Lately I can't help but feel sullen about the current state of affairs. I'm especially taken by the low word and hand of the many bankers, politicians, and oligarchs that are running our world and decking a lame deal time and again.
I am sure these types are not "all" bad apples, but it sure is coming off that way.
As the banking scandals persist and the 2012 election jazz of Citizens United continues to unfold with less than spectacular lessons on democracy, I again turn my grateful-ness to artists that deliver timely works. Works that make us laugh, cry, or reflect on what is at stake.
On a grand scale, Danny Boyle's Olympic opening ceremony moved me, most specifically its first segment dedication to the Industrial Revolution and the workers who made it possible.
I thought it ironic that the 2012 Olympic games would be taking place in England, in light of what is happening, and in contrast to the beyond elegant centerfold participation of the steel workers during the ceremony. I thought of the United States and its equally dire woes. It seemed a real life satire to see this show against the narrative going on here that presents entrepreneurial leadership as a solitary endeavor and consequence. The National Health Service part was another homage but it seemed an even greater parody for the United States where universal health care is posited as subversive and pitted as dangerous.
On another sphere, the fantastic Afrobeat ensemble Antibalas http://http://www.antibalas.com/ have a new album tilted Antibalas, and their timely single "Dirty Money" has a video executed entirely with puppets, sensitivity, and a sense of humor.
When the "Dirty Money" video opens we see a billboard with the heading "Greed Is Great" and the picture of its spokesman, the very rich man that soon appears inside his limo.
It's not difficult to get what "Dirty Money" is all about, "Coastal Disaster Smells Like Money to Billionaire Samuel Wallbucks."
The brothers Ben and Jon Fine directed the Anitbalas' "Dirty Money" video for Studio Iodyne and Freed Pictures http://http://www.freedpictures.com/2004/, with puppets by Sal Denaro & William Hubner. Antibalas will be released August 7 via Daptone Records.
Watch "Dirty Money" http://http://studioiodyne.com/