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Movie Screenings, Lectures and Performances

February 24, 2019

Borderline: Exploring America’s Evolving Artistic Dialogues of Race and Identity through Historic Silent Movies
Featuring Renée Baker and the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project Ensemble
3:00-5:00pm
Foellinger Auditorium
709 S. Mathews Avenue, Urbana, Illinois
Admission: Free

The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music continues exploring America’s evolving artistic dialogues of race and identity for this month’s Black History Month with a special showing of the Kenneth MacPherson’s 1930 silent film, Borderline, accompanied by Renée Baker’s Chicago Modern Orchestra Project ensemble performing the premiere of her new film score.  Macpherson’s visually compelling movie about interracial and LGBT relationships during the 1920s stars Paul and Eslanda Robeson.  This film is considered the last of the silent movie genre and was created well after movies with sound were the standard across America at the urging of Paul Robeson, whose voice was continually earning him rave reviews for his music performances.  His wife, Eslanda Robeson, who stars with him in this movie, attended the University of Illinois ca. 1912-1916 before transferring to New York’s Columbia University to earn a bachelors degree in chemistry in 1920.  That same year she also met her future husband, who was attending Columbia Law School.  So this February’s special viewing of Borderline will also be a type of homecoming for Eslanda Robeson for the Urbana-Champaign community and the University of Illinois. Following the showing of the film there will be a 45-minute discussion with Renée Baker and the audience about her work on this movie and her continuing interest in reviving historical silent movies with her new film scores.   For further information either call 217-333-4577 or email Scott Schwartz.

February 25, 2019

Scar of Shame: Exploring America’s Evolving Artistic Dialogues of Race and Identity through Historic Silent Movies
Featuring Renée Baker
7:00-8:30pm
Independent Media Center
202 S. Broadway Avenue, Urbana, Illinois
Admission: Free

David Starkman and Frank Perugini’s 1927 silent film, The Scar of Shame,  staring Harry Henderson, Norman Johnstone, and Ann Kennedy, today is considered one of the best independent black films produced at the height of the silent movie era. The film depicts the societal struggles of individuals seeking and eventually failing to improve their black urban lives in America during the 1920s.  The film was a collaborative production that utilized a black cast and an interracial production team called the “Colored Players,” which was predominantly white in 1927, and was one of only three films that were produced by this company.  Renée Baker’s new film score accompanies this historical movie and draws on the many societal issues presented in this historical film.  Following the film’s showing, Ms. Baker will talk about her work on this film with the audience.  For further information either call 217-333-4577 or email Scott Schwartz.