A documentary on the cultural significance of boomboxes. The juxtaposition of a bunch of old white guys saying that all boomboxes make them think of is noise and irritation with Fab 5 Freddy talking about how important a tool they were for the development of hip hop culture as a powerful and affirming force for poor youth of color is pretty priceless. There’s a sweet book that Lyle Owerko, the photographer interviewed in the documentary, put out, called The Boombox Project, that gives more context and lots of awesome photos. If you’re in Lincoln, I know it was available at Indigo Bridge Books not long ago—it might still be there, if you’re interested. Shelved in music.
I feel such an affinity for this time—largely before my birth—when music was more public and ostentatious; when the act of listening to your jams was more often one of sharing instead of putting on headphones; when hip hop and punk, both still pretty new-born, mixed more—not only as music but as culture; when political, personal and musical were a lot of the time the same, and were all in your face if you walked down the street. Mp3 players are certainly convenient, but if that’s all we’ve got, we’re missin’ a lot.
Guess we’ll just have to bring that beat back then, won’t we?