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Archive for July, 2013

FRUITVALE STATION Tells the Story of Oscar Grant III ~ Reviewed by Christine Schofelt

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013


Fruitvale Station Still B  Fruitvale Station Still C
Courtesy Yahoo! Movies

Fruitvale Station tells the story of Oscar Grant III

By Christine Schofelt
© World Socialist Web Site
31 July 2013

Many viewers walk into a showing of Ryan Coogler’s first feature-length film, Fruitvale Station, already knowing the story of Oscar Grant III’s murder by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officer Johannes Mehserle in the early morning hours of January 1, 2009. The shooting of the unarmed 22-year-old father as he lay face down on the platform at the transit station that gives the film its name was recorded by multiple witnesses and uploaded to YouTube, sparking demonstrations.

Mehserle claimed the shooting was an accident and that he had intended to taser the prone young man instead. Given the difference in weight, carrying location and safety locks that have to be disengaged on the weapons, this is highly unlikely. Mehserle’s 2010 travesty of a trial was moved to Los Angeles. Black jurors were excluded from the jury and paid expert witnesses were called by the prosecution. The judge instructed the jury that it could not consider a charge of first-degree murder.

Mehserle was acquitted of second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter charges, and convicted of involuntary manslaughter. The judge gave him a two-year sentence, and with time served Mehserle was released after 11 months …

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Read Christine Schofelt’s review in its entirety at the source

Ryan Coogler talks ‘Fruitvale Station’ at the 2013 Sundance Festival

More on writer-director Ryan Coogler at


FRUITVALE STATION’s Ryan Coogler and Mary Mackey, His Proud Screenwriting Teacher

Monday, July 22nd, 2013


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Christine Schofelt’s review of Fruitvale Station at World Socialist Web Site (31 July 2013)

Ryan Coogler talks ‘Fruitvale Station’ at the 2013 Sundance Festival

Fruitvale Station Banner

Best Movie at Sundance

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As a Professor of Film and Creative Writing at CSU, Sacramento, I had the pleasure of teaching Ryan Coogler (director of “Fruitvale Station”) how to write his first film script. Coogler was a sophomore when he walked into my office and asked to be admitted to my advanced script writing course. He didn’t have the prerequisites and playing football was taking up almost all of his free time, but there was no way I could say “no.” He was clearly brilliant, dedicated, and on fire with important ideas about social justice that he was eager to explore in his films. Coogler is a great example of the opportunities the CSU system can offer. He’s a reminder of the rewards we California taxpayers receive for the money we spend on education and why we need to keep a college education affordable and open to everyone.

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CANARY: A Literary Journal of the Environmental Crisis, Issue Number 21, Summer 2013

Monday, July 22nd, 2013


Canary BannerCarol White

Canary is a literary journal that explores one’s engagement with the natural world. It is based on the premise that the literary arts can provide an understanding that humans are part of an integrated system. Our theme is the environmental crisis and the losses of species and habitat as a result of this ongoing disaster. Our mission is to deepen awareness of the environment and enrich the well-being of the individual and in turn society as a whole.

Listed on NewPages

Gail Entrekin

Editor, Gail Entrekin

Published by Hip Pocket Press
Managing Editor, Charles Entrekin
Art Editor, Carol White

All work reprinted by permission of authors


We do not inherit the land from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
— Native American Proverb


Issue Number 21, Summer 2013

Archives: by Issue | by Author Name


20 FEET FROM STARDOM: A documentary film by Morgan Neville | Reviewed by James Brewer

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

She says, “Hey, babe
Take a walk on the wild side”
Said, “Hey, babe
Take a walk on the wild side”
And the colored girls go
“Doo do doo do doo do do doo …”

38px-Speaker_Icon.svg “Walk On the Wild Side”
from Transformer, 1972
© Lou Reed


20 Feet From Stardom: The “most incredible artists you’ve never heard of”

By James Brewer
World Socialist Web Site
18 July 2013

20 Feet from Stardom

Directed by Morgan Neville

The names of Merry Clayton, Darlene Love, Claudia Lennear, Lisa Fischer and Tata Vega are by no means household words. Yet their voices have appeared in the background of such a wide range of popular music that virtually every listener of R&B and rock music has heard and enjoyed them.

Neville describes his film’s subjects as “some of the most incredible artists you’ve never heard of.” 20 Feet from Stardom features backup singers from different eras—the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s—“to give a general sense of the sweep of what was happening.”

Mick Jagger, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow and Springsteen are interviewed in 20 Feet from Stardom. Others, such as Lou Reed, David Bowie, Ray Charles, Elton John, the late Luther Vandross, Joe Cocker, Tom Jones and Leon Russell appear in archive footage. They all recognized the tremendous talents of these mostly black female backup singers.

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The human voice can be the most sublime of all musical instruments. The intensity of a well-trained and powerful singer can move us, almost regardless of the words being sung. This effect is demonstrated in the film when Merry Clayton revisits Elektra Studios in Los Angeles, where, in 1969, she recorded the vocal track for the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” As she sits in the vacant studio and reminisces, her isolated vocal track plays loudly. Her voice sings, “Rape, murder, is just a shot away,” several times, increasing in intensity, with breathtaking effect. Clayton listens, and smiles knowingly.

The narrative points out that the source of the talent brought into popular music was often the church choirs that were the childhood experience of many who would become backup singers. It started with gospel music and became secularized, under the conditions of the Civil Rights movement and protest era. Black vocalists brought a new dimension to backup singing. “We brought what we took from our church choirs.” Of course, this new element was not only artistic, it also expressed outrage and indignation at social oppression …

To read James Brewer’s review in its entirety, go to
the original at

Copyright © 2013 World Socialist Web Site – All rights reserved



Tuesday, July 16th, 2013


Al congratulates artist-photographer-dreamer Raymond Holbert

raycovercamera Self-Portrait

Raymond Holbert Day

Berkeley, California | July 16, 2013

By decree of the City Council of Berkeley

Artists Live Their Dreams Ray Holbert
Artists Live Their Dreams: Ray Holbert tells how he fulfilled his high school dream of becoming an artist.


Visit this gifted, brilliant artist’s joyful MemoryBanque

raymondholbertdancing Clickable