The Filtered Excellence: March 23, 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.


American Anarchist.  At the height of the civil unrest that dominated the latter part of the 60s, William Powell wrote The Anarchist Cookbook, a step by step guide to making bombs and other destructive weapons using everyday household products.  While Powell conceived the book as a means to fight back against what he saw as a repressive American government, it’s become the guidebook for many of the mass killings (politically motivated or not) that has happened in the U.S. and around the world.   This new doc by Charles SIskel looks at the book’s tragic impact since its publication and how Powell – who is now in his 60s working with developmentally challenged children – has attempted to deal with how his work has affected numerous lives since its release.  It’s a sobering look at the crushing effect violence has and how its aftermath can span generations.  American Anarchist opens this weekend.

Wilson.  The latest adaptation of a Daniel Clowes graphic novel stars Woody Harrelson as Wilson, an angry, anti-social, neurotic man whose only true friend is his wire fox terrier, Pepper.   When his former wife Pippi (Laura Dern) reveals to him that the baby he thought she aborted 17 years ago is alive and living with adoptive parents, Wilson persuades Pippi to track her down to reconnect and at least explain why happened.  The road trip produces awkward encounters along the way, including a testy reunion with Pippi’s judgmental sister (Cheryl Hines).  When they finally meet their daughter Claire (Isabella Amara), more uncomfortableness ensures – especially when Wilson realizes that she’s more like him that he was prepared for.  Harrelson puts in another stellar performance as the beyond wound up Wilson reminding everyone once again, that he can stand with any actor working today. Dern is also in great form as his former wife trying to deal with addiction issues as well as the re-entrance of Wilson into her life.  Director Craig Johnson, working on a script that written by Clowes remains pretty faithful to the spirit and the tone of the graphic novel.  This is the right film if you are a fan of cringe/dark comedy. Wilson opens this weekend.  You can also go to for more information.


The Navigator by Hurray For The Riff Raff.  Reclaimation is the central theme behind much anticipated followup to Small Town Heroes.  The album is a concept piece that centers around the character Navita Milagros Negron, a teenage who travels through ‘The City’, barring witness to its destruction via displacement, segregation and gentrification.  It also tells of reclaiming the roots and the culture from which she comes from – and where it will take her.  Whereas Small Town Heroes drew from the best parts of American roots music of the South, The Navigator uses the sounds that sprang out of New York City and, more specifically Alynda Segarra’s hometown of The Bronx (doo wop, punk, New Wave, along with the styles that came out of Fania Records in the 70s) that puts on urban spin on the term ‘roots music’ .  Political, potent and highly personal, Segarra – with a huge assist from producer Paul Butler – has put together an album marking the arrival of music’s next great force.  One of the year’s best.  The Navigator by Hurray For The Riff Raff is available now through Amazon, Itunes, and all major retailers.

Flowers In The Dirt (Deluxe Edition) by Paul McCartney.  After the mixed receptions of the feature film Give My Regards To Broad Street and the album Press To Play, Paul McCartney – who was also planning his first world tour over a decade – put extra time and effort into his latest album.  Released in spring of 1989, Flowers In The Dirt featured four songs co-written with Elvis Costello, a guest appearance by David Gilmour, a production team that included Mitchell Froom, Trevor Horn and David Foster and a new band that included former Pretenders guitarist Robbie McIntosh and Hamish Stuart of Average White Band.  The album was hit with fans and critics and its considered one of the best of his solo efforts.  As part of the Paul McCartney Archive collection, the deluxe edition includes some tasty bonus tracks.  It includes a remastered version of the original album, along with all of the demos McCartney and Costello recorded for the project (including other material that would eventually end up on subsequent Costello albums).  It really puts you in the zone in which McCartney is paired with his most formidable songwriter partner since his Beatle days.  It’s Big Mac at the height of another creative peak with a little help from his friends.  Flowers In The Dirt – The Deluxe Edition will be available Fridaythrough Amazon, Itunes and all major music retailers.


Smoke Snort Swallow Shoot: Legendary Binges, Lost Weekends and Other Feats Of Rock n Roll Incoherence.  Jacob Hoye culls together some of the most outrageous, too crazy to be true drug related episodes featuring some of the rock’s baddest bad boys (and lady courtesy of Marianne Faithfull).  Whether its Aerosmith crashing and burning their way through a mountain of coke, heroin, cars and guns while making the album Draw The Line; Johnny navigating his way a desert cave or Marilyn Manson turning a bad acid trip into a wild sexual escapade, you will laugh just as much you will cringe reading their first hand accounts of life on the edge.  With notable appearances by Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses, Motörhead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pantera and The Allman Brothers Band (among others), this is a great collection of stories that shows the highs and lows of elevated altered states of consciousness.  Smoke Snort Swallow Shoot is available now through Barnes & Noble and through Lesser Gods Books.  You can also go to for more information.

A Colony In A Nation by Chris Hayes.  The new book from the best-selling author and Emmy award winning journalist Chris Hayes makes a compelling argument that while America has made huge strides in matters on racial, ethnic and gender lines, the country is divided in two camps:  A colony and a nation.  How those within the nation are treated and those who are colonized are treated form the basis of Hayes’ book.  Using personal dispatches from West Baltimore and Ferguson, his own interactions with law enforcement officials, activists and residents, Hayes builds a compelling case that now more than ever, we are still a separate and unequal nation.  An absolute must read.  A Colony In A Nation is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major book retailers.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin.  With the release of the Oscar nominated doc I Am Not Your Negro and a slew of tributes, the work of James Baldwin is more alive and vibrant than ever.  Now comes the re-release of one of his most lauded books, The Fire Next Time.  This limited edition letterpress version includes the original piece alongside 100 photographs taken by Steve Schapiro, who accompanied Baldwin throughout the South while working for Life Magazine.  You are put right in the heart of the American Civil Rights Movement with Baldwin’s memorizing words are joined with stirring images of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Rosa Parks, Fred Shuttlesworth as they embarked on the March On Washington and The Selma March.  While the photos work as a time capsule for a turbulent era, Baldwin’s stinging takes on race in America hold more true today than they did over 50 years ago.  With a new introduction by  civil rights icon John Lewis and an essay by Baldwin’s sister Gloria Baldwin Karefa-Smart, its a startling new look at a timeless, seminal work.  The Fire Next Time is available exclusively through Taschen (


New York City: The Brit New Wave: From Angry Men To Swinging London.  This new retrospective looks back at the movement that shook up British cinema – and the world throughout the 1960s.  Alfie, Darling, Look Back In Anger, Georgy Girl, If, and A Hard Day’s Night are just some of the films that will be featured – all of which presented dramatic shifts in how issues pertaining to class, sex, music and cultural norms were being portrayed on screen.  This series makes a very credible stand that what was coming out of Britain at this time was just as potent and viable as the French and American New Wave movements that happened at the same time.  It’s a great look back at a potent moment in cinema.  The Brit New Wave will be at the Film Forum through April 6th.  You can also go to for more information.

Los Angeles: CicLAvia: Culver City Meets Venice.  You can’t really get anyway in L.A. without a car, but for one day, CicLavia – which is Spanish for ‘bike way’ – transforms its downtown Los Angeles into a car-free zone.  Bikes, skateboards, strollers and tricycles are welcome to take part and there will be plenty of music, food and opportunities to check out local businesses.  It’s a great way to celebrate community, public spaces, active transportation and a cleaner environment.  CicLAvia will take place Sunday, March 26thfrom 9am to 4pm.  You can also go to for more information.

Want more excellence? Read last week’s The Filtered Excellence and visit The Interrobang Recommends

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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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