A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION

By Andrea Chase

In conversation after a watch party for A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION, co-subject and co-director (with Ben Proudfoot) Kris Bowers said that part of the reason he wanted to make the film was because the Emmy™-winning composer thought his grandfather, Horace Bowers, Sr., was a hero. A hero who should be celebrated. He also wanted to have an in-depth conversation with him while the 91-year-old was still with us. The result is a tender and intimate portrait of strength, joy, and how family shapes us.

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Bedlam: The Shame Is On Us.

By C.J. Hirschfield

California has spent $13 billion in the last three years to tackle a massive homelessness problem made worse by the pandemic, yet its approach is fragmented and incomplete, the state auditor said in a report released this month. Homeless people suffering from mental illness– who make up over 40 percent of the people on the streets in Los Angeles alone– were not mentioned at all in the report’s summary.

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BILLIE documentary is Actually Linda Kuehl on Billie

By Kim Nalley

A 1938 portrait, when she appeared at Cafe Society in NYC with a swatch of gardenias in hair hairstyle, which from then on became her trademark. (Photo by George Rinhart)

 

Billie Holiday. Her name is eponymous with the phrase “jazz singer.” There is no jazz figure so well-known, yet shrouded in mystery, as Lady Day. Many important details of her life and her musical genius have been overshadowed by a lurid interest in her love life and drug use. Recently some articles based on faulty interviews emphasize her persecution in Hoover’s war on drugs without realizing this was a fact of life for all African American jazz musicians. I do not see the same attention given to Miles Davis’s or Charlie Parker’s drug use or their abusive relationships. Davis’s and Parker’s “women” are not given a megaphone to comment on them, and I never have seen their musical genius attributed to drug use. I sometimes see the hardships of being a Black man highlighted but I do not see the same courtesy given to Miss Holiday.

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BILLIE

By Dick Fregulia

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.

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THE BOYS WHO SAID NO!

 

By Andrea Chase

If there is a turning point in The Boys Who Said No!, it’s when a judge, decidedly not a part of the counter-culture of the 1960s and 70s, rules that a Vietnam War draft resistor should not go to prison for breaking the law. It is also a turning point in the history of the United States, albeit one far less high profile than the unrest and assassinations that dominated that era. And that is fitting in Judith Ehrlich’s enlightening and absorbing documentary that profiles the eponymous young men who used non-violence in their refusal to fight what they considered an unjust war. Successfully as it turned out. It makes for a film that speaks to the present as eloquently and as urgently to its audience as the resistors did to their audiences 50 years ago.

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