C.W. Stoneking: A ghost from another era

With a gruff voice that sometimes howls, sometimes grumbles, Australian bluesman C.W. Stoneking sounds like a ghost from another era. With musical styles pulling from the early 20th century, blues and jazz, and painting lyrical images of a forbidden and long-gone world populated by black magic, mysterious sins, jail, shipwrecks, voodoo celebrations, decadent dances and [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘The Devil and Daniel Johnston’

“THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON” (AMAZON, APPLE, IMDBTV, GOOGLE PLAY, VUDU, YOUTUBE) Given the death last week of Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston at the age of 58, it seemed right to write about the 2005 documentary on his troubled life, “The Devil and Daniel Johnston.” I suppose there are many people out there who [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘The Restaurant’ and ‘Elvis: Strung Out’

The Restaurant (Sundance) This new addition to the pantheon of dysfunctional Scandinavian family nightmares, “The Restaurant” (“Var tid ar nu, also known as “Our Time is Now”) distinguishes itself by making its starting-point post-war Stockholm and taking occasional leaps in time to chart the progress of not only the Lowanders and their posh restaurant, but [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Bodyguard’ and ‘Nico 1988’

‘BODYGUARD’ (NETFLIX) If you want tense, exciting, hard-to-predict crime conspiracy stories that keep you on the edge of your seat, British television writer Jed Mercurio should be your go-to guy. His series, “Line of Duty,” a labyrinthine display of tension and amazing guest performances in the setting of a police internal affairs investigation unit, is [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Transferts’ and ‘Vox Lux’

TRANSFERTS (NETFLIX) There are two behaviors in science fiction that humans will never disappoint with. One is that if there is an advance in technology that extends life or youth in any way whatsoever, it will only be available to rich people. Another is that if humans have any reason to hate and persecute the [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Being Frank’ and ‘Doctor Who’

‘BEING FRANK: THE CHRIS SIEVEY STORY’ (AMAZON) British oddball and Renaissance man Chris Sievey isn’t well-known in America beyond his image, which was used in the film “Frank” as a symbol of outsiders and oddballs who create music outside the norm. But his giant paper-mache head is cherished, especially by a generation of British children, [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Cassette: Documentary Mixtape’

‘CASSETTE: DOCUMENTARY MIXTAPE’ (AMAZON, APPLE, GOOGLE PLAY, PLAYSTATION, VUDU) Did you know that the man who invented the cassette also invented the compact disc? His name is Lou Ottens, a Dutch engineer who worked for Phillips, where he headed the teams that developed both audio items. This affectionate, gentle documentary by Zack Taylor devotes a [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Strange Angel’ and ‘Theory of Obscurity’

‘STRANGE ANGEL’ ( CBS ALL ACCESS) In the 21st century, there are multiple disciplines being sold that promise hopeful seekers a way to optimize their ambitions into reality, to realize their best selves, but so many of these philosophies are not new, merely transformed into current-speak. If you reverse engineer their conceptions, you find that [...]

Arthur Yorinks

With its depiction of destiny and decay and undertones of debauchery, “The Fall of the House of Usher” is Edgar Allan Poe’s hallucinatory fever dream of a short story. For Arthur Yorinks, the story has been not quite an albatross around his neck, but certainly part of a decades-long mission. Yorinks is well-known for his [...]

The Shaggs reunite at Solid Sound

When Kurt Cobain listed his favorite albums of all-time, number five went to an obscure 1969 record by an all-sisters band from Fremont, N.H., called The Shaggs. Frank Zappa proclaimed the Shaggs to be “better than the Beatles.” As the Shaggs, the Wiggin sisters — Dot, Betty, Helen and Rachel — etched out a unique place in modern music [...]