Between family life, all the music making and writing about music that makes up a week in my life, I always make time for a great documentary. I believe my love for documentaries would have to be a natural extension of my love for reading non-fiction. Those passions are just so synonymous in my mind space that sometimes I can’t remember if I read something or I saw it. But the most important part is the experience and the knowledge that comes after, not necessarily how you received it.

I felt somewhat compelled to share a little recommendation about this Hugh Hefner documentary that I watched last evening on Netflix. If you subscribe to the service you can check it out here. Yes it’s about the articles 🙂 But seriously some of you may ask yourself what does this have to do with GFM? Everything. Hugh Hefner presented all types of musicians both on his television programs “Playboy’s Penthouse” and “Playboy After Dark” and through his network of Playboy Clubs. One of the most poignant comments on this occurrence came from Dick Gregory (who’s own career was bolstered by his appearance at the Chicago Playboy Club in the early 60’s) when (paraphrasing) he mentioned how Hefner would present Jazz musicians that 1. You couldn’t see anywhere else and 2. You actually got to hear them speak which was incredibly revolutionary at the time.

It is in this revolutionary space that I was captivated by the film and given some historical context that really shed a different light on Hugh Hefner for me. I’m too young to remember his television series and in many ways I was quite ignorant of his work for social justice etc., For me growing up Hugh Hefner was the dude in the pajamas and the mansion in L.A. (I really didn’t know much about the deep Chicago roots) and the parties and that was about it. Much more complex than that reduction, this is an inspiring story that will shed light on a very different time in this country’s history and a man who was willing to take many risks for his belief system. This film is not just Hefner’s world view, there are many critics of Hefner profiled which provides a fertile opportunity for the viewer to make up their own mind about this man and his legacy.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.