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Summer Film Series at the Dorchester Project

Thursdays, Jul 14-Aug 11 ,  9PM

Dorchester Project
6918 South Dorchester
Chicago, IL

Admissions: Free

CFA Partners with Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates to present a south side movie series under the stars.

Join us this summer for outdoor film screenings at 6918 South Dorchester. Four evenings in July and August, CFA will present extraordinary and rarely seen films. Get relief from the heat with sights and sounds from the past. Ali’s bout with Spinks, the genesis of the Vice Lords, sounds of Sun Ra and scenes from Maxwell Street decades ago. Jazz artist David Boykin will provide musical accompaniment to silent films.

Thursday, July 14 – CHICAGO AFTER DARK – 9pm

CRY OF JAZZ (1959), Directed by Ed Bland, DVD projection, 34 min.

THE CRY OF JAZZ, known for its performance of outré jazz musician Sun Ra, examines the relationship between jazz and racism inherent in American culture. Bland contends that the compositional form of jazz reflects the conflict between the limitations imposed by white racism and the inner aspirations of African-Americans. Bland created a treatise on the jazz form and its singular expression of black life in America. In form this film is a mixture of historical essay, musical performance, and social realist documentary, but it is tied together with a narrative born out of a party attended by both black and white guests. The lively and sometimes contentious discussions revolve around the ‘real’ understanding of jazz. (AU)

NIGHTSONG (1964), Directed by Don Klugman [from the Don Klugman Collection], 16mm preservation print, 22 min.

NIGHTSONG is a rare and unique portrait of the Chicago Near-North folk club and nightlife scene in the mid-1960’s, and centers around the struggles and romantic desires of the film’s star, long-forgotten African-American folk sensation Willie Wright. NIGHTSONG features rare exterior and interior footage of legendary hot spots such as The Fickle Pickle, Mr. Kelly’s, the Kismet Club, the Esquire, and the Tender Trap, as well as what is likely the only extant performance footage of Willie Wright, an African-American performer who crossed from the doo-wop and soul music scenes of Chicago’s South Side into the Near-North side’s burgeoning folk music community. Wright, who gives a charming and heartfelt performance both on stage and as the film’s protagonist, is a man struggling for respect and survival as an African-American artist in a primarily white musical genre and neighborhood, achieved a small amount of recognition in the 1960’s for his folk performances, but quickly fell into obscurity.

NIGHTSONG won the “Coupe Kodak-Pathe” prize at Cannes in 1965, was named one of the “Ten Best Winners” in the Amateur Cinema League’s 1964 International Film and Video Festival, and was acknowledged at the time of its release for its extraordinary and expressive use of color. While NIGHTSONG is a truly unique experimental film production, its real significance lies in its critical depiction of the racial and sexual tensions present in mid-1960’s Chicago. (MP)

THE CORNER (1963), Directed by Robert Ford, 16mm. [from the Chicago Public Library Collection], 26 min.

Shot by Northwestern University film student Robert Ford on the streets of Chicago’s west side, THE CORNER explores the problem of juvenile delinquency through an understanding of the way juvenile gang members understand themselves. The film intends neither to be a defense nor incrimination, but rather a subjective statement in the words of Chicago Vice Lord gang members, describing their world, their codes of behavior, and their attitudes. (AW)

Thursday, July 21 – MUSIC AND MOVEMENTS – 9pm

THE BLUES (1973), Directed by Samuel Charters [from the Chicago Public Library Collection], 20 min.

Samuel Charters, an American music historian and Grammy-winning music producer, captures southern blues musicians in their own environments — alleyways, porches, front stoops and home interiors. Featuring performances by J.D. Short, Pink Anderson, Furry Lewis, Baby Tate, Memphis Willie B., Gus Cannon and Sleepy John Estes. (AW)

MAXWELL STREET (Circa 1978), [from the Glick-Berolzheimer Collection] 4.5 min. w/ live musical accompaniment.

MAXWELL STREET was originally found in a can labeled “Walls and Helen” within one of our largest home movie collections. Only upon closer inspection did we realize this particular home movie reel contained scenes of a late 1970s Maxwell Street Market, which at the time still took place at Maxwell Street and south Halsted Street, its original location. (AW)

YULIE BRYNNER vs ROSE ROMAN (Circa 1958), [from the Sylvia & Russ Davis Collection], 8.5 min.

An episode of a syndicated wrestling show shot at Chicago’s International Amphitheatre. Shot live on film with three-camera coverage, it features a witty and entertaining narration from announcer Russ Davis. This one-fall match features “The world’s ugliest woman” Yulie Brynner (bald headed like Yul) versus Rose Roman. (AU)

LIE BACK AND ENJOY IT (1982), JoAnn Elam [from the JoAnne Elam Collection], 8 min.

“JoAnn Elam’s LIE BACK AND ENJOY IT is an absorbing eight-minute dialectical film about the politics of representation. More specifically, it examines the politics of filmic representation of women under patriarchy. Its image track consists of technologically manipulated images of women, and some printed titles. Its soundtrack consists of a dialogue between a Man (a filmmaker) and a Woman (of whom he’s going to make a film).” Claudia Gorbman, Jump Cut

UNDERWATER BALLET (1944), produced by Joe Bonica and Movie Newsreels Inc [from the Charles Krosse Collection], 3 min. w/ live musical accompaniment.

A stag film (for all audiences!) that features an underwater performance by Nini Shipley. This particular print was found within our Charles Krosse Collection amongst forty-six commercially produced Caterpillar Inc. films?! (AW)

HIGH LONESOME SOUND, (1963) Directed by John Cohen [from the Chicago Public Library Collection], 30 min.

John Cohen’s documentary on the origins of country bluegrass music is a stunningly beautiful and dignified film that recalls the photographic imagery of Robert Frank. (NW)

Thursday, August 4 – A CFA MIX – 9pm

ZEA (1981), Directed by Andre and Jacques Leduc [from the Chicago Public Library Collection], 6 min.
All of life’s secrets can be found in a single cell … or a ________!

CICERO MARCH (1966), Produced by the Film Group, Camera by Mike Shea, Sound by Mike Gray [from the Film Group Collection], 8.5 min.

This short documentary film, one of seven educational modules made by the Film Group for classroom use, offers a chilling and powerful document of the September 1966 civil rights march through the Chicago suburb of Cicero. Robert Lucas, President of the Chicago branch of the Congress on Racial Equality, leads a march that Martin Luther King agreed to avoid. With the generous help of the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF), CFA was able to preserve this title, along with the Film Group’s entire seven-part educational series that documents the civil unrest in Chicago during those times. (NW)

RATAMATA (1971), Jeff Kreines [from the Chicago Public Library Collection], 9 min.

Shot by filmmaker Jeff Kreines on Veterans Day in 1970 when he was only 16 years old, the film showed at the Ann Arbor Film Festival and was selected as a “Young Chicago Filmmakers Festival” award-winner. Kreines left high school not long after he completed RATAMATA to focus on making films full-time. RATAMATA is a portrait of the diverse opinions of Chicagoans (ranging from high school students to habitual mayoral candidate Lars Daly) as they reflect on the general state of affairs in America, the war in Vietnam, social and racial conflict, freedom and personal liberty, happiness, and social justice. (MP)

BOOGIE WOOGIE BLUES (1948), Tyler Texas Film Series from Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, G. William Jones Film and Video Collection [from the Chicago Public Library Collection], 16 min.

The Tyler Texas Film Series is comprised of short subjects, features, and a set of newsreels, all of which were made by African Americans for African American audiences between the years 1935 and 1956. The original 35mm. nitrate films were transferred to 16mm. safety film in 1985 and distributed by Phoenix films for educational use (now available on DVD via SMU). Each 16mm. transfer of the series begins with a reenactment of the film collections 1983 discovery and an introduction that provides some much-needed context of the collection. Included in the series is BOOGIE WOOGIE BLUES, a 10-minute performance featuring the songstress Hadda Brooks, accompanying herself on the piano. Songs include “Don’t Take Your Love From Me,” “Don’t You Think I Ought To Know,” and “I’m Tired of Everything But You.” (AW)

ALI VS. SPINKS IN LAS VEGAS excerpts (Feb. 15, 1978), Big Fights, Inc. and Top Rank, Inc. [from the Chicago Public Library Collection], 4 min.

Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks battle it out in Las Vegas for the title of World Heavyweight Boxing Champion.

ORGANIZING FOR POWER — THE ALINSKY APPROACH: A CONTINUING RESPONSIBILITY (1968), Bonnie Klein & Peter Pearson, National Film Board of Canada [from the Chicago Public Library Collection], 44 min.
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The first of a five-part series that features the theories of community organizer Saul Alinsky (1909-1972) and the influence they had on various US communities. This particular episode focuses on the effects of Alinsky’s collaboration with The Woodlawn Organization (T.W.O.) in the early 1960s. It was during this time that the T.W.O. successfully postponed the University of Chicago’s land expansion into north Woodlawn through the use of sit-ins, voter registration campaigns and other mass demonstrations. Now we see the T.W.O. – without Alinsky’s direct presence – continuing to fight for improved living conditions and against displacement caused by urban renewal. Interviews with T.W.O., community members, Alinsky and Julian H. Levi (University of Chicago Professor and advocate of Urban Renewal) are interspersed with scenes of the Chicago neighborhood. (AW)

Thursday, August 11 – Your Home Movies – 9pm

The Dorchester Project and Chicago Film Archives invite you to this bring-your-own-film event, putting the spotlight on historic home movies from the south side of Chicago. Home movies shot on 8mm, Super8mm, and 16mm film offer a unique “you are there” view of decades past, often in gorgeous living color!

Your home movies are an important part of Chicago’s south side cultural history. Why not bring them out to share!? We will project your home movies up on the big screen under the stars while saxophonist, David Boykin, provides live musical accompaniment.

To learn more about how to see your home movies up on the big screen this summer contact:
Nancy or Anne at 312-243-1808

Program Notes by Michelle Puetz, Andy Uhrich, Nancy Watrous & Anne Wells

Location:
Dorchester Project
6918 South Dorchester
Chicago, IL
Hours:9PM
Admissions:Free