Woodstock was bigger and muddier, but Monterey Pop came first. The 1967 Cali fest gave us many firsts: the American debuts of Hendrix and The Who, and the first major live performances by Janis Joplin and Otis Redding. The famous coin toss between Hendrix and his rival axman Pete Townshend to determine who'd follow the other is part of rock & roll lore, and off to musical jail you go if you don't know the answer. The accompanying film by D.A. Pennebaker, whose only notable prior work was the Dylan documentary Don't Look Back, captures the Summer of Love's biggest event in its not-so-gentle guitar-smashing-and-burning glory. Five years later, and seven years after the Watts riots, Memphis' Stax Records sent some of its biggest stars (including the Staples Singers, Bar-Kays, Albert King and Luther Ingram) out West to the L.A. Coliseum for what would become known as "the black Woodstock," Wattstax. Mel Stuart's Golden Globe-nominated documentary also includes interviews on life in the hood with Richard Pryor and Ted Lange, before he was Isaac on The Love Boat. While Isaac Hayes (whose "Theme from Shaft" and "Soulsville" were deleted from the original release, but included in this restored version) was the headliner, it was fellow funk master Rufus Thomas, in pink shorts and matching boots, who got the audience of more than 90,000 to rush the field during "Do the Funky Chicken."
Fri., July 30, 7:30 p.m., 2010