Monterey Pop. Organized by John Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas, record producer/promoter Lou Adler and Beatles publicist Derek Taylor, The Monterey Pop Festival sought to put rock on the same artistic footing as jazz and folk festivals. Not only did it meet the goal, it laid the blueprint for all rock festivals that followed. Monterey put The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who and Big Brother & The Holding Company, Laura Nyro, and Steve Miller on the national musical map while expanding Otis Redding and Ravi Shankar’s followings outside of their respective circles. Monterey Pop also became a landmark concert film as director D.A. Pennebacker wonderfully captured the sights and sounds on stage and along festival grounds. To mark the 50th Anniversary of the seminal event, Monterey Pop will be released in a number of theaters nationwide. It’s been given a 4K restoration and a new stereo mix to give the viewer a sense that you are right there with The Love Crowd. To see Janis Joplin, Hendrix and Otis Redding give breathtaking performances on a big screen is a sight to behold. Come out and see The Godfather of all concert movies. Monterey Pop will be re-released in select theaters this Friday. You can also go http://www.janusfilms.com/ for more information.
SCORE: A Film Music Documentary. When properly placed, the score can turn a good film into a great one and a great film into a classic. Director Matt Schrader interviews some of cinema’s best composers (John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Danny Elfman, Randy Newman, Trevor Rabin), and directors (James Cameron, and the late Garry Marshall) to get an exclusive look behind the creative process that gives us thrills, chills, makes us laugh and cry. The doc also looks at how the film score has evolved from a live orchestra setting to synths and computers. Using a slew of archival footage and rarely seen glimpses of the composers at work, Schrader has put together a compelling look at a vital part of the movie making process. SCORE: A Film Music Documentary opens in New York this weekend and in select theaters nationwide on June 23rd. You can also go to http://www.score-movie.com/ for more information.
The Concert In Hyde Park by Paul Simon. When Paul Simon signed on to do Hard Rock Cafe’s London Calling concert in 2012, he decided to make extra special. For the first time in nearly 25 years, he re-assembled the band of South African musicians that helped shape his legendary album Graceland and invited Jimmy Cliff, Hugh Masekela and Ladysmith Black Mambazo to make a show for the ages. This new 2-CD/DVD set captures the entire performance as Simon leads the band through a choice cuts from his Simon & Garfunkel days, solo material and all of the material from Graceland. Everyone is in fantastic form, feeding off the energy of the crowd, sublime musicianship and songs that have come to define a generation. A great documentation of a once in a lifetime event. The Concert In Hyde Park is available now through Amazon, iTunes and all major music retailers. You can also go to http://www.paulsimon.com/ for more information.
Is This The Life We Want? by Roger Waters. For his first rock-based album in nearly 25 years, Roger Waters – having done a number of tours in support of The Wall – paints a picture of a world that’s falling apart at the seams. Working with noted producer Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck), Waters tells stories of a world racked by war, terrorism, cultural intolerance and greed. Waters also fully embraces his Pink Floyd past, bringing back all of the hallmarks that were behind such classic albums as Dark Side Of The Moon, Animals, and, of course, The Wall. Yet, for all of the bleakness that is explored, Waters does offer enough room to ask the one question that runs throughout each song: Is this the life we want for our planet? Epic in scale but highly probing and personal, Waters has put together an album that stands alongside some of his greatest work. Is This The Life We Want by Roger Waters is available now through Amazon, iTunes and all major music retailers.
A Beautiful Ghetto by Devin Allen. On April 2015, the city of Baltimore was the site of a series of protests surrounding the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, Devin Allen, a long time Baltimore resident and amateur photographer, was able to capture key, on the street, neighborhood images that were largely missing from the mainstream news outlets. His photos were so riveting, that Allen became only the third amateur photographer to get the cover of TIME magazine. Since then, Allen’s work has been featured in galleries around the world, but he remains committed to Baltimore, teaching photography to at risk youth. His new book, A Beautiful Ghetto, is a love letter to his community, capturing the beauty and love of its people, even as they grapple with the onslaught of drugs, crime, and poverty. Baltimore has its share of problems, but this book shows the fighting spirit within each neighborhood to rise above it all. A strong debut by one of photography’s brightest new stars. A Beautiful Ghetto is available now through Amazon, IndieBound and all other major book outlets. You can also go to http://www.haymarketbooks.org/ for more information.
New York City: The HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival. It would not be a New York City summer without this long time film festival illuminating the city skies. This year’s series will have a New York vibe to it, with King Kong, On The Town, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Wall Street, Dirty Dancing and All That Jazz all slated to appear through the run. As with previous outings, there will be special guest film introductions, pre-film live performances and, of course, a cartoon right before the feature presentation. The park fills up quickly, so arrive early, bring a blanket, and prepare to see a classic film with the world’s greatest city as a backdrop. The HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival runs June 19th through August 21st. You can also go to www.bryantpark.org for a complete lineup and additional information.
New York City: Julius Caesar. The Pubic Theater’s presentation of the classic Shakespeare play has drawn heavy fire for its depiction of Caesar in contemporary terms. So much so that a number of corporate sponsors have pulled their support for the organization despite the fact that the play warns against extremism instead of celebrating it. This work is entering its final weekend of performances and given the current political climate, demands to be seen. Come out and make up your own mind. Shakespeare In The Park’s free presentation of Julius Caesar will take place at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park through June 18th. You can also go to http://www.publictheater.org/ for more information.
New York City: BAMcinemaFest 2017. One of New York City’s best independent film showcases is back and better than ever. Some of the film’s making their debut or being featured this year include: The Incredible Jessica James starring former Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams; The Force, which covers The Oakland Police Department in the wake of scandals, upheavals and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement; Landline starring Jenny Slate, John Turturro and Edie Falco; Where Is Kyra starring Michelle Pfeiffer; Whose Streets?, a new doc that looks at the Ferguson protests from the perspective of community members and activists; and Golden Exits, Alex Ross’ latest comedy starring Mary Louise Parker, Jason Schwartzman and Chloe Sevigny. There will also be guest introductions, post screening panels featuring cast members and much more. A great way to get a sneak peek into the next that’s happening in the world of indie cinema. BAMcinemaFest 2017 runs through June 25th. You can also go to http://www.bam.org/ for tickets, a complete schedule of events and more information.
Los Angeles: Bob’s Burgers Live. In addition to being a hit TV show, the live, musical comedy revue has been selling out since 2013. This time, the cast and crew – along with special guest house band El Vy, Matt Berninger of The National and several surprise guest celebs – will bring the funny to the legendary Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles. The first show has already sold out, but a second show has been added for accommodate ticket demands. It’s one thing to see it on TV, but to see it happen live brings it all to another level. Bob’s Burgers Live takes place on June 17th and 18th. You can also go to http://www.bobsburgerslive.com/ for more information.
Los Angeles: The L.A. Film Festival. This annual event – sponsored by the arts organization Film Independent – puts a spotlight on some of the best up and coming filmmakers from around the globe. In addition to a series of classes and coffee talks centered around the craft, there will be a number of screenings and special sneak previews. Attendees will have a first crack at seeing The Defiant Ones, the new HBO mini series that profiles the partnership and careers of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine and Preacher, the new AMC adaptation of the Garth Innis graphic novel. It’s a much see event for anyone looking to get involved in the world of cinema. The L.A. Film Festival runs though June 22nd. You can also go to www.filmindependent.org/la-film-fesitval for more information.