The Riff - May 2007

Top Ten Stuff 'n' Things: 5/11/07

| Fri May 11, 2007 11:33 PM EDT

Do not fret, my sweet liberal media blog enthusiasts -- I have not deserted you! Yes, yes, I sauntered off to Coachella and then galavanted halfway around the world for a silly DJ gig, and yes, I know, I could have used my shiny new laptop to post something for you, but these other places had piña coladas, by the pool, see, and what do you, oh Riffers, offer me, besides angry comments? Which are not refreshing or coconutty, by the way, and do not get me sloshed! But I still love you! Never think I don't love you! I love you so much, that I want us to share the following Top 10 Things, which this week are vaguely influenced by Jamaica, which is where I was for a couple days, and yes next time you can come.

mojo-cover-nickyvanshe.jpg10. Nicky Van She & Dangerous Dan"Around the World Again"
So the concept isn't so new: there's already been at least one rock cover of a Daft Punk song, and Who Made Who shot to novelty prominence in '05 with their B-52's-reminiscent take on Benny Benassi's "Satisfaction," but this is still awesome – a simple, guitar-based instrumental version of the toweringly great "Around the World." I'll dance to that

mojo-photo-sunshine.JPG9. Sunshine (upcoming film from Danny Boyle, director of Trainspotting and 28 Days Later, out this Fall at the earliest, from Fox Searchlight)
My motto, as far as B-movies are concerned, is "The Earth Must Be Destroyed." Any scenario that involves the potential destruction of humanity or our planet or our solar system, and I am so there. I mean, I dragged everyone I know to see The Core, on opening night, on IMAX, and that may be the worst movie ever made. So finding out that the inventive director Danny Boyle is taking on a film about an (ill-fated?) voyage to re-start our dying sun – how am I going to wait six months for this?!?!!!

mojo-photo-djjoven.JPG8. DJ Joven – Live at Zizek, Buenos Aires, Argentina (mp3 via Disco Shawn)
My expat buddy Shawn has written some intriguing things about the new avant-Cumbia scene in Buenos Aires, but I didn't really get it until I heard this brief but awesome set that includes a crazy version of Justin Timberlake's "My Love," as well as some oddly ambient-sounding electronic reinterpretations of this traditional Latin style

7. Verka Serduchka

Apparently this Ukranian drag sensation (real name, Andriy Danylo) is set to win the Eurovision Song Contest, an event that continues to amaze me with its, um, existence. In any event, this bonkers performance appears to be mostly in German, with some Ukranian asides ("Dance," "Where are your hands, hands, hands?"). IT doesn't make any sense to me at all... but I can't… stop… watching...

mojo-cover-interpol.jpg6. Interpol"The Heinrich Maneuver" (from Our Love to Admire, out July 10 on Matador)
Okay, in my Coachella preview, I got the album title wrong, so sue me. But really, this track is so great, they could have named the album after it. With a seemingly in-joke title, a weirdly casual intro line ("How are things on the West Coast?" Um, on fire, thanks, Interpol), and what appears to be a stuffed leopard on the cover, this song from the most Joy Division-y of indie bands makes some counterintuitive moves but still ends up majestic

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CBS Fires Anti-War General; MSM: No Comment

| Fri May 11, 2007 5:47 PM EDT

Here's a prime example of a story the MSM is self-interestedly neglecting to cover. CBS fired General John Batiste, who had served as a consultant for the network, after he appeared in a VoteVets ad opposing the war in Iraq. CBS claims the ad damaged Batiste's credibility by undermining his apparent objectivity. But CBS has now been revealed to allow consultant Nicole Wallace—formerly of the White House communications operation, now on John McCain's campaign staff—to comment on Bush's policies, McCain's beliefs, and life in general. Not only that, but the ad in which Batiste appeared was pretty objective and analytical. Could anyone seriously be accused of diminishing their credibility by saying that we were led to war on false pretenses and don't have an effective strategy for winning? I mean, these are facts.

Political Persecution of Michael Moore!

| Thu May 10, 2007 6:54 PM EDT

michael_moore.gifMichael Moore's latest attack film, Sicko, will skewer U.S. health care: a fitting target at an opportune time, you have to admit. In true Moore fashion, he proves his point with well-executed sensationalism: He takes workers whose health deteriorated after they participated in the 9/11 cleanup to get care they can't get in the United States in Cuba. Take that, conservatives. Only thing is, the Bush administration now has film footage of Michael Moore committing a crime—or, well, violating a trade embargo, but either way, they were not about to pass up an opportunity to make the filmmaker pay for Fahrenheit 9/11. In a letter dated May 2, Moore was notified by Treasury that the department is conducting a civil investigation into his violation. We wish him luck, even though he was a notorious a-hole during his brief tenure as editor-in-chief of Mother Jones.

Spider-Man 3 Proves Crappy Movies Make Buttloads

| Tue May 8, 2007 5:56 PM EDT

spiderman3_rt.jpgThis weekend, Spider-Man 3 had the highest grossing weekend ever. This after last week's reviews promised "The angst-filled Spider-Man 3 is all plot-holes and Band-Aids," describing the movie as "overlong, visually incoherent, mean-spirited and often just plain awful," "[a]esthetically and conceptually wrung out, fizzled rather than fizzy," "ungainly, cumbersome" and inspired by no more than the bottom line. Do Americans not even read movie reviews, or is their taste in movies single-mindedly focused on special effects rather than plot, acting, or even—gasp—meaning?

Conservative YouTube Steals Its Smokin' Logo From Philip Morris

| Fri May 4, 2007 8:10 PM EDT

There's already some derisive buzz about QubeTV, the video sharing site for conservatives who claim that liberal media giant YouTube won't let them play in its digital sandbox. I haven't had time to wade into its archives, but I notice that it's off to a great start by appropriating part of its logo from Altria (A.K.A. Philip Morris). Are the Qubers just lazy graphic designers or image-remixing copyfighters? We'll see what happens when the first cease-and-desist letter arrives...

altriaripoff.gif

No Frills For Spike Lee

| Thu May 3, 2007 3:24 PM EDT

The 50th San Francisco International Film Festival honored Spike Lee last night with the SF Film Society's Directing Award, and praised Lee as a prolific director not afraid to tackle not just race, but also class and gender issues in his films.

Lee's personality – humorous and political, honest and deadpan – was on full display during his Q&A with Boston Globe film critic Wesley Morris in San Francisco.

Lee was a tough interview. Wearing his trademark thick-rimmed glasses, his brief and somewhat reluctant responses often left interviewer Morris grasping at straws. Lee chose his words wisely. He playfully teased Morris. He recognized the larger race issues behind the Don Imus incident, and affirmed for audience members that the people of New Orleans are still hurting. He also joked that his wife, who reads all of his scripts, has been influential in changing the depiction of women – a common point of criticism – in his films.

The audience was treated to a montage, featuring clips from the biggies – aka Spike Lee Joints: She's Gotta Have It (1986), Do the Right Thing (1989), Mo' Better Blues (1990), Jungle Fever (1991), Malcolm X (1992), Clockers (1995), Four Little Girls (1997), Summer of Sam (1999), 25th Hour (2002), and Inside Man (2006). Lee's latest is the award-winning When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, and judging by the two acts shown at the event, is not to be missed.

—Gary Moskowitz

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4/29 an Inside Job

| Thu May 3, 2007 2:30 PM EDT

MoJoBlog provoked a hot discussion about the tanker explosion that warped two highways in Oakland at the same time on Sunday. Now two independent Websites are unraveling the case. One brings us this photo of Cheney fleeing the scene of the "accident." My question is, why aren't the mainstream media reporting the fact that NOT A SINGLE Israeli was driving on that part of the freeway when it collapsed?

Cheney-4-29.bmp