The Congo’s killing fields
Families separated. Millions left for dead. Do we share some of the blame?
Patrick Mwnyamahord knows where his father is buried because a neighbor showed him that small place. What he doesn't know is how his father got there, and there was no one he could safely ask, not then. Twelve years ago he and his family made one of a series of sudden escapes from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into nearby Burundi. On this particular exodus his father was too ill to travel and the family had to leave him.
The Southern rock band willing to call out our sins
Revolution Come… Revolution Go
Gov’t Mule (Fantasy Records, 2017).
Gov’t Mule started recording this album on election night in November 2016. According to the band’s lead singer, songwriter, and guitar virtuoso Warren Haynes, the songs were written on the road observing the bitter political divisions around the country.
Brother Ali’s hopeful prayer
Brother Ali’s latest album offers beauty and gratitude in an anxious time.
All the Beauty in this Whole Life
Brother Ali (Rhymesayers, 2017)
You’d be hard pressed to find an article about Brother Ali that fails to mention his unique story: He’s a white rapper from Minneapolis and a devout Muslim. Or that he was born with albinism, a condition that causes a deficiency of pigment in his skin and hair as well as impaired vision.
A woman at last
In ‘Wonder Woman’ accomplishment trumps beauty.
In Wonder Woman, there are moments so uncommonly witnessed in film that the audience can almost hear paradigms shifting, like giant tectonic plates of cultural attitudes grating over one another as they struggle to realign. Of course, such shifts should have happened long ago, or should have never been needed at all, and there have been lesser and occasional positive tremors along the fault lines before, here and there in film.
Ritual and prayer are what we have in common, says documentary ‘Sacred’
A new documentary explores ritual and prayer as primary human experiences.
“From ancient times down to the present, there is found among various peoples a certain perception of that hidden power which hovers over the course of things and over the events of human history [and] the recognition of a Supreme Being . . . . This perception and recognition penetrates their lives with a profound religious sense.”
‘American Gods’ is an unlikely tale of interfaith cooperation
The ‘s’ is there for a reason.
A coworker urged me into watching the new television series, American Gods, based off the Neil Gaiman novel by the same title. I was skeptical at first, and waited many weeks before I finally caved and settled in for a weekend of intense binge-watching.
The series did not disappoint.
Remembering Roger Ebert, America’s most beloved critic
Writing about movies, Roger Ebert had a lot to say about life.
He was perhaps America’s most beloved film critic, but that is not what Roger Ebert thought he wanted to be.
The way Ebert tells it, he imagined a career as a columnist, something along the lines of being a Mike Royko, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribune columnist who covered the city’s political scene. Instead, Ebert’s boss at the Chicago Sun-Times, Bob Zonka, announced in 1967 that Ebert would replace the paper’s retiring film critic, Eleanor Keen. Ebert’s life course was set.
‘Homecoming King’ tells a story of family, identity, and forgiveness
‘Homecoming King’ navigates serious subjects while still being laugh-out-loud funny.
When you think of a traditional comedy show, you might think of a single microphone, a spotlight, a cup of water, and a brick wall that a comedian stands in front of to deliver a string of jokes. But Homecoming King, the Netflix comedy special by Hasan Minhaj, is anything but traditional. The 72-minute show, which Minhaj originated as a one-man off-Broadway show in 2015, is an energetic piece of storytelling that is a comedic but insightful reflection on Minhaj’s experience of growing up “brown” in America.
Biblical dominion and ‘The Handmaid's Tale’
Hulu’s new show portrays a world where the bodies of women are used and discarded, exploited much like the land and water Gilead’s people have destroyed.
What if you woke up one morning and everything and everyone you knew and loved was gone? What if it happened slowly over time? In Hulu’s new series The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the 1986 book by Margaret Atwood, this is the situation in which protagonist Offred (Elizabeth Moss) finds herself. She goes to sleep in the United States of America and wakes up in the Republic of Gilead, an oppressive regime based on the perversion of scripture and patriarchy taken to the extreme.