The Zen Diaries Of Garry Shandling. Judd Apatow directed and executive produced this two-part, four hour salute to his long time friend and mentor. Shandling, who passed away in 2016, left behind an extensive archive, which included journals, private letters, home and video footage, which is all on display here. It reveals his creative process and how he was able to overcome childhood tragedy, heartbreak, professional betrayal and unexpected physical trauma to become one of the most influential comedians of his generation. There’s also a ton of Shandling’s numerous TV appearances including The Tonight Show, hosting the Emmys and Grammy Awards and much more. New interviews and conversations with Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Jim Carrey, Sarah Silverman, James L. Brooks, Bob Saget, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Kevin Nealon, among others, show just how much Shandling had on comedy As well as their careers. No Shandling retrospective would be complete with full dissection on how It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and The Larry Sanders Show broke new ground and changed the face of television. Epic in scope, but remarkably intimate, Apatow has crafted the ultimate salute to a comedic giant. The Zen Diaries Of Garry Shandling premieres March 26th and 27th at 8pm Eastern on HBO. You can also go to www.hbo.com for more information.
Isle Of Dogs. Wes Anderson’s 2nd stop motion film is a moving look at the relationship between between a boy and his dog. Co-written by Anderson, Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman and Kunichi Nomura, the film takes place 20 years in the future in the fictional Japanese city of Magasaki. A dog flu has hit the city, and Mayor Kobayashi (Nomura) decides to deport all dogs to the barely inhabitable Trash Island. Among the new deportees is Spot (Liev Schreiber), the beloved canine of Atari (Koyu Rankin), the Mayor’s 12 year old orphaned ward. Atari decides to fly to the island to rescue him and gets help from a dog crew that includes Rex (Ed Norton), Boss (Bill Murray), King (Bob Balaban), Duke (Jeff Goldblum) and Chief (Bryan Cranston). As they roam through garbage filled island, Atari and his four legged crew discover that there’s much more to their deportation than that’s being presented. Even though its is a stop motion animation, all of the classic Anderson quirks and hallmarks are here: Killer cast, great dialogue, warmth, humor and an almost obsessive attention to detail. It’s another winner from one of the best in the game. Isle of Dogs opens this weekend. You can also go to www.isleofdogsmovie.com for more information.
The Rise And Fall Of The Brown Buffalo. He was forever immortalized as ‘Dr Gonzo’ in Hunter S. Thompson’s seminal book Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas, but there was much more to the life and legacy of Oscar ‘Zeta’ Acosta. In this new PBS documentary, Phillip Rodriguez looks back at the larger than life attorney, novelist, a. ctivist, and politician and backed up with archival material, legal transcripts, and remembrances from family, friends, colleagues and critics. It traces Acosta’s formative years in rural California; his work as a missionary in Panama, and how the Chicano movement forever transformed his professional and political outlook. The doc also covers how Acosta’s life in the legal and political arena helped bring issues surrounding racial identity, inequalities in the criminal justice system and how Chicanos are represented in media.p into the national conversation. Acosta’s adventures with Thompson’s are also well documented through dramatic recreations to show just how the truth was much more wilder than fiction. Rodriguez also dives into the factors that were behind Acosta’s mysterious disappearance (and presumed death) in 1974. Told with warmth, humor and candor, Rodriguez has put together a wild reclamation of a civil rights and legal icon. The Rise And Fall Of The Brown Buffalo premieres this weekend on PBS. You can also go to www.pbs.org for more information.
Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth by The 24-Carat Black. Released in 1973, the one and only album by this Cincinnati-based band was Stax Records’ answer to the wave of R&B/Soul concept albums that were coming out of the Motown camp. Written and produced by long time Isaac Hayes collaborator Dale Warren, it was a sweeping musical journey through urban America, as the promises of the American Civil Rights movement are met with the realities of drug addiction, income inequality, overcrowding and extreme poverty. Audiences weren’t quite ready for an piece that was more in tune with prog rock than funk, and the album was quickly pulled from the shelves. But it found a second life through the efforts of hardcore R&B fans, and later, through hip hop, as tracks were sampled by artists such as Eric B & Rakim, Jay-Z, Nas, Digable Planets and Naughty By Nature. A CD reissue was done in 1995 and now it lives again on both digital and vinyl platforms. Building upon themes that were introduced on Hot Buttered Soul, What’s Goin’ On, and People Hold On, the issues addressed here sound more in tune to what is happening now than they did back in the early 70s. This is a much welcomed victory lap to a rediscovered classic. Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth by The 24-Carat Black is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major music outlets.
New York City. Banksy. The controversial and mysterious artist is back in New York City, and his latest work is, as always, a piece of political theater. Taking over the Bowery mural wall on Houston Street, Banksy calls attention to the plight of Turkish artist Zehra Dogan, currently in jail for painting the country’s flag flying over the rubble of a destroyed town. The piece is relatively simple for a Banksy piece, but still packs a punch, making a powerful statement for personal and artistic expression. The latest from Banksy can be viewed now on East Houston Street.
New York City. The Last Three. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the largest rhino sculpture in the world is up for viewing at Astor Place. It was created by the husband and wife team Gillie and Marc to bring awareness to the plight of white rhinos, who are on the verge of extinction. The sculpture has captured the imagination of New Yorkers in recent days since Sudan, one of the rhinos depicted in the piece, passed away. Visitors are encouraged to take photos, tag their own hastag, and make a donation to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The Last Three will be on display through May.
New York City. ‘Love’ & Other Stories. Long considered the ‘entrant terrible’ of Dutch photography, Ed van der Eisken’s confident, gritty and unconventional presentation of young love, alienation, and counterculture bohemian life profoundly influenced the work of other great street photographers such as Larry Clark, Nan Goldin and Wolfgang Tillmans. His 1954 book, ‘Love On The Left Bank’ is blew open the possibilities of documentary photography. Now the Howard Greenberg Gallery will be presenting a new exhibit focusing on the celebrated street photographer’s work in Amsterdam, Paris and Toyko in the 50‘s and 60’s. It’s a great opportunity to see a master lensman at the height of his powers. Love’ & Other Stories will be at the Howard Greenberg Gallery through May 5th. You can also go to www.howardgreenberg.com for more information.
New York City. Come Together: Music Festival and Label Market. MoMa PS1 has once again teamed with the iconic record shop Other Music to present this 2nd annual celebration of what they call ‘the interactive ecosystem of local and international music communities.’ The day long event will include live performances, films, panels, workshops, interactive reading/listening rooms and much more. Whether you are a super collector, modest buyer or new to the music buying experience, this is the one stop festival that will more than cater to your needs. Come Together: Music Festival and Label Market will take place Saturday, March 24th from noon to 9pm at MoMa PS1. You can also go to www.moma.org for tickets, a complete rundown of events and more information.