For movie buffs with an affinity for music, the Summer Music Film Festival - presented by the beloved Music Box Theatre and WBEZ's music talk show Sound Opinions - is the premiere event of the summer. Entering its third summer running the Summer Music Film Festival will screen more than a dozen classic and contemporary concert films and documentaries between June 28 and July 2. All films will be shown at the Music Box Theatre in Lakeview. You can buy single screening passes starting at $8 or go big with a pass to all screenings for $70.
We assure you that the curators of this film fest wouldn't subject you to any duds, but if you're looking for the highlights, here are the films we recommend:
A Band Called Death
For fans of punk pioneers like the Sex Pistols, learn about the band that came before them in A Band Called Death, released in 2012. Detroit, Mich., band Death was a group of three African American men making punk music in the 1970s. When their music and band name was deemed too intimidating by music labels, their demo tapes wound up in the band members' attics. This documentary depicts the story that follows when those demo tapes found an adoring audience decades later. Shows Friday, June 28, 4pm; Saturday, June 29, 8pm; and Tuesday, July 2 at 9:45pm.
Released in 1983, Wild Style is considered the first major motion picture about hip hop music. The documentary follows prominent figures within the hip hop scene at the time and touches on activities closely related to the culture such as MCing, break dancing and graffiti. Shows Saturday, June 29 at 2pm; and Monday, July 1 at 9:15pm.
The Big Easy Express
Find out what happens when three bands - Mumford & Sons, Edwards Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show - set off through America's wild west in a vintage train, exploring the towns and scenery they come across along the way, in The Big Easy Express. This critically acclaimed 2012 documentary follows the journey from its departure in California to its end point in New Orleans, La. Shows Saturday, June 29, 10:10pm; and Tuesday, July 2, 8:15pm.
If you've ever caught yourself or your kids downloading music off the Internet, you know, illegally (we're not pointing any fingers), Downloaded could be an eye opening look into the rise of Napster, its creator and the program's lasting effects on the music industry. As it was just released in 2013, this film is the most current look at how illegal downloading changed the world of technology as a whole. Shows Sunday, June 30, 7pm.
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
The use of air guitar was never more epic than 1989 when Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure brought it to the big screen. The Summer Music FIlm Festival brings this cult classic back to the the theater and is even bringing in actor Alex Winter (aka Bill) for the screening. Shows Sunday, June 30, 9:15pm.
For a complete list of films being shown and to buy advanced tickets, visit the festival's website.
Help us keep the lights on by subscribing to Chicago Like a Local. For your efforts, we'll deliver awesome stories (like this one) to your inbox. Do we have a deal?