Jamie York is a producer for On the Media.
OTM Staff Picks, Volume 17
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 02:04 PM
The staff of On the Media choose a few of our favorite things. Please, please leave us comments below and enjoy.
Brooke Gladstone: I seem always to be into consumables. Where’s culture?! Well, I just got back from Portugal with yet another edible pick: Port! Quelle Surprise!
Porto is a poignantly beautiful dilapidated port town, where buildings of stone and tile rise above the waterfront, laundry flapping above as tourists amble below. Across the river, the port lodges, where the nectar ages, tawny or ruby or golden white. Our favorite? Krohns’s 20 year tawny and Colheita 1986. Not available in the U.S. Drink it and weep.
Jamie York: I highly recommend an HBO documentary that premiered last night, called Vito. Vito Russo came of age in 1950’s and 60’s New York City as a remarkably confident gay man when the climate towards homosexuality was brutally repressive. As an adult he dedicated himself to two great projects; the first was unending activism – first against discrimination and then against the criminal inactivity on behalf of those suffering from HIV/AIDS. Among many other groups he co-founded GLAAD and ACT UP.
His second great project was as a media critic and historian. Russo became obsessed with how central homosexuality was in film. He spent almost a decade watching hundreds and hundreds of movies and found that in the first few decades of motion-pictures, depictions of homosexuality were quite overt. After the Hays Code of 1930 - 1968 restricted most references to sex, depictions of homosexuality became coded and Russo painstakingly assembled example after example of how gayness was winked at and slyly referenced. His work, first a book and then a film, was called The Celluloid Closet and it was hugely influential – Russo returned a marginalized group to the very center of a medium he loved.
Russo was eloquent and fierce, he’s a great documentary subject and Vito gives him his due.
Sarah Abdurrahman: I have just gotten back from a month in Libya, so I haven’t consumed much English-language media, but thankfully this video I am about to share is subtitled. It’s a short cartoon called “The Genie and The Wasta.” Wasta is an Arabic word, that refers to your ability to get things done based on who you know—it is basically nepotism or clout. In places like Libya, it’s the only way to get things done (though many are hoping that will change in the post-Gaddafi era). As much as I don’t like wasta in real life, this cartoon’s portrayal of how powerful wasta can be is pretty funny (and aside from the presence of a genie, pretty accurate):
PJ Vogt: I finally got a chance to see the movie Margaret this weekend. It’s by Kenneth Lonergan, it’s his follow-up to You Can Count On Me. Margaret was shot seven years ago, but got held up in a fight between Lonergan and the studio. The backstory’s here, but really you should just go see the movie, it’s out on DVD now. It’s smart and sad and full, and it’ll stay with you for a long time.
Chris Neary: Yesterday the Associated Press reported that there’s a man in northern Utah who is evidently wearing a goat costume and hanging out in goat herds.
Grainy picture included here. (The pic doesn’t appear to be altered according to Phil Douglass of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources).
An account from a hiker, Coty Creighton:
"I thought, 'What is this guy doing?' " Creighton said. "He was actually on his hands and knees. He was climbing over rocks and bushes and pretty rough terrain on a steep hillside."
Creighton said the man occasionally pulled up his mask, apparently trying to navigate the rocky terrain. The man then appeared to spot Creighton.
"He just stopped in his tracks and froze," he said.
Creighton moved down the mountain and hid behind a tree, then began snapping photographs.
The goat man then put his mask back on, Creighton said, got back down on his hands and knees and scurried to catch up with the herd.
"We were the only ones around for miles," Creighton said. "It was real creepy."
I want to be clear that I’m not mocking or criticizing this (possibly troubled) guy. I’m sure he has his reasons.
What I am trying to do is get Werner Herzog on the phone.
Shia Levitt: Beasts of the Southern Wild was totally captivating and unique. It's the story of an imaginative 6-year-old girl who lives with her ailing father near the fragile ecosystem of coastal Louisiana, beyond the levees. The amazing sound design in this movie -- from mythical beasts to fire crackers to numerous heartbeats-- gave it an added intensity. The movie won Caméra d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival and the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic film at Sundance.