Art and Crimes of Ron English
Mix one part art and two parts political activism and you may get a burly looking man in form of Ron English: Billboard Liberator. The documentary The Art and Crimes of Ron English is a look over the years of this artiste, the ups, the downs, the run ins with the law and of course, his often strained relationship with his wife plays at the Bloor Cinema June 17th to 22nd.
Thought provoking and often witty, English's journey across America meeting up with fellow Billboard liberators and political activists sheds a softer light onto the some of the rather more righteous left wingers out there. This is activism at its subtle best.
Mixing pop culture with rather subverse messages, using corporation's own medium against them is perhaps one of the truer forms of exposing their hypocrasy. "They care ... or do they?" Judging by reactions from bystanders, it seems obvious that support for these truer forms of advertising are far more eye catching than the onslaught of constant commerical sales pitches.
As I watched the film I recalled my time in San Francisco last year. I had spent about a month out there and wondered why I felt so claustrophobic and overwhelmed constantly. It was only until I got back to Toronto that I realized that the amount of billboards that lined the highway was roughly 20 to 1 in San Francisco. Advertising was everywhere ... EVERYWHERE and in your face. Neon billboards with television screens and animated ads were seemingly no big thing to the locals.
Just experiencing that in the short of a month made my heart race by the up selling of everything you don't need or want. It's no wonder why liberators such as English and others mentioned and visited by him in the documentary do what they do. I was pleased to have realized that I came across several liberated billboards while driving from LA to San Fran which were fairly entertaining.
I wonder if Jennn has come across any while in California ...
In any case, check out the
Art and Crimes of Ron English at the Bloor Cinema - June 17th - 22nd
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