Celebrating African-American Music on Film during Black History Month at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Special live interview with the Stylistics also scheduled


CLEVELAND (February 4, 2011) – In celebration of Black History Month, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will present a special film series, “Double Exposure: African-American Music on Film,” which will highlight the central role of African-Americans in the history of rock and roll. Selected films cover a wide range of musical styles, from the gospel roots of rock to hip-hop, and feature legendary performers, including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees such as Bessie Smith, Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Curtis Mayfield, the Staples Singers, Run-D.M.C., Ike & Tina Turner, Wilson Pickett, and Isaac Hayes. The films also reflect historical and cultural changes in African-American culture during the rock and roll era. The screenings will include special introduction and discussion by scholars, filmmakers, and Rock Hall Education staff. All films will be screened in the Rock Hall’s state-of-the-art Foster Theater and are free with a reservation.

Each film begins at 7 p.m. (except for Movin’ On Up: The Music and Message of Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions, which begins at 6:30 p.m.) and is FREE with a reservation.  Call 216.515.8426 or email education@rockhall.org to reserve a spot.

The month will also include a class in the Rock Hall’s K-12 program, Rockin’ the Schools, as well as a special session of the museum’s K-12 teacher professional development program, Teachers Rock. The Teachers Rock session, “Alternate Takes: K-12 Approaches to African-American Music on Film,” will be held on Wednesday, February 9, 2011 from 4:30 – 6pm and will explore the legacy of African-American music and musicians on film.  Participating educators will discuss key films (to be screened in their entirety throughout the month) as well as Rock Hall educational models and content approaches.  With subjects and performances ranging from the birth of the blues to the dawn of hip-hop, these films reveal a story often neglected or even ignored.  Learn how you can bring this meaningful history into your own classroom.

FILMS:

Wednesday, February 9th at 7 p.m.: DOUBLE FEATURE
St. Louis Blues (1929)
Runtime: 16 minutes

A short film featuring blues legend Bessie Smith and an all-African-American cast. W.C. Handy, the author of the song, was the musical director of the film. It is the only known film of Bessie Smith.

The Godmother of Rock and Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe (2011)
United States Premiere
Runtime: 60 minutes

A documentary by Mick Csáky about the life, music and influence of the African-American gospel singer and guitar virtuoso Sister Rosetta Tharpe. During the 40s, 50s and 60s Sister Rosetta Tharpe played a key role in the creation of Rock & Roll, inspiring some of its greatest stars. The flamboyant gospel superstar, with her spectacular virtuosity on the newly electrified guitar, was one of the most important singer-musicians of the 20th Century, acknowledged as a major influence not only on generations of black musicians including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Isaac Hayes and Etta James, but also on white stars like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. Contributors include Chris Barber, Joe Boyd, Willa Ward, and Howard Carol.
Gayle Wald, Professor of English at George Washington University and author of Shout Sister Shout: The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe will lead a discussion of the film.

Thursday, February 10th at 7 p.m.:
Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock ‘N’ Roll! (1987)
Runtime: 120 minutes

The unforgettable life and music of pioneering legend Chuck Berry are celebrated in this landmark feature film, capturing a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of rock and roll’s finest.  In 1986, Keith Richards invited a roster of great musicians to honor Chuck Berry for an evening of music to commemorate Berry’s 60th birthday, including performances by Etta James, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, and Julian Lennon, along with archival footage of an unforgettable duet by Chuck Berry and John Lennon. Directed by Taylor Hackford.

Wednesday, February 16th at 7 p.m.:
Soul to Soul (1971)
Runtime: 96 minutes

On March 6, 1971, some of the greatest artists in the history of popular music traveled from the United States of America to Ghana, West Africa, to take part in a 14-hour musical celebration entitled “Soul to Soul.” Over 100,000 enthusiastic locals gathered to witness this unique exchange of cultures between two continents. This award-winning film, newly remastered and restored from the original 35 mm negative by the GRAMMY Foundation, combines classic concert performances with scenes of the artists getting in touch with their roots. Performers include Wilson Pickett, Ike & Tina Turner, The Staple Singers, and Santana.
Film producer David Peck and Rob Bowman, Director of York University’s Graduate Program in Ethnomusicology and author of the film’s liner notes, will discuss the film and its impact after the screening.

Thursday, February 17th, 6:30 p.m. (NOTE EARLIER START TIME):
Movin’ On Up: The Music and Message of Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions (2008)
Runtime: 120 minutes

Throughout the ‘60s, the Impressions helped provide a soundtrack for the civil rights movement with such classic songs as “People Get Ready,” “Meeting Over Yonder,” “Choice of Colors” and “We’re a Winner.” Later as a solo artist Curtis further defined an era with his ‘70s masterpiece, Superfly. This documentary tells their incredible story through interviews with Impressions Fred Cash and Sam Gooden, Curtis’ wife Altheida Mayfield, producer/arranger Johnny Pate, Carlos Santana, Chuck D, civil rights leader Ambassador Andrew Young, and archival interviews with Curtis Mayfield, as well as 22 complete performances filmed between 1965 and 1973. This film celebrates the craft and the conscience of one the 20th century’s great souls.
Film director David Peck and Rob Bowman, Director of York University’s Graduate Program in Ethnomusicology and author of the film’s liner notes, will discuss the film and its impact after the screening.

Friday February 18th at 7 p.m.:
Jimi Hendrix: Band Of Gypsys (1999)
Runtime: 83 minutes

Nearly three decades after his untimely death in September 1970, Jimi Hendrix's legendary performances with the Band Of Gypsys remain one of his most impressive achievements. Jimi Hendrix: Band Of Gypsys features the only known footage of the group in concert, including “Machine Gun,” “Who Knows,” “Izabella,” “Fire,” “Foxy Lady,” and a musical soundtrack which exclusively includes additional performances from the guitarist's December 31, 1969 and January 1, 1970 concerts. To document the extraordinary impact Jimi's revolutionary blending of rock and funk has achieved across a wide spectrum of popular music, contemporary guitarists Slash, Lenny Kravitz, and Vernon Reid spoke of the inspiration and continuing influence that Band Of Gypsys has provided. Don Cornelius, founder and producer of Soul Train and noted radio and television personality Frankie Crocker outline the hurdles Hendrix faced for acceptance at radio, television, and with an emerging black audience for his music.

Wednesday, February 23rd at 7 p.m.:
Wattstax (1973)
Runtime: 98 min

What film better captures the energy of the ‘70s’ Black Power Movement as well as the irresistible, timeless music that played as its soundtrack? Called the “Afro-American answer to Woodstock,” the 1972 Wattstax Concert, sponsored by Stax Records, was organized to commemorate the seven-year anniversary of the 1965 Watts Riots in Los Angeles. Like its more famous predecessor, Wattstax is not just the recording of a concert, but a political statement, a testament to the hopes, fears, and struggles of African-Americans in a turbulent era. The film features electrifying musical performances (including Hall of Fame Inductees Isaac Hayes and the Staples Singers), thought-provoking interviews with residents of Los Angeles, and hilarious and insightful monologues from Richard Pryor.

Friday, February 25th at 7 p.m.:
Krush Groove (1985)
Runtime: 97 min

Sheila E., Run-DMC, the Fat Boys and Kurtis Blow star in this feature-film romp through New York’s teen subculture. They’re talented street-savvy urbanites on the move after hooking up with a new record label. But with their success come ego trips and greed that threaten to destroy everything they’ve worked for. A fresh 23-song soundtrack vibrantly powers this rags-to-riches story, directed by Michael Schultz (Car Wash, Greased Lightning). So get ready for Krush Groove the movie (which marked Blair Underwood’s feature-film debut)—and get down with its music. Additional performers include New Edition and tracks from Chaka Khan, the Beastie Boys, and the Gap Band.

Please visit rockhall.com/events/black-history-month for more information.

ADDITIONAL SPECIAL EVENT: 
Friday, February 11 at 1 p.m.:
An Afternoon with the Stylistics featuring Airrion Love and Herb Murrell
After the Spinners and the O’Jay’s, the Stylistics was the leading Philly soul group produced by Thom Bell.   During the early '70s, the band had 12 straight Top Ten hits, including "You Are Everything," "Betcha by Golly, Wow," "I'm Stone in Love With You," "Break Up to Make Up," and "You Make Me Feel Brand New." Of all their peers, the Stylistics were one of the smoothest and sweetest soul groups of their era.  All of their hits were ballads, which helped make the Stylistics one of the most successful soul groups of the first half of the '70s. 

Love and Murrell will be interviewed by the Rock Hall’s Director of Education Jason Hanley. Questions will be taken from the audience at the end of the interview.  This event is free with a reservation. Please email education@rockhall.org or call (216) 515-8426 to RSVP. 

About the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. is the nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its educational programs.
 The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Wednesdays, the Museum is open until 9 p.m. Museum admission is $22 for adults, $17 for seniors (65+) and $13 for youth (9-12). When you become a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the world of rock and roll becomes yours to explore. Call 216.515.8425 for information on becoming a member. For general inquiries, please call 216.781.ROCK(7625) or visit www.rockhall.com. The Museum is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.
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