Midway through the A-to-Z! #atozchallenge

In my 7th year of the Blogging A-to-Z Challenge, I think I’ve finally figured out how to do this right. This is the first time I had all my A-to-Z posts written and scheduled before April 1st!  I also have been doing better to hop to the blogs of other A-to-Z participants to leave comments.  I made a goal of visiting 5 new blogs every day, so as of today I’ve commented at least once on 75 different blogs.

But enough about me!  Here are some A-to-Z blogs I’m reading and enjoying that you should check out.

My Favorite A-to-Z Blogs Thus Far:

My Blogging A-to-Z Posts So Far:

Previous A to Z Challenges

BONUS DOC: Documentary Movie Review: My Name Is Pauli Murray (2021)

Title: My Name Is Pauli Murray
Release Date: September 17, 2021
Director: Betsy West and Julie Cohen
Production Company: Participant |  Storyville Films | Drexler Films

This documentary makes the convincing argument that Pauli Murray (1910-1985 – a lawyer, civil rights activist, women’s equality activist, Episcopal priest, and author – should be more well known. Murray also privately wrote about gender identity in a way that today would be considered transgender or nonbinary.  (Note: the people in the documentary use she/her pronouns for Murray, and I will use them in this review, although they/them pronouns could also be used).

Murray was raised by her grandparents in Durham, NC, as part of a large mixed-race family that supported her breaking with conventional gender norms of the time.  Starting in the 1930s, Murray was active in protesting segregation on buses and at lunch counters, and attempted to gain admittance to  University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in a widely-publicized case.  Instead she attended law school at Howard University where she was the only woman in the class and finished at the top of the class.

Over her career, Murray would work for a prominent law firm and served in organizations such the Workers’ Defense League (WDL), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and co-founded the National Organization for Women (NOW).  She was friends with Eleanor Roosevelt, and her writings and ideas influenced Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  Her concept of “Jane Crow” fostered a women’s equality movement alongside the civil rights movement in the 1960s.  She became the first African-American woman ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1977.  And she wrote poetry.  And all of this is just scratching the surface.

This documentary is a good introduction to a person who should already be famous and whose ideas shaped the world we live in today.

Rating: ****

Documentary Movie Review: Monterey Pop (1968) #atozchallenge

Welcome to Panorama of the Mountains! My name is Liam and I enjoy watching documentary movies.  This month I will be reviewing 26 documentaries from A-to-Z!

Documentaries starting with the letter Documentaries starting with the letter M that I have previously reviewed include: that I have previously reviewed include:

Title: Monterey Pop 
Release Date: December 26, 1968
Director: D. A. Pennebaker
Production Company: Leacock Pennebaker

The Monterey International Pop Festival, held over 3 days in June 1967, was the first major festival to feature rock acts and a major event to kick off the “Summer of Love.” It also brought a lot of iconic artists of that generation to more widespread attention in America, including Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company, Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The camera work is really excellent at zeroing on the performers’ stage habits and special moments, along with the psychedelic light shows. In addition to some stunning concert performances, the movie features a lot of montages of festival attendees in and around the concert venue. The camera operators seemed keen on seeking out attractive women and people in outlandish outfits (and best yet, attractive women in outlandish outfits).  You also get the sense the performers were out mingling among the ordinary people when they weren’t on stage themselves.

I first saw Monterey Pop as a kid in 1987 when there was a lot of “Summer of Love” nostalgia and I went all in on the music and lore of the counterculture (although I never dressed outlandishly).  I’ve always felt that Monterey Pop is a better movie than Woodstock, and that Monterey had better musical performances (although the Altamont Free Concert also had better performances than Woodstock, but the people at Woodstock still had a lot more fun).  That being said, Pennebaker’s 87-minute film is really just a greatest hits collection of Monterrey. Just less than half of the artists who performed at the festival appear in the film (where are you Group With No Name?), and they typically only get one song.  Nevertheless there isn’t a bad performance in the movie, but my absolutely favorite is Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long To Stop Now.”

Rating: ****