Love it or Leave it News

Writing in the Week, Ryan Cooper uses the recent Bundy Ranch standoff to point out “the myth of rural ‘powerlessness.”

But more importantly, the idea that rural America is powerless is nonsense. In fact, rural voters continue to exercise vastly disproportionate influence — if anything, the political system is rigged in their favor.

A Whitehouse.gov petition to that called on Alaskans and others to vote for Alaska to secede from the US and become a part of Russia was taken down after failing to garner enough signatures. 

The petition urges Alaska to separate from the US and join Russia. The message points out that residents of Siberia got across the Bering Straits to Alaska in ancient times.

You will recall Russian Ambassador to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov’s joke that Senator McCain should watch over Alaska. This happened on March 22 during the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show where the key issue was the crisis in the Ukraine.

Love it or Leave it. 

The Republic of Awesome

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My newest novel is polished, tight and done. Here’s the query/description:

THE REPUBLIC OF AWESOME is a rollicking political satire that asks an important question of our time: Why is everyone so pissed-off in the most prosperous and free country the world has ever known? 

When Federal Agents illegally seize a rare T Rex skeleton from Oahe Village, Mayor Will Davies is thrust into the only course of action his small South Dakota town has left - - secession.

Will’s ancestors founded Oahe Village on a spot of riverside prairie etched in Lewis and Clark lore. Confiscating their dinosaur fossil is the latest in a recent list of insults suffered by the town. Corrupt game wardens hassle hunting and fishing guides out of business. And the governor granted his crony permission to build a massive drag strip on their unspoiled peninsula — despite ferocious opposition.

Inspired by Key West’s ‘tongue-in cheek’ secession, Mayor Will Davies dreams up his own ironic breakaway, this time repurposed as tourist bait. Will’s mock secession generates rabid press coverage. He also attracts Lakota Sioux activists with a covert plan for reclaiming the Black Hills by using Oahe Village’s media frenzy as cover.

When the governor declares their movement illegal, it leads to shocking revelations about Oahe Village’s history and forces Will to choose between his family, his girlfriend and the secessionist cause.

With a Nevada ranch standoff and active secession efforts in California, Colorado, Wisconsin and Maryland dominating headlines, the timing could not better for a rowdy lampoon of rural America’s identity crisis in the age of Obama.

The Washington DC City Paper said of my first novel: “Carr’s expository chops rival those of drugstore jockey’s like Elmore Leonard.” And Richard Peabody, editor of DC’s Gargoyle Magazine, calls the Republic of Awesome ‘Carl Hiaasen channeling “It’s A Wonderful Life,” while I characterize the novel as Sherman Alexie’s “Fight Club.”

Now, who wants to help me sell it? 

pitchfork:

From YouTube, to Pandora, to Spotify, streaming music is piloting our listening habits in fascinating new ways that both upend old hierarchies and recall innovations of previous eras. Eric Harvey explores how these developments are affecting ideas of taste, access, and ownership today—and what this shift means for fans and artists alike—in our latest Cover Story.

pitchfork:

From YouTube, to Pandora, to Spotify, streaming music is piloting our listening habits in fascinating new ways that both upend old hierarchies and recall innovations of previous eras. Eric Harvey explores how these developments are affecting ideas of taste, access, and ownership today—and what this shift means for fans and artists alike—in our latest Cover Story.

McGovern Talks Hunter Thompson

Spent a fun day at the McGovern house in 2005. The Senator and Eleanor McGovern entertained us with campaign stories and a tour of their art collection. The interview was for an SDDP podcast on the state of politics in South Dakota. 

I used the opportunity to also quiz the Senator on his relationship with Hunter Thompson, the lasting impact of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72, Duke’s favorite books and his memorial service

Willie Nelson Dakota Blues Sample

Donald Carr -

In 2005 during a tour stop in Sioux Falls, I asked Willie Nelson about biofuels and bringing Farm Aid to South Dakota. 

Sundance 2014 Reviews

Last week was my 11th visit to the Sundance Film Festival held in Park City, Utah, and the 30th anniversary of the festival.  Here are some brief reviews.  

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Dinosaur 13 – A top pick of mine before Sundance started that greatly exceeded expectations. Dinosaur 13 is the true story of an epic dispute that erupted over Sue, a rare near intact T Rex fossil discovered in South Dakota by a talented cadre of independent paleontologists. The story may feel familiar to those of us who grew up in the state and have friends and family intertwined with the principles, but the format and pacing is what propels this doc.

The riveting narrative is organized around several set pieces like the army of Feds that stormed the Black Hills Institute to seize the fossil and a courtroom drama. And the interviews with key players, including hardcore optimist and paleontologist Peter Larson who was at the center of the controversy, make this a near perfect documentary. Bought by Lionsgate and CNN, everyone should get a chance to see Dinosaur 13 soon.

Nick Offerman: American Ham – On TV Offerman plays everyone’s favorite government hating municipal employee as Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson.  At this year’s festival he premiered a concert film of his stage show, American Ham.

Offerman’s comedy is aimed right at the sweet spot for so-called South Park libertarians. His hilarious take on his nine rules for life success combines praise for American farmers with socially progressive views, disdain for vegetarians and pleas to heartily enjoy intoxicants — only after a day of hard work.

Dear White People – is a deft, well-crafted comedy with similarities to Spike Lee’s School Daze. Black students at a fictional and mainly white Ivy League college struggle, often humorously and occasionally affecting, to find their identities and direction. The film did stumbled a bit toward the end and could have a more cohesive resolution, though overall a strong debut by director Justin Simien.

Rich Hillwon the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. documentary and I couldn’t wait for the dam movie to end. The film is a remarkable achievement, letting viewers into the lives of three at risk boys in the economically depressed town of Rich Hill, Missouri. Viewers are given a stark window into the soul crushing existence endured by the boys and their families. While dizzying in its intimacy, Rich Hill is relentlessly hopeless.

Lambert and StampMy biggest disappointment is the rockumentary about legendary mentors/managers of the Who. The first hour is rollicking and kinetic while the second drags. Pete Townshend and Chris Stamp are two of rock ‘n roll’s wittiest and engaging commentators, sadly they are allowed to prattle on for far too long about minor ego infringements. Like for miles and miles and miles… 

subpop:

Back in the dark ages (the pre-Tumbr world), we used to receive A LOT of physical demos (CD/Cassette/LP/R2R/Cartridge/Glossy Band Photos), and this was our form rejection letter for virtually ALL of the submissions. Harsh sure, but honest and real. These days, we receive mostly SoundCloud and BandCamp submissions from the aspiring future Nirvanas, Shins, Mudhoney’s, and Bands of Horses of the world, and we just point them to this page, all of which feels much more impersonal than it used to, though much better on the natural environment in which we reside, I suppose. Anyway, as you were.

Much better than the rejections I’ve received. 

subpop:

Back in the dark ages (the pre-Tumbr world), we used to receive A LOT of physical demos (CD/Cassette/LP/R2R/Cartridge/Glossy Band Photos), and this was our form rejection letter for virtually ALL of the submissions. Harsh sure, but honest and real. These days, we receive mostly SoundCloud and BandCamp submissions from the aspiring future Nirvanas, Shins, Mudhoney’s, and Bands of Horses of the world, and we just point them to this page, all of which feels much more impersonal than it used to, though much better on the natural environment in which we reside, I suppose. Anyway, as you were.

Much better than the rejections I’ve received. 

930club:

SHOW PREVIEW: U.S. Royalty @ U Street Music Hall
Here in Washington, DC, we almost have it all, but we’re still missing one thing: the quintessential Washingtonian indie band. It seems we might have finally grasped that with the emergence of four-piece locals U.S. Royalty. Comprised of brothers John and Paul Thornley, as well as bassist Jacob Michael and drummer Luke Adams, these guys bring a sound that incorporates influences from all ends of the musical spectrum, from Fleetwood Mac to spaghetti-western composer Ennio Morricone. With stellar performances at SXSW and CMJ proudly on their repertoire, as well as a mention in a White House Press Conference by Press Secretary and fan Jay Carney, U.S. Royalty may finally be our Next Big Thing. 
-Mandy Brownholtz

930club:

SHOW PREVIEW: U.S. Royalty @ U Street Music Hall

Here in Washington, DC, we almost have it all, but we’re still missing one thing: the quintessential Washingtonian indie band. It seems we might have finally grasped that with the emergence of four-piece locals U.S. Royalty. Comprised of brothers John and Paul Thornley, as well as bassist Jacob Michael and drummer Luke Adams, these guys bring a sound that incorporates influences from all ends of the musical spectrum, from Fleetwood Mac to spaghetti-western composer Ennio Morricone. With stellar performances at SXSW and CMJ proudly on their repertoire, as well as a mention in a White House Press Conference by Press Secretary and fan Jay Carney, U.S. Royalty may finally be our Next Big Thing. 

-Mandy Brownholtz