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#KickingtheCanon by Joe Biglin Music

The Velvet Underground & Nico | The Velvet Underground & Nico

March 12, 2020

The origins of The Velvet Underground as a group are about as haphazard as they come. The ostensible writer of the outfit, college-educated Lou Reed, seemed as entranced by the literary realism of his creative writing professor (esteemed poet and novelist Delmore Schwartz) as he was enamored with the three-chord rock ditty. While working as a hired gun for Pickwick Records, Reed fortuitously met a visiting John Cale, acolyte of John Cage’s loops and La Monte Young’s drones. Reed also…

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#KickingtheCanon by Kenji Fujishima Film

The Battle of Algiers | Gillo Pontecorvo

Proof of the lasting influence of Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1966 docudrama The Battle of Algiers can be glimpsed in two relatively recent films making a sizable dent in last year’s new-release landscape: Ana DuVernay’s Selma and Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper. In Selma — as was the case with the film that is arguably its…

May 14, 2015
#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Magic Sam | West Side Soul

Samuel Gene Maghett entered Cobra’s recording studios in 1957 as “Good Rocking Sam,” and luckily for all of us, some other Samuel was already laying claim to the clunky sobriquet. Maybe it really was Sam’s old friend and bass player Mack Thompson who suggested…

May 1, 2015
#KickingtheCanon by Kenji Fujishima Film

Portrait of Jason | Shirley Clarke

Shirley Clarke’s 1967 documentary Portrait of Jason at first seems like a standard talking-heads documentary writ large, at least if one were to offer up a brief description of it: A man — the titular Jason Holliday — in a hotel room, recounts his sad life. That’s basically…

April 19, 2013
In Review | Online film and music criticism