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Lord Thing

October 18, 2016 from 7-9pm


Chicago Film Archives, Place Lab, and Black Cinema House present Lord Thing (1971) as part of the Moving Images, Making Cities Film Series. CFA restored this film in 2014 and will be showing the beautiful 16mm restoration print at this event.

LORD THING (DeWitt Beall, 1971, 52 min, 16mm)
Lord Thing traces the evolution of the Conservative Vice Lords (CVL), a Black “gang” (or “club,” depending on one’s preferred terminology) that rose to power on Chicago’s West Side during the 1960s. Through re-enactments and documentary footage, we see how CVL members school successive generations first through hazing and turf wars, then business and community development projects aimed to foster Black unification and self-determination. CVL’s efforts to revitalize the West Side with amenities and arts activities (including mural projects led by artist Don McIlvaine) are challenged by Mayor Richard J. Daley’s “war on gangs,” not to mention continuing inequalities in employment, recreation, health care, and housing for black Chicagoans. Lord Thing raises questions about the limits of Black capitalist space making, and asks what knowledge and power, if any, can be transmitted across generations subjected to ongoing spatialized oppression.

Screening will be followed by a conversation with Jacqueline Stewart (Professor, Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago), Benny Lee (Co-founder, National Alliance for the Empowerment of the Formerly Incarcerated; Professor, Criminal Justice, Northeastern Illinois University); Isis Ferguson (Associate Director of City and Community Strategy, Place Lab), Sam Darrigrand (Workforce Development Manager, Rebuild Foundation).

The Moving Images, Making Cities Film Series is a cinematic companion to Place Lab’s Ethical Redevelopment Public Convenings + Salon Series. Ethical Redevelopment makes the case for mindful city-building. By utilizing cross-city networks and cross-sector innovation, Ethical Redevelopment works to shift the value system from conventional, profit-driven development practices to conscientious interventions in the urban context.

Read more about CFA’s restoration of Lord Thing in 2014
Read the DNAinfo article about this screening
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