When asked to review the new Billie Holiday documentary “Billie, ” my first concern was whether it would play as a Hollywood melodrama or as a true musical testimony to the jazz vocalist legend. My preference was for the latter, but the film actually achieves an impressive balance between the gritty details of her life and the beauty of her singing.
What if health providers and practitioners prescribed ceremonies, rituals, festivals and other community activities as medicine to treat trauma? The excellent new documentary A Place To Breathewould argue that distressed refugees, in particular, would benefit greatly, and the film effectively argues this route as a way to foster resilience.
Many fine films tell the story of charismatic teachers who change lives, and they serve to inspire. The new documentary River City Drumbeat is one of these films. Promoted as “a story of music, love and legacies,” it follows a dynamic African drumming corps for kids founded and taught by the magnetic Edward “Nardie” White as he prepares to turn the operation over to a successor after a 30-year run in urban Louisville, Kentucky.
Throughout the world, the phrase “Oakland football” conjures up images of Raider Nation, fans who glory in looking as terrifying and tough as they can. But while the Raiders are gone, the Laney College Eagles are still flying high. And thanks to the latest season of a popular Netflix series, a new image of the city’s football can emerge: A kinder, gentler one, that better reflects what we locals call Town Love. And the coach is Hella Oakland, focusing on community and guiding his scrappy (read that working-class) team members to be successful—in sports, and in life.