Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World. In 1958 guitarist Link Wray released ‘Rumble’, an instrumental that introduced the world to the power chord and had a profound influence on generations of future six stringers. But while Wray is now considered one of rock’s greatest guitarists, what isn’t well known is that Wray is Native American and part of a long lineage of indigenous people that made a major impact on American popular music. This new documentary by Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana profiles Wray and other Native American musicians (Jimi Hendrix, Robbie Robertson, Jesse Ed Davis, Buffy Sainte Marie, Charley Patton, Mildred Bailey, Redbone, Randy Castillo, Taboo of Black Eyed Peas who have made significant, long lasting impressions in the worlds of rock, blues, folk, metal, and hip hop. The doc also shows how artists such as Buffy Saint Marie got blacklisted for addressing long standing issues within the Native American community within their work. With great stories, amazing archival footage and, of course, great music, this doc gives the indigenous people of this nation its much deserved victory lap. Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World is now playing at Film Forum in New York and will roll out in select theaters starting July 29th. You can also go to http://www.kinolorber.com/ for more information.
The House On Coco Road. The political and the personal intertwine in this new documentary by Damani Baker. He turns the lens on his mother Fannie Haughton, who, on the advice of her friend and colleague Angela Davis, moves her family from Oakland to Grenada to escape the growing drug epidemic that hit the city in the late 70s and early 80s. Grenada was only a few years removed from the emergence of a new government which, among other things, honored workers rights, women’s rights, and denounced all forms of racism and sexual discrimination. Through her ties with Davis, Haughton would become friendly with a number of the government leaders including the country’s prime minister Maurice Bishop. Haughton’s dreams of raising her family in this island utopia were shattered when Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Courd places Bishop under house arrest, leading to a violent confrontation between supporters of both factions. Bishop and seven others were killed during the conflict, which ultimately ended in the U.S. invasion of Grenada in 1983. After spending three days in their home shielded by mattresses, Haughton and her children were able to successfully leave the island. Baker has a staggering amount of information to work with: New interviews with family members, long time island residents, Davis, and friends; tapes from various phone conversations made from that period, home videos, and news reports from Grenada and the States to put together a portrait of a family caught up in the political upheavals here and abroad. We also see a strong counter narrative of the Grenada invasion that paints a decidedly different picture than the one that is still being passed as gospel today. Anchored by Meshell Nedeocello’s poignant, haunting score, Baker has put together a powerful look at the Black experience that has rarely, if seen on screen. The House On Coco Road is available now on Netflix.
Fast Times At Ridgemont High 35th Anniversary. This seminal 1982 film – which marked the directorial debut of Amy Heckerling (Clueless), featured future Academy Award winners Sean Penn, Nicholas Cage, and Forrest Whittaker and launched the careers of Jennifer Jason Leigh and Phoebe Cates – will mark its 35th Anniversary with a brief return to theaters. Based on the book by Cameron Crowe – who was also making his debut as a screenwriter – it depicts the lives of students at Ridgemont High navigating through early experiences with sex, drugs and entry level jobs, while hoping to just to pass all of their classes. Critics and audiences loved the film’s honest, humorous and, at times, awkward look at teen life, becoming the standard bearer for other films in the genre followed. Though it was a hit in theaters, Fast Times gained even more traction through cable and home video, so this is a great opportunity for see it again – or for the first time – on a big screen. Fast Times At Ridgemont High will be in select theaters July 30th and August 2nd. You can go to www.fathomevents.com for more information.
Add Violence by Nine Inch Nails. The second part of a three part EP trilogy finds Trent Renzor and new member Atticus Ross diving further into the tense, brooding soundscapes that were present in their last EP, as well as classic albums such as The Fragile and The Downward Spiral. There’s even an epic art-rock style closer that spends over 7 minutes playing the same instrumental passage over and over yet, but adding more and more distortion to the point where the pattern becomes a twisted mutated version of itself. Anyone who thought that Reznor’s forays into soundtrack work, side projects and time has softened him will be highly mistaken. This is Nine Inch Nails in the midst of a dynamic second wind and firing on all cylinders. Even better news for NIN fans: They’re back on the road with the promise of even more music later this year. Another winner from Trent and Co. Add Violence by Nine Inch Nails is available now through Amazon, iTunes and all digital retailers. You can also go to www.nin.com for more information.
New York City: The Unfinished Conversation. The centerpiece of MoMa’s series covering recent works made by artists that they acquired from in the past is John Akomfrah’s 3 channel video installation honoring the life and work of cultural theorist Stuart Hall. It intersperses Hall’s life and on air work alongside seminal images and events that occurred on the global stage. We see Hall, who is widely considered the godfather of multiculturalism, thoughts and narratives on race, culture and ideology shape and evolve through his work various media outlets. Many of the pieces tell us more about the world today as much as it did back then,. It’s a unique, mind blowing salute to one of the world’s great scholars. The Unfinished Conversation runs at MoMa through July 30th. You can also go to http://www.moma.org/ for tickets and more information.
New York City: There Was A Time. Civil Rights-Era Hollywood. The American Civi Rights Movement through the Hollywood prism is the subject of this new Quad Cinema retrospective. 16 films are featured with Sidney Poitier and James Earl Jones being the primary focus. 7 of Poitier films will presented, including The Defiant Ones, A Raisin In The Sun and In The Heat Of The Night, which, to coincide with its 50th Anniversary, has been given a 4K restoration. Jones picked up the mantle in the 1970s, and this series features The Great White Hope, Claudine and the rarely screened The Man, a 1972 film in which he played the nation’s first Black President. Two pioneering directors will also be prominently saluted: The Learning Tree, in which Gordon Parks became the first Black director of a major studio film; and Watermelon Man, Melvin Van Peebles’ take no prisoners comedy starring Godfrey Cambridge as a white bigot who wakes up one day to discover that he’s black. As the medium and the nation is still having difficult, but necessary conversations about race in America, this series serves as a reminder that strides have been made and better bridges are about to be built. There Was A Time: Civil Rights-Era Hollywood will be at Quad Cinema through August 3rd. You can also go to http://www.quadcinema.com/ for more information.
New York City: Dave Chappelle. After spending the better part of a decade laying low, Dave Chappelle is back with a vengeance. He has not one, but two new comedy specials currently on Netflix and has resumed an active touring schedule. Chappelle will make New York City his home base for the most of August with a 14 night residency at Radio City Music Hall. Chappelle will headline, but he’s also bringing aboard a number of his famous friends to join the party: Chris Rock, Ali Wong and Trevor Noah will represent comedy while The Roots, Lauryn Hill, Childish Gambino, Chance The Rapper, Lil’ Wayne, Erykah Badu and Yasiin Bey will be aboard with musical performances. With sharp, biting comedy alongside funky, rump shaking music, it’s gonna be a new kind of conscious party. Dave Chappelle will be at Radio City August 1st through the 24th. Your can also go to www.chappelleradiocity.com for more information.
New York City: ’77. 40 years ago, the country was still reeling from Vietnam and Watergate, Elvis died, punk and disco took full flight, and New York City dealt with record heat, a blackout, a financial crisis and The Son Of Sam. It was also a big year for Hollywood as Star Wars broke box office records worldwide and forever changed how movies were made and marketed. The Film Society of Lincoln Center will look at this monumental year with a three week retrospective of movies that captured the period and laid the blueprint of what was to follow. It will include everything from blockbusters (Saturday Night Fever, Smokey & The Bandit, Airport ’77), early works of future film masters such as David Lynch (Eraserhead), Wim Wenders (The American Friend) and Ridley Scott (The Duellists); auteurs at the peak of complete creative control (New York, New York by Martin Scorsese and William Friedkin’s The Sorcerer and The Man Who Loved Women by Francois Truffaut); indie gems (Killer Of Sheep, Opening Night); raunchy comedies (Slap Shot, Which Way Is Up, High Anxiety) and much more. It’s a great series that shows Hollywood bursting at the seams of creativity, excess and everything in between. ’77 will be at The Film Society of Lincoln Center August 4th through August 24th. You can also go to http://www.filmlinc.org/ for tickets, a complete schedule of films and more information.
Los Angeles: Metallica. The thrash metal kings are in the midst of their most extensive U.S. tour since 2009 and by all accounts, it’s been nothing short of outstanding. Their latest album Hard Wired…To Self Destruct, has generated strong reviews and fans have seen it, as its their previous album, Death Magnetic, as a return to form. Metallica will bring their WorldWired tour to Southern California and will add another iconic venue to their resume: The Rose Bowl. The fact that a band whose first album dropped when Reagan was still in the Oval Office is packing out a stadium reserved for the USC Trojans – and sounding more focused and driven as ever – shows you the enormous influence that they carry. Avenged Sevendfold, Goijura and Mix Master Mike are also on board as opening acts so be prepared to rock out all night. Metallica will be at the Rose Bowl on July 29th. You can also go to www.metallica.com for more additional tour dates and more information.