Bras cause cancer. Cigarettes don't. Jerry is dead. The Web is alive. Congress is dumb. America is pissed. The militias appeared on Nightline, and the Unabomber got published in the Post, without the benefit of journalism school or even a decent outfit. It was a chaotic year, yet one that still somehow found the time to be the anniversary of everything, including Hiroshima, the U.N., and the Grateful Dead. The mainstream media may have doled it out daily, but the alternative press got the straight dope on the matters that mattered. Here's a look at the stories from the alternative press that caught our eye, tickled our fancy, and got us busy.
There are no Range Rovers, cellular phones, and plush trailers for spoiled leading ladies in the moviemaking land that Tom DiCillo creates in his new film, Living in Oblivion. Here, as the real world of filmmaking unfolds, we witness bumbling camerapeople, an out-of-control fog machine and a cast and crew with so many personal problems they make the characters on Melrose Place look like the Waltons. Filmmaking reality, DiCillo reveals in no uncertain terms, bites. In this interview with the writer/director, DiCillo talks about the life and struggles of making a movie on a low-budget, the crazy duality that exists on every film set, and, yes, Quentin Tarentino.
A new report, "Pavlov's TV Dogs: A Snapshot of Local TV News In America, 9/20/95," analyzes the pathetic state of local TV news. "Pavlov would be fascinated with how thoroughly the American public is conditioned to such an unbalanced and unhealthy diet," says report co-author Paul Klite.
Somewhere off a desert highway, thousands of urban primitives flocked to Nevada's Black Rock Desert for the 10th Anniversary of the Burning Man, a cyber-fed festival of arts and culture that would take a team of sociologists to figure out. They were a mesmerizing mish-mash of hippies, moshers, mothers, anarchists, motorheads, pagans, and partiers who came to breathe deeply, dance naked, paint bodies, make pasta, celebrate summer build community, and erect a 40-foot man. And before it was over, they burned it to a soul-satisfying crisp.
Across the globe, journalism remains under fire -- often times quite literally. In 1995, 182 journalists were imprisoned because of their work -- the highest number since the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists began its annual count in 1986. As a new report reveals, the leaders of China, Nigeria, Turkey, and Kenya are among 10 world figures identified as "Enemies of the Press." All are responsible for brutal campaigns against journalists and press freedom, as documented by CPJ in its ongoing monitoring of press freedom violations worldwide.
There was nothing particularly original about the hate crimes that struck Billings, Montana. Swastikas were painted on the home of a Native American woman. Graves were overturned in a Jewish cemetery. A black church became the prey of skinheads. What was extraordinary was the community's response: NOT IN OUR TOWN, a powerful PBS documentary tells the story of how the people of Billings said "no" to hate and intolerance.
In his review of We Do The Work's documentary Ties That Bind, Larry Smith writes: "Narrated by comic-with-a-conscience Will Durst, the one-hour program provides a Cliff Notes' history of unions in America as well as poignant scenes from the battlefields in the real world of workers organizing under often hostile circumstances."