Sunday, August 20, 2006

More culture comes to Harlem this summer and fall

As I previously posted at Snakes on a Plane Isss Box Office King and at Lisa Tolliver On Air and Online, "Watching snakes on a screen issss not my kind of fun." But Harlem-based ArtMattan Productions - which "distributes films that focus on the human experience of black people in Africa, the Caribbean, North and South America and Europe" and which presented several films at Cannes 2006 - has organized two film festivals that I find are worth watching. Here's what's going on:

  • The First Annual African Diaspora Summer Film Series in New York City is, fittingly, screening movies uptown during Harlem Week. [Read on to learn why Harlem Week is misnamed.] WHERE: At The Theatre of the Riverside Church, 91 Claremont Avenue at 120th Street, Telephone: 212-870-6784. WHEN: The series opened with a champagne reception on Friday, August 4 and will close next Sunday, August 27. HOW MUCH: General Admission is $10, the Family Film discount for children 12 or younger is $7, and a Hot Summer Pass entitles those who purchase tickets for four films, at $40, to attend another film of their choice free or to bring a friend to one of their four selections. LOGISTICS: To purchase tickets, telephone (212) 870-6784 or visit ticketweb.

"Harlem Week," by the way, is a misnomer. Harlem Week History: How it All Began describes the annual tribute to Harlem's "glorious history and community," which "highlights the many positive positive and relevant aspects of the African-American, Latino, Caribbean-American, and European-American cultures of Harlem," and its expansion - in both duration and reputation - from Harlem Day in August 1974 to an internationally recognized celebration, "which now covers most of the month of August."

Across 110th Street (the informal boundary between Harlem and the rest of NYC memorialized in a 1972 movie and theme song) the joint is jumpin' practically 24/7. That's true not just on screen and not just in August. Whether you're seeking a great day in Harlem or entertaining Harlem nights, you can get a piece of the action by coming uptown Saturday night and just about any other time. (maintained by the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce) provides cornucopia of information about Harlem Week and other uptown doings year-round.

Here's a sampling of what you'll find at

Another good source of information about NYC cultural and seasonal events is Time Out New York magazine.

The images above link to books addressing the African Diaspora.

You can find other books about the African Diaspora here.

The images below link to music and 1970's "blaxploitation" movies referred to throughout this post and to books, DVDs and music retrieved via the keywords: African Diaspora and Harlem Week.###