Win Downtown Film Fest GRAMMY Museum Tickets

jcashYour Attention Please:

The Downtown Film Fest is now wholly into its fourth day of “seven days of musical film screenings” at the GRAMMY Museum. The remaining four films, beginning this evening, feature Johnny Cash, Bill Withers, Poncho Sanchez and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, aka “ODB” (get it? it’s abbreviated)…and I have free tickets for you at this time. Many of the film programs may include artist and filmmaker Q&As, live musical performances and after-screening parties (don’t expect a live performance from Johnny Cash or ODB). First person to e-mail a request for each film wins a pair of tickets (meaning time is not on your side here). Simply shoot me an e-mail with which film you’d like to see this week, and your first and last name. Note: Should you request tickets to more than one screening, your request will be dismissed. Finally, should you choose to purchase your own tickets to these screenings (they run $15 per), you may do so at the GRAMMY Museum box office, day of, or online at

Tuesday, August 18, 7:30 pm
2008 USA 87 minutes

Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison remains one of the greatest live albums ever made, and the man himself one of America’s greatest troubadours. Cash also was a tireless and passionate advocate for prison reform. Forty years later, the album still resonates today with a rawness and authenticity that few recordings have ever achieved. This film will expose a lesser known “Man in Black” through an exciting, visually compelling examination of this historic concert.

Director, Producer, Cinematographer: Bestor Cram
Co-Producers: Peter Reichenbach, Louise Rosen
Writer: Michael Streissguth
Cinematographer: Miguelangel Aponte-Rios
Cast: Gene Beley, Jim Brown, John Carter Cash, Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash, Merle Haggard, Jimmy Tittle

Wednesday, August 19, 7:30 pm

2009 USA 78 minutes

Best known for “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lean on Me,” Bill Withers topped the charts, and then stopped performing in 1985. The makers of Still Bill wanted to know why. Combining old performances and intense interviews with Withers, the film reveals how the artist started as a musician relatively late in life. After careers in the Navy and assembling airplane toilets, he eventually won three Grammys. But facing the pressure from record execs to promote himself, he retreated into his Hollywood mansion and stopped making music. Now, with his children grown, he is ready to begin again, on his own terms. Even at 70 years old, as he sits on his porch and describes his goals, it’s evident that Bill Withers is oblivious to fame and still happy about it.

Directors: Damani Baker, Alex Vlack
Producers: Damani Baker, John Fine, Alex Vlack
Executive Producers: Alex Vlack, Andrew Jackerman
Cinematographers: Damani Baker, Jon Fine, Ed Marritz
Cast: Bill Withers, Cornel West, Tavis Smiley, Jim James, Angelique Kidjo

Thursday, August 20, 7:30 pm

2004 USA 86 minutes

The Montreux Jazz Festival has seen an incredible array of performers take to the stage over the years. So when it came to celebrating the 30th anniversary of Concord Records, it seemed appropriate that one of their leading lights, Poncho Sanchez, should take to the stage at the festival. Bringing his own inimitable brand of Latin jazz to the festival, Sanchez delights the crowd with some of his signature tunes. A highly appropriate tribute to a label that has produced some historic music, Sanchez pours all his energy into his performance, working his way through songs such as “Watermelon Man,” “One Mint Julep,” “Conmigo,” and many others.

Producer: John Burk
Cinematographer/Editor: Duane Conder
Cast: Poncho Sanchez, Edward James Olmos, Duane Conder

Friday, August 21, 7: 30 pm

2009 USA 55 minutes
This is a personal tribute by the filmmaker to one of the most enigmatic, controversial and tragic figures in hip-hop music history, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, or just ODB for those in the know. During his years with the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, he became famous for his slurred, half-sung, half-rapped delivery of bizarre lyrics, which personified the raw, unadulterated and innovative style of the group. His own solo career was at once celebrated and fraught with legal troubles and eventually, his death by overdose. Featuring members of the Wu-Tang Clan, the Brooklyn Zu and many others, this film celebrates the life of a genius madman who lived life without any breaks.

Director, Producer, Cinematographer: Rasion Allah
Cast: Ghostface, Meth, RZA, Raekwon, Masta Killa, ODB’s parents, Rasion Allah

Here’s that link again: Win tickets now.