Difficult political times have long led to great art whether it be from stage or the plate. We take a look at how it’s been done before and think about how it might happen in our future.

Discussion on Saturday at 3:45 p.m. at the LoFi library booth.


Peter Buck of R.E.M. on Col. Bruce Hampton in The Bitter Southerner, May 2017:

"But he didn’t just teach them chord changes. He taught improvisation, how to live in the moment, how to listen to other people, how to not follow the rules. That’s more life coaching than it is music coaching. He taught them a way to look at the world through music.

‘It wasn’t just jam-band stuff,’ Buck said. ‘I mean, freedom crosses all borders, and one of the things he taught me is that to perform, all you have to do is be. I wanted to talk to you to represent the fact that the Colonel went beyond all those ghettos people tried to put him in.’”

Read the full story here.


Richard McCarthy, executive director of Slow Food USA, shared his thoughts on farmers as punks and pirates at a Southern Foodways Alliance symposium. He began with an example of the Spanish Armada—its size is part of what caused it to fail in the face of the quick, smaller, more nimble English fleet. Their plunder sowed seeds of democracy. The following is paraphrased from his talk and an Alabama Chanin blog post:

“Today we have cultural assets—treasures—like food and music that we have to attend to in order to keep them growing productively, as there are forces that want to homogenize them. Large corporations want to make these assets part of the ‘system,’ giving them a branding or corporate identity. Cutting-edge cultural assets are thus being dulled down, their sharp edges rounded by removing the regional taste, place and sound. We’re in a struggle between commercialization of our culture and our desire to protect the parts that are authentic.

In the music scene of the 1970’s, we saw punks—social pirates—having an angry reaction to this homogenization of culture. By creating mischief and social anxiety within the system, they helped make music culture more democratic. According to Richard, this DIY attitude has a parallel today in the food industry where we see large-scale homogenization of food threatening to remove the ‘complex, authentic textures and tastes that we want to treasure.’ While we have experienced some success in retaking some of our local cultural assets through independent film and guerrilla journalism to education as well as farmers markets and people (pirates) making a difference, we have to resist the call to become larger in scale because that ‘Armada’ might not be sustainable. 'I think that we need to be really focused at being better at what we are doing and not necessarily larger with what we are doing,’ he says.”

See Richard’s talk here.

Read the full blog post here.




Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation by Jeff Chang

A look at the social, political, geographical and economic roots of a cultural revolution

Subculture: The Meaning of Style by Dick Hebdige

Hebdige discusses the movements like the Mods and punks and how their habits and fashions weren’t just blind rebellion but spoke to the social contradictions around them.

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Along with his own misadventures, Bourdain defines an archetypal rebel within the food world, sharing a side of celebrity chef culture not often discussed.