Three years after Woodstock and five years after the Watts riots, the 1972 Wattstax Music Festival at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum would go down as the “black Woodstock” thanks to the 100,000-plus folks who paid a mere buck to watch Stax — the Memphis label and home of Otis Redding — artists the Bar-Kays, the Staple Singers, the Emotions and Albert King. The Rev. Jesse Jackson was the MC and Isaac Hayes and his band were the closing act, playing “Soulsville” and “Theme From Shaft,” which, thanks to Warner Bros., were deleted from the original release of Mel Stuart's 1974 Golden Globe–nominated documentary of the same name. But it was singer-comedian Rufus Thomas, wearing pink shorts and go-go boots, who stole the show, getting the crowd to hop the fence and dance to “Do the Funky Chicken” on the field. (Even funnier were his pleas to get the audience back to their seats: “Don't jump the fence because it don't make sense,” “Might be a little slow, but you just got to go.”) This screening of the 2004 restored version of Wattstax (featuring Hayes' complete performance) includes interspersed commentary on race relations and urban life by Watts residents, as well as a then-unknown Ted Lange (Isaac from The Love Boat) and a then-little-known Richard Pryor.

Sat., Aug. 20, 8 p.m., 2011

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.

LA Weekly