American Masters – Basquiat: Rage To Riches. The final installment of American Masters ‘Artists Flight’ series looks back at one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century. Director/producer David Shulman culls together archive footage and new interviews with Basquiat’s friends, lovers, contemporaries, and his art dealers tell how the son of a Brooklyn accountant left an impact on the world of art that is still being felt 30 years after his untimely death. It will also feature Basquiat’s sisters Liane and Jeanine, who are speaking for the first time on camera about their late brother. Told with candor and featuring some of his greatest works, Shulman has put together a moving tribute to an artistic iconoclast. Basquiat: Rage To Riches premieres this weekend on PBS. You can also go to www.pbs.org for more information.
Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco. The life and career of the legendary fashion illustrator is the subject of this new documentary from James Crump. It details how Lopez, – along with his partner Juan Ramos – transformed the Parisian and New York fashion worlds of the late 60s and early 70s by introducing a decidedly more urban flair into the work. Lopez also discovered future icons Grace Jones, Jessica Lange, Jerry Hall and Patti D’Arbanville, among others, redefining beauty and bringing diversity into fashion. Featuring interviews with these former muses, friends such as Corey Tippin and the late Bill Cunningham, archival footage of Lopez at work and in his element, Crump has put together the ultimate time capsule and salute to a fashion giant. Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco opens this weekend. You can also go to www.sexfashiondisco.com for more information.
Halcyon Daze by Nightcaller – The debut project from Evan Patrick and Howard Alper captures the spirit of 80s Prince, and Cocteau Twins, right down to current groups CHVRCHES. To create the right mood, the duo recruited – Imani Coppola, Freedom Bremner, Ann Courtney, Aaron Lazar, Babe With The Powers and Emi Monroe to help shape their moody, atmospheric sound. It’s a sonic stew that encapsulates dream pop, rock, a touch of punk and recalls Vangelis’ amazing work on the film Blade Runner. Mysterious and hypnotic, Patrick and Alper successfully pulls us back in time, but also takes the sound and vibe full on in the future. A killer debut. Halcyon Daze by Nightcaller is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major streaming services.
Love, Loss & Auto Tune by Swamp Dogg. Jerry Williams, Jr – better known as Swamp Dogg – has become a steady fixture in R&B circuit as a singer, songwriter and producer since the mid 60s. Fed up with what he felt was an exploitative music industry and with the grind of being a commercial songwriter, Williams adopted the Swamp Dogg persona to free himself from this artistic straitjacket. Working largely as an independent artist, Williams pushed Southern soul into new territory, adding elements of eccentricity along with lyrical content that addressed a nation still coming to grips with issues pertaining to race, sex, the war in Vietnam and the fallout of the events of the 60s and 70s. He also continued to develop and mentor the next wave of talent, including The World Class Wreckin’ Cru, which included a fledgling producer named Dr. Dre. Still an active record artist, Williams wanted to change things up for his latest album. Teaming up with Polica’s Ryan Olson and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), it’s a collection of songs that run the range from 50s inspired R&B, 70s Soul, trying to keep money right in the political climate, to traditional standards with a Swamp Dogg twist. As the title would suggest, his use of Auto Tune is featured not a crutch, but to supplement the harmony vocals to channel and the inner torment – and humor – behind all of the songs. Swamp Dogg has always been an artist comfortably working on the fringes, but with this new release, he is destined to find an entirely new audience. Love, Loss & Auto Tune by Swamp Dogg is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all digital streaming services. You can also go to www.theswampdogg.com for more information.
My Mother. Barak Obama. Donald Trump. And The Last Stand Of The Angry White Man by Kevin Powell. The latest from the acclaimed author and activist, looks at how Barack Obama’s Presidency and the election of Donald Trump have all reflected America’s past, present and how it will shape the nation’s future. Spread over 13 essays, Powell tackles a number of issues including the rash of mass shootings, the #MeToo movement, the rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, racially motivated murders, the huge gap between the haves and have-nots, to show just have far things have escalated since the nation elected its first Black President. Weaving in brutally honest stories about life in America, along with stories about his own complicated relationship with his mother, Powell puts the mirror on all of us to show not only who we are, but offers powerful insight on who we can be. Told with candor, bluntness, but also with compassion, Powell has once again put together a narrative that stands alongside some of this best work. My Mother. Barack Obama. Donald Trump. And The Last Stand Of The Angry White Man by Kevin Powell is available now through Amazon, Barnes and Nobel and all major book retailers.
New York City. The Public Image Is Rotten. As Public Image Limited continue to celebrate their 40th Anniversary, a new documentary – which has already blown away audiences across Europe makes a stop at Metrograph. Directed by Tabbert Filler, it shows how John Lydon, in the wake of the breakup of The Sex Pistols, put together a new band that incorporated elements of punk, reggae and the avant garde into a sound that all but gave birth the American alternative movement. Filler is giving full access to the band, interviewing band members past and present, rarely seen footage and comments throughout by the one and only John Lydon. A must see doc. The Public Image Is Rotten will be at Metrograph through September 20th. You can also go to www.metrograph.com for tickets and additional information.
New York City. Soul Of A Nation: Art In The Age Of Black Power. As The American Civil Rights Movement began to make its impact, it made it’s way into the work of a number of Black painters, graphic artists, sculptors, and photographs. This vital and fertile period is the subject of a new exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum. It features over 150 works spanning over 20 years including the groundbreaking work of Emory Douglas; Jack Whitten’s abstract tribute to Malcolm X; the contorted metal sculptures of Melvin Edwards, painted portraits of every day Black people by Barkley Hendricks and Emma Amos, and much more. It’s the first time these pieces have been shown in a group setting, offering a powerful look back to a crucial period in American history. Soul Of A Nation: Art In The Age Of Black Power will be at Brooklyn Museum through February 3. You can also go to www.brooklynmuseum.org for tickets and additional information.