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Raised in the Athens Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, Cle “Bone” Sloan was four years old when his father died, and 12 when he became a member of the Bloods. Now an inactive member of the notorious gang, Sloan looks back at the history of black gangs in his city and makes a powerful call for change in modern gang culture with his insightful documentary, BASTARDS OF THE PARTY.

Acclaimed feature film director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) produces along with Sloan, who also directs.

Haunted by his involvement in the Bloods’ pervasive culture of violence, Sloan wanted to explore where it all began. In researching the subject, he discovered that the roots of black gangs were nurtured within a distinct political landscape. BASTARDS OF THE PARTY traces the development of black gangs in Los Angeles from the late 1940s, through the charged atmosphere of the ’60s and ’70s, to the breakdown of community in the ’80s and ’90s, and the brief truce between the Crips and Bloods that followed the Rodney King riots in 1992. Among the gangs that figure in the story are the Spook- hunters, Farmers, Slauscons, Businessmen and Gladiators.

The documentary features interviews with past and current gang members from the Bloods and Crips; LA historian Mike Davis, whose book “City of Quartz” sparked Sloan’s own project; former FBI agent Wes Swearingen; and Geronimo Pratt, the former Black Panther Party minister of defense, among others.
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It’s apparently OK to say the S-word on TV — as long as it’s on a program that the Federal Communications Commission says even faintly resembles a news show.

The FCC reversed itself Tuesday and deemed acceptable a Survivor contestant’s use of the obscenity during an interview on a December 2004 episode of The Early Show on CBS. The contestant used a vulgar term for “smooth talker” to describe a fellow contestant on Survivor: Vanuatu.

Full USA Today article.

By allowing a entertainment interview on a morning “news” show to be exempt from the strict standards, controversy about documentary content should largely go away. Ken Burns’ “The War” use of profanity in combat footage and interviews should no longer be a issue that might have kept some PBS affiliates from running it.

By in News, PBS

Coming in September as part of the American Masters series. Check your local listings for day and time.

The two-part, four-hour documentary is directed by Ric Burns. The film is narrated by artist and musician Laurie Anderson and features artist Jeff Koons as the voice of Andy Warhol.


[PBS CEO Paula Kerger]: “My point to them is that we, as public television, don’t have the resources to try to understand what they’re thinking,” said Kerger, who won big points with reporters for her forthright comments. “I can’t tell you, as I stand here today, that I have a clear understanding” of whether PBS stations could face fines for airing the Burns documentary — with language intact — before 10 p.m.

“When you look at the indecency rulings as they have transpired, I don’t see a clear path. Right now, it’s a moving target.”

The context for the concern is that KCSM, the San Mateo-based public TV station, is facing a $15,000 fine from the FCC for a repeat showing of an episode of Martin Scorsese’s “The Blues” that included a smattering of blue language. The FCC acted even though it got just one complaint and “The Blues” was shown all across the country without issue.

Full Mercury News story by Charlie McCollum