Films!! (and Books) by Friends – December 2014

Family and Friends,

I’m breaking tradition and starting with Films by Friends this time.

And what a blockbuster heads the list: She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry. The latest from award-winning filmmaker Mary Dore, She’s Beautiful resurrects the buried history of the tenacious, brilliant, risk-taking women who founded the modern women’s liberation movement from 1966 to 1971. The film opens in theaters in New York this weekend, Los Angeles next weekend, and more than a dozen other cities during January and February. (See the schedule here.) With humor, passion and fantastic archival footage, She’s Beautiful vividly portrays the movement’s breakthrough accomplishments. And via hard-hitting interviews with Fran Beal, Linda Burnham, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and many other movement veterans it delves into the inner-movement controversies over race, class, sexuality and leadership that remain living debates today.

Keep your eyes open for more documentaries now in the pipeline. Sonny Singh is one of the featured subjects of with WINGS and ROOTS, which tells the story of five children of immigrants in New York and Berlin who use their art and/or activism to redefine belonging. Now in post-production, the film explores issues of xenophobia, racism and assimilation. You can find out more about the film or help it get to completion, here.

Andrés Feliciano is musical director and co-producer of the more-than-timely Paper City, a film and educational program aimed at stopping the school-to-prison pipeline.  An Official Selection at several 2014 Film Festivals including the Chicago International Social Change Film Festival and the International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival, Paper City is an innovative educational project as well as a film. Find out more about the project and what it needs to become a free, on-line resource here.

Natalie Reuss is in the final stages of producing Civita, a poetic, observational film about the ancient Italian hill town, Civita di Bagnoregio. Natalie’s camera follows the residents of Civita over all four seasons of the year they continue living as their ancestors did century after century. More on this evocative project can be found here.

Francesca Fiorentini’s creativity and social commentary takes several audio-visual forms, including hard-hitting segments on Al Jazeera’s AJ+ channel, Francesca’s Laugh to Not Cry comedy series on YouTube and her Stand-Up live shows. Sample 4 Alternatives to Bombing ISIS or “Mission Creep” on AJ+’s regular “Word of the Week” feature. Or visit the portal to all of her work here.

If you can make it to Detroit this month, check out the Power to the Vanguard exhibit, featuring original printed materials from revolutionary movements of 1963-1987 around the world from the collection of Brad Duncan. The exhibition runs through December 28 at Trinosophes, a gallery and performance space located in Detroit’s Eastern Market at 1464 Gratiot. More information about the collection of unique prints, posters, pamphlets, buttons and rare newspapers from El Salvador to Ireland to Mozambique in this exhibition can be found here.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, a watershed in the evolution of 1960s protests. One of its immediate legacies was an outpouring of creative and political energy that blossomed at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design (CED) in the spring of 1970. An exhibition of posters, experimental structures, and other items is on display at CED’s library gallery through December 19. Most of the content is from Lincoln Cushing’s collection; information about the exhibit can be found here.

Now to Books…

A fitting read before or after you’ve seen She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry is Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women’s Movements. The book covers the 1920s to the present and challenges the “lean-in,” trickle-down version of feminism that depoliticizes labor issues, divergent economic circumstances and politics itself. Linda Gordon is one of the three authors, ordering information is here.

Development without Displacement: Resisting Gentrification in the Bay Area is a groundbreaking report from Causa Justa: Just Cause (CJJC). Used and praised by activists rooted in communities of color and poor communities across the country, the costs of this report’s initial printing have already been recouped and CJJC has made it available as a free download here.

Ten years ago, four organizers at People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER) tackled vital questions of political economy and organizing strategy in Towards Land, Work & Power: Charting a Path of Resistance to US-led Imperialism. This book “for conscious organizers and by conscious organizers” (authors Steve Williams, Jaron Browne, Marisa Franco, and Jason Negron-Gonzales) is out in a new edition here.

What Did You Learn at Work Today: The Forbidden Lessons of Labor Education, explains how to capture and preserve what workers learn at work and use it to build power. Written by experienced labor educator Helena Worthen, the book is “part history, part sociology, part political science and part learning theory…an excellent volume for people who work.”  It can be ordered here.

Innosanto Nagara’s A Is for Activist: An ABC Board Book for Kids of the 99% was flagged in my December 2012 Books by Friends message. A Spanish adaptation – not a mere translation – by Martha Gonzalez is now available. Full information about A de Activista can be found here.

Community Organizing: Fanning the Flame of Democracy, by David Walls, charts how community organizing has transcended the neighborhood to seek power and influence at the metropolitan, state, and national levels, and discusses how community organizing offers concepts and tools that are indispensable for a democratic strategy of social change. Ordering information is here.

That’s all for now, but if you want to see all the books, films, musical performances and more listed in all 14 previous Books by Friends messages, you can access them here.


Peace on Earth, Good Will to All,