Fame (1980) is one of those movies that makes you wish you lived in a world so filled with youthful fervor that at anytime a group of kids might break into interpretive dance and jump on a cab.
But that didn’t keep us from cheering for the characters in the film (especially Coco and Leroy), and later the TV show (which featured Janet Jackson and Debbie Allen).
The story of students at a New York Performing Arts High School, the film follows the ebb and flow of their kinetic reach for stardom. The narrative is, despite pitfalls, like an infusion of fresh hope in admittedly hard times. It expresses a romantic image pairing sweat with success, art with desire.
A new Fame motion picture is scheduled for release this year, but somehow it seems superfluous. Those kids in the original are gonna live forever.
Wanna live forever? Wanna learn how to fly (again?) the Tofu Chitlin Circuit is having a screening of Fame in Bronzeville this Monday….
“If you want fame, well fame costs and right here is where you start paying with sweat!”
The Tofu Chitlin Circuit (a Bronzeville-based theater conservatory) is continuing their Family Reunion with the quintessential theater movie…”FAME!” Enjoy a screening and discussion.
Prizes for the best FAME gear!
When: Monday, July 27, 2009
Where: The Digital Youth Network
1050 E 47th Street
Chicago, IL 60653
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Film starts promptly at 7:00 p.m.
more about TCC:
“Our mission is to bring the audience into the creative process of theater. Our conservatory is an educational platform that assists artists and audience members with intellectual dialogue, poignant interviews from theater practitioners, workshops, classes and of course performances!”
Not unlike many movies that are labeled as “Blaxploitation”, the soundtrack to Sparkle (1976) is often regarded more highly than the film itself. A Curtis Mayfield-produced gem sung by Aretha Franklin, the soundtrack to the movie is glorious… but laden with its share of controversy. What’s controversial?
First, the film is a pre-Dreamgirls rags-to-riches story of three girls with dreams of stardom. Each of the main actresses (Lonette McKee, Irene Cara, and Dwan Smith) could all sing well enough to not be dubbed out of the movie; but apparently Warner Bros. thought not well enough to sell REAL LIFE records. Sort of ironic. Notably, in the movie, the somewhat unpolished vocals work well (after all, the singers were supposed to be kids coming up from the streets).
Back to the rags-to-riches story. So there’s the three girls. Enter stage left the young well-meaning Svengali producer character (played by Phillip Michael Thomas) whose dreams ride heavily on their success. Ultimately, a slippery force named Satin cracks the glossy veneer of Sister (the sophisticated lead vocalist played by McKee), and it seems all their dreams are derailed. Sparkle (Irene Cara) is forced to take over the Lead Vocalist’s role, rising from the ashes. A Star is Born, and Phillip Michael Thomas (as Stix) is willing to gamble everything to see their dreams come true.
What I like most about this movie is the locomotive power of their dreams, and the entrepreneurial spirit that runs through the tale.
Who doesn’t love a righteous dream, bigger than the span of your arms?
NOTE: Curtis Mayfield (who composed the music for the movie) came up in the Cabrini Green housing projects here in Chicago and had a rags-to-riches story of his own to tell, although the projects were a far different place in those days.