- Nina Simone
Eunice Waymon's prodigious talent as a pianist was noticed early on in Tryon, North Carolina, and a determined set of admirers nurtured it enthusiastically. But it wasn't until the young piano phenom was denied admittance to Philadelphia's Curtis Institute and she started to play and sing (at the insistence of a nightclub owner) in Atlantic City that Nina Simone was born. Simone's complicated life—young stardom, mental health issues, political activism (Malcolm X was her neighbor for a time), exile, and mercurial stage presence—make her an amazing documentary subject. Jeff L. Lieberman's The Amazing Nina Simone travels down some different paths than the other Simone doc released in 2015, Liz Garbus's What Happened, Miss Simone? Lieberman conducted interviews with over 50 former Simone friends, siblings, and bandmates to compose a portrait of a towering figure of 20th century jazz and pop. The Amazing Nina Simone will screen at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck on November 20 at 8pm and at Upstate Films in Woodstock on November 21 in the afternoon, time TBA. Both screenings will be followed by a Q&A with Jeff L. Lieberman. Upstatefilms.org.