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And You Thought the RIAA Was Bad ...

By Lizz Kannenberg in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 22, 2007 4:07PM

Once in a great while, Chicagoist has one of those moments of social and moral awareness that we like to call “maturity,” when we take a quick glance outside of ourselves and think about how our lives could be different under less auspicious circumstances. Not to get too existential on your asses this fine Friday morning, but there’s a big world out there, and sometimes it’s not a bad idea to take a peek. Luckily you can do it from the comfort of a neighborhood bar, thanks to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ GOAt (Globally Occupied Attention) series.

silence.jpgUsually held at Schubas or Martyrs, GOAt takes over the Darkroom in Wicker Park on Monday night to screen the killer (we’ve checked it out) Iranian independent music documentary Sounds of Silence. Director Amir Hamz and Lake Forest College professor of Sociology Ahmad Sadri will lead the panel discussion to follow the screening, and if past GOAt program history is any indication, it’ll be a lively debate and an anything’s-game forum for open discussion.

Being that we play, enjoy, think and write about music on a daily basis, it’s easy to get caught up in the bullshit drama of local scenes and the more broad debates about issues like digital rights management or whose first album is the only decent thing he ever put out. Lost in the static of over privilege is the fact that we’re exceedingly lucky to be able to play and listen to whatever we want. In many other parts of the world, the arts are so highly regulated that artists are assaulted, jailed, and even killed for trying to disseminate their art to the public. Take Iran, for instance, where every piece of music that’s recorded or performed must be reviewed and approved by a government committee before it can be made public in any way, and virtually no rock music passes muster. Young Iranian punks are going underground, using the wonders of MySpace to release their tunes to the world and dodging government persecution. Sounds of Silence is a powerful reminder of how fortunate we are to be free to support, bitch about, dance to, murder at karaoke, and freely enjoy musical expression.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs GOAt series presents Sounds of Silence at the Darkroom on Monday night, June 25 at 7 p.m., $10