Study Guide Themes Archives: Disability


Experience the history and the soul of the African-American community in Watts,
Los Angeles, 1972. Wattstax documents the gathering of over 100,000 at the Los
Angeles Coliseum, hosted by a very young Jesse Jackson, for the 7th
anniversary of the Watts riots. The music of The Stylistics, The Staples Singers,
Rufus and Carla Thomas, Bar-Kays, and the legendary Isaac Hayes held the
forefront of the spirit so vigorously displayed here. Interviews with the residents
of Watts combined with astounding, sublime monologues by comedian Richard
Pryor create an invocation-we are delivered from place and time to become in
tune with this politically loaded era and the flame of the soul performing and
reflecting it.

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Ten year-old Max is bored, he’s looking for some fun. One day, he finds himself listening to the virtuoso guitar-playing of a gypsy named Miraldo. Max is transfixed by the unusual music: he has discovered “manouche”. Like a bee to honey, he’s drawn to this haunting music, heading off to the wrong side of town, where the gypsies live–a place he knows he’s not supposed to visit. Undeterred, he buys a guitar and convinces Miraldo to tutor him. Soon he’s discovered a whole new world–gypsy jazz and a girl named Swing. A generous, purely joyful and exuberant film that teaches the importance of delving into other cultures.

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