Hitsville: The Making Of Motown. 60 years after its inception, the music that came out of Motown continues to be the soundtrack of our lives. This new documentary from Benjamin and Gabe Turner looks back at the label’s formative years, from its inception in 1958, until its re-location to Los Angeles in the early 1970s. Berry Gordy is featured prominently, giving the filmmakers complete access to his archive to show how he created a unique, assembly line-style system that helped launch the careers of Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Mary Wells, and The Jackson 5, among many others. The documentary also shows how Motown was able to provide a musical backdrop for the American Civil Rights Movement and the overall social unrest that was happening in the country. Loaded with incredible archival footage and new interviews with some of the movers and shakers within the label and their musical descendants, the Turners have put together the ultimate salute to the most successful record label of all time. Hitsville: The Making Of Motown premieres Saturday, August 24th at 9pm East on Showtime. You can also go to www.sho.com for more information.
Fiddler: A Miracle Of Miracles. Today, Fiddler On The Roof is considered one of the greatest musicals of all time, winning 9 Tony Awards (Including Best Musical) and holding the record for longest-running Broadway musical for over a decade. It was also adapted into a successful 1971 film garnering 8 Academy Award nominations and winning four. This new documentary from Max Lewkowicz looks back at the musical’s creative roots in New York and how themes addressed in the piece worked alongside the social and political backdrop that was happening in the city and across the nation. With appearances by some of the biggest names in film and theater, Lewkowicz has put together a moving salute to a Broadway staple. Fiddler: A Miracle Of Miracles opens this weekend. You can also go to www.thefiddlerfilm.com for more information.
Jim Marshall: Show Me The Picture by Amelia Davis. Jim Marshall’s legendary career was defined by his photographs of such icons as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones. But, as this new book shows, Marshall’s lens also captured the various social movements and subcultures that came to define the 60s and 70s. Complied by long time assistant Amelia Davis, there’s over 200 photographs – 70 of which are that are being presented for the 1st time – that show intimate, day to day street moments in the streets of New York, San Francisco and, while on assignment, documenting the extreme poverty of those living in Hazard, Kentucky. Marshall’s first musical love was jazz, and this book shows mind blowing shots of such luminaries as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Anita O’Day, and Thelonious Monk, among many others. There’s also proof sheets that track his creative process and stories and essays from some of his contemporaries remembering this one of a kind, larger than life artist. Made with love, candor and care, Davis has crafted the ultimate look at a photography giant. Jim Marshall: Show Me The Picture by Amelia Davis is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major book retailers.
New York City. Afropunk Festival. What started out as a D.I.Y indie film has become an annual concert staple across the States and worldwide. Afropunk returns to Brooklyn once again with Jill Scott, FKA Twigs, Leon Bridges, Kamasi Washington, Gary Clark, Jr, Santigold, Kelsey Lu and Death Grips being just some of the acts slated to appear. There will also be DJ sets, food trucks and panel discussions featuring some of the best socially-conscious speakers in the world including former Black Panther chairperson Elaine Brown. It’s the perfect way to come out, say it loud and let your freak flag fly. The Afropunk Festival will be at Commodore Barry Park August 24th and 25th. You can also go to www.afropink.com for tickets, a complete schedule of events and additional information.
Los Angeles: Contact High: A Visual History Of Hip Hop by Vikki Toback. This is the last weekend to check out this exhibit chronicling hip hop’s visual identity. Curated by journalist Vikki Toback – who also wrote the accompanying book – it features 140 shots from more than 60 photographers that shows the evolution of how hip hop went from clubs and roller ruins to theaters, arenas and stadiums. In addition to iconic shots of Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Cardi B, and Salt-N-Pepa, there’s also a pics of the late Mac Miller and Nipsey Hustle. It’s a fantastic look at the birth and ongoing rise of a global phenomenon. Contact High: A Visual History Of Hip will be at the Annenberg Space For Photography through Sunday. You can also go to www.annebergphotospace.org for more information.