King In The Wilderness. This Peter Kunhardt-directed documentary first aired last spring to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination. Now HBO is re-airing the film as part of the King national holiday. It looks back how King, in the last 18 months of his life, made the transition from civil rights to economic justice – anchored by a dramatic speech denouncing the war in Vietnam. It irreparably fractured the relationship between King and President Johnson and almost overnight, King lost support across the board. But it also shows how despite such blistering media attacks, death threats, mental and physical fatigue, King remained true to his convictions, with such speeches as ‘Beyond Vietnam’ and ‘I’ve Been To The Mountaintop’ now the stuff of legend. With remembrances from family, friends, key allies, coupled a wealth of archival material, Kunhardt has put together a moving tribute to one of the world’s greatest citizens. King In The Wilderness will air on Monday, January 21st at 4:15pm and 9:45 Eastern on HBO, and its also available on HBO On Demand and HBO Now. You can also go to www.hbo.com for more information.
Fyre Fraud/Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened. In 2017, The Fyre Festival was launched with the promise of delivering a luxury music festival in the Bahamas. Instead, attendees were greeted with FEMA tents, awful food, no musical acts and no tangible way to get off the island. What was supposed to be the ultimate music vacation ended in a sea of lawsuits, and for organizer Billy McFarland, a 6 year prison sentence. Now, Hulu and Netflix are presenting two documentaries chronicling McFarland’s spectacular fall. Directed by Julia Willoughby Nason and Jenner Furst and Janner, Fyre Fraud speaks with whistleblowers, insiders and victims to detail how McFarland used social media, deceptive branding and an audience need not to ‘miss out’, to manipulate and defraud all involved millions of dollars. Chris Smith’s documentary, Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened is told exclusively through the eyes of the organizing team, which gives us a front row seat to how the wheels completely came off this project from jump. Fyre Fraud does manage to get McFarland on camera to at least attempt to give his side of the story. Part cautionary tale, ethics lesson, and crime story, both of these documentaries are worth checking out. Fyre Fraud is available now on Hulu, while Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened is out now on Netflix.
Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World. After a successful run in theaters, the documentary by Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana will air on PBS. It profiles guitarist Link Wray and Native American musicians (Jimi Hendrix, Robbie Robertson, Jesse Ed Davis, Buffy Saint Marie, among others) who made significant contributions to the world of rock, blues, folk, metal and hip hop. The doc also shows how artists such as Buffy Saint Marie got blacklisted for addressing long standing issues within the Native American community with their art. With great stories, amazing archival footage and, of course, great music, this doc gives the indigenous people of this nation its much deserved victory lap. Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World premieres Monday at 9pm Eastern. You can also go to www.pbs.org for more information.
The Sopranos Sessions by Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zeller Seitz. When The Sopranos premiered in January 1999, it set a new standard in episodic television that is still being applied today. When the show launched, Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz were TV critics for The Star-Ledger in New Jersey and quickly became the series earliest advocates. To mark the 20th anniversary of the show’s debut episode, they have reunited to write a new book that explores every facet behind the HBO landmark show. It has new, extensive interviews with series creator David Chase, along with selections from the authors’ Star-Ledger stories that examines everything from its portrayal of Italian-Americans, it’s jarring depictions of violence and its place among other TV and film classics. With great insights and observations, this is a must have book for any Sopranos fan. The Sopranos Sessions by Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zeller Seitz is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major book retailers.
Point Of View: Me, New York City and The Punk Scene by Chris Stein. Aside from being the co-founder of Blondie, Chris Stein is also an outstanding photographer, shooting some of the most memorable images of lead singer Deborah Harry. For his latest book, Stein culls together stunning shots of his formative years living in New York during the 1970s. Whether he’s shooting his members of the band, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat or just every day moments, Stein’s sharp eye shows us a city that’s both on the brink of collapse, yet in an artistic zenith. It’s a must have book for those who love music and New York City. Point Of View: Me, New York City And The Punk Scene by Chris Stein is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major book retailers. You can also go to www.chrisstein.nyc for more information.
David Bowie Is. For those who missed Bowie’s epic exhibit in New York, Chicago, London and Paris, there’s a new app that gives you a front row seat in the comfort of your phone or tablet. It will allow you to explore Bowie’s extensive archive of costumes, videos, handwritten lyrics and original artwork – all with 360-degree detail and with audio featuring Bowie’s music and narration. There’s also dozens of items that weren’t featured in the original exhibit, giving the viewer even more reasons to love The Thin White Duke. Even though he’s been gone for a few years, David Bowie is still one step ahead of his fans and gives them one last gift. The David Bowie Is app is available now on all iOS and Android devices.
New York City. Far Out In The 70s: A New Wave Of Comedy, 1969-1979. As the studio system broke down and a new ratings system was introduced, the films coming out of Hollywood make a significant shift in content and presentation. It was best reflected in the world of comedy, challenging our views on race, class, sex, gender roles and what constitutes ‘good taste’. Film Forum will present a month long retrospective spotlighting comedies whose impact is still being felt today. It will include the work of Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein), Robert Altman (MASH, Brewster McCloud), Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Manhattan, Bananas, Sleeper, Play It Again Sam), Paul Mazursky (Bob And Carol And Ted And Alice, Harry And Tonto); Peter Bogdanovich (Paper Moon, What’s Up, Doc?), John Waters (Pink Flamingos) among many others. Also included is a special tribute to comedian/actor/writer/director Elaine May featuring the films Heaven Can Wait, The Heartbreak Kid and much more. It’s a perfect series for those who want to look back or dive into for the first time. ‘The New Hollywood’ Far Out In The 70s: A New Wave Of Comedy, 1969-1979 will be at Film Forum January 18th through February 14th. You can also go to www.filmf/orum.org for tickets, a complete rundown of films and more information.