This is going to be my attempt at an irregular feature here on the site, where I’ll occasionally post a list of one movie, one book or article, and one piece of music I’ve recently consumed, along with some commentary.

Seen

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, directed by Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman

While this documentary won’t change the mind of someone whose views are set about “radical” activism, it will no doubt show that there is a big difference between groups like Al-Qaeda and organizations like the ELF/ALF. And it does make one wonder about the “#1 domestic terrorist threat” being an organization that has never physically harmed a person. (That said, their tactics are certainly not ones that I would ever choose to use, but I can understand the thought process behind them.)

There is a bias to the documentary, but even so, it does give a legitimate voice to the victims of the activists’ actions such that the film doesn’t feel like a propaganda piece. Worth watching.

Heard

France Gall: Baby Pop

A while back, I asked on Quora, “What are some amazing upbeat ye-ye albums?,” looking for music similar Chantal Goya’s amazing songs from Godard’s Masculin/Féminin soundtrack. It took a while, but I finally got a bunch of great suggestions from Brie Larson.

I dug in this week and checked out France Gall’s 1966 album Baby Pop. It seems to have been the trend for the most successful ye-ye singers to be pretty young women that didn’t necessarily have the most amazing vocal range, but could carry a tune and look innocent and naive while doing it. Gall fits this role: you can hear some inconsistencies in her vocals, but the songs are catchy as all get-out and downright fun.

Read

Land of the Lost Souls: My Life on the Streets by Cadillac Man

I recently finished this book I received through LibraryThing‘s Early Reviewers program. It’s pretty much what you’d expect from a tale of homelessness as told by one that lived through it: stories of violence, spiraling depression, and a healthy dose of quirky characters. Land of Lost Souls gives us a glance into the everyday lives of the people we pass on the street, often without a second thought.

Though the book’s chronology jumps all over the place, making it hard to get your bearings on your place within Cadillac Man’s life, the structure turns out not to be all that important. What is important are the individual stories, like the touching story of Penny, a 19-year-old runaway who Cadillac Man develops both a fatherly and sexual relationship with before helping to reconnect her with her family. That sounds creepy, but it’s more that it’s just how things go in that environment.

Recommended.

(Cadillac Man reads a selection from his book in this CSPAN video from a couple of years ago.)