The Filtered Excellence: September 13, 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:


Liberal Arts.  Directed by Josh Radnor, bittersweet look at life on a college campus is a step away from the usual beer-and-frat-party look at collegiate life.  Filmed at his own alma mater, Radnor’s vision of college as a place of beginnings where challenges take place and anything can happen comes through in the film despite the mid-life-crisis/man in need narrative.  Great performances all around particularly by Radnor himself, and the always excellent Richard Jenkins.  A terrific follow up to Radnor’s first film, HappyThankYouMorePlease.  Opens this Friday.

The Master.   Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.  Anderson’s eagerly awaited follow-up to There Will Be Blood is loosely based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard has ‘must see’ written all over it. Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as ‘Master’ Lancaster Dodd, leader of a new faith movement; Amy Adams plays his wife and Joaquin Phoenix plays Freddie, an out of control Navy vet that becomes Dodd’s biggest project – and problem. Early reviews have been outstanding and with this team – all former Oscar nominees and/or winners – how can it not be? All signs point to a startling new direction by one of America’s finest filmmakers. The Master opens this weekend.

Boardwalk Empire Season 3.  Season 3 premieres Sunday night at 9pm on HBO. The season opener finds Nucky and the cast of characters, friends and foes, about a year later in 1923. “Trouble for Everyone,” is the tagline for the premiere. Oh and you can bet on it.



Charmer.  Aimee Mann.  Available September 18, 2012. Going back to her days fronting ’til Tuesday, Aimee Mann has always had a knack for creating catchy melodies that perfectly suit her signature strong vocals, but lyrically belie a depth and darkness below the surface. Her latest album, Charmer, is no exception providing yet another terrific listening experience. Aimee’s captivating songs sung in her clear, distinctive voice are as engaging as ever and lyrically excellent; full of dry droll wit, self-doubt and sweetness. These particular traits characteristic to Mann’s song styles never equate to pure sadness then. Even the melancholy moods are infused with humor and can even verge on the upbeat. Wonderful, insightful, real, and irresistible. In addition to the title track, (which boasts an adorable video co-starring Laura Linney and John Hodgman, by the by) other standouts include, “Disappeared,” “Soon Enough,” “Crazytown,” and “Living a Lie,” a duet with James Mercer of the Shins.” Listen to the whole damn album, really. It truly IS a charmer.

The Sound of the Life of the Mind by Ben Folds Five.  Available Tuesday 9/18.  After a twelve year solo hiatus, Ben Folds has put the band back together! The alt-rock trio reunited earlier this year to record the new album in Fold’s Nashville studio. The Sound of the Life of the Mind is out Tuesday.



I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons.  You’d have a hard time finding too many songwriters more respected than L. Cohen.  He is also a poet, a novelist, and one of the most gifted and influential artists of our time. He’s also incredibly interesting, which should put this book at the top of your list if you appreciate music and art. The New York Times is calling the biography “thorough” and “soul-searching” and a “mesmerizing labor of love.”  That’s all we need to know.  Available Tuesday September 18.


A Wilderness of Error by Errol Morris.  Oscar winning filmmaker Errol Morris has always been known for his journalistic skills and his tremendous talents as a storyteller.  His documentary films like Gates of Heaven, The Thin Blue Line and The Fog of War have earned him the reputation of being one of the best documentary filmmakers of all time.  He brings all of his investigative and storytelling talents to print in this new book about the infamous Jeffrey MacDonald murder trial. MacDonald, a former Green Beret doctor was accused of murdering his pregnant wife and his two daughters, while blaming the murder on a bunch of hippies.  He was convicted and a subsequent bestselling book, Fatal Vision, portrayed him as being guilty.  Now, more than 30 years later, Morris’ exhaustive book about the case and the trial proclaims his belief that Macdonald was innocent.  It’s a compelling look at a monstrous crime.  If true crime intrigues you, this is a must read.



Inside Out Project. The brainchild of the photographer and visual artist JR, The Inside Out Project is, according to their website, ‘a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work’. The best part is that anyone can participate: Everyone is encouraged to shoot black and white portraits of people in your community, an organization or group that you believe in, etc. Email your pics to their website (you’ll have to register at their site, free, of course). Inside Out will send you full size posters of your pics that you can post in your window, office building, abandoned building, etc. Postings and murals have been featured around the world bringing attention to a variety of causes by The Inside Out Project brings out the humanity that makes our communities as well as shedding light on their life situations.



NATIONWIDE:  TCM Events Series Presents The Birds.  Wednesday September 19th see the newly restored Hitchock classic The Birds on the big screen in select theaters across the country at 7pm local time.  The event includes an intro by TCM host Robert Osbourne and an interview with the film’s star, Tippi Hendren.  Other upcoming events in the series include a Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein double feature in October and To Kill a Mockingbird in November.

NATIONWIDE:  Indiana Jones the Complete Adventure.  Four Movies.  One Day.  In theaters.  On Saturday September 15, AMC presents this one of a kind event where you can see all four Indiana Jones films back to back on the big screen.  Tickets are $25 and get you the four film screening, a lanyard and a poster.  The full series will also be available on blueray on Tuesday the 18th.

NATIONWIDE:  How Music Works book tour with David Byrne.  David Byrne’s excellent new book “How Music Works” brings along with it a unique take on a book tour. The ex-Talking Head and prolific collaborator and solo performer David Byrne will be hosting esteemed guests for discussions of the various topics covered in his book. Win Butler of Arcade Fire, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, David Lowery of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, Carry Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney and Portlandia, as well as many others are participating.

New York City: All Tomorrow’s Parties Presents I’ll Be Your Mirror.  The event is next week but you’ll want to get tickets ahead of time.  Pier 36  from September 21- 23. Co-curated by Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs, this incarnation of ATP moves to New York City and features a lineup that is just as diverse. Some of the guests joining The Whigs include Frank Ocean, Philip Glass, The Roots, Charles Bradley, The Mark Lanegan Band, , and much more. A cool way to officially kick off the fall and expand your musical palette.

New York City: Ian Hunter at The Highline Ballroom September 14th. Whether it was as the front man for Mott The Hoople or as a solo artist, Ian Hunter has always been on the songwriting vanguard. He’s also had a keen ear for finding outstanding songwriters and musicians: Mott was one of the first bands to cover Lou Reed (‘Sweet Jane’) and their biggest hit, ‘All The Young Dudes’ was written specifically for the band by David Bowie. Queen, David Sanborn, and Jaco Pastorious got significant early exposure working with Hunter. Great White (‘Once Bitten, Twice Shy’) and Barry Manilow (‘Ships’) had Top 10 hits with Ian Hunter songs, while ‘Cleveland Rocks’ became the city’s unofficial anthem (and the theme song for the hit TV series The Drew Carey Show). Hunter & The Rant Band brings their show to NYC in support of his latest album, the loose and rockin’ When I’m President. Here’s a great chance to see one of rock’s most beloved songwriters and performers.

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Want more? Visit last weeks Filtered Excellence or see reader posts in UNFILTERED.


  1. tommy-o

    September 13, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    i’m psyched about the ATP festival.  Afghan Whigs and Dirty Three! 

  2. AnthonyMarch8

    September 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Joaquin Phoenix was awesome in The Master. But the movie could stand to be cut by an hour. It kind’a had a Taxi Driver vibe.

  3. Audiekoi

    September 21, 2012 at 4:45 am

    Great performances all around particularly by Radnor himself, and the always excellent Richard Jenkins.  A terrific follow up to Radnor’s first film, HappyThankYouMorePlease.  Opens this Friday.

  4. c_ocobean

    October 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Saw the master last week at Nighthawk in W’ll burg. Joaquin Phoenix was frightening

  5. EffEwe

    October 30, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Saw “The Master”
    Incredible acting performances cannot save this movie. It only makes for an unbearably aggravating viewing experience.
    1 star