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“Is civilization possible in a nation where discrimination has such deep roots?”

City of Asylum (2018)

Sembène – The Film & Art Festival Presents

Sweet Country

Monday, October 22nd
7:00 pm

Based on true events, Sweet Country makes brilliant use of the Australian outback of the 1920s as the setting for a hard-hitting story that satisfies as a character study as well as a sociopolitical statement.

Set in 1929 Australia, this film follows Sam, a middle-aged Aboriginal man who works for a preacher in Australia’s Northern Territory. When Harry (a bitter war veteran) moves into a neighboring outpost, the preacher sends Sam and his family to help Harry renovate his cattle yards. But Sam’s relationship with the cruel and ill-tempered Harry quickly deteriorates, culminating in a violent shootout in which Sam kills Harry in self-defense.

Sweet Country

“This shrewdly observed story asks another question: Is civilization possible in a nation where discrimination has such deep roots?”—Washington Post 

As a result, Sam becomes a wanted criminal for the murder of a white man and is forced to flee with his wife across the deadly outback, through glorious but harsh desert country. A hunting party led by the local lawman Sergeant Fletcher is formed to track Sam down. But as the true details of the killing start to surface, the community begins to question whether justice is really being served.

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Lessons Learned from Post-Industrial Cities

City of Asylum (2018)

Remaking Post-Industrial Cities
with Don Carter

Tuesday, October 23rd
7:00 pm

How did different cities respond to the rapid collapse of “big industry” in the 1980’s? Are there lessons to be learned? What can we do now to create just, equitable communities?

Remaking Post-Industrial Cities

Don Carter — the David Lewis Director of Urban Design and Regional Engagement of the Remaking Cities Institute — examines the histories of 10 American and European cities, their metamorphoses, and their prospects for the future. In these case studies he identifies and expands on the factors he has found to be crucial to the resilience of post-industrial cities.

Carter’s work tackles problems we cannot avoid. Sharing lessons from the experience of different cities, he ultimately shows us how to take control over our future.

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An Extraordinary Documentary – Followed by a Panel with the Filmmaker

City of Asylum (2018)

RealTime Interventions Presents the Film

The Rest I Make Up

Monday, October 8th
7:00 pm

Maria Irene Fornes is one of America’s greatest playwrights and most influential teachers, but many only know her as the ex-lover of writer Susan Sontag.

When Fornes gradually stops writing due to dementia, an unexpected friendship with filmmaker Michelle Memran reignited her creativity and triggered a decade-long collaboration. What began as an accidental meeting becomes a story of love, creativity, and connection that persists even in the face of forgetting. Theater luminaries such as Paula Vogel, Edward Albee, Ellen Stewart, Lanford Wilson and others also appear in the film to shed light on Fornes’s important contributions.

The Rest I Make Up

The Rest I Make Up has received an explosion of interest this summer, from laudatory reviews in the New York Times and New Yorker to a sold-out run at the MoMA and a Fornes marathon at NYC’s Public Theater. RealTime Interventions is thrilled to bring the film and its maker to Pittsburgh, making our city one of the first outside of New York to experience this extraordinary new work.

A panel discussion and Q&A will follow the film, including panelists Michelle Memran (the documentary filmmaker), Katie Pearl (co-producer), Michael Cerveris (star of Broadway, TV, & film), and moderator Molly Rice of RealTime Interventions.

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The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra returns to Alphabet City!

City of Asylum (2018)

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Presents

Bernstein: Activism and Engagement

Thursday, October 4th
7:00 pm

Join guest musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for Activism and Engagement, a program celebrating the eclectic work of Leonard Bernstein.

Leonard Bernstein — celebrated as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century — ushered in an era of major cultural transition. Through his open attitude about what constituted “good” music, his work bridged classical music, Broadway musicals, jazz, and rock, reaching new and diverse communities of listeners, young and old. He had a deep love for the community-based musicianship of the symphony orchestra—which is the foundation of our partnership with PSO. With a delicious sense of humor, he also exhibited the courage to tackle the most profound questions of the human experience.

PSO + CoA

Hosted by Associate Conductor of the PSO Andres Franco, this program will feature Venezuelan born pianist Rodrigo Ojeda playing selections from Bernstein’s repertoire. Writers (TBA) will do short readings in response to Bernstein’s unique character, identity, faith and social activism.

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With Dwayne Dolphin, It’s All About that Bass!

City of Asylum (2018)

Dwayne Dolphin

Thursday, August 30th
8:00 pm

Join Dwayne Dolphin for Indigenous: his latest album release! Spanning smooth funk, jazz, world, Brazilian and many other styles, Dwayne’s new release brings “something for everyone” to the table.

Dwayne is a mainstay standout in the jazz scene, working with Pittsburgh greats such as Roger Humphries, Pete Henderson and Carl Arter. Throughout his career, Dolphin has also had the opportunity to play and record with the “Who’s Who” of national musicians, such as Nancy Wilson, Melba Moore, Fred Wesley, Abby Lincoln, soul saxophonist Maceo Parker and hard bopper Stanley Turrentine.

Dwayne Dolphin

Dwayne is regarded as a master instrumentalist, no matter whether he is playing upright, electric or even the “piccolo” bass. For this concert, he will be joined by Brett Williams (piano), Tony Watson (sax), Jevon Rushton (drums).

Dwayne’s prior concert at COA @ Alphabet City was a sellout, so make your reservations soon.  This release party makes a great entree to Jazz Poetry Month.

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Grab your passports and Let’s Travel the World to China!

Children's Storytelling

Ceinwen King-Smith

Saturday, August 25th
3:00 pm

Join us for a family-friendly afternoon of storytelling with Ceinwen King-Smith.

Though she can’t prove it, Ceinwen King-Smith thinks she is the only blind American teacher to travel to China to teach Russian. She will be sharing stories and songs that she discovered during her travels in China — each a unique take on underdogs triumphing over obstacles.

Ceinwen King-Smith

Along with her stories, Ceinwen will also be singing in multiple languages. Don’t miss this inspiring afternoon of tales and music presented by a local treasure!

Children who received a passport booklet at a previous Let’s Travel The World program can bring these back to receive another collectible sticker! But it’s never too late to collect stickers, so if this will be your first time at Let’s Travel The World, be sure to ask for your sticker. Each sticker in your passport earns discounts in City of Asylum Bookstore.

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“A beauty contest in this crisis? It’s a way of surviving.”

City of Asylum (2018)

ReelQ Presents

Mr. Gay Syria

Monday, August 20th
7:00 pm

Set in Istanbul and Berlin, Mr. Gay Syria follows two gay refugees as they try to rebuild their lives after fleeing the war in Syria.

What brings them together is a crazy dream: joining the international beauty contest called Mr. Gay World, hosted in Malta. If they manage, it will be the first time an Arab man from the Middle East attends such a public event. This is the place to generate visibility and launch a campaign for Syrian gay refugees.

Mr Gay Syria

“…it may not change policy, but perhaps it will make us feel closer to people we fear.” — The Guardian

While Mr. Gay Syria follows the journey of the two characters and their friends, the beauty contest becomes a thread that weaves together the difficulties of being gay in homophobic societies, the challenges of coming out, the joy of falling in love and the devastating migration crisis.

Join us for the Pittsburgh premiere screening (before its theatrical release).

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July 30: “Honesty is a sin in this country”

City of Asylum (2018)

Sembène – The Film & Art Festival Presents

Mandabi (The Money Order)

Monday, July 30th
7:00 pm

A money order from a relative in Paris throws the life of a Senegalese family man out of order.

Illiterate and unemployed, Ibrahima Dieng’s sudden windfall — a money order from his street sweeper nephew in France for 20,000 francs (roughly $100) — plunges him into a Kafkaesque journey into bureaucracy and corruption. As friends, relations, and debtors close in, he finds he can’t cash it without an identity card, which requires a proof of birth, which in turn requires a birth certificate, three photos and a 50-cent stamp… and that’s just the beginning!

Mandabi

… it was with Mandabi (The Money Order) in 1968, that Sembène’s dream to reconnect with Africa’s masses came through. For the first time … an African filmmaker was experimenting by using an African language (Wolof), hence setting a new trend which would be followed by all film makers on the continent.” – Samba Gadjigo, Ph.D.

The Money Order is a gentle yet powerful satire about post-colonial Senegal. As Dieng concludes “honesty is a sin in this country.”

This film will be presented in Wolof with English subtitles.

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Caught Between Creativity and Convention

City of Asylum (2018)

ReelQ Presents

Play the Devil

Monday, July 23rd
7:00 pm

Gregory, a gifted working-class teenager from Paramin, stars in a play that brings him to the attention of James, an affluent businessman. The two men strike an uncanny friendship as James takes Greg under his wing, pushing him to discover himself professionally, creatively, and intimately.

Play the Devil

“A powerful sense of place deepens a simple melodrama in Play the Devil… In a provincial setting where homosexuality apparently is still stigmatized and closeted, the writer-director effectively uses the primal intensity of Carnival rituals to express a tragic dissonance.” — The Hollywood Reporter

However, Greg’s poverty allows James to exert enormous pressures on Greg by paying his way into his family life. Their ultimate confrontation begs the question: “When we give, how often is it entirely altruistic?”

Set against the backdrop of Trinidad and Tobago’s mystical Carnival, Play The Devil shatters conventions of sexuality, masculinity, morality and individuality through its unapologetic multi-layered explorations of power dynamics, religion and aspirations.

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Yoko Suzuki Trio

City of Asylum (2018)

Yoko Suzuki Trio

Thursday, July 19th
8:00 pm

If you have been coming to our jazz programs this past year, chances are you heard Yoko Suzuki on the alto saxophone. She has appeared with Roger Humphries & RH Factor, as well as will Etta Cox. This concert marks her debut at City of Asylum @ Alphabet City as a bandleader of her own trio.

Yoko Suzuki Trio

In addition to Yoko, the trio features organist Cliff Barns and drummer James Johnson III. They will play a mix of Yoko’s original songs and jazz standards.

A musician known both locally and nationally, and an ethnomusicologist, Yoko’s playing is deeply informed by jazz across the globe, especially Japan where she trained. During the concert, we look forward to her sharing this rich history in both her music and her comments.

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