There’s a pandemic and our lives have changed. The movie theaters try to get us to return, but we didn’t, at least not in large enough numbers to keep them afloat. Concerts are cancelled, along with live performances of almost any kind. So if you’re all caught up on six seasons of “Power” and “Scandal” and looking for a few new things to watch, here are a few new releases you might enjoy.
“Grammy Salute to Legends”
The Recording Academy® will honor its 2020 Special Merit Awards recipients with “Great Performances: GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends®,” an awards ceremony and tribute concert hosted by Jimmy Jam on Fri., Oct. 16, 2020, at 8 p.m. CST on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/gperf. Announced earlier this year, the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award honorees are Chicago, Roberta Flack, Isaac Hayes, Iggy Pop, John Prine, Public Enemy, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
We’re particularly looking forward to a medley of Isaac Hayes songs sung by Sam Moore, i.e. Sam and Dave, Philip Bailey singing Chicago’s “If You Leave Me Now,” and Cynthia Enviro and Leslie Odom Jr. performing Roberta Flack’s “Where is the Love” and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”
Here’s another release on PBS. POV ends its 33 seasons with the thoughtful documentary SOFTIE, about Boniface “Softie” Mwangi, a grassroots activist who after years of fighting injustice in Kenya decides to run for political office. The daring and audacious candidate soon discovers that running a clean campaign against corrupt opponents with idealism as his only weapon proves challenging. Directed by Nairobi-based Sam Soko, “SOFTIE” reveals social, political and personal challenges that face anyone who takes on a political campaign. Many of the issues highlighted in the film such as racial inequality, social injustice and political corruption faced by Softie, will resonate with viewers.
“SOFTIE” will make its national broadcast and streaming debut on the PBS and at POV.org on Mon., Oct. 12, 2020 at 9 p.m. CT (check local listings). The documentary will also be available to stream for free until Nov.12.
“Tales From the Hood 3”
The cult classic is back with this all-new anthology, which features Tony Todd and Lynn Whitfield, in four terrifying tales that will scare and thrill audiences with its horrifying twists and social commentary. Academy Award®-Winning director Spike Lee executive produces with writers/directors/producers Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott.
“Tales From the Hood 3” was released Oct. 6 on Blu-ray and digital on-demand. The new anthology is also set to make its network premiere at SYFY sometime in October. In each case, that gives fans plenty of time (and ways to watch) to get a head start on all those pre-Halloween demons.
Tallgrass Film Festival
Wichita’s “Stubbornly Independent” film festival is back this year and like most events, it’s virtual, which is great for those who’ve always wanted to check out the festival. Now, you can do so from your recliner, glass of beer (martini preference here) on the side. Tickets to view any of the movies are $10 per household and most of the movies come with a range of available times that allow you to watch a movie at the time that works best for you.
Here’s just one pic that we’re likely to check out:
“Billie,” Oct. 18-25 Crafted from extraordinary unheard interviews, and restoring key performances into color for the first time, Billie is the story of Billie Holiday who changed the face of American music, and the journalist who died trying to tell it.
Not into Movies? Here are few other ways to connect online.
The Kansas University Dance Company will present their l Concert Series, Oct. 9-10, Oct. 30-31 and Dec. 3. The first concert in the series will be a Spanish-influenced balleballet, “Gitanas,” and a modern contemporary work about the Mexican immigrants who built the railroad in Kansas, filmed at Lawrence’s Amtrak station. Upcoming performances Oct. 30-31 will include choreography several KU professors. Also make sure to mark your calendar for a Dec. 3 performance. The Oct. 9 and 10 (repeat) concerts are at 7:30 p.m. on youtube.com www.youtube.com/channel/UCeFkfD6RastBenSGsFDYL5w
The National Book Festival:
If you’re a book lover, who knows when you’ll get an opportunity like this to endulge in interviews and commentary from some of your favorite authors? 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival is totally online with videos of authors from numerous genres. The Hearing Black Voices section presents a diverse range of genres and points of view – from children, to youth, adults, poetry, and conversations. The taped discussions range from 9 to 20 minutes, so they’re short enough to fit in your schedule here and there. a Some of my favorites were an interview with Walter Mosely from his kitchen and Ibram X; Kendi and Saeed Jones on ways to confront racism and bigotry, as described in Kendi’s book “How to Be an Antiracist” and Jones’ memoir, “How We Fight for Our Lives.”
The entire festival, recorded Sept 25-27 features more than 100 artists, poets and illustrators. Their interviews can be found @ loc.gov/bookfest.
The Soul of the Midnight Special
You may have already purchased one of those Time/Warner CD sets of old soul music, but they’re back, this time with a twist. This time the five-disc collection is of live performances of some of your favorite 70’s soul performers including James Brown, Barry White, Earth, Wind & Fire, Al Green, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Curtis Mayfield, Sly & the Family Stone and More!
The uncut performances, just straight-from-the-heart soul singing are from performances on “The Midnight Special,” a late-night live musical television show. Want to go to a concert? No problem, you can have one at home. The set will be released Oct. 13. The set costs $49.95, less than one decent concert ticket.