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Of Ingredients, Greed and Expediency: Big Chem and the Big Stink – February 26, 2016

In Review: Stink!

Jon Whelan’s documentary Stink! proves, among other things, that the feminist insight “the personal is political” remains true. According to his film, the untimely death of Whelan’s wife Heather from breast cancer, combined with the pungent odor of brand new pajamas he bought for his daughters, propelled the New York-based writer/director to investigate the chemical industry. Like Ulysses with a camera, Whelan embarks on an odyssey that takes him from corporate boardrooms to the halls of Congress, pitting him against the Cyclops of Big Chem. 

Bought as a Christmas present, the pajamas’ noticeable scent prompted Whelan to phone HQ Justice, the company selling the bedclothes. Unable… more

by: Ed Rampell

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LA’s Gritty Sodbusters – January 22, 2016

In Review: Can You Dig This

During the Age of Reason, Voltaire wrote the philosophical novel Candide about a youth who travels around the world and upon returning home to Europe at the end of his odyssey towards self-discovery, realizes: “We must cultivate our gardens.”

Los Angeles-born and raised Delila Vallot’s 83-minute documentary Can You Dig This transplants Voltaire’s notion to South Central Los Angeles, following a handful of latter- day Candides as they pursue urban gardening on their own paths to enlightenment in an area where movies such as Boyz n the Hood and Straight Outta Compton were set.

Twenty-three-year-old ex-gangmember Mychael “Spicey” Evans and the tattooed 21-year-old, formerly “gang… more

by: Ed Rampell

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In Review: The Russian Woodpecker – October 16, 2015

Chernobyl Conspiracy and Cover-up: New Documentary Suggests World’s Worst-Ever Eco-Accident Was Actually Deliberate

Move over Oliver Stone — Chad Gracia’s award winning documentary The Russian Woodpecker is the ultimate conspiracy theory film. This hard-hitting movie makes Stone’s JFK look like a motion picture picnic in the park as it investigates whether the biggest manmade environmental “accident” in human history was, in fact, deliberately caused.

Photo of The Russian WoodpeckerPhoto by Artem Ryzhykov Fedor Alexandrovich doesn’t believe the 1986 Chernobyl disaster was an accident.

Using archival footage, news clips, and original photographs and videos by cinematographer Artem Ryzhykov (including handheld undercover material secretly shot with GoPro cameras), The Russian Woodpecker takes us through the… more

by: Ed Rampell

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Thirty Years Later: The Bombing of the Rainbow Warrior – July 10, 2015

New Zealand journalist David Robie returns with two books commemorating the sinking of Greenpeace’s iconic ship and the nuclear-free Pacific movement

Thirty years ago today French secret agents blew up Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior in nuclear free New Zealand. Paris’ covert action, code-named Opération Satanique (Operation Satanic), sank the 131-foot ship in Auckland Harbor, killing 35-year-old Portuguese photographer Fernando Pereira and leaving his eight-year-old daughter Marelle fatherless. The goal of the July 10, 1985 attack was to stop Greenpeace’s flagship vessel from sailing to Moruroa atoll and joining a peace flotilla of New Zealanders and Tahitians to protest at France’s South Pacific nuclear test site.

Photo of Rainbow WarriorPhoto by John MillerThe bombed Rainbow Warrior at Marsden Wharf in Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour.

Since the 1970s, Robie… more

by: Ed Rampell

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Star Wars, Hawaiian Style – April 26, 2015

Indigenous activists take on Northern Hemisphere’s biggest telescope

The Big Island of Hawaii is often in the news because of the active Kilauea volcano. However, an eruption of another sort at the dormant 13,796 foot-high Mauna Kea is thrusting Hawaii back into the headlines. This explosion of activism has been triggered not by TNT, but by “TMT,” the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope, the Northern Hemisphere’s largest, most advanced optical telescope, which is slated to be built on the summit of the Aloha State’s highest peak. This 184 foot-tall, 18 story-high, eight acre, $1.4 billion construction project has sparked a wave of occupations and protests by Native Hawaiians, environmentalists, and their allies, stretching from Hawaii to California.

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by: Ed Rampell

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