Presented by Kennedy-King College and the Chicago Local Organizing Committee for the 2006 National Hip-Hop Political Convention, this series of screenings, lectures, and panel discussions runs Wednesday, January 11, through Sunday, January 15, at Kennedy-King College, 6800 S. Wentworth. Following are programs through Thursday; for more information visit www.chiloc.com/events.html.
The Birth of a Nation
It might as well be titled "The Birth of the Movies." D.W. Griffith's 1915 Civil War epic was the first commercially successful feature-length film. Seen today, it's an odd combination of the most delicate sentiment and, in its racism, the most brutal insensibility. Griffith's later films are unquestionably superior. But here, in a very real sense, is where the movies began, both as an art and as a business. 190 min. (DK) Sheila V. Baldwin of Columbia College will lecture after the screening. Following this presentation, Stephanie Shonekan, also of Columbia, will lead a discussion about the TV show Soul Train. (Lecture Hall 2W89, 3:30 PM)
A young idealist (Blair Underwood) tries to form an independent record company in this 1985 musical. Michael Schultz (Car Wash) directed; with Sheila E., Run-D.M.C., the Fat Boys, Kurtis Blow, and New Edition. 97 min. A discussion will follow the screening. (Robeson Theatre, 3:30 PM)
Charlie Ahearn's 1982 cult classic is a semidocumentary about the emergence of graffiti art and hip-hop, which have been inextricably linked from the start. Using subway artist Lee Quinones as the lead and the media's curiosity about him as a pretext, Ahearn's narrative meanders through the clubs and rail yards of the South Bronx. Quinones is ill at ease doing the romantic scenes and reading the hokey dialogue, but the street kids around him play themselves naturally. The pacing is slow--inexcusable in a film about music--except when hip-hop takes over, and Ahearn wisely gives plenty of screen time to the likes of Busy Bee, Rock Steady Crew, and Fab Five Freddy. 82 min. (TS) A discussion will follow the screening. (Dunham Theatre, 3:30 PM)
"Than a Forest: Shady Images in Hip-Hop"
Lord Cashus D of Universal Zulu Nation will present a slide show on subliminal images in hip-hop, with a discussion to follow. (Lecture Hall 2W89, 6:30 PM)
"Greater Chicagoland Hip-Hop Filmmakers Caucus"
Mark F. Armstrong will chair this caucus to "draft a platform for independent filmmaking." (Robeson Theatre, 8:35 PM)
A panel discussion on the "power of film/video to effect progressive change in hip-hop and other cultural youth movements." (Dunham Theatre, 3 PM)
Four shorts: Freedom or Everybody Die, Determination, Scream at Me, and A Letter Home. (Dunham Theatre, 4 PM)
"Written, Directed & Produced by Us"
Actors, directors, and screenwriters will participate in this panel discussion on "using text and performance art . . . to promote progressive social change in hip-hop." (Dunham Theatre, 5:15 PM)
When Thugs Cry
Two brothers move from Alabama to Chicago, hoping to straighten out their crack-addicted mother. Parris Reaves wrote and directed this 2003 independent feature. 87 min. Members of the cast and crew will attend the screening. (Dunham Theatre, 7:15 PM)