06 June 2006

Underground

Recently watched the indie film Dark Days, and was blown away. I don't know how I missed this one when it came out in 2000. It's an amazing documentary of the "mole people," the homeless who lived underground in the New York City subway tunnels under Penn Station. They built "houses" out of scrap wood, and even had electricity, television, kitchens. Of course they also had large, aggressive rats, perpetual darkness, garbage, and subway noise.

The "making of" special feature is nearly as engaging as the film itself. Marc Singer had no film experience, but managed to get the equipment and the film, and convinced the tunnel dwellers to be the crew for their own documentary. He ran out of money several times, and ended up living among them for a spell. Somehow he managed to finish the film (and secure a soundtrack by DJ Shadow) and present it at Sundance in 2000, where it won three awards: the Audience Award for best documentary, the cinematography award for documentary, and the Freedom of Expression Award. Best of all, it's engaging storytelling.

[mp3] DJ Shadow: "Dark Days" (Main Theme)
[mp3] DJ Shadow: "Dark Days" (Spoken For mix)

Dark Days is just $9.79 at Video Universe.

Also, SoundRoots was saddened to hear of the death of Hilton Ruiz, who played keyboards with many Afro-Cuban and jazz greats, including Tito Puente, Betty Carter, Dizzy Gillespie and Charles Mingus. He had been in a coma, and friends had organized a benefit concert to be held this evening. The benefit is still being held to assist his family with medical and funeral expenses. His last solo album was Enchantment in 2003. Read more at allaboutjazz.com...

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