Monday, December 15, 2008

Bill Ayers on Reforming Education

For the Monday 15 December 2008 edition of Subversity, we chatted with former Weather Underground member and Prairie Fire theoretician and current education professor (U of Ill. at Chicago) Bill Ayers. As Obama is about to name a new cabinet member in charge of education, we asked him what are the prospects for educational reform in the new administration, as well as to reflect his days under the national spotlight during the recent presidential campaign.

Ayers was last on Subversity 12 April 2002, promoting his book, Fugitive Days, which has just now been reissued by Beacon Press with a new afterword. After we re-aired our 2002 interview during the last month of the recent presidential campaign, the rightwing media "discovered" the audio. Unauthorized clips of the broadcast were aired by such conservative hosts as Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, while text from the interview made it on to The National Review. The audio also showed up in a video that tried to smear Obama. The smear campaign, of course, did not stick.

The rightwing media seemed especiallly concerned that he revealed during his Subversity interview that "I'm as much an anarchist as I am a Marxist which is to say I find a lot of the ideas in anarchism appealing." The rightwing media made a big deal that later that week (of our 2002 interview) he served on an academic panel with Obama.

See also:

Bill Ayers blog:
Bill Ayers, "The Real Bill Ayers," New York Times, 5 December 2008 (op ed).
Beacon Press' Fugitive Days site:

Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn on Democracy Now:
14 November 2008: Part 1
24 November 2008: Part 2

Rightwing video using Subversity audio: This youtube video has now been viewed over 82,000 times, most of the viewings before the election;at 5:32 credit for audio is given to "University of Irvine" Subversity show.

Blogger with clip from Fox News crediting KUCI-FM for Ayers quote:

To listen to the show, click here:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Were the World Mine Director & Lead Actor Discuss Musical Romp through Small-Town America

Irvine -- For the 8 December 2008 edition of Subversity, we talked with director Tom Gustafson and lead actor Tanner Cohen about "Were the World Mine," a musical fantasy about queer teen love.

Tanner Cohen with fellow-actor Nate David Becker,
his love object in Were the World Mine. Photo source:

The fun and captivating feature film, which has captivated audiences at Frameline and other film festivals, takes a romp through small-town America and pokes fun at traditional "family values" and homophobia. The film is based on director Gustafson's short, "Fairies," as well as William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Nights' Dream."

Set in a boys academy, it stars Tanner as Timothy, a queer teen who's often the target of homophobic attacks. A sympathetic English teacher recruits him to star in the school's adaptation of A Midsummer Nights' Dream, and in the process, he creates a love potion that turns the object of his teenage lust (a rugby star) queer, as well as many others in his small town. Tanner is currently a UCLA student (in Cultural Studies).

More info. on the guests:

Tom Gustafson - director/ co-writer/ producer

Tom made his first film, a Super 8 claymation, at the age of 9. That film premiered in the very gymatorium responsible for the memories that inspired his award-winning musical short, Fairies, which has screened in over 75 international film festivals (including Tribeca), aired on the Viacom network, Logo (as a winner of the short film series in the episode The Click List: Best Shorts Ever!) and is available on iTunes. Tom made his feature directorial debut with his multi-award-winning, critically acclaimed and wildly popular, Shakespeare inspired musical film about the truth of love: Were the World Mine. Among the awards presented to WTWM, Tom received the Heineken Red Star Award and the Scion First-Time Director Award.

While a student at Northwestern University, Tom received the coveted Major Studio 22 grant to make a side-show inspired film, The Need. After receiving the William Morris Filmmaking Award and graduating Cum Laude from NU, Tom explored Chicago's art scene. He wrote and directed an experimental theatre piece, exhibited his investigative portraiture photography, shot a doc about queer youth, received grants from the Chicago Community Arts Program, worked on Michael Moore's Bravo show, The Awful Truth and created SPEAKproductions.

A freelance foray into "Hollywood" film led him down an unexpected path when he landed his first job: Key Additional Casting Assistant on Road To Perdition followed by Additional Casting Associate on Master & Commander. He then took on solo projects as Location Casting Director of Pirates Of The Caribbean (Dead Man's Chest and At Worlds End), The Good Shepherd, The Weather Man and The Dark Knight. For a young Director, this path proved to be an invaluable learning experience, allowing him to work creatively alongside directors including the unparalleled Peter Weir, Sam Mendes and Robert DeNiro.

Tanner Cohen . timothy

Tanner is a New York based actor currently getting a BA in Cultural Studies at UCLA. He recently appeared as Nate in Vadim Perelman's The Life Before Her Eyes (starring Uma Thurman), which premiered at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival and he was first seen as Tad Becker on CBS in As The World Turns. He also portrayed the role of Flute in Creative Arts Projects' A Midsummer Night's Dream, which toured throughout Brooklyn parks in the summer of 2004. Tanner is also one half of the emotronic pop duo The Guts. He is thrilled to be a part of this unique film and thanks the incredibly devoted cast and crew and his family.

For additional info, check out the film site.Trailer

To listen to the show, click here: