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  • Friday, October 16, 2020
    "David Byrne's American Utopia" Spike Lee Film Premieres on HBO

    The Spike Lee–directed film of David Byrne’s American Utopia debuts on HBO and HBO Max this Saturday, October 17, at 8pm ET/PT. The special event, a New York Times Critic's Pick, presents a one-of-a-kind, dynamic film that gives audiences access to Byrne’s critically-acclaimed Broadway show that played to sold-out, record-breaking audiences. The filmed version was recorded during its late 2019 to early 2020 run at Broadway’s Hudson Theatre in New York City. David Byrne is joined by an ensemble of eleven musicians, singers, and dancers from around the globe, inviting audiences into a joyous dreamworld where human connection, self-evolution, and social justice are paramount. They perform songs from Byrne’s 2018 album American Utopia and from Talking Heads. The original album and the Broadway cast recording are available on Nonesuch Records.

    Make the special event of the HBO premiere even more so by hosting a Ballot Party for you and your family and friends to make a plan to vote—whether by mail or in person, early or on Election Day, November 3. We'll be getting ready for Vote Early Day, October 24, when, in many states, you can visit an Early Voting location to vote in person or drop off your mail-in ballot. For all the materials to plan your Ballot Party and be sure you're vote ready, visit myamericanutopia.com.

    For further inspiration both before and after you've watched the film, we've put together this Ballot Party playlist of songs from and inspired by the American Utopia original cast album:

    "By the time Byrne and company perform 'This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody),'" says the New York Times' Manohla Dargis, "you may find yourself levitating."

    "A joyous blend of song, dance and revival meeting," says NPR's Fresh Air. "This is one show you can dance to."

    "I have watched this movie half a dozen times in the last two weeks and the only thing that’s preventing me from viewing it again is the necessity of filing this review," writes Los Angeles Times' Glenn Whipp. "That American Utopia will live indefinitely on HBO Max offers a measure of hope that I can get through the rest of the year with my faculties intact. We may well be on the road to nowhere, but that doesn’t mean we can’t cling to a steadfast belief that things can (and will) get better ... American Utopia arrives 36 years after Jonathan Demme’s Stop Making Sense, which ... just might be the greatest concert movie ever made. Until, that is, American Utopia. Rank them 1A and 1B."

    "American Utopia is an outstanding collaboration between two essential artists," says Vanity Fair; "I can’t believe there’s anyone alive who won’t be moved by this document."

    "Spike Lee's playful and entrancing big-screen version of David Byrne's American Utopia is better than the next best thing—it feels more like a whole new thing," says Variety. "The film is studded with numbers that take your breath away."

    “If you were lucky enough to catch David Byrne’s Broadway show in 2019 or early 2020, you probably still haven’t stopped talking about it," says Rolling Stone. "Fortunately, the musician brought in no less than Spike Lee to turn the performance into a movie, one that will probably inspire a whole new wave of admirers."

    "The synergy here between filmmaker and subject—from the avant-funk grooves to the spirit of inclusivity and the urge to heal a broken nation—is simply spectacular," says the Hollywood Reporter. "I haven't had a better time at a movie all year."

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"David Byrne's American Utopia" Spike Lee Film Premieres on HBO

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on October 16, 2020 - 9:30am
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Publish date: 
Friday, October 16, 2020 - 09:30
Excerpt: 

The Spike Lee–directed film of David Byrne’s American Utopia debuts on HBO and HBO Max this Saturday, October 17, at 8pm ET/PT. The film gives audiences access to Byrne’s critically-acclaimed Broadway show that played to sold-out, record-breaking audiences at Broadway’s Hudson Theatre in NYC. Make the special event even more so by hosting a Ballot Party for you and your family and friends to make your plan to vote; for further inspiration, we've put together a Ballot Party playlist of songs from and inspired by the American Utopia original cast album you can hear here.

Copy: 

The Spike Lee–directed film of David Byrne’s American Utopia debuts on HBO and HBO Max this Saturday, October 17, at 8pm ET/PT. The special event, a New York Times Critic's Pick, presents a one-of-a-kind, dynamic film that gives audiences access to Byrne’s critically-acclaimed Broadway show that played to sold-out, record-breaking audiences. The filmed version was recorded during its late 2019 to early 2020 run at Broadway’s Hudson Theatre in New York City. David Byrne is joined by an ensemble of eleven musicians, singers, and dancers from around the globe, inviting audiences into a joyous dreamworld where human connection, self-evolution, and social justice are paramount. They perform songs from Byrne’s 2018 album American Utopia and from Talking Heads. The original album and the Broadway cast recording are available on Nonesuch Records.

Make the special event of the HBO premiere even more so by hosting a Ballot Party for you and your family and friends to make a plan to vote—whether by mail or in person, early or on Election Day, November 3. We'll be getting ready for Vote Early Day, October 24, when, in many states, you can visit an Early Voting location to vote in person or drop off your mail-in ballot. For all the materials to plan your Ballot Party and be sure you're vote ready, visit myamericanutopia.com.

For further inspiration both before and after you've watched the film, we've put together this Ballot Party playlist of songs from and inspired by the American Utopia original cast album:

"By the time Byrne and company perform 'This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody),'" says the New York Times' Manohla Dargis, "you may find yourself levitating."

"A joyous blend of song, dance and revival meeting," says NPR's Fresh Air. "This is one show you can dance to."

"I have watched this movie half a dozen times in the last two weeks and the only thing that’s preventing me from viewing it again is the necessity of filing this review," writes Los Angeles Times' Glenn Whipp. "That American Utopia will live indefinitely on HBO Max offers a measure of hope that I can get through the rest of the year with my faculties intact. We may well be on the road to nowhere, but that doesn’t mean we can’t cling to a steadfast belief that things can (and will) get better ... American Utopia arrives 36 years after Jonathan Demme’s Stop Making Sense, which ... just might be the greatest concert movie ever made. Until, that is, American Utopia. Rank them 1A and 1B."

"American Utopia is an outstanding collaboration between two essential artists," says Vanity Fair; "I can’t believe there’s anyone alive who won’t be moved by this document."

"Spike Lee's playful and entrancing big-screen version of David Byrne's American Utopia is better than the next best thing—it feels more like a whole new thing," says Variety. "The film is studded with numbers that take your breath away."

“If you were lucky enough to catch David Byrne’s Broadway show in 2019 or early 2020, you probably still haven’t stopped talking about it," says Rolling Stone. "Fortunately, the musician brought in no less than Spike Lee to turn the performance into a movie, one that will probably inspire a whole new wave of admirers."

"The synergy here between filmmaker and subject—from the avant-funk grooves to the spirit of inclusivity and the urge to heal a broken nation—is simply spectacular," says the Hollywood Reporter. "I haven't had a better time at a movie all year."

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David Byrne's American Utopia film

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  • Thursday, October 22, 2020
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    David Byrne has partnered with HeadCount—the non-partisan organization using the power of music to register voters and promote participation in democracy—to curate a playlist for Spotify. In honor of Spike Lee's new film of David Byrne's American Utopia on HBO Max, the playlist aims to inspire listeners in the United States to exercise their right to vote in the 2020 election. You can hear it here.

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