Here's the latest on films, books, and music you may
have missed. For more photos see MattWittPhotography.com or Matt
Witt Photography on Facebook.
New and worth noting...
LandAlmostLost: A Call to Save Our National Monuments." This
gorgeous e-book is available for free viewing
and download. It contains photographs of the 27 national monuments that the
Trump administration is considering abolishing or slashing, including Bears Ears in Utah, Cascade-Siskiyou in Oregon, Giant Sequoia in California, Grand
Canyon-Parashant, and Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine. It also tells how to submit a comment
to the U.S. Interior Department to help show massive public support for our
monuments. New photographs of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument,
another of the endangered 27, may be found here.
the Fields of the North by David
Bacon (University of California). With
more than 300 impactful photographs, informative text and captions, and farm
workers' own moving stories, all in both English and Spanish, a journalist shows
the work life, living conditions, and culture of immigrants who produce
America's food supply.
Janesville by Amy Goldstein (Simon
and Schuster). After the 2016
presidential election, many commentators made broad generalizations--often
based on little actual knowledge--about why many voters in the heartland
either stayed home or switched to Trump. Goldstein, a Washington Post reporter,
had been regularly spending time in Paul Ryan's hometown since 2008, following
the lives of working people and the business elite. She provides a readable
account of how, more than ever, there are two Janesvilles--one thriving while
the dreams of many working people become harder and harder to reach.
The Firebrand and the First Lady by
Patricia Bell-Scott (Vintage). Pauli
Murray was one of America's most important civil rights and feminist activists,
yet most people have never heard of her. This fascinating account follows her from
the 1930s to the 1960s as she challenged North Carolina's ban on African
Americans in its universities, Harvard Law School's ban on women, sexism in the
civil rights movement and the Episcopal Church, and racism in the feminist
movement. A particular focus is her long friendship and many frank exchanges
with Eleanor Roosevelt.
An Unrestored Woman by Shobha Rao (FlatIron). Twelve stories share the backdrop of the partition
of India and Pakistan as two countries in 1947, triggering traumatic disruption
in the lives of millions of people based on their religious and ethnic
We Were Feminists Once by Andi
Zeisler (Public Affairs). Corporate advertisers and pop stars are using feminist images and
slogans to polish their brands and sell products. This “marketplace feminism"
encourages us to focus not on power relations, race, or class but on individual
girls who can succeed if they just improve their self-esteem.
Big Hunger by Andrew Fisher (MIT). As workers' buying power has
declined, many communities have started food banks, often with corporate partners.
But telling the public that donating a can of food will address the problem is
misleading. Anti-hunger groups should be actively supporting movements to raise
wages, make housing affordable, promote sustainable development in rural areas,
and win other gains from corporate special interests and the top 1%.
We Are Data by John Cheney-Lippold (NYU). A professor of digital studies delves into the
ways big corporations and government agencies use algorithms to monitor and
affect individuals' behavior.
Culture Jamming edited by Marily
DeLaure and Mortiz Fink (NYU). A
collection of 24 articles examines efforts to disrupt corporate consumer
culture through hoaxes, parodies, flash mobs, street art, and other tactics.
Rules for Revolutionaries by Becky
Bond and Zack Exley (Chelsea Green). Two political consultants for the Bernie Sanders presidential
campaign say what they learned from the experience about how to combine
technology with person-to-person organizing.
The Battle for Veterans' Healthcare by
Suzanne Gordon (Cornell). Corporate
interests are lobbying Trump and Congress to give them control of the Veterans
Health Administration. That wouldn't fix health care problems faced by 8
million veterans--problems faced in many other parts of our health care system
as well. Instead, it would destroy a service that in certain ways could be a
model for national health care reform.
A Great Vision by Richard March (Hard Ball
Press). For those who like to read
history through someone's personal story, this account follows three
generations of the author's family as they immigrated to the U.S. from Croatia,
helped build the union movement, and got involved in the anti-war and
anti-racism movements of the 1960s.
The Light of the Moon. An honest and nuanced
feature film starring Stephanie Beatriz reveals the complex impacts of a street
rape on a young Latina architect and her psychological well-being, career, and
relationship with her long-term boyfriend.
My First Kiss and the People Involved.
A unique and powerful feature film
focuses on Sam, a girl in a residential group home who does not speak and only
rarely engages with other people. She starts to connect with a new female
caregiver, but then picks up clues suggesting that the caregiver has met a
violent end. The visuals and sound attempt to replicate what Sam sees and
hears, creating an intense introduction to her world.
Hearing is Believing.
Rachel Flowers lost her eyesight
soon after birth, but by two years old she could play Bach fugues by ear. Now a
young adult with a ready smile, she is a highly skilled and creative jazz and
rock musician who masters virtually any instrument she picks up.
Spettacolo. For 50 years, a
small village in Tuscany has put on a new play each summer with townspeople as
the actors--usually developing each play through conversation about their own
experiences. But, as this documentary shows, the tradition is in jeopardy as
young people leave the area or pursue other interests and as gentrification
driven by city dwellers wanting summer homes divides the town.
Black Canaries. A stark 19-minute feature evokes the grip coal
mining had on the filmmaker's ancestors as a man continues each day to enter
the mine where his father was crippled and his son rendered blind.
Death by Design. Big corporations are producing staggering quantities
of electronic devices with little regard for what happens to the waste, how
workers are treated, how the environment is damaged, or other concerns. From
China to Silicon Valley, this film shows that a technological boom guided only
by short-term profits is not socially sustainable.
Pieces by Rakkatak. A Canadian trio shows a variety of musical
influences as they combine tabla, sitar, and bass.
by Eric Bibb. A themed album links songs about today's immigrants and refugees,
the black Great Migration from the South, and the Dust Bowl exodus in the
and Tyler Hughes.Clean, simple bluegrass duets range from children's
music to traditional mountain home themes to several socially conscious tunes,
including fine renditions of “Bread and Roses" and “I Washed My Face in the
All proceeds from photo sales
at MattWittPhotography.com go to the Rogue Action Center, an independent
nonprofit hub for Rogue Valley community organizing for social, economic,
racial, and climate justice.
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