In 1942, the US and Mexican governments created the Bracero Agreement, allowing Mexican agricultural workers to come into the United States for a limited time, to provide farm workers while the US was involved in World War II. The program was extended as a series of a series of laws and diplomatic agreements that finally ended in 1964. Probably the most famous popular memorial to the broad program was a poem by Woodie Guthrie, "the last great song he would write," after hearing about a plane crash in Los Gatos, which was reported as a flight full of nameless "deportees." A decade later, a young school teacher/folk singer named Martin (or Marty) Hoffman put the words to music, and Pete Seeger made the song popular, with numerous covers performed and recorded since. 65 years after the crash, those "deportees" were finally named, and that tombstone for "28 Mexican citizens" replaced with the names of those who died. [more inside]
It is 20 years since I reported for Vanity Fair the sad, sordid tale of Mia and Woody and Dylan and Soon-Yi and Mia’s other children, caught up in a major tabloid scandal. Today, at 68, Mia Farrow is far removed from that media circus. The mother of 14 children—ranging in age from 43 to 19—10 of whom were adopted and 2 of whom have died, she also has 10 grandchildren. Her focus is no longer acting (she has made more than 40 films) but activism, in Africa, as a UNICEF ambassador and on more than 20 missions of her own, particularly to the Darfur region of Sudan and to neighboring Chad. Coupling the mass killings in Darfur with China’s tacit support of the Sudanese government as well as its veto power in the U.N. Security Council in exchange for a claim on Sudan’s oil, she named the 2008 Beijing Olympics “the genocide Olympics” and triggered an international reaction. Her partner in this crusade has been her son Ronan Farrow, born in 1987, when she was with Allen. Ronan was 10 the first time he went with her to Africa, and after he graduated from college, at 15, he received the title of UNICEF youth spokesperson. Currently a Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Yale Law School at 21 and worked in the State Department from 2009 to 2012, first on the ground in Pakistan and Afghanistan for two years and then as head of the Office of Global Youth Issues.
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
Woody Allen: A Documentary (Part One, Part Two), a film by Robert Weide and part of the American Masters series on PBS, is now online. [more inside]
Woody Allen interview in New York Magazine For its 40th anniversary New York Magazine scored an interview with one of the icons of American cinema, the filmmaker most associated with the city with the possible exception of Martin Scorsese
The South Bank Show is the longest running arts show on television. Melvyn Bragg has presented an eclectic mix of televisual joy since 1978. SBS has presented in-depth portraits of many different types of artists during this time, covering a huge range of topics. From high art to low art, classical music to pop music, canonical literature to airport blockbusters it has offered some of the most insightful and enjoyable arts programming around. Much youtubery awaits inside [more inside]
Bo Knew Football. On the eve of one of the most anticipated college football matchups in decades, Bo Schembechler, the storied ex coach of the Michigan Wolverines passes away. The Michigan/OSU game is one of the longest and most storied rivalries in the history of sports. His battles with Woody Hayes are the stuff of Wolverine and Buckeye legend. Hail to the Victors, Bo.
Watch this trailer and see if you can guess who made this movie. And if you check imdb, you'll also see that the one of the stars isn't shown or mentioned anywhere in the trailer or on the site. Interesting marketing tactic. I wonder if it will pay off.