P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2003
January 4, 2004
The Politics of Race Examined in Films at MASS MOCA
(North Adams, Mass.) Two short, poignant films examining the divisive politics of race in America will be screened at MASS MoCA on Thursday, February 19, at 8 P.M. as part of Williams College's Stalwart Originality conference. É Minha Cara reveals one man's journey to find a personal cultural identity, as well as a deep investigation of race and what it means in America, Africa, and South America. Brother Outsider is the story of Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s main strategist, whose extraordinary impact on the Civil Rights movement went largely unrecognized because of his homosexuality. The films are a co-presentation with Williams College.
Directors Nancy Kates and Bennet Singer use archival film footage and interviews to tell Bayard Rustin's story in Brother Outsider. Rustin was a political activist who played a central role in the Civil Rights movement, yet his name goes unremembered. He advised Martin Luther King on non-violence during the 1956 bus boycotts and coordinated the 1963 March on Washington. He was kept out of the spotlight because of his long list of political liabilities. He was a conscientious objector during World War II and belonged to the Communist Party, although he quickly became disillusioned and severed ties with them. His biggest liability was his sexual orientation. His political enemies often used it to neutralize him, while his allies regularly shunned him because of it.
É Minha Cara (That's My Face) explores Thomas Allen Harris' personal journey through his own cultural roots in an attempt to define for himself what it means to be African-American. Harris grew up with divergent perspectives on African-American culture -- his mother believed black Americans should celebrate their African heritage, while his grandfather believed all cultures should assimilate completely into the mainstream. Harris himself traveled extensively throughout Africa, South America, and the United States., gradually building his own perspective on the issue. Filmmaker Harris will attend the screening and take questions afterward.
Support for the films comes from the Minton Fund and the Williams College Department of English.
Tickets to É Minha Cara and Brother Outsider are $5.50 (members save 10%) and are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesdays). . Reservations can also be made over the phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or made online at www.massmoca.org. Doors open at 7 for food and drink before the film.
Stalwart Originality: New Traditions in Black Performance is a conference sponsored by the Williams College Dance and Theatre Departments. This gathering of scholars and performers of the black experience attempts to integrate practice and theory at Williams College in a manner similar to the generation of black performance itself. Additional information on Stalwart events can be found at www.williams.edu/acad-depts/theatre/stalwart2004. Funding for the conference is provided by Williams College and the W. Ford Schumann '50 Endowment for the Arts.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall St. in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release