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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Táta Vega & Merry Clayton bring you closer than 20 Feet from Stardom

Film Flam Flummox


From its rapturously received premiere at 2013's Sundance Film Festival to its highly successful and unusually lengthy run in cinemas that began in summer and stretched well into the fall and winter months--all the more unusual and impressive considering it was a day-and-date video-on-demand release--Morgan Neville's rousing and poignant celebration of backup singers, 20 Feet from Stardom has been the odds-on favorite to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. In the time since its anticipated nomination for Oscar indeed became a reality the morning of January 16, the awards campaign team for the Radius-TWC release have far from coasted, aggressively keeping up the momentum with various television and other media appearances for a number of its legendary--and, for a longtime, unsung (bad pun intended)--subjects. With final voting period now under way, Radius-TWC is going into the home stretch of awards season with full force, firing a dual-pronged salvo this past Monday, February 17, beginning with the early morning release a new featurette on the film, below.

But the real fun came a few hours later that night, at Herb Alpert's Vibrato Jazz Grill in the Beverly Crest/Bel Air area of Los Angeles. Director Neville himself hosted a very intimate, private meet-and-greet and mini-concert featuring two of the film's prominent subjects, Táta Vega and Merry Clayton. They only performed three songs each, but the energy and heart, to say nothing of the sheer vocal range and power, they displayed was enough to more than equal a full-length concert in a large arena. The entire program can be seen below; apologies for the less than ideal audio and camera work from my phone.

20 Feet from Stardom is now available on Blu-ray and DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment.

(Special thanks to Costa Communications and Radius-TWC)

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