Film Screening & Discussion
Featuring Dr. Adilifu Nama, Associate Professor of African American Studies, Loyola Marymount University
Date & Time: Saturday, April 5, 2014, 2:00 p.m.
Location: Allendale Branch Library
Address: 1130 S. Marengo Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91106
Information: (626) 744-7260(626) 744-7260 or visit pasadenapubliclibrary.net
"Because filmmaking tends to be cost-prohibitive, art, independent black comic books, black music, and even hip-hop videos have functioned as alternative sites where futuristic fantasyscapes populated by black people can find expression. This form of science fiction blackness is broadly captured under the term 'Afrofuturism,' a word used to describe the variegated expressions of a black futurist imagination in relation to black cultural production, technology, cyberculture, speculative fiction, the digital divide, and science fiction." ~ Dr. Adilifu Nama, Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film (University of Texas Press, 2008)
In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month (April 2014), join the Allendale Branch Library for "The Sun Ra Centennial: A Different Order of Being" on Saturday, April 5, at 2:00 p.m., at 1130 S. Marengo Avenue, Pasadena. The program will offer an in-depth look at the influential and prolific pianist and bandleader, Sun Ra, during the 100th anniversary of his arrival on the planet Earth. Guest speaker Dr. Adilifu Nama will introduce the screening and discuss Sun Ra's influence on Afrofuturist aesthetics. Dr. Nama is Associate Professor of African American Studies at Loyola Marymount University, and author of Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film and Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes.
Born in 1914 in Birmingham, Alabama as Herman Blount, he took the name of the Egyptian sun god, Ra, in the 1950s after claiming he was visited by extraterrestrials from Saturn. In a period spanning some 40 years until his death in 1993, Sun Ra recorded over 200 albums, incorporating bop, blues, big band swing, and electronic sounds into an avant-garde musical concoction that established him as one of the greatest sonic innovators of the 20th century. He is also widely credited as the father of Afrofuturism, an aesthetic movement and sociological phenomenon merging elements of science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, and African and Egyptian mythology into a new black culture and identity free of exclusion and oppression.
Our program will present a screening of three films: The Magic Sun (1968), Space is the Place (1974), and Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise (1980). A classic of underground cinema, Phill Niblock's The Magic Sun is a short film of the Sun Ra Arkestra performing on the roof of a New York City apartment building, shot in extreme close-up on high-contrast black and white film. John Coney's legendary film, Space is the Place, mixes surrealism and Afro-psychedelica in its story of an alien from a faraway planet, played by Sun Ra, who arrives in Oakland on a spaceship to transport African Americans to a new colony where they would be masters of their own destiny and no longer outsiders in society. Robert Mugge's documentary, Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise, offers a stunning immersion into the music and cosmic philosophy of this extraordinary jazz visionary and intergalactic traveler.
The program is open to the public and free of charge. Light refreshments will be served. For further information, contact the Allendale Branch Library at (626) 744-7260(626) 744-7260 or visit pasadenapubliclibrary.net. More details are also available at the Allendale Branch Library Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/allendalebranch.