Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies, and many more, at Trailers From Hell. This week, the Music Matters in three films that gave us a record of three seminal concert experiences. What better reason to crack open a bottle or two? Or three?
The 1973 documentary, Save the Children by director Stan Lathan, captured on film the concert staged in the previous year for Jesse Jackson’s Operation PUSH exposition in Chicago. PUSH – People United to Save Humanity – was an ambitious effort at the time. It remains so. For the record, it sometimes looks like humanity is still on the ropes.
There is something about a concert for a good cause that heightens the music, makes the scene about something more than simply than blazing up and holding your Bic lighter aloft. The Concert for Bangladesh, Live Aid, Farm Aid, The Concert for Hurricane Relief were all “rockin’ fer a cause” shows.
Save the Children performers ranged from pop stars of the day – Marvin Gaye, the Jackson 5, Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield – to mainstreamers – Sammy Davis, Jr., Nancy Wilson – to bona fide jazz artists – Cannonball Adderly, Ramsey Lewis. The soundtrack on Motown is worth a spin, although the music is arguably better in the context of the film.
Pairing a wine with a benefit concert means the wine should do some good, too. One Hope Wine benefits a number of good causes, including The Goldie Hawn Foundation’s MindUP For Life, which aims to help mentally challenged kids. One Hope offers a wide range of California wines, mostly for around $25.
1967 was the Summer of Love, but it was also the summer of Monterey Pop. The rock festival which shaped the genre was detailed by D.A. Pennebaker in a film that would be released in 1968. We careened from the summer of love to the summer of Chicago in twelve crazy months, and by this film’s December ‘68 release date – after assassinations, riot and war – everyone was in need of some diversion – and a drink or two.
Monterey Pop – the movie – was commissioned by ABC for a Movie of the Week slot. Word is that the network’s head honcho – after watching Jimi Hendrix use his guitar as a phallus – decided that he would take a pass. It was 1968, after all.
Chalone Vineyards claims to be Monterey County’s oldest producing vineyard. Two of their plots date back to the WWI and WWII eras, so I guess they may be right. It’s not certain that the Electric Flag had a bottle of Chalone stashed behind an amp while they played “Wine” at Monterey Pop, but you know they had a stash of something. Try Chalone’s Estate Chardonnay or Estate Pinot Noir in the $30 to $40 range. However, I’ll bet the Electric Flag would opt for their Estate Syrah.
The Band hung up the group’s rock’n’roll shoes with a Thanksgiving farewell concert in 1976. Martin Scorsese happened to have a few cameras rolling at the time and caught most of the performances, releasing The Last Waltz in 1978. Scorsese actually had seven 35 millimeter cameras rolling during the concert, each one producing seven migraines for the esteemed director. The filming actually came off with barely a hitch, although much criticism has been leveled at how the concert turned out on the screen. I won’t complain, except to say I wish they hadn’t airbrushed Neil Young’s coke booger away. Thank God they saved a few shots of Garth Hudson’s Ludwig Von Beethoven/mad scientist act.
Let’s look to The Band’s old stomping grounds of upstate New York for a wine pairing with The Last Waltz. Billing itself as the Hudson Valley’s Hippie Winery, Palaia’s grounds are dotted with reminders of Woodstock, peace and love. Wines like Deadish Red, Pinkish Floyd and Zappa Franc are certainly cute enough to be adorned with a flower. Oh, and they make mead, too – a drunkard’s dream if I ever did see one.
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