Sound Opinions at the Movies: Wattstax

Chicago Public Media’s Sound Opinions, the world’s only rock n roll talk show, is co-hosted by acclaimed pop music critics Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune and Jim DeRogatis of Here, they present the classic documentary Wattstax.

In the summer of 1972, Stax Records put on a music festival to rival Woodstock and coincide with the 7th anniversary of the Watts Riots. Wattstax the concert and Wattstax the film were unprecedented events for the Los Angeles African-American community and a source of great pride. In the weeks surrounding the filming of the concert, the predominately African-American film crews took to the streets, recording candid interviews with local African-Americans and capturing a unique, unvarnished view of the Watts community.


Tickets are $9 in advance.

WBEZ members enter code STAX for $1 discount during purchase.

Remaining tickets will be sold for $10 cash at the door.


directed by Mel Stuart starring The Dramatics, Staple Singers, Kim Weston in English

Seven years after the Watts section of Los Angeles ignited in a violent burst of racial tension in August 1965, director Mel Stuart took the pulse of the city by revisiting the issues that led to the devastation. His main stop: The Watts Summer Festival held in 1972 at the L.A. Coliseum, where comedian Richard Pryor joined an illustrious list of entertainers such as Isaac Hayes, the Dramatics and Luther Ingram, who gathered to remember the riots.

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