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In Conversation

From Brooklyn to DC: Kevin Powell with Theodore Hamm

"Hip-hop values include making something out of nothing, winning on your own terms. That's why I'm running for Congress," says Powell.

Inside the Tenderloin

In an old hotel, downtown. Off a small alley. It was a neighborhood where, if the cops came, no one ever saw anything. There were surveillance cameras everywhere. Some days, men on every corner would be talking to themselves, as if they were a radio station that only they got.

Nobody's Safe in Cyberspace

I was to fly to Brazil to interview the mayor of Rio de Janeiro and Oscar Niemeyer, the architect. I canceled my trip. “I’m sorry,” I told the tourist board who arranged everything, “I have to fly to Denver because my mother is in the hospital.” What a lie! I flew home to Colorado because I was suffering an emotional breakdown over an Internet stalker.

Amstetten: Notes on a Catastrophe

It is not unusual for homes in Lower Austria, balanced as they were on the edge of the Iron Curtain through the long cold war, to have bunker-like cellars with thick concrete and steel reinforced doors. In 1978, Joseph Fritzl readily secured permission from the planning board in the town of Amstetten to build his bunker. In fact, he would likely have received a generous subsidy to help him along. The threat of a nuclear war was real. The construction of bunkers was encouraged.

Does It Catch Mice, a story by Omair Ahmad

Everybody knows that Deng Xiaoping was from Gorakhpur, in eastern UP, that huge monster of a state in India. Well, everybody that knows these things knows, and everybody else would too, if they paid any attention

Something is Happening There

In Venezuela, the revolution is televised. Each Sunday, Hugo Chavez treats his country to a one-man variety show—Alo Presidente!—that would make Ed Sullivan blush.

Ask Not...

It’s about that time again. High school and college students across the country will don silly looking caps and gowns, march across school auditorium stages, get their diplomas (shake with the right, grab with the left), and head out into the real world. Some high school graduates face challenges of character. They must forge into adulthood in a society that values appearances, wealth, and appearances of wealth.

Where Have All the Film Critics Gone?

Every day it seems there’s news of a fresh kill. Turn to any major publication’s arts section lately and you’ll probably find an article about a full-time film critic losing his or her job.

Docs in Sight: A Spring Round-Up

Here is a spring roundup of some documentaries that are premiering theatrically, available on DVD or included in festivals like the ever-important Human Rights Watch International Film Festival (running from June 12th-26th). For additional reviews, please go to

Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress, and The Tangerine

Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress, and The Tangerine, the final film in The Art Kaleidoscope Foundation’s trilogy of artist documentaries, opens with anxious shots of the wooden exterior of Bourgeois’ Precious Liquids (1992) and coaxes the viewer through the door of the work to examine the bare bed and sensual glass vessels of its interior. Bourgeois declares over an ominous soundtrack: “You have to be very aggressive to be a sculptor, really.”


The Brooklyn Rail

JUN 2008

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