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| Double Feature
$9 general public
Two films for the price of one ticket!
Note: Seating is limited to enhance adequate physical distancing.
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We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. If you have questions about accessibility or require an accommodation such as CART captioning or ASL interpretation to participate in this event, please contact Accessibility Manager Helyn Marshall at email@example.com or via telephone at (614) 688-3890. Requests made by two weeks in advance will generally allow us to provide seamless access, but the Wexner Center for the Arts will make every effort to meet requests made after this date.
This double bill pairs the sole features directed by Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor—two of the most groundbreaking Black comedians of the second half of the 20th century—while showcasing Hancock’s musical range and brilliance.
Eddie Murphy wrote, produced, directed, and starred in Harlem Nights, a comedic drama about running a prohibition-era nightclub while surrounded by gangsters and corrupt cops. Hancock provides a jazzy score that mixes big band, electronics, and orchestral music, including new arrangements of some Duke Ellington standards. The film provides Murphy a chance to direct and act alongside some of his comedy idols, including Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx. The supporting cast runneth over with the talents of Danny Aiello, Jasmine Guy, Arsenio Hall, Robin Harris, Michael Lerner, Charlie Murphy, Della Reese, and Lela Rochon. (116 mins., 35mm)
The only film Richard Pryor directed, the tragicomic Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling is an underseen and lightly fictionalized warts-and-all spin on the autobiographical film. It traces a comedian’s rise from a childhood in an Ohio brothel through a successful career in show business to a hellish addiction. The result is far from the usual biopic as Pryor (who cowrote the film with Paul Mooney) draws on a deep well of personal pain to make laughter through the darkest moments life has to offer. Hancock’s score is augmented powerfully with songs by the likes of Mahalia Jackson and Muddy Waters, along with performances by the jazz greats Billy Eckstine and Carmen McRae. When the late filmmaker Jonathan Demme invited Toni Morrison to introduce any film she wanted at his film series at the Jacob Burns Film Center, she selected Jo Jo Dancer. The screening ultimately never happened but it’s fascinating to imagine what Morrison would have to say about this singular movie. With Diahnne Abbott and Debbie Allen. (97 mins., 35mm)
Harlem Nights | Image courtesy of Park Circus
Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling | Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment
Harlem Nights print courtesy of the Library of Congress.
FILM/VIDEO PROGRAMS MADE POSSIBLE BY
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
Rohauer Collection Foundation
WEXNER CENTER PROGRAMS MADE POSSIBLE BY
The Wexner Family
Greater Columbus Arts Council
The Columbus Foundation
Ohio Arts Council
American Electric Power Foundation
L Brands Foundation
Mary and C. Robert Kidder
Bill and Sheila Lambert
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease
Arlene and Michael Weiss
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
Mike and Paige Crane
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
President Kristina M. Johnson and Mrs. Veronica Meinhard
Russell and Joyce Gertmenian
Liza Kessler and Greg Henchel
Ron and Ann Pizzuti
Joyce and Chuck Shenk
Bruce and Joy Soll
Clark and Sandra Swanson
Harlem Nights | Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling