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Chicago, Illinois 60616
(312) 243-1808

Monday, January 16, 2017

MLK Day at Rebuild


Celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and explore African American history and culture at the Stony Island Arts Bank. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, movie screenings and readings culled from our archival collections of black history will last throughout the day. Free and open to the public, activities for all ages.

In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr Day, Black Cinema House presents a full day of archival films featuring historic moments from the civil rights leader’s time in Chicago, along with audio and video clips exploring the legacy of the movement.

In partnership with the Chicago Film Archives:

Non-Violence: The Message of Mahandas Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  (1975, Sunrise Media Collection)

Producer: Pictura Films for the series Turning Points: America in the Twentieth Century

Filmmakers: Mert Koplin and Charles Grinker | Editor: John Christophel

Reaction Film: Black Power  (1975, Sunrise Media Collection)

Producer: Pictura Films for the series Turning Points: America in the Twentieth Century

Filmmakers: Mert Koplin and Charles Grinker | Editor: John Christophel

Cicero March  (1966, Film Group Collection)

Camera: Mike Shea | Sound: Mike Gray | Editor: Jay Litvin

In partnership with Media Burn Archive:

Audio: This Train (Studs Terkel, 1963)/ Video: Historical news footage of the March on Washington (1963) (45 seconds).

Historical news footage (1964, 8 minutes)

Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks at an event celebrating the enactment of the Civil Rights Act.

Historical news footage (1954/1968, 40 seconds)

Dr. King speaks at Soldier Field, June 21, 1954, followed by footage of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s press conference giving his infamous “Shoot to kill” order on April 8, 1968.

Excerpt from Daley (Tom Weinberg, 1986, 5 minutes)

John Callaway interviews Daley’s longtime press secretary, Earl Bush, about Daley’s response to the unrest sparked by Dr. King’s assassination.

Historical news footage (year unknown, 30 seconds)

Dr. King speaks on his involvement in Chicago.

Audio only: WBBM radio report on the assassination of Dr. King (1968, 7 minutes).

Historical news footage (1968, 1 minute)

Footage of Dr. King’s casket being loaded onto a plane.

Historical news footage (1968, 3 minutes)

Early responses to Dr. King’s assassination.

Outtake from THE 90’s Election Specials (Andrew Jones, 1992, 1 minute)

Congressman Charles Hayes (D-IL), who was elected to fill the vacant House seat of Harold Washington after he became mayor in 1983, talks about marching with Dr. King in Chicago.

Excerpt from Dovie Thurman, A Conversation with Studs Terkel (produced by the Chicago Video Project of Communications for Change, Community TV Network, and Community Media Workshop, 1997, 4 minutes)

Dovie Thurman, community organizer & the “heart” of Uptown speaks with Studs Terkel about her reaction to Dr. King’s assassination.

Excerpt from Omnibus: Studs Terkel’s Chicago (Mike Dibb, 1985, 2 minutes)

Studs Terkel interviews Peggy Terry, a Southern white whose ingrained racist views were challenged and changed by her awakening to civil rights issues in Montgomery, AL.

Outtake from THE 90’s (Jimmy Sternfield, 1990, 1 minute)

Professor William M. King, pioneer of Black Studies at the University of Colorado, discusses Dr. King’s ideal of the “beloved community.”

Excerpt from March for Disarmament (Ted Krichels, 1982, 20 seconds)

Folksinger and activist Joan Baez speaks about Dr. King at this anti-nuclear weapons rally in Central Park attended by nearly a million people.

Outtake from Voices of Cabrini (Ronit Bezalel, 1997, 1 minute)

Patrons at George Robbins’s Barbershop in Cabrini–Green remember the unrest following Dr. King’s assassination.

Excerpt from The Other M.J(Tom Weinberg, 1999, 15 seconds)

Chicagoan Michael Johnson quotes Dr. King on MLK Day.

Footage of Chicago special events (Bill Stamets, 1985, 3 minutes)

Stevie Wonder and a gospel choir pay musical tribute to Dr. King on his birthday.


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Chicago, IL 60649
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Premiere of Jeff Parker Film Scores

For tomorrow’s FIRST STEPS program at Columbia College we enlisted the talented Jeff Parker (pictured above) to score all of the silent Ruth Page films and home movies, including:

DANSE MACABRE (1922), BOLERO (1930), VARIATIONS ON EUCLID (circa 1938),  FRANKIE & JOHNNY (1938), and Ruth Page Home Movies shot in Bali, Indonesia (circa 1928)

We have been blown away at the quality of Jeff’s work and are really really excited to share his scores with the public for the first time. Each score melts naturally into the film, making the previously silent images feel more alive and accessible rather than interrupted or interfered with.

Jeff Parker is a guitarist, composer, educator, and sculptor of sonic textures. Since 1990, he has focused on being adaptable in musical environments that are constantly changing. His sonic palette may employ techniques from sample-based technologies, analog and digital synthesis, and conventional and extended techniques from his 35 years of playing the guitar.

Recognized as one of contemporary music’s most versatile and innovative electric guitarists, his music is characterized by ideas of angularity and logic, as well as an instantly recognizable tone on the instrument. He works in a variety of mediums, from Jazz to contemporary music, using ideas informed by innovations and trends in both popular and experimental music. He creates works that explore and exploit the contrary relationships between tradition and technology, improvisation and composition, and the familiar and the abstract.

He is a founding member of the critically acclaimed and innovative groups Isotope 217˚ and Chicago Underground, and a longtime member of the band Tortoise. He has released several collaborative albums under his own name. Currently he has been focusing on solitary work and solo performance – to cultivate and establish an idiosyncratic relationship between electronic and acoustic compositional properties in music and sound. (bio courtesy of Jeff Parker)

You can see and hear it all at FIRST STEPS – Thursday, May 1st (7PM) at Columbia College’s Film Row Cinema (1104 S. Wabash, 8th Floor). More on the program here

8 FLAGS Restoration Premiere

Last night I was reminded of why we do what we do. Over forty people packed into a small Garfield Ridge Public Library meeting room to view and discuss the 1970 Chicago-made doc, 8 FLAGS FOR 99 CENTS. The film, made by Chuck Olin & Joel Katz, provided a space for Garfield Ridge residents to express their opinions on the Vietnam War. To the filmmakers surprise, the interviewees’ responses were nuanced, thoughtful and almost unanimously anti-war.

The audience at last night’s screening consisted of past and present Garfield Ridge residents, or more specifically, interviewees from the film, Vietnam vets and family members connected to participants in the film. Using our tabletop Eiki, we projected the fresh 16mm restoration print (made possible thanks to the National Film Preservation Foundation!) onto a screen sandwiched between colorful reading club displays. The entire film was shot within a 5 block radius of the library, adding special meaning to our little screening space (this was also the library’s first film screening ever!).

As the back-of-the-room projectionist last night, I had the pleasure of watching everyone’s reactions to the film. Audience members would start whispering and raising fingers whenever they recognized a familiar face on the screen. In a typical movie theater setting this type of behavior would annoy me, but here it just made sense and added a whole new dimension to my personal viewing experience (it also gave us much-needed clues as to “who knew who” for the post-screening discussion).

Like the film itself, the discussion following the screening provided a space for those in and connected with the film to simply talk and be listened to. Dialogue was lively and justifiably emotional. CFA colleague and friend, Andy Uhrich, moderated the discussion, while CFA friend, Alicia Healy, filmed it. In cased you missed it, a transfer of 8 FLAGS FOR 99 CENTS is now available for streaming on our Collections Portal and Youtube Channel. We also plan to edit footage from the post-screening discussion…and here’s a sneak peek. This excerpt features Paul Aubin, a former Garfield Ridge resident and interviewee in the film.

Many thank-yous to our accommodating hosts, the Garfield Ridge Public Library. And more thanks to the Southwest Chicago Post and our co-presenter Clear-Ridge Historical Society for their assistance in spreading the word about the screening. 


Do you know these Garfield Ridge residents?

On September 12th, we will premiere the 16mm restoration print of 8 FLAGS FOR 99 CENTS in the south-west Chicago neighborhood it was shot in. The film (made in 1970 by Mike Gray Associates, Chuck Olin & Joel Katz) asks Garfield Ridge residents of their opinions on the Vietnam War. The filmmakers went to this particular neighborhood expecting pro-war & government slogans, but what they found was quite the opposite – thoughtful, nuanced, and distressed analyses of the war. We’re currently trying to identify the many residents interviewed in the film and *hoping* that some may be able to join us at next month’s screening at The Garfield Ridge Library.

Father Leonard Dubi

We already have Father Leonard Dubi on board! He appears in 8 FLAGS and will be on hand at the screening to discuss the film.

Below you will find frame grabs of the numerous Garfield Ridge residents interviewed in 8 FLAGS FOR 99 CENTS. If you (your friends, family or neighbors) recognize any of these faces, feel free to let us know via email ( or telephone (312-243-1808) – please be sure to list the number of the photo along with a name. And if your time & energy allows, you can also help us out by spreading the word of our 8 FLAGS identification quest… we’d really appreciate it! And now to the many faces of 8 FLAGS FOR 99 CENTS (tip: click on the images for a larger view):

UPDATE – August 13, 2013: a few faces have been identified thanks to the Clear-Ridge Historical Society! We’ve added the names or notes near the appropriate photos. We’re still looking for names and (if possible) any contact information for the following Garfield Ridge residents…









5. identified as Mike Lucas – still looking for contact info and/or relatives




7. identified as Larry Daniels, Jack Lake and Dennis Kowalick - still looking for contact info and/or relatives


8. identified as Jack Lake – still looking for contact info and/or relatives




















18. daughter of Mr. Maciusz, owner of Southwest Hardware – name is unknown








22. identified as Tom Gibbons - still looking for contact info and/or relatives








26. custodian at JF Kennedy High School – name is unknown


27. (left to right) identified as John Kurtovich and Paul Aubin


CFA Films Head to the Capital

This morning we packed up three CFA films to ship off to our nations capital. They’ll take part in the National Gallery of Art’s annual showcase of film preservation from international archives and special collections. This year’s programs range from rediscovered American rarities to artists’ films and unsung shorts from the 1960s, and to major French classics celebrating their fiftieth anniversaries this season. These three CFA films (Margaret Conneely’s Chicago: City to See in ’63, the FilmGroup’s Social Confrontation: The Battle of Michigan Ave. and Don Klugman’s Nightsong) will be shown at the The City in the ’60s: Forgotten Films from American Archives program on Saturday, July 20th. Thanks to grants from the National Film Preservation Foundation (Battle of Michigan Ave., Nightsong) and Women’s Film Preservation Fund (City to See in ’63), all three of these films were photo-chemically preserved, or rather, new film prints were struck of each title (more on that, here). Ok, back to the program – here’s what the National Gallery of Art’s site has to say about it: “As recently as the last half of the twentieth century—in theaters, churches, private clubs, and especially schools, where the core curricula could always benefit from some audio-visual enhancement—the projection of 16 mm films was a regular occurrence. Thousands were produced each year on every subject imaginable. Although many 16 mm collections have now been discarded in favor of digital, there are many archives that treasure and preserve this fragile format for its historical value. In their recently published Learning with the Lights Off, Marsha Gordon and co-editors Devin Orgeron and Dan Streible examine the educational film in its endless variety—from art to music, biology to medicine, suburban sprawl to urban decay. Marsha Gordon introduces a program designed around the city in the 1960s that includes screenings of entertaining and informative films representing Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago: Village SundayThree Cures for a Sick City,The Battle for Michigan AvenueFelicia, and Jim Henson’s Time Piece.” As mentioned above, the program is a presentation around the book Learning with the Lights Off. Edited by Devin Orgeron, Marsha Orgeron and Dan Streible, the book is the first collection of essays to address the phenomenon of film’s (more particularly educational and nontheatrical films) educational uses in twentieth century America. Luckily for you Washingtonians, Marsha Oregon will be on hand at the screening to discuss the films and the book. We’re super honored to take part in this screening and to share these pristine 16mm film prints with the D.C. area (we wish we could be there!). And last but not least, friendly shout outs to the other archives/institutions involved in this particular screening: Raleigh based A/V Geeks and the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. More on the screening here.

Behrend’s ‘Babbit Blast’ to Screen at the Iowa City Doc Film Fest

Next Friday (the 13th..eek!) at 7PM, Patrick Friel will present Jack Behrend’s “Babbit Blast” (1961) as part of the Iowa City Documentary Film Festival’s “Portraiture, Performance, and Industry: The Documentary Fringe and the Avant-Garde” program. Patrick is managing editor of Cine-File Chicago (a weekly Chicago guide to independent and alternative cinema), founder of the White Light Cinema series and festival director of Chicago’s Onion City Experimental Film & Video Festival.

“Babbit Blast” was originally a sponsored film Jack made for the Reserve Mining Corporation, who mined Tachonite in the surrounding area. According to Jack, they would ” drill holes 50 feet deep every 10 feet for a quarter of a mile, fill them with explosives and then blow them in a sequence to loosen a huge amount of rock which would be hauled to a rock crusher and made into pellets.” They hired Jack in 1961 to shoot an explosion at high speed (10,000 frames/second) when they presumed that one of their explosives was defective. It took the company two months to set up an explostion, so a lot was riding on Jack to successfully capture it in one go. What resulted were two 16mm. films, one unfortunately color faded and the other (which Patrick is screening) in good shape.

CFA first screened the film back in 2007 as part of “The Big Picture” series at Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center (series curated by Michelle Puetz and Andy Uhrich). This was the first time the film was recontextualized as an experimental or “accidental” avant-garde film. The film’s slow motion explosion has meditative qualities that at times resemble a far-distant nebula coming into existence via supernova explosion. We’re super excited that Patrick has chosen Jack’s film for his program, and that he too is placing this film into new frameworks. When I asked Jack if he ever thought this film would be screened as an experimental film, he replied, “No, I would never have thought it would be the least bit interesting to anyone.”

For more information on the Iowa City Documentary Film Festival’s schedule, click here.

& for more information on CFA’s Jack Behrend Collection, click here.