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“Rise Up,” the most musical island in the world.

“Rise Up,” the most musical island in the world. (photo)

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As the snow continued to fall in marshmallow sized puffs outside, my thoughts turned to warmer climes. Then a friend reminded me about this documentary “Rise Up,” which concerns the warm isle of Jamaica – just thinking about it feels like a vacation.

[Turbulence, from Rise Up]

But there is much more to this little island than sun and hedonistic nude beaches. I have spent considerable time there over the years for one reason or another and still know little of the place, in half a dozen times there I’ve still never been anywhere near the interior of the country. It’s odd how a place that is so familiar, so well known in popular culture, can be so unknown. It’s almost detrimental, this superficial familiarity we have. Americans go there in droves, and yet, they don’t know a goddamn thing about the place.

People who’ve spent weeks there sunning it up have never tried the most basic native foods, indeed they have never heard of them even after being there. Ackee fruit* what’s that!? You could not say the same of other countries people spend so much of their leisure time.

Everyone knows the music though. But not much about it, nor is the extremely rich and varied musical history of the Jamaican people truly recognized for having such a colossal influence over modern hip hop, pop, and dance music (beyond a few outspoken individuals, like DJ Spooky).

This doc that premiered at Walter Reade Theater in NY last night, may be one more step toward educating the average pale face. It follows a group of different artists, over five years, on their quest to make it on this island that everyone knows but no one can tell you anything about. Music so culturally ingrained here it may as well be in the air, in the water, in the Blue Mountain coffee (some of the finest in the world, delicious).

Music and appearances by legends Lee “Scratch” Perry, Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare. And characters with names like Turbulence, Brushy One String, Delano the Cricket, and Toots Hibbert.

Check out my guy Brushy rip up this acoustic guitar, strung with a single bass string:

“Rise Up” plays tonight in Hartfort, CT, at the Wadsworth.
And on Sunday night in Salem, MA at the Salem Film Fest.
More on “Rise Up”

Thanks Pam!

*Ackee fruit is a large red tree born fruit with poisonous seeds which must be properly prepared before it is edible. One of those rare fruits that is cooked before consumed, whereupon it is magically transformed into something that resembles scrambled eggs. You could serve it as such with the proper fixings and no one would be the wiser. in Jamaica, it is served with salt fish and onions, and good any time of day with a bit of rum.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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