Jeremy Scahill in Iraq.
News Like This News
(Friday), the Hudson Mohawk Independent Media Center will
debut a new documentary, Independent Media in a Time of
War, the third in the Center’s series of films exploring
themes related to the buildup to war with Iraq.
The documentary, narrated by Demo-cracy Now! host Amy
Goodman, was a collaborative effort of a number of Capital
Region filmmakers, editors and producers in the traditional
indie-media, DIY style. The filmmakers conducted exhaustive
research for the film, scouring a number of print and online
libraries, as well as a variety of media archives. The end
result, said Steve Pierce, who helped edit the film, is a
withering look at the Bush administration’s case for war with
Iraq as portrayed by the mainstream media.
is a lot of stuff in there that people have never seen because
it was on Al Jazeera or it was on international programming,”
Pierce said. “The corporate media showed the fireworks over
Baghdad, the silhouettes of tanks and soldiers at sunset in
the desert—these really glamorized images of war—whereas in
Europe and other parts of the world, what they saw were images
of kids and women and civilian causalities.”
Besides presenting the horrors of war unseen to American audiences,
Pierce said Independent Media offers a rallying call
to those unhappy with the mainstream media’s representation
of the facts.
call to action is to not accept what we’re getting from the
corporate media, to challenge what they’re telling us, and
to create alternatives,” Pierce said. “The overriding agenda
is to encourage people to wake up and start holding some people
[in the media] accountable for their responsibility in what
Pierce said the film is being distributed by the Media Education
Foundation, which circulates various documentary films and
media literacy tapes to colleges and universities throughout
the country. Storied social activists Noam Chomsky, Robert
Mc Chesney, Naomi Klein and Todd Gitlin, among others, sit
on the 12-year-old organization’s board of advisors.
Jeremy Scahill, an independent journalist with Democracy
Now! who has been unembedded in Baghdad since major conflict
began, will be the evening’s featured speaker.
The film will be shown tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 12), at 7:30
PM at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s West Hall. Admission
to the screening is by donation and tapes of the film will
be on sale. All proceeds will go to benefit the Hudson Mohawk
Indy Media Center, which is part of a worldwide network of
media activists using traditional and new media technologies
to cover global movements for peace and justice.
ventures have pretty miserable rates of success; artistic
entrepreneurial ventures, sadly, face even more daunting odds.
The most recent area organization to fall to those odds is
Saratoga Stages, the professional theatrical-production company
founded by Lew and Pat Titterton (co-owners of Funny Cide)
and Bruce Bouchard, the founding artistic director of Capital
Though the company generated critical enthusiasm for their
forward-looking programming and their ability to attract well-respected
troupes—such as the Barrow Group and Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s
LAByrinth Theater Company—to the area, the money just wasn’t
there. Audience response was favorable; audience size was
not. Furthermore, difficulties with fund-raising, the lack
of a dedicated performance venue and a slew of other logistical
obstacles made the going rough from the very beginning, when
the company’s initial production was scaled down to a dramatic
home, a terribly difficult winter, a cold start with The
Dead Boy, our peripatetic nature, the war, the economy,”
Bouchard ticks off. “None of these things helped. When you
produce theater, you worry about any two of those things.”
Those challenges notwithstanding, Bouchard is quick to point
out that Saratoga Stages did manage to present six professional
productions in just over a year, and for only $220,000.
that’s everything, from staff to Roadrunner,” Bouchard says.
“You can’t get any more cost-effective than that.”
Bouchard identifies the hard work and contributions of his
staff and cofounders as primary factors in the company’s artistic
successes: “Kudos to the Tittertons for great taste, great
vision. We gave it a shot, it didn’t work. That’s it.”
Saratoga Stages will attempt to continue as a volunteer organization,
though at present the character and programming of this reconstituted
company is up in the air. Bouchard hints that he is looking
for new opportunities in the area, but will not divulge specifics.
I don’t know,” he chuckles, “I’m being coy.”
He is intent on pursuing the mission of Saratoga Stages in
some form, however, and does allow that his next endeavor
may pick up where his last left off.
I continue doing what I feel pretty strongly I was put on
Earth to do, all those relationships are still in place.”
weekend (Sept. 5 through 7), throngs of tattooed, pierced
and otherwise physically altered folks descended on the Hudson
Valley’s premiere hippietown for the Woodstock Tattoo and
Body Arts Festival. The shindig gave people a chance to show
off their own bodily alterations and adornments, and, according
to reliable reports, critique other participants’ pins and
ink—in often unflattering, even cutting, terms. All’s fair
in love and piercing, apparently. (You should see the pictures
we aren’t running—the too-heavy fellow hanging by bloody fish
hooks was just a bit too much.)