Catch ‘The Cove’

DVD: The Cove — The Oscar this film about Japan’s dolphin slaughter won should be more than enough reason to see this documentary. Yes, it’s an uneasy viewing experience, as it should be. But as a polemic and a film it works marvelously, and focuses attention on an inhumane practice that still continues and must — not should — be stopped. It will be shown on the Animal Planet cable channel this summer, followed by a new series it inspired, Dolphin Warriors, hosted by Ric O’Barry, the former Flipper trainer and dolphin activist who stars in The Cove. Hopefully all this will help change consciousness towards our aquatic cousins.

CD: True Love Cast Out All Evil by Roky Erickson with Okkervil River — Erickson all but invented psychedelic rock music in the mid-1960s with his band The 13th Floor Elevators. He also suffers from schizophrenia and was dealt blows by the mental health establishment, the legal system and the music business that had by the 1990s left him in poverty, untreated for his illness, and close to death. The miraculous resurrection — detailed in the wonderful 2005 documentary You’re Gonna Miss Me that is well worth seeing — of this musical legend over the last decade finds wondrous fruition in this new album he has made with the marvelous young band Okkervil River (also well worth hearing on their own). The songs — many from the time he was incarcerated at a Texas mental hospital for the criminally insane — are sometimes chilling, but they are largely affirmations of love, faith and humanity by a man whose horribly tough and haunted life could have caused him a loss of all that. A gorgeous and affirmative album that creates a new psychedelic music for this century and beyond.

Book: I, Claudius by Robert Graves — I’ve been on an ancient Rome kick of late. And this superb historical novel written by one of the finest writers in the English language captures the times, culture, people and intrigue of its ruling class brilliantly. I’ve already watched the superb BBC TV series, but there’s nothing like the book in this case.

From The Progressive Populist, April 15, 2010


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