WBAI-FM Upcoming Program
Arts Express

Sat, Feb 12, 2022 6:00 AM


*Roasting Boris: Russell Howard Checks In
*Arts Express Playhouse: War Is A Racket

**Arts Express, Always Fresh - Never A Repeat Show**

** "I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service. And during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer - a gangster for capitalism."

Arts Express Playhouse: War Is A Racket...

** "The country is on its arse, and Boris Johnson has taken acid and swallowed the dictionary! Boris is absurd, and we've got a fuel crisis, but whenever he's asked a tricky question he deflects it by saying a normal word in a funny way. We don't need funny people in a crisis. Nobody has ever been in a burning building and gone, quick - somebody get me a comedian!"

British Comic Russell Howard Talks No Laughing Matter Boris Johnson - with a little unintended help from the UK corporate media. Howard phones in from London to talk about his upcoming global comedy tour, and what's up with the Prime Minister's multiple scandals as his allies flee his controversial administration in droves lately. With connections to Lenny Bruce, the Boris Johnson Partygate, and somebody known as the UK Lollipop Man.

** "Blixen's pact with the devil, I think that was a fascinating way of understanding her way of thinking as an artist - and when the spotlight was off her, she was a lonely person, she was alone with her demons and with her stories."

The Pact: A Conversation With Bille August. The director phones in from Denmark about his latest release, a dramatic feature about the strange real life relationship between the late famed Danish author of Out Of Africa, Karen Blixen - pen name Isak Dinesen, and her alternately supportive and sadistic mentor relationship with an aspiring young writer.

And while the veteran director of Pelle The Conqueror, Night Train To Lisbon and Les Miserables proposes that Dinesen may have had her reasons, we invite August to take The Arts Express Hot Seat to field questions about unreliable narrators, women and power, class contradictions, and colonialism. And a case of triple mansplaining in connection to August directing this portrait, along with his male screenwriter crafting the film from Thorkild Bonvik's memoir - the apprentice writer in question.

As for his own mentor in real life, Ingmar Bergman, whose biopic The Best Intentions August directed in collaboration with Bergman and his penned screenplay, he recalls, "Every Saturday, I think it was two o'clock, Bergman and I were on the phone. Not five to two or five past two, it was always two o'clock. And we talked about....life!"

Screening Room: The Blank Page - Adapted for the screen and excerpted from one of Blixen's many dark, brooding stories in her collection, Last Tales.

Plus...Black History Month Moments In Time...Lunch with Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe...

The Arts Express Red Eye Reviews - Red Hot And Saucy Served Up Here

France: Bruno Dumont's Mansplained Femme Fatale Nation

The McCarthyite Elia Kazan Red Scare 1957 noir 'A Face In The Crowd' cornered Andy Griffith on hot mic as a scheming, fame obsessed conniver. But these days, what with the new war on women, their Time's Up payback movement on the offensive against sexism and the dame blame game, it appears that feminism is the new femme fatale.

Dumont's designated villain of choice for what ails the country and its phony media is Léa Seydoux as France de Meurs, an unscrupulous television superstar host and reporter who excels at elaborately staged on location reporting. Looking more like a drag queen with piles of makeup who just exited the runaway into the newsroom, her speciality as more filmmaker than journalist is barking orders to cameramen and natives alike, about assembling war zone props and scenarios. And in the background, her cackling flack Lou (Blanche Gardin) coaches and incites, while cheering her on.

And by the way, undesignated war zones with no historical context, and especially what France (the nation) has been up to there regarding imperialism, economic exploitation, and precipitating these wars for profit. So whatever failure in the courage of conviction ails Meurs, afflicts Dumont as well. More focused on Meurs' designer duds and makeup, Dumontw plays shy and evasive as to what ails the country.

Hence, all those massive, years long Yellow Vest protests in the streets against economic crisis issues and the war on labor, along with chickens come home to roost continual terrorist attacks on France's home turf, are not in the interest to cover of either that fictitious intrepid reporter, or Dumont himself. Along with any focus on who really controls the media - a daffy dolled up war zone damsel in staged distress, or the military industrial imperialist complex and their (mostly male) media honcho minions.

So what concludes in effect, whether France the country or its failed female metaphor, is all dressing literally and no substance politically, and nowhere to go - for both Dumont and his elusive muse. And what would appear to be the media and moviemaking alike when it comes to the dubious rewards of capitalism, going along to get along.

Prairie Miller



© 2012-