This week at Maysles Cinema: Homo Harlem Series

Maysles Cinema Presents: Homo-Harlem Film Series
June 21st – June 26th, 2010

A week-long film survey of artists and personalities who’ve informed the gay aesthetic in Harlem. Co-sponsored by NY State Senator Bill Perkins, Harlem Sage, Harlem United, Men of All Colors Together, and Queer Black Cinema.
Curated by Michael Henry Adams and Valerie Jo Bradley.
Monday, June 21st @ Museum of the City of New York, 6:30 pm
1220 Fifth Avenue bet. 103rd & 104th Streets
Tickets: $12 Non-Members, $8 Seniors & Students & $6 Museum Members

The Polymath, or, the Life and Opinions of Samuel R. Delany, Gentleman
Dir. Fred Barney Taylor (2007) 75 min.
Throughout this sprawling portrait of prolific science fiction author, professor and literary critic, Samuel R. Delany, one can’t help but wonder how Delany found the time–between grooming his prodigious beard, his amorous dalliances and being highly dyslexic — to write over twenty works of fiction, eleven works of non-fiction, and two memoirs, finding his way into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.  Using a range of experimental techniques and borrowed footage from Delany’s home movies that document his life growing up in a prominent Harlem household, Taylor captures his subject’s thoughts on racism, violence and his struggles with sexual identity.
After the Movie:  Conversation with filmmaker Fred Barney Taylor
Reception hosted by Café Saint Germain, JTE Spirits and Harlem Brewing Company

Tuesday, June 22nd @ Maysles Cinema, 7:30 pm

As I Remember It: Portrait of Dorothy West
Dir. Salem Mekuria (1991) 56 min.
This intimate portrait of writer Dorothy West explores the forgotten role of women in the Harlem Renaissance. From the perspective of her 83 years, West relates her memories of growing up African American, privileged and enchanted by literature.

Wednesday, June 23rd @ Maysles Cinema, 7:30 pm

Flag Wars
Dirs. Linda Goode Bryant & Laura Poitras (2003) 87 min.
Shot over a four-year period, Linda Goode Bryant’s and Laura Poitras’ Flag Wars is a poignant and very personal look at a community in Columbus, OH, undergoing gentrification. What happens when gay white homebuyers move into a working-class black neighborhood? As the new residents restore the beautiful but run-down homes, black homeowners must fight to hold onto their community and heritage. The inevitable clashes expose prejudice and self-interest on both sides, as well as the common dream to have a home to call your own. Winner of the Jury Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival, Flag Wars is a candid, unvarnished portrait of privilege, poverty and local politics taking place across America.
After the Movie:
“The first round of gentrification is carried out by artists and gay and lesbian folks” –
debate, discuss. Panelists TBA.

Thursday, June 24th @ Casa Frela Gallery, 7:00 pm
47 West 119th Street bet. Lenox/Malcolm X and Fifth Avenue
$10 suggested donation

Black Is . . . Black Ain’t
Dir. Marlon Riggs (1994) 87 min.
In celebration of Harlem Pride, the screening of the beautiful and poignant Black Is…Black Ain’t represents the last in Marlon Riggs’ oeuvre. Completed posthumously by his associates, the film, which examines the complexities of black identity in America, is considered his strongest and most moving work. Patching together interviews with black intellectuals like Angela Davis and Cornel West, footage of Riggs himself speaking from his hospital bed as he fought to survive the ravaging effects of AIDS, and clips of Louis Farrakhan and Eddie Murphy exhibiting stunning homophobia, Black Is…Black Ain’t seems to bring home the point that there is no homogenous black culture in America.  This memorial to Riggs is winner of the Sundance Film Festival Trophy Award and the International Association Documentary Distinguished Achievement Award. Thomas Holden of The New York Times writes, “For all its polemics, Black Is…Black Ain’t is embracing and at moments mystical.”
After the Movie:
Patrick McGovern, CEO and President of Harlem United Community AIDS Center, will lead a conversation about the HIV/AIDS pandemic. His innovative Upper Manhattan organization provides a unique continuum of care for clients who have faced significant barriers to care due to poverty, race, HIV status, and sexual or gender identity.
Reception, hosted by Harlem United, follows.

Friday, June 25th @ Maysles Cinema, 7:30 pm

The Josephine Baker Story
Dir. Brian Gibson (1991) 131 min.
“Before Madonna. Before Marilyn. There was Josephine.” Brian Gibson’s made-for-cable TV Emmy Award winning biography of Josephine Baker (played by Lynn Whitfield) chronicles the different stages of La Baker’s life and her rise to fame, from her days as Freda Josephine McDonald living on the streets as a school drop-out in Saint Louis, MO to her promising beginnings as a vaudeville dancer, to her journey to New York during the Harlem Renaissance where she performed at the Plantation Club and later in a number of popular Broadway revues. From there, the film depicts her arrival in Paris at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees and later to the Folies Bergeres in Paris, where she strangely found more success than in the United States. To his credit, Gibson goes beyond the rags-to-riches formula, engaging Josephine Baker’s life in politics, her role in the French Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement, while broadly chronicling the relationships, experiences and circumstances that shaped Josephine Baker’s life and diverse oeuvre.
After the Movie:
Panel discussion including La Baker’s son and midtown restauranteur Jean-Claude Baker and other special invited guests.

Saturday 26th @ Maysles Cinema, 7:30 pm

Naked White Roses
Dir. Henry B. Roa (2009) 105 min.
Trance is a New York City poet on the eve of a showcase that could, at last, propel him into the mainstream. But when he discovers that his lover of eight years is having an affair, his life is turned upside down and his dreams are suddenly deferred. Cut to five years later. Trance has moved on with his life when he meets Alex and a new fire is sparked. Will Trance find love again? Will he regain his voice? Only time will tell. Through music, poetry and stunning visuals, “Naked White Roses” explores the subjects of following your dreams, gay and bicultural relationships, and love and loss.