Gospel Hallelujah! How better to respond to this wonderful document than with some measure of the joy and passion displayed by the participants? Filmed at Oakland, California's Paramount Theater, the 1982 film brings together some of gospel music's heavy hitters (including the Rev. James Cleveland, Shirley Caesar, the Hawkins Family, and the Mighty Clouds of Joy). And folks, there is some serious testifying going on here, both onstage and in the audience, as one performer after another does his or her best to tear the roof off the sucker. Don't be deceived by the gospel moniker. Take this music out of the pew and into the pub, and you've got Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, James Brown--that's how good some of these singers are. And if righteous rave-ups like the Hawkins' "Right On" and Cleveland's "Determined to Make Heaven My Home" don't get you moving, consider investing in a defibrillator. --Sam Graham
Factory sealed DVD
Product Information Specifications for Gospel Below:
Gilbert & Sullivan: Broadway Theatre Archive (The Pirates of Penzance / Kline, Ronstadt, Smith, Routledge, Delacorte Theater )
Manufacturer: Kultur Video
Gilbert and Sullivan's raucous operatic tale is captured in all it's fun and glory in this production. Kevin Kline ( A Fish Called Wanda) sparkles as the swashbuckling and libidinous Pirate King while Linda Ronstandt plays the lovely and virginal Mabel. This Pirates of Penzance is primarily a historical document, part of the Broadway Theater Archive television series. It presents, with some inevitable, tiny technical shortcomings, a live 1980 performance in Central Park, not the 1983 movie of the same name that also starred Linda Ronstadt and Kevin Kline. Those who remember that film, which had the benefit of retakes and editing, a lavish production budget, and the spaciousness of a Hollywood studio, may find this video less polished. On its own terms, it is nonetheless thoroughly enjoyable. Advantages of this live performance include a sense of spontaneity, and the feeling of being part of a theatrical audience that is visibly and audibly having a very good time. The (reduced and partly electronic) orchestra is also visible; scenery is minimal; the onstage pirate boat, excellent for a live production, is no match for what a movie can offer. The voices are uneven, and some of them evoke Broadway more than London. But the performance is well styled, lively, and energetic. Gilbert and Sullivan's witty sparkle comes through clearly. --Joe McLellan
Don Quixote / Baryshnikov, Harvey, American Ballet Theatre
Manufacturer: Kultur Video
Choreographed by Mikhail Baryshnikov after Petipa and Gorsky's original staging, this sparkling full-length production captures all the excitement, Spanish flair, and humor of Cervantes' masterpiece. It is one of the most popular and joyful ballets.
Manufacturer: Eagle Eye Media / Eagle Rock Entertainment
Frank Zappa's highly acclaimed film from 1979 includes over three hours of outrageous Zappa musical performances and unique & bizarre Claymation from Bruce Bickford. This is the full-length version of the film as it premiered at the Victoria Theatre in T Touted as "a movie about people who do stuff that is not normal," Frank Zappa's Baby Snakes chronicles a late-'70s Halloween stand in New York City (a zany enough proceeding in its own right) with digressions throughout the first half for backstage antics, band interviews, and some outlandish clay animation from Bruce Bickford, with whose work Zappa was obviously smitten. Onstage, Zappa is a live wire, the audience is appropriately rambunctious, and the band--an especially potent incarnation of the famous Mothers of Invention--is tight as could be. The film amounts to a three-hour musical carnival whose participants lack any trace of artistic or personal inhibition. Zappa, who died in 1993, always worked with consummate musicians, and Baby Snakes showcases the cream of the crop: Terry Bozzio (one of the greatest drummers ever to command a kit), bassist Patrick O'Hearn, keyboard wizard Tommy Mars, and even pop chameleon Adrian Belew. The DVD packaging, with its deluxe miniature dossier on Zappa and the film, is fabulous, and the sound and picture seem about as good as they could be, under the influence--that is, the circumstances. Undeniable are Zappa's intelligence and charisma, which flicker and blaze eve...