Jon Kamen

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Under African Skies Review


Excellent
This beautifully assembled documentary traces the creation of Paul Simon's seminal 1986 album Graceland, focussing on the political controversy the recording sessions sparked because South Africa was under a cultural boycott at the time. It's a skilful film that entertains as it reveals something important about history.

In 1985, Simon quietly travelled to South Africa to record tracks for his next album, invited by local musicians. But he and was shocked by racial tension he saw between blacks and whites there, and afterwards was caught off-guard by criticism from anti-Apartheid leaders who said his visit violated the boycott.

Simon argued that he wanted to avoid politics and collaborate with fellow musicians. For them, working with a world-class artist was a chance in a million. And Ladysmith Black Mambazo leader Shabalala says Simon was the first white man he'd ever hugged.

Continue reading: Under African Skies Review

2012 Made In NY Awards At Gracie Mansion

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Jon Kamen - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Jon Kamen and New York City Film Commissioner Katherine Oliver Monday 4th June 2012 2012 Made In NY Awards at Gracie Mansion

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Jon Kamen
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Kelly Ripa
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Robert De Niro
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Robert De Niro

The Concert For George Review


Excellent
In The Concert for George -- a musical tribute to the late George Harrison -- Eric Clapton remarks that Harrison, a longtime friend, would not have wanted this concert held for him. He was not one to have a fuss made over him. From a man deemed the "quiet Beatle" this seems appropriate.

I hope Harrison's friends and family don't mind if I challenge the man's opinions. The Concert for George is necessary, as it takes a good look at the human, familial side that does exist in rock and roll. It's the antithesis of another first-rate concert movie, The Band's The Last Waltz (1978), where you got the feeling the longtime bandmates couldn't wait to get the damn thing over and done with. Martin Scorsese filmed Robbie Robertson and company as if they were performing in separate halls. In the latter concert, there's a feeling that the performers need to be there, that they need the comfort of each other. The stage is crammed with musicians.

Continue reading: The Concert For George Review

Jon Kamen

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