The Filtered Excellence: September 28, 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.


WATCH THIS

 

Curb Your Enthusiasm.  After a 5 year hiatus, ’s back for season 9 of the acclaimed HBO series. Plot details have been kept under wraps, but with regulars , Cheryl Hines, Susie Essman, J.B Smoove, Bob Einstein, Richard Lewis, and Mary Steenburgen back on board, and Bryan Cranston, , Elizabeth Banks and Judge Judy among those slated to make guest appearances, rest assured that it will be another season cringe worthy hillarity.  The new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm premieres Sunday, October 1st at 10pmEastern.  You can also go to www.hbo.com for more information.

 

Lucky.   One of cinema’s greatet character actors, Harry Dean Stanton always added emotional depth, integrity and insight with each role.  All of those nuances come to the fore in this new film from John Carroll Lynch.  Screenwriters Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja wrote this new film specifically in mind for Stanton, who plays Lucky, a 90 year old atheist quietly living his days in an off the grid desert town.  The life he has is pretty routine:  Yoga and breakfast at the diner in the morning, afternoons in front of the TV watching game shows, and drinks at the neighborhood bar to close out his day.  A long time atheist who believes that when we’re dead we are done, Lucky slowly begins to himself in that belief when he realizes that his life journey is very close to being over.  It begins a journey of self-exploration that he hopes will give him some sense of enlightenment.  Stanton, who, sadly passed away on September 15th, is given the role he was born to play,   wonderfully captures the essence of him and the many characters he embodied throughout his lengthy career.  Lynch makes a seamless transition from character actor to director, giving Stanton, the cast and the script plenty of room to let the story breathe and take shape.  The supporting cast is also a character actor’s showcase:  Tom Skerritt, Ed Begley, Jr, Livingston, Beth Grant and, in a rare acting turn, David Lynch, all put in outstanding performances.  If there’s any justice in the world, Stanton’s name should mentioned frequently during awards season.  It’s a fitting coda to one of cinema’s most beloved actors.   Lucky opens in select theaters this weekend.  You can also go to www.magpictures.com for more information.

Spielberg..  The latest HBO Documentary Film is a star-studded salute to the most successful film director of all time.  Director/producer Susan Lacy (American Masters) conducted nearly 30 hours of interviews with Spielberg to give insight the many highlights of his near 50 year career as a director, writer, producer and studio head.  She also assembles a virtual ‘Who’s Who’ of Hollywood royalty –  Oprah Winfrey, George Lucas, Martin Scrosese, David Geffen, Dustin Hoffman, Harrison Ford, Leonard DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, among many others – to tell how Spielberg had an impact on their performances and careers.  Lacy also has access to a slew of home movies, behind the scenes footage, and, of course, clips from all of his iconic flims, making this the most extensive profile on Spielberg to date..  A much deserved look at an all time great.  Speilberg premieres October 7th at 8pmEastern on HBO.  You can also go to www.hbo.com for more information.

Clive Davis:  The Soundtrack Of Our Lives.  Director Chris Perkel looks back at the life and career of music executive Clive Davis in this new Apple documentary.  Made with Davis’ full cooperation, it looks at how as an A&R man and President of Columbia Reocrds, he played a key role in the careers of Simon & Garfunkel, Janis Joplin, Santana, Laura Nyro, Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteeen, Chicago, and Earth, Wind & Fire, among others.  Davis would later go on to form Arista Records and helped launch the careers of Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, and give creative and commercial second winds to veteran acts such as Aretha Franklin, The Grateful Dead, Dionne Warwick, The Kinks and Carly Simon.  Foreseeing the crossover potential in country music, Davis launches a Nashville division of Arista Nashville and scoring numerous chart hits with Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, and Brad Paisley.  It was under Davis’ leadership that led to the formation of  LaFace Records and Bad Boy – which would find multi-platinum success with acts such as TLC, Usher, Outkast, Pink and Toni Braxton, The Notorious B.I.G, Faith Evans and Mase.  At a time where most of his contemporaries were retiring, Davis founded J Records and scored another multi-platinum hit with Alicia Keys.  But the doc gives ample time to a Davis signing while at Arista that made pop music history:  A young singer out of New Jersey named Whitney Houston.  It doesn’t shy away from Davis’ controversial firings from Columbia, the power struggle within Arista that led to his removal from the company he made a success and Houston’s slow, painful slide into drug addiction.  But it also shows how Davis, a music industry vet of over 50 years, still hasn’t lost his zest for finding the next artist that could change the game – again.  Featuring appearances by virtual every major artist that he’s signed through the years and, of course, a ton of great music, this is a multi-dimensional look at one of the music’s biggest movers and shakers.  Clive Davis: The Soundtrack Of Our Lives will air exclusively on Apple Music starting October 3rd.

Pearl Jam: Let’s Play Two.   In 2016, Eddie Vedder got to fulfill two life long wishes:  To play Wrigley Field and to see his favorite team, The Cubs finally win The World Series.  In this new doc from Danny Clinch, it chronicles Pearl Jam’s two night stand in Chicago, the band’s love for the city, the team and Wrigley Field and how it all culminated with sports’ biggest prize.  Pearl Jam is in peak form, ripping through the band’s extensive 25 year catalog as well as choice covers.  Clinch juxtaposes this with highlights from the Cubs long history ending, of course, with its dramatic World Series win over the Cleveland Indians.  With great music, behind the scenes footage, interviews and more, Clinch has put together a doc that is a love letter to a city and to its team.  Pearl Jam: Let’s Play Two opens in select theaters this weekend.  You can also go to www.pearljam.com for more information.

LISTEN TO THIS

 

The Spirit Of Memphis 1962-1976 by Issac Hayes..  Depsite having a career that spanned nearly 50 years, Issac Hayes was best known for his seminal work on the ‘Shaft’ soundtrack and, until his death in 2008, as the voice of Chef from South Park.  But  Hayes wore many hats:  Songwriter, producer, arranger, performer, actor, businessman and humantarian.  This new 4-CD box spotlights Hayes’ Stax Records output, where his talents in front of the mic and behind the scenes made Memphis the soul capitol of the world.  In addition to such hits such as ‘Walk On By’, ‘By The Time I Get To Phoenix’ and the immortal ‘Theme from Shaft’, the set also covers hit songs that he wrote for Sam & Dave (‘Hold On, I’m Coming’, ‘I Thank You’), Booker T.. & The MGs (‘Boot-leg’), Carla Thomas (‘B-A-B-Y’) and much more.  It works as both a celebration of Hayes’ musical legacy, and a snapshot into some of the greatest soul music ever produced.  The Spirit Of Memphis by Issac Hayes is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major music retailers.

 

Flow Riiot by Torii Wolf.  Throughout his 25 year career, DJ Premier, the Grammy Award winning sound alchemist and producer has always set new standards and exceeeded expectations.  As one half of Gang Starr, he and Guru charted a new course in hip hop game in terms of how an MC sounded and introducing cinematic elements into the production.  Premier’s work with D’Angelo, Janet Jackson, Macy Gray, Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera, married hip hop aesthetics with R&B and pop without sacrficiing the essence of either genre.  For his latest production, Premier teams up with Torii Wolf, a sultry voiced singer-songwriter multi-instrumentalist from Long Island with a musical versatility that makes her hard to pigeonhole.  Her new album Flow Riiot puts that musicality on full display with tracks that moody, mysterious, dark, and sensual, with Premier laying it down some of his most diverse sonic textures to date.  Its a lush 15 song cycle that takes you through a range of emotions and soundscapes.  It’s an outstanding debut from one of the most exciting new talents to emerge in quite some time.  Flow Riiott by Torii Wolf will be available this Friday through Amazon, Itunes and all major music retailers.

 

READ THIS

 

What Is It All But Luminous:  Notes From An Underground Man by Art Garfunkel.   Whether as one half of Simon & Garfunkel, as a solo artist or as an actor, you always had a sense there was always a lot more going through Art Garfunkel’s head that he was given off.   A lot of those thoughts and remembrances form the basis of his memoir.  Dispensing conventional narrative, the book leap frogs between years, taking many detours and pauses.  His long, complex relationship with Paul SImon is covered here, including the events that have led to their current musical and personal estrangement.  But it also covers a range of topics including his admiration for the artistry of James Taylor and Mike Nichols;  growing up in Queens, NY, the number of singers who influenced his vocal style, right down to favorite songs on his Ipod.  Garfunkel also details how he dealt with the suicide of his girlfriend Laurie Bird, overcoming a injury that theatened to end his singing career and the strength his wife Kathryn Cermack showed during her fight against breast cancer and much more.  It’s Art Garfukel at his most open, and candid, told with insight, depth and warmth.   We wouldn’t expect anything less.  What Is It All But Luminous is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major book retailers.

 

 

DO THIS

 

New York City.  Star Wars Film Concert Series.  As a ramp up to the latest installment in the Star Wars saga, Lincoln Center will team up with the New York Philharmonic to add present the ultimate movie going expereince.  On October 4th through the 7th, they will show Return Of The Jedi and The Force Awakens on the big screen while the Philharmonic performs John Williams’ memorable score live.  It’s one thing to see Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess/General Leia battle Darth Vader and the darker side of the Force.  It’s another to have some of the top musicians in the world provide the soundtrack at maximum volume.  If you are looking to turn it up a notch with Star Wars experience, this is it.  The Star Wars Film Concert Series will run October 4th through the 7th.  You can also go to www.nyphil.org for tickets and more information.

 

 

Santa Monica.  Coast Open Streets Festival.  Backed for a 2nd year, Coast is a day long festival in which the a two mile stretch of the city’s streets are closed off to cars, allowing residents and visitors to explore the rich culture that the city provides on a daily basis.  There will be live music, guided tours featuring poets and historians, art stations, and, of course, tons of food that will cater any and all of your tastes.  It’s a great way to spent a day exploring the city’s rich history and have a blast doing it.  The Coast Open Streets Festival will take place on Sunday, October 1st.  You can also go to www.smgov.net/coast for 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 Blurb.com.

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