From Swing to Afro Futurism: A Series of Film Screenings is an event done in conjunction with the exhibition, Reclaiming the Legends: Myth & the Black Arts Movement. The screening aims to both elucidate the music dimension of BAM and, more importantly, to contextualize the poetic endeavors, of its writers.
Location: Judith E. Wilson Drama Studio, English Department Building (basement)
Time: 7.15 – 9pm
Tuesday, January 31:
Imagine the Sound (1981) dir. Ron Mann
The first screening will be of Ron Mann’s Imagine the Sound (1981). The film profiles four jazz musicians: Archie Shepp (saxophone), Cecil Taylor (piano), Bill Dixon (trumpet), and Paul Bley (piano). The film looks back at the “New Thing” (free jazz) and contains incredible live performances by Shepp, Taylor, Dixon, and Bley
Tuesday, February 7:
“The Cry of Jazz” (1959) dir. Ed Bland
“The Last Angel of History” (1996) dir. John Akomfrah
The second screening will be of two short films. “The Cry of Jazz” (1959) is an important documentary directed by Edward Bland. The film makes a strong case for the structural identity between black life in America and jazz music. It also traces the history of jazz and includes performances by a young Sun Ra & his Arkestra. In “The Last Angel of History” (1996), John Akomfrah explores the literary and cultural aesthetic known as Afro-Futurism.
Tuesday, February 14:
Space is the Place (1974) dir. John Coney
The third screening will be of John Coney’s Space is the Place (1974). Space is the Place is an afro-futurist, blaxploitation film featuring Sun Ra: a music-messenger and prophet from outerspace. After landing his spaceship in Oakland, Sun Ra spreads his word of an “alter-destiny” in outerspace to the black youth of the area. The movie also contains an incredible live performance by the Arkestra.
*All films may contain strong language. “Space is the Place” contains nudity.
Header Image: still from Space is the Place (1974) via Showroom Workstation