By Tim Murr
Fernando is a drug dealer from Mexico living in Austin, Texas. He works for a man named Guillermo and is doing all right for himself since crossing “la frontera.” Then one night he’s attacked, shoved into a trunk, and presented to a man named Indio. Indio isn’t the kind of man you usually find in Austin; a large, powerfully built monster, covered in so many tattoos that his skin is almost black. He wants to take over much of Guillermo’s territory and wants Fernando to deliver a message. Part of that message involves having to watch the torture and murder of his colleague Nestor. So begins Zero Saints, a fearful, fast-paced descent into what may be the final few days of un hombre invisible.
“After 15 albums, i’ve taken all of my thoughts about the history of racial injustice and created a musical interpretation for modern times,” says trance blues artist Otis Taylor. His latest, Fantasizing About Being Black is shattering and thought-provoking. By looking backwards, Otis Taylor has made an album that is unfortunately still prescient.
By Julie Finley
This year was unbearable in so many ways it is hard to even compute mentally. Too much LOSS! I am not going to go off on a tangent about what was bad; if you lived through this year, you know how bad it was!
Despite so many mishaps, there were actually some things I enjoyed this year. I decided to divide these up by cultural experiences, music releases, TV shows, and movies.
By Tim Murr
I was 19 when I saw Easy Rider the first time. I was a punk with a shaved head and had a generally negative attitude towards the world at large. I think I spent most of my time watching Dennis Hopper’s directorial debut with my arms crossed, not bored, but waiting to see what was supposedly so great about this “classic.” Though I found many facets of 1960s history fascinating, I assumed Easy Rider was just some hippy flick which wouldn’t resonate with me or my generation.
Ben Wheatley adapting a 1975 JG Ballard novel into a film starring Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller, and Luke Evans? It sounded too good to be true. With three planned screenings at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival which were then reduced to two, and rumors of six hour lineups for the second screening’s rush line, it was not an exaggeration to suggest that High-Rise was one of the most hyped films of last year.
The movie, The Witch, has brought the concept of witches back to the forefront of American culture. The film tells the story of a New England family in the 1700s, fighting against nature, boredom, and black magic. It’s based on old folk tales from the time, which are a decent reflection of history. The family in the movie chose to go outside the village gates and live on their own, unprotected by numbers or any kind of militia. It’s no wonder they get into trouble.
A very real trouble descended upon New England on this date in pop culture history. Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba may sound like the headliners for the new and improved Lilith Fair, but they were center stage for a quite different kind of show. Today, in 1692, the Salem Witch Trials began.
It’s my belief that most people enjoy a good party. If that’s true, then the converse must also be true. Most people do not enjoy a bad party. The problem starts when you’re in a party that you think is good, but practically the rest of the world believes is horrible. That’s not an overstatement.
Especially if you were a member of the Nazi Party, which was formed on this date in 1920.
Art has never been easy to define. America spent a lot of time viewing art under the Classical model. Everything looks as it should. Humans look like humans, dogs look like dogs. It’s an almost prim way of looking at art. It has its place. It’s rational, realistic and relatively normal. Everything is what you expect it to be.
On this date in 1913, all that changed.
It’s hard to imagine a world without YouTube. It’s even harder to comprehend that it hasn’t been around since the inception of the Internet, but the video-sharing site went live only 11 years ago, on this date. Created by three eBay employees, the company is worth somewhere in the vicinity of $40 billion dollars.
That’s a lot of funny cat videos.
There’s always a reason to talk about David Bowie, as far as I’m concerned, but not always within the context of this column. So, when the opportunity arises to write about the man, and remember him within historical parameters and important dates, I’m going to do that. Get used to it.
Get used to it.