Movies Under the Stars: Blues Films


Movies Under the Stars—Chicago Film Archives and Black Cinema House join forces to bring outdoor film screenings to Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood. Join us on select Fridays this summer for extraordinary and rarely seen films. Our Performance Series includes Duke Ellington’s 1964 tour of Japan, gospel and folktales from the Delta, and the 1976 Oscar-winning film “American Shoeshine.” A special screening of a Spencer Williams classic will cap off the Summer Cinema Series – 2013. Get relief from the heat under the stars with sights and sounds from our past.
May 24: Performance Series Part 1 (in anticipation of Chicago’s Blues Festival)

The Blues (Samuel Charters, 1973, 20 min.)
Samuel Charters, an American music historian and Grammy-winning music producer, captures southern blues musicians in their own environments — alleyways, porches, front stoops and home interiors. Featuring performances by J.D. Short, Pink Anderson, Furry Lewis, Baby Tate, Memphis Willie B., Gus Cannon and Sleepy John Estes.

Give My Poor Heart Ease: Mississippi Delta Bluesmen (Bill Ferris, 1975, 21 min.)
An account of the blues experience through the recollections and performances of B.B. King, Son Thomas, inmates from Parchman prison, a barber from Clarkesdale and a salesman from Beale Street. The film is one of a series of films made in Mississippi in the mid 1970s by William Ferris and the Center for Southern Folklore and produced in association with Howard Sayre Weaver. This field work is the basis for Ferris’s 2009 book Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues. (Description Courtesy of Folkstreams)

American Shoeshine (Sparky Greene, 1976, 29 min.)
This short film about the shoeshine trade was nominated for the Best Short Documentary Academy Award in 1976. Greene doesn’t get in the way of his subjects, allowing the stories to stand on their own.

Where: 6918 S. Dorchester Ave. (across the street from Black Cinema House)
When: Friday, May 24 at dusk (about 8:15pm)
What if it rains: The screening is canceled