The Filtered Excellence: October 27, 2016


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 19th Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize For American Humor.  Some of the biggest names in comedy recently came out to D.C. to honor as he received this long overdue honor for his outstanding contributions to the medium.  , , ,  Sigourney Weaver, Ivan Reitman, and Miley Cyrus are just some of those who paid tribute to the former ‘SaturdayNight Live’ standout, Emmy winner and star of such classics as ‘Ghostbusters’, ‘Groundhog Day’, ‘Scrooged’ and ‘Lost In Translation’.  Highlights from the presentation – along with highlights from Murray’s career – will air this Friday at 9pm Eastern on PBS.  You can go to for more information.

By Sidney Lumet.  When asked to put together the latest American Masters installment on Sidney Lumet, director Nancy Buirski could have played it safe.  She could have followed the same formula that has made this series a PBS mainstay for 30 years. Instead, Buirski took a more unique approach:  Using a series of previously unused interviews that Lumet did in 2008 along clips from his 50 year career, Buirski allows Lumet – who passed away in 2011 – to tell his own story.  Whether he’s discussing his early days as a child star in theater, his gradual move into directing in the early days in television or what drove him to make such classics as 12 Angry Men, Fail Safe, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, or Network, Lumet recalls it all with candor, grace and humor.  It’s a strong and powerful look at a cinematic giant.  By Sidney Lumet will have a brief theatrical run before airing on PBS in 2017.  You can go to for more information.

Gimme Danger.  The latest from Jim Jarmusch is a straight up love letter to whom he calls without apology ‘the greatest rock band ever’.  Using new and archival footage, all of the key members are present – Iggy Pop, the late Ron & Scott Asheton, and James Williamson and early manager Danny Fields – to tell the story how a scrappy band out of Ann Arbor, Michigan ended up becoming the godfathers of the punk and alternative rock movement.   It also covers to the rampant drug use and personality clashes that led to the band’s initial breakup and the surprising reunion in 2003 that only ended after the deaths of the Asheton brothers and long time sax player Steve Mackey.  Iggy has always been one of rock’s greatest front men, but he’s just as good a storyteller recounting the band’s highs and lows.  Loaded with great music and paced with the power and fury of a Stooges song, Jim Jarmusch has put together a dynamic account of one of rock’s most beloved bands.  Gimme Danger opens this Friday.  You can also go to for more info.

Oasis: Supersonic.  Oasis brought Brit rock back in full force with such classic albums as Definitely Maybe and What’s The Story Morning Glory.  They also lived every bit the lives of the rock stars that they worshiped growing up.  The band’s incredible rise – and its even harder fall is the subject of this new doc by Mat Whitecross.  Noel and Liam Gallagher are, as always, front and center driving the story of how the very things that made Oasis one of the biggest bands in the world ultimately led to their self destruction.  Loaded with all of the classic songs and stories of brawls, drug use, walk-outs, and shameless acts of rudeness, wit and humor, this is one roller coaster ride of a rock doc.  Oasis: Supersonic is in select theaters now.  You can also go to for more information or to bring the film to your city.



The Randy Newman Songbook, Volume 3.  The third in the series of solo piano recordings by the legendary singer-songwriter-satirist doesn’t stray too far from the formula that has made this such a success.  Having nearly 50 years of incredible songs to work from doesn’t hurt either.  This time out, Newman revisits  hits that he had on his own (‘Short People’, ‘I Love L.A.’ ) for other people (‘Mama Told Me Not Com’e) new takes on his Oscar-nominated songs ‘I Love To See You Smile’ and  ‘You Got A Friend In Me’ and much more.  Stripped down to basically piano and vocals, we are once again treated to another songwriting clinic.  The third time’s the charm for this series and we are better for it.  The Randy Newman Songbook, Volume 3 is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major music retailers.  You can also go to for more information.

The Musical Mojo Of Dr. John: Celebrating Mac And His Music.  Recorded live at New Orleans’ Saenger Theatre, this 2-CD set celebrates the life and career of one of the city’s greatest musical ambassadors.  If the show had just featured Dr. John classics backed by the killer house band of Noted produce-musician Don Was put together a killer house band that includes Chuck Leavell, John Gros, Brian Stolz, Kenny Aronoff and long time Dr. John collaborator Sarah Morrow – under the musical direction of Don Was – that would’ve been enough.  But there’s also as the good Doctor rocks and rolls through 22 songs that turned Mac Rebonack into an international musical icon.  There’s also a slew of guest stars including John Fogerty, Mavis Staples, Widespread Panic, Jason Isabell, Ryan Bingham and some dude named Bruce Springsteen that also bring the thunder.  The lighting comes in the form of NOLA icons Allen Touissaint, Irma Thomas, Aaron, Charles and Cyril Neville, George Porter, Jr, and Zigaboo Modelistes of The Meters, Terence Blanchard and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band to insure the show retains a local, funky flavor.  Simply put, it’s a loose fun, groove heavy salute to the Good Doctor.  The Musical Mojo Of Dr John is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major music retailers.


New York City: Private Moments Of Hollywood’s Golden Era: The Photography Of Sid Avery.  Before publications like People and Entertainment Weekly and later social media gave you all you needed to know (like or not) about your favorite celebs, insights in to the private lives of the stars were few and far between.  Access was limited and when granted, it was put under an intense microscope before it went to press. Photographer Sid Avery was one of those few who had that access, mainly because his work captured the artist’s artistic and personal essence.  A sampling of some of his work – which includes now iconic shots of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, James Dean, Marlon Brando, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Steve McQueen and Lucille Ball, among others – are now on display at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York.  It’s a fantastic look at Hollywood at the height of its powers as well as a pioneer in glamour photograpjy.  Private Moments Of Hollywood’s Golden Era will be at The Morrison Hotel Gallery through November 6th.  You can also go to for more information.

Paul Schrader.  He’s best known for his collaborations with Martin Scorsese, but Paul Schrader is just as a strong a director as he is with the pen.  As a build up to his latest film, Dog Eat Dog  (starring Nic Cage), Metrograph will be an extended weekend retrospective spotlighting some of his work.  The series will include Blue Collar, starring Harvey Keitel and Richard Pryor; American Gigolo featuring a star making performance by Richard Gere; Patty Hearst starring Natasha Richardson; and Affliction with Nick Nolte and an Academy Award-wining performance by James Coburn.  The centerpiece of the weekend will be a preview screening of Dog Eat Dog with a post screening Q&A with Schrader and screenwriter Matthew Wilder.  A great opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the key players of the ‘New Hollywood’ movement.  It runs October 29th through November 2nd.  You can go to for tickets, a complete rundown of films, run times and more information.

Los Angeles: Festival Supreme.  Now in its 4th year, Festival Supreme is now the standard bearer in highlighting the best of musical comedy.  As in previous years, Tenacious D will headline and will be joined by, among others, Weird Al, Flight Of The Conchords, and making their Festival Supreme debut, Test Pattern, the Talking Heads parody band featuring , Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph.  Guaranteed to have you rocking out and laughing out loud at the same time.  Festival Supreme will take place October 29th at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo.  You can also go to www.festivalsupreme.comfor tickets, a complete lineup rundown and 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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