Best of ATM 2018, Arts, Music, Film & Culture

As 2018 comes to its close, Across the Margin takes a look back at some of its most treasured moments in Arts, Music, Film and Culture…

Throughout this final week of 2018, Across the Margin has been seasoning the air with thanks for all those who have spent time within our pages whilst sharing our picks for the “Best of Across the Margin, 2018.” Our best-of compilations conclude with a look at our choices for our finest articles in Arts & Culture…

Uncloakin’ Beneath The Underground: Collected Raps 2000 – 2019” by: Malik Ameer Crumpler

Uncloakin’ and putting into context the philosophical, sophisticated, and deeply-affecting rhymes found in Malik Ameer Crumpler’s Beneath The Underground: Collected Raps 2000-2018. A reflection on the meaning of the contents of this captivating release by the rapper/author/poet himself…

“During the Spring semester of 2000, Dr. Robert C. Smith, my Political Science professor at San Francisco State University, gave a lecture on the rarely known term, “Drapetomania.” According to the Oxford Quick Reference Dictionary, Drapetomania is  “a form of mania supposedly affecting slaves in the 19th century, manifested by an uncontrollable impulse to wander or run away from their masters, preventable by regular whipping.” Until that day, I had never heard my attitude and experience in America summed up so accurately.”

The Top 50 Albums of 2018

Presenting in its entirety, Across the Margin’s selections for The Top 50 Albums of 2018…

“Throughout 2018, as we gleefully indulged in what was another stunning year in music (especially for women artists and hip-hop!), we continually came upon a common thread: catharsis through music. In these complicated, plugged-in, and often divisive times, music can be leaned on to provide a pause from the insanity of the twenty-four hour news cycle. For us, the following list is comprised of artists whose thoughtful introspection, and wonderfully crafted, unique, and intricate soundscapes whisked us to a place where little mattered besides relishing in the moment. These are the albums we are most grateful for in 2018. As is often the case, paring down this year’s offerings to a choice fifty was challenging to say the least, but we are proud to present to you the albums which received the most play over here at Across the Margin. So, without further delay, let’s step in and drop the needle…”

For Your Consideration by: Various Authors

Selections from Across The Margin’s week long ode to cinema in preparation for the Academy Awards:

Blade Runner 2049 by: Christopher Thompson

Wind River by: Michael Shields

I, Tonya by: Maggie Sachson

Get Out by: Jonathan Marcantoni

Dunkirk by: Douglas Grant

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by: Christopher Rockwell

Phantom Thread by: Michael Shields

Podcast: Beyond The Margin — The Deuce With Gary Carr

Beyond the Margin examines the grandeur and depth of HBO’s The Deuce — poised to begin its second season — with an enlightening interview with actor Gary Carr…

“In the latest episode of Across The Margin’s podcast, host Michael Shields dives into the seedy underworld of 1970’s New York City, with the help of the incredibly talented actor Gary Carr, in an episode that revolves around HBO’s series The Deuce. The drama series, whose second season premieres September 9th at 9 p.m., is a show about the legalization, and subsequent rise of, the porn industry in America. Created by David Simon (The WireTremeShow Me A Hero) and writer/producer George Pelecanos, The Deuce chronicles a unique period of time in America when the sex trade became mainstream and porn’s popularity exploded. This episode provides a glimpse into what lies ahead in The Deuce’s second season, while marveling at the weighty themes present in the entire series, from the ills of capitalism to the misfortunes of gentrification and to the corruptions of the justice system in America.”

First Look: Sacha Jenkins’ Word is Bond” by: Michael Shields

Across the Margin introduces you to the new documentary Word is Bond, which explores “the transformative power of lyrics in the world of hip-hop.”

Word is Bond opens with a segment that expounds upon the game-changing  opportunity that hip-hop has created for the artists featured in the film, performers who are cognizant of how fortunate they were to come of age at a time when black voices had at their disposal such a platform as hip-hop. It is when highlighting the diverse places where hip-hop grew in sound and prominence where the film shines, fully drawing attention to how American an artform hip-hop is. Whisking viewers around the country, to North Carolina (Rapsody), Minnesota (Rhymesayers), Philadelphia (Freeway), Detroit (Royce Da 5’9”), Yonkers (Jadakiss and Styles P), Queens (Nas), and Brooklyn (Big Daddy Kane), and inevitably to the birthplace of hip-hop, the Bronx, Word is Bond calls attention to place as much as to the artists it features, and in doing so serves as a reminder of all that has taken place throughout American history, fashioning hip-hop into what it is today. For hip-hop is, like Jazz before it, one of America’s most unique—and all too often misunderstood—artforms. By examining in detail the lyricism and power of the words that act as a message bearer for the genre, Word is Bond draws attention to how important of an artform is today.”

Obscenities” by: Ann Fisher

“What to do with a book full of glistening bodies, cuffs, and leather whips? Something important, something magnificent and worthy.” A work of nonfiction that flogs “obscenities” that immolate, while praising thoughtful repurposing of art…

“A man I’ve never heard of gathers the name “artist” from materials he collects as he goes about his day. He carries them in his leather satchel through a world that aims to shut him down. This artist, Truong Tran, walks the streets building an arsenal with scraps of cloth, fallen feathers, a discarded antenna, and cobbles them together into visions of himself and the world around him. He builds the world back into being, collaged through himself. One offensive act leads to another. The artist scissors nine thousand butterflies from genitals and the bare skin of pornography magazines. He twists the act of beauty dying for our obscene pleasure into an answer of obscene pleasure dying for our beauty.”

Twenty Years Later by: Various Authors

Across The Margin’s Twenty Years Later series takes a look back at albums (or events) released twenty years past and analyzes their grandeur with the aid of two decades of hindsight. This year, Across The Margin paid respect to:

Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star by: Black Star

XO by: Elliot Smith

Phish’s Island Tour

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by: Neutral Milk Hotel

In Defense of Killer Mike” by: Michael Shields

In defense of Killer Mike, an activist and an artist that “consistently and ferociously brings light and love to the world,” in the wake of his controversial interview with NRATV…

“What is most important in analyzing Mike’s stance on gun control is attempting to see it from his perspective, a black man living in American, and in the light of the understanding of the America’s dark past (and present). Because what Mike is talking about in terms of gun ownership is mostly in regards to the black community, almost solely discussing advocating owning weapons as a defense against oppression. He views the discussion about gun ownership through the viewpoint of how blacks have been treated in this country and how they are treated now, and with a racist in power there is no way he can advocate for disarming (although, as alluded to, there is a difference between sensible gun laws and disarming). All of Mike’s ideas about gun ownership are based on the brutal history black people share with this country and steeped in the teachings and actions of Malcolm X. In this way, what Mike is saying makes perfect sense.”

Podcast: Beyond The Margin — John Perry Barlow’s Mother American Night

Beyond the Margin celebrates the life the American poet, essayist, cattle rancher, civil liberties advocate, Grateful Dead lyricist, and cyber theorist, John Perry Barlow, through a deep dive into his memoir, Mother American Night: My Life In Crazy Times…

“In the latest episode of Across The Margin’s podcast, host Michael Shields, with the help of recurring guest George Guidotti, explores the recently released memoir of the late, great John Perry Barlow. As exhibited by his memoir, Mother America Night: My Life In Crazy Times, John Perry Barlow was an extraordinary human, who throughout his remarkable life was entirely and wonderfully multifaceted. He was a poet and essayist, a cattle rancher, a political activist, a freedom fighter who championed an independent internet, a lyricist for the Grateful Dead, and a founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Freedom of the Press Foundation. There are few individuals in the last fifty years whose life has been at the center of so many cultural and political touchstones as Barlow has, and Mother America Night, and thus this episode, acts as a window into the life of a steadfast American icon.”

Podcast: Beyond The Margin — The Realness With WNYC’s Mary Harris

Beyond The Margin introduces you to The Realness, an exploration of the life and death of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy, with an interview with WNYC’s Mary Harris…

The rapper Prodigy may have been the voice of New York, but he couldn’t escape a single recessive gene. 

“In the latest episode of Across The Margin’s podcast, host Michael Shields introduces listeners to The Realness, a podcast series exploring the life and death of the rapper Prodigy which focuses in on his lifelong battle with Sickle Cell Anemia. To gain substantive insight into all the series has to offer, this episode features an interview with one of the hosts of The Realness and executive producer of WNYC’s health unit, Mary Harris. Michael and Mary dig into Prodigy’s life story in this episode, and dissect the broader issues surrounding Sickle Cell Anemia — a condition that overwhelmingly affects black Americans and is continuously underfunded — including medical racism and institutional neglect.”


Much more coming your way from Across The Margin in 2019. Happy New Year To All!



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