"Truth Squads:" The New And Improved Boycott

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The megachurches are gearing up for that huge Christian event that is almost upon us this Spring. No, not Easter. They’re preparing for the theatrical release of The Da Vinci Code. Evangelical media darling Rick Warren has been sending out disinformation tips to tens of thousands of pastors encouraging them to inform their congregations that the book is a sham.

Every Christian…. should know that skeptics who see the movie will feel they have been equipped to challenge the faithful. “Our people need to be equipped, too,” [says pastor Ken Baugh on Rick Warren's pastors.com]

Warren and Da Vinci Code debunker Lee Strobel are encouraging churches to preach on the heresy of the book:

[from pastors.com] My initial reaction to the book [says Stobel] was outright anger at the way it slanders Christianity… [Still] The Da Vinci Code offers terrific opportunities to preach on apologetics, doctrine, and church history in fresh and powerful ways… I know one church where attendance jumped 500 people when its Da Vinci series launched. Outreach, Inc. is offering materials to support your series, such as sample sermons, bulletin inserts, door hangers, banners, and invitations. And don’t forget to send a press release about your series to your local newspaper in order to garner free publicity….. “It would be a tragedy if all the churches across America miss this opportunity.”…

One church mentioned on pastors.com is taking drastic measures.

[Coast Hills Community Church in CA] plans to distribute more than 300 iPod Shuffles – all pre-loaded with the eight sermons from the Da Vinci series – to church members. Their mission: To give them away to friends, neighbors, co-workers, perhaps even total strangers, anyone who might be interested in hearing the sermons.
“They’ll be iPod evangelists. They will tell the person, I’d love for you to listen to this and then have coffee with me. I mean, who’s not going to take an iPod?”

Though some Christians will undoubtedly be organizing boycotts against Sony (who produced the film) most are following Rick Warren’s lead and organizing “truth squads” to counter “heretical” claims that the book makes about Jesus and the deceptions of the Catholic chuch:

[from Christian Science Monitor] Rather than organize protests or boycotts – steps taken in the past against controversial films – Evangelicals and Catholics instead are mobilizing “truth squads.” They’re producing books, websites, TV documentaries, DVDs, and study guides. Some hope to use the film as a “teachable moment” that could turn the occasion to their advantage.

Of course this all begs the questions: A) what are they so afraid of? B) Don’t they realize the book is a work of fiction? and C) Shouldn’t churches be worrying about things like ending poverty and hunger instead of obssessing about films directed by Opie?

Reminder: O' Death Playing in W-Burg Tonight

Wed. April 5 at Glasshouse Gallery
38 South 1st street (between Kent and Wythe)
(with Bloody Panda + Skeletonbreath)
FREE – show starts at 8pm
read Kevin K.’s review here or download some tracks here

A Heartbreaking Coalition of Staggering Liberals

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From the Associated Press

Dave Eggers, Jane Smiley and Daniel Handler, aka “Lemony Snicket,” are among those involved with the newly formed LitPAC, a coalition of authors that plans readings around the country to register voters and raise money for liberal candidates in this year’s congressional elections.
“We feel we can raise $75,000 in hard money for congressional candidates, at $5,000 apiece,” says LitPAC executive director Stephen Elliott, who has written four novels and a political memoir, “Looking Forward to It.”
“We’re not George Soros; we’re not going to make a massive impact. But if you ask any non-incumbent candidate if $5,000 is a big chunk of money, they’ll tell you it’s a very big chunk of money.”
Other LitPAC authors include Mary Gaitskill, whose “Veronica” was a finalist for the National Book Award, Tobias Wolff, Rick Moody and Anthony Swofford.

If the Leading NeoCon Think Tank Says It….

… It must be true. From the American Enterprise Institute:

Though the Bush administration hates to admit it, daily life in Baghdad has become worse. For those politically active, life is more dangerous now than ever.
It is irrelevant whether small businesses, imports, and school and hospital construction are doing better if Iraq’s political and intellectual classes (not to mention foreigners who are trying to help them) cannot walk out of their homes unguarded.
If Baghdad remains a killing zone, where Iraq’s leaders can safely gather only under U.S. protection, then the prognosis for the Iraqi national identity, which has always had Baghdad at its center, is poor. Lasting political compromises will probably be impossible if the increasingly vicious sectarian strife in Baghdad and its environs intensifies. Within a year, at most two, Iraq could become Algeria.

April 2006 Movie Preview

by Dave Thomas
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Lucky Number Slevin
I don’t know which is more disturbing; that there is a fourth Scary Movie, or that it’s likely to be the month’s highest grosser. Since April begins on Saturday, this month’s new releases officially begin next Friday, but hey, this is a movie preview. If you’re itching to see a new release this week, you can check out the new Lynchian high school noir, Brick.
April 7
THE BENCHWARMERS
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Three grown men (David Spade, Rob Schneider, and Jon Heder, so I use the term loosely) take on a bunch of little league teams all by their lonesome.
WILL IT SUCK?
Well, you’ve got the director of Saving Silverman and the writers behind Grandma’s Boy up in here. Granted, that same director did Happy Gilmore, but did I mention Beverly Hills Ninja, National Security, and Problem Child? This is not a film festival you want to attend.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Fans of stupid comedy will have much more to rejoice about the following week, when Scary Movie 4 takes the stage. In the meantime, this will sate them, though I doubt Spade and Schneider combined will equal Heder’s draw. $49mil.
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PHAT GIRLZ
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
They are girlz. They are phat. And overweight.
WILL IT SUCK?
I have no idea. But what’s curious is the writer/director is newcomer Nnegest Likk√©, who is young, black, female, and not the slightest bit overweight. For shame. Seriously, though, how many young, black, female directors can you name? (Actually, even if I remove only one of those adjectives, I bet you’re still confined to one hand).
Also, if you like Mo’Nique, she’s one of the girlz in question, and Raven Goodwin, whom you might remember as the really cool kid from Station Agent (or, far more likely, from Everybody Hates Chris) makes an appearance. Plus: Eric Roberts alert!
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
A little bit of demographic competition from Take the Lead, but it should have a core following of, well, phat girlz, or really anyone fed up with body image fascism. Not that any of that helped Real Women Have Curves make bank. $14mil.
————————————-
TAKE THE LEAD
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Mad Hot Banderas
WILL IT SUCK?
Newcomer writer and director, though the director has done plenty of music videos which, in this case, is appropriate. The trailer, I have to admit, looks a lot better than it should.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
This probably has about as much star power as anything else opening wide this week. Still, I see it as an uphill battle. $26mil.

[Read more...]

Reminder… a *secret* Akron/Family show this weekend

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April 1: Todd P presents Akron/Family & Plants at a secret space in Williamsburg this Saturday. You can pick up tickets at Eat Records. Show location will be announced to ticket holders only.

Band of Horses

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We’ve really been enjoying the new SubPop release, Band of Horses’ Everything All the Time. It’s reminiscent of My Morning Jacket, Rogue Wave, and The Shins. Check out the album stream here. [via Brooklyn Vegan]

Refunds?!

Cat Power, who cancelled her tour early this year for alleged “health reasons,” has announced new tour dates. Frustratingly, she’s yet to announce any info about refunds for all of us dumb enough to buy tickets for her New York performances in Feb. Anyone have any info on this? (We truly hope she’s well, but given Chan Marshall’s track record for erratic behavior and bailing on shows, we are skeptical about her claims in February).