We dip into the vault to watch John Sayles 1987 labor classic, Matewan, the based-on-fact story (and here’s a hilariously biased company version of the story for kicks) in which Mingo County coalminers enter a deadly struggle with their bosses and their thugs for improved conditions. We talk labor in cinema, dramatizing solidarity and organizing, what the labor films of the future might look like, and Cheryl-super-crush Will Oldham and his gorgeous kissable lips. Solidarity forever! And thanks to slfhlp for providing us some SICK BEATS for our intro and outro.
Dearest listeners, we have returned from a short break to get freaked out by this summer’s horror-pastoral freakout, Midsommer. We discuss literary precedents, communitarian-phobia in cinema, grad students as villains (I hate that I’m linking to Slate but C pointed out that our point had been made), and more. Also, stay tuned for our first episode featuring an interview with a writer-activist who is doing rad, necessary things. We’re freaking out about this, but in a different way. Skål! <drinks mushroom tea>
We streamed Frant Gwo’s mega-blockbuster The Wandering Earth after a long weekend of find a place to live seeking, flat tires, and dead batteries. Our initial take: it’s a fun asplode fest! Is there more to this movie as we talk it out? Find out, dear reader, by listening.
Also, here’s some context that we dug up after our talk: There’s a lot of buzz about this movie representing a landmark in Chinese cinema–it’s first Sci-Fi blockbuster. Here’s a Vice piece by Muqing Zhang on Western techno-orientalist reception of the movie.
Also, errata: the movie does explain something we think it doesn’t explain–an unexpected spike in Jupiter’s gravity. Maybe our batteries were dead.
We’re reading Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, written and gathered by adrienne maree brown. There was so much here to talk about but, for now, we’re turning to one essay in particular: Chanelle Gallant’s tremendous “Fuck You, Pay Me,” a myth-shattering case for the right of sex workers to use their sexuality to get the life they want. You can learn more about adrienne maree brown’s work here and Chanelle Gallant’s work here. And listen to our interview of Chanelle in Episode 19.
The responsible pop culture thing for us to do would have been for us to watch the Avengers. We were going to watch Us but then a lot of life stuff got in the way. We had one last chance this weekend but by that point every showing after 1:00 PM at our semi-rural theatre had been Avengered. And guess what? We don’t give a fuck about the Avengers! Or the related demi-plane of superhero content. Instead, we’ve been zoning out to seven to thirty-five minute videos of Bon Appétit’s test kitchen ppl making food, so we talked about that and somehow the gig economy. Enjoy!
This week’s movie is a book. That’s how things go down here sometimes. Cheryl just read adrienne maree brown’s visionary self/society/galactic help book 2017 Emergent Strategy. Joe read it a year ago. We both are thinking about how to be in this f-ed up world, so we hit record and started talking. brown’s 2019 Pleasure Activism is at the top of our pile. Watch out for our conversation about it in 2021. Also, we will watch a movie soon, we promise.