But where did this animosity come from? When blacks began to leave the South for job opportunities in northern cities during the first decades of the 20th century, they crowded into poor Jewish neighborhoods. Suddenly, one set of have-nots were cramped together with another, and their ethnic and religious differences began to chafe. When Jews started to gain economic advantage, the resentment worsened. This was exactly the situation before the Crown Heights riots, which, as Blacks and Jews smartly points out, was actually a spat between minorities-within-minorities (immigrant Caribbean blacks vs. Hasidic Jews) that developed into a national conflict with the inflammatory rhetoric of folks like Louis Farrakhan. Blacks and Jews offers tentative solutions, but the questions it raises--namely, why?--are more compelling. (JF)

Culture, Water, Money
Sunday, March 8; 1:15 p.m. in the TV Lounge
The relationship between communities on opposite sides of the Texas-Mexico border after NAFTA is a situation ripe for in-depth analysis, but unfortunately, Culture, Water, Money only flirts with these tangled topics. The filmmakers introduce an intriguing subject--how man-made policies of economic development and the natural processes of erosion along the Rio Grande have combined to screw poor Mexicans, thus encouraging more crime and more illegal immigration into the United States--and then turn their attention to the River-Pierce Foundation, a cultural education group that stages performances and programs to remind said poor Mexicans that they've been screwed. When your mind is set in documentary mode, hungry for more stats and visuals about the cost "free trade" has exacted on our most poverty-stricken neighbors, you get a little annoyed with performance pieces in which artists lay down strips of raw meat and shatter mirrors in a hollowed-out Mexican church. Culture, Water, Money dwells too much on their cultural demonstrations and too little on the destitute areas they purport to advocate. (JF)

Rescue Compilation
Sunday, March 8; 2:15 p.m. in the TV Lounge
At first glance, this compilation of shorts by Oakland-based artists the HalfLifers promises some oddly engaging video exploration. Donning Devo-esque jumpsuits, harnesses, and gas masks, two anonymous men skitter about in insect-like, repetitive movements in darkly distorted mini-segments. They crawl across the floors of industrial spaces, climb walls, and lay heavy equipment across one another's bodies, until the sense that they've taken on some crucial, undefined task rises from their rhythms. The muffled, high-pitched noise of their frenetic action launches this into even more surreal territory. Rescue evokes Matthew Barney's early video work without Barney's pervasive sexual angle, as well as the tension in the Japanese biomechanical nightmare flick Tetsuo: The Iron Man. Whatever the concept's possible origins, the mysterious, ritualized actions of Rescue's taskmen lend these clips a unique hypnotic strength. But walk away after the first two or three turns, because the effect loses power as the artists push the same theme through various combinations of color, setting, and sound. It could, however, work really well as video wallpaper for progressive social venues. (CR)

The Rainbow Man/John 3:16
Sunday, March 8; 5:15 p.m. in the Electronic Theater
How does a man go from childhood TV addict to sports celebrity to beer commercial star to born-again Christian terrorist who bombs bookstores and takes hotel maids hostage? You'll find out in The Rainbow Man/John 3:16, which follows the fascinating devolution of Robert Stuart, who made a name for himself in the late '70s and early '80s as a multi-chromatic wig-wearing professional fan a la our own "Crazy Ray." Featuring footage that includes prison interviews with Stuart, the filmmakers employ tons of video evidence to show how psychotic delusions of grandeur, the media cult of personality, and organized religion produced one man who sincerely wanted to save sports fans from eternal damnation. (

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