The Filtered Excellence: November 28, 2013

Bob Geldof once asked us, “Where is the filtered excellence!?” It’s right here. Here are this weeks picks of what to WATCH, what to DO what to TRY what to READ what to LISTEN TO and more:



Alabama Versus Auburn. This is the weekend for classic rivalries in college football. While this year’s match ups of Florida – Florida State and Ohio State – Michigan could easily end up being lopsided affairs, the 2013 meeting of Alabama and Auburn is the one to watch. The “Iron Bowl” features number 1 Alabama versus number 4 Auburn. The Tigers who have an impressive team this year, have the opportunity to not only take down their cross state rival, but put an end to the current Alabama dynasty while making their own run at a National Championship. The game kicks off at 3:30pm Eastern this Saturday, November 30th on CBS.

Treme Season Premiere. The HBO series from creator David Simon (The Wire) begins its 4th and final season. Set in post-Katrina New Orleans, the drama has followed those hardest hit by the 2005 hurricane as they struggle to rebuild both physically and emotionally. This 5 episode final season picks up the show’s story in 2008 with the election of Barack Obama as President, bringing some hope to the people caught in the middle of city corruption. The new season of Treme begins Sunday, December 1st at 9pm Eastern on HBO.

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. The image that we have of Nelson Mandela is one of an elder statesman graciously, yet fearlessly calling for, and bringing about the end to, apartheid in South Africa. But in this new biopic by director Justin Chadwick, we see a younger, much more militant Mandela leading the African National Congress through open guerrilla warfare against their oppressors, which culminates his 1962 arrest and imprisonment on charges of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government. Idris Elba portrays Mandela and Naomie Harris plays his second wife, Winnie. Both are at the top of their game, breathing life into the couple that symbolized love overcoming tremendous obstacles. It would be shocking if neither did not receive Oscar nods for their performances. With the 20th anniversary of the apartheid’s end in South Africa looming, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom is a stark reminder just how far the nation has come to achieve true racial equality. The film opens this Friday.

The Punk Singer.  Musician, activist and feminist Kathleen Hanna was a one woman musical revolution. As the frontperson for Bikini Kill, she kicked off the riot grrrl movement of the 1990s. Veteran female rockers such as Joan Jett and Kim Gordon openly championed her and she was friends with Kurt Cobain (It was Hanna who put the phrase ‘smells like teen spirit’ into Cobain’s head). But just as the riot grrrl movement was about to reach critical mass, Hanna left the music business to focus on her ongoing battle with Lyme’s disease. With The Punk Singer, director Sini Anderson complies a ton of archival footage, interviews with Hanna, her contemporaries and her influences to paint an intimate portrait of the definitive riot grrrl. It also details her return to music, working with Willie Mae Rock Camp For Girls and her marriage to Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz. The Punk Singer serves as both an introduction and a celebration of one of the seminal figures of the indie rock movement. It opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles on Friday and nationwide on December 6th.



Stampede by Kandia Crazy Horse. Long time rock critic and author Kandia Crazy Horse makes a smooth transition to singer-songwriter-performer on her debut album. The lead track, ‘California’ sets the tone for the entire 10 song set: Soulful vocals wrapped around splashes of country and deep rooted Americana. Tracks like ‘Congo Square’, ‘Gunfight At The Golden Corral’ and ‘Soul Yodel #3’ expands on this theme while ‘Cabin In The Pines’ and ‘So Many Enemies’ come straight out of the classic Laurel Canyon songbook. Her re-working of ‘New Kid In Town’ is just as remarkable. Using just a piano and light steel pedal guitar, Kandia’s aching vocal breathes new life into the Eagles classic. Crisp production, outstanding musicianship and Kandia’s countrified soul chops makes Stampede a sound late entry for one of the year’s best albums.



Rock And Roll Stories by Lynn Goldsmith. Lynn Goldsmith has worn many hats during her 40 plus years in the entertainment industry. As a director, Goldsmith was the youngest person ever inducted into the Director’s Guild Of America and oversaw the production of the ABC series In Concert, the first rock show on network TV. She co-managed Grand Funk Railroad at the height of their popularity, and under the name Will Powers released an album in 1983. But Goldsmith is best known for being one of the premier photographers in the business. Her latest book, Rock and Roll Stories documents some of the best of her work alongside some of her personal recollections behind them. The images are staggering: Bruce Springsteen rise to iconic status; The Stones massive stadium tours; Bob Marley just as reggae entered into the public’s consciousness; Michael Jackson at the point where Off The Wall would kick his career into second gear; rock pioneers Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Bo Diddley; Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, The Police, the list goes on and on. Goldsmith also recalls her days growing up in Detroit and how her interest in photography got her exclusive access to some of the biggest names in rock. A must read for fans of any of these artists or for those photography fans. Rock and Roll Stories is available now through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and all major book retailers.


BROWSE THIS:  Hey smarty pants, get smarter.  One of our favorite sites to hit the internet since– the internet!  Watch Kurt Vonnegut talk about Breakfast of Champions.  See Lou Reed talking with Anthony DeCurtis.  Watch interviews with Sarah Silverman, Allen Ginsburg, Ken Burns, George Carlin.  Thousands of recordings of events at New York’s world renowned 92nd Street Y are now available to watch online.  Since most of these amazing events get sold out, its easy to miss them.  Or if you were too lazy, too far away or just not born yet, you can watch them all now.  You’ll never be bored again.



NEW YORK CITY: The Way He Was: Early Redford. The IFC Center in New York City is honoring the film legend Robert Redford with special weekend screening of some his early iconic film roles. This weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (November 29 – December 1) is showing “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid”. This classic buddy Western stars Robert Redford and Paul Newman and was directed by George Roy Hill.

NEW YORK CITY: The 81st Annual Lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. The giant Rockefeller Center tree is in place and just waiting to be lit to start the Christmas season. The tree will be lit on Wednesday, December 4th during a special NBC broadcast. The crowds will be gathered by the skating rink to watch this holiday tradition. Performers this year include Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey and the Goo Goo Dolls. If you can’t be there in person, you can watch on NBC starting at 8pm Eastern.

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA: Ronnie Spector’s “Best Christmas Ever.”  It can’t be the holiday season without the legendary Ronnie Spector. The Grammy winning legend is bringing her “Best Christmas Ever” show to the Dakota Jazz Club for two shows. Ronnie will be performing on Wednesday, December 4th and on Thursday, December 5th. Both shows start at 7pm. The show will include Ronnie Spector’s classic hits which inspired an era of music and she’ll be doing her Christmas classics.



Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The 1966 animated classic is back for the holidays this year. The story of Grinch who tried to steal Christmas away from the residents of Whoville airs Friday, November 29th at 8pm Eastern on ABC. The cartoon features the great Boris Karloff as the Grinch and the Narrator. This will get everyone watching in the Christmas spirit before December even begins.

A Charlie Brown Christmas. This is the cartoon special that taught us all about holiday depression. Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang search for the true meaning of Christmas. Spoiler Alert: The kid with the blanket seems to have the answer. A Charlie Brown Christmas featuring the timeless music of Vince Guaraldi, airs Monday, December 2nd at 8pm Eastern on ABC.