The Filtered Excellence: September 22, 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 Magnificent Seven.  The latest remake of Seven Samurai stars Denzel Washington as Sam Chisholm, a bounty hunter who is hired by Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) to protect the people of Rose Creek from ruthless industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard).  Outgunned and outnumbered, Chisholm assembles a team of outlaws, assassins, hired guns and gamblers: Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). Together, they realize that a lot more is at stake than just a big payday and that despite their different backgrounds, they are all fighting a common enemy.  Washington, pairing up again with director Antoine Fuqua and Ethan Hawke, brings a strong and formidable presence as the leader of this band of desperadoes.  The chemistry between the seven jumps out of the screen even as the gun play – and the bodies – pile up.  Bennett also delivers a great performance as the recently widowed Cullen, who, despite grieving for her dead husband, is just as, if not more so, tougher than the crew she hired. Loaded with action and fine performances, this remake more than holds its own with the previous films. The Magnificent Seven opens nationwide on Friday.

Generation Start Up.  The latest from Academy Award-winning director Cynthia Wade and Cheryl Miller Houser puts us front and center at the world of American entrepreneurship in the 21st Century.  Shot over a nearly two year span, the doc shows how six recent college graduates – all of different cultures and backgrounds – trying to make their startup companies happen in Detroit. Wade and Houser cover every aspect of their lives, personal and professional, as they risk it all to stake their claim in the business world and in the American Dream. You really find yourself rooting for these aspiring business people – especially when they experience hardships and setbacks along the way. But ultimately, Wade and Houser put together a documentary that is uplifting and inspiring. Generation Start Up opens in New York on Friday, Los Angeles and Milwaukee on September 30th and select theaters on October 7th. You can also go to for more information.



Stripped by Macy Gray. As part of the Chesky Binaural + Series, Macy Gray goes full on jazz with her latest album.  Recorded earlier this spring with a single microphone in a decommissioned church, Gray teams up with a killer combo to rework some of her biggest hits (‘I Try’, ‘Sweet Baby’, ‘She Ain’t Right For You’), covers (Metallica’s ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and ‘Redemption Song’ by Bob Marley) and outstanding new songs (‘Annabelle’, ‘The Heart’, and the killer closer, ‘Lucy’) to an extraordinary, often astonishing effect. Gray and the band are clearly having a blast with the material and the vibe, with the binaural production gives the listener the feel that they are practically on stage with them.  Gray’s most concise and focused effort to date which will thrill both long time and new fans. One of the year’s best. Stripped by Macy Gray is available now through Amazon, iTunes, and all major retailers. You can also go to or for more info.


We Are The Halluci Nation by A Tribe Called Red.  By marrying First Nation’s tribal beats with EDM, A Tribe Called Red have carved out a unique place in the Canadian – and Global – musical landscape. For their third album, the group built an album length concept album around the poems of the American Indian Movement’s late chairman John Trudell that present a world that centers around a borderless nation called The Halluci Nation. Rounding it all out is a slew of collaborators – including Saul Williams, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Australian Aboriginal band OKA, Swedish-Sami singer Maxida Marak, Lido Pimienta of Columbia and fellow Canadian Tanya Tagaq to deliver an album that fuses the worlds of EDM, hip hop, soul, funk, jazz and rock. This is the true definition of a world music album anchored with a powerful sound and message behind it. It’s THE breakout album of the year and easily one of the year’s best.  We Are The Halluci Nation by A Tribe Called Red is available now through Amazon, iTunes and all major music retailers. You can also go to for more information.



A Vulgar Display Of Pantera by Joe Giron. One of the most beloved and respected hard rock/metal bands, Pantera fused sledgehammer riffs with monster grooves that made albums such as Cowboys From Hell, Far Beyond Driven, A Vulgar Display Of Power and Reinventing The Steel instant classics.  Internal friction and the brutal murder of guitarist ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott ended any chance of Pantera doing one more victory lap, but a new book by Joe Giron gives the ultimate insider’s look at life within the band. Considered the unofficial fifth member of the band, Giron was there from the group’s early glam metal days in 1981 to their final, groove influenced metal shows in 2004. Spread out over 400 pages, Giron’s photos captures the band in the studio, on the road and, of course, on stage. There’s also great stories and insights from the surviving members, Dimebag’s widow, family, friends, fans and more. This is THE book for any hardcore or new Pantera fan. A Vulgar Display Of Pantera is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major book retailers.


New York City: Richard Avedon Moving Image. Fashion Week may have come and gone, but thanks to Cadillac and Visionaire – in collaboration with The Richard Avedon Foundation – you view some of the fashion icon’s most memorable work.  ‘Richard Avedon Moving Image’ is a new exhibition covers 20 years of Avedon’s film and video work featuring fashion stars Catherine Deneuve, Lauren Hutton, Anjelica Huston and Jean Shrimpton alongside future stars Kate Moss, Andie MacDowell, Rachel Williams, Shari Belafonte, and much more.  It also showcases the series of groundbreaking – and controversial – Calvin Klein ads made famous by a then teenage Brooke Shields. As a bonus, you also get a see a slew of never-before-seen footage marking the development of Avedon’s ground-breaking merger of the psychology of film and advertising, which revealed as much about the person in the spots as much as it did the product.

It’s all part of a continued campaign to promote Cadillac House, the dealership space located in Soho that also contains a gallery and cafe.  Richard Avedon Moving Image will be at Cadillac House (330 Hudson Street) through September 30th. You can also go to or for more information.


New York City: When Living Is a Protest by Ruddy Roye.  As a companion to the current Black Panther exhibit, The Steven Kasher Gallery is also featuring ‘When Living Is a Protest’, the first solo exhibition by Ruddy Roye.  Born in Jamaica and currently living in Bed Stuy, Roye quickly amassed over 250,000 Instagram followers with his powerful images of the people he has encountered in his walks through Brooklyn. It shows that the lives and struggles of Black/Brown Brooklynites just trying to make their way in 21st Century New York City – and just how real that struggle is. When Living Is A Protest will be at The Steven Kasher Gallery through October 29th.  You can go to or for more info.


New York City: The Black Rock Coalition Presents Luv n’ Haight. To coincide with the 45th Anniversary of Sly & The Family Stone’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On, the Black Rock Coalition Orchestra will perform Sly’s funk rock masterpiece in its entirety. Released in 1971, Sly departed from the band’s bright, opulent and Utopian sound and presented a sparse, introspective, politically charged effort that put a mirror on a nation ravaged by war, and social/political unrest – many issues which are still with us today. Noted author and writer Miles Marshall Lewis will host and a representative from The Black Lives Matter movement will be on hold to say a few words. It’s all FREE too. A great way to celebrate a musical giant and to get informed – and involved. Luv n’ Haight will be at BAMcafé on Saturday, September 24th.  You can go to or for more information.


New York City: UrbanWorld 2016.  Now in its 20th year, The UrbanWorld Film Festival is one of the largest competitive independent international film festivals with an emphasis on filmmakers of color. This year’s lineup includes several feature films, shorts and documentaries to well timed and tuned into the current social and political climate. Among the many highlights: Disney’s Queen Of Katwe featuring Academy Award-winner Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo (Selma); the forthcoming HBO documentary Class Divide which shows how gentrification affects the residents in Chelsea; and Insecure, the much buzzed about new HBO series written and starring Issa Rae. The UrbanWorld Film Festival has served as a launch pad for some of today’s top stars in film and TV, so check out some of their work now before they blow up later. The UrbanWorld Film Festival runs through September 25th. You can also go to for tickets, full schedule of events and additional info.


Los Angeles: Museum Day Live!  Smithsonian Magazine hosts this annual event in which participating museums provide free admission to anyone with a Museum Day ticket. Some of the esteemed institutions that are taking part this year include the Fowler Museum at UCLA, The Grammy Museum, the Museum Of Latin American Art, the Zimmer Children’s Museum and many more. A great chance to spend a day to absorb the rich and diverse cultural history that Los Angeles has to offer. Museum Day Live takes places on Saturday, September 24th.  You can go to for get your tickets.


Los Angeles: Idiocracy.  Mike Judge’s dark, satirical sci-fi comedy about a society that is absent of any form of real intelligence, didn’t have a long shelf life when it was released in 2006.  Since then, the film has achieved cult status, largely in part of many of the things that’s presented have starting to come to pass. To coincide with the film’s 10th anniversary, Make America Smart Again has teamed up with EatSeeHear to present a special screening at The Echo Park Tennis And Recreation Center. Judge, Terry Crews and Dax Shepard will be on hand pre and post screening with TRDMRK (Jurassic 5 and The Pharcyde) and DJ Diabetic (Shepard Fairey) will spin before the screening. Proceeds will benefit the Young Literati of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles.  Go to to purchase tickets and get 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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