Wattstax

The crowd in Mel Stuart's 1973 concert documentary is as prominent in as the musical performers are. They rhapsodize and philosophize about the blues, interracial sex, and the irresistible villainy of men/women, and, in the film's best scene, swarm down from the stands to the field to strut the Funky Chicken at Rufus Thomas' behest. Concert footage alternates with pleasantly aimless interviews, random local scenery, and Richard Pryor in his prime. Though the soundtrack has been cleaned up, the music remains a letdown. Rufus Thomas is good; the Staple Singers, Luther Ingram, and Jimmy Jones are OK; but Isaac Hayes is a flaccid shaft, Rance Allen an overstuffed potato, and the rest forgettable. As a slice of history, however, it's a show well worth preserving. (NR) TIM APPELO

June 8-12, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., 2008

 
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