“Adjust Your Color: The Truth of Petey Greene” offers a look into the life and times of the original shock jock

He was a radio and TV personality like no other, a pioneering shock jock and talk-show host long before the Sterns and Springers sprung into action. Petey Greene took on racism like no one before and become an inspiring voice for understanding.  His true-story is told in Adjust Your Color: The Truth of Petey Greene (Virgil Films), a riveting documentary featuring rare footage and classic interviews.
In the tumultuous ’60s and ’70s, Greene emerged as a one-of-a-kind voice speaking out against racism, crime and poverty. An ex-con, he used his years in prison as an education in people and society, and as a radio host and later a TV personality in Washington, D.C., spoke the people’s language to point out what needed to be changed to make life better for everyone.

Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle (who portrayed Greene in the 2007 award-winning feature Talk to Me) narrates this insightful documentary that explores the life and times of Greene, the bombastic radio DJ-activist who rose to prominence in the ’60s via his groundbreaking show, Rapping With Petey Greene. By the ’70s, he was hosting Petey Greene’s Washington, a similar show on TV,  whose wide range of guests included a young shock jock named Howard Stern, shown here in rare footage wearing blackface and an afro during an interview with Greene. (Stern has called Greene the greatest radio personality of all time.)

Fearless and provocative, Greene galvanized audiences with his frank and often humorous commentaries on topics like race, religion, poverty, sex and corruption. He was unafraid to state truths that others would rather avoid, such as, “People use drugs because drugs is good!” Numerous prominent figures appear in the film to pay tribute to Greene’s importance and influence, including sportscaster James Brown, boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, former Washington Mayor Marion Barry and actor Robert Hooks, who calls Greene “the ghetto jester, the original rapper.”
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Adjust Your Color: The Truth of Petey Greene is an invaluable reminder of the power of speaking the truth loud and clear.

 

Ethan Hawke as Chet Baker . . . sink your teeth (or dentures) into a masterful film

Some say Ethan Hawke was Born to Be Blue. Of sorts. Hawke portrays (quite wonderfully) jazz legend Chet Baker in Born to Be Blue (IFC Films). In the ’50s, Baker was one of the most famous trumpeters in the world, renowned as both a pioneer of the West Coast jazz scene and an icon of cool. By the ’60s, he was all but washed up, his life in shambles due to years of heroin addiction. In his innovative anti-biopic, director Robert Budreau zeroes in on Baker’s life at a key moment in the ’60s as the musician attempts a hard-fought comeback, spurred by a passionate romance with a new flame (portrayed by Carmen Ejogo).
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“I didn’t want some pretend jazz movie in a black turtleneck,” says Hawke. “To me, it’s about the music, the person, the period, the place. Look at the nineteen fifties–they have their own charisma and feel, from the cars to the music to the energy. I find it all tying together to create this special time.”

Time was not Baker’s friend.  Hooked on heroin in 1957, his career died after Baker was involved in a drug deal gone so wrong a brutal beating knocked his teeth out. He couldn’t play anymore,” adds Hawke, “until he learned to play with dentures.”

Sink your teeth into a great flick.

Time Life celebrates the legacy of Prince today with a purple pressing of vinyl

When Prince tragically passed away in April, he left behind a legacy as a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and actor.  To commemorate the wildly talented icon, musical innovator and seven-time Grammy-winner behind such chart-topping hits as “When Doves Cry,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Raspberry Beret,” “Purple Rain” and “Little Red Corvette,” Time Life has released a special, limited-edition of the recently released vinyl album, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Live – Volume 1.
The initial pressing of the album, released on April 29, immediately sold out and rose to #13 on Billboard‘s Vinyl Album chart.  The new pressing, which features Prince’s blistering and unforgettable guitar solo on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from his 2004 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, will be highlighted by purple vinyl in honor of the influential star.  It went on sale today at a suggested retail price of $25.98 wherever vinyl albums are sold.
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“Following Prince’s passing, we recognized that we needed to do something truly special to   commemorate his incredible musical legacy,” says Jeff Peisch, SVP of New Product Development & Marketing for Time Life. “When the first run of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Live sold out immediately, the opportunity presented itself to do a purple vinyl pressing that perfectly captures the ‘Purple One,’ and is sure to resonate with those who loved his music and style.”
Time Life and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have digitally released the filmed performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” from an evening featuring Prince’s own induction by a 23 year-old Alicia Keys. Prince’s three-minute-long blistering solo went viral following his death, and has now entered into legend.  Prince fans and music lovers searching to own the filmed performance can now go to iTunes to download the music video for just $1.99.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Live – Volume 1  is a selection of the most memorable moments from induction ceremony history, featuring the biggest names in rock performing in combinations not seen anywhere else.  This 180 gram vinyl “ticket” is a front-row seat to the very best the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies have to offer.

Aside from “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which also features Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood and Dhani Harrison, the release includes performances from legendary talents like Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Cream, Steve Winwood, Metallica, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ron Wood, Joe Perry, Green Day, James Taylor, Al Green, Chuck Berry and more.

Jam-filled performances of chart-busters like “Johnny Be Goode,” “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out,” “A Change is Gonna Come,” “Train Kept a Rollin,'” “Ironman,” “Woodstock,” “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “Can’t Get No Satisfaction” make this volume a must-have for any LP library.

Scumbag Charlie Sheen becomes the pitchman for condoms. You read that right.

We know that Charlie Sheen has stuck his dick in just about everything quivering . . .  and now the disgraced actor has joined forces with Lelo to unveil what experts describe as “one of the most important innovations in sexual health for 70 years”–Lelo Hex, a condom re-engineered.

Sheen is one of just a handful of celebrities to publicly gab about HIV. He contracted HIV (“three hard letters to absorb,” he moans) sometime in 2011. He doesn’t know how, or from whom. After years of paying racketeers millions to keep his status secret, he realized, he recalls, “enough.”In November of last year, Sheen went on Today to admit:  “I’m here to admit that I’m in fact HIV-positive.”

Sheen’s revelation was personal. It was about ending the extortion and taking back control. But his disclosure had bigger repercussions that not even he could have anticipated. Dubbed ‘the Charlie Sheen Effect,’ the actor’s candidness sparked a surge in awareness surrounding HIV and AIDS–and a timely one at that! Not only is condom usage is at an all-time low, STIs are on the rise, including new drug-resistant strains of centuries-old diseases.
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For HIV in particular, public interest has waned since the epidemic of the ‘80s. Despite being in possession of the facts and cognizant of the risks, a dangerous ‘It’ll never happen to me’ attitude prevails.

Sheen is endorsing condoms as part of his efforts to drive discussions on sexual health, but this is not any old condom. Lelo Hex claims to be structurally different, aimed at addressing the most common issues with condoms today–that they reduce pleasure, slip frequently and break too easily.

Sheen’s still a scumbag.

“Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – Volume 1” is a 180-gram black vinyl ticket to the very best music, ever

Everyone knows vinyl is making a 180-gram comeback, but for the record, there’s a new collectible music mavens and vinyl devotees must own: Rock & Roll hall of Fame Live – Volume 1. For over a quarter century, rock and roll’s biggest stars have gathered on one special evening for an exclusive party: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.  Honoring music’s most influential figures with the most prestigious of awards, it’s also an evening where both artists and fans celebrate rock and roll with once-in-a-lifetime performances.  For the first time on vinyl, Time Life has pressed a selection of the most memorable moments in the history of the induction ceremony, previously only available in digital and physical formats.
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2This release includes performances from legendary talents like Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Cream, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood, Metallica, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ron Wood, Joe Perry, Tom Petty, Green Day, James Taylor, Al Green and Chuck Berry.  Unforgettable collaborations occur on this volume, such as Tom Petty paired with Prince, and Mick Jagger paired with Bruce Springsteen.  Jam-filled performances of chart-busters like “Johnny Be Goode,” “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out,” “A Change is Gonna Come,” “Train Kept a Rollin,'” “Ironman,” “Woodstock,” “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” and a show-stopping performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” make this volume a must-have for any LP library.  Volumes 2 and 3 will roll out though this the year, allowing fans to collect even more of these beloved performances on vinyl. Additionally, the net proceeds go to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, which  supports the exhibits and educational programs of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

“Confirmation” revisits the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings with grit and power

It only takes one voice to change history. Let’s discuss Anita Hill and her powerful voice.
In July 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated Judge Clarence Thomas to fill Justice Thurgood Marshall’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. In October, during the final days of Thomas’ confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, both Newsday and NPR broke the story that one of Thomas’ former employees, law professor Anita Hill, had accused him of sexually harassing her 10 years earlier. These revelations triggered a maelstrom of events, with both Hill and Thomas testifying about the allegations before a stunned and riveted television audience.

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Kerry Washington as Anita Hill; Wendell Pierce as Clarence Thomas
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The real Thomas and Hill

History has been revisited in the HBO Home Entertainment TV movie Confirmation, now on DVD with Digital HD and Blu-ray with Digital HD. The film details the explosive Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearings, which brought the country to a standstill and forever changed the way we think about sexual harassment, victims’ rights and modern-day race relations. It looks behind the curtain of Washington politics, depicting a pivotal moment in American culture that became a turning point in workplace equality and gender politics.

The HBO Film was nominated for two 2016 Emmy Awards including Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (Kerry Washington as Anita Hill).

The Blu-ray and DVD releases include brief discussions with Washington and Pierce on the historical impact of the hearings as well as “Character Spot” featuring cast members discussing the character they play.

Save the date! “All the Way” gets our vote as best TV movie of the year

“Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men’s skins, emancipation will be a proclamation, but not a fact.” – Lyndon B. Johnson
Yes, Hillary will win, but put aside that lovely thought . . . just for a moment. As race relations and presidential politics continue to be top-of-mind, hot-button issues, HBO will be bring the Emmy-nominated All the Way to Blu-ray and DVD on September 6. Recently nominated for eight Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Bryan Cranston, who reprises his Tony-winning role), the powerful film underscores the fact that as much as things change, they remain the same.

All the Way is a riveting behind-the-scenes look at President Lyndon B. Johnson’s tumultuous first year in office in the wake of President Kennedy’s assassination. Witness LBJ during his early administration, as he stakes his presidency on what would be an historic, unprecedented Civil Rights Act. Johnson finds himself caught between the moral imperative of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the expectations of the southern Democratic Party leaders who brought Johnson to power. As King battles to press Johnson while controlling more radical elements of the Civil Rights movement, Johnson navigates the bill through Congress, winning a landslide victory against Barry Goldwater, but causing the South to defect from the Democratic Party.
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Bryan Cranston is brilliant; joining him in pivotal roles are Anthony Mackie as Martin Luther King, Jr., Melissa Leo as Lady Bird Johnson, Bradley Whitford as Hubert Humphrey, Stephen Root as J. Edgar Hoover and Frank Langella as Sen. Richard Russell.
You may now return your thoughts to Hillary.

Liam Neeson narrates a fascinating documentary on the Irish Rebellion

It’s a great day for the Irish. Yet it wasn’t always so great. On Easter Monday 1916, a small group of Irish rebels including poets, teachers, actors and workers took on the might of the British Empire. Although defeated militarily, the men and women of the Easter Rising would soon win a moral victory with their actions leading to the creation of an independent Irish State and contributing to the eventual disintegration of the British Empire. They have inspired countless freedom struggles throughout the world from Ireland to India.

Welcome to PBS Distribution’s 1916: The Irish Rebellion on DVD. Narrated by acclaimed actor and Irish native Liam Neeson, and directed by award-winning Irish documentary directors, Ruán Magan and Pat Collins, the three-episode series commemorates this seminal event with a combination of rarely seen archival footage, new segments filmed on location worldwide, and interviews with leading international experts. The documentary also uncovers the untold story of the central role Irish Americans played in the lead-up to the rebellion that would change the course of Irish history.

Called a “thoroughly engaging history lesson” by The Irish Times, the film was produced to coincide with the international celebration of the centenary of the Easter rising. The program aired on American Public Television (APT) in the United States and Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) and the British Broadcasting Corp, and a shorter version will be screened globally at Irish embassies throughout the world.

Éirinn go Brách!

“Person of Interest” comes to an end . . . and what an ending says Michael Emerson

All things come to an end. Even great things. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has released Person of Interest: The Complete Fifth and Final Season on Blu-ray and DVD.  This is the end of one of television’s most compelling, action-packed, crime dramas. 

For years, the Person of Interest team, consisting of tech genius Harold Finch (Michael Emerson), ex-agent John Reese (Jim Caviezel), NYPD Detective Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman), cyber-hacker Root (Amy Acker) and missing-in-action operative Sameen Shaw (Sarah Shahi), have been protected by The Machine. As worlds collided, however, and a rival AI known as Samaritan finally cornered The Machine inside the nation’s power grid, it was the POI team’s turn to protect Finch’s creation.

 In season five, the cold war is over. The world might appear to look the same, but something has drastically changed. Samaritan’s lethal “correction” has initiated its control. Finch’s Machine is essentially dead. Shaw is still missing. And the team is once again hiding in plain sight. But with Samaritan’s invisible grip tightening everywhere, will Finch be able to rebuild and resurrect The Machine? And if he does, will it be the same Machine when it comes back online?

We wonder what Michael Emerson (best-known for his theater work, including a great run as Oscar Wilde in Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde and a greater Willie Oban in The Iceman Cometh), feels about Person of Interest ending.

“I feel good. I think we were surprised when we first heard that it was coming to an end,” he says. “You always think that as long as your ratings are high, you’re good to go. But it doesn’t necessarily always play out that way. There were other kinds of concerns and such.  Once we got used to the idea, and when they said, ‘We’re just going to shoot 13,’ somewhere in my heart there was a leap of joy because I thought, ‘Praise God. I think I can get through 13.’ I wasn’t sure I could do another 22.”

As for the way the series ended? “Oh, that’s alright. That’s a human ending, not some contrivance or irony or device. I’m really pleased with it and at peace with it and so happy that I’m not still out there shooting,” he adds.

PBS Distribution releases an important DVD, “Can Alzheimer’s Be Stopped?”

It’s a documentary so important, so riveting, that it can best be described as transporting viewers to the front lines of this fast-paced, life-and-death detective story.

Alzheimer’s disease strikes at the core of what makes us human: our capacity to think, to love and to remember. The cause of Alzheimer’s­ and whether it can be stopped is one of the greatest medical mysteries of our time. Alzheimer’s ravages the minds of over 40 million victims worldwide, stripping them of their memories and often their dignity on a poignant march that can lead to death.

In PBS Distribution’s DVD NOVA: Can Alzheimer’s be Stopped?, a new one-hour documentary, investigators gather clues and attempt to reconstruct the molecular chain of events that ultimately leads to dementia, and follow key researchers in the field who have helped to develop the leading theories of the disease.

Along the way, meet individuals from all walks of life who will reveal what it’s like to struggle with Alzheimer’s. Among them, members of a unique Colombian family who have learned that their genetic predisposition all but guarantees early onset Alzheimer’s—but there may be hope. Join these courageous patients participating in clinical trials, and then go behind the scenes of the major drug trials to see how researchers target and test therapies that may slow and even prevent Alzheimer’s.

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