James Baldwin‘s (1924-1987) life and legacy can now speak to modern audiences in a new documentary called I Am Not Your Negro. The film is finally getting a long overdue theatrical release from Magnolia Pictures this February 3rd after wowing audiences at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. I Am Not Your Negro is a film from Haitian director Raoul Peck that envisions Baldwin’s final, albeit incomplete novel Remember This House as an uncompromising and complete narrative of race in America. The unfinished memoir focuses on the authors personal memories and relationships with three enduring Civil Rights leaders: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X. Peck was allowed access to the entire Baldwin archives and composed the film over a period of 10 years, drawing from the incomplete manuscript and Baldwin’s own personal notes. It won the People’s Choice Documentary Award and, like Baldwin himself, is sure to stand as a vital testament to race in America today. Continue reading →
Director Sydney Lumet‘s 1973 undercover police drama Serpico earned Al Pacino his second Oscar nomination for Best Actor. While it was another in a long-running streak of Oscar nominations for Pacino that resulted in no wins until 1992’s Scent of a Woman, Serpico‘s other Oscar nomination was for Best Adapted Screenplay for screenwriters Waldo Salt (Midnight Cowboy, The Day of the Locust) and Norman Wexler (Saturday Night Fever, Staying Alive). Although Serpico proved to be the last Oscar-worthy project of Wexler’s, Waldo Salt had a much longer, and much darker story in Hollywood screenwriting history.
Waldo Salt was born on October 18, 1914 and grew up in Chicago an accomplished academic. He was so accomplished, in fact, that he graduated from Stanford University at the same time his friends were graduating from high school. Shortly thereafter, Salt was in Hollywood working as a screenwriter for MGM. There he worked on and assisted with various writing projects, but his first solo writing adaptation was with a 1937 film called The Bride Wore Red. The next year, Salt joined the American Communist Party, putting himself on the radar for the House Un-American Activities Committee during the Red Scare/McCarthy era 12 years later. Continue reading →
On September 6, 1967, a documentary titled Don’t Look Back opened at an old ramshackle theater in San Francisco. It was hard to imagine why this old pornographic movie theater had a line of people extending out the door and around the corner, but once you found out it was about Bob Dylan, it was no surprise at all. The September 6th release was the first large-scale screening of the film that documented Bob Dylan and company’s whirlwind 1965 European tour. Joining him on tour were the likes of artists like Joan Baez, Donovan, and Allen Ginsberg, along with the standard parade of press, crew, police, fans, and everything else that came to epitomize Rock n’ Roll in the 1960s.
Bob Dylan, in particular, was an iconic figure in his own right. He had risen to fame in the early-60’s folk scene in New York City’s Greenwich Village, developing his own songwriting skills and capturing fans around the world with songs like Blowin’ in the Wind, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, and The Times They Are A-Changin,’ his so-called early “protest era” catalogue. Continue reading →
Author Harper Lee pictured on-set with actress Mary Badham, who portrayed Scout in the film adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird with Gregory Peck.
Celebrated Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Harper Lee, has remained quite dormant over the last 50 years of her life, ever since she gave her last interview in 1964 regarding her American literary classic To Kill A Mockingbird. The novel became one of the most powerful and important literary reflections of racism in our modern society, taking place in Depression-era Alabama amidst hard economic times and astronomical segregation laws and practices that would remain in place until the Civil Rights Movement nearly 30 years later. And now, during a time when racial tensions are once again dominating news headlines in this country, Lee will be publishing a long, lost manuscript that she wrote prior to the publication of Mockingbird, titled Go Set A Watchmen. The novel, whose pages ended up being the earliest draft for Mockingbird, follows Jean-Louise Finch (Scout) as a 26-year-old woman living in New York City who returns to her home in the South to confront her father, Atticus, about the issues and lifestyles that people deemed as appropriate and necessary during her childhood. Lee’s writings of the character’s childhood in the form of flashbacks in Watchman became her inspiration to tell the story of Mockingbird from the perspective of Scout as a child instead of an adult, and thus To Kill A Mockingbird was written and published. Much controversy has already been stirred at the news of Go Set A Watchman‘s publication, including concerns about how readers will react to Lee’s writing about the issues, questions as to whether or not Lee is coherent enough to give her permission for the novel’s publication (which reporters and friends and Lee, herself, says she is) and what the reaction will be to Lee’s further development/portrayal of such beloved characters, especially Atticus Finch. Nevertheless the novel will be available on bookshelves this July 14th, and pre-sales have already made the book a Bestseller. So if you are a fan of Harper Lee or of To Kill A Mockingbird, I would definitely put this on your ‘To-Read’ list.
Warner Bros. is currently trying to get a new King Arthur project off the ground, and now may have Guy Ritchie behind the camera. The director’s last big screen project was Sherlock Holmes and its sequel, A Game of Shadows, with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. He is currently wrapping up production on The Man From “U.N.C.L.E.” with actors Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) and Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger). The movie follows a CIA agent who teams up with a KGB operative to stop a mysterious organization from mass developing nuclear weapons in the 1960s Cold War era. Ritchie had an Arthur project in the works with Warner Bros. back in 2010, but the project never made it into full production. The studio also decided to drop a remake of Excalibur, a film by director John Boorman which was released in 1981, as well as another project by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers). The new project with Ritchie may be the first in a series of six films, although there are no reports confirming this information. The last Arthur project that hit Hollywood was King Arthur (2004) with Clive Owen and Keira Knightley which was distributed by Touchstone Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer. The new film is being produced by Akiva Goldsman and Lionel Wigram and will be written by Joby Harold. We’ll look for news of a first draft, if the project does ever make it off the ground.
Vans is already preparing for the Spring with the release of the “Guate”. The colorful native print works well on the grey, these would definitely be a nice pair of kicks for the summer. If you like what you see, click the link below and buy these now via Titolo.
Aussie skater Gilbert Crockett has finally received his first signature shoe in the form of the Vans “Crockett Pro”. Reminiscent of the Pro Eras, these kicks are pretty clean and could probably be worn with just about anything in your closet. If you like what you see these are available via the Vans webstore right now for $70, if you can wait; they’ll most likely hit your local skate shop soon.
In preparation for the upcoming NBA season Vans has cooked up a couple of dope color ways including the above version of the Vans Era “Knicks”. I’m usually not a fan of NBA team inspired anything (except Starter jackets), but these are kind of dope. The “Snorkel Blue” pops right off the shoe while the orange meshes surprisingly well underneath the boot laces. Winter is fast approaching so that means most of us will have to save these for the Spring, if you’re interested head over to Sneaker Politics; they’re only $45 so why not?