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Emily's Current Global Culture Intake
Emily Gertz, 18 Jun 04

It's been a while since we did a round-up of global culture on WorldChanging.

Here are a few things I've been enjoying, but who can keep up? Tell us what's high on your list in the comments.

bicrunga.jpgNew Zealand Pop, Electronica, Film: I've been listening to NZ pop star Bic Runga's strangly addicting CD, Beautiful Collision. Last year's art house hit film Whale Rider turned me on to NZ electronica like International Observer. I'm hoping to get some new(er) NZ CDs, like stellar's last outing, magic line, when some friends come stateside from Auckland in a few weeks.

Defies Easy Labels: dj Cheb i Sabbah's As Far As - a dj mix has been holding steady in my CD player. Sabbah remixes music from three continents - Asia, Africa and Arabia - and nine languages into his own unique dj aesthetic. Here's a custom playlist and interview he did with public television's documentary series Frontline.

fray.jpgPulp Is Good For You: What's a fan of brilliant tv writer/producer/director Joss Whedon to do, now that both his long running shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel are out of production, and Serenity (the movie based on his too-good-to-live tv science fiction series Firefly) is months away from the big screen?

I know, I know: I can go outside and get some sun. At least I can bring Astonishing X-Men #1 with me - a new Marvel Comics book featuring those angsty mutant superheros. Still in gravity-defying bustiers and skin-tight bodysuits, still trying to save a world that hates them, but now with a multi-issue story written by smart, funny, saavy Whedon himself. His specialities include strong heroines, conflicted heros, contemporary dialogue, deep relationships and twisty plots.

I'll probably be picking up a copy of Fray, too - his comic set in the far future of the "Buffyverse."

godzilla_poster.jpg Uncut! Uncensored! Undubbed! Do not miss the 50th anniversary release of the original Godzilla. Raymond Burr's gone, 20 minutes of original footage are restored - watch for the Tokyo commuters griping about having to flee the city AGAIN, just like during the war - new subtitles, and of course, the original, unrepentant, 30-story tall reptilian symbol of atomic folly, with no Godzuki in sight.

Film Forum writes: ...the original Japanese GODZILLA is one of the great films by a sci-fi master, Ishiro Honda (Akira Kurosawa’s close friend and occasional second unit director)...The unrelentingly grim American version excised all of the film’s comic relief (including some astonishing Strangelove-like black humor) and censored its strong anti-H-Bomb message, turning it into a run-of-the-mill monster-on-the-loose picture...The real (human) star of the movie is Takashi Shimura (best known for his Kurosawa roles, including the leader of The Seven Samurai and the doomed man of Ikiru) as a revered paleontologist who insists that Godzilla must be studied, not destroyed (he’s in the minority). This first Godzilla is truly terrifying - a 30-story Jurassic behemoth intent on destroying an exquisitely detailed miniature Tokyo - a tour de force by special effects genius Eiji Tsubaraya.

Check out this great exhibit: Godzilla Conquers the Globe: Japanese Movie Monsters in International Film Art.

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Eek. Bic Runga is well okay I guess, but it horrifies me to think she's representing NZ music in the outside world...

NZ music to track down:

Rhian Sheehan
Jet Jaguar


fat freddy's drop
salmonella dub
trinity roots

phoenix foundation

um. that's a few of the many. there's a whole lot going on in the underground too. and i'm not even plugging my band in the above. :)

Posted by: billy on 22 Jun 04

Bic is def. a particularly smooth pop flavor...sometimes she strikes me as very mildly reminiscent of Blossom Dearie (renowned U.S. jazz singer, in case the name doesn't ring a bell)--not enough depth to her yet, maybe she'll get there.
There is just something sort of cute and jangly about the arrangements that keeps me listening.

Thanks for the list!

Are there any particular web sites you recommend for keeping up w/nz music?

Posted by: Emily Gertz on 23 Jun 04

How exactly is this "World Changing?"

Posted by: Allan on 26 Jun 04

Part of our beat here is to discuss cultural globalism: the experience of media and arts from different parts of the world.

Sometimes that even includes especially good stuff coming out of the U.S., like the intelligently written, imaginative, feminist mass media entertainments of a groundbreaking innovator like Joss Whedon.

As Jamais recently noted, we want to enjoy the world and change it at the same time. To (re)quote Emma Goldman: If I cannot dance, I want no part in your revolution.

Posted by: Emily Gertz on 26 Jun 04



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