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BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: With new documentary, Townsend revisits ‘The Five Heartbeats’

By Bill Vaughan

Entertainment Writer

In the early 1990s, actor, comedian, writer and director Robert Townsend made his follow-up film to 1987’s “Hollywood Shuffle” and “Eddie Murphy: Raw” and it became an instant classic. “The Five Heartbeats,” his passion project following the rise and fall of an African-American vocal group in the 1960s, has become one of the most beloved films of all time.

Now the visionary is revisiting his masterpiece with a new documentary called “Making The Five Heartbeats.” It will debut in nearly 500 select movie theaters, with an exclusive welcome from the filmmaker, for one day, Aug. 27, at 7 p.m. local time, through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network.

Described as a love letter to the movie’s fans, as well as a master class on filmmaking, “Making The Five Heartbeats” is told through behind-the-scenes footage and personal stories with its five stars (Townsend, Michael Wright, Harry J Lennix, Leon Robinson and Tico Wells), plus co-writer Keenen Ivory Wayans, and the film’s bad guy you love to hate, “Big Red” (Hawthorne James).

“For all those fans that have seen the movie more than once, for those that ask me when I’ll will revisit ‘The Five Heartbeats’ with a sequel, for those that love the R&B/soul groups that changed the musical landscape of America, and to all that want to dive deeper into this movie’s creation, this documentary is for you,” Townsend said.

For a complete list of theater locations and information on purchasing tickets, visit www.fathomevents.com.

WE ARE FAMILY: Sister Sledge, the singing siblings from Philadelphia who topped the charts with numerous hits like “He’s The Greatest Dancer” and “Lost In Music” during the 1970s and 80s, is about to have their story told on the big screen.

According to the New York Daily News, “Life Song,” will be told from Kim Sledge’s point of view. Originally formed in 1971, Kathy has performed solo since 1989, Joni died in 2017 and Debbie and Kim continue to tour as a group.

MOVIE WATCH: “Breaking In,” the home invasion thriller produced by Will Packer and its star Gabrielle Union, makes its Blu-Ray and DVD debut Aug. 7 with an “Unrated Director’s Cut” via Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Still playing at the Arclight Hollywood is the scandalous “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood.” After viewing this recount of the escapades of sex broker Scotty Bowers and his contemporaries Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Lana Turner and many more, you may never be able to watch TCM the same again!

TASTY QUIP: “White people — including me, including you — must take into the marrow of our privileged bones the truth that ALL black people fear for their lives DAILY in America and have done so for GENERATIONS. White people DO NOT have equivalence for this fear of violence. Given those givens, we must ask our (white)selves how ‘decent’ are we really? Not in our intent, but in our actions? In our lack of action? Peace and prayers and JUSTICE for Nia and the Wilson family xx.” – ANNE HATHAWAY on Instagram responding to the racially motivated slaying of the teen on an Oakland transit train.

CLIPPETTES: “Uncle” Charlie Wilson begins a two-night stand performing for the first time with the orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl on Aug. 3 with The O’Jays opening. Meanwhile, rapper Lupe Fiasco takes the stage of the Regent Theater, Ne-Yo headlines at the House of Blues Anaheim and Rakim hits Carson’s StubHub Center

“Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts has signed a production deal with Lifetime rumored to include a biopic and documentary of the life of gospel great Mahalia Jackson …

Anaheim’s Honda Center is hosting the Orange County Funk Fest with Morris Day & The Time, Evelyn “Champagne” King, The Bar-Kays, Club Nouveau, Dazz Band, Con Funk Shun, Klymaxx, Original Mary Jane Girls, Tawatha Agee of Mtume, O’Bryan, Howard Johnson and SKYY on Aug. 4

Also that evening, Mya performs at the El Rey Theatre, Young M.A. holds it down at the Roxy and the Flypoet Summer Classic is held at the Ford Theatres Hollywood with singers Marsha Ambrosius, Daley and a stellar roster of spoken-word artists

Antoine Fuqua, director of “The Equalizer” movie franchise, told the Hollywood Reporter a third film was brought up by Sony, the principals are down and that he envisions an international setting where Denzel Washington could play a “James Bond-type character”

School is in session Aug. 8 as “Teacha” KRS-One presides at The Nova in downtown Los Angeles; while jazz fans can enjoy the Nathan East Trio featuring Steve Ferrone at Mr. Musichead Gallery

PBS announced its slate of 2019 documentaries including a 50th anniversary look at the famed Woodstock concert and the four-hour “Reconstruction: America After The Civil War” from Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr …

Zendaya will be the lead of a HBO high school drama called “Euphoria” to be produced by Drake and Future The Prince …

Tasty Clips had the pleasure of catching Kenny Leon’s current staging of Colman Domingo’s Christmas set “Dot” starring Denise Burse (“Tyler Perry’s House of Payne”) as a matriarch battling Alzheimer’s. This not-to-be-missed True Colors Theatre presentation at Atlanta’s Southwest Arts Center, runs through Aug. 12

Lauryn Hill has crafted her first fashion line for Woolrich. The collection is expected to be ready later this year.

TC ON TV: Aug. 3 – “Marching Orders” (Netflix): The Bethune-Cookman University marching band is tailed for this new docu-series. “David Tutera’s Celebrations” (WE): Vivica A. Fox.

Aug. 4 – “Random Acts of Flyness” (HBO): Artist Terence Nance (“An Oversimplification of Her Beauty”) leads this six-episode late-night series exploring cultural idioms from a new, thought-provoking perspective using a mix of vérité documentary, musical performances, surrealist melodrama and humorous animation.

Aug. 5 – “Ultimate Summer Cook-Off” (Food): Six talented chefs enter the summer house to square off for $25,000 in the new primetime culinary series hosted by Eddie Jackson with Let’s Eat’s Jamika Pessoa as one of the resident judges. “Hip Hop Evolution” (Fuse): “The Foundation.” “$100,000 Pyramid” (ABC): Gayle King vs. Terrell Owens “Food Network Star” (Food): Our money is on Orlando firefighter Manny Washington to win his own show tonight.

Aug. 7 – “Carter” (WGN): Jerry O’Connell and Sydney Poitier Heartsong (Yes, Sidney’s daughter) co-star in this dramedy about a TV detective partnering with his hometown best friends to become the real deal. “Frontline” (PBS): “Documenting Hate: Charlottesville”

Aug. 8 – “Martha & Snoop’s Pot Luck Dinner” (VH1): The hosts prepare crabs with Anthony Anderson and Christina Milian; and get their grilled cheese on with Lil Rel Howery and Kat Graham.

Aug. 9 – “Jamie and Jimmy’s Food Fight Club” (Ovation): Usain Bolt opens the second season.

TASTY QUIP: “He wore his integrity like a second skin. It was just there. And to survive in the political arena for that long and to emerge from it unscathed, I’m sorry; there are not that many success stories where that is concerned. Not in our culture. He was someone you always held in high regard with a loving deep respect. He wasn’t playacting at being a politician. He had an agenda.” – PEABO BRYSON to Tasty Clips on 13-term U.S. Rep. and former Oakland Mayor Ronald Dellums [R.I.P.]


As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to tastyclips@yahoo.com or via Twitter @tastyclips.