All posts tagged: Indie

Indie 80s: A Celebration of Small Moving Pictures

(Graphic: Darian S. Harvin/TueNight) I saw my first indie film when I was nine years old. Clutching my homemade lunch in one hand and my movie ticket in the other, I entered the dark theater at 8:30 a.m. that morning, the bright glare of sunlight still dazzling my eyes. I don’t remember what theater it was, only that it was between the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum (where my dad was a curator) and the office where my 18-year-old sister was working for the summer in 1964. She’d dropped me off, and I settled in to watch The Beatles cavort in A Hard Day’s Night. Five times. Me, the empty theater and the Fab Four. A Hard Day’s Night wasn’t a big studio movie but a small, special gem of a picture made with love and affection for its topic. The theater was the only place near our home in Maryland, 40 miles away, that the indie “mockumentary” was playing. And my parents and sister didn’t think twice about leaving me there all alone, completely unsupervised, from …

My Chat With a Sex Columnist, 21 Years Later

Anka Radakovich, second from left. (Photo Credit: Skytower Publishing) Anka Radakovich was an ‘80s and ‘90s “it” girl. As a sex columnist for Details magazine and the first ever sex columnist in media, she made her mark traipsing through New York documenting wild and wacky sex and dating proclivities — her own and others. As a wide-eyed 20-something, I interviewed Anka in 1994 for the Philadelphia City Paper after she released her book The Wild Girls Club: Tales From Below the Belt. Now a certified sexologist, Anka just released her third book in paperback, The Wild Girls Club, Part 2, Tales From New York To Hollywood. I figured 21 years later, we had a lot to catch up on. Margit: When you were writing for Details, I followed your byline like crazy — you were the super hip club girl sexpert that was cooler than I’d ever be. Anka: Those were exciting times. Working at Details was a dream job! It was a time when everyone read magazines, and Details was the hot magazine. There …

My Personal Hair-Metal Hell

(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight.com) There are only two bands on Earth that I truly hate. Despite having run the gauntlet of indie record store employee, college radio music director and Senior Music Editor of college radio weekly CMJ between 1988 and 2002, I only really have it in for two bands. First, the Doors. We’ll leave that one for another time. Second, and the target of my most virulent, Technicolor ire, is Mötley Crüe. Put simply, Mötley Crüe took some of the greatest influences in rock – the seed of glam that bloomed into the New York Dolls, the pull-no-punches riffs of countless fierce ‘70s bands like AC/DC and Cheap Trick, the parent-spooking studs and black leather of punk – and amalgamated them into the biggest pile of party-hardy excrement to hit the charts ever. Do I seem bitter? That’s because I was in high school at the apex/nadir of hair metal: 1986-1990. By the time I was 14, I was already a deeply invested music nerd, scouring liner note lists of “thank yous” to …

The Movie That Changed My Perspective on Race Forever

(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight.com) In July 1989, my friend Gregory and I went to the movies. This was not an unusual event. As childhood friends growing up in Queens, we often went to our local movie houses. Cinema, for us, was about fantasy. The movies transported us to other worlds, other times, to exotic countries, to outer space, to rousing adventures with a Fedora-wearing Indiana Jones, and to cutesy romantic comedies where good-looking couples rode horse and buggy carriages through Central Park. When “Do The Right Thing” was released in July 1989, it made quite a splash in the media. This powerful independent film, written, directed, and starring Spike Lee, a young black filmmaker from NYU, was a no-holds-barred story about race.   The film’s opening title sequence, in which Rosie Perez danced to Public Enemy’s defiant “Fight the Power,” immediately signaled the director’s intention not to sugarcoat his anger and frustration over the state of race relations in the city. Although the film was marketed as comedic, some theater owners were afraid of showing it, …

The Rise and Fall of the “Indie” Artist

I came to college radio in the ’90s, when “alternative” was earning itself a capital “A” among marketing types and when bands that existed for as long as a 7-inch were snagging major-label deals. This was also the period of slackers and Slacker, when corporate rock continued to suck and when Coca-Cola’s attempt to tell Gen Xers that they’d created a soda that was totally OK was met with derisive eye-rolls. The palpable tension between the creation of culture and its ever-quicker path toward commodification was probably best    exhibited in my world by the extended argument — written in Sharpie and a variety of pens — that covered the inlay of Built to Spill’s 1997 album Perfect From Now On. The trio’s major-label debut was a marvelous album full of sprawling songs and gorgeous textures, with singer-guitarist Doug Martsch tossing off explosive solos and meditative drones featuring lyrics about finding eternity’s true size and standing up to the demands of the metaphysical world. Perfect remains a fairly astounding piece of work, a shining example …