Tuesday, July 7, 2009

People Of The Sun

Sun Ra And His Intergalactic Solar Arkestra: Space Is The Place Directed By John Coney

"If you find earth boring, just the same old story, you can sign up for Outer Space Ways Incorporated!" Hilariously bad at times, but also kind of amazing. "Fear of A Black Planet" is kinda the jumping point for this movie, about an intergalactic Jazz keyboardist named Sun Ra (who really used to perform, and speak like this), trying to start a new planet (or mythology), for all of the Black People on earth, starting with African Americans in urban ghettos and based and dressed on a belief in low budget Egyptian costumes, sci-fi lyricism, and Jazz music. At one point the agents of the Overseer (the anti-Sun Ra, whose name is a plantation reference), capture Ra, and incapacitate him by tying him up, and making him listen to...horror of horrors...... Big Band music...! If nothing else it's got an awesome soundtrack, in fact performances by Sun Ra, and his band, punctuate most scenes, making it a weird combo of performance, and sc-fi. If you can imagine Robert Altman's "Nashvillle", except about one guy, and shot on a weekend between other movies). Not "blacksploitation", which referes to films, made by whites, about and staring blacks with an emphasis on stereotypes, but little to no real political or social content like "Shaft" , "Dolemite" , "Blacula", "The Mack", or the best "Coffy", this is more like "Sweet Sweetbacks' Badass Song" or "The Spook Who Stood By The Door", both sincere and genuine documents of there time, both pretty bad too.But the best of the bad, is "Space Is The Place" it has all the stereotypes you find in blacksploitation films of the 70s, but pushed to absurd, mythic, and mystic levels. Drunk: My man, what's happenin? Sun Ra: Everything is happenin. Drunk: What is this... I mean what... where am I? Who is you?Sun Ra: I am everything, and nuthin. Drunk: Nuthin? Well you betta tell me about this nuthin stuff, cause, uh, I need a job. I... I don't know what to do.Sun Ra: What have you been doing lately? Drunk: Uh huh uh, nuthin, really, nuthin. Sun Ra: How long have you been doing nothing?Drunk: Quite some time. Quite some time. Sun Ra: You must be an expert at it. Drunk: Got my B.A., ya see. Sun Ra: We'll hire you to do that. Drunk: How much I get paid, man? Sun Ra: Nothing. Drunk: Nuthin? NUTHIN? I got to have sumthin so I can get me anotha bottle. I can't go for that shit! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Ra

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