Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Arts Express: Gretchen Mol Talks Family Man, Notorious Bettie Page

                          Gretchen Mol As The Notorious Bettie Page

** "We're in a tough spot right now, there's not enough jobs, we're in a huge, huge transition and I don't know what the answer is - but it's right to be a little afraid."

Actress Gretchen Mol phones in from LA to discuss her latest film, the workplace drama A Family Man. And that ruthlessly competitive and dehumanizing, money obsessed environment eating away at the soul of her spouse, played by Gerard Butler - while butting heads with Willem Dafoe as his sadistically inclined superior. Mol also weighs in on the complicated life of sexually provocative '50s pinup model Bettie Page and playing her in a movie, along with the challenge of refusing invisibility on screen and playing more than female wallpaper in movies.


** "The city of Nantes memorial to the abolition of slavery, where above ground visitors walk on the names of slave ships - a Walk Of Shame and a reversal of the Cannes and celebrity walks."

Bro On The Art World Beat: Arts Express Paris correspondent Professor Dennis Broe on location in the French city of Nantes this week, in search of the slave trade as it played out in this port city and now a museum memorial. While along the way in search of Jules Verne and the connection of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea to deep sea drilling today; visionary contraptions and a depleted planet; Rembrandt, Melville, the black anarchist flag, Napoleon and slave reparations.

** "I feel that somehow I'm manifesting inner turmoil, the existential crisis of being a teenager, and facing that other pending disaster as millennials - a world with no jobs and the future every day that looks pretty bleak and scary."

My Entire High School Is Sinking Into The Sea: A conversation with young filmmaker Dash Shaw about his self-described 'disaster art film.' A kind of anti-bullying earthquake revenge fantasy, and at the same time somehow in pursuit of 'a poetic beauty with animation.' And seemingly cartooning through a surreal education system presided over by Henry Fool's Thomas Jay Ryan as Principal Grimm, and Susan Sarandon as cafeteria matriarch Lunch Lady Lorraine

** "There are no more two sides - there's one party, the war party, the Wall Street party."

Arts Express Best Of The Net Hotspot: An anti-establishment tutorial in reading beyond the propaganda of the NY Times - or at least between the lines. And connections in this particular case to Iranian yogurt, milk and chicken; poppy fields, prescription pills, and US "missile shaped democracy raining down on innocent civilians."

California Typewriter Review

Applauding those like Tom Hanks who embrace typewriters as a tactile and organic creative inspiration challenging this digital age, is the very eloquent documentary California Typewriter - a film about a Berkeley typewriter repair shop struggling to stay alive and fueled by an adamant labor of love. As both the computer age and concurrent typewriter extinction, along with the neighborhood invasion by corporate chains ensues.

California Typewriter is distinguished as well, as the last film appearance of literary icon and actor Sam Shepard, reflecting on the powerful significance of typewriters to his artistic body of work. Along with the inclusion of an unusual entity known as The Poetry Store, where San Francisco poet Silvi Alcivar fashions visitor thoughts, dreams and fantasies into verse on, of course, her typewriter.

Alcivar explains her unusual collective creative concept between audience and bard, what it's all about and why. While referencing unicorns, jellyfish, and a poem she helped someone compose at her Poetry Store that may have stopped a suicide off the Golden Gate Bridge. And just hpw "my poems emerge from the dark of you meeting I, then there is something more than light. There is life - in this life there are people wanting secret wishes to take shape in poems."

And though I'm more of an old school pen and paper person myself, there's no point resisting in this film Richard Polt's global movement ode to just how The Revolution Will Be Typewritten. Or for that matter, the insanely euphoric vintage machine improvised music of the Boston Typewriter Orchestra. 

Arts Express: Airing on the WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network and Affiliate Stations.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

In Tribute: A Memory Lane Conversation With Jeanne Moreau

** "There are some images of women I don't want to portray - or maybe I refused one or two films because I was in love."

Iconic French actress Jeanne Moreau, designated femme fatale of the French New Wave film movement of the 1950s and '60s, just passed away at the age of 89. A director, writer and singer as well, and perhaps best known for her starring role in Francois Truffaut's Jules and Jim, Moreau was once referred to by another director Orson Welles, for whom she starred in four of his films, as "the greatest actress in the world." And in tribute to the passing of this immensely talented and remarkable woman, we'll revisit my conversation with Moreau back in 2013. The actress discusses the magic of art and connections to Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Frank Sinatra, Gary Cooper, Mae West and Lillian Gish; the breaking down of barriers for women related to sexuality and creative empowerment in movies; the history of class conflict in movie theaters; the Iraq invasion and freedom fries; and a missing film of hers from a small Croatian island movie set that may now in fact be somewhere under a bed.


** "My poems emerge from the dark of you meeting I, then there is something more than light - there is life, in this life there are people wanting secret wishes to take shape in poems."

California Typewriter: A documentary about this struggling Berkeley typewriter repair shop trying to keep that labor of love alive for those machines, along with a spotlight on literary icon Sam Shepard who likewise just passed away - and the typewriter as his artistic weapon of choice expressed in this, his last movie. And a conversation with San Francisco Latina poet Silvi Alcivar, whose unique Poetry Store is also the subject of this film - what the Poetry Store is all about and why, along with referencing unicorns, jellyfish, and a poem she helped someone compose at the store that may have stopped a suicide off the Golden Gate Bridge.

** "They don't want a bunch of poor artists out there, because then they can't go to Walmart and buy more stuff."

Ideology And Culture Corner: The Douglas Rushkoff Conversation Series. The second installment with the professor of media theory and digital economics, and the author of Throwing Rocks At The Google Bus, exploring art in present day society and its interface with technology. And an investigation into the disappearance of art in the public schools. A Corporations R Us Report.

Arts Express: Airing on the WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network and Affiliate Stations.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Arts Express: Paul Sorvino Talks The Last Poker Game

Paul Sorvino Talks The Last Poker Game. And the last movie release for co-star Martin Landau who just passed away.

** "They called me and then the question was, who is going to be the other fellow. And when they said Marty Landau, I said that's it, go no further - that's the guy."

Actor Paul Sorvino phones in from LA to talk about his unusual elder bromance with Martin Landau as feisty residents in an old age home not ready to give up on life, in The Last Poker Game. Sorvino, fond of switching up screen personas on both sides of the law, also shares details about his new cookbook  - and the mystery recipe for a drink he calls The Goodfella. And a conversation peppered with menus and movies, pine nuts, raisins, garlic versus onions, and sharing memories of working with Landau on this film.


** "He's a fascinating character with an incredibly strange life, he fought for the Union Army and he was a spy for the Confederates, apparently - and I guess the challenge is to humanize that person and not make him this crazed, hardened killer."

Hickok: A Conversation With Actor Luke Hemsworth. And a less conventional look at the conflicted man behind the western legend, co-starring Kris Kristofferson and Bruce Dern as the Australian actor's ambivalent father figures in the movie. While probing connections to PTSD psychologically afflicted post-Civil War vets turned outlaws roaming the Wild West;  and actually little known about Hickok as the son of an Illinois farmer whose home served as a stopover for escaped slaves along the Underground Railroad.

** "We're meant to read the lives of important people as if they never bothered with breakfast, lunch or dinner, took a coffee break, or stopped for a hot dog on the street."

Book Corner: What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women And The Food That Tells Their Stories. Food historian Laura Shapiro is on the line to Arts Express to explain exactly what a food historian is; how food defined the disparate lives of these women across the centuries, from poet William Wordsworth's sister Dorothy who cooked and cared for him, to Hitler's lover, Eva Braun. And what any of this may have to do with poetry and food; how you 'can easily see the food flowing through Wordsworth's poetry, even when he doesn't write about it'; Nazis, war, paper trails and Ivanka's champagne popsicles; gooseberries and post WW II cardigans and sensible shoes: and casseroles and the packaged plastic food version of 1950's womanhood.

**Arts Express Best Of The New Hotspot This Week: What does the CIA and Pentagon have to do with the creation and censorship of Hollywood movies? Apparently plenty, according to this investigative report probing just released documents obtained under The freedom Of Information Act. And the Deep State's major influence over approximately 800 films and more than 1,000 television productions - and not all of them war movies where disseminating propaganda and script control acts as a bargaining chip by providing military props and paraphernalia in exchange - but comedies like Meet The Parents too.

Arts Express: Airing on the WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network and Affiliate Stations. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"Please Say Nice Things About Me." A Memory Lane Conversation With Martin Landau

Arts Express: "Please Say Nice Things About Me."  
A Memory Lane Conversation With Martin Landau


In tribute to the late acting legend Martin Landau, who passed away on July 15th, our conversation back in 2010 when Landau phoned in from LA on the occasion of the opening of his bittersweet unlikely elder romance co-starring Ellen Burstyn, 'Lovely, Still.' And among memories shared from his eminent acting career, was working under Hitchcock in North By Northwest; recollections of Steve McQueen, Gregory Peck, Elizabeth Taylor, Glenn Ford, Bogart and best friend James Dean; Mission Impossible, BlackBerrys, and being mistaken for Bela Lugosi in the supermarket; and sadistically stepping on the fingers of Cary Grant atop Mount Rushmore in a movie.


** "Of course if I do a movie, it's because I have to do it - and when I explore, I explore with total love and total passion."

Barbet Schroeder Talks Amnesia - And Barfly: And in the case of Amnesia, it's all about political amnesia - and a decision by the film's main character played by Marthe Keller, to stop speaking in her native German language and flee the country to a remote island, in an apparent case of PTSD coming of age in Nazi Germany. Along with Schroeder revisiting during this conversation, "one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life" filming a biopic with his subject, the beyond colorful, late flamboyant alcoholic workingclass poet, novelist and short story writer, Charles Bukowski. Who apparently once stole a carving knife from the kitchen of the Beverly Hills Hotel during a swank Hollywood dinner, and "went after the rich with it."

**Well I can first testify that Buzzfeed, we are not fake news."

Book Corner: Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise And Reign Of The Unruly Woman. Author and Buzzfeed reporter Anne Helen Peterson wants to change the way people think about women. And what any of this may have to do during this interview, with unruly women versus the rise of feminism; the Hillary election season cognitive disconnect; and Peterson's reaction to Trump denouncing  her news outlet Buzzfeed at a press conference, as "a failing pile of garbage."

Arts Express: Airing on the WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network and Affiliate Stations. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Arts Express: Camilla Hall Talks Copwatch; 96 Souls, Cannes, Sgt. Pepper At 50

** "There is a much broader debate in America, about whose right it is to tell a story."

UK filmmaker and journalist Camilla Hall is on the line from LA to delve into her documentary, Copwatch. Spotlighting just how activists have organized together to do counter-surveillance on the police across this country, who are engaging in perpetrating racist sanctioned brutality and murders - and as part of the evolving mass movement video revolution. And in particular, the police murder of Eric Garner, and the ongoing defense of Ramsey Orta who's been railroaded for filming that murder - in a series of retaliatory arrests and imprisonments targeting him. With music by The Peace Poets. A Tribeca Film Festival feature.


** "The always wonderful Marion Cotillard returns from the dead, to briefly breathe life into a film that retrogressively celebrates the director's Peter Pan syndrome as a mark of genius."

Bro On The World Film Beat: Arts Express Paris correspondent Professor Dennis Broe, continuing his followup on location reports from the Cannes Film Festival. And what's been going down there artistically and politically, including: A scathing critique of Russian deep capitalism consumer society playing out post-socialism; the post-colonial projection on Bulgaria of Germanic might in direct relation to its Nazi past; the scenario of a new form of bio-medical exploitation benefiting Big Pharma; the worst film of the festival, sprinkling references to James Joyce, Melville and Hitchcock; and plenty of President Macron predictions offscreen, into the fall.

** "That sort of irreverence and willingness to experiment, and that courage and being willing to fall on their faces, I think that's part of what makes the music so exhilarating now."

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album. And phoning in to Arts Express to ponder the wild when not weird eternal legacy of the Beatles on this occasion, is Rolling Stone journalist and author Rob Sheffield. Reflecting on why their music has endured through the decades, and how the group transformed popular music as both entertainment and art. Sheffield's book on the subject is Dreaming The Beatles: The Love Story Of One Band And The Whole World.

** "There's a lot of over-medication going on out there - and maybe if that's tied to a story, it would make it something more than just being a sci-fi movie."

Filmmaker Stanley Jacobs phones in to Arts Express to talk about 96 Souls, his simultaneously surreal and hyper-sensory political sci-fi fantasy thriller - probing among other things, the oppressive power of pharmaceutical corporations over US society, universities, and experiemental scientific research. And, a rebel innovative bio-chemistry professor, dodging these establishment forces.

More information about the Tribeca Film Festival is online at

Arts Express: Airing on the WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network and Affiliate Stations.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Throwing Rocks At The Google Bus: A Conversation With Douglas Rushkoff

By Corey Spondent

The Corporations R Us Report: Interview with author, filmmaker and media theorist, Douglas Rushkoff, exploring art in present day society and its interface with technology


Corey Spondent reports for the Ideology And Culture Corner
Arts Express Radio
WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network and Affiliate Stations

Monday, May 22, 2017

Arts Express: Tommy Chong Talks 'Up In Smoke'

                 Up In Smoke: Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong

** "They asked me, the news, and I said that my bongs were the only weapons of mass destruction that the Bush Administration was looking for - And it got around, it got the ire of Ashcroft, and so I was doomed to jail for that one - And I was very honored by the way, that I was picked to do the time."

Tommy Chong Talks 'Up In Smoke.' And revisiting the enduring stoner classic, honored as the Opening Night feature of the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival in California this week. Chong phoned in to Arts Express to ponder what any of this may have to do with banana peels, Trump; Chong as the only person imprisoned under the DEA's Operation Pipe Dreams; his take on 'comedy as the ultimate truth; rejects and loners; and Chong possibly describing golf as a psychedelic experience - I think.


** "Okja is the best film I've seen at Cannes, a kids' ecologically minded, anti-capitalist fable."

Bro On The World Film Beat: Arts Express Paris correspondent Professor Dennis Broe is on location at the Cannes Film Festival - with his series report on the art and the politics of Cannes. While Vanessa Redgrave's 'Sea Sorrow' - a 'mundane liberal hand-wringing exercise' about global refugees - not so much. And where in a first, a film was booed on screen simply for its logo - that is, Netflix - with its entry in the festival, the South Korean socio-political fantasy Okja, about a multi-national commandeered pig. So is it a case of Netflix 'hogging' the proceedings, so to speak?  Also, what in the world is FANG, and is Netflix truly evil as part of that infamous quartet.  Stay tuned for Broe's in-depth analysis.

** "I think that it is an extremely human, universal feeling of just needing to be able to stop what you are doing and take another path - unscathed, unpunished, unexplained..."

Wakefield: A Conversation With Director Robin Swicord: First there was Hawthorne, then E.L.Doctorow, and now...Bryan Cranston, in Wakefield. And, the somehow simultaneously enigmatic, elusive and strikingly familiar figure that has apparently endured as emblematic of what is troubling about US culture and alienation through the centuries. In the case of this page to screen adaptation by writer/director Robin Swicord [The Jane Austen Book Club] of the E.L. Doctorow short story - there is an additional scrutiny by this female filmmaker of Howard Wakefield's conflicted male gaze. Along with his flight from a crippling suburban despair - Or does he? Swicord is on the line from LA to Arts Express to explain.

Arts Express: Airing on the WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network and Affiliate Stations