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Fowler’s Flix 02.06.19: Yes, Even More Music

Kino Lorber
The life and art of master violinist Itzhak Perlman is explored in the documentary "Itzhak."
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I seem to get more movies about the immense world of music than any other subject every week in my mailbox—not that I’m complaining. While I do consider myself well-versed and mostly-knowledgeable, I can always learn more and I really do learn more with every viewing, making me a stronger listener in the end. Here’s the latest stack of wax I’ve been rocking…

The intoxicating violin of Itzhak Perlman is the focus of the fantastic American Masters film Itzhak (Kino Lorber), about the seminal stringman. Never once letting his disability from polio at a young age ever cloud his talent, from performing with a quartet a little Bach number to a full-fledged concert with Billy Joel, Perlman remains a down-to-earth genius, always with a pithy saying who substantially radiates warmth, and humility—so much so it’s hard to not become a fan after watching this doc.

Additionally, fans of klezmer and such folk arts might want to branch out a little—or a lot—deeper into the world of Jewish identity through the music of their diaspora in The Wandering Muse (IndiePix).

Nowhere near the tired visual equivalent of a Putomayo disc you’d find at, say, a Starbucks, instead this documentary goes deep around the world, featuring the makers of everything from traditional prayer to African revivalists, all who prove that this music has absolutely no borders.

Surprisingly, in the 70s, disco didn’t rule, at least not a first. The stuff of Black dance music, it didn’t catch on with mainstream audiences until Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager opened up their notorious nightclub, essayed in Studio 54: The Documentary (Kino Lorber). All the rumors are true, from the shorts-wearing wait staff to the bed-hopping celebs, with Rubell passing out Quaaludes like they were candy. Eventually, the party ended and here, Schrager gives all of the painful details, with plenty of highs along the way.

The 80s, with all the tunes we still play to this day, probably wouldn’t have survived—the good stuff, at least—if it wasn’t for Long Island’s WLIR. Practically inventing the term New Wave, the history of not only the station but a whole expansive scene is explored in Dare to Be Different (MVD Visual). Bringing everyone from Talking Heads to U2 to the music-hungry masses, for about five or so years, this influential radio station battled the FCC, record labels and the corporate heads that, sadly, rule the airwaves today. What a time to be alive.

From the straight public to the uneven punks, a small group of Toronto homosexuals pulled a scene-defining prank that become a massive movement. Queercore: How to Punk a Revolution (Altered Innocence) details how Bruce LaBruce and his lesbian pals fabricated a movement that eventually blew up in ‘zines, movies and especially music, from bands like Pansy Division to Team Dresch and beyond, into the full-blown anti-scene it is today. Newer punks could learn a thing or two from this flick.

Finally, there two new live performance films of moderate quality, the first of which is the trippy The Revelation of Lee “Scratch” Perry (State of Emergency), which finds the madman in his madcap studio, laying down tracks while pontificating his creeds and codes. There are also plenty of religious offerings, burnt and otherwise. On the other hand, it’s not really my thing, but Sheryl Crow: Live at The Capitol Theatre (MVD Visual) is in stores now as a three-disc combo Blu-ray/CD edition. If you like Crow and her work, I’m sure you must have it already. If not, here’s your promo.

Next week: The world of the Cohen Film Collection…

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About the Author

Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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