ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas. Sam Dunn’s documentary on the legendary Texas power trio is available now on Netflix. It tells the story of how Billy F. Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard formed the group in 1969 and with relentless touring, shrewd marketing and outlandish stage show, forged an iconic sound and style. We also get to hear how a planned 90 day break turned into a three year odyssey that included Hill getting a day job working in the airport, Gibbons wandering across Europe, and Beard descending into a near fatal bout with drug abuse. But out of those experiences, it laid the groundwork for the band expanding itself sound to incorporate elements of New Wave, avant garde and punk – culminating the 10 million selling album Eliminator. In addition to great stories from the band, we also get to hear from their long time manager Bill Ham, and accolades from famous fans such as Billy Bob Thornton, Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age and Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach. There’s also, as expected, all of the ZZ Top classics, including new versions that we done specifically for the film. It’s a musical victory lap for rock’s longest running bands. ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas is available now on Netflix.
The Booksellers. Acting as scholars, detectives and businesspeople, the people who work in rare/antique bookstores are as colorful, knowledgeable and unique as the characters in the material that they sell. Parker Posey executive produced this documentary about some of those dealers who play an underrated and undervalued role in local communities all over the country. Directed by D.W. Young, the film also looks at the growing challenges that they have to face just to keep the doors open. We also get to meet the many eccentrics, intellectuals and dreamers who patronize these places and help keep bookstores open. Quirky, unique and always fascinating, Young has made a loving salute to the great people who are helping to preserve history. The Booksellers opens in New York this weekend. You can also go to www.booksellersmovie.com for more information.
Undying Thirst by Black Market Brass. After releasing their explosive debut in 2016, Black Market Brass is back with their eagerly awaited follow up. This Minneapolis based band wonderfully captures the West African sound that was popularized by Fela in the 1970s. With in your faces horns, deep bottom bass, pulsating keyboards, buzzed out guitars and complex polyrhythmic percussion, BMB’s brand of funk, jazz, world beat, psychedelia and prog will give your senses a much needed adrenaline shot. A back to the future sonic delight. Undying Thirst by Black Market Brass is available now though Amazon, Apple Music and all major streaming outlets. You can also go to www.blackmarketbrass.com for more information.
New York City: Studio 54: Night Magic. Nothing captured the wild, decadent late 70s and early 80s better than Studio 54. Run by Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, the club had some of the biggest names in the world of music, film, TV and literature as patrons, and became infamous for its strict door policy, and anything goes approach – all while the music kept everyone dancing. Studio 54’s endearing legacy is now part of a new exhibition at Brooklyn Museum. It will feature extensive photos, fashion, drawings, film and a never-before-seen costume illustrations and party invitations by the artists, designers, musicians and photographers who helped define 1970s dance culture. It will kick off with fashion designer Norma Kamali and Refinery29’s global editor-in-chief Christene Barberich in conversation with Ian Schrager on March 12th and a party in which attendees can learn The Hustle, which was popularized at Studio 54. It’s a great trip back in time when a city on the edge danced it’s pain away. Studio 54: Night Magic will be at The Brooklyn Museum March 13th through July 5th. You can also go to www.brooklynmuseum.org for more information.
New York City: 1995: The Year The Internet Broke. 25 years ago, the World Wide Web was established and changed our lives forever. That same year, there were a number of films that introduced the internet’s possibilities – and dangers – in our everyday lives. To coincide with milestone, The Anthology Film Archives will feature a week-long retrospective of films focusing on our relationship with this new technology. It will include Hackers (with Angelina Jolie in one of her earliest roles); The Net, starring Sandra Bullock and directed by Irwin Winkler; Johnny Mnemonic with Keanu Reeves, Virtuosity, the first on screen pairing of Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe; Strange Days, directed by future Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow and the groundbreaking Japanese anime Ghost In The Shell. It’s a wild and eclectic look back at crucial moment in history through a cinematic lens. 1995: The Year The Internet Broke will be at the Anthology Film Archives through March 15th. You can also go to www.anthologyfilmarchives.org for tickets and more information.
Los Angeles: PaleyFest LA 2020. Television’s premier festival is back in L.A with a lineup that will have something for everyone. Highlights include the premiere screening of the season finale for Curb Your Enthusiasm; the season premiere of Ozark starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney; A Special Evening With Dolly Parton & Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, Modern Family, Star Trek: Picard, NCIS and much more. As an added bonus, the stars and full cast of each of the aforementioned shows will be in attendance for post viewing Q&As. It’s a once in a lifetime chance to get up close and personal with some of TV’s biggest names. PaleyFest will be at The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles March 13th through the 22nd. You can also go to www.paleycenter.org for tickets, a complete event rundown and more information.
Los Angeles: Power To The People! As the nation engages in which direction it will go politically, Herbie Hancock has curated this month long festival that will celebrate how artists have played – and continue to play – in pushing forward social change. It will include performances by Hancock, Patti Smith, Terence Blanchard (performing the movie music he’s composed through his numerous collaborations with Spike Lee), and much more. There will also be panel discussions with Dr. Angela Davis, Wesley Morris of The New York Times, readings, recitals, and symphonies for youth, among many other events. Hancock has put together a strong, eclectic festival that promises to be informative as well as entertaining. Power To The People will take place at Walt Disney Concert Hall and other L.A. venues through April 11th. You can also go to www.laphil.com for a full schedule, tickets and more information.