This holiday season here’s hoping all of you are having the time of your lives, celebrating with loved ones or savouring the solitude. If you’re anything like me, the holidays are really about catching up with yourself, relaxing with endless cups of warm, sweet brews and cozying up in a blanket with a bunch of movies and books.
Speaking of which, there’s a bunch of movies and books that I’d like to catch up on this season that includes material about artists. Inspired by the innumerable holiday gift and entertainment guides, floating over cyberspace, here’s a post sharing the Artistik License reading/movie list for the season. Hope you enjoy, and do share your additions to the list in the comments below.
Stuff that inspired through the year!
So to begin, here’s a list of books, movies and documentaries that educated, inspired and entertained through the year (and were revisited all over again this past month).
- Disney War (Book): This book is not about the pretty, glittery magical Disney most of us grew up with. Written by James B. Stewart, ‘Disney War’ gives us the scoop on what went down behind closed doors of the Disney Corporation during the some-what controversial and transformative term of ex-Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner. The book walks us through some incredibly significant milestones of the Disney era including the volatile relationship between Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenburg (the man responsible for producing Disney Classics like ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘The Lion King’) that ended with Katzenburg leaving Disney to start a little known animation powerhouse called “Dream Works” (Bet you didn’t know that! I didn’t until I read the book).
Why should I read it? If you’re interested in figuring out how multi-billion dollar businesses run, and all the slime and glamour surrounding Disney – this is for you. A little dull at times, the detailing of the awesomeness (and crudeness) of the Disney empire will definitely make up for the apparent lack of speedy page turning. Definitely a huge eye-opener on how the entertainment industry works.
- Lean –In : Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (Book): Published in 2013, Lean-In was written by Sheryl Sandberg who happens to be the COO of Facebook. Now now, if you’re thinking that this is another book about motivational management strategies written by a powerful, successful over achiever, you’re not wrong but Lean-In is awesome because of exactly that. The over achiever in question is a particularly intelligent, practical and endearing woman who somehow has articulated some of the most significant issues affecting women in the workforce today. (Her TED talk has definitely changed my life).
Why should I read it? Lean-In has a lot to say about women who want to be a part of the workforce, or who want to get back to it after a break. It talks about self-esteem, priorities, the ever incredulous and frightening work-life balance argument and (my personal favourite) the need to ‘sit at the table’. This book addresses the needs and demands of all working women, and personally I feel that a lot of the stuff mentioned in this book is relevant to women who are entrepreneurs and artists. The most important thing to remember about Lean-In is that it is both an amazing read for women as well as for the families and partners of those women, interested in pursuing their professional aspirations.
- Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling (Book): Written by Kembrew McLeod and Peter DiCola, Creative License is one of the best reads on digital music sampling. What makes this book so special is the multi-disciplinary approach adopted by the writers in explaining the origins and significance of the art of sampling. Whether it’s analysing the intent behind the culture of sampling in music, reviewing the historical origins of the art, or explaining the legal quandaries surrounding it, this book takes you through all these discussions and more.
Why should I read it? Read it if you love the idea of sampling in music. This book is a treasure trove of information from a non-gear point of view, guiding you through some of the oldest and most disputed instances of digital music sampling. Whether it’s about cultural origins, debates on originality, or the scope of intellectual property, this book covers it all.
- Re:Generation Music Project (Documentary): This 2012 movie made in association with the Grammy Foundation follows this
amazing music project where 5 DJs – DJ Premier, Mark Ronson, Skrillex, Pretty Lights and The Crystal Method, are all assigned the task to collaborate, remix and re-imagine five traditional genres of music. The project resulted in some really cool musical collaborations and a pretty insightful glimpse into musical styles, traditional and contemporary. Best part – you can actually watch the documentary for FREE here, all thanks to the Re: Generation Project.
Why should I watch it? The documentary actually highlights some really significant issues facing musicians today and really addresses the creative/social gaps technology has created between musicians from the past and the present.
- Bill Cunningham New York (Documentary): This documentary is about Bill Cunningham, one of the most hard working and adorable street style photographers ever. Bicycling through the busy streets of New York, Bill is a permanent style fixture patiently photographing the quirky, fashionable and beautiful in the city. The documentary follows Bill’s work with the New York Times, and the impact his work has had on fashion, street style and celebrity.
Why should I watch it? Because Bill Cunningham is adorable, earnest and wonderful. If that’s not reason enough, watch it to learn more about photographers and artists living in New York. Interviews with Bill’s neighbours in the studios of Carnegie Hall and friends, also give an honest insight into the world of artists, celebrities and socialites living in New York.
- Everything is Remix (Documentary): This 4 part documentary sets out to explain how everything we do, see and hear is a remix. This series by New York based film-maker, Kirby Ferguson takes us on a simple, yet surprisingly thought-provoking exploration of media and the ways in which our creative process seems to be continuously inspired and influenced by the works of others. You can watch all the parts for FREE courtesy Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a Remix site.
Why should I watch it? This documentary really does a great job of showing us how seemingly original masterpieces of popular culture are actually remixes, mash ups and derivatives of other popular and not so popular works. Watch it for the examples and the connections AND the bit on Steve Jobs.
- Hunger Games Trilogy (Books+Movies): If you haven’t already heard about the Hunger Games, it’s the first of a trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. The books and movies are about a bunch of teenagers and pre-teens, randomly picked to fight against each other in a controlled environment.
Why should I watch it? At the core of the Hunger Games trilogy is this really interesting question – how far will we go to be entertained? In a world dominated by all kinds of cultures, technologies and conflicting opinions, defining the boundaries of entertainment can be a really difficult thing to do. This confusion translates into the hypocritical ways in which we distinguish good content from bad, or the ways in which we choose to censor information and communication. The Hunger Games happens in a dystopian world where the rich find brutality amongst children, a source of recreation – considering the kind of violence, gore, and sometimes unexplainable brutality that somehow shows up in movies, video games and sitcoms, maybe we need to rethink how close we are to this supposedly fictional dystopian future.
Stuff to look forward to!
- The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation (Book): Written by two law professors Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman, this book is a fresh take on how the counterfeit and knock off markets are actually good for artists and corporations investing in the original brand. A must read for those interested in the intersection of fashion, intellectual property and economics.
- The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue (Book): This book by celebrated social media marketer Shama Kabani, is all about using social media to actually further and market your business. A really important read for every artist, entrepreneur and new business especially since we’re all too aware of the significance of social media to our personal and professional lives today.
- Piece by Piece (Documentary): This documentary directed by Nic Hill explores the history and culture of graffiti in San Francisco. Besides delving deep into the minds and lives of graffiti artists in the Bay area, this documentary also talks about public perception towards graffiti art making it the perfect beginning to larger discussions on what we consider art and preservation worthy, especially from a socio-legal perspective.
So this just about wraps up the Artistik License reading/movie list. Do you have any additions and suggestions to make. Please leave a comment and share share share!
And before I forget, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!