The Filtered Excellence: January 26, 2017

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.


Becoming Warren Buffett.  How did a kid from Nebraska with an unusual obsession for numbers end up becoming a successful businessman worth nearly 60 billion dollars?  That is at the heart of this new Peter Kundhardt-directed HBO documentary.  Told mostly by Buffett, the doc uses never-before-released home videos, photographs, archival footage and interviews with family and friends to provide the most compelling and insightful portrait to date.  The film also gets unprecedented access to Buffett’s day to day personal life, who, despite his great wealth, still lives modestly in Omaha, driving himself to work everyday at Berkshire Hathaway, the fourth-largest public company in the world.  Buffett also reveals the roots behind his strong moral standing and character, his unmatched forays into philanthropy and the reasons behind making the largest donation in history.  Told with warmth and candor, Kundhardt has crafted the ultimate portrait to one of the most respected men in the business world.  Becoming Warren Buffett premieres January 30th at 10pm Eastern on HBO.  You can go to for more information.


The Search For Everything – Wave One by John Mayer.   After releasing two albums in a 15 month span in 2012 and 2013, John Mayer took an extended break from recording.  Not that the time was idle:  He spent a considerable part of that time touring as the lead guitarist slot in The Grateful Dead offshoot, Dead & Co.  Mayer also worked on and stockpiled songs for his 10th studio album.  But rather than do a traditional rollout, the singer-songwriter and guitarist has decided to release four songs a month until the set is complete.  Working with long time collaborators Steve Jordan on drums (who also produced) and bassist Pino Palladino, this set explores similar themes that he addressed in Paradise Valley and Born & Raised:  growth, change and the complexities that come with it.  ‘Love On The Weekend’ captures the joys of extended time down with a loved one while ‘Moving On And Getting Over’ is an R&B infused song that deals with the emotional difficulties of getting past a breakup.   The EP’s closer, ‘You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me’ features Mayer on piano and performing the most emotional naked vocal and performance of his career.  With this release, we are hearing yet another bold chapter in the career that has been loaded with highlights.  The Search Of Everything – Wave One is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all other major music retail outlets.  You can also go to for more information.

Times Have Changed by Ronnie Baker Brooks.  It always difficult to follow in your father’s footsteps, but Ronnie Baker Brooks – the son of blues icon Lonnie Brooks have more than carved out a name for itself both as a sideman and a solo artist.  For his 3rd album – his first in over a decade – goes for broke and the results are fantastic.  Much like his father and fellow blues icon Buddy Guy, Brooks mixes in down and dirty Chicago Blues with elements of funk, old school R&B and Memphis fueled soul.  Brooks also brings in some famous friends to add fuel to the fire: Steve Cropper, Felix Cavaliers of The Rascals, Lee Roy Parnell, Al Kapone, Angie Stone, Todd Mohr of Big Head Todd & The Monsters, and, of course, his father Lonnie.  Funky grooves, gut bucket soul, soaring keys, big horns and a ton of white hot fret work runs throughout this 11 song set.  After grinding it out on the Chicago Blues scene for over 30 years, the time is now for Ronnie Baker Brooks to breakout out nationally.   Destined to make the annual ‘Best Of’ lists for 2017.  Times Have Changed by Ronnie Baker Brooks is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major music retailers.  You can also go to for tour dates and additional information.


So This Is Permanence: Joy Division Lyrics & Notebooks by Deborah Curtis & Jon Savage.  Though they only released two albums, Joy Division influenced an entire generation of bands ranging from U2 to Nine Inch Nails while laying the blueprint for what became the alternative music scene of the late 90s and early 2000s.  This new book – compiled by his widow Deborah and noted music journalist Jon Savage – gives a first time look into the creative mind and fractured psyche of the band’s front man and chief lyricist Ian Curtis.  Thought he battled with depression and epilepsy, we get to see Curtis, through his handwritten lyrics, drafts and never been published writings, turn his pain into art through such songs as ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ ‘Transmission’ ‘Digital’, ‘Dead Souls’ among many others.  Beautifully crafted and constructed, it’s a loving testament and epitaph to a musical icon.  So This Is Permanence: Joy DivisionLyrics & Notebooks is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major book retailers.

The New Barbarians: Outlaws, Gunslingers and Guitars by Rob Chapman.  With The Rolling Stones on hiatus, Ron Wood, promoting his solo album Gimme Some Neck, formed The New Barbarians, a short lived supergroup comprised of Keith Richards, bassist Stanley Clarke, former Faces bandmate Ian McLagan on keys, Meters drummer Joseph ‘Zigaboo’ Mondeliste and Stones satellite member Bobby Keys on sax.  After making its debut at a charity show in Toronto (one of the provisions that Richards had to fulfill after being busted for heroin a year earlier), The New Barbarians went on a 18 date tour across the States in the spring of 1979.  The madness of that tour – which included a full scale riot on the opening night – and the band’s short lived, but glorious history is the subject of this new book by Rob Chapman.  Loaded with great behind the scenes stories and candid on and off stage photographs by Bruce Silberman, Alan Pariser and Henry Diltz, and featuring a bonus CD of previously unreleased tracks from the tour, Chapman has put together a loving and raucous salute to one of rock’s most unheralded supergroups.  The New Barbarians: Outlaws, Gunslingers And Guitars by Rob Chapman is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major book retailers.


New York City: Stanley Kubrick.  To coincide with the release of the new documentary, S Is For Stanley, IFC Center is hosting a two week retrospective on the film output of the iconic film director.  The look back with cover every facet of Kubrick’s career:  dark comedy (Dr. Strangelove); Science Fiction (2001: A Space Odyssey, A.I: Artificial Intelligence – which Kubrick conceived and was completed by Steven Spielberg); period pieces (Spartacus, Barry Lyndon); martial drama (Eyes Wide Shut); adaptations of literary classics (Lolita) and war films (Paths Of Glory, Full Metal Jacket). The centerpiece is the premiere of the new documentary S Is For Stanley, Alex Infascelli’s look at long time Kubrick assistant Emilio D’Alessandro, who worked closely with the director for over 30 years.  The film offers a unique perspective into Kubrick’s pinpoint preciseness, how it fueled his creative process and how it affected the work.  This is THE comprehensive look at one of the greatest filmmakers of this or any time.  As an added bonus, Infascelli will be on hand to do a post screening Q&As after select screenings.  It’s a fitting salute to a cinematic master.  Stanley Kubrick will run at the IFC Center through February 2nd.  You can also go to for a complete schedule, run times and more information.

New York City: Universal In The 70s Part One.  The success of Dennis Hopper’s film Easy Ridermarked the start of the ‘New Hollywood’, Universal was looking to capture – and cash in – on this new generation of filmgoers.  With executive Ned Tanen heading the studio’s new ‘youth division’, Universal produced a series of films that would come to define the decade’s wildly innovative and experimental phase featuring hot up and comers (George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood), international talent (Milos Forman), mavericks (John Cassavetes, Monte Hellman, Michael Schultz) and industry veterans (Alfred Hitchcock, Don Siegel).  Metrograph will look back at this extraordinary time in film history with a 2 week retrospective featuring some of the studio’s best work from that period.  American Graffiti, High Plains Drifter, Frenzy and Minnie Moskowitz will be featured along with such cult classics as Two-Lane Blacktop, Slapshot, Car Wash and many others.  Most of these films have only made the rounds on TV, so to see them on a big screen (and in 35mm!) makes this retrospective extra special.  Universal In The 70s Part One runs at Metrograph through February 7th.  You can also go to for a complete list of films, tickets and additional information.

Los Angeles: Bring The Noise.  Film Independent curator Elvis Mitchell has teamed up with Artist In Residence T-Bone Burnett and The Hollywood Foreign Press Association to present this new series that puts a unique spin on the film score.   Acclaimed musicians get to select a film of their choosing remove the original score, then write and perform a new accompaniment.  The series kicks off this weekend with a screening of Welcome To The Dollhouse with Seth Bogart of Hanx And HIs Punx performing.  It’s a cool way to put a memorable film in an entirely new context.  Bring The Noise: Welcome To The Dollhouse will be screen Saturday, January 28th at The Bing Theater at LACMA.  You can go to for tickets and additional information.

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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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