The Filtered Excellence: July 5, 2018

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.


WATCH THIS

Sorry To Bother You. The debut feature film from writer-director Boots Riley has been building up considerable buzz, and for good reason: It’s one of the most audacious and subversive comedies to come out in years. Set in a not too distant, alternate future, it stars Lakeith Stansfield (Atlanta) as Cassius ‘Cash’ Green, a cash-strapped slacker/stoner living in his uncle Sergio’s (Terry Crews) garage. Desperate to catch up on bills, he takes a job as a telemarketer, but struggles to capture the calllers attention. On the advice of long time employee Langston (Danny Glover), he discovers that makes easy sales when he uses his ‘white voice’. Cash is soon one of the company’s top sellers, drawing the attention of the company’s coke-addicted CEO Steve Lift (Arnie Hammer), who gives him the offer of a lifetime. But his success threatens to alienate his co-workers fighting for fair working wages, his relationship with his peformance art – and poltically active – girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson), and put his community on the path to indentured servititude. Riley, best known as a member of the hip hop group The Coup, has put together an explosive film that takes on race, ecomonic justice, cosumerism and capitalism in a way that hasn’t been done in years, if ever. It rewrites and breaks all of the rules at the same time, working on your mind as it does on the eyes. Stansfield and Thompson continue their rising star status as the couple at the center of the madness with Hammer going all in as the creepy CEO. Riley and the crew aren’t just storming the cinematic gates – they are blowing up the walls planting new flags along the way. Get ready to have your senses totally assaulted. The sheer audacity of it makes it one of the year’s best. Sorry To Bother You Opens in select theaters this weekend and nationwide July 13th. You can also go to www.sorrytobotheryou.movie for more info.

Words That Built America. The Declaration Of Independence. The Bill Of Rights. The United States Constitution. They are the cornerstone and foundation on which this nation was built upon. Now Alexandra Peloisi (Meet The Donors: Does Money Talk?) teams up once again with HBO to present all three of these documents in their unfiltered, unabridged form. Former Presidents, Vice Presidents, Supreme Court justices, Senators, Congressman, actors, media figures and students from The U.N International School are all aboard to recite all three of these documents as they were originally written. It’s one thing to read these essential pieces of our democracy. It’s another to have to heard out loud and presented in an open, uninterrupted forum. Part civics lesson, part history lesson and a powerful reminder of the precious rights of every American. Words That Built America can be viewed on HBO.com, HBO, HBO Go and HBO Now.

Whitney. The rise and tragic fall of the greatest voice in pop is the subject of the new documentary from Oscar-winner Kevin McDonald (One Day In September). Done with full cooperation with her family, it contains never before seen archival footage (including her first TV appearance when she was 13), exclusive demos, rare performances, audio archives and new interviews with her mother Cissy Houston, former husband Bobby Brown, Clive Davis, L.A Reid and more. It captures all of the peaks – 7 consecutive No 1 singles, sold out tours, over 200 million albums sold and a blossoming film career – along with the valleys – accusations that her music ‘wasn’t black enough’, her struggles with her sexuality, the media firestorm surrounding her marriage to Bobby Brown, and, of course, a drug addiction that would ultimately cut her life short at the age of 48. The most explosive revelation – that Houston and her brother were sexually abused by her cousin Dee Dee Warwick – hits like a bomb and gives new context to the inner demons that she struggled with her entire life. Loaded with insight, denials, and, of course, great music, McDonald has put together a fitting coda to an all time great. Whitney opens nationwide this weekend. You can also go to www.whitneythefilm.com for more information.

LISTEN TO THIS

Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album by John Coltrane. On March 6. 1963, John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones recorded nearly 90 minutes of material at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. For reasons that were never fully explained, the material never saw the light of day. The tapes were recently discovered by the family of Coltrane’s first wife Naima and now can finally be heard by Coltrane devotees. It captures the quartet in full acension, completely locked in and making the musical transition that would produce future epics such as A Love Supreme and Crescent. Hearing ‘Untitled Original 11383’, ‘Impressions’ and ‘Slow Blues’, you’re amazed that it never found its way to a formal release – they are breathtakingly great. A half century after departing us, Coltrane is still giving us fuel for the soul. Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album by John Coltrane is avaialble now through Amazon, Itunes and all major music retailers.

The Now Now by Gorillaz. After making fans wait seven years between releases, Gorillaz are back with their 2nd release in just over a year. Recorded during the fall leg of their 2017 North American tour, it features fewer less guest appearances than last year’s Humanz, (though Snoop Dogg & Jamie Principle are on board for the electro pop jam ‘Hollywood’ and George Benson adds his always tasty guitar chops to the opening track, ‘Humility’) and focus primarily on Albarn’s songwriting and vocals. It makes the album more concise and direct, working as a companion piece to the group’s other road-written effort The Fall. If Humanz was the Gorillaz album you put on prepping for the night out, this is one you put on for the long ride home. The Now Now by Gorillaz is available now though Amazon, Itunes and all major music retailers.

Appetite For Destruction (Super Deluxe Edition) by Guns N’ Roses. Even through it missed the 30th Anniversary, Guns N’ Roses – who are still playing to sold out crowds with their ongoing ‘Not In This Lifetime’ tour – have released a beefed up reissue of their landmark debut. It contains the original album (remixed and remastered for optimum sound), B-sides (including ‘Shadow Of Your Love’, which could have easily made the final cut), the EP ‘Lies’, live tracks from London’s Marquee Club and tracks cut at the famed Sound City studio. It captures the creative arcs of songs such as ‘Welcome To The Jungle’, ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine and ‘Paradise City’ and early passes at future Use Your Illusion songs such as ‘November Rain’. Raw, loud, down and dirty, this is Guns as its most pure and primal, ready to take its place as one of rock’s greatest bands. A must have for newbies and hardcore fans. The super deluxe edition of Appetite for Destruction is avalaible now through Amazon, Itunes and all major music retailers.

Deja Voodoo by Rivers On Mars. After exploring the funky with his band Big Picture Holiday, bass clarinet/flute/saxophonist Avram Fefer was looking to venture into a more abstract approach to live performances that combined riskier, jazz-infused improvations with electric, groove-based music. Dipping into the deep pool of New York-based musicians that he knew, Fefer formed Rivers On Mars in 2016 with Greg Tate (laptop, loops), Chris Liddleton (drums), Jason DiMatteo (acoustic bass) and On Ka’a FDavis (Guitar) and quickly became a staple in clubs around the city. Their debut album captures the tone of the shows perfectly, with songs building on legacies of Miles’ Bitches Brew, Ornette Coleman & Primetime, Sun Ra, P-Funk, and Coltrane into a electro-tribal roar. An impressive debut that demands multiple listens. Deja Voodoo is available now through the band’s Bandcamp page (www.riversonmars.bandcamp.com), Amazon, and Itunes. You can also ot www.avramfefer.com for more information.

DO THIS

Los Angeles. Made In L.A. This new Hammer Museum exhibit features 32 emerging and under-recognized L.A. artists displaying their latest works in painting, installations, video, scuplture, photographs and performance. All of this pieces were created specifically for this run, giving the work a more immediate, intimate feel. A must see event for fans looking to capture the next in any of these mediums. Made In L.A. will be at The Hammer Museum through September 2nd. You can also go to www.hammer.ucla.edu for more information.

Want more excellence? Read last week’s the filtered excellence.

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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 Blurb.com.

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