Hard to believe that in the two years since VH1 aired Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America, both Don Cornelius and Dick Clark have gone to that great dance floor in the sky. J. Kevin Swain's 2010 documentary follows Soul Train's evolution from its Chicago roots to American Bandstand rival, and features interviews and performances from early soul and R&B acts (The O'Jays, Staple Singers) to the show's first white artists (Gino Vannelli, David Bowie, Elton John) to hip-hop heavyweights (Snoop Dogg, Public Enemy). Elusive host Cornelius and crew members share behind-the-scenes tidbits, including areas in South Central L.A. where the show scouted for talent, and the one and only time Cornelius made it down the Soul Train line. As part of the Dance Camera West film festival, KCRW host and LACMA film series curator Elvis Mitchell sits down with '70s dancers Jody Watley and Damita Jo Freeman after the screening. No doubt you're familiar with Watley from her group Shalamar (featuring fellow Soul Train dancer Jeffrey Daniel, who helped popularize the Moonwalk before Michael Jackson), followed by a highly successful late-'80s solo pop career. But it was perhaps Freeman who was Soul Train's first breakout star. Watch her bust out moves alongside James Brown during "Super Bad." She practically steals the shows from the Godfather of Soul. LACMA, Bing Theater, 5905 Wilshire Blvd.; Fri., June 29, 7 p.m.; free. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org.
Fri., June 29, 7 p.m., 2012