Archive for documentary film

Go Skateistan! Skate Day Kabul

Posted in culture, feminism, film with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2011 by Sunshine Superboy

Kabul Skate Day

From Kabul:

Take 180 kids, give them skateboards and take to the city streets. Here in Kabul it might seem like a foolhardy prospect, fraught with potential dangers. However, for the third time running on June 21, the simplicity of the idea became the beauty of it. Go Skateboarding Day is an international holiday dedicated to celebration of the sport, from Afghanistan to China to the Americas.

As Skateistan students first trickled, then poured through the park gates on to the road, bursting through the attendant ranks of photographers, officials and police, nothing could have stopped them.

Some skated, some sat and were pushed by a friend and others ran, awaiting their turn. Regardless of how they negotiated the 1.6km route, over potholes in the fiery sunshine, they smiled and laughed all the way. It was difficult to tell what surprised onlookers more, the magical wheeled boards or simply the speeding clusters of boys and girls dressed in flowing, coloured rainbows of Afghan clothing. Gentle nods sent the happy spectacle on its way, as life returned to normal in its wake.

Finally, dusty and triumphant, the skaters stormed back into their park for a celebratory contest to the beat of Afghan dul drums. The boys’ contest was won by Mohammad Bilal Mir Bat Zai, 15, who is disabled and skates by sitting on his board with crossed legs. The girls’ contest winner, Hanifa, 14, works on the street along with her younger sister. It was clear to see the high spirits of all who participated in Go Skate Day Kabul, who, without exception, could feel proud of who they are and what they represent.

Cool. And then there’s that Sundance Documentary from earlier this year, all about Skateistan.


Farewell Soft Skull Press

Posted in art & music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2010 by Sunshine Superboy

from Arsenal Pulp Press:

Sad news in the publishing world today; Soft Skull Press, once one of the preeminent indie presses in the US, is basically no more.

Soft Skull Press, the indie publisher that was rescued from financial ruin when it was acquired by the Berkeley-based publisher Counterpoint in 2007, became a West Coast outfit on Friday after 17 years in New York with the closing of its office in the Flatiron District. Both of its full-time staffers, editorial director Denise Oswald and associate editor Anne Horowitz, were laid off, and titles that were already in the pipeline have been reassigned to editors at Counterpoint.

According to Counterpoint CEO Charlie Winton, Soft Skull will live on from California, though there will not be any one there dedicated to running it. Mr. Winton’s conception of that brand is broad. “We see the role of Soft Skull as introducing new writers,” he said, when asked to define the imprint’s sensibility. “In general, those writers are probably going to be a little younger and maybe a little edgier.”

The press achieved legendary status for having published Fortunate Son, the unauthorized biography of George W. Bush, after original publisher St. Martin’s withdrew its first edition from the market due to threats from Bush’s lawyers; the book became a huge bestseller. However, its author, J.H. Hatfield, continued to suffer from the efforts of those who doggedly and successfully smeared his name; he committed suicide only a month after Soft Skull’s second edition was published. (The drama was captured in the amazing documentary Horns and Halos.)

In later years, publisher Richard Nash steered Soft Skull to greater heights, but it remained a defiantly marginal operation; I recall the time we visited Richard and his associate at Soft Skull’s Brooklyn office — a former bookstore that was so cramped, we had to meet on the sidewalk outside. In 2007, due to financial problems resulting from his distributor, Richard sold the press to Counterpoint, where it became an imprint of a larger firm; Richard remained Soft Skull’s publisher but left about a year later. (He’s now renowned as a public speaker in the publishing industry on the subject of books and technology, and is now the brains behind Cursor, a digital publishing concern.)

Which brings us to today’s news: Counterpoint has laid off Soft Skull’s existing staff and will re-locate the “name” to the west coast, albeit with no staff attached to it. I guess it’s not surprising; whenever an independent press has been forced to sell to a larger outfit, more often than not it eventually gets wholly absorbed into the parent company until its name and reputation are “disappeared.” It’s a shame.

“They Dont Care About Us”: New Orleans housing (in)justice

Posted in anthropology, art & music, politics, race, racism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

My friend put together this trailer for a film he is working on. Given so many past themes of Michal J. Jackson and New Orleans, I felt compelled to share:

Update: just to clarify its not a trailer for their full length documentary, its a special intro for pieces (which can be found here) on housing justice made for the 4th anniversary of katrina. The website also has the trailer for their full documentary.


also. while we at it, my friends Alixa and Naima, who are in cahoots as Climbing PoeTree have a road show called Hurricane Season, which you should catch in yr town as it rolls through. It deals with the continuity between post Katrina exploitation and repression of black people all the way back to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. And its fierce. Respek:

so long,
Sunshine Superboy