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Willy Wonka and the Racism Factory
wonka.jpgThe most recent film adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is shaping up to be one of the highest grossing summer blockbusters of 2005. This is the third re-incarnation of Roald Dahl's controversial story over the past four decades. As such, it is instructive, to examine it's transformation in relation to issues of racism and colonialism.
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29 Aug 2005 | Filed under: Review / Media : Race
Somerville Theater pulls contract on the Reagan Babies' Jesus Christ Terrorist
collagerb22portfolio.jpgThe Somerville Theatre has just informed us-- the Reagan Babies, a local band/performance group (www.reaganbabies.com)-- that our scheduled October 29th event, the final performance of "Jesus Christ Terrorist," a rock opera, has been cancelled despite a contract that was signed over three months ago and thousands of pre-production dollars spent. Theatre representative, Sherri Belski, claims that her decision to pull the contract was a result of the theater's insurance carrier refusing to cover the event. However, upon further discussion with Ms. Belski it has become clear that there was more to it and that, in fact, it is likely that the political content of the performance is at question.
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17 Aug 2005 | Filed under: News / Media
Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls Hits the Northeast
rock_girlsonstge2.jpgAn offshoot of the original Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls that recently sprung up on the west coast, the Willie Mae Rock Camp was organized by feminist musicians and offered workshops on such topics as anti-oppression, instrument instruction, and self-defense.

Feminist musicians had been organizing for about a year to bring the first Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls to New York City. It took place August 8th through the 12th near Central Park. The camp was open to all self-identified girls ages 8 through 18, and drew around 80 kids from around the city by working through local Girls Clubs and schools, offering a sliding-scale tuition. To hear interviews with the girls and others, listen to the posted .mp3.
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16 Aug 2005 | Filed under: News / Education : Gender : Media : Organizing
To Impeach or Not to Impeach
On July 31, 2005, a forum on the Downing Street Memos, leaked documents that indicate the Bush administration misled the public about reasons for going to war in Iraq, took place at Arlington Street Church.

Co-sponsored by several local organizations such as Brookline PeaceWorks, Boston Mobilization, Progressive Democrats of America, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, among others; the forum was just one of 300 events across the nation planned to discuss the possible consequences of the leaked documents.
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01 Aug 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International : Media : Organizing : Politics
Kendall Square Cinema employees join union
kendall.jpgAfter only three months of organizing at the Kendall Square Cinema, the Landmark Theatre chain's biggest theatre, employees voted 17 to one to join the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) local 791 on July 30.

“Kendall Square cinema is now 100% union,” yelled a cinema employee as movie-goers left the theatre, “wall to wall union!”

The vote comes as a result of recent management changes, lack of full-time status even for employees who average over 35 hours per week, small and sporadic raises, and a starting wage of $7.25 that hasn't changed since 2002, according to employee and organizer Lauren Ryder.
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31 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Labor : Media
Review: Batman Shrugged
batman copy.jpgWhat if Ayn Rand and Mussolini got together to write a Hollywood movie? The result would look something very like Batman Begins--the new blockbuster prequel to the Batman screen franchise.

Now, admittedly, the Batman worldview--be it in comic, graphic novel, or movie form--has never been very progressive. But its timeless noir myth about a good-but-flawed man fighting for his own kind of justice in a cruel world has resonated with people across the political spectrum for decades now. Because it's hard to argue that there aren't nasty criminals, bad cops and corrupt politicians out there in dire need of some comeupance. And I'm sure it was refreshing back in the 1930s when the original comic series was launched to see a hero comfortable enough with his sexuality to fight crime in a tight-fitting bat suit.

Still this latest Batman film outing leaves much to be desired--despite the many promising innovations that have steered the movie series away from the fantastical and towards the more recognizable, but still properly archetypal, settings and plot devices that clearly relate to viewers everyday lives. Director Christopher Nolan, famed for the 2001 cult hit, Memento, actually made realism his mantra for the movie--according to interviews on the Batman Begins website. For example, aside from a futuristic monorail system and a Dickensian paupers' quarter ("The Narrows"), Batman's hometown, Gotham, looks pretty much like any modern metropolis. It's also worth noting that, surprisingly, there was not a single recognizable "product shot" in entire film. Not a Coke (or Nokia, or Lexus) logo in sight.
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24 Jun 2005 Modified: 27 Jun 2005 | Filed under: Review / Media
'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
zine-library.jpgA new library has opened up right in Harvard Square--The Papercut 'Zine Library. But they don't have any books. Instead, they have 'zines.

'Zines are self-published magazines that address universes of different topics. There are 'zines about being a substitute teacher, how to compost, growing up as an immigrant, animal rights and high school crushes. They're becoming increasingly popular as everyone starts to make their own 'zine.

Now there are 'zine libraries all around the country. This radio piece documents the opening of Boston's new 'zine library.
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22 May 2005 | Filed under: News / Media
FBI Pressures Anarchist Internet Administrator Into Disclosing IP Addresses
top.fbi.terror.2.jpg(from the Open Newswire): It's all getting very real. The administrator of flag.blackened.net, a major anarchist internet host, has gone public with a harrowing account of FBI thuggery.

According to the report on their discussion forums, two comments were posted to subdomains hosted by the server, including Infoshop.org, which claimed responsibility for "propaganda of the deed." Although the administrator "Dave" is under some kind of government gag order, he did say this: "Both incidents involve topics which are completely out of line for consideration here at flag and really I can only view them in two ways. Either people are simply ignorant about the murderous history of the FBI, or, as is my belief in one case, they are trying to make flag vulnerable to government intrusion."
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02 Apr 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Media
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