radiation and microgravity affect the evolution of a wines components. When the wine returns, the University of Bordeaux will analyze it and compare it with wines aged on Earth.

4. THE NO- AND LOW-ALCOHOL MOVEMENT WILL GAIN A FOOTHOLDThe health and wellness craze will affect wine beyond the idea of Dry January. Cutting back on how much you imbibe will be one of the biggest drinks trends of 2020, according to London-based retailer Bibendum. Alcohol-free Real Kombucha, introduced in 2017, is now available at more than 50 Michelin-starred restaurants and touted as an alternative to sauvignon blanc.

Expect a boost of interest in organic and biodynamic wines health-focused wine club Dry Farm Wines claims its offerings are all-natural and lab-tested for purity as well as those naturally low in alcohol, such as riesling, lightly fizzy Spanish txakoli, and slightly sweet Italian moscato dAsti. All are far more delicious and just as healthy as wines from clean wine companies such as FitVine.

5. YOULL BUY LUXURY WINES FROM VENDING MACHINESInsert token, receive a small bottle of Mot & Chandon brut or ros. What could be simpler? Nabbing a bottle at a test machine in the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida was cheaper, more convenient, and more fun than waiting for room service. New York got its first machine in October, and in 2020 Mot plans to spread 100 of them across the US. (You can even buy your own $35,000 at Neiman Marcus but stocking it with 360 mini-bottles costs extra.)

The machines reflect the growing demand for instant access, even for luxury wines. Expect other wine companies to jump on this bandwagon. But because of Frances alcohol laws, dont look for one in Paris.

6. ENOTOURISM WILL GET BIGGERFor starters, a 100 million ($112 million) World of Wine project is opening in 2020 across the Douro River from the city of Porto. The Fladgate Partnership, owner of several top port houses, is transforming 300-year-old warehouses into a series of wine experiences including a wine school and cork museum.

In France, Champagne Bollinger is opening its doors to the public via membership in its special Club 1829, Chteau Lafite Rothschild will open a new hospitality center and wine school at Chteau Duhart-Milon in time for harvest, and Burgundy breaks ground this month on its own Cit des Vins.

But the most interesting new wine travel development is the global DIY winemaking timeshare the Vines Global. Membership will let aspiring vineyard owners test their mettle making wine in a dozen regions with top winemakers. It started in Tuscanys Montalcino last September; next year it will add Priorat, Spain, and two other places, with more to come.

Just want to see vineyards? The Worlds Best Vineyards, a new annual ranking of the 50 most amazing ones to visit, will help you know where to go.

7. WINE PACKAGING WILL SURPRISE YOUNo longer a fad, canned wines are expected to reach sales of $4.6 billion by 2024. Now that canning has been normalized, and higher-quality wines skip the traditional glass bottle, keep a lookout for ever more innovative packaging: refillable, reusable jugs and flat bottles made from recycled plastic, as well as green-friendly components such as zero-carbon corks.

As for the staid wine label, more than 500 wineries across the globe are turning to augmented reality to bring labels to life through apps. And in Washington state, Chateau Ste. Michelles new Elicit Wine Project will act as an innovation hub for brands to take an info-rich, creative look at names, labels, and bottle design; for instance, its Fruit & Flower brand comes in both cans and bottles with themed label images to mirror the flavors of the wine inside.

8. WINE SHOPS WILL BECOME LESS CONVENTIONALUK department store John Lewis has added bookable wine master classes. Stranger Wines in Brooklyn, New York plays vintage vinyl records and is expanding to snacks, and Manhattans just-opened Peoples is a wine bar that doubles as a retail wine shop, even if they have to have separate entrances because of liquor laws.

Nielsen predicts AR and virtual reality technology will transform wine shops with navigation apps and electronic shelf beacons. The future will surely bring artificial intelligence-powered robot assistants. At the same time, buying online via phone apps will soar, again helped along by new technology.

But as the year progresses, I still have plenty of questions. Will wine lovers continue to lust after the wines LeBron James posts on Instagram? Will interactive wine lists on tablets take over in Michelin-starred restaurants? Will South Africa be the value region of the year? Ill be watching and reporting on these stories and many more in 2020.

Read the original here:

8 ways wine will change in 2020 - BusinessWorld Online

Slow travel: The destinations you should visit to have a real holiday – Stuff.co.nz

My first real moment of pure slow travel occurred in Bhutan while relaxing in a wooden hot tub awaiting a hot-stone massage. That day, I had hiked to Tiger's Nest Monastery, the fantastical Buddhist temple clinging to the edge of a mountain cliff overlooking the Paro Valley.

I was overwhelmed by the experience,a fusion of feelings that touched on cultural enlightenment andspiritual awakening and now while sitting in warm water heated by hot rocks from a mountain stream mental rejuvenation.

I didn't know it then but I was tapping into slow travel, a nexus of mind, body, spirit and an overwhelming sense of fulfillment inspired by the world beyond my own. Travel has always offered a window of time, be it a weekend, a month or a year-long sabbatical, during which we escape the routines and jadedness of the everyday.

Escaping to a beach holiday, a road-trip,or even a city sojourn, actsas a restorative tonic, a time to reset, so that we can return to the daily grind refreshed and energised.

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Tiger's Nest Monastery, the fantastical Buddhist temple clinging to the edge of a mountain cliff overlooking the Paro Valley

READ MORE:* Healthy holidays: 20 great wellness retreats, spas and feel-good destinations* Six of the best luxury experiences* Getting the slowdown in Queenstown: The relaxing side to the adventure capital* NZ in top 20 of world's best resorts and hotels

Now, more than ever, this urge to reset I mean, to truly reset is part of the modern zeitgeist. Our connectedness to the digital world, as illuminating as it is, underscores a driving need for more downtime, more "me-time", more time to connect to something other than our devices and our day-to-day responsibilities.

This deep yearning is seen in contemporary lifestyle. People are overhaulingtheirlives,routines and diets and adoptingtrends such as wellness, mindfulness, holistic health, fitness, sustainability and even happiness.

Slow travel is in sync with these impulses and desires. This pioneering movement embraces more immersive, curious, authentic and interactive travel experiences. It is the antithesis of overcrowded tourist hot spots and tired checklists. Rather, it emerges from our longing to seek connection with ourselves and our lives in more intense and meaningful ways.

A hot tub in Bhutan is undoubtedly a perfect starting point to pick up a slow travel habit, but the experiences can be many and varied, from enrolling in a yoga class or craft workshop at a wellness retreat, to signing off on an Arctic expedition. Here are more inspiring examples.

SLOW TRIPS BY TRAIN

SWISS TOURISM

The slowest express train in the world. The Glacier Express is one of Europe's most picturesque train lines.

Train travel fits neatly with slow travel. There's someone up the front driving and navigating so no getting lost, no peak-hour traffic or trying to find a carpark. This leaves plenty of time to sit back, relax, eat, drink and read. Each window frame is likely to be a new view, an ice-capped mountain as you come around a bend, a field of wildflowers, the striped greenery of wine country or a wave-washed beach.

GLACIER EXPRESS, SWITZERLAND

MGB

Beautiful views from the Glacier Express.

In 1930, Switzerland's Glacier Express was still a steam-operated train it earned a reputation for being the world's slowest express train (and it wasn't a compliment). In the early 1940s the route converted to electricity, reducing travel time from 11 to eight hours now considered lovingly slow. The Express takes a 291-kilometre snow-capped, ice-laden scenic journey across the magnificent Swiss Alps, between the ski resorts of St Moritz and Zermatt. Through roof-high panoramic windows, passengers glimpse the 2000-metre Bies Glacier, the 2033-metre Oberalp Pass the highest point of the journey and, coming in and out of view, the otherworldly Matterhorn. Seemyswitzerland.com

EASTERN AND ORIENTAL EXPRESS, THAILAND AND SINGAPORE

The E&O Express is one of the world's most exclusive trains, a bucket-lister steeped in that fabled oriental hospitality. The two-night Bangkok-Singapore route takes in the lush tropical and rural landscape of Malaysia with a side trip to the River Kwai, famed for its World War II Burma Railway history. The longer six-night journey stops at Cameron Highlands, thelush tea-plantation retreat, and gorgeous Penang, with its multi-ethnic old town and colonial architecture. The dining car is a white-tablecloth affair with clinking glassware and low-lit table lamps. In the saloon car, choose a book from the reading room or indulge in a 40-minute foot massage. Mind you don't miss too much of that palm-studded rural scenery. Seebelmond.com

SLOW WAYS TO WELLNESS

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Find inner peace with a yoga retreat.

While travel health and wellbeing have traditionally been confined to often-exclusive retreats, nowadays wellness experiences are a mainstay of most resort and hotel offerings. Guests can rise early for a poolside yoga class, choose from healthy options on menus and indulge in a holistic spa treatment. Along with the now-common yoga retreat, wellness adventures trips specifically mapped out with wellness-focused itineraries are travel's next big thing.

ARO HA, NEW ZEALAND

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Aro Ha Wellness Retreat is a great way to calm down.

In the rarefied air of New Zealand's Southern Alps, near Queenstown, Aro Hais all about B.R.E.A.T.H: being, relating, eating, activity, toxicity, healing. At this intensive wellness retreat, these elements are addressed through a fusion of Zen-styledeco-accommodation, permaculture practices and a program that encourages spiritual rejuvenation. The six-day itinerary includes vegetarian cuisine, healing bodywork and daily mindfulness practice combined with hikes into the World Heritagelisted mountainous surrounds, vinyasa yoga sessions and time set aside for journal writing. The end result is a returnto the day-to-day world with a still mind and an energised body. Seearo-ha.com

EUPHORIA RETREAT, GREECE

Mount Taygetos, at 2407 metres,is the highestmountain in the Greek Peloponnese. Euphoria Retreat is built into its rocky mountainside. The four-storey wellness haven's beautiful rock walls and terracotta rooftops are camouflaged by native fir and pine trees. Euphoriais open for day visits, but the seven-day signature Emotional and Physical Transformation is the standout offering. Activities and workshops include wellness lectures, nutrition classes, meditation, yoga, qi gong and Pilates. There's a dreamy pool and a deck overlooking citrus groves, olive trees and the city of Sparta. Beyond it, is town of Mystras, a World Heritage site with Byzantine churches, palaces and fortresses. Seeeuphoriaretreat.com

SLOW JOURNEYS ON FOOT

ISTOCK

A hiker walks towards Cape Maria Van Diemen lighthouse from Cape Reinga on the northern most tip of New Zealand.

Walks, hikes and treks in all their different forms are a slow experience you can rely on the world over, be it on a blistering month-long cross-country odyssey or an afternoon escapade up a nearby hill. It's possibly the purest form of slow travel because you're right in the heart of the action, planting one foot after the other while absorbing the minutiae and detail in every footfall. When employing two feet and a heartbeat you're breathing, you're listening, you're tuning into the world around you like mindfulness on legs.

BANFF HIKE ADVENTURE, ALBERTA, CANADA

SUPPLIED

Banff in Alberta, Canada is an alpine oasis.

Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains is a World Heritage site and Canada's oldest national park Canucks have been singing its praises since 1885. This six-day Austin Adventures hiking expedition puts the sure-footed on top of the world passing white-tipped jagged mountains, glistening waterfalls and turquoise glacial lakes. Local residents such as grizzly bears, elk and bighorn sheep are part of the scenery. There's a full-day hike over famed Sentinel Pass, plus a day hiking the Athabasca glacier with crampons strapped on. For relaxation, float into the clouds on a gondola-lift ride to Sunshine Meadows, a beautiful wildflower-strewn alpine oasis. Seeaustinadventures.com

THE ROMAN ROAD TO SANTA MARIAMONASTERY, PORTUGAL

In the north-western corner of Portugal amid vine-lined hills and iridescent green valleys, rural communities live in rustic villages and work in the surrounding fields. The region's paved tracks and footpaths are the ideal terrain for walkers to tap into centuries-old customs and rituals. On Foot Holiday's seven-night self-guided trip, beginning in Soajo and ending in Santa Maria do Bouro, is an easy to moderate zigzag walk southward. Charming scenery includes the well-preserved lakeside Castle of Lindoso, the wild Serra Amarela, and from Braga to Astorga the old Roman road complete with Roman mileposts. Seeonfootholidays.co.uk

SLOW SAILINGS BY SHIP

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See the world from the water.

Journeys on water come in diverse locations, on vastly different vessels, powered variously by paddle, wind and diesel, but the experiences share similarities that tap into slow travel. Rivers, tributaries and oceans create pathways that expose the traveller to exotic scenery, native creatures, different smells and sounds. The tiptoe of a paddle dipping into a skin of water; the tinkering of sails against a mast; the lapping of water against hull. Sit back on a boat and let the captain, the current or the wind carry you forward.

KIMBERLEY QUEST II, AUSTRALIA

Tourism Western Australia

Cruise the Kimberley in Western Australia.

Three decks high, with just nine cabins, the Kimberley Quest II is a luxury vessel custom-built for exploring Western Australia's wild and remote Kimberley. The Southern Quest itinerary begins with a small plane ride from Broome to the palm-spiked Mitchell Plateau, from where it's a chopper ride to the boat berthed in the Hunter River. The eight-day journey back to Broome is Attenborough-esque in its appeal with days spent exploring beaches, fishing, birdwatching, croc-spotting, hiking to freshwater swimming holes and admiring Indigenous rock-art caves where time stands still. Seekimberleyquest.com.au

STEAM SHIP SUDAN, EGYPT

The date palms, the flat-roofed desert villas, the felucca sails a boat trip down Egypt's Nile is a dreamily slow eye on a landscape that has hardly changed in centuries. Steam Ship Sudan is an authentic 19th-century steamer that plies the waters of the Nile between Luxor and Aswan. Once the writing retreat for murder-mystery author Agatha Christie, the ship evokes the romance and nostalgia ofluxury travel. Original Travel's three- and four-night itineraries (part of a 10-day Taste of the Nile trip) include embarkations at the Valley of the Kings, where Tutankhamen was buried and the Temple of Edfu, one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. Seeoriginaltravel.co.uk

SLOW FREE-WHEELIING JOURNEYS

WORLD EXPEDITIONS

Cycling is a great way to see a new country.

A road trip is an archetypal adventure, a bitumen right of way through new terrain where it's possible to come out the other side having learned a little more about yourself. Roads have traditionallybeen the domain of motorised wheels, but increasingly cyclists areventuring on backroads to rural and regional places where culture, history, people and landscape are accessible. Take a car for the camaraderie of a cabin, the flow of conversation, shared driving and somewhere to store the luggage. Jump on a bike to enjoy the benefit of exercise, the sun on one's face and that free-wheeling feeling.

A BURMESE JOURNEY, MYANMAR

HOUSE OF TRAVEL

Myanmar is vivid and colourful.

Myanmar's northern backroad scenery is vivid and colourful and superb for eyeballing authentic Burmese day-to-day life. On the Road Experiences' 12-day guided driving itinerary includes Inle Lake, with its floating gardens, stilt-top villages and crumbling stupas, and Pindaya Cave, crammed with Buddha images and statues. In Mandalay, Burma's last royal capital, the 150-year-old Mahagandayon Monastery and famous U-Bein bridge are pit stops before continuing to the magical temples of Bagan. Guests drive fully-insured SUVs, with logistics taken care of so you can keep your eye on the road (and the scenery). Seeontheroadexperiences.com

VOLCANOES, LAKES AND GORILLAS, RWANDA

The Slow Cyclist's seven-night cycling journey travels from the Rwandan capital, Kigali, in a north-west arc to the shores of one of Africa's Great Lakes, taking full advantage of the beguiling scenery in the Land of a Thousand Hills. Peddlers ride between 32 kilometres and 80 kilometres on four of the eight days, with cultural and historical distractions along the way including the harrowing Kigali Genocide Memorial, uplifting Kinamba Project and Kimironko Market. Other memorable riding takes in the misty peaks from the top of Kigali's highest mountain, Mount Jali; and the steady climb to Twin Lakes, Ruhondo and Burera. Electric bikes are a good option on some of the steeper terrain and, as founder Oli Bloom says, "nobody has ever regretted taking one."Seetheslowcyclist.co.uk

This is an edited extract fromSlow Travelby Penny Watson published byHardie Grant Travel.Available online and in all good bookstores.

Read the rest here:

Slow travel: The destinations you should visit to have a real holiday - Stuff.co.nz

Nike Kaepernick ads will be among the most memorable from the 2010s – CNBC

Always' #LikeAGirl campaign.

YouTube

This decade, the ad campaigns that mattered did more than just try to sell stuff.

If there's a thread connecting the most memorable campaigns of the last 10 years, it's that big risks can pay off. Campaigns like Coca-Cola's "It's Beautiful" or Procter & Gamble's "#LikeAGirl" tried and succeeded in changing cultural conversation.

Here are some of the marketing campaigns that helped define the marketing and advertising world during this decade and continue to have an impact today.

What does it mean to do something like a girl? In 2014, a three-minute video from Procter & Gamble's menstrual hygiene brand Always asked a series of young people to act out various activities "like a girl." The young adult women and men flail their arms ridiculously or coif their hair as they pretend to run.

Then, the question is posed to younger children, who interpret it in a completely different way. When asked, "What does it mean to run like a girl?" one answers, "It means means run fast as you can."

A 60-second version of the video, done with Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, marked the brand's Super Bowl debut, and it kicked off a cultural phenomenon. The three-minute version of the YouTube video has nearly 68 million views today.

"This is the type of campaign you put in a time capsule to give future generations a read on gender stereotypes in the 2010s," said John Osborn, the CEO of Omnicom Group media agency OMD USA. "In taking a phrase that people have used often, and used without thinking about what we were really saying, it transcended any one brand or product to create a much needed conversation around gender stereotyping."

It also felt personal, Osborn added.

"As much as this appealed to me on a professional level, it also really struck a chord for me as a father," he said. "It made me ask myself if I've ever put limits on my daughter because of her gender. That kind of reaction is the gold standard for a great campaign."

Scott Goodson, CEO of cultural movement firm StrawberryFrog, added that the campaign had the quality of galvanizing people to do something.

"It's relevant and provocative and full of meaning," he said.

President Barack Obama buys ice cream for his daughters Malia and Sasha at Pleasant Pops during Small Business Saturday on November 28, 2015, in Washington, DC. Obama to urge easing 401(k) rules for small businesses.

Getty Images

Credit card company American Express started the "Small Business Saturday" campaign in the dregs of a recession in November 2010. The company said it started the movement "to encourage people to Shop Small and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses."

It became official in 2011, when the Senate passed a resolution.

Now a veritable shopping holiday (celebrated even by former President Barack Obama) with name recognition that borders on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the campaign transcended a company and a moment. American Express estimates Small Business Saturday spending has reached $103 billion since the day it began.

Goodson said Small Business Saturday "took a stand for Main Street and small business, folks who never have any support and who find themselves in the direct line of fire from the Amazons of the world," he said. "Amex SBS is purpose marketing that works inside small companies and among consumers inside out. It takes the boring traditional credit card advertising approach and turns it into activism and a movement that millions want to join."

Patagonia's "The President Stole Your Land."

Generally speaking, brands like to keep their distance from politics. But in 2017, outdoor apparel company Patagonia changed the homepage of its website to display a sinister message: "The President Stole Your Land." It continued: "In an illegal move, the president just reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history."

The company said it also planned to sue the Trump administration over the matter.

"Not only did they cater to their target, but they didn't lose the others," said Kristen Cavallo, CEO of The Martin Agency, which is owned by Interpublic Group of Cos. She said though the message created a lot of drama, it probably helped pave the way for Nike and Wieden & Kennedy's "Dream Crazy" campaign with Colin Kaepernick.

"They put everything on the line for their values, and they risked everything, and they didn't lose," she said. "That actually became a case study; that clients could take much bigger risks without the fear of so much backlash."

Burger King had perhaps the most dramatic brand turnaround of the decade, from the edge of death to the center of the cultural zeitgeist.

The burger chain's old advertising involved a plastic-looking Burger King crawling into consumers' beds to feed them burgers. In 2009, The Atlantic's Derek Thompson wrote that "to the surprise of nobody, Burger King's horrible, creepy advertising campaign is not working, and the company finds itself falling further behind McDonald's... " But now it's a powerful turnaround story.

In the last few years, Burger King has done a lot of crazy stuff to right the ship.

It ran a television ad that prompted Google voice devices to pull up Wikipedia and start listing the ingredients of a Whopper. It ran a "Whopper Detour" campaign, which offered 1 cent Whopper burgers to consumers who were geographically near a McDonald's restaurant. It ran a limited edition collection of "moody" meals for Mental Health Awareness Month, ribbing McDonald's by calling them "Unhappy Meals."

In Sweden, the restaurant launched a "50/50 menu," which meant consumers who choose to order from the menu would be randomly served a plant-based or regular meat patty. Consumers had to guess which one they had been served, then could scan their box to see if they were correct.

"I think they have done more than any other brand to define modern marketing," Cavallo said. She noted that the brand employs social listening tools to show up in cultural moments.

Even Burger King's competitors have been jealous at times. Deborah Wahl, former chief marketing officer of McDonald's and now global CMO of General Motors admitted it.

"Despite being a former competitor, I love what [CMO] Fernando [Machado] demonstrated with the Whopper Detour," she told CNBC in an email. "He tackled a business problem, used marketing technology as a solution, and framed it up in a customer relevant and compelling engagement that drove results."

Coca-Cola's 2014 "It's Beautiful" was simple in concept; the minute-long spot, done with Wieden & Kennedy, shows scenes of people of all backgrounds all over America with a version of "America the Beautiful" that is sung in a variety of languages.

As innocuous as that might sound, backlash to the ad was swift (Glenn Beck argued that it was "in your face" and intended to divide people).

Kasha Cacy, global CEO of Engine, said the spot was "so, so in their heritage" and was reflective of where the country was in that moment.

The company re-aired the ad during a pregame commercial break before the 2017 Super Bowl, with the tagline "Together is Beautiful," right when President Donald Trump's travel ban order had been announced.

Cacy said it's another example of a company that took a risk on something and had the social media machinery behind the scenes to manage the conversation.

"I don't think another brand could have done it as well as they did," she said. "As governments become incapable to make anything happen, there's this expectation that brands are going to fill that void."

"Imagine the Possibilities" campaign from Barbie

YouTube

Barbie doesn't look the way she used to. She also isn't just some pretty girl in a skirt.

Mattel was grappling with what consumers saw as being dated and out of touch with the women of today. The brand in 2015 launched "Imagine the Possibilities," a viral video with Omnicom Group's BBDO that showed little girls taking over the jobs they dream of, and what the company said was hidden-camera reactions.

"As society evolved, Barbie and Mattel were criticized for the make and look of Barbie dolls and the influence of that on young girls," said Alicia Tillman, chief marketing officer of software giant SAP. "They introduced this campaign to respond to the criticism and demonstrate the positive impact Barbie has on imaginations based on how consumers were using Barbie."

Not long after, in 2016, Mattel said a new line of dolls would come in a range of body types, skin tones, eye colors and hairstyles.

Finally, little girls' fantasies could look more like reality.

"It is a beautiful campaign that demonstrates the true purpose of Barbie and Mattel and will forever be one of my very favorites," Tillman said.

Colin Kaepernick in a new ad for Nike.

Source: Nike

Shares of Nike plummeted right after it released its ad campaign with Wieden & Kennedy for the 30th anniversary of "Just Do It," featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The football player gained attention after he began protesting police brutality against African Americans by "taking a knee" during the national anthem in 2016.

But in the aftermath, sales exploded, despite a social media campaign to boycott Nike.

More importantly, Nike solidified its position as a brand willing to put it all on the line to show what it felt mattered.

The way Cacy sees it, "There were very few things that capture the attention of everyone the way that did."

Excerpt from:

Nike Kaepernick ads will be among the most memorable from the 2010s - CNBC

What Moments From The Trump Presidency Will Go Down In History? – FiveThirtyEight

Welcome to FiveThirtyEights weekly politics chat. The transcript below has been lightly edited.

sarahf (Sarah Frostenson, politics editor): Last Thursday, the House voted to impeach President Trump, making him just the third president to have ever been impeached. His administration has attacked the impeachment process as unfair and has called it illegitimate, but this moment is something that will inevitably make the history books on his presidency right?

So lets talk about the most important moments of Trumps presidency so far.

Id start with his impeachment as the most important moment so far, but is this where youd start, too? Or is there another moment that you think is even more important to defining his presidency?

ameliatd (Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, senior writer): Id start there too and not just because the vote happened last week. To state the obvious, impeaching a president is a really, really big deal, even if the outcome of the vote felt foreordained. This will be central to how Trump is remembered, regardless of how it turns out for the people involved.

nrakich (Nathaniel Rakich, elections analyst): Yes, if we define moment as a series of events that has happened over a few months, I would say impeachment is clearly #1. But if we want to zoom in to a specific event, my #1 moment would be the period of Sept. 21-24 this year, beginning when the Ukraine story broke wide open and ending when Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry. Everything that has happened since the hearings, the vote stems from that.

The events of Sept. 21-24 were also when public opinion changed most decisively. The vote itself doesnt look like it will change anyones minds, nor did any of the individual revelations along the way.

perry (Perry Bacon Jr., senior writer): To me, impeachment isnt the most important moment of his presidency even if it will be the easiest and clearest thing to remember. Instead, I think there are three other defining events: 1) The firing of former FBI director James Comey, which illustrated Trumps disregard for norms and the rule of law; 2) his reaction to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where after it erupted in deadly violence he said there was blame on both sides; 3) his press conference in Helsinki, Finland, with Russian President Vladimir Putin at which he downplayed the U.S. governments finding that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

ameliatd: The Comey firing was on my list, too, and not just because it was a violation of norms. It also kicked off special counsel Robert Muellers investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election that consumed almost two years of Trumps presidency. The release of the Mueller report was important too, but Id argue that in the scope of the Russia investigation, Comeys firing was the more significant moment, since it set the entire process in motion.

nrakich: I have the Comey firing at #2, for exactly the reason Amelia says.

The Russia investigation was a big backdrop for so much of Trumps presidency and I think undermined his legitimacy with a substantial portion of the population.

As for Charlottesville and Helsinki: While I found those to be bizarre, even disturbing, moments, I dont think theyre ultimately important enough to make the AP U.S. History study guide version of the Trump presidency.

ameliatd: Thats the trouble with trying to pick out individual moments are we talking about what will lead the high school U.S. history curriculum 50 years from now? Or the events that crystallized the biggest themes of the Trump presidency? Without going on a detour about what makes it into history books in the first place, Comeys firing seems like an event that fits both categories.

sarahf: We are trying to identify discrete events that eventually make the history books, but to your point, Amelia, some of these will encapsulate big themes in his presidency, too.

perry: Speaking of themes, Trumps identity politics have perhaps been the defining trait of his administration. The idea that people use the word racist to describe the American president is jarring, but it fits with some of his behavior. I assumed that some of Trumps racist rhetoric was kind of an act until Charlottesville. That made it even more real. I think it really cemented how people covered and thought of him.

ameliatd: The Charlottesville rally was on my top five list, and I do think that will end up in the history books. Trumps reaction was just such a shocking acknowledgment of the role that racism and white supremacy seems to play in his voting coalition, after an incredibly tragic and disturbing event.

nrakich: Interesting. I agree that Charlottesville (and Trumps response to it) was representative of a fundamental aspect of his election and presidency. But with the benefit of years of perspective, I just think it fits into a long line of outrageous and racist things Trump has said and done that havent really damaged his standing politically.

And I think history will be written with either moments that shifted public opinion or moments that affected policy and thus the day-to-day lives of real people, either in the U.S. or abroad.

ameliatd: But if youre thinking about the moment that most embodies the outrageous and racist things Trump has said that has to be it, right?

nrakich: During his time in office, yes.

There were others during the 2016 campaign (the Access Hollywood tape being #1 on that list).

perry: Its true that what were talking about goes beyond what happened in Charlottesville. In fact, in terms of substance, you might say that the policy of separating children from their parents at the border or the travel ban that temporarily barred all visitors from seven majority-Muslim countries are better examples of some of the racist policies the administration has put forward. Charlottesville is just easier to describe as one moment.

ameliatd: I was wrestling with whether to put the travel ban in my top five. It was an action that made Trumps campaign trail rhetoric immediately seem real. Trump wasnt just going to attack Muslims and immigrants on the campaign trail he was actually going to act on his promises.

nrakich: The entire first week of the Trump administration was truly surreal.

ameliatd: I had one moment on my list that we havent mentioned yet Brett Kavanaughs Supreme Court nomination and confirmation hearings. If were talking about actions that both fit into the broader themes of Trumps presidency and will have serious ramifications for Americans for years to come, I think that has to be in the top five.

nrakich: Agreed, Amelia. The Christine Blasey Ford hearing, and Kavanaughs subsequent confirmation, were #3 on my list.

Not only did he replace Anthony Kennedy, locking in five conservative votes on the court, but the allegations of attempted rape and indecent exposure that emerged spoke so much to the #MeToo zeitgeist of the time.

perry: It was, of course, a big deal that the swing justice (Kennedy) was replaced by a significantly more conservative person on the court, but in some ways, Kavanaugh is also a standard-issue conservative who could have been appointed by a more traditional Republican president like say, Jeb Bush.

It was the process by which Kavanaugh was appointed that was the real moment a president accused of sexual assault put a judge accused of sexual assault on the highest court. The #MeToo movement was the one big story that happened between 2017 and 2019 that wasnt centered on Trump, but I think Kavanaughs confirmation battle connected with that broader conversation about sexual misconduct.

ameliatd: Well, also, Perry, I think Jeb Bush would have probably pressured Kavanaugh to withdraw after the allegations against him were made public. The fact that Trump stood by him just feeds into the dynamic youre describing.

perry: Exactly. If anything, the controversy seemed to make Trump more determined to put him on the court.

ameliatd: Womens anger against Trump, too, has been a defining theme of his presidency, starting with the Womens March in 2017 after his inauguration and continuing through the 2018 midterms. And I think the Ford/Kavanaugh hearing was a key moment in representing some of that.

perry: Yes, the vocal anger of liberal women is a big part of the reaction to the Trump presidency. The Womens March illustrated that powerfully on the first day of Trumps presidency, but as you say, the Kavanaugh hearings were a kind of culmination of that, too.

sarahf: Its harder to define some of what were talking about now as one moment, but there has been such a strong undercurrent of liberal activism throughout his presidency that I could definitely see images from protests being included in the history books.

But are there other moments in peoples top five that we havent hit yet?

nrakich: My #4 moment was the failure of the Obamacare repeal in summer 2017, embodied by the late Sen. John McCain giving a thumbs-down no vote on the Senate floor.

I think, for most presidents, policy achievements are some of the biggest moments of their presidency. But, to be honest, Trump hasnt pushed through much on the policy front. (Arguably, his tax cuts are probably his biggest legislative accomplishment, but Im not sure how strongly they will be remembered.)

ameliatd: What about the government shutdown, though, Nathaniel? That was another moment when Trump tried to force a campaign promise through Congress and it backfired kind of spectacularly.

nrakich: Yes, the government shutdown came close to cracking my top five as well. It was one of the few events of Trumps presidency that actually seemed to affect his approval rating! But as weve said over and over again, the effects of government shutdowns are pretty short-lived, whereas the consequences of Obamacare not having been repealed can still be felt.

perry: The failure of repealing the ACA was big, in part, because it is a policy that affects millions. But I thought at the time that the ACA-repeal setback indicated that Trump might not be able to implement his agenda more broadly. Thats not really happened, though. The tax bill passed a few months later, and even though Trump hasnt gotten as much funding as he wanted for his border wall, he has been able to accomplish a lot of his immigration policies through executive orders.

There are at least three other moments Id call out, too. Two of which we have already kind of hit on. First, the actual Mueller report, which outlined a lot of really questionable behavior and in some ways led to Trumps impeachment. Second, the 2018 midterm elections (a pretty firm rejection of Trump by the voters). And third, although there is no single event we can point to, Id argue that the low unemployment rate and strong GDP growth have made it easier for Trumps supporters to rationalize some of his behavior and has probably kept his approval rating from going too low.

nrakich: Yes, Perry, the 2018 elections rounded out my top five moments. They were a bloodbath for Republicans, especially in the House and governors mansions. And that has had reverberating policy implications both on the state and federal levels for example, impeachment was really only possible because of the House results in 2018. Also, as you said, it was a strong statement by voters against Trump. Democrats flipped more House seats than they had in any election since 1974. It definitely has set the tone for the last two years of Trumps first term.

ameliatd: We also havent talked about Trumps foreign policy or his trade policy, both of which have had pretty broad consequences. What about the withdrawal of troops from Syria or his steel tariffs?

sarahf: Or everything with North Korea!

nrakich: Yeah, his trade policy is significant, but again, its hard to boil down to a single moment. The historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore in 2018 was a milestone but didnt end up having any actual policy implications, really.

perry: I mentioned Helsinki at the beginning because when it comes to foreign policy, the only thing I think that is really notable is its pro-Russia weirdness. To some extent, that includes everything with Syria, too (Russia wanted the U.S. to withdraw forces from Syria).

sarahf: The conceit of this chat was to distill Trumps presidency into five key moments, which as weve discussed can be difficult to do, especially as so many of the things weve talked about are interconnected, but if you had to write down your top three or five moments for defining his presidency so far what would they be?

nrakich: Here are my top 10, because I am nothing if not a completist:

ameliatd: Id say my top four moments are:

A lot of the things weve discussed are significant, but those are the ones that really rise to the top for me and in some ways encompass elements of the others. Maybe Id add the government shutdown as a significant moment: Trump tried to force Congress to fulfill a campaign promise and had to back down. Or the family separation policy and travel ban as policies that had a big and serious impact.

perry:

But that list is not necessarily based on order of importance. And thats because in answering this, one thing Im struggling with is things that are important symbolically (Comeys firing) versus those that affect a lot of people (family separation/travel ban).

nrakich: My overall takeaway from this chat is how many of our top moments were not good ones (i.e., policy accomplishments) for Trump. It just goes to show how turbulent his presidency has been so far and Id say not very effective either.

ameliatd: Right, I think thats an important takeaway, Nathaniel. In nearly all of the moments we mentioned, you can see a current of upheaval, divisiveness and norm-defying behavior running underneath.

perry: These moments do show that Trumps presidency has been norm-breaking and divisive. Im not totally sure they show that he has been ineffective, though, because it seems to me that annoying liberals, the political establishment and the media is something he likes and something that his core base of supporters loves. Division, it seems to me, is a feature not a bug for Trump, and I think he has been effective in pursuing it.

See more here:

What Moments From The Trump Presidency Will Go Down In History? - FiveThirtyEight

Herald Top 10: Driving out the Devil: what’s behind the exorcism boom? – Catholic Herald Online

We end 2019 by republishing our most-read Magazine and Comment pieces of the year. This is Number 9: Kate Kingsbury and Andrew Chesnut ask what's behind the rise in exorcisms

As of the past few decades, it is clear that Catholic clergy are witnessing a mushrooming demand for exorcisms. An astonishing number of people undergo deliverance from demonic forces every week, not only in the developing world but also in Britain and the United States.

Pope Francis, who regularly speaks about the Devil, has told priests that they should not hesitate to call on exorcists if they hear confessions or see behaviour indicating satanic activity. Just a few months into his pioneering pontificate, Francis himself performed an informal exorcism on a man in a wheelchair in St Peters Square. The youngster had been brought by a Mexican priest who presented him as demon-possessed. The Pope intently laid two hands upon the mans head, clearly concentrating on driving out the demons.

The first Latin American Pope advocates exorcism as a potent weapon for doing battle against the Enemy and his legions. Like most of his fellow Latin Americans, Francis regards the Devil as a real figure who sows discord and destruction in the world.

Last April, the Vatican organised an exorcism workshop in Rome. More than 250 priests from 51 countries assembled to learn the latest techniques to exorcise demonic spirits. Alongside the usual spiritual paraphernalia of holy water, Bible and crucifix was a new addition: the mobile phone, in keeping with the global technological zeitgeist, for long-distance exorcisms.

Exorcism is, of course, an ancient feature of the Catholic faith. It was an essential part of early Catholicism. Deliverance from demons fell within the purview of holy individuals, both living and dead, and had no particular formalities attached.

In the Middle Ages, exorcisms altered, becoming more indirect. Frequently spiritual intermediaries such as salt, oil and water were used. Later, the holiness of saints and their shrines, deemed capable of miracles, began to take precedence over actual exorcisms. In the medieval era exorcism became a marginal practice, morphing from an ecstatic performance to a liturgical rite involving priestly authority.

During the Reformation, as the Catholic Church struggled with Protestant attacks and internal divisions, its practices came under the spotlight. Exorcism was consequently reclassified and subject to stringent methods as the Church sought to establish strict criteria of diagnosis and canonical legitimacy. Legality came to the fore. Questions arose regarding who had the authority and legitimacy to exorcise. The Catholic Church began to restrict who could perform exorcisms.

It was during the 17th century that exorcism practices were defined. In fact, the rite used today is an adaptation of the one conceived in that era. Although exorcism was declining in popularity, the figure of Satan reappeared quite dramatically as the schisms between Christian groups during the Reformation were conceptualised as an apocalyptic battle between Satanic forces and the Church of God.

With the advent of the so-called Age of Reason, defined by scientific advancements, rationalism, scepticism and a secular state, exorcism was impugned. Even within the Church some intellectuals such as Blaise Pascal, who combined a fideistic perspective on theology with openness to science, took a negative view of the practice. Exorcism manuals which had formerly circulated freely were suppressed and, despite demand from lay people, exorcisms declined.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, as modern medicine and psychology advanced, exorcism was derided. Neurological and psychological explanations, such as epilepsy and hysteria, were proffered for why people appeared to be possessed.

Exorcism returned dramatically in the 1970s. The box-office hit The Exorcist revealed the significant and still cogent belief in demonic possession and the need to deliver tormented souls from evil spirits. Priests such as Malachi Martin (who, it should be noted, was later released from aspects of his vows by the Vatican) gained notoriety due to their exorcism activities. Martins 1976 book Hostage to the Devil, on demonic possession, achieved considerable success. American Catholic Charismatics such as Francis MacNutt and Michael Scanlan also gained prominence, further putting exorcism in the public eye.

Yet the main impetus for the return of exorcism comes from outside the Catholic Church. The surge in the practice is strongly related to religious competition. Since the 1980s, especially in Latin America and Africa, Catholicism has faced stiff competition from Pentecostalism, the most dynamic expression of Christianity to emerge over the past century.

Pentecostal churches offer a vibrant spiritual life. They are pneumacentric; that is, they focus on the role of the Holy Spirit. They feature demonic deliverance as a defining element of their healing services. Pentecostalism is the most rapidly growing Christian movement in the world, rising from six per cent of the worlds Christian population in 1970 to 20 per cent in 2000, according to Pew.

Since the late 1980s competition with Pentecostalism has led to the formation of a cadre of Latin American priests affiliated to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which specialises in liberation (or exorcism) ministries. Such is current demand for release from demonic possession that some priests, such as the Brazilian Charismatic superstarFr Marcelo Rossi, even celebrate liberation Masses (missas de libertao) on a weekly basis. Fr Rossi has acknowledged his pastoral debt to the Brazilian Pentecostal leader Bishop Edir Macedo, whose Universal Church of the Kingdom of God brought exorcism to the fore of spirit-centred Christianity in Latin America. It was Bishop Edir Macedo who woke us up, Fr Rossi has said. He got us up.

In Cameroon, Fr Tsala, a Benedictine monk who has been a priest for more than 25 years, regularly conducts exorcisms in the capital Yaound. Every week he offers them to the innumerable people who come to his services, which are so popular that security personnel have to ensure that congregants do not trample one another.

Carole was among one of the many participants at a service last year. She had sought all the modern medical aid possible for her brain tumour, but to no avail. She turned to Fr Tsala, and following numerous prayer sessions and demonic deliverances, she claims to have seen a considerable improvement in her health.

As the Catholic Charismatic Renewal has expanded among the Latin American and African working classes, so has demand grown for physical healing and exorcism. Many impoverished urban Catholics, like their Pentecostal counterparts, seek divine help for their poverty-related afflictions. Thus, grassroots Charismatics typically implore the Holy Spirit to empower them to overcome such problems as unemployment, physical illness, domestic strife and alcoholism.

In Brazil and much of the Caribbean, possession is often attributed to the exs, or liminal trickster spirits of Candombl, Umbanda and other African diasporic religions. In Mexico, it is increasingly the spirit of the folk saint Santa Muerte that is being expelled from possessed parishioners. In Africa, it is usually the indigenous, pre-Christian spirits that are blamed, such as Mami Wata across West Africa, or Tokoloshe in South Africa.

In the US and Britain, meanwhile, parishioners increasingly believe that demons are the cause of their various tribulations. One American we interviewed from the Deep South believed that a car he could not repair despite innumerable trips to the garage was possessed by satanic forces which he thought could only be removed by a Catholic priest.

A priest at an apostolic church in Georgia reported that the demand for exorcisms in the past two years had increased so dramatically that he could not keep up. Catholics came to him with a range of problems they attributed to demonic possession, from love and health troubles to changes in personality. Many had sought services from the state, such as psychological aid or medical care, which had failed them, before turning to the priest.

All this underlines that exorcism is on the rise and is no longer a marginal practice. With the failure of modern medicine, psychology and the mod cons of capitalism to explain difficulties, resolve troubles or offer equal opportunities to all, demons and satanic forces are often blamed for issues, whether in Africa, Latin America, Europe or the US.

Today still, when modern institutions, services and logics fail, and when injustices prevail, many believe that supernatural entities are the cause. After all, the Devil is in the detail, and for many Catholics, Satan may ultimately be to blame for the worlds ills.

Dr Kate Kingsbury is an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta. Dr Andrew Chesnut is Bishop Walter F Sullivan Chair in Catholic Studies and Professor of Religious Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University

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Herald Top 10: Driving out the Devil: what's behind the exorcism boom? - Catholic Herald Online


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