The Filtered Excellence: February 1, 2018

Bob Geldof once asked us, “Where is the filtered excellence!?” It’s right here. Once a week we take a break from comedy to bring you this week’s picks of the best things to watch, the most interesting things to do, great things to try, the best picks to read, our favorite things to listen to and more.


The Trade.  America’s ongoing opioid epidemic is the topic of this new five part Showtime documentary series.  Directed by Academy Award nominee Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land), it’s looks at the crisis from every angle:  Those who grow and distribute it, law enforcement officials trying to stop them, those addicted and the family members dealing with loved one’s struggles.  Whether its in Guerrero, Mexico, Columbus, Ohio or all points in between, Heineman captures just how critical this crisis is and how it affects everyone regardless of what where you fall on the social chart.  A vital and important series.  The Trade premieres February 2nd at 9pm Eastern on Showtime.  You can also go to for more information.


Blues For Memo by David Murray featuring Saul Williams.  After hearing Saul Williams deliver an impassioned reading at the memorial service for Amiri Baraka, jazz great David Murray reached out to the actor-singer-songwriter-poet the next day to propose working together.  Williams sent Murray several pieces that he was working on for his next book to Murray, who quickly wrote music for it.  The results of these collaborations are the basis of Murray’s new album, Blues For Memo.  It plays to both artists strengths:  Murray’s soaring sax work complimenting and playing off of Williams’ scathing takes on race, class, gender, economics and culture in 21st Century America.  Whereas artists such as Guru, A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets and Kendrick Lamar have flirted with incorporating jazz with hip hop and spoken word, Williams and Murray go all in, creating a hybrid that distinctively their own and long overdue.  It’s a bold, exciting new chapter for two artists have made their careers pushing the musical needle forward.  Already a contender for one of the year’s best.  Blues For Memo by David Murray featuring Saul Williams is available digitally now, with a physical release due on February 16th.  You can also go to for tour dates and more information.

Post Traumatic by Mike Shinoda.  The shocking and sudden death of Linkin Park co-frontman Chester Bennington still has those close to him and his fans reeling. Bennington’s bandmate Mike Shinoda decided to channel his grief the only way he knew how – through his art.  This haunting new EP play out like an open wound, working through all phases – shock, denial, anger and delicate acceptance throughout the three song set.  The fate of Linkin Park remains unclear, but Shinoda manages to give himself and their fans a starting point for closure.  Post Traumatic is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major music retailers.


Brave by Rose McGowan.  For nearly 20 years, Rose McGowan was one of, if not the lone voice in calling Hollywood’s long unchecked History of sexual abuse, harassment and misconduct.  Now the former actress Rose McGowan goes from Twitter to fill blown prose in this explosive new memoir.  Told in a frank, uncompromising and unfiltered terms, McGowan recalls her early years growing up in a religious cult, escaping it, only to find herself in what she calls another cult: Hollywood.  But even as she found success in such films as ‘The Doom Generation’, ‘Planet Terror’ and the TV series Charmed, McGowan tells how she was often witness to, and the recipient of rampant sexual misconduct.  Her life altering encounter with studio head Harvey Weinstein – in which she said resulted in her being raped by Weinstein (though he’s never mentioned by name) is chillingly recounted here, as is how she was able to turn her trauma into a campaign that has shook Hollywood to its core.  More manifesto than memoir, McGowan has put together a blunt, take no prisoners account of Hollywood at its worst and how she reclaimed her life as an activist and women’s advocate.  Brave is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major book retailers.


New York City.  Fight The Power: Black Superheroes On Film.  With Black Panther – ready to hit theaters this month, The Brooklyn Academy Of Music will be presenting a two and half week retrospective featuring the alternate cinematic history of Black screen heroes.  It will kick off with Melvin Van Peebles seminal film, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, and will include Foxy Brown, Shaft, Cleopatra Jones, Blade, Men In Black, The Harder They Come, Strange Days, among others.  Other highlights include Strange Days (directed by Kathryn Bigelow), Space Is The Place – John Coney’s Afrofuturistic adaptation of the classic Sun Ra album; Attack The Block (which featured the film debut of actor John Boyega of Star Wars fame)  and The Spook Who Sat By The Door, with a plot that was so radical, The FBI reportedly had it pulled out of theaters and seized any and all existing bnprints.  There will also be guest introductions, panel discussions and much more.  Whether you like comic book adaptations, Sci-Fi, or action films, this series has it all.  Fight The Power: Black Superheroes On Film be at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music February 2nd through the 18th.  You can also go to for a complete film schedule, tickets and more information.

New York City.  Crimes Of Passion:  The Erotic Thriller.  Valentine’s Day is not too far away and with the upcoming releases of Fifty Shades Darker and Double Lover, erotic dramas/thrillers are in full swing.  Quad Cinema will be presenting a week long series that captures the darker side of desire.  Some of films that would be featured include Vertigo, Basic Instinct, Body Heat, Fatal Attraction, Angel Heart, Swimming Pool, Unfaithful and much more.  If you are looking to take a walk on the wild side of love, this series is for you.  Crimes Of Passion: The Erotic Thriller will be at Quad Cinema February 7th through the 13th.  You can also go to for a complete list of films, tickets and more information.

New York City.  You Say You Want A Revolution: Remembering The 60s.  As part of an extensive look back at one of the nation’s most turbulent decades, the main branch of The New York Public Library is presenting a multi-media exhibition devoted to a period that brought out sweeping change.  It features many key documents and pieces including handwritten and typed items by James Baldwin, Bob Dylan, Tom Wolfe and Terry Southern; buttons from campaigns centering on civil/human rights, the Vietnam War, and political campaigns; photos and posters from seminal events such as Woodstock and The Human Be-In and much more.  In addition, you can stop by kiosks to watch performances from the musical Hair, Woodstock and listen to key tracks by artists that defined the decade.   Whether you were old enough to remember or looking to explore the era for the first time, this free exhibition is for you.  You Say You Want A Revolution: Remembering The 60s will be at The New York Public Library through September 1st.  You can also go to for more information.

Los Angeles.  Girlschool.  Now in its 3rd year, this three day music festival celebrates, connects and lifts up women-identified artists, leaders and voices who are usually shut out of the major music festivals.  Shirley Manson and Amber Coffman will headline with Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney and poet Morgan Parker participating in keynote conversations.  It will run the gamut from rock, hip hop, pop, DJ sets featuring ladies from all over of the world.  A much needed alternative to many of the male-dominated music festivals happening now.  Girlschool will be at The Bootleg Theater February 2nd through the 4th.  You can also go to for tickets, a complete rundown of events and more information.


Want more excellence? Read last week’s the filtered excellence.

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Earl Douglas is a writer/photographer based in New York City. A frequent contributor to The Interrobang, Earl is also Executive Director for the New York chapter of The Black Rock Coalition. Earl worked in radio for nearly two decades at WNEW-FM and XM Satellite Radio, which included being the on-air producer for Carol Miller, Scott Muni and Ron & Fez, and a contributor to Opie & Anthony. Earl has also independently published a number of books including Black Rock Volume 1, Urban Abyss, Mobile Uploads, and For Shimmy. His latest project is the photojournalism magazine PRAXIS, which is available exclusively through

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