Tricontinental Acts of Solidarity opens at The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative at The University of Virginia in November 2019.
Notes on Solidarity : Tricontinentalism in Print
The intent of this project is to create a provocation examining acts of liberation from imperialism and colonialism through multiple avenues of creative expression both contemporary and from the revolutionary era of the 1960’s and ’70’s.
The historical artifacts come from a time when many of the world’s non-aligned movements came together to challenge empire, here and notably in the 1966 Tricontinental Conference in Havana, Cuba. The meeting in Havana and the speech there by Amilcar Cabral was part of the inspiration of Cuba’s subsequent military involvement in S.W. Africa and ultimately led to the defeat of the apartheid regime in Pretoria and the liberation of Angola and Namibia. The significance of these events have been popularized in people’s cultural expression and are here reemphasized and contextualized anew through film, music, discussions and the graphic arts.
The project features a rare exhibition of posters produced by and with the cooperation of Cuba’s O.S.P.A.A.A.L. (Organización de Solidaridad de los Pueblos de Asia, África y América Latina). The display of the original posters and original copies of the Tricontinental Journals (which were contributed to the exhibit from O.S.P.A.A.A.L.) continues to give amplification and inspiration to aspirations of third world liberation movements and similar campaigns within in the US.
Tricontinental ‘66 And Other Acts of Liberation is a multi-disciplinary exhibition produced by HotHouse with support from Casa O.S.P.A.A.A.L.
HotHouse has developed a travelling exhibition that includes original graphic materials, emphemera, interviews with principal participants, films, journals and other cultural products. For inquiries on rentals please contact us.
The vision for the new HotHouse seeks to build upon the founders Marguerite Horberg’s thirty years of experience building iconic and vernacular spaces for culture and fostering international exchange. It seeks to catalyze urban development in an underdeveloped part of the city and harness creative re-use materials and sustainable practices to transform vacant lots and neglected properties into a sanctuary for progressive culture.
This sanctuary will include a performing arts center, black box theater, miniature outdoor amphitheater, restaurant, artist’s residence, office space, green house, and gardens.
The Board of Directors and community based stakeholders members have identified a parcel of properties in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s Southside to develop for this project. Pre-facility planning has included the drafting on the business plan and advancing key pieces of due diligence related to site acquisition.
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On Whose Shoulders programs appearing on On CAN TV cable channel 21 carried on AT&T, Comcast, RCN and WideOpenWest cable systems with 1.2 million potential viewers. CAN TV is a 501 c3 nonprofit and the channel is noncommercial.
Airing: Saturday October 5. 5:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. Saturday October 26. 5:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. Saturday November 9. 5:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
“Claudia Jones: A Woman of Our Times”
Profile of political activist Claudia Jones, the woman who started the Notting Hill Carnival and founded the West Indian Gazette, the first popular newspaper within the Black Community.Claudia Jones, née Claudia Vera Cumberbatch (21 February 1915 – 24 December 1964), was a Trinidad-born journalist and activist. As a child she migrated with her family to the US, where she became a political activist and black nationalist through Communism, using the false name Jones as “self-protective disinformation”. As a result of her political activities, she was deported in 1955 and subsequently resided in the United Kingdom. She founded Britain’s first major black newspaper, West Indian Gazette (WIG), in 1958
“Finally Got the News”
Dir. Stewart Bird, Rene Lichtman and Peter Gessner. Produced in Association with the League of Revolutionary Black Workers| 55min.| 1970
Finally Got the News is a forceful, unique documentary that reveals the activities of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers inside and outside the auto factories of Detroit. Through interviews with the members of the movement, footage shot in the auto plants, and footage of leafleting and picketing actions, the film documents their efforts to build an independent black labor organization that, unlike the UAW, will respond to worker’s problems, such as the assembly line speed-up and inadequate wages faced by both black and white workers in the industry.
Beginning with a historical montage, from the early days of slavery through the subsequent growth and organization of the working class, Finally Got the News focuses on the crucial role played by the black worker in the American economy. Also explored is the educational ‘tracking’ system for both white and black youth, the role of African American women in the labor force, and relations between white and black workers.
“Angela Davis 1972”
In 1972 Angela Davis stopped by Malcolm X College during her presidential campaign for a conversation with fiery journalism pioneer & activist Lutrelle “Lu” Palmer. This is a one-camera recording of that conservation.
AMERICAN REDS Director Richard Wormer | 1hr. 25
min | 2016
The documentary AMERICAN REDS
provides a historical overview of 20th century Communism and the growth,
decline and contemporary relevance of the Communist Party, USA (CPUSA). Since
its founding in 1919, the CPUSA has championed the struggles for democracy,
labor rights, women’s equality, and racial justice. During its heyday in the
1930s and 1940s, it attracted millions of Americans to support its causes and
almost 100,000 men and women to enlist in its ranks. Through powerful and compelling
personal stories told by current and former members of the Party, along with
commentary from historians and academics, AMERICAN REDS explores the
organization’s complex and contradictory efforts to fulfill the highest ideals of human
freedom while subordinating itself to the dictatorial policies of the Soviet
Union. The program neither demonizes nor romanticizes its subject, but explores
its ironies and complexities, and its legacy for today.
Naomi Klein Lecture: “The Shock Doctrine”
Award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author, Naomi Klein, talks about her latest book, “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”
“Black Russians: The Red Experience”
Director Yelena Demikovsky’s work-in-progress documentary about a coterie of dreamers, Black American professionals who left their homeland for the Soviet Union in search of an ideal and saw Stalinist Russia as a promised land. This little known episode in American history resonates with the all-embracing words of Martin Luther King “I have a dream…” that have relevance in today’s world.
“James Baldwin: The Price of a Ticket”
Producer/Director: Karen Thorsen, Producers: William Miles and Douglas K. Dempsey | 87 min. | 1990
The feature-length 16mm documentary James Baldwin: The Price of a Ticket has received stellar reviews and awards. Honored at festivals in over two-dozen countries – including Sundance, London, Berlin and Tokyo – Baldwin was described as “Splendid” by Variety, “A video page-turner” by The San Francisco Chronicle, and “A haunting, beautifully made biography” by the Los Angeles Times. “Stays with you after the program ends,” said the New York Times. An emotional portrait, a social critique, and a passionate plea for human equality, James Baldwin: The Price of a Ticket is now considered a classic. Without using narration, the film allows Baldwin to tell his own story: exploring what it means to be born black, impoverished, gay and gifted – in a world that has yet to understand that “all men are brothers.” Baldwin is a vérité feast. Intercutting rarely-seen archival footage from over one hundred sources and nine different countries, the film melds intimate interviews and eloquent public speeches with astounding private glimpses of Baldwin. The film also includes a rich selection of original footage: scenes from Baldwin’s extraordinary funeral service; explorations of Baldwin’s homes on three continents, including France, Switzerland, Turkey and Harlem; plus on-camera interviews with close friends, colleagues and critics. Witnesses include his brother David; biographer David Leeming; writers Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, William Styron, Ishmael Reed and Yashar Kemal; painter Lucien Happersberger and entertainer Bobby Short. Cinéma Vérité … Passé. Back in 1989,James Baldwin: The Price of a Ticket premiered on PBS/American Masters. Since then, repeated PBS broadcasts have reached millions of people. The film has also been broadcast widely in Europe and Asia – and in 1998, an hour-long version was produced for French National Television. James Baldwin was a major twentieth century American author, a Civil Rights activist and a prophetic voice calling Americans, Black and white, to confront their shared racial tragedy.
During this election cycle the subject of socialism looms large.
The “squad” and Bernie are tarnished anew with epithets and the Democratic Socialists of America are seeing mounting victories across the land. In this regard, HotHouse is hosting a fall series looking at the impact of American Socialism in a variety of cultural product. On Whose Shoulders coincides with the 100th anniversary of the CPUSA ( Communist Party ) and takes particular interest in the cultivation of women and minority leadership development in an era before the civil rights campaigns that are most often in the spotlight
In 2018, HotHouse curated the multi-disciplinary exhibition The Tricontinental ‘66 And Other Acts of Liberation at the Stony Island Arts Bank. The exhibition explored the concept of internationalism through the lens of cultural production. This new series advances some of the same ideas and is designed in part to comment upon the de facto disregard of “communism” as it is dismissed out of hand in the US- and how this disregard limits robust political discourse and debate as well as learning instructive lessons from global history.
Acknowledging the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) “On Whose Shoulders” seeks to excavate the voices and political initiatives of the CPUSA from its foundational years- “The Red Century”. The organizers of the series are particularly keen to reflect upon American grown Communism – a movement that grew out of what the historian Robin D. G. Kelley, the author of “Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression,” calls “the most despised and dispossessed elements of American society.” It was the black workers drawn to the party, Professor Kelley argues, who shaped its political choices as much as the varying dictates that came from the Communist International, Moscow’s directorate for foreign parties.
On Whose Shoulders presents a series of films and audio documents regarding the development of the US working class, the cultural output of the party’s members, the key organizing drives and major galvanizing campaigns in an era prior to the civil rights era.
While most of what passes for discussion of the CPUSA is criticism (both from the right and the left), organizers of “On Whose Shoulders” are foregrounding elements of history that are often obscured by the predominance of this denunciation. Our project focuses primarily on the participation of African-American and women cadre who, early in the 20th century, emerged as rank-and-file leaders and visionary voices for justice in the broader radical struggle. Here we are emphasizing the party’s contribution to racial and gender equality, and its outsized commitments to internationalism and civil rights. The exhibition organizers have produced cultural programming that interrogate how the Communist Party’s mission produced and influenced the century’s broader political and cultural landscape and how that mission effectively fed an iterative progressive political culture.
This series will be produced in multiple venues across Chicago in fall of 2019. It was organized by an ad hoc committee of scholars, community organizers and cultural workers under the direction of Marguerite Horberg for HotHouse.
About the series:
Twenty-two feature films and documentaries look at 20th century communism and related movements. The programs are presented across the city in five separate screening venues in collaboration with our partners; The Rebuild Foundation; Chicago Film Society; Co-Prosperity Sphere; the Illinois District of the Communist Party USA, filmfront, South Side Projections, Puffin West and CANTV. Special thanks to Peter Kuttner, co-curator and to Judy Hoffman, Eric Torres and Floyd Webb for their contributions to the project.