Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Spark

This episode takes a look at that elusive idea of defining what art is.  Where does that spark of creativity come from?  What drives human beings to take an idea from our mind and create something in the physical world?  As a starting point for this conversation we take a look back throughout history to see what people far smarter than all of us have to say about art and the role of art within human society.

At a very basic level, any art (both good and bad) is just the product of a human being expressing something that first occurred in the mind.  In fact,  the majority of art is never put on display in a gallery.  The society in which we live defines the value of art for us and determines what is displayed in a gallery.  However, maybe the 'value' of art should be a personal definition.

We then hear from a working artist on the dilemma between making a living from art, but also being able to artistically develop and explore with that fear in the back of your mind that 'no one will buy this'.  How exactly does tying commerce (capitalism) to art affect the art?  And, on the other end of that question, how does it affect the definition of art in the mind of the consumer of that art?

In previous generations, art was produced and boundaries were pushed due to a societal circumstance that we no longer experience - boredom.  When we have the ability to entertain ourselves 24/7, we are never bored.  Without the presence of boredom, we are never forced to entertain ourselves.  To create something from nothing.  There is current scientific data that shows human creativity is on the decline (specifically in the USA) due to our lack of being bored.  The good news is that the solution is simple and fun.  We all just have to play and explore a lot more. Rhyme intended. [Click to Listen]

Song Credits:
Land of 7 Billion Dances - The Coup
Come and Check Your Head - Blue King Brown
All's Fair in Love and Dubstep - Skrillix
Vitamin C - Can
All That You Paid For - Falling Sickness
Boredom - S.T.U.N.
Brand New Colony - The Postal Service
On the Corner - Miles Davis
$o$ - Die Antwoord
Only Getting Younger - Elliphant

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

MCR 3.08.16

We start off the show with some poetry:
Bulls On Parade by Rage Against the Machine

For our In The News segment on this show we take a look at the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the odd circumstances surrounding his death.  We're not talking about who should replace him on the bench or if President Obama should nominate someone or just wait and let President Trump do it after the election in November...we're talking about the actual circumstances surrounding his death as reported on by the Washington Post and how this type of reporting is the breeding ground for conspiracy theories.

Next up we have a Holy Shit segment looking at a Q&A that former presidential candidate and revisionist American history author Ben Carson recently participated in at the Pat Robertson founded Regents University (formerly the Christian Broadcasting Network University).  In the brief clip we play, Carson rewrites United States history and then promises to "eliminate the ban on Christianity in public schools". [Click to Listen]

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

MCR 2.23.16

We start off the show with some poetry:
Even When There's Little Choice, We Choose by Nicholas Gordon

For our In The News segment on this show we take our one and only looks at the Republican and Democrat primary season.  We have a clip from each side that proves the two party political machine is still very much in control and knows what they are doing.  If that isn't convincing enough, we also have an audio clip from Leslie Moonves, the president and CEO of CBS Corporation, explaining to shareholders how Donald Trump is great for business.  

Next up we have a quick Activist Cinema segment looking at the #OscarsSoWhite "conversation" surrounding this years Academy Awards and why it's great to draw attention to the racism in the entertainment industry...but it's still and industry and the Oscars are just their Employee of the Year awards.  So don't watch them. [Click to Listen

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

MCR 2.09.16

We start off the show with some poetry:
Incident by Countee Cullen

Next up we have and installment of Holy Shit where we take a look at (and listen to) the radio show Fortress of Faith and their list of questions to help figure out whether or not "Your Muslim friend is a terrorist".  It would be a funnier list if it wasn't being taken so seriously by the shows host (and presumably his listeners).

For our In the News segment on this episode, we take a closer look at the family that is truly at the center of the Bureau of Land Management occupation and subsequent debacle out in Oregon...the Hammond's.  Ammon Bundy and his group, Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, may have grabbed the headlines in the corporate media, but, the real victims in this case are Dwight and Steven Hammond.  They were re-sentanced back in the fall of 2015 and given longer jail sentences under the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.  [Click to Listen]

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

MCR 1.26.16

We're starting off 2016 with a new format for the show.  Mic Check Radio is now a bi-weekly show.

We start off this show with some poetry:
Ballad of the Landlord by Langston Hughes

Next up is an installment of the FBI Files, as we take a look at the sad entrapment case of Emanuel L. Lutchman. You can read the Criminal Complaint against him here.

We also bid farewell to 2015 by going over the fascinating results of the Pew Research Center's '15 Striking Findings From 2015'. [Click to Listen]

Monday, January 4, 2016

Activist Cinema 2015 Part 2

We finish up our year end wrap up of Activist Cinema from 2015 with a brief discussion of some prominent LGBTQ films (The Danish Girl, Stonewall, Freeheld, Carol and About Ray) and how they were mostly not that good...but that is okay.  We also compare the narrative device used in the film Stonewall with the exact same device used in the film Suffragette and how the critics hated it in one film, but loved it in another.  There were also two notable films, one produced independently (99 Homes) and one produced by Hollywood (The Big Short), that tackle the issue of the housing market collapse of 2008.  Then, we move onto the Activist Film of 2015, Chi-Raq.  Spike Lee has created another brilliant film (see also: Bamboozled) that captures the zeitgeist of the times in a way that few filmmakers working today are capable of doing.  [Click to Listen]

Monday, December 21, 2015

Activist Cinema 2015 Part 1

We start off our annual year end wrap up with some news about the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigating the hiring practices of the major Hollywood studios.  Turns out, the entertainment industry is shallow, image obsessed and sexist towards women.  Hopefully this investigation will have better results than the 1969 investigation by the EEOC...or the 1983 class action law suit by the Directors Guild of America.
We also take quick look at a few of the essential documentary films of 2015.
Merchants of Doubt
Cartel Land
Best of Enemies
He Named Me Malala
[Click to Listen]