Dan

The Invisible War

The Invisible War cover. Photograph of female soldier's face.I first heard about this film after it was nominated for an Academy Award. I decided to see it after Henry Rollins wrote about it. I'm going to repeat what he wrote, I encourage everyone to see this movie, but I can't recommend it. That may seem like a strange thing to say, especially on a page of recommendations, but the stories that are told in this film are devastating and will likely haunt you.

The Invisible War refers to the the epidemic of sexual assault within the U.S. Military. Today, a female soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. Statistics like this are peppered throughout the film, most of them coming directly from official Department of Defense reports. Academy Award nominated director Kirby Dick could have spun this as an anti-military film, but he didn't. Instead, through the emotional accounts of the men and women interviewed, the viewer gets a sense that change is possible.

This is a hard film to watch, but works of this nature are often the best way to facilitate change. Though The Invisible War did not win an Oscar, the nomination has brought national attention to the epidemic of intra-military sexual assault. Since its release, in late 2012, the Pentagon has developed policies aimed at increasing accountablity and victim care.

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Inspiration Information/Wings of Love by Shuggie Otis

Shuggie Otis, Insipration Information. Older Shuggie facing left, younger Shuggie facing right with a butterfly in the middle. It's hard to pin this album down to any one genre. Shuggie's own label, Shugiterius Enterprises, admits that he would only be a household name to "those that are knowledgeable about popular R & B-Blues-Rock-Funk music that was released during the mid-sixties, and early seventies."

Shuggie Otis has been in the music business for a long time. In fact, he started performing with his father, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Johnny Otis, at the tender age of 12 in night clubs throughout southern California. After his father brought him into the recording studio he became an in-demand session guitarist and appears on albums by everyone from Above the Law to Frank Zappa. Eventually Shuggie started recording his own tracks and released his first album in 1969. Inspiration Information  was originally released in 1974 as Shuggie's third studio record. Shuggie has absolute control over this album. He played every instrument and sang every part.  The album was reissued in 2001 on David Byrne's label, Luaka Bop. That edition had four tracks from Shuggie's 1971 album Freedom Flight. This release doesn't, but it does have four brand new bonus tracks. It also comes with a second disc of previously unreleased recordings from 1975-2000 entitled Wings of Love.

This album is, in a word, smooth.

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