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Nobody likes a No Man

28 Nov

We’re in the waning days of the Yes Men‘s Kickstarter campaign to finance their new film and an “Action Switchboard”, to connect activists around the world to new and existing projects and causes. Go check it out!


Get Empowered

27 Jun

Shira Golding Evergreen, one half of our friends at Shirari Industries (who designed the Hard Working Movies website), has directed a documentary called “Empowered: Power from the People” about energy (in)dependence and the grassroots movement to be truly self-sustaining. Per the film’s site:

Tompkins County, NY is one of the cloudiest, least windy places in the country, and yet its residents are proving that we can meet our energy needs through totally renewable resources. From solar and wind to veggie oil and geothermal, Empowered: Power from the People tells the story of one community’s role in the energy independence revolution.

Check out a clip from the film below, and hit up its website to see the entire film.


Be angry, be beautiful

8 Jun

Mary Dore and Nancy Kennedy are currently editing their new documentary “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry“, about the birth of the women’s liberation movement, from 1966 to 1972; and, consequently, a film on how popular movements can force the enactment of social change. A thrilling and funny film, it looks at the dignified ladies with hats and gloves who helped form NOW, the cool-headed intellectuals (Cynthia Ozick’s famous put-down of Norman Mailer’s writing technique with spherical objects comes fondly to mind), the street-taking radicals (hello, “WITCH/Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!”), and everyone in between. Read more about the film here, and if you’re interested in participating/supporting the project, click here. (cross-posted from

The Austin Motel Revisited

3 Dec

Even though there is an expensive hotel next door, with fancier soap, I couldn’t imagine visiting Austin and not staying at the Austin Motel. Unless of course it’s packed, which is often the case. This time I checked in, but didn’t see the cardboard cutout of Elvis in the lobby. The girl at the front desk said it was put away because it’s faded and old. A little disappointed because even a faded Elvis is better than none at all, but then I saw the picture of the motel’s owner, Dottye Dean, on the wall. I knew Dottye didn’t put that picture up herself but was afraid to ask.

Dottye’s segment in This Land Is Your Land was one of my favorites of the whole film. She tells a story about the fire that hit the motel a number of years earlier. Instead of firing employees when there were no guests to service, the employees were used to fix up the motel, making it ready for them to re-open again. She didn’t have to let go of any employees during that hard time. And, as Dottye says, if she had been a corporate-owned business, accountable to shareholders, she wouldn’t have been able to do that. With one anecdote, she was able to summarize a big problem in American business today. Accountability to shareholders, instead of people.

When I checked out of the motel a couple days later, I asked the front desk clerk what happened to Dottye. He said she died April 22, 2011 after a struggle with illness. Dottye inherited the business from her mother, and the family tradition continues. Her son Mark is now in the process of relocating his family from Massachusetts to run the motel. Asked if he’s hopeful the motel will stay the same place we love, the desk clerk sighed and said, “I will tell you this… I think we’re shocked by just how employee-friendly she was. The profit margins are very low in this place.”

I’m hopeful they’ll keep it going! In 2011, The Austin Chronicle named The Austin Motel the Best Motel in Austin – for the 15th year in a row. We’ll miss you, Dottye. So Close But Still So Far Out!

Shop local

25 Nov

After 9,000 people storm Macy’s at midnight on Black Friday, we decide to wait until tomorrow for any shopping at nationwide Small Business Saturday. There’s usually more interesting things to buy and we like supporting our friends and neighbors, like Otto or Unnameable Books or Metal and Thread or Music Matters or the Brooklyn Superhero Supply store.