The Filtered Excellence: December 14, 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.


Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution.  James Redford hosts and directs this new HBO documentary that looks at how the clean energy movement is finally gaining traction in the U.S.  Redford shows how California, Nevada, New York and Texas’ early investments in the development of alternative energy have already paid off big dividends in terms of job growth, low costs and improving the environment.   It’s also show how strong support from the Navy has been key in protecting our troops around the world.  Redford also talks with the companies leading the charge, consumers and gives his home a complete energy makeover to prove its effectiveness.  It’s an informative, entertaining look at a vital, important movement is poised to transform the nation, if not the world.  Happening:  A Clean Energy Revolution is airing on HBO and HBO Now.  You can also go to for more information.

Rush:  Time Stand Still.  In 2015, Rush embarked on a tour to celebrate their 40th Anniversary.  It was designed as a victory lap to celebrate a career marked by best selling albums and sold out shows in some of the world’s finest arenas.  It was also a bittersweet tour as the band announced that it was, in all likelihood their final large scale run.  This new documentary shows the band on stage and behind the scenes reflecting on their four decade run as one of rock’s most respected bands.  It also goes into candid detail the many reasons behind Rush’s decision to curtail life on the road along with humorous tour stories and a sampling of some of the band’s most dedicated fans.  Loaded with candor and, of course, amazing music, its a fitting coda to a rock giant.  Rush: Time Stand Still premieres Friday at 9pm on Showtime and on Showtime on Demand December 16th.  You can also go to for more information.


The Complete Monterey Pop.   Organized by John Phillips of The Mamas & Papas and promoter Lou Adler, The Monterey Pop Festival was the first of its kind to treat the growing rock culture as art on par with jazz and blues.  D.A Pennebacker’s seminal film captured The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, Otis Redding and Janis Joplin in career making performances and also featured The Mamas & The Papas shortly before the group disbanded.  But Pennebacker and his crew – which included Albert Maysles and Richard Lecock – filmed all of the performances that took place during the 3 day festival.  The bulk of this footage makes up this new Criterion Collection DVD.  It includes sets by all of the aforementioned artists along with Simon & Garfunkel, The Byrds, Hugh Maskela, Ravi Shankar and much more.  Whereas the original film only gave a glimspe of the energy and artistry that took place during those three magical days in 1967, this new edition all but puts in back there with a front row seat and pristine sound.  A must have for any rock fan.  The Complete Monterey Pop is available now through Amazon and all major retailers.


Fifty Years Of 60 Minutes: The Inside Story Of Television’s Most Influential News Broadcast by Jeff Fager.   Since 1968, 60 Minutes has been the gold standard of broadcast journalism, winning over 138 Emmys and 20 Peabody Awards for its uncompromising look at global events.  Executive Producer Jeff Fager takes us behind the scenes to give accounts on how the show is put together and profiles the legendary correspondents who give each story its bite.  Mike Wallace, Ed Bradley, Leslie Stahl, Morley Safer, Anderson Cooper, Scott Pelley and Steve Kroft are all featured along with stories of the intense competition, risks and pranks that made the show soar.  Whether its profiling Presidents, heads of state, movers and shakers within pop culture and perfecting the TV expose, Fager gives you a front row seat to one of the greatest news broadcasts of all time.  Fifty Years Of 60 Minutes is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major book retailers.

Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005-2016 by Annie Leibovitz.   The follow-up to her books Photographs 1970-1990 and A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005 collects over 150 portraits that were taken over the last decade for Vanity Fair.  It runs the full range from Presidents and world leaders to artists, poets, musicians and filmmakers, to people and objects that she encountered while putting together her book Pilgrimage.  In short, it’s a master photographer at the top of her game.  Rich, vibrant, full of emotion and essence, it shows once again where Leibovitz is one of the greatest to ever pick up the camera.  Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005-2016 is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major book retailers.

NYC Street Photography:  It’s The Joint by Ricky Powell and Brian Nobill.  The eternally cool street photographer Ricky Powell teams up fellow photog Brian Nobill to present this collection of iconic shots featuring 10 of New York’s finest lens people to show the city’s evolution over the last 30 years.  The Hall Of Fame lineup includes Jamal Shabazz, Joe Conzo, Sue Kwon, Cheryl Dunn, Craig Wetherby, Akira Ruiz, Peter Pabon and SDJ – all of whom capture the grit, the grime, heroes, villains, the everyone and everything in between which gives New York City its unique character.  Even the book’s cover – done by world renowned Bronx artist CES – is a nod to the city’s street art roots.  It’s a time capsule, vital social document, celebration and love letter to the greatest city in the world.  NYC Street Photography:  It’s the Joint is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major book retailers.


New York City.  Festival Of Life by Yayoi Kusama.   There’s a reason why lines have gone around the block for this exhibit at The David Zwirner Gallery:  It’s a dazzling display of light and color.  It features 66 paintings from her renowned My Eternal Soul series; new large scale flower sculptures, a polka-dotted environment and, at the Chelsea location, two Infinity rooms: miniature light bulbs in changing colors that reveal a hexagonal pattern that is endlessly mirrored; and a large mirrored room with stainless steel balls suspended from the ceiling and arranged on the floor.  To say it’s a total head trip would be understating it.  Again, the lines are long, but arrive early and prepare to have your mind blown.  Festival Of Life by Yayoi Kusama runs at The Zwirner Gallery through December 16th.  You can also go to for more information.

San Francisco.  The Best Seat In The House.  Throughout his near 50 year career, photographer and director Ethan Russell has witness and taken part of some of rock’s greatest moments.  He shot The Rolling Stones Rock n Roll Circus as well as a number of their tours.  Russell shot the last official Beatles photo session and maintained a strong relationship with John Lennon until his death.  He also shot a number of iconic album covers including Who’s Next by The Who.  Russell also made the successful transition into the music video market just as MTV had begun to make its mark on the cultural landscape.  Now the world renown photographer has a new gallery covering his many career highlights.  Located in San Anselmo, not far from The Golden Gate Bridge, rock fans can view and purchase the prints that have become part of the rock aesthetic.  Whether you are a photography fan or love music, this gallery is a must see destination if you are on the West Coast.  You can go to for hours of operation, price quotes and more information.

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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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