1973 / 98 min. / R
Director: Mel Stuart
Cast: Richard Pryor, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Rufus & Carla Thomas

Royal Stompbox celebrates Black History Month: WATTSTAX

Royal Stompbox presents: WATTSTAX

Friday February 23, 2018

7pm – Stax Records Pre-Show

8pm – Wattstax


Maybe the greatest concert film of all time, WATTSTAX is the legendary “black Woodstock”, documenting the epochal 1972 concert at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a benefit show organized by soul/R&B label Stax Records to commemorate the 1965 Watts riots. Featuring incendiary performances by Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas, The Staple Singers, The Emotions, The Dramatics, Johnny Taylor, The Bar-Kays, plus speeches by Jesse Jackson and biting, raging, hilarious commentary from a then little-known Richard Pryor — WATTSTAX is more than a concert film. It also captures a heady moment in mid-1970s, “black-is-beautiful” African-American culture, when the Watts community came together to celebrate its survival and a renewed hope in its future, and the continuing struggle of the civil rights movement.


WATTSTAX’s many incredible snapshots include intimate on-the-street interviews with Watts residents opening up about their lives, the community and race relations, Richard Pryor stealing the show in every frame, Isaac Hayes throwing off his cape to reveal his body draped in glimmering gold chains, The Staple Singers slaying “Respect Yourself”, and thousands of fans crowding a football field en masse to do the “Funky Chicken” with Rufus Thomas in short shorts.


This DCP is the restored Director’s Cut edition of the film, ending with Isaac Hayes’ “Theme From Shaft” and “Soulsville”.


Upcoming Screenings:

None Currently Scheduled