The "dark money" the title refers to is shadowy corporate spending on political campaigns, enabled greatly by the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling — and with a new court nominee who's nothing if not corporation-friendly, the subject is extremely relevant. Filmmaker Kimberly Reed and her team followed journalists and other muckrackers covering campaigns in Montana, where both Democrats and Republicans were smeared by attack ads funded by misleadingly named groups that disclosed little or nothing about the corporations and wealthy individuals backing them. "There's not a dull or dry moment in Reed's briskly paced film about the secret assault on the American electoral and judicial process by corporations whose agenda is nothing less than the dismantling of government itself," says NPR reviewer Ella Taylor. The doc opens today at New York City's IFC Center, and there are upcoming screenings scheduled around the nation. Find more info here.
There has never been a more important time to showcase the stories of the LGBT community. As civil rights are being assailed, the Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival fights back with its showcase of narrative films and documentaries that speak to the struggles and triumphs of queer people around the globe. This year's fesitval, which runs now through July 22, shines a spotlight on a number of these issues, including conversion therapy, polyamory, HIV, and the heyday of Studio 54. Check out some of the favorites chosen by The Advocate's editors. And don't miss the full schedule of movies, panels, and parties at Outfest.org.
The man behind Borat and Bruno is back in a world where politicians seem crazier than his outlandish characters. Sacha Baron Cohen stars in this new series where he impersonates a newscaster interviewing the most infamous in American culture. This "evil, exploitive, sick humor," as Sarah Palin calls it, has already made headlines for getting former Vice President Dick Cheney to sign a "waterboarding kit" on air. Premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. on Showtime.
Many people in the middle class find themselves working long hours without attendant compensation while facing high costs of child care, education, and the necessities of living. Journalist Alissa Quart examines this phenomenon in Squeezed: Why Our Families Can't Afford America. She deals with her own experiences as well as those of many others who expected to be more secure than they are. Barbara Ehrenreich, who's written eloquently herself about the struggles of the middle class and the working poort, calls Squeezed a "keen, elegantly written, and scorching account of the American family today." Find ordering information here or visit your local bookseller.
African LGBT digital media organization None on Record just launched a weekly podcast series called AfroQueer. The eight-episode narrative-driven podcast series explores queer Africans living, loving, thriving, and surviving on the continent and in the diaspora. The first season covers Africa's oldest Pride celebration and gay men who have been blackmailed while using Grindr in Kenya. "We went into this podcast with a desire to tell important long-ranging stories about movements and countries and histories. And also quieter stories about a person or an experience that we thought would resonate with people," says Aida Holly-Nambi, arts and culture director at None on Record. "Our stories are not always perfect, but they are always beautiful.” You can find AfroQueer on SoundCloud, iTunes, and anywhere you listen to podcasts.
CNN's The History of Comedy is back for a second season, and look for coverage of a sitcom that starred Sean Hayes, who's an executive producer of the show. The season, which premieres Sunday at 10 p.m., will deal with not only Will & Grace but Ellen DeGeneres and other series and comics who've made us both laugh and emphasize. The theme of the season opener is "Carnal Knowledge," focusing on sexual humor from Shakespeare to Sarah Silverman. Hayes talks to CNN's Jake Tapper about the series below.
This weekend, San Diego celebrates Pride with a rally, a 5K run, a parade, and a festival. Speaking at this Friday’s rally are Christina Kehoe, San Diego’s first LGBT elected official, and Danica Roem, the first transgender woman to be elected to any state legislature. Celebrants can start their Saturday running in rainbow tutus for the 5K and then slow to a brisk walk among marchers in the Pride parade. The festival runs from Saturday afternoon and all through Sunday, so check out its lineup!