I thought Apple’s “1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything” was pretty sensational (spoken like a true fanboy). The overtones were not as preachy as they were in “Summer of Soul.” But I understand the desperate need for that. I went to Woodstock to see Sly and the Family Stone and the series of concerts featured in Summer of Soul from that same year was every bit as good as Woodstock. It is about time. “1971,” with solid research and clear evidence, made the case that the year was transformative on so many levels.
Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On” and Sly’s “There’s A Riot Goin’ On” alone make the case for ‘71. I get bothered by all the nostalgic wallowing that goes on with people my age. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign capitalized on that. The techno music playing at the Co-Op this afternoon made it so much fun to shop. But these two documentaries are art history classes. Requirements. Plant food for the culture going forward.
We saw ‘Summer of Soul” at the Little Theatre on opening night, our first post-pandemic theater experience. We expected the theater to be mobbed but were two of maybe twenty. I don’t know whether to worry more about our generation, the movie theater business model or our tastes.