October 21

In Wax We Trust: A Short Film About Record Stores

record-store-interiorRecord stores. There’s really nothing like them in the world. In my opinion, at least. French trip hop/hip-hop producer Wax Tailor agrees, and on his latest tour around the U.S. stopped by some small independent record stores to talk to their owners about why, and how, they stay in business.

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September 22

Sample This: The Story of ‘Apache’ and The Incredible Bongo Band

incredible-bongo-bandI caught this fascinating documentary on Netflix last night. I hadn’t planned on it, Hell I had never even heard of it before. It just popped up in my Netflix feed…It’s a little independent documentary from 2013 called ‘Sample This.’ And while I’d never heard of the film, I am very familiar with its subject, which is a song. Not just any song, but one of the most heavily-sampled recordings in hip-hop and pop music history. It’s a track from 1973 called ‘Apache‘ by The Incredible Bongo Band. And while that might not sound too familiar to you, I’m willing to bet that you’ve heard at least part of it before. Don’t believe me? Give a listen:

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January 15

Our Lives Are Shaped By What We Love

our-lives-are-shaped-by-what-we-love-motown-mowestIt’s been a long week. Popular culture took a real hit this week with the death of David Bowie, and then actor Alan Rickman, both aged 69, both from cancer. Each in his own way created beauty with their art, and will be sorely missed. I take solace in the fact that all of the media attention will pique some curious kid’s interest, and he or she will visit a record store, or seek out a film, and be inspired to create art of their very own. Not for money, not for attention, but just because.

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January 6

BrainstemBob Approved: Two New Documentaries

As I get older, and I am definitely getting older, I find myself watching more and more documentary films. Documentary films show us the neglected corners of the world that don’t get much attention, shining a much-deserved light on the people, places, and events from the past, present and future, and give us more insight on the human condition. Documentaries have many marvelous qualities; they can educate, enrage, and inspire us. They can move us to take action to right wrongs. They can also be incredibly entertaining. What I’m saying is, I love documentaries. Given a choice between the latest box office blockbuster or an unknown little indie documentary, I’m almost always going to choose the doc. And I’ve seen two in the last week that are well worth checking out. Continue reading “BrainstemBob Approved: Two New Documentaries” »

September 15

The Annual ArtPrize Controversy

18750658-mmmainWith the arrival of late summer comes what’s becoming an annual ArtPrize censorship controversy. Artist Nabil Mousa has had his ArtPrize entry “Paradise Built on the Bones of the Slaughtered” removed from its intended venue, the Grand Rapids City Hall. The sculpture consists of a set of three welded towers displaying ashes of the Bible, the Koran and the Torah.

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