The Filtered Excellence: January 30, 2014

Bob Geldof once asked us, “Where is the filtered excellence!?” It’s right here. Here are this weeks 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:



Super Bowl XLVIII. This is what football fans wait for all season. After Sunday, only one NFL city will be left feeling good about themselves. This year it’s either Denver or Seattle. Super Bowl XLVIII (48) features the number one offense in the league versus the number one defense. It’s the future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning who set records for touchdowns thrown and passing yards this year, leading the Denver Broncos’ high powered offense into MetLife Stadium to face the Seattle Seahawks whose defense had the fewest points allowed this season and led the league in takeaways. Manning could seal his place in NFL history on Sunday or a hungry Seattle team, which has no player on the team that has ever been in a Super Bowl before, could find themselves as legend killers. Coverage of Super Bowl 48 starts at 6:30pm Eastern on FOX. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be calling the game. Get your food, get your bets in and get ready for Super Bowl Sunday.

Quality Balls: The David Steinberg Story. This Showtime documentary follows the career of one America’s favorite Canadian comedians, David Steinberg. The film contains archive footage of Steinberg’s performances including his appearances on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson – where his number of visits is only second to Bob Hope’s. Quality Balls also looks at David Steinberg’s controversial TV work with the Smothers Brothers and delves into his directorial career, directing shows like The Golden Girls, Mad About You, Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Quality Balls: The David Steinberg Story airs Monday, February 3rd at 9:30pm Eastern on Showtime.

Hank: 5 Years From The Brink. Directed by Joe Berlinger. The 2008 financial crisis plunged the U.S. into a recession and nearly collapsed the global economy. Henry ‘Hank’ Paulson was the Treasury Secretary and had to put all of the pieces back together. Joe Berlinger, director of such searing documentaries as Brother’s Keeper and Paradise Lost, look back at this crucial moment through Paulson’s eyes and words. Berlinger manages to find Paulson’s humanity even as the blizzard of news footage of failure, firings and bailouts reopens still fresh wounds. The film serves as both a portrait and a warning about just how close this nation came to losing it all. A must see doc. Hank: 5 Years From The Brink opens this Friday in New York and is available now on Netflix.

12 O’Clock Boys Directed by Lofty Nathan. The 12 O’Clock Boys are a famous (or infamous depending upon your perspective) street bike crew that spends their Sundays popping wheelies, riding at dangerous speeds, and deftly avoiding the cops through the streets of Baltimore. Even though it provides an alternative to the endless cycle of drugs and crime in the area, residents are still skeptical at best, suspicious at their worst. The relationship between the Boys and law enforcement is outright hostile. Director Lofty Nathan spend 3 years documenting the crew’s exploits and profiling various members. We also get to meet Pug, a bright kid from the Westside, who, like a lot of neighborhood kids, idolizes the 12 O’Clock Boys and longs to become a member. How Nathan manages to capture the riders in action, darting in and out of traffic at top speed, perform insane stunts and clashes with police is simply astonishing. Nathan skillfully captures Pug’s life arc as well. We see Pug – who ages from 12 to 15 in the film – sadly narrows down his academic and life options from wanting to be a veterinarian to just wanting to become a 12 O’Clock Boy. Nathan uses Pug’s story as a microcosm of how Black youth – especially its boys – can quickly go off the right path without a strong family and community structure to support them. It’s one of the most compelling documentaries to come out in recent memory. 12 O’Clock Boys opens in select cities and VOD on Friday.

Louis CK’s Tomorrow Night. Comedian Louis CK has released his 1998 feature film directorial debut “Tomorrow Night”. Louis also wrote the film that he financed himself (and with some friends’ money too) which he shot in Black & White. He also got his friends to appear in it as well including Steve Carell, Wanda Sykes, JB Smoove and Conan O’Brien. Louis has decided to finally release the 16 year old film on his website.

The 3rd Annual NFL Honors. This is the perfect primer the night before the big game. Hosted again by Alec Baldwin, the elite of the NFL will be awarded the most prestigious honors in the league as chosen by the Associated Press. Awards include the AP Most Valuable Player. The Broncos’ Peyton Manning looks to have a lock on this one. There’s also the Coach of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, Rookies of the Year and the first ever Deacon Jones Award given to the sack leader for the season. The night also includes the presentation of the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees for the Class of 2014. The 3rd Annual NFL Honors special happens Saturday, Feb 1st, the night before the Super Bowl at 8pm Eastern on FOX.


New York City: CBGB Productions Presents: Bringing Human Rights Home.   The Barclays Center. The latest installment of the Amnesty International Concerts for Human Rights make its Brooklyn debut on February 5th. Blondie, Bob Geldof, and Yoko Ono have been added to a lineup that is already slated to feature The Flaming Lips, Imagine Dragons, The Fray, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Tegan & Sara, Cold War Kids, Colbie Calliut, Cake and other surprise guests. Members of Pussy Riot and Madonna have also been tapped to make guest appearances. The four hour concert will spotlight human rights causes here in the U.S. and around the world.

Gridiron Greats: Vintage Football Cards In The Collection Of Jefferson R. Burdick.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art. As part of Super Bowl Week, The Met will showcase rare football cards of some of the greatest players and coaches ever. Among those featured: Knute Rockne, Red Grange, Jim Thorpe, Sid Luckman, Frank Gifford, Tom Laudry, and Johnny Unitas. The exhibit also features early photos of American varsity football teams prior to the founding of the NFL. It’s a unique way to honor football’s storied history and relieve part of your childhood. Gridiron Greats will be at The Metropolitan Museum of Art through February 10th.

Chinese New Year 2014. It’s the biggest holiday in Chinese and Asian culture as a new year starts. The Chinese ring in the Year of the Horse on Friday, January 31st. Celebrations will be happening all over the country this weekend including:

NEW YORK CITY: The 15th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival. The parade winds its way through Chinatown in Manhattan starting on Mott Street and ending on Forsyth Street. The festival includes floats, bands, dragon dances, acrobats and magicians. Once the parade is over, that’s when the party begins at Sara D. Roosevelt Park where there will be more music and martial arts performances. The 15th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival happens Sunday, February 2nd in Chinatown. The parade begins at 1pm and the party in the park is scheduled for 3pm.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: The Golden Dragon Parade. This is one of LA’s and the country’s oldest Chinese New Year traditions. This will be Los Angeles’ 115th annual Golden Dragon Parade. The two day festival kicks off on Saturday, February 1st at 1pm. The Golden Dragon celebration will have traditional music and food and craft beer from the local breweries available. There’s activities for the kids, plus ping pong and Kung Fu demonstrations.

ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY: Chalk Talk with Joe Montana and Barry Sanders. It’s hard to think of a better way to spend your Super Bowl morning than with two NFL legends and Hall of Famers. Caesar’s Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City is hosting Joe Montana and Barry Sanders for a round of Chalk Talk. The two NFL icons will be using their personal expertise to analyze Super Bowl 48 and will give their predictions on who is going to win it all. Chalk Talk with Joe Montana and Barry Sanders happens Sunday, February 2nd at Caesars: Atlantic City’s Circus Maximus Theater at noon. There will be a continental brunch served beforehand at 11am.

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA: Lily Tomlin. The amazingly talented Lily Tomlin will be performing in Daytona Beach at the Peabody Auditorium on Wednesday, February 5th at 7:30pm. Lily Tomlin will be bringing her classic characters to the stage with updated versions of Edith Ann, Mrs.Beasley, Tommy Velour and everyone’s favorite switchboard operator, Ernestine. Plus, Lily will have some new characters appearing in her show. It’s a chance to see a true comedy legend live.

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: Merle Haggard. Singer, songwriter, musician and country great Merle Haggard brings his music to Jacksonville. “The Hag” has had 40 number one hits and will be performing some of his best including “Yesterday’s Wine”, “Big City”, “My Favorite Memory” and “Always Wanting You”. The Country Music Hall of Famer is in concert on Saturday, February 1st at 8pm at the Florida Theatre.


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