3 GREAT STORIES: Starring the world’s most mysterious chicken dish

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

The Search for General Tso (January 2015, Wicked Delicate Films): A new documentary, exploring the history behind one of the world’s most famous dishes, is playing in seven cities this week.

Luckily for me, one of those cities is Atlanta.

I had the pleasure of seeing The Search for General Tso — he of the famous General Tso’s Chicken — and I highly recommend it. The subject matter sounds whimsical at best, but it provides a stupendous launching pad for a 75-minute film that touches numerous fascinating topics.

Credit to filmmaker Ian Cheney for putting together an entertaining — even absorbing — documentary that has already dominated the awards circuit at various film festivals. And by the way, the movie is also available on demand through iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and other outlets.

So you can watch it anywhere … and you should.

The NY Police vs. the Mayor (February 5 issue, New York Review of Books): On the far more serious end of the spectrum comes this riveting long-form piece from NY Review of Books writer Michael Greenberg.

The topic? The current tension between New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and the police department that serves his city.

Greenberg gets into the substance of the issues here, but he also puts himself into the story — in terms of both his opinions and his presence in various narrative elements. I do not always enjoy this approach, but I feel like it works here, in that Greenberg is able to recount anecdotes and conversations that he could not have included without his particular vantage point.

And as a primer for what has made the situation so heated in the Big Apple, this works just fine.

Dakar rally 2015 (1/14/15, Big Picture): A photo gallery can be a beautiful vessel for events that defy description.

The Dakar rally in South America would seem such an event.

Try explaining everything going on in the photos that make up this gallery from the always wonderful Big Picture crew. The photographers hail from the usual outlets (Reuters, Getty, AP, etc.) and do their darnedest to capture the madness of this extreme terrain race, which showcases the theatrics of riders of bikes, ATVs, and other cross-country vehicles.

Sound interesting? If not, look at the first few photos, and see if you get hooked.

Have a suggestion for “3 Great Stories of the Week”? E-mail me at matt@tellingthestoryblog.com.

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