Teesee`s Town: ‘Black Harvest’ celebrates our Black experience on film

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Blu Monday with The Collective–While you’re out and about this evening, Aug. 11, stop by Blu 47 Restaurant and Lounge, 47th and King Dr., ‘round 7 p.m. That’s where The Collective will be holding forth once again, promising fresh n

Blu Monday with The Collective–While you’re out and about this evening, Aug. 11, stop by Blu 47 Restaurant and Lounge, 47th and King Dr., ‘round 7 p.m. That’s where The Collective will be holding forth once again, promising fresh new connections, great exchanges of information, live music and grown folks who know how to party.

“We are an eclectic mix,” they say, “creative, business savvy, artistic and intellectual, representing a wide range of diverse backgrounds, industries, interests and passions.”  Individually, members of the The Collective are Darryl Petty, David Dixon, Kirk Townsend, Pamela Taylor, Terri Winston, Claudette Rober, Fran Bell, Lester McCarroll, Kevan Ware and Gary Harris.

2008 Summer Cabaret Series–The Auditorium Theatre stage will be transformed into an intimate cabaret space on Saturday when jazz trumpeter Orbert Davis & Friends present “The Center of the Song,” also billed as “An Evening of Romantic Jazz.” The audience will be up close and personal with the musicians. Limited seating, so don’t delay. Call (312) 922-2110 or visit http://www.chicagojazzphilharmonic.org.

Film Noire–The 14th annual edition of the Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video, currently running at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, through Aug. 28, celebrates the Midwest’s “biggest and best” of the Black experience on film and spotlights world-wide talent with a special focus on Chicago area-based filmmakers.

On Aug. 6, 6:15 p.m., there’s a special advance screening of Trouble the Water. Set in post-Katrina New Orleans, it provides a sneak preview of one of the most acclaimed documentaries from the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal went to New Orleans to cover the activities of the National Guard, but after being blocked by red tape, chanced upon a much more interesting subject, Kimberley Roberts, a 9th Ward resident, rapper and amateur videographer. What emerged from her on-the-spot footage and powerful personality is an amazing story of authentic heroism in the face of unimaginable adversity. On Aug. 9, 5:30 p.m., five Black Harvest directors will dissect the process of making a film (from getting the money to casting, production, post-production and distribution) during a free panel discussion and workshop, “How to Get a Movie Made,” designed especially for filmmakers, including aspiring ones. Screenwriter Sergio Mims, Black Harvest co-founder, coprogrammer and consultant, heads the panel, which includes producer/ actor Simeon “Simbo” Henderson and directors Mark Spencer, Francis Polo, Kameishia Wooten and David Muhammad. New this year, a free vendors’ market in the Gallery Caf%uFFFD from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., providing information and demonstrations of production equipment.

Among films slated for screenings during the month: Mark Spencer’s The Ballad of Sadie Hawkins and The Gilded Six-Bits, Hezekiah Lewis’ Curtain Call, Deri Tyton’s The Party Line, Mike Merrill’s Caught in the Game, Christopher Nolen’s Subtle Seduction, David Muhammad’s The Opposite of Life, Rachel Goslins’ ‘Bama Girl, Andre Malette Jr.’s Champion Sound, Dante James’ The Doll, Sidney Winters’ T.A.C.T.I.C.A.L., Josiah Kibira’s Bongoland II: There’s No Place Like Home, David Weathersby’s Soul of a Woman, Larry Bryant’s Urban Genesis, Robert Patton-Spruill’s Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome, Kofi A. Oliver’s Vista/View, Calvin Standifer’s Free to be Free and Being a Woman, Torsten Evans’ The Dirty Bird, Francis Polo’s 9 to 5, and Andrew P. Jones’ Kings of the Evening (starring Tyson Beckford, Lynn Whitfield, Glynn Turman, Linara Washington and Reginald T. Dorsey).

Also to be screened is a host of films that have garnered raves and awards at major festivals around the world from Berlin, Toronto, Tribeca to Sundance, including: Faubourg Trem: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans, Liberty Kid, A Good Day to be Black & Sexy, White Lies/Black Sheep and Heart of Fire.

At Saturday’s opening, the Deloris Jordan Award for Excellence in Community Leadership was presented to NBC 5’s Warner Saunders followed by a “Black Harvest Feast,” an exciting selection of five short films conveying the spirit and feeling of the monthlong festival: Tyrone Huff’s Chiles, Boris Schaarschmidt’s Spent, Stacy Pyles’ Mista Nice Guy, Adedapo Akisanya’s Behind Closed Eyes and Kameishia Wooten’s Southern Cross. LeeAnn Trotter emceed.

On Aug. 5, special guest Elvis Mitchell, film critic and cultural commentator, hosted an advance screening of HBO’s The Black List, Vol. 1, a series of dramatic portraits of influential African Americans: Toni Morrison, Lou Gossett Jr., Bill T. Jones, Suzan-Lori Parks and Sean (“Diddy”) Combs.

Personal appearances are a unique feature of Black Harvest and some programs feature receptions after the show. Check http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org often for updates. Black Harvest is supported by National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois Arts Council, American Airlines, Alphawood Foundation and Playboy Foundation. Special thanks to fest consultant Sergio Mims, Black Harvest Community Council and the many filmmakers who help make it possible.

A.K.A Honors–A quartet of exemplary women, representing various disciplines but all bound by their achievements and commitment to service, were inducted as honorary members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., at its Centennial (that’s 100 years!) Celebration in mid-July in Washington, D.C.

The four, inducted by Barbara A. McKinzie, international president, are C. Vivian Stringer, head women’s basketball coach at Rutgers University and author of Standing Tall: A Memoir of Tragedy and Triumph; Carol H. Williams, founder, CEO, president and chief creative officer of the Carol H. Williams Advertising Agency with offices in Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit and New York, who crafted one of the most creative campaigns in advertising history, Secret antiperspirant’s Strong Enough for a Man, but Made for a Woman; Dr. Zoanne Clack, a physician and writer, consultant and producer on ABC-TV’s award-winning drama, Grey’s Anatomy; and Deborah S. Stewart- Parker, president and CEO of International Business Solutions Inc., who launched her career at General Motors in 1977 as a member of an elite team of “non-technical graduates” assigned to learn the automotive business from the ground up and was the first woman to lead an assembly plant at Ford Motor Company.

Michelle Obama, wife of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has accepted an invitation to join the sorority, according to AKA members, who add that once she’s formally inducted, she cannot become a member of any of the other “Divine Nine” organizations, as African American sororities and fraternities are often referred to. However, a spokeswoman for Michelle Obama, said: “Because of her respect for each of the historically Black sororities and fraternities, her membership is non-exclusive. She looks forward to working with all of them to help bring change to their communities.”

Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai, environmental and political activist from Kenya and the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for “contributions to sustainable development, democracy and peace,” will be sworn in when members of the sorority journey to Kenya to perform the induction ceremony.

And besides the honorary sorors, a limitededition AKA Centennial Barbie series was introduced at the convention by Mattel Inc. Selling for $50, she’s dressed in salmon pink and apple green (of course!), matching jeweled shoes and gold jewelry. Look for her in Wal- Mart retail outlets and chains.

Drum Beat–Drummers from throughout Chicago will join Carol Adams, Ph.D, secretary of the Ill. Dept. of Human Services at this year’s Bud Billiken Day Parade in a historic march entreating the Black community to return to the values of its African ancestors. Themed Turn the Beat Around!, the message will be to renounce guns and violence and embrace peace and community. Traditionally, a drum call would mean it was time for the village to gather ‘round an issue of importance. Nothing could be more important now than to bring healing and direction to our neighborhoods and help our youth realize their unlimited potential. Says Dr. Adams: “We need fewer funerals and more graduations.” Young folk from The SafetyNet Works will be among the marchers helping to underscore that point.

Celebration Time, C’mon!–Valerie Elkins wants us to know that the Jamaican American Association of Illinois celebrates Jamaica’s 46th year of Independence on Aug. 9, 6:30 p.m., at the Marmon Grand Ballroom, 2230 S. Michigan. A tasty Jamaican buffet by Kingston Jerk will be followed by entertainment by Charles Cameron & The Sunshine Festival Band and dancing to music by D.J. Howie. The $65 tax-deductible, per person evening also includes a raffle, door prizes and silent auction. JAAI provides charitable aid and assistance to Jamaicans and others with needs in the areas of social welfare, education and health. For tickets and/or more info, call (773) 955-8950.

Tribute Time–The life of Justice R. Eugene Pincham will be celebrated when Probation Challenge and Rev. Harold E. Bailey, president, hosts the 29th annual “Portraits of Achievers” Awards Ceremony & Dinner on Aug. 15, 7 p.m., at Condesa del Mar, 12220 S. Cicero, in suburban Alsip. The event, emceed by Maureen Forte, broadcast media personality, will include entertainment by The Impressions. This year marks the first absence of Justice Pincham, co-founder of Probation Challenge, who passed in April. For $50 tickets, call (773) 978-3706.

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Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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