It’s not every day that you get to meet the most prolific Black woman theatrical film director of a generation. That day is Aug. 19 at the Dundee Theater during a presentation of the inaugural Film Streams Wavemaker Award, which is being given to Kasi Lemmons. Her resume is so impressive, retyping it is making me rethink my life. In addition to the films “Eve’s Bayou,” “Talk to Me,” “Harriet,” and the more recent “Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” her first libretto “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” was the first opera by an African American composer and librettist performed at The Metropolitan Opera when it opened the Met’s 2021-2022 season. A retrospective of Lemmons’ work will be screened at the Dundee the week of Aug 11-17, in advance of the award ceremony, which will be chaired by Cindy Heider and Rachel Jacobson and moderated by Deirdre Haj. There will be a cocktail reception before the event, at which I guess you’ll have to make small talk pretending you understand how much work writing a libretto takes. Or at least what a libretto is. It’s not a small library, right? No. That’s stupid, sorry. Anyway, this is an incredible honor for a remarkable artist who definitely knows what a libretto is.
Film Streams also understands that Labor Day isn’t just about retail discounts and a chance to almost have as many free days as working days in a week. It is about Sean Connery telling anti-union activists to “Shove it up their arses!” On Aug. 29 at 6 p.m., you can hit the Ruth Sokolof Theater for a screening of “Molly Maguires,” which stars Connery as an Irish immigrant miner fighting against “The Man.” In this case, that term is used corporately and not to refer to Alex Trebek. After the movie, there will be a discussion moderated by Jim Begley, director of the William Brennon Institute for Labor Studies. I’m guessing that much of the studies of labor have concluded “workers keep getting hosed.” Anyway, considering that the writers and screen actors guilds went on strike, this is probably even more fitting. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to watch old movies because we haven’t addressed labor inequity and now we won’t get new movies.
Filmmaker David Lynch and I have so many things in common. We’re both alive human males who were profoundly shaped by “The Wizard of Oz.” It’s like we’re twins, really. Although countless billions have been inspired by the classic film, the documentary “Lynch/Oz” focuses on the only one of those billions to make “Blue Velvet.” On Aug. 23 at 7:15, Alamo Drafthouse is screening the doc, which promises to change the way you think about the Tin and Elephant Men. I am sucker for cinematic intertextual analyses, hydrophobic witches, and smearing lipstick all over my face. So I’m pretty sure this one is just for me.
Have I mentioned that I love outdoor movies? It’s like “What are we doing? We’re outside and watching a movie? We’re defying the natural order of things!” Anyway, you can have that feeling by going out behind The Dairy Chef in Elkhorn. I realize that sounds like a Craigslist handoff location, but it’s genuinely an opportunity to see movies out of doors. Aug. 12, you can see “Clifford the Big Red Dog.” And Sept. 9, you can see “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” Remember, kids, if you believe in yourself, the world is your movie theater, including behind the Dairy Chef in Elkhorn.