This Week in Alts: Anonymous notes of encouragement for St. Louis, the best documentary films of 2014, and more

Riverfront Times, "Dear St. Louis: Anonymous Notes of Encouragement and Love for 2015" 2014 hasn't exactly been an easy year for the St. Louis area (see: Ferguson). But back in August 2013, before the death of Michael Brown, Henry Goldkamp and Kirsten O'Loughlin set up typewriters around the city and asked city citizens to type out their thoughts about St. Louis and deposit them in an accompanying wooden box. The resulting collection, which Goldkamp and O'Loughlin recently released as a self-published book, gives some insights into the tensions that existed before Michael Brown's death and the sometimes-complicated ways in which people love the city they live in. Riverfront Times has published a poignant portion of the submissions. We can't help but wonder what a similar project would look like in Baltimore.


Fast Forward Weekly, "Year of the doc" We here at Baltimore's Most List-Happy Alternative Weekly published our top 10 issue a few weeks back with more than 30 lists, but not among them was a list of top documentary movies. Calgary, Canada's alt-weekly has kindly filled in that gap for us, with a recommendation of nine nonfiction films that came out in 2014. Among them: "The Overnighters," a "mesmerizing doc that puts the spotlight on a tiny town in North Dakota that suddenly turned into an overpopulated oilpatch boom town"; "Mistaken for Strangers," which is "less a music documentary about Ohio-based indie act The National than it is a comedy of errors about the singer’s brother, who slacked his way onto the screen"; and "Particle Fever," a "look at the launch of the world’s largest particle collider, a.k.a. 'the doomsday machine.'"


Shepherd Express, "'We Are a Stand-up Family': Dontre Hamilton’s family reacts to DA’s decision, says they’ll continue their peaceful quest for justice" Nonindictments in fatal police shootings of civilians have dominated the news lately, but one case that didn't get national attention was that of Dontre Hamilton, who then-Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney shot to death on April 30, 2014. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm last week released the evidence he reviewed to decide that Manney's decision to shoot Hamilton was justified. Shepherd Express talks to Hamilton's family about Dontre and about the rallies they've organized since his death.


The Knoxville Mercury In our first installment of This Week in Alts, we cited the closure of Knoxville's alt-weekly Metro Pulse as one of the inspirations for starting this blog series. A few weeks ago, one of the former Metro Pulse editors, Matthew Everett, sent us an email updating us on the status of alt-weeklies in Knoxville. He, along with two other former MP editors, are launching a new paper, the Knoxville Mercury, in 2015. It will be a for-profit subsidiary of a new local nonprofit, the Knoxville History Project. Everett writes, "The idea is that this structure will keep the paper a community project—readers can become members of the nonprofit, the paper's profits will help support the nonprofit, and the editors will be insulated from editorial interference by the nonprofit's charter and bylaws."

They are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first issue of the Knoxville Mercury; the campaign has so far met $46,568 of its $50,000 goal, with eight days left to go. (Full disclosure: Erstwhile CP editor Lee Gardner, as Everett wrote to us, "wrote a really good DVD column for MP for years, and I expect him to write for the Mercury in some capacity.")

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