Tag Archives: Black Cinema House

Join Ayana Contreras: Monkey Hustlin’ in Chicago.

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I will be hosting a film screening of 1976’s Monkey Hustle at the Black Cinema House on Sunday, June 9th at 6pm. We will watch the film (which was shot mere blocks from where we’ll be watching it), and then discuss it.

Monkey Hustle – hosted by Ayana Contreras

Black Cinema House
6901 S. Dorchester Ave., Chicago

Sunday, June 9th at 6pm

Seating is limited, so please RSVP by emailing blackcinemahouse@rebuild-foundation.org to reserve your seats.

For more on the film, see my review below.

Monkey Hustle is a black film shot in Chicago in the 1970s (a rarity, in that regard), around the same time as Cooley High.  Mainly shot around 63rd Street, East of the Dan Ryan (the Woodlawn Neighborhood), and various West Side locations, the city figures prominently in the overall vibe of the film.  Starring in Monkey Hustle are (among others): Yaphet Kotto as a small-time hustler/love interest of the lovely Rosalind Cash, and a very young Debbi Morgan as Cash’s daughter.

Cash runs the local teenage hangout.  As the neighborhood hero/big-time hustler, we have Rudy Ray Moore (who is also Cash’s alternate love interest).  The other major character is Win, Debbi Morgan’s love interest who, despite showing promise for bigger things, dips deeper and deeper into the “Monkey Hustle” with Kotto.

The overlying plot is fairly pointed:  The city government is pushing ahead on plans to construct an expressway on land currently occupied by the neighborhood (which was actually happening in real-life Chicago… remember the plans for that “Crosstown Expressway“?).  Ultimately, the set-up becomes ‘the hustle must go on to save the community (by any means necessary)’.  Overall, a message movie with too many competing angles.  But fun for the shots of Chicago (and the girl fight).

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Chicago: Segregated City

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Kartemquin Films is collaborating with Black Cinema House to present “Chicago: Segregated City”, a screening and discussion of three of Kartemquin’s classic films about racial issues in Chicago, along with an exclusive sneak preview of 63 Boycott, their in-progress film about the 1963 boycott of Chicago Public Schools by thousands of African American parents and students.

Films featured will include:

UE/Wells (1975, 15 min.)[pictured]

Winnie Wright, Age 11 (1974, 26 min.)

Trick Bag (1974, 21 min.)
The films will screen on December 17th, 6pm at the Chicago Public Library’s Greater Grand Crossing branch at 73rd and Ellis. Filmmakers Gordon Quinn, Peter Kuttner, and other members of Kartemquin will be present for a discussion moderated by the Chicago Reader‘s Steve Bogira.

Monday, December 17 at 6pm
Chicago Public Library
Greater Grand Crossing Branch
1000 E. 73rd Street (73rd and Ellis), Chicago