WBAI-FM Upcoming Program
Arts Express

Wed, Jun 14, 2023 9:00 PM


** "You know, I'm 71 years old, man. And I just don't have an answer - a clue, or what..."

A Conversation With Abel Ferrara. From directing the gangster thrillers Bad Lieutenant and King Of New York, Ferrara has something more metaphysical in mind lately with the passing of time, as in his just released historical drama, Pio Padre. Recreating the real life of the defiant priest in post-WWI Italy - in the midst of popular revolt, and the concurrent clash in the rise of socialism and fascism.

And, somewhat baffled by history and what it all means, first summoned in Padre Pio's Italy into the present time, Ferrara discusses "making it further complicated with the Americans through the CIA, thinking that they ran the world and they could do what they want. And it was the next nightmare for the world - and for us..."

** "I was long into boogie-woogie when I heard Little Richard - and it inspired me..."

Red Iowa: Musician Pat Hazell Talks The Heartland Blues Music Scene. The Iowa Blues Hall Of Fame musician with Peter Wise, discusses Miles Davis, Debussy, Bach, Eric Clapton, Sinatra, and the Blues Revival.

** "As you know, Artificial Intelligence has been all over the news lately - In fact, some of our listeners to the Jack And Rick Radio Shack have accused us of writing our sketches and commentary with the use of AI!"

Arts Express Playhouse: Don't touch that dial! A visit from an intrepid underwater explorer known as The Shark Whisperer. Stay tuned, and all will be revealed...

** 'To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing'...and casting non-professional actors 'pure and unsullied by the elbow grease of the film industry, and the ego of their business...'

Tracking Loach: A Celebration Of Ken Loach's Sixty Year Career In Socialist Filmmaking And Activism. Morning Star UK critic Brett Gregory takes a deep dive into David Archibald's work on the award winning social realist director, while citing Bunuel and Trotsky.

And whose films include Bread And Roses, The Wind That Shakes The Barley, and Land And Freedom. And who 'unlike virtually all his contemporaries, never succumbed to the siren call of Hollywood...' 

Barbie Nation: An Unauthorized Tour Review

"In Germany after the war, there was a doll named Lili. Lili was modeled after a floozie in a German tabloid. Men fondled her in bars, and dangled her from their rear view mirrors. And in 1956 in a trip to Zurich, we saw a toy store with a window full of adult dolls...Well, the guys at the factory turned me off when I got to breasts, that was it. They explained to me, there was no way we could make a doll with breasts - and I could not believe that this doll was going to be marketed to kids...'

And that was a memory lane excursion, not in search of the origin of the inflatable sex dolls, but rather the birth of Barbie - and that origin in a notorious sex doll that was all the rage, not unlike Barbie, though in its own way - back then in Germany.  And Susan Stern's Barbie Nation, The Director's Cut does all that and more, Though the combo disclaimer/advisory subtitle 'An Unauthorized Tour' raises all sorts of issues looming with anticipation. Regarding property rights butting heads with a rather ferocious mass embrace and claim to public domain, legally sanctified or not. 

Stern takes liberties with her subject, beyond the grass roots challenges to legal implications, venturing into other dimensions of perspective as well. And very much rooted in what may be termed the other side of art (even if Barbie is a consumer product). That is, perception over creation, and how even a commercial entity can be transformed when engaged with popular movement consciousness. Thus, the director takes us on an inventive journey through a kind of renewed creation, whether personal, political or re-engaged artistically. Including an intimately conceived re-imagining of Barbie racially, sexually - and in one Barbie themed art show exhibiting the doll replacing Christ on the crucifix, and a contemporary, alternately crucified homeless Barbie.

But with a persistent question remaining, namely the relationship of the adult doll to the intended recipient - girls engaged in the difficult minefield of growing up in a problematic culture. And a bid to expand if not supplant dolls, according to a mid-20th century Mattel spokesperson at the time, which at one point were only infant replicas with the implication that females only had futures as mothers, to perhaps something equally problematic - the pressure to identify with the Barbie persona as an exclusively perfectly formed face and body, essentially narrowly - and still psychologically destructive notions dividing womanhood between mother and sex object.
Prairie Miller



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