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2010s in Film: Why I Love #20 “Dear White People”

Counting down my top 25 favorite films of the last decade and just why I love them. Black Lives Matter.

#20 Dear White People (2014)

Writer / Director: Justin Simien | DP: Topher Osborn | Music By: Kathryn Bostic. Starring: Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Kyle Gallner.

Well 👏🏾 Written 👏🏾

In Dear White People, we follow Sam, via the platform of her titular college radio show, and three of her colleagues as they unmask dark truths of their Ivy League experience.

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When this came out, it hit me like an anvil. Finally, someone from our generation is tired and said it

DC Comics Gay Astronaut — fckyeahtimmy: Dear White People (2014 ...

This film gives each featured black experience a full voice, understanding, and a much needed and nourishing why.

Tyler James Williams Film Challenge GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Simien explores how Coco experiences colorism,

Tyler James Williams Movie List GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

which drives her to blend in to crowds where she both stands out and fits in.

The Wire's Movie Trailer Power Rankings: 'Dear White People ...

What’s harder, being black enough for the black kids or black enough for the white ones? Being neither.

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Yeah, it’s confusing as fuck. 

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And then, just…everything happening with Troy 😰

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By the time it’s over, what remains is weight of their exhaustion and an ultimatum to move.

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So yeah, to be continued…

Here’s a list anti-racism resources and education tools: https://linktr.ee/indiedigs

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culture Film Music Playlist

New Spotify / Apple Music Playlist – Power Pop Evolution

Our latest playlist Power Pop Evolution is now live on Apple Music and Spotify.

This genre is dear to my heart. Perfect for the upbeat summer we’re having lololol. But seriously do feel this adds a much needed level of brightness to these sunny daze. Who can resist The Cars, Big Star, The Feelies, Teenage Fanclub, The Lemonheads? Am I driving a Plymouth with the top down right now? Is my Jean jacket magic?

WHO AM I.

I learned a good number of the earlier bands through the soundtracks of my favorite childhood movies…

I’ll never forget seeing Letters to Cleo emerge from the crowd to sing directly to Cat in 10 Things I Hate About You and that solidifying in me the fact that music is the most personal special connective thing! And plus, they fuckin’ ripped. Outfits, hair, mood.

And thanks to that, I traveled down the rabbit hole to find That Dog…etc and during this playlist I came across even MORE bops I hadn’t met yet. Ain’t life grand.

Anyway, hope you have great days!! ☀️

Love,

CJ

Listent to Power Pop Evolution on Spotify and Apple Music. Find us on Instagram @indiedigs.

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.digs Film

2010s in Film: Why I Love #21: Little Birds

Counting down my top 25 favorite films of the last decade and just why I love them.

#22 Little Birds (2011)

Writer / Director: Elgin James / DP: Reed Morano / Composer: Elgin James / Music Supervisor(s): Elizabeth James

Little Birds beautifully displays the physical and emotional implications of abandon and the performances and cinematography win this for me.

Ali and Lily live this adolescent existence where they have responsibilities beyond their scope and perform a role as the stable element in the unstable universes of their respective adults.

Just as Lily approaches her breaking point, on time arrives a team of boys who steal Lily’s gaze and lure the friends away from home to the desolate outskirts and onto L.A.

The boys skate in empty pools, live in an abandoned hotel, and have “abandoned society” altogether.

All these kids have escaped, and they push each opportunity to seriously dangerous limits to sustain their anarchist lifestyle. Lily finds this thrilling…while Ali just hangs, reluctantly, waiting for the whole thing to inevitably burn so she can get her friend back to town in one piece.

I enjoy this film because Ali consistently stands up for herself, no matter how many times she gets negged by Lily or by the boys for being honest, observant, and genuinely concerned.

And Lily *sigh*.

You only get a little time between a cut and knowing how deep it is.

Here’s the trailer ⬇️

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.digs Music Playlist

New Digs – July

I’ve refreshed our list of anti-racism resources in support of the continued fight for social justice and equality.

Here are all of the artists to watch for July 2020.

SAD FUNERAL - KAZBERG 
SPENCER - MAYBE
MOSCOW APARTMENT - NEW GIRL
HAIVA RU - SWIM
EL MAÑANA - DESPIÉRTATE
BUSCABULLA - MÉTELE
ILLUMINATI HOTTIES - MELATONEZONE
BLK - GOT IT
DYNA EDYNE - JACUZZI
KAVALE - SMALL TALK / MOOD
CASUAL MALE - DON'T WANT ME AROUND
NASTY CHERRY - BETTER RUN

Check out the July 2020 New Digs playlist on Spotify and Apple Music and YouTube.

The goal of New Digs is to celebrate and elevate great new music, more often of the independent variety.

If you have an upcoming single or album you’d like us to review for New Digs, we’d love to hear it. Please follow Indie Digs on Instagram and/or Twitter and send us an email: indiedigs@dinosaurhawk.com

Happy listening!

CJ

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Book culture Music Playlist

#NowReading: Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Legendary Neighborhood

Finished reading the book Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Legendary Neighborhood” by Michael Walker, a quick and playful read that is never not relevant to the ever-constant push and pull for peace. I picked this one up while we were visiting L.A. in February for my birthday. After getting lost in the hills for an hour, we parked near the road sign for BRONSON AVE because it connected to our Clueless tour) and ended up in front of Counterpoint books. I went in with the goal of finding anything at all and, hey, the shop owner was playing the impeachment trial! Over the loudspeaker! Anyway, I found the music history section, bought the book and started reading pretty much right away.

Musically, it’s something else. From the Byrds to Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, all these people just livin’, in harmony. Walker illustrates the Canyon in a helpful and visual way (especially around the Manson story) that can only be assisted by viewing Once Upon A Time in Hollywood or Echo in the Canyon.

Then I watched Model Shop. It f*cks.

Here’s the playlist I made featuring the bands of the book, such as, The Byrds, Frank Zappa, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, The Mamas and the Papas, and more, in chronological order: ✌🏾

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.digs Film

2010s in Film: Why I Love #22 “Sleeping Giant”

Counting down my top 25 favorite films of the last decade and just why I love them.

#22 Sleeping Giant (2015)

Writer / Director: Andrew Cividino / DP: James Klopko / Composer: Joey Colero / Music Supervisor(s): Misha Bower, Bruce Peninsula, Matt Cully, Neil Haverty, Chris Thronborrow. Starring: Jackson Martin, Nick Serino

From the jump, you feel the impasse.

This film explores a few elements of identity – largely class and sexuality.

The spot-on observation of social status via meals – the mere visual of arugula and lemon stuffed trout vs the hamburger and, impact-fully, the instance during Settlers of Catan.

As far as the titular Sleeping Giant, it appears as though conquering the Canadian Wonder is a known feat of human ability, accomplished only by one idolized, local legend.

Meanwhile, Dad is trying to grow his son to be a man – which means girls, and opportunities.

When it comes to figuring it all out, Adam does – in slow motion. 

With each step of bravery he crawls closer to his true self.

Until it hits.

I found the core about giving in to and resisting pressure, while the edge watchfully explores living among lack and immense possibility, like “nowhere” else.

Here’s the trailer ⬇️

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.digs Music Playlist

New Spotify / Apple Music Playlist – Women of Y2k 📻

Need this energy 🙏🏾 Our latest playlist Women of Y2k featuring iconic female voices who came on the scene in the early aughts is now public. Listen on Spotify and Apple Music.

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.digs culture Music Playlist

New Digs – June

We’re celebrating Black Music Month on New Digs w/ a list of throwbacks & recent tracks from artists we’ve featured this past year.

Here are all the artists to watch for June 2020.

Dua Saleh - cat scratch
Taylor Made by The God - Herhythm
Terry Presume - The Story of You and I
The 1865 - Buckshot
Linda Diaz - Green Tea Ice Cream - Satl Remix
Kibi James - Hi, How Are You?
A-Lex - Already Rich
Magnolia Park - Hangover Heaven
Teamonade - goin thru it
Meet Me @ The Altar - Garden
Bloodbather - Disappear
Maneka - My Queen
Pretty Boy Aaron, Bruhnice, Sabz - Nicotine

Check out the June 2020 New Digs playlist on Spotify and Apple Music and YouTube.

The goal of New Digs is to celebrate and elevate great new music, more often of the independent variety.

If you have an upcoming single or album you’d like us to review for New Digs, we’d love to hear it. Please follow Indie Digs on Instagram and/or Twitter and send us an email: indiedigs@dinosaurhawk.com

Happy listening!

CJ

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.digs Activism ART culture Film

Black Lives Matter: 6 Recommend Indie Films to Watch Right Now that Explore Black Identity.

#1: Dear White People, dir. Justin Simien

What’s it About? “Four black students attend an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over an “African-American” themed party thrown by white students. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film explores racial identity in ‘post-racial’ America while weaving a story about forging one’s unique path in the world.” – via Letterboxd.

#2: Girlhood, dir. Céline Sciamma

What’s it About? “Oppressed by her family setting, dead-end school prospects and the boys law in the neighborhood, Marieme starts a new life after meeting a group of three free-spirited girls. She changes her name, her dress code, and quits school to be accepted in the gang, hoping that this will be a way to freedom.” – via Letterboxd.

#3: The Last Black Man in San Francisco, dir. Joe Talbot

What’s it About? “Jimmie Fails dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Joined on his quest by his best friend Mont, Jimmie searches for belonging in a rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind.” – via Letterboxd.

#4: Sorry to Bother You, dir. Boots Riley

What’s it About? “In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, black telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success – which propels him into a macabre universe.” – via Letterboxd.

#5: Moonlight, dir. Barry Jenkins

What’s it About? “The tender, heartbreaking story of a young man’s struggle to find himself, told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love, while grappling with his own sexuality.” – via Letterboxd.

#6: Medicine for Melancholy, dir. Barry Jenkins

What’s it About? “Waking from a one-night stand that neither remembers, Micah and Joanne find themselves wandering the streets of San Francisco, sharing coffee and conversation and searching for a deeper connection.” – via Letterboxd.

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.digs Activism Book culture

Black Lives Matter: 6 Recommended Books to Read Right Now.

All of these are on my bookshelf and they’ve all made a positive impact on my life; be it opening my eyes to our history, finding greater representation of blackness in the pages, or finding myself represented in the stories. I hope that by passing these along it creates opportunity for greater understanding and encourages continued dialogue around race, feminism, visibility and history, among many other imperatives.

Here are six books to read right now:

#1: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

What’s it About? “Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time.” – via GoodReads

# 2: The New Mind of the South by Tracy Thompson

What’s it About? “This ground-breaking, thought-provoking exploration upends stereotypes and fallacies to reveal the true heart of the South today—a region still misunderstood by outsiders and even by its own society.” – via Goodreads.

#3: The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois

What’s it About? “This landmark book is a founding work in the literature of black protest. W. E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963) played a key role in developing the strategy and program that dominated early 20th-century black protest in America. In this collection of essays, first published together in 1903, he eloquently affirms that it is beneath the dignity of a human being to beg for those rights that belong inherently to all mankind. He also charges that the strategy of accommodation to white supremacy advanced by Booker T. Washington, then the most influential black leader in America, would only serve to perpetuate black oppression.” – via GoodReads.

#4: Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? by Touré

What’s it About? “Journalist Touré turns his ear to 100 prominent black Americans to create a provocative look at the state of race in America.” – via GoodReads.

#5: Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

What’s it About? “In this poignant, hilarious and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder and Catch, reveals how saying YES changed her life – and how it can change yours too.” – via GoodReads.

#6: You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have To Explain by Phoebe Robinson

What’s it About? “A hilarious and affecting essay collection about race, gender, and pop culture from celebrated stand-up comedian and WNYC podcaster Phoebe Robinson.” – via GoodReads.

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