Saturday, July 30, 2011

Kristin Canty - Farmageddon

“This is really a civil rights issue.”
- Kristin Canty

America devotes an inordinate amount of resources to its wars on controlled substances; namely its wars on drugs – and raw milk. Yep, you read that right. The prohibition of alcohol may have ended in the US in 1933 with the passage of the Twenty-First Amendment, but it’s still alive and kicking when it comes to unpasteurized milk.

The retail sale of raw milk for human consumption is illegal in the vast majority of states, and though some states do permit direct farm sales and/or herd shares, federal laws prohibit the sale and transport of raw milk across state lines. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers unpasteurized milk or cream –– and any uncooked products made from it, such as cheese, yogurt, and ice cream –– to be categorically unsafe. Their official line is that “raw milk can harbor dangerous microorganisms that can pose serious health risks to you and your family.”

However, by their own figures, a mere “800 people in the United States have gotten sick from drinking raw milk or eating cheese made from raw milk since 1998.” When you compare those numbers to the statistics on alcohol and cigarettes – which can be bought legally in all 50 states – the government’s position on the sale of raw milk appears to be inconsistent to say the very least. And the discrimination against raw dairy is even more profound when the health benefits are taken into consideration. But while the fight to decriminalize other controlled substances grabs headlines and galvanizes support, few are even aware of the prohibition against real milk. Kristin Canty, a small farm advocate from Massachusetts, hopes to change that with her compelling new documentary, Farmageddon: The Unseen War on American Family Farms.

Canty didn’t set out to make a film, merely to heal her son, who suffered from asthma and severe allergies. When traditional medicine failed to help, she embarked on a voyage of discovery that led her to raw milk. While fighting to heal her sick child, she also had to fight the seemingly unreasonable and intransigent attitude our government has towards healthy-minded boutique farmers who produce this hard to come by commodity in the face of much adversity. Frustrated and angered by reports of raids, and shocked at the increasing ferocity of the persecution of those who were doing nothing more than producing fresh food, Canty was compelled to expose the truth. For her, it wasn’t just about the disparity in treatment between big agriculture (whose factory methods have actually been responsible for the majority of serious food scares in recent years) and the mom & pop organic and sustainable operations, but an issue of a mother’s right to choose healthy food.

Read my exclusive interview with Kristin Canty on

Friday, July 15, 2011

Peter Murphy - Ninth

By Nicole Powers

“I'm like a magician or mystic jester.”
- Peter Murphy

Despite being grounded by a seemingly paradoxical levity, which comes across in the form of wry humor throughout our interview, Peter Murphy, a leading light in the gothic underworld, has remained an enigma for over three decades.

He first came to prominence with the preeminent goth band Bauhaus - their seminal cut "Bela Lugosi's Dead" being forever imprinted in the minds of those who appreciate the dark side thanks to its inclusion, and Murphy's mood setting appearance, in Tony Scott's 1983 cult horror classic The Hunger (which starred Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon).

Comprised of Murphy, Daniel Ash, and brothers David J and Kevin Haskins, Bauhaus had an initial lifespan of four years from 1979 to 1983. Following the band's demise, Murphy went solo, while his three former-bandmates regrouped under the Love and Rockets moniker. Both camps went on to enjoy a level of commercial success in the US that surpassed anything their former band had achieved. Murphy's third solo album, Deep (1990), spawned the #1 modern rock hit "Cuts You Up," and his fourth, Holy Smoke (1992), a #2 on the same chart with "The Sweetest Drop." Cascade (1995), with its unabashed romanticism and melodic drive, and Dust (2002), an atmospheric recording steeped in the mysticism and tradition of Murphy's adopted Turkish homeland, are also more than worthy of note.

However fans refused to let the corpse of Bauhaus rest in peace, its legend having grown in the years it had been confined to the crypt. After much speculation and several false starts, Bauhaus reformed in 1998 for the Resurrection Tour. The band was revived again for an unforgettable 2005 Coachella appearance, which opened with Murphy singing "Bela Lugosi's Dead" while hanging upside down from the rafters. This time the quartet stayed together long enough to tour both the US and Europe (including some dates with Nine Inch Nails) and record an album, Go Away White (2008). But the bats left Bauhaus' bell tower, seemingly for good, shortly after the album's release, following an emotionally charged breakup that continues to have an aura of finality.

Appearances on stage (and descending from the rafters) during Nine Inch Nails' 2009 farewell tour, coupled with a cameo as "The Cold One" in the third Twilight film, Eclipse, in 2010, exposed a new generation to Murphy's mesmerizing vampiric presence. With a new album already complete (his first since 2004's ill-fated Unshattered, which was beleaguered by record label issues), he embarked on the Dirty Dirt Tour in the summer of 2010 while he looked for a suitable distribution channel. In March of this year, it was announced that Murphy had signed with the Nettwerk Music Group, and on June 7 the long awaited new full-length, Ninth, finally achieved its release.

Having attempted to catch up with the elusive minstrel numerous times over the past few years, I pinned Murphy down for some quality phone time the day the video for his new single "I Spit Roses" hit the web.

Read my exclusive interview with Peter Murphy on

Sunday, July 10, 2011

David Hyde Pierce - The Perfect Host

“Every once in a while I feel like I have to stir it up.”
- David Hyde Pierce

As Dr. Niles Crane on the popular NBC sitcom Frasier, which ran from 1993 to 2004, David Hyde Pierce was a paragon of gentility. However in his latest project, the independent movie The Perfect Host, he gets to embrace a far darker side of his psyche.

At first Warwick Wilson (played by Pierce) appears to be the epitome of civility and the consummate dinner party host. But when an unexpected guest arrives — John Taylor (played by Clayne Crawford), a bank robber in desperate need of a place to lay low — the evening’s events take a surprising course. Without giving too much away, by the time desert arrives, it’s impossible to tell who could — or should — die.

I caught up with Pierce by phone to chat about The Perfect Host and his other post-Frasier projects. The topic of dogs also rather unexpectedly, but nonetheless fortuitously, interrupted our conversation.

Read my exclusive interview with David Hyde Pierce on