Of Mics And Men. As one of the most influential hip hop collectives of all-time, The Wu Tang Clan combined a shared lyrical perspective with an entrepreneurial spirit that put Staten Island on the musical map. It also served notice that East Coast-based hip hop was alive and well at a time with West Coast rap was dominating the charts. This new Showtime limited docuseries looks back on the group’s career, from their formative years in a poverty-stricken section of Staten Island, their global success as a collective and as solo artists. Director Sasha Jenkins combines a trove of never-before Seen archival footage and performances with new interviews with each of the nine living members to present the most comprehensive look at Shaolin’s finest to date. A must see series for any true hip hop fan. Of Mics And Men premieres May 10th on Showtime. You can also go to www.sho.com for more information.
What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali. Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) directed this new two part documentary on the life and legacy of boxing’s most celebrated champion. Told exclusively by Ali, it tells the story of how a brash young kid from Louisville went on to become an Olympic gold medalist, and ultimately, the greatest heavyweight champion that the sport has ever seen. The doc also covers Ali’s life outside of the ring including his conversion to Islam, his name change and his subsequent battles with the U.S. government for refusing induction in the Army. It deals with Ali’s later years as a global ambassador for peace despite his ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease. To hear Ali tell stories of challenges, confrontations, victories, defeats and comebacks, takes his legendary status to a whole new level. What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali premieres Tuesday, May 14th at 8pm East on HBO.
Summer of Sorcery by Little Steven. After revisiting his own back catalog with Soulfire, Little Steven pays tribute to the music that informed and influenced him with his latest album, Summer Of Sorcery. Steven dials down the political edge and autobiographical nature of his previous work, but the album is still loaded with the garage rock, soul, Spector-style pop, Latin music and horn-driven R&B turned on an entire generation of Jersey Shore kids in the 1960s and 70s. Steven’s encyclopedic approach to capturing the sound and feel of this period is firing on all cylinders channeling all of the feelings one had of experiencing all of those memorable life experiences for the first time. It’s the perfect music suite to fuel your summer. Summer Of Sorcery by Little Steven is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major streaming services.
New York City: Black 90s: A Turning Point In America Cinema. Today, artists of color are enjoying levels of success in front of and behind the cameras in ways that have never been seen before. But the root of this current wave can be traced back to the early 90s when directors such as Spike Lee, John Singleton and F. Gary Gray scored big at the box office. The Brooklyn Academy Of Music is currently running a retrospective looking back at this groundbreaking and fertile time in Black Cinema. It will include Friday, To Sleep With Anger, New Jack City, Boyz In The Hood, Menace II Society, Devil In A Blue Dress, A Rage In Harlem, Jungle Fever and much more. There will also be anniversary screenings of Crooklyn and The Best Man. It’s an excellent way to get caught up or the revisit. Black 90s: A Turning Point In America Cinema will be at The Brooklyn Academy Of Music through May 22nd. You can also go to www.bam.org for tickets, a complete film schedule and more information.
New York City: Jean Michel Basquiat. This is the final week to check out The Brant Foundation’s full blown retrospective of New York’s greatest contributor to the art world. It will feature items from Foundation founder Peter Brant’s personal collection along with other masterworks from other museums and private collections. The demand for tickets have been through the roof, so this is your last chance to see the work of an all time great. Jean Michel Basquiat at The Brant Foundation Art Study Center through May 15th. You can also go to www.brantfoundation.org for more information.
Los Angeles: Cinespia Cemetery Screenings. Now a summertime staple, Cinespia brings classic movies to the final resting places of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Jaws, Rear Window, Beetlejuice, The Matrix, The Goonies, Reality Bites and Legally Blonde are just some of the films that will be screened throughout the summer. In addition, there will be DJ sets, dance parties, and sleepovers that will take the experience to a whole new level. A great way to kick off and enjoy the summer. The Cinespsia Cemetery Screenings run May 11th through June 29th. You can also go to www.cinespia.com for a complete rundown of events, tickets and more information.