Anti-war protesters carol for peace

“Oh come, all ye lefties, pinkos, greens and Commies,” the crowd in front of Walker Library sang. “Oh come, all ye lefties, let’s go stop a war.”The subversive spin on the seasonal tune was part of Saturday’s anti-war holiday caroling, led by the Counter-Propaganda Singers near Hennepin and Lagoon avenues. About 30 activists from the Iraq Peace Action Coalition and other anti-war groups displayed signs and sang Christmas songs rewritten as progressive anthems.Between songs, speakers updated the crowd on local anti-war activity and reiterated their causes. The protest focused on the just-announced expansion of the fight in Afghanistan, and the group expressed support for Army whistleblower Bradley Manning.”A lot of people are thinking about the holidays right now, so we present them with familiar tunes, but then surprise them with things they maybe haven’t been thinking about,” Jess Sundin of the Anti-War Committee explained. “Songs are also a good way to keep spirits high.”John Slade of the Counter-Propaganda Coalition wrote or co-wrote most of the event’s songs. Continue Reading

MOVIES | Home movie: Mark Wojahn’s “Trampoline” is a raw portrait of a Twin Cities family

In Mark Wojahn’s new documentary Trampoline, which screened Wednesday at the Heights Theatre, husband (and stepfather of four) Nathaniel muses to the camera that maybe the world is divided into two types of people: those who have teenagers, and those who don’t.By that point in the film, we’ve seen a girl jump angrily on a trampoline while holding a snow shovel, another girl explain how she set her leg on fire while on Valium, a boy babbling in an exaggerated French accent to a handheld camera while in a bathtub, and another boy talking about chugging vodka through a beer bong. Maybe the idea of a separate, foreign world inhabited only by teenagers and those trying to raise them isn’t so far-fetched.Trampoline takes us deep inside this world, or really this family. There’s Osla, bohemian mother of four; Nathaniel, her husband of 12 years; and the teenagers, Chanel, Wolfgang, Tabitha, and Johann. The family relocated from Australia some years before the events of the documentary, moving to a three-story fixer-upper in the Twin Cities. Wojahn, a family friend, spent a year filming the family, and ultimately captured not only the intense energy and recklessness of the kids but the disintegration of their mother and stepfather’s marriage.Because Wojahn had so much access—he even had his own room in the house—he’s able to get up close and personal with the family’s highs and lows. Continue Reading