John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky. John Lennon’s 1971 album Imagine was a watershed moment in his solo career with the title track becoming a global anthem for peace. This new Michael Epstein-directed documentary goes behind the scenes on the making of this seminal work, capturing Lennon, Yoko Ono, producer Phil Spector and a host of collaborators (including George Harrison) on songs that would define his post-Beatle output. The footage is simply astonishing as we see Lennon at his most creative and playful with family, friends and musical colleagues. There’s also new interviews with Julian Lennon, drummer Alan White, bassist Klaus Voorman as well as journalists, assistants and others to give their insights on what it was like to be at Lennon’s orbit at this stage of his life. It’s a wonderful look back at a musical icon. John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky is available now on Netflix.
Walking On Water. The latest large-scale art installation by acclaimed artist Christo is the subject of this new doc by director Andrew M. Paounov. He has unprecedented access to Christo as he puts together The Floating Piets, a dahlia-yellow walkway atop Italy’s Lake Iseol. For Christo, this project is personal: This is a project that he originally conceived with his late wife and creative partner, Jeanne-Claude, who passed away 10 years prior. We see every facet of its creation: Christo dealing with everything from local and state bureaucracy and engineering challenges to increasing unstable weather. It’s Christo at his most manic, enthusiastic, temperamental and ultimately, euphoric as the project that was supposed to draw only 200,000 people, ends up drawing over a million people. Filled with candor, brutal honesty and breathtaking shots, Paounov has created the ultimate look at one of art’s true visionaries. Walking on Water opens in New York this weekend and select theaters starting May 24th. You can also go to www.kinolorber.com for more information.
All The Way: My Life In Four Quarters by Joe Namath, Sean Mortimer and Don Yeager. Joe Namath, who helped propel the NFL into becoming the number 1 sport in the world puts pen to paper to tell his remarkable story. Namath recalls his formative years in Beaver Falls, PA, playing for legendary coach Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant at the University Of Alabama and, of course, his 12 year NFL career with the Jets and the L.A. Rams. Framing the entire narrative is a quarter by quarter breakdown of how he and the Jets pulled off one of, if not, the greatest upset in NFL history when they defeated the heavily favored Colts in Super Bowl III. Namath doesn’t shy away from the stories of playing with heavily damaged knees, and the scandals that he was involved with during and after his playing career. It’s Namath at his most candid and that’s also extremely entertaining. All The Way: My Life In Four Quarters by Joe Namath, Sean Mortimer, and Don Yeager is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major book retailers.
New York City. Beyond The Canon. This ongoing series at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music pairs a beloved, highly regarded classic with a film that has a similar theme that is often left out of the cinematic conversation. This month, Bob Fosse’s 1979 film All That Jazz is paired up with Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling, a 1986 film starring and directed by Richard Pryor. Both are thinly veiled portrayals of two show business iconoclasts, burning the creative candles at both ends while navigating through a maze of drugs, alcohol and lovers. While All That Jazz has earned its rightful place in the annals of cinema, Jo Jo Dancer deserves a fresh viewing, as Pryor uses this alter ego to give us the closest thing we’ll have to his own life story on screen. A great way to spend a day at the movies. Beyond The Canon will take place Saturday, May 18th at The Brooklyn Academy Of Music. You can also go to www.bam.org for tickets and more information.
New York City. Abel Ferrara Unrated. For nearly 50 years, the films of Abel Ferrara have been run the gamut from gritty, uncompromising urban dramas to documentaries and for-hire TV projects. To coincide with his latest film, Tomasso, The Museum Of Modern Art will be running a retrospective featuring some of his best work. It will include seminal films such as King Of New York, Bad Lieutenant, The Addiction and The Funeral; his work on the NBC series Crime Story and the HBO film anthology series Subway Stories; and recent films such as 4:44 Last Day On Earth, Alive In France, Piazza Vittorio and much more. Ferrera will also be on hand to do post screening conversations with a number of collaborators that he has worked through the years. This is a great look back at one of the last true film mavericks. Abel Ferrara Unrated will be at The Museum Of Modern Art through May 31st. You can also go to www.moma.org for tickets, a complete rundown of events and additional information.
Los Angeles. Pop Up Magazine. The Theater At The Ace Hotel will once again be the setting for this gathering of our best creatives. Some of the best writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers and other creatives will be on hand to premiere their latest projects – all of which were doing specifically for this event. There will also be extended discussions with all of the artists in attendance giving you a unique chance to hear talk about the project. No recording devices will be permitted, giving attendees a once in a lifetime look at future classics. If you are into the arts or want to get a glimpse into the creative process, this is the place to be. Pop Up Magazine will take place this Saturday at the Theatre at The Ace Hotel. You can also go to www.popmagazine.com for more information.