Film/Lecture: Thomas Wexler presents a screening and talkback on “‘I Have a Dream:’ The Civil Rights Generation, and Hip-Hop in the Social Unconscious” Wed., May 3

Thomas Wexler, M.A. American Studies, Bowling Green State University presents a screening and talkback on Wednesday, May 3, at 7 PM entitled “‘I Have a Dream’: The Civil Rights Generation, and Hip-Hop in the Social Unconscious.” This event is free.
Following the film, a talkback session will be held exploring contradictions, and distinctions between the Civil Rights Generation, and Hip-Hop culture. The film features Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech as well as freestyle rap selections by Biggie Smalls and the Notorious B.I.G.
Discussion will focus on “The Art of the Freestyle.”  “Freestyle,” and “Freestyling” as a buzzword in today’s Hip-Hop culture, and the various contexts in which “Freestyle” performance should historically be interpreted as part of politically motivated Hip-Hop “Struggle,” or activism.

UPCOMING EVENTS (Music events start at 8 PM unless otherwise noted; screenings start at 7 PM unless otherwise noted):

• Thursday, Apr. 27. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ZACH ANDERSEN, ACOUSTIC DUO: THE HOOCH

• Friday, Apr. 28, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: THE SLOCAN RAMBLERS (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Sunday, Apr. 30, 7 PM. GEN X FILM SERIES SCREENING: “DO THE RIGHT THING”

• Tuesday, May 2, 4-7 PM. THE GREAT GIVE HAPPY HOUR

• Wednesday, May 3, 7 PM. FILM SCREENINGS & LECTURE/TALKBACK: THOMAS WEXLER ON “I HAVE A DREAM”: THE CIVIL RIGHTS GENERATION, AND HIP-HOP IN THE SOCIAL UNCONSCIOUS (Just added!)

• Thursday, May 4. INDIE ROCK: PROCEDURE CLUB

• Friday, May 5. SINGER-SONGWRITERS IN  THE ROUND: JENNIFER DAUPHINAIS, CHRISTOPHER BOUSQUET, FRANK CRITELLI

• Sunday, May 7. 2-5 PM. GUITARTOWNCT FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Sunday, May 7, 7 PM. GEN X FILM SERIES SCREENING: “THELMA AND LOUISE”

• Thursday, May 11. INDIE ROCK: ZOO FRONT, THE FURORS

• Friday, May 12. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SHAWN TAYLOR & WANDERING ROOTS (CD Release)

• Saturday, May 13. JAZZ: ALLEN LOWE & THE FAKE MUSIC ENSEMBLE

• • Sunday, May 14, 7 PM. GEN X FILM SERIES SCREENING: “MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDERETTE”

• Wednesday, May 17. POP: THE RACKET DOWNSTAIRS

• Friday, May 19. INDIE ROCK: LA TUNDA, LYS GUILLORN (solo)

• Sunday, May 21, 3 PM. LIGHTS! FILMMAKING WORKSHOP FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS: LIGHTS

• Wednesday, May 24. WORLD MUSIC: ELEGANT PRIMATES

• Thursday, May 25. DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT PLAYS MUSIC FROM “TWIN PEAKS”

• Friday, May 26. INDIE ROCK: WALLY

• Thursday, June 1. INDIE ROCK: IF JESUS HAD MACHINE GUNS

• Friday, June 2. JAZZ VOCAL: LINDA SATIN WITH JOE CARTER & TIM MORAN

• Sunday, June 4, 3 PM. CAMERA! ACTION! FILMMAKING WORKSHOP FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS: LIGHTS

• Friday, June 9. ALT-COUNTRY: PAT STONE, BOX OF BIRDS

• Saturday, June 10. JAZZ: ALLEN LOWE

• Sunday, June 11. 2-5 PM. GUITARTOWNCT FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Friday, June 16, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: MILE TWELVE (GUITARTOWNCT PRODUCTIONS)

• Thursday, June 22. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND; CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL MUSIC: THE CHRIS CHILDS TRIO

• Friday, June 23. CHAMBER ROCK: THE TET OFFENSIVE

• Friday, July 21. SOLO GUITAR: GLENN ROTH; SINGER-SONGWRITER: DANA MERRITT

• Wednesday, July 26. MUSIC FROM “THE SIMPSONS”: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRES OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS with SPECIAL GUESTS

• Friday, July 28. WORLD MUSIC: NEELA

• Friday, Aug. 4, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: HONEY DEWDROPS (GUITARTOWNCT PRODUCTIONS)

• Friday, Aug. 11. INDIE ROCK: LYS GUILLORN & HER BAND

• Friday, Sept. 8. INDIE ROCK: THE SAWTELLES

• Friday, Sept. 15, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: ROB ICKES & TREY HENSLEY (GUITARTOWNCT PRODUCTIONS)

• Friday, Sept. 22. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Friday, Oct. 20. BLUEGRASS: MISSY RAINES & THE NEW HIP (GUITARTOWNCT PRODUCTIONS)

• Thursday, Nov. 16, 7 PM. BLUEGRASS: TIM O’BRIEN

Hank’s Recommendations 01/15/13

hank_paperMartin Luther King Day should be every day of the year. Everyone has heard his truly moving “I Have a Dream” speech, underscored by that resonant prescient voice inspiring us to enter a Canaan that, like Moses, he himself would not be able to cross into. Here are some films which, while perhaps not transporting us to that promised land, at least invoke the non-violent struggle he devoted his life to, and that I think he just might have wanted us all to see.

GANDHI

At the very top of this list, and winner of eight Academy Awards, should be the epic yet intimate portrait of King’s own mentor who, like King, was assassinated before he could fully enter the era he, by and large, single handedly invoked and provoked. Luminously portrayed by (if not politically-correctly cast with) Ben Kingsley (who won the Best Actor Oscar), this was one of the first films I took my older daughter to see and which I believe, in the small way any film can, helped make her the person she is today.

NOTHING BUT A MAN

Nothing_But_a_Man_DVDA film doesn’t have to be loud and demonstrative to be affecting. A perfect example is this independent, award-winning 1964 film by Yale’s Michael Roemer. In a small Alabama town, a black laborer wanting to make a life for himself quietly romances a minister’s daughter and gets a job at the local sawmill which, as he soon finds out, is managed by white racists. With a quiet and involving sense of real life, this film depicts the small struggles and decisions that fed the integration that was then sweeping the country.

THE LONG WALK HOME

In this film about gender equality as well as racism, an affluent housewife in Montgomery, Alabama becomes moved, literally and figuratively, by her struggling maid’s decision to join a bus boycott and walk the nine miles to work. The movie is set in the explosive aftermath of Rosa Park’s courageous decision not to move to the back of the bus and features stellar performances by Whoopi Goldberg as the maid, and Sissy Spacek as the housewife who finds her own sensitivities shifting toward a confrontation with both her white community and her narrow-minded husband.

There are many other great and/or entertaining films I’ve especially liked through the years whose treatment of race might not have been the same without Martin Luther King. Here’s my list:

Antwone Fisher (directorial debut of Denzel Washington; script by Fisher himself)

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

Black Like Me

Boyz N the Hood

The Brother from Another Planet

The Color Purple

Conrack

The Defiant Ones

Do the Right Thing

Eve’s Bayou

Far from Heaven

Fresh

Fury (’36, Spencer Tracy)

Glory

Greased Lightning

The Great White Hope

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Home of the Brave

Imitation of Life (’59 remake)

In the Heat of the Night

Intruder in the Dust

The Jackie Robinson Story

The Jesse Owens Story

The Joe Louis Story

Lean on Me

The Learning Tree

A Lesson Before Dying

Liberty Heights

Mississippi Burning

Native Son (’86)

Pinky

Putney Swope

A Raisin in the Sun

The Rosa Parks Story

Rosewood

Separate But Equal

Sounder

A Time to Kill

To Sir, with Love

To Sleep with Anger

Watermelon Man

When We Were Kings

In addition to matters of race, King’s non-violent philosophy obviously has application to our own post-911 era (e.g. Sorry, Haters and The War Within). Let’s hope our passive involvement in these films leads us to a stronger appreciation of King’s passive resistance.

ADDENDUM FROM THE OTHER HANK (Hank Hoffman):

King_A_Filmed_Record_DVDKING: A FILMED RECORD…MONTGOMERY TO MEMPHIS

Just released on DVD and restored by the Library of Congress, this three-hour 1970 documentary is a chronological account of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s activist life, beginning with his leading the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott. With the exception of occasional interuptions by celebrity actors (James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, Clarence Williams III) intoning relevant verse (perhaps a “heavy” touch in 1970, rather pretentious now), the film consists of vintage footage. There is no omniscient narration. It is a riveting portrait, not only of a courageous man with a stirring moral vision but also of a time of wrenching upheaval.

FREEDOM RIDERS

Made for PBS in 2011 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides that desegregated interstate travel in the South, this Stanley Nelson documentary is a tribute to the incredible heroism of the (mostly) young activists of SNCC and CORE.