Looking for Langston: Poetry + Film

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As part of the Harlem Renaissance Celebration in Hyde Park, Black Cinema House presents Looking for Langston, a lyrical reimagining of the cultural legacy of revered African American poet Langston Hughes, hosted by Emily Lansana (UChicago associate director of Community Arts Engagement) and Jacqueline Stewart (Black Cinema House curator/UChicago professor of Cinema + Media Studies). The evening kicks off with Rebirth Poetry, a Chicago-based, award-winning youth poetry slam team, presenting original and archival work.


In Looking for Langston, director Isaac Julian invokes Hughes “as a black gay cultural icon, laying archival footage alongside performance in an impressionistic, atmospheric setting that is at once 1920s Harlem speakeasy, 1980s London gay nightclub, and atemporal dreamscape. Extracts from Hughes’s poetry are interwoven with the work of a range of cultural figures from the 1920s and beyond, including writers Bruce Nugent and Essex Hemphill and controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.” – The Black Room

(Isaac Julien, UK, 1989, 42 min)

The Harlem Renaissance Celebration in Hyde Park brings together performing arts, music, film, and scholarship to welcome you into the artistic explosion in America that changed the course of black identity and expression. Court is partnering with University of Chicago scholars, musical performers, local schools, arts organizations, and film centers to rediscover the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance and the ways in which it redefined how America, and the world, witnessed the spirit and talent of African Americans.