The Night Of. This new HBO miniseries created by Steven Zaillian (Schlinder’s List, Gangs Of New York, Moneyball, Awakenings) and Richard Price (The Wire, The Color Of Money, Sea Of Love) makes its long awaited debut this Sunday. Based on the BBC series, Criminal Justice, it stars John Turturro as John Stone, a world-weary defense attorney who takes on the case of Nasir ‘Naz’ Khan (Riz Ahmed), a Pakistani-American college student who is charged with brutally murdering a 22 year old woman on the Upper West Side. At the heart of the series is how the slow, grinding wheels of justice takes its toll on Naz, his family and everyone within its orbit. It also serves as a chilling reminder on how race and class play into how suspects get extended stays at Rikers Island for months – and sometimes years – before they get their day in court. Everyone is on their A game: Zaillian, Price, Turturro and breakout performances by Bill Camp as Detective-Sgt Dennis Box and Ahmed as Naz. Ahmed’s performance is devastatingly good. This is THE show everyone will be talking about all summer. The Night Of premieres Sunday, July 10th on HBO. You can also go to HBO Go, HBO Now or http://www.hbo.com/ for a sneak preview of Episode 1, extras and additional information.
Indian Point. In the wake of the horrific nuclear accident in Japan, many wondered if a large scale accident can happen here in the States. Director Ivy Meeropol explores that possibility in this documentary. The Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant is located just 35 miles from Times Square and with over 50 million people living in close range, it’s also become the lighting rod in the battle over clean energy and the pros and cons of nuclear power. Is it an aging facility that is a ticking time bomb or is it the standard bearer on how nuclear energy can be a viable, efficient power source? Meeropol gives equal time to both sides while offering a chilling reality check on what could happen if all safety standards are not met and enforced. A searing and vital doc. Indian Point opens Friday. You can also go to http://www.firstrunfeatures.com/for more information.
The Columbia Years 1968-1969 by Betty Davis. Though their union was brief, Betty Davis played a key role in transforming her husband Miles Davis from jazz elder statesman to a pioneer in what he would often call ‘social music’. She was also more than just a muse: Betty Davis was also a formidable singer-songwriter in her own right, writing The Chambers Brothers’ hit, ‘Uptown’, material that would get The Commodores their deal with Motown, and establishing a groundbreaking solo career throughout the 70s. This new collection from Light In The Attic Records brings to light a series of songs that were considered to be lost: A series of sides that Betty Davis cut in the late 60s for Columbia Records. Miles co-produced the tracks with his long time producer Teo Macero and brought in some of the top names in rock (Mitch Mitchell, Harvey Brooks, Billy Cox) and jazz (Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Larry Young) to bring the songs to fruition. The results include re-worked versions of rock hits by Cream and CCR (‘Politician’ and ‘Born On The Bayou’) along with a number of Betty-penned songs (‘Hangin’ Out, and the autobiographical ‘Down Home Girl’). It also includes a 1968 session that Betty Davis cut in L.A. with Hugh Masekela and members of The Jazz Crusaders. The songs serve as both time capsule and incubator as Davis and her strong stable of musicians plant the seeds that would eventually give birth to Miles’ masterpiece Bitches Brew. This is The Holy Grail of fusion and funk and absolutely essential for all Betty Davis fans. The Columbia Years 1968-1969 is available now through Amazon and through the Light In The Attic web site:http://www.lightintheattic.net/
Crossroads Revisited: Selections From The Crossroads Festival. In 1999, Eric Clapton established The Crossroads Guitar Festival to serve two purposes: To raise money for The Crossroads Centre, a drug treatment center in Antigua; and as an avenue to showcase some of the greatest guitarists in the world. 17 years later, The Crossroads Guitar Festival has become the premier spot for guitarists and guitar lovers and The Crossroads Centre has helped many to rebound from addiction issues. This new 40 song collection features some of the numerous highlights from these extraordinary shows. In addition to Clapton, this set also features B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Gary Clark Jr., Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, The Tedeschi -Trucks Band, Joe Walsh, Sonny Landreth, John Mayer, Booker T. Jones, Robert Cray, J.J. Cale, Vince Gill, James Taylor, ZZ Top and many more. Running the spectrum from rock, blues, soul, folk, Americana, country and all genres in between, this is a fantastic collection for any fans of the six string. Crossroads Revisited is available now through Amazon, iTunes and all major music retailers.
New York City: I Call America by Matana Roberts. This current exhibit by multi-media artist Matana Roberts continues on a theme that she explored during her 2015 residency at The Whitney Museum Of American Art: What does it mean to be an American in the 21st Century? The work features several large scale videos and tapestries that further explore this narrative. The exhibit runs through Sunday, so if you’re in the NYC area, make it a point to check it out. I Call America by Matana Roberts will be at the Fridman Gallery through July 10th. You can also go to http://www.fridmangallery.com/ for more information.
New York City: The Lowdown Hudson Music Festival. Located at Brookfield Place with a great view of the Hudson, this two day music festival runs the gamut from hip hop and world music, to country and Americana. Day 1 will feature The Tonight Show house band The Roots along with the funky Antibalas. The second day will feature the acoustic sounds of Rayland Baxter, musical shapeshifter Valerie June and the Southern alt-rock sounds of Drive-By Truckers. The best part of this festival is that it’s FREE. Come out and feed your musical palette. The Lowdown Hudson Music Festival will take place July 12th and 13th. You can also go to http://www.artsbrookfield.com/ for showtimes and more information.
New York City: James Toback @ Metrograph. James Toback has built a career around being a maverick who finds his way into the mainstream. It’s no wonder that he always attracts some of the hottest names in Hollywood to work on his projects. This Saturday, Toback will be on hand for two screenings: One for Black & White, his 1999 feature that looks into race, class and culture (and featuring a scene with Mike Tyson and Robert Downey Jr. that has to be seen to be believed); and Moneyball, featuring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill and directed by someone Toback admires greatly, Bennett Miller. Whether you want to see one or both, any chance to hear Toback hold court is a must-see event. Go to http://www.metrograph.com/for showtimes and additional information.