Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story. On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old from Miami Gardens, Florida, was walking back to the home of his father’s fiancee in Sanford, Florida after making a quick trip to the store. George Zimmerman, a resident of Sanford and member of the neighborhood watch group, saw the hoodie wearing teen and assumed Martin was about to engage in criminal activity. Igoring police instructions to stay in his car, Zimmerman confronted Martin and a physical altercatin ensued. When it over, Martin was dead from a gunshot wound to the chest and Zimmerman had minor brusies and a broken nose. Police initally ruled it a case of self-defense, but after intense protests and media attention, Zimmerman was eventually arrested and tried for 2nd degree murder and manslaughter. The explosive trial would result in his acquittal of all charges in July 2013. Jay Z executive produced this new six-part docu-series shows examines all facets of the case, which gave birth to the Black Lives Matter movement, ignited new debates on race in America, Stand Your Ground laws, how Blacks are treated within the American justice system, and how the polticial fallout shaped the 2016 Presidential campaign. Simply put, it’s raw and brutally honest: from the photos of Martin’s body covered and uncovered, security footage of Martin’s last steps before the encounter, to the 911 tapes that captured those fatal, final moments of his life. Family, friends, teachers and those involved closely with the case are presented to show how a young man who have aviation aspirations, ended up crafting a political narrative that we are all still feeling. A must see doc-series. Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story premieres July 30th at 10pm Eastern on The Paramount Network. You can also go to www.paramountnetwork.com for more information.
Jeff Lynne’s ELO: Wembly Or Bust. Whether as the driving force behind Electric Light Orchestra, an in-demand producer for The Beatles, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Olivia Newton-John and Dave Edumunds; as a co-founder of the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys or as a solo artist, Jeff Lynne has left a mark on the rock world that very few can match. This new Showtime documentary captures Lynne performing hit after catchy hit in front of 80,000 people at Wembly Stadium. It covers every facet of his near 50 year career, from ELO’s first single, The Wilburys hit ‘Handle With Care’, right up until the group’s 2015 comeback album, Alone In The Universe. Backed with a full band to capture ELO’s glorious sound, Lynne and the crowd are having a blast. A pop rock joy from start to finish. Jeff Lynne’s ELO: Wembly Or Bust premieres July 27th at 9pm Eastern on Showtime. You can also go to www.sho.com for more information.
Scotty And The Secret History Of Hollywood. During the 40s and 50s, Scotty Bowers, an ex-Marine who saw heavy action in World War II, ran a gas station in the shadows of the Hollywood studio lots. He was also the confidante, aide and lover to many of top movie stars, female and male. It remained one of Hollywood’s best kept secrets until Bowers published his best selling tell all, ‘Full Service: My Adventures In Hollywood And The Secret Sex Lives Of The Stars’. Now comes this new documentary from director Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor). He talks with Bowers, now in his 90s, about he managed to survive some of the bloodiest battles in the war, and how, as an enabler and provider, allowed some of cinema’s greatest stars – including Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Ava Gardner, and Lana Turner, among others, experinece all facets of their sexuality. Straight forward, engaging and without judgement, it’s a fascinating look at Hollywood’s alternate history. Scotty And The Secret History Of Hollywood opens in Hollywood this Friday and in select theaters starting on August 10th. You can also go to www.scottymovie.com for more information.
Nephilm by Ebony Bones. The 3rd album from the singer/songwriter/producer is an operatic pop middle finger to what is currently happening in her native England and here in the States. As with her previous work, she collides cultures and musical styles to tackle global issues. Only an Ebony Bones project could pull together legendary soul/R&B/Hendrix compatriot Lonnie Youngblood, a children’s youth choir, and The Bejing Philharmonic to bring out songs that deal with censorship, racial xenophobia, child labor and colonism. The centerpiece of the album is ‘No Black In The Union Jack’, which features a snippet of Enoch Powell’s 1968 ‘Rivers Of Blood’ which connects his racist rant to the current wave of prejudical sentiment that made Brexit – and the current U.S. stance on immigration – a reality. The Bones Youth Choir turns Junior Murvin’s ‘Police & Thieves’ into a haunting dub heavy hymn to those lost to gun violence. ‘Kids Of Coltan’, is a marriage of big beats and the orchestral detailing how young children in the Congo are being exploited in mining for coltan, a metallic ore that is a vital component in cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices. Bone Of My Bones Pt 2 is as sweeping and majestic as you will hear in any church or opera. The fusion of the two genres is incredible. Ambitious in scope and brilliant in execution, Ebony Bones cements her place as one of top multi-talented musicians in the game. One of the year’s best. Nephilim is avaialble now through Amazon, Itunes and all major music retailers.
Brazilian Voodoo Exportation by Mescalines. The second album by this San Paulo based duo continues their exploration of African music, Misssissippi Delta blues presented on a full cinematic soundscape. Drummer Mario Onofre lays down the grooves while guitarist Ruebens Vinicius puts down slide work that is both funky and atmospheric. Coming across like a soundtrack to a Wim Wenders or David Lynch film, The Mescalines have put together a suite of songs fit for a mental journey as it for a physical one. A moving set that puts the power and mystery of the blues and rock n roll back in the forefront. One of the year’s best. Brazilian Voodoo Exportation by Mescalines is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major music retailers. You can also go to www.mescalines.bandcamp.com for more information.
The Public Image Is Rotten (Songs From The Heart) by Public Image Limited. After The Sex Pistols broke up in January 1978, John Lydon wanted to form a band that catered to the avant garde as much as it did punk. Over the next four decades, Public Image Limited explored everything from punk and prog rock to dub, reggae and disco. Through its many incarnations, Lydon has remained its center and driving force, laying the groundwork for ultimately became the alternative music movement of the late 1990s/early 2000’s. To celebrate the band’s 40th Anniversary – and to coincide with a forthcoming documentary on Lydon – PIL has released a new career spanning box set. Spread out over 5 CDs, it features all of the group’s singles, B-sides, rarities, 12 inch mixes, BBC Radio Sessions, unreleased and rare mixes, and an explosive July 1989 show recorded live at The Ritz in New York City. There’s also 2 DVDs featuring PIL videos, their 1988 set at The Talin Rock Festival in Estonia and archival footage of a show at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, Austrailia. This is the definitive look at one of the most innovative and dynamic bands to come out of the post-punk era. The Public Image Is Rotten (Songs From The Heart) by Public Image Limited is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major music outlets. You can also go to www.pilofficial.com for more information.
New York City. Black Tar Beach Party. Throughout her long and distinguished career, Nona Hendryx has worn many hats. As a member of LaBelle, she emerged as the group’s primary songwriter, writing material that broke new ground on issues that were personal, sensual and political. As a solo artist, Hendryx was one of the few Black women performing rock, funk, new wave and New Age working with the top musicians in all of these genres. Politically, she was a key member of Artists Against Apartheid and has been a long time ally with a number of human rights and LGBT organizations. Behind the scenes, Hendryx has mentored, written for and produced the next generation of performers poised to make their mark on the musical and landscape. In 2018, Joe’s Pub named Nona Hendryx as the inagural receipant of its Vanguard Residency, which a year long celebration of an artist career who has ‘contributerd to American life and pop culture and is a part of the Joe’s Pub family of artists’. Part of the residency includes a monthly show that Hendryx will curate and/or perform featuring material and artists who have either influenced her and those who proudly have been influenced her. With this being summertime, Hendryx will take her next show to the streets, with a free outdoor show on Astor Place South Plaza. It will feature Hendryx and The MamaFunk Band, DJ Bill Coleman, The Black Baywatch Dancers, vocal force of nature Sophia Ramos and a good old fashioned New York City dance contest. More blow out block party than a beach party, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Hendryx and her crew do their thing. A show that is for both the body and the mind. Nona Hendryx’s Black Tar Beach Party will take place July 27th at 8:30pm at Astor Place South Plaza. You can also go to www.villagealliance.org or www.joespub.org for more information.