The Filtered Excellence: October 11, 2012

Bob Geldof once asked us, “Where is the filtered excellence!?” It’s right here. Here are this weeks picks of what to WATCH, what to DO what to TRY what to READ what to LISTEN TO and more:



Smashed. Two party kids will test the strength of their relationship when one quits drinking and the other parties on . The film takes an unblinking look at recovery when sobriety may alienate the alcoholic from friends and family.  Mary Elizabeth Winstead gives the performance of her career and we should hear her name when nomination season starts.  Great supporting cast includes Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally and Aaron Paul.

Seven Psychopaths. Seven Psychopaths starring Colin Farrell and Sam Rockwell. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh. Farrell re-teams with writer-director Martin McDonagh (who also wrote and directed the Oscar-winning film In Bruges), to tell a sprawling tale involving dog nappers, gangsters and a wild trip to the desert. It doesn’t hurt to have a cast that includes Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, and Woody Harrelson openly putting all of their quirks on full display. This has all of the makings of a movie that everyone will be quoting from for years to come. Seven Psychopaths opens this Friday.

Argo.  Ben Affleck directs and stars in award winning film telling a true story of six US diplomats who were being held hostage in Iran in 1979.  We haven’t seen it but it’s looking like a pretty powerful film.  Okay so we were wrong about Looper, but this is different.  It’s a compelling story, and the cast– Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin and – is strong.  We’re in.

Brooklyn Castle.   The idea of a chess team being the cool kids at a school is hard to believe, but at I.S. 318 in Brooklyn, that is just the case. Brooklyn Castle is the remarkable true story of the kids at 318 and their championship chess team. Directed by Katie Dellamaggiore, this documentary goes from their kitchens to their classrooms in getting a real perspective on the impact of the financial crash and the resulting budget cuts throughout  New York City schools.  Each of the kids in this movie has their ups and downs, but show a resiliency that is inspiring . Winner of a 2012 SXSW Film Festival audience award, this movie will have you cheering in your seats. It is coming to theaters on October 19, 2012



Come Home to Mama by Martha Wainwright. Will be released Tuesday October 16. You know Martha Wainwright just sings her heart out. Her lyrics can be so sharply funny, while revealingly honest. Martha’s writing is poetry set to music. And then there’s her voice. Her voice is tremendously expressive with a range that soars. Where at once it can quiver and twinkle, delicate and child-like, the next moment she wails with a brilliant ferocity. This album, Come Home to Mama, abounds with that kind of powerful range. Martha’s latest album, influenced by the intense changes within that last year of her life, flavor all ten tracks with charm and grit, resulting in a collection of songs that are bittersweet, edgy, and beautiful. Note: Martha Wainwright pays homage to her recently departed mother, Kate McGarrigle, by singing the last song that she ever wrote- The album’s fourth track, “Proserpina.” Really moving.

Tour Rehearsal Tapes EP by The Black Keys. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney – knew they were going to spend the better part of 2012 on the road. They also knew that they were going to augment the band with an additional guitarist, keyboardist and bassist to expanded sound that was featured on their albums Brothers and El Camino. To get a sense of what it would sound like, they recorded a run through of their set live in the studio. The Tour Rehearsal Tapes is a blistering six song EP that captures the band at its creative and commercial peek. Tracks like ‘Lonely Boy’, ‘Tighten Up’ and ‘Dead And Gone’ – which already cooked on wax, practically explode out your speakers. Tour Rehearsal Tapes is a great souvenir for those fortunate enough to see them on the current tour or a cool consolation for those who missed. It’s available exclusively on Itunes through October 23rd and before being released through all digital retail outlets.

Pour une Ame Souveraine: A Dedication To Nina Simone by Meshell Ndegeocello. Meshell Ndegeocello has been bending and blurring the lines between rock, pop, R&B, jazz and everything in between for over 20 years. Now, with the help of Sinead O’Connor, Toshi Reagon, Lizz Wright, Cody Chestnutt, Valerie June, and Tracy Wannomae, she pays homage to The Empress Of Soul, Nina Simone. But as she has done with all of her work, Meshell doesn’t just go through the motions and do note for note versions of Nina classics. Instead, she applies her own signature style to the material and makes old songs new. Introspective, meditative, melodic and sensual, Pour une Ame Souveraine is a triumph. Miss Simone would be proud. It’s available now through all digital music outlets.

Former Lives by Benjamin Gibbard. Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard released his first solo album, and with the exception of his distinctive voice, it doesn’t sound much like a Death Cab for Cutie record. This, apparently, is by design, as the only coherent theme that runs through the songs is that they just didn’t sound like Death Cab for Cutie songs. The songs don’t sound much like each other either, as the styles can vary wildly from track to track. On one you can hear a country influence. On another, mariachi horns are featured prominently. Surprisingly, the album still fits together as a cohesive whole very well, and the transitions between tracks flow together better than they seem they should. Recommended tracks include Gibbard’s duet with Aimee Mann, Bigger than Love, and Teardrop Window.

Dept. of Disappearance. Jason Lytle.  Fans of Jason Lytle’s beloved but now defunct band, Grandaddy, can rejoice. Lytle has released his second solo album Dept. of Disappearance, and sounds kind of like a new Grandaddy release while still breaking new ground. Lytle continues make beautiful yet spacy pieces of pop perfection topped with his signature softly sung vocals. Recommended tracks include Somewhere There’s a Something and the title track.

Unfinished Business. Wanda Jackson. Released October 9, 2012. It can easily come off sounding cliche to proclaim a septuagenarian performing artist is “still going strong,” but that’s just what’s happening here. Unfinsihed Business is a sparklingly vibrant album.Wanda Jackson will turn 75 later this month, and after near 60 years of singing and songwriting accomplishment, The Queen of Rockabilly has still got it, for sure. Unfinished Business, well-produced by Justin Townes Earle, is an album of cover songs sung in Jackson’s trademark style. It’s a testament to Jackson’s upbeat energy and said style, that makes such variety of song cover choices come together in an innately cohesive way. From a Bobby Womack song to one of Townes Van Zant’s, her dynamic vocal presence infuses tracks with a mix of honkytonk country, rockabilly, and rock n roll. Wanda makes each song her own.



The Tucci Cookbook by Stanley Tucci.   The great actor Stanley Tucci has a beautiful cookbook based on his Italian family recipes. The food is fantastic but the book is as much about lifestyle, family and friends being together to enjoy preparing the meal and eating together. It’s a lifestyle that everyone could benefit from.



Tig Notaro – Live.   That’s “Live” as in “Don’t die” not “Live” as in “performing live onstage.” In the span of a few months this year, comedian Tig Notaro contracted a life threatening disease during a bout with pneumonia, someone broke up with her, her mother fell and died, and she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. In August of this year, just days after her cancer diagnosis, Notaro took the stage at L.A.’s Largo Theater, and instead of performing her honed and tested material, she instead decided to do a half hour of raw material discussing all of the tragedies of her life. “It’s weird because with humor, the equation is tragedy plus time equals comedy. I am just at tragedy” she says. The set is great, and she is able to mine a wealth of humor from her pain. Louis C.K. calls it one of the greatest standup performances he has ever seen. Buy it on Louis C.K.’s website for $5 for a limited time. A portion of the proceeds go to charities associated with breast cancer. Co-founded by street photographer extraordinaire Ricky Powell, NYC Street Photography is a place where you can buy some Ricky’s classic prints (including his shots of Basquiat and Andy Warhol, Run DMC, The Beastie Boys, Lenny Kravitz and many others), and also to get a look at some of the works of up and coming photographers as well. Think of it as a street version of Magnum Photos. If you’re a collector or looking to start collecting amazing photos, this is a great place to start.



New York Comic Con. Thursday through Sunday, join upwards of 100,000 other at the Javitz Center in NYC for the largest pop culture event on the East Coast. Enjoy panels, special presentations, signings, video games, movies, TV, and of course comics.

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    October 12, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I’m doing it all!


    October 12, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I’m doing it all!

  3. LizSetsFire

    October 12, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Ben gibbard and Aimee Mann?! In.

  4. wutpie

    October 12, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I loved Tig Notaro’s stand up, I suggest everyone get it.

  5. Ivanawad

    October 14, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Bob Geldof once asked us, “Where is the filtered excellence!?” It’s right here. Here are this weeks picks of what to WATCH, what to DO what to TRY what to READ what to LISTEN TO and more:

  6. RN Eric

    October 26, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    fuckin’ Affleck. 3 and 0 as a director. Who’d have thought.

  7. Loma Lash

    November 26, 2012 at 2:57 am

    Comfortably, the article is in reality the greatest on this noteworthy topic.