Movie Madness University: The Chinese Boxer
Hollywood Theatre's head programmer and literal savior of Kung Fu history, Dan Halsted, leads the first class in Movie Madness University tonight at 7:30pm, looking at the impact Jimmy Wang Yu's 1970 film The Chinese Boxer had on Kung Fu history, both stylistically and financially. Tuition cost ($10) doesn't include access to the film, but Movie Madness University films are available to rent on major VOD services for $5 or less.
Coast to Coast Roast
Helium's new livestream stand-up series is also an outlet for any tension, frustration, and acid that might have built up over the course of your self-quarantine, as comics from all over the country get in front of their webcams, get the green-light from the showrunners, and proceed to mercilessly roast everyone in front of them alive. Nobody got to have a March Madness this year, so instead, why not enjoy the Coast to Coast Roast's Elite Eight starting tonight at 6pm, and see which comic is on their way to being crowned the ultimate conqueror. Hosted by Joe List and Mark Normand.
Mayer Hawthorne: The Wine & Vinyl Hour
There's something endearingly cheesy about sonic seducer Andrew Cohen, who performs under the moniker Mayer Hawthorne. With song titles like "Lingerie & Candlewax" and a voice like Curtis Mayfield, you might not expect to find a nerdy white guy from Michigan behind Hawthorne's throwback sound. But the guy can actually sing, and he confidently pulls off the whole schmaltzy, red wine-stained, sex-on-a-faux-fur-area-rug vibe. That vibe is exactly the whole point of his weekly livestream, "The Wine & Vinyl Hour," (Thursdays, 6pm, YouTube) so why not treat yourself?
Dead to Me
Netflix's unique buddy-comedy-dramedy-suspense-thriller (with wine!) returns for another off-kilter season that, much like their breakout drama Ozark, is basically just a prime-time soap opera of the sort that used to rule network television way back in the days where network television itself ruled popular culture. Nothing that's happening in this domestic drama even remotely realistic, much less plausible, but the interplay between the characters, and the way they keep getting in each other's way, breaking shit, trying to fix it, failing, and then succeeding in spite of themselves anyway is pretty engrossing, and is especially so when its top-of-their-game Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini anchoring the show. Top off your goblet with some alcoholic grape juice and catch up with a binge of Dead to Me's first season before jumping into the new one.
Let Dolly Parton Read You a Bedtime Story
You tired? You're probably tired. Everyone's kinda tired. Pandemic living is like that. But while our future remains fitfully uncertain, we can still get ourselves to dreamland as wonderfully as possible thanks to indispensable treasure Dolly Parton, whose "Dolly Parton's Imagination Library" channel has been hosting a weekly webseries where Dolly herself reads a bedtime story in full to your children, every Thursday, at 4pm. Or you. Everyone, really; if there's an age at which Dolly Parton reading you to sleep is inappropriate, I hope humanity never reaches it, or recognizes it. We sure as hell aren't starting now, that's for sure.
Before Hidden Figures (now streaming, FX w/ cable subscription), I had no idea three Black women were integral to the success of America’s space program. That’s not the only surprise here: Even the film’s title has a double meaning, referring to both the unheralded women who helped us catch up in the space race, and the calculations that were missing before their contributions. Spending much of its runtime dealing with issues that persist today—segregation, racism and sexism in the workplace—Hidden Figures focuses on the Black women who had to balance being tenacious and docile in order to get ahead, even as they were underestimated and undervalued every step of the way. JENNI MOORE
About a year ago, American treasure and cultural icon Michelle Obama came to the Moda Center as part of her national tour promoting her book Becoming. She covered key events in her life from career to motherhood, and discussed the lessons learned from becoming the first Black woman to serve as First Lady of the United States. This (Netflix special release) is billed as "an intimate documentary," both for those who were able to attend last year's show, and for us broke folk who only got as close as catching a glimpse of the Secret Service cavalcade that drove through town. Not sure how “intimate” this can get, but I also don’t doubt Michelle’s ability to surpass all expectations. JENNI MOORE
Kamasi Washington doesn’t do anything on a small scale. His 2015 major label breakthrough The Epic is 172 minutes of fiery jazz, and the 2018 follow-up Heaven and Earth is only slightly less dense, but absolutely solidified his status as a truly visionary saxophonist. To say that he took the task of scoring Michelle Obama's Becoming documentary very seriously would be an understatement, and you know that if Mr. Washington is putting everything he's got into a project, that project is going to be something truly special. The Becoming soundtrack is the proof, and the truth.