Recommended: Jennifer Hudson, String Cheese Incident

The Black Keys play Red Rocks on July 13 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

Tim Van Schmidt


I like my music live, but especially throughout the pandemic I’ve come to appreciate recordings more.

Lower on the list, however, are music movies. To me, often they are just as flat as my flat screen TV.

I’m talking about biopics here. Movies such as “Great Balls of Fire” with Dennis Quaid as Jerry Lee Lewis, “Get on Up” with Chadwick Boseman as James Brown, and “Judy” with Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland all tell the stories of great musicians’ lives — and that’s worthy — but I get the feeling that the actors are mimicking the music.

String Cheese Incident plays three nights at Red Rocks July 15-17 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

Last year’s feature, “Respect”, telling the story of “The Queen of Soul”, Aretha Franklin, could have been one of those flat movies, except for one major element — Jennifer Hudson’s performances as Franklin are just dynamite. This isn’t just a contemporary performer mimicking a famous predecessor. Hudson makes this material all her own. 

Hudson’s full-spirited performances make me want to see her perform live. She could be singing Aretha Franklin’s hits, gospel tunes, soul classics or even just “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and I get the impression she would be great. That’s a music movie success.

At Spring Creek Gardens- The Wood Brothers on July 17 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

Recently, Hudson became a member of the “EGOT” club, winning a Tony Award for Best New Musical, “A Strange Loop”. An EGOT has won one of all four of the entertainment industry’s major awards — Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.

Film on the Rocks: Summer movies have returned to Red Rocks and another great 2021 music movie, “Summer of Soul” — an excellent concert documentary — is on the schedule for August 1. Recent Sci-Fi extravaganza “Dune” plays on August 15.

Rialto: The Rialto Theater in Loveland also has a summer movie schedule including “Ocean’s Eleven” on July 15, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” on July 22, and “A Star is Born” on July 29.

Cowboy Junkies perform at Chautauqua in Boulder on July 16 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

Movie classic: Here’s another movie classic of note:

Lost Horizon (1937) – Don’t let the age of this fine film put you off. There is some compelling stuff in this heady adventure.

A British diplomat gets a large group of ex-pats out of China just before a bloody war, only boarding the last plane out after everyone else is safe. However, he and a handful of others are kidnapped and flown to the upper reaches of the Himalayas.

Movie classic- Lost Horizon

The plane crashes but the group makes it to a mountain paradise called Shangri-la. Hidden and protected by the rough terrain, the people there have created a utopian society and the 200-year-old founder tries to convince the diplomat to stay.

The diplomat gets it, but feels responsible for getting the others back to “civilization”. He leaves with them, but then does everything in his power to return. Directed by Frank Capra, this is a Steven Spielberg movie before Spielberg was even born.

Live music: On July 13, The Black Keys play Red Rocks and Clark Street Station continues the Lagoon Summer Concert Series at CSU. The 17th Avenue All Stars perform at the Foote Lagoon Amphitheatre in Loveland on July 14.

The String Cheese Incident plays three nights at Red Rocks, July 15-17. Yonder Mountain String Band opens on July 15 and Leftover Salmon opens on July 16. The July 17 date is a special “incident” featuring Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh.

On July 16, The Cowboy Junkies come to Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder and The Wood Brothers continue the music schedule at Gardens on Spring Creek in Fort Collins on July 17.

Visit “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt” on YouTube.

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