The Filtered Excellence: August 29, 2019

Bob Geldof once asked us, “Where is the filtered excellence!?” It’s right here. Once a week we take a break from comedy to bring you this week’s picks of the best things to watch, the most interesting things to do, great things to try, the best picks to read, our favorite things to listen to and more.


WATCH THIS

Miles Davis: Birth Of The Cool.  The life and legacy of Miles Davis is the subject of this new documentary from acclaimed director Stanley Nelson (The Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution).  Using never before seen archival footage, studio outtakes, rare photos and new interviews with family, friends, colleagues, contemporaries and musical disciples, Nelson tells how Davis’ fierce independent spirit and desire to continually forge new ground,  made him a towering figure in the worlds of jazz, rock, blues, funk and the avant garde.   The doc doesn’t shy away from the darker side of Davis’ life as drugs, alcohol, and fractured marriages nearly derailed his career and pushed away those closest to him.  It’s a richly detailed look back at a musical iconoclast.  Miles Davis: Birth Of The Cool is in theaters now.

Raise Hell:  The Life and Times Of Molly Ivins.  Standing at 6 feet tall with a love for needling phrases, Molly Ivins was one of America’s most beloved political commentators.  This new documentary from Janice Engel looks back at her life, covering her formative years at the Texas Chronicle; her days at the Rocky Mountain bureau chief for The New York Times; to becoming a nationally syndicated columnist, where she was a three time Pulitzer finalist.  The film also looks at her fiercely progressive streak in which she took on Presidents Bush and Clinton often with an acerbic wit that became legendary.  Engel uses a drove of clips and portions of Ivins’ writings that show just how far ahead of the curve she was politically, eerily predicting the current political landscape.  Told with candor and love, Engel has crafted a comprehensive look at a literary and political giant.  Raise Hell:  The Life And Times Of Molly Ivins in theaters now.  You can also to go to www.mollyivinsfilm.com for more information.

LISTEN TO THIS

Jimmy Lee by Raphael Saadiq.  For his first solo album in 8 years, the renowned bassist/songwriter/producer revisits a sensitive and traumatic part of his life:  The death of his older brother from a drug overdose.  Despite the dark subject matter, Saadiq puts together a powerful song cycle that ranges from 70s era soul, 90s R&B, down home gospel, and spoken word, with a perspective from the addict and those within his orbit.  There’s even pointed political commentary showing how men of color with substance abuse issues became part of the criminal justice system rather than receive the necessary medical treatment.  After spending the better part of his career as in demand producer, Saadiq proves once again that he’s just as formidable as a musician and frontman, channeling the work of musical heroes such as Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone and Donny Hathaway, without totally lifting their sound.   It’s a startling new entry in what has been a Hall Of Fame worthy career.  One of the year’s best.  Jimmy Lee by Raphael Saadiq is available now through Amazon, Apple Music and all major streaming services.

Live At Columbia Records Radio Hour by Jeff Buckley.  When Jeff Buckley recorded this hour long set for a nationally syndicated radio series, it was never intended to be released commercially.  Now, to coincide with the 25th Anniversary of his debut album, Grace, it’s now available for the first time.  Recorded June 4, 1995 at the Sony Music Studios, it captures Buckley at his absolute peak as a live performer, tantalizing and thrilling the small studio audience with choice cuts from Grace and reconstructed covers by Nina Simone (Lilac Wine), The MC5 (Kick Out The Jams) and The Smiths (I Know It’s Over).  It’s a great reminder of just how talented Buckley was, as well as the great void that he left behind.  Live At Columbia Records Radio Hour by Jeff Buckley is available now through Amazon, Apple Music and all major streaming services.

DO THIS

New York City: Leonard Cohen: A Crack In Everything. This is the last week to check out this multimedia tribute to Leonard Cohen.  Done with Cohen’s blessing before he passed away in 2016, it features 12 artists and 18 musicians from 10 countries influenced by Cohen’s style and recurring themes in his work, along with a video projection showcasing Cohen’s artwork. Also, you can hear musicians such as Moby, Feist and The National covering classic Cohen songs. Whether you are a new fan or a long timer, this is a dynamic homage to one of rock’s greatest songwriters. Leonard Cohen: A Crack In Everything will be at the Jewish Museum through September 8th. You can also go to www.thejewishmuseum.org for tickets and additional information.

Los Angeles. Soul Of A Nation: Art In The Age Of Black Power.  Here’s your last chance to catch this powerful exhibit that has blown away audiences in New York and Los Angles.  It’s devoted to the Black painters, graphic artists, sculptors and photographs whose work reflected the The American Civil Rights Movement from 1963-1983. It features over 150 works spanning over 20 years and includes 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 a final chance to see these amazing pieces documenting a crucial period in American history. Soul Of A Nation: Art In The Age Of Black Power will be at The Broad through September 2nd. You can also go to www.thebroad.org for tickets and additional information.

Want more excellence? Read last week’s the filtered excellence.

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Earl Douglas is a writer/photographer based in New York City. A frequent contributor to The Interrobang, Earl is also Executive Director for the New York chapter of The Black Rock Coalition. Earl worked in radio for nearly two decades at WNEW-FM and XM Satellite Radio, which included being the on-air producer for Carol Miller, Scott Muni and Ron & Fez, and a contributor to Opie & Anthony. Earl has also independently published a number of books including Black Rock Volume 1, Urban Abyss, Mobile Uploads, and For Shimmy. His latest project is the photojournalism magazine PRAXIS, which is available exclusively through Blurb.com.

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Earl Douglas
Earl Douglas
Earl Douglas is a writer/photographer based in New York City. A frequent contributor to The Interrobang, Earl is also Executive Director for the New York chapter of The Black Rock Coalition. Earl worked in radio for nearly two decades at WNEW-FM and XM Satellite Radio, which included being the on-air producer for Carol Miller, Scott Muni and Ron & Fez, and a contributor to Opie & Anthony. Earl has also independently published a number of books including Black Rock Volume 1, Urban Abyss, Mobile Uploads, and For Shimmy. His latest project is the photojournalism magazine PRAXIS, which is available exclusively through Blurb.com.