Here at EW, we like to think we provide a handy, comprehensive, and intelligent guide to pop culture. The beauty of the Internet, however, is that there is always room for more content, so we thought it might be cool to peel back a layer and dig out some of the interesting music, movies, TV, books, and other fun items each week that we might not be covering elsewhere. To that end, we introduce our new weekly column, “Under the Radar” and hope it injects some new pop culture goodness into your life.
BET’s Sunday Best
Series premiere Oct. 2
The latest edition to the reality singing competition genre takes viewers on a nationwide search for the next great gospel singer. While most of the music competition shows feature aspiring pop stars vying to be the next “artist” to sing the Timbaland-produced single du jour, or make-up and hair dye “rockers” hoping to hook up with whatever former hair-metal band member they could convince to host a show, Sunday Best (pictured) will feature people singing to their God. Even if it does wind up being more of the same, it’s still kinda cool to have a show focusing on the lost (on TV, anyway) art of gospel music.
Lake of Fire
Theatrical release Oct. 3
Tony Kaye, who previously pissed people off with American History X, his movie about a buff white supremacist, next takes on the issue of abortion with his new documentary Lake of Fire. The 152-minute film doesn’t pick sides, instead attempting to present compelling arguments (and, at times, graphic detail) from both sides of the issue. If pictures of dismembered fetuses are not your cup of tea, you may want to skip Kaye’s latest work. But if you’re the type who likes to see hot-button topics painted in complex shades of gray, this could be two-and-a-half hours well spent.
Radio 1. Established 1967
U.S. release Oct. 2
As part of the festivities celebrating the 40th year of BBC’s Radio 1 station, 40 artists contributed 40 songs to this two-CD set, each covering a song from a year in the station’s existence. There are some obvious choices (Amy Winehouse covering Sam Cooke, The View covering The Libertines), but also some rather inspired pairings, like The Streets doing a take on Elton John’s 1971 “Your Song” and UK Mercury Prize winning Klaxons putting their dance-punk spin on Blackstreet’s Dr. Dre-produced 1996 hip-hop/R&B classic “No Diggity.”
Chicago International Film Festival
AnthonyHopkins, Malcolm McDowell, Ben Affleck, Laura Linney, Jeffrey Wright,and Alison Eastwood are among the stars set to drop into Chicago thisweek for the 43rd annual festival. Director Marc Forster is on tap tokick off the fest on Thursday with an opening night premiere of hiscontroversial film The Kite Runner, which made headlines last weekwhen the family of the movie’s 12-year-old Afghan star claimed theywould face danger in their home country because of a scene in which theboy was raped. Also on tap to screen are the Affleck-directed Gone Baby Gone (which stars his brother Casey), and John Sayles’ latest project, the musical drama Honeydripper, which stars Danny Glover as the owner of a failing blues club.
Banned Books Week
Through Oct. 6
Thisweek is the American Library Association’s annual Banned Books Week,which since 1982 has encouraged the public to celebrate freedom ofspeech and defend our right to read whatever we want. You can followthe ALA’s suggestions and reenact a singing of the Constitution,co-sponsor an essay-writing contest, or create a “year-long publicawareness campaign,” or just pick up one of the tomes on their “100Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000” list. It’s not all Twainand Steinbeck either: The Harry Potter series made No. 7, as did five Judy Blume books and Madonna’s timeless Sex opus. How can you pass up an opportunity to heave out that monstrosity and gawk for free speech?
So, what do you think, PopWatchers? Gonna check any of this stuffout this week? What “Under the Radar” stuff did we miss for thisupcoming week?