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Politics
Tune in Tonight for June 30
 06.29.20

Difficult to watch yet impossible to dismiss, the documentary “Welcome to Chechnya” (9 p.m., HBO, TV-MA) will stun viewers and leave them wondering just how the film was made. “Welcome” does not merely document and explore the official harassment and murder of gay people in the Russian region, but follows two activists as they smuggle victims to safety.

Smuggled phone footage shows gay men being brutalized and harassed by police, and other phone messages describe tactics of blackmail and intimidation. The film opens with a harrowing call from a woman whose uncle has discovered her lesbianism. He insists that she submit to his sexual demands or he will tell on her to his brother, her father, an official in the Chechnyan government who will certainly have her murdered rather than live with the “shame” of a gay daughter.

Director David France (“How to Survive A Plague”) uses a number of innovative techniques, from a battery of hidden cameras to digital effects, to protect the identities of participants still subject to government-sponsored terrorism.

  • As we’ve seen before, sometimes sports films allow people to discuss and confront subjects that might seem “too difficult” if handled directly. An “ESPN Films” (6:30 p.m., ESPN) presentation, “Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible” discusses a scandalously underreported phenomenon.

Indigenous women on reservations in the United States and Canada are 10 times more likely to be murdered than women elsewhere. This film documents the establishment of an all-woman boxing gym established in Canada’s Blackfeet Nation. There, women get to bond and tell stories, use the punching bag as a “therapist” and relate tales of harassment and fear. The film also offers a view of life on a reservation, dispelling many media and movie stereotypes.

  • “Supermarket Shock: Crisis in America’s Food Supply” (9 p.m., CNBC) examines a key front line in the battle with COVID-19, from vulnerable meat processing plants to the kid working her first job at the grocery counter.

Fear of contagion has changed the way many people shop and don’t shop, altering the retail economy overnight. Purchasing goods online seems safer and easier. But all of those Amazon orders have to be fulfilled by somebody.

The crisis has also shed light on the vulnerability of people who do essential jobs like producing and selling food. These same people are often making minimum wage and are without health benefits. Some are subject to deportation, and all of the harassment and hypocrisy that our immigration system offers.

A consistent cheerleader for Wall Street as a barometer of our society, CNBC rarely covers the conditions faced by workers. Sometimes it takes a crisis to take “essential” workers seriously.

  • A fixture of sitcoms for decades gets his own Netflix stand-up special “George Lopez: We’ll Do It for Half.”

TV-themed DVDs available today include “Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears,” the feature-length installment of the stylish Acorn period mystery.

Other highlights

  • Auditions continue “America’s Got Talent” (7 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
  • Former church members “groomed” for marriage to polygamous elders when they were barely out of childhood recall life in a fundamentalist Mormon sect on “Warren Jeffs: Prophet of Evil” (7 p.m., A&E, r, TV-14).
  • The CW presents the stand-up special “Barry Brewer: Chicago I’m Home” (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).
  • The two-night “POV” (8 p.m., PBS, TV-14) docuseries “And She Could Be Next” concludes.
  • Dan stacks the decks in divorce court on “Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story” (9 p.m., USA, TV-14).
  • Duels and dance battles commence on “World of Dance” (9 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
  • In the season finale, “The Genetic Detective” (9 p.m., ABC) moves beyond cold cases and helps solve a recent murder.

Cult choice

Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin play competitive bird watchers in the 2011 comedy “The Big Year” (8 p.m., MoMax).

Series notes

Teamwork on “DC’s Stargirl” (7 p.m., CW, TV-PG) ... Defending feminism on “black-ish” (8 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG)

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Briefly
briefly
Waco-area news briefs: June 30, 2020
 06.29.20

Waco Links Fellowship meets at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Uncle Dan’s BBQ, 1001 Lake Air Drive.

Special guest is Art Stricklin, of Dallas, longtime Texas golf writer, author, and travel expert.

All golfers and supporters are invited to this devotional meeting and are reminded to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Email benhagins@hot.rr.com for more information.

Food distribution

The Central Texas Food Bank will distribute free food to help those in McLennan and Bell Counties who are facing increased food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The distribution takes place from 10 a.m. until noon Thursday at Waco ISD Stadium, 1401 S. New Road. A distribution for Bell County residents is Saturday, July 18 at Temple College, 2600 S. First St. in Temple.

At these special drive-through food distributions, attendees will receive one box of assorted produce, 1-2 gallons of milk and one protein box weighing between 8-20 pounds containing chicken or pork products.

The food bank needs volunteers to assist with these events. Anyone interested in volunteering should visitcentraltexasfoodbank.org, and click on “Volunteer” to sign up. Volunteers proficient in Spanish are also needed for client intake. To sign up for this role, email volunteer@centraltexasfoodbank.org.

First Friday

The Dr Pepper Museum hosts its July First Friday event July 3, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at 300 S. Fifth St.

The gift shop and soda fountain are open late.

Early trash pickup

City of Waco offices will be closed on Friday, in observance of Independence Day.

Cobbs Recycling Center and the landfill will be open during normal business hours on Friday but will be closed on Saturday.

Friday’s trash will be picked up early on Wednesday.

The Waco-McLennan County Library system will close all branches on Friday and will reopen on Monday, July 6.

Waco Transit offices will also be closed on Friday. Waco Transit buses will run as scheduled on Friday, but will only run Medicaid trips.

The Cameron Park Zoo, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Waco Mammoth National Park will be open on Saturday.