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[Welcome to The Fourth Wall, CHIRP's weekly e-conversation on cinema. This week, the discussion is about the James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro. This edition is written by CHIRP Radio volunteers Kevin Fullam and Clarence Ewing.]
Kevin: Clarence, while digesting the myriad of themes in I Am Not Your Negro, I got the feeling that director Raoul Peck had enough material here for three documentaries, not just one? The film pinballs between the life of writer James Baldwin (whose unfinished manuscript Remember This House formed the backbone of the movie) and his recollections of assassinated civil-rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition, we're also treated to a powerful, disturbing visual collage ranging from Hollywood films to newsreel protest footage -- one which shows us just exactly what white Americans thought of their black countrymen during the early/mid-20th century.
It's that collage which stuck with me the most. How far have we come as far as racial reconciliation? Peck's juxtaposition of police-brutality videos of yesteryear with today's social unrest seems to suggest that we haven't traveled very far at all. While whites no longer line up with signs (and worse) to oppose the integration of schools and communities like they did in decades past, are we not still a largely segregated society, albeit informally?
This will not be the first time that Freda Love Smith, Britt Julious, and Joe Meno, have shared personal stories with a CHIRP Radio First Time audience. These three have been dubbed Storytelling All Stars by the creators of the series. The producers are “super excited” about bringing them to the Printers Row audience.
The First Time dovetails personal storytelling with music played by The First Time Four band. The music is selected by the storytellers and is directly related to the story being told. The First Time Four band is a small versatile group comprising singer Steve Frisbie, drummer-singer Gerald Dowd, performer Liam Davis and keyboardist Scott Stevenson.
The First Time’s All Star line up of storytellers, with emcee Jenn Sodini, and The First Time Four band will appear June 10th, 4:15 – 5:00 p.m. at the Printers Row Lit Fest in the Jones College Prep. South Auditorium, 700 S. State Street. Free tickets are available here.
For more about The First Time see the First Time Web site. On July 12th The First Time will return to its regular home at Martyrs.
Welcome to The Fourth Wall, CHIRP's weekly e-conversation on cinema. This week's subject is The Jake Jake Gyllenhaal thriller Nightcrawler.
This edition is written by CHIRP Radio volunteers Kevin Fullam and Clarence Ewing.
"If it bleeds, it leads."
If you watch movies and/or TV long enough, that statement will be made by someone to either condemn or praise the television news industry. Depending on who's speaking, it’s either a bite-size indictment of a business that thrives on greed and suffering, or a clear-eyed, realistic assessment of market forces and consumer demand.
I kept thinking about that phrase as I watched Nightcrawler, the story of Lou Bloom and his rise to the top of his chosen profession. Bloom isn’t what you’d call a social person, but he has drive, ambition, and knowledge (the latter of which is mostly gleaned from the internet). After coming across a horrible accident scene one evening, where freelance camera crews swoop in to sell gruesome shots to the highest bidder, Bloom finds his True Calling. With a little help from his near-homeless assistant Rick (Riz Ahmed) and struggling morning news producer Nina Romina (Rene Russo), he’s going to make something of himself… no matter what it takes.
Chicago band Panda Riot creates Shoegaze-y walls of sound that mix beauty and intensity. It's a great way to kick off the summer. Music from their new album Infinity Maps is available for listening in rotation and by request on CHIRP Radio.