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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

58 minutes ago
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Editor's note: This report contains accounts of rape, violence and other disturbing events.

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.

Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to, on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.

The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

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'For My Health': The Latter Days Of Levon Helm

Apr 16, 2013
Originally published on April 17, 2013 9:57 am

Rock 'n' roll is filled with "one lives it, the other writes about it" pairings, from Mick Jagger drawing on the observed excesses of Keith Richards on down the line. But such arrangements only work when both parties feel like they benefit.

When The Band came into its own as a self-contained group in the late 1960s — after stints backing Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan — its songs drew inspiration from a mythic vision of the American South that was itself inspired by The Band's only Southern member, drummer Levon Helm of Turkey Scratch, Ark.

In fact, though it was the Toronto-born Robbie Robertson who earned the lion's share of The Band's songwriting credits, it's hard to imagine songs like "The Weight" or "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" taking shape without Helm. And though the group lasted until its famous "Last Waltz" concert in 1976, the credit Robertson took for the latter in 1969 became one of the wedges that drove The Band apart.

Robertson is conspicuously absent from director Jacob Hatley's documentary Ain't in It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm, but the old hurts clearly linger even as the film captures Helm, who died in 2012, enjoying a valedictory final act. Having weathered troubles with drugs, money, changing tastes and a late-'90s battle with cancer that, for a time, robbed him of his singing voice, he'd turned his upstate New York farm into a home for a celebrated series of Midnight Ramble concerts and resumed his recording career with the 2007 album Dirt Farmer.

What shape there is to Hatley's plain, rich portrait of Helm comes from its subject's mixed feelings about the 2008 Grammys, which saw Dirt Farmer nominated for best traditional folk album and The Band awarded a lifetime achievement award. Helm dubs the latter honor "a g - - damn sales gimmick," and his frustration — compounded by the honor's arrival after the deaths of bandmates Rick Danko and Richard Manuel — suggests a lifetime spent trying to reconcile the joy he takes in making music with the frustrations of the industry built around the selling of it.

Without putting too fine a point on it, Hatley suggests it's a rigged system, one that ultimately undid The Band by inviting greed into the group's ranks and encouraging its members to indulge to excess. Helm's late-life existence, as exhibited in Ain't in It for My Health, is anything but excessive.

Hatley captures Helm cutting the same winning, modest, friendly figure — whether plotting a tour schedule that will keep him away from home for the shortest time possible, hanging out with his family, or trading stories with Billy Bob Thornton, the Black Crowes' Chris Robinson and his farmer neighbors — with equal ease and effusiveness. The film lets Band biographer Barney Hoskyns and Danko's widow tell past stories of drug abuse and unbearable pressure, while in the present Helm mostly just tends to his precarious health and plays while he still can.

There's a suggestion, too, that as Helm makes and performs music surrounded by loved ones, he's found a way out of that toxic industry system, however late in life. Despite his flashes of bitterness, the Helm captured here seems like a man at peace with where he ended up — however taxing the road that brought him, however many friends lost or discarded along the way.

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