RBG. Known for her blistering dissentions, United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has become a pop culture icon. But even as she has become the subject of T-shirts and memes across the country, there hasn’t been a definitive look at her life and career – until now. In this new documentary, directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen get full access to Ginsberg as she makes public appearances, speaking openly and candidly about the experiences that shaped her life on and away from the bench. We also see how Ginsberg became a feminist icon, fearlessly and relentlessly opening doors for women within the legal profession and later, leading campaigns against gender discrimination, and efforts to limit a woman’s right to choose. There’s also a moving tribute to Martin Ginsburg, her late husband of 46 years, who stood by her and supported her decision to pursue a life in law, leading up to the ultimate appointment, The Supreme Court. The film captures everything from feistiness to her commitment to remaining physically fit, showing the world that age is truly nothing but a number. With remembrances from family, friends, colleagues and fans, West and Cohen has put together a dynamic look at an American icon. RBG opens this weekend. You can also go to www.rbgmovie.com for more information.
After Auschwitz. What happens after you have survived one of humanity’s greatest atrocities? How do you pick up and start life again? That is at the core of this powerful new documentary for Jon Kean. He profiles the lives of six women who survived the Holocaust, who, after being liberated from the camps, came back to find that their life in Europe still difficult, with most, if not all of their possessions stolen and being openly subjected to Anti-Semitism. Upon re-locating to America, they managed to rebuild their lives and eventually start families. But even as they established footing in the States, the memories – mostly via nightmares – of their ordeal still haunt them, with friends and relatives urging them not to speak openly about their experiences. With time – and as other Holocaust survivors began coming forward, these women began to share their stories with others, finding closure, and warning others about the ultimate consequences of bigotry, hatred and intolerance. Kean works wisely with the ladies, drawing out stories that are haunting and uplifting, and not shying away from using grisly footage shot at the camps to hammer home what these ladies and 6 million Jews had to endure during this dark moment in human history. It’s an incredible story of resolve and resolution that will uplift and inspire. After Auschwitz opens in select theaters on Friday. You can also go to www.afterauschwitz.com for more information.
Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe. The 3rd album from the singer-songwriter-producer-label head and all around bad ass is also her most personal. Internalizing and expanding on the themes established by her alter ego Cindi at the same time, Monáe asserts and celebrates herself as a fully liberated Black woman in the era of open intoleranace. Taking her cues from her late mentor and friend Prince, it all on the table: Spirituality, sexuality, feminism, love, and politics all in a sweeping 50 minute blitz of funk, R&B, rock, and hip hop. Sacred, profane, smooth and rough, and with appearances by Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson, Pharrell Williams, Zoe Kravitz and Grimes, this puts Monáe in the same conversation and pantheon with many of her musical heroes. One of the year’s best. Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major musical outlets.
Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois by Venetian Snares and Daniel Lanois. On paper, the collaboration between Daniel Lanois and Aaron Funk, aka Venetian Snares, shouldn’t work at all. Lanois, is known for his sweeping atmospheric productions for Bob Dylan, U2, Emmylou Harris, Peter Gabriel and The Neville Brothers and Willie Nelson. Funk’s work is claustrophobic and intense, relying heavily on rapid cuts and ruptured samples. But when Lanois heard one of Funk’s album in an L.A. bar, he quickly became a fan and sought to work with a fellow Canadian. As it turned out, Funk was a huge Lanois fan, making this paring all but inevitable. Recorded live, the marriage of Lanois’ majestic yet minimalist pedal steel plays light to Funk’s dark barrage of distorted drums and static. The results range from elegant to manic as Ambient collides with EDM and sounding fantastic . One of the year’s best. Venetian Snares X Daniel Lanois will be available on Friday through Amazon, Itunes and all major music outlets. You can also go to www.venetiansnares.bandcamp.com
Blues People by Logan Richardson. Taking its name from Amir Baraka’s seminal book of musical essays, the new album from the Kansas City-born and raised saxophonist Logan Richardson explores the long standing relationship between jazz and the blues, along with the experiences on stage and off during his many stops on the globe. But anyone expecting a by-the-numbers interpretation of either idioms will be sadly disappointing. Instead, Richardson, along with guitarists Justus West (electric) and Igor Osypov (acoustic), Ryan Lee on drums and bassist DeAndre Manning opt for more sonic textures that were laid out by artists such Jaco Pastorious, Defunkt and Sonny Sharrock., It rocks as much as it swings working in soul-searching sax, and funk/hip hop drum loops and patterns along the way. It’s an effort that continues and expands on Kansas City’s long standing tradition on being in the forefront of the American Jazz movement. Blues People by Logan Richardson is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major music outlets.
New York City. Through A Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs. Before he became one of cinema’s greatest directors, Stanley Kubrick was an outstanding photographer, selling his earliest shots to Look Magazine when he was only 17. This new exhibit features over 120 photographs – many of which have never been released – highlighting Kubrick’s five years with the magazine. It shows him capturing sporting events, street scenes and nightclubs with a depth, poise and maturity well beyond his years. It also gives us a glimpse of how these formative years as a street photographer would show up in such films as ‘Dr. Strangelove’, ‘Barry Lyndon’, ‘The Shining’, ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and ‘Full Metal Jacket’. A captivating new look at one of the film’s finest directors. Through A Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs will be at The Museum Of The City Of New York May 3rd through October 28th. You can also go to www.mcny.org for more information.
New York City. Paul Schrader X 4. As a ramp up to his upcoming film, First Reformed, Metrograph will be a hosting a four film retrospective centering around a theme that consistently defined Schrader’s work: Lonely men who find their work, core beliefs and lives in conflict with their conscience. It will include seminal films such as Taxi Driver and American Gigolo along with later works such as Light Sleeper and The Walker starring Woody Harrelson. As an added bonus, Schrader will be on hand throughout the weekend to introduce and do post screening Q&As. It’s a great way to celebrate and meet one of cinema’s last true independent voices. Paul Schrader X 4 will be at Metrograph May 4th through the 6th. You can also go to www.metrograph.com for tickets, runtimes and more information.
New York City. Air Above Mountains, Unknown Pleasures by Arthur Jafa. The latest from the acclaimed artist, filmmaker, artist, and cinematographer continues his ongoing explorations on the social stresses, weight, disadvantages and advantages of being Black in America and around the world. As with previous works, it will challenge, inform, and make you pause and ponder. Prepare to have your senses and mind assaulted. Air Above Mountains, Unknown Pleasures will be at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise May 4th through June 10th.
New York City. Rammellzee: Racing For Thunder. Rammellzee was an artist, graffiti writer, hip hop pioneer, Gothic Futurist theoretician and a New York City icon. He was featured in such films as Wild Style and Stranger In Paradise, was pals with, and collaborated with Jean-Michel Basquiat and influenced artists ranging from Parliament-Funkadelic to The Beastie Boys. Yet despite being a vital part of the downtown New York City arts and hip hop scenes, Rammellzee is still regulated to cult status. Red Bull Arts New York hopes to change that with the new exhibit, Racing For Thunder. It’s the largest survey of his output to date, featuring his post-graffiti output, rare formal pieces from the 1980s, along with the artwork and sculptural series that he created during the last 20 years of his life. It also gathers archival materials and creations from private collectors, and oral histories that were commissioned specifically for the exhibit. Serving as a reclamation and love letter, it gives one of greatest artists to emerge from the New York City arts scene a much deserved victory lap. Rammellzee: Racing For Thunder will be at the Red Bull Arts New York May 4th though August 26th. You can also go to www.redbullartsnewyork.com for more information.
Los Angeles. Eat See Hear. L.A.’s original traveling outdoor movie series is back once again for another summer of food, movies and live music. This year’s movie lineup includes classics such as Easy Rider, Rear Window, Blazing Saddles, The Warriors and E.T; gems such as Back To The Future, Boogie Nights, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind; and recent films such as Lady Bird, Inglorious Basterds and Despicable Me. It also feature the 25th Anniversary screening of The Sandlot and the 20th Anniversary screening of the Coen Bros’ The Big Lebowski. Supplementing the festivities will be live music and food trucks designed to met any and all of your dietary and culinary needs. An amazing day out for anyone in the City Of Angels. Eat See Hear runs May 4th through September 15th. You can also go to www.eatseehear.com for more information.