The intelligentsia has been re-traumatized by that dastardly Dylan. First, they had to put up with the very fact that a “rock singer” (or however we label him) is winning a prize that is supposed to be for literature. As Bill Crane put it last fall, “The middlebrow literary establishment in this country, as may have been predicted, has completely failed to understand the significance any of this.”
Crane makes an exquisite formal and substantive argument in defense of Bob Dylan as a poet, though takes a position typical of the Left regarding Dylan’s “turns” after his classic activist period.
Musician and socialist Dave Randall’s Sound System: The Political Power of Music was released to positive reviews in May. Randall, a veteran musician who has worked with Faithless, Sinead O’Connor and Emiliana Torrini among others, examines in the book music’s many uses and abuses from the perspective of both a practitioner and a serious Marxist. Here, Red Wedge republishes an interview conducted with Randall by rs21’s Colin Revolting on the book, its inspiration, some of its highlights, and how a radical movement can subtly but actively approach popular music.
My guests today are two of the editors of Red Wedge Magazine, Alex Billet and Adam Turl. Listen as we discuss the upcoming changes to Red Wedge Magazine as well as art, politics, Marxism, and the popular avant-garde. This show was recorded while getting a delicious brunch at Milque Toast Bar in St. Louis, MO. I’ll never be able to afford a house now after the delectable avocado toast I ate during the recording of this podcast
Above is the new single “Tell Ya” by rapper, lyricist, and poet Saint Jame from his new E.P. Impressions. “Tell Ya” is produced by Mighty Mizu. You can check out more of Saint Jame's music on SoundCloud. Saint Jame's new E.P. Impressions is also available for streaming, downloading, and purchasing on Bandcamp. Be sure to check out Saint Jame's artist statement below. – The Editors
There are big changes coming to Red Wedge’s publication and posting schedule. Starting with issue three (out in July) on “The Return of the Crowd," Red Wedge will be going quarterly.
Since the founding of Red Wedge in 2012 there has been a mushrooming and further development of left-wing and explicitly socialist publishing. As readers may know, we have spent much of the past eighteen months discussing our way forward, and feel that our current moment, our current environment, demands that Red Wedge professionalize itself.
Masterful cinema usually leaves little to accident. With the film world completely oversaturated by works that are intellectually lazy and yet somehow overwrought with production costs, this is easy to forget. Many would say that the age of the auteur is behind us. It’s overly glib, but also understandable.
Throw in a film that cuts against this, where everything is well-placed and intentionally so, and a film-going public hungry for something that hits the sweet-spot between smart and emotionally satisfying will not be able to stop talking about it. Enter, like an unexpected guest who has been hiding in your basement, Get Out.
Shirin Rastin is an Iranian-born artist based in Orange County, California. She is exhibiting her latest series, Forced Entry, at the Dollar Art House in St. Louis, Missouri. The exhibition opens on Friday, March 24. The Dollar Art House interviewed her about her work before the exhibition opening.
Dollar Art House: In this series you combine commercial puzzles with puzzles you’ve made using images from the news media. In particular these include puzzles that show an idyllic “western” or “American” life (the former) and puzzles that depict the ongoing refugee crisis (the latter). Can you tell us something about how you arrived at this concept?
Imagine, if you will, aliens, grey ones, with those big eyes, travelling through the universe and finding a capsule in the sky, representing the people from the planet Earth, a peaceful place (or so it looks from space). On the capsule, the aliens find a recording – it is “Johnny B. Goode”, the 1958 ur-narrative of rock music, Horatio Alger as channeled through the experience of Southern working class youth. “He never learned to read or write so well,” sings Chuck Berry, who died on Saturday at 90 years old, “but he could play his guitar just like-a-ringin’ a bell”. A sort of rock folk-tale, young Johnny can’t do much except play guitar.
Madeline loves it
And sits as Mother would.
The priest like her Father
Dressed all in grey,
Palms fluttering with
Life was smithereens of decisions and constant problems and challenges. And so were her stories. She stuck the smithereens of stories together with home-made glue, with the cracks between them still visible and the glue all pungent, and made a novel.
Someone else kept a diary the old fashioned way, with smithereens of thoughts jotted into a notebook he kept tucked under his pillow. And Eduardo Galeano wrote history as a series of little stories in Memories of Fire, and in Children of the Days he wrote one vignette for each day of the year.