Born In Chicago, the much lauded documentary film that tells the story of middle class white kids who learned to play and live the blues directly from its most legendary practitioners, makes its New York premiere Friday, July 26 as a presentation of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Sound+Vision series. The film was screened this spring in Austin at SXSW and, more recently, in Chicago at the Gene Siskel Film Center.
In the 1960s icons of urban blues, including Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, passed the musical torch to a coterie of unlikely next generation admirers, among whom were Paul Butterfield, Michael Bloomfield, Barry Goldberg, Nick Gravenites, Harvey Mandel and Corky Siegel. These acolytes, in turn, spread the music most closely identified with Chicago around the world and back again. Their physical and spiritual journey from the suburbs and well-to-do neighborhoods into the ghetto, seeking the blues at its source, truly launched thousands of bands over the years and kept the blues a vital musical force throughout the world into the current century. The film includes performance and interview footage featuring the aforementioned artists as well as Bob Dylan, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Steve Miller, Hubert Sumlin, Jack White, Charlie Musselwhite, Eric Burdon, Sam Lay and Elvin Bishop.
Born In Chicago was directed by John Anderson who earned a Grammy nomination for Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE. The film was produced by John Beug who previously won an Emmy for Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival Chicago (PBS Great Performances) and worked on Grammy-winning long-form video projects for Tom Petty and the Doors. The film’s co-producer is musician Barry Goldberg; executive producers of Born In Chicago for Chicago’s Out of the Box Records are Timm Martin, Chris Stewart, Bert Moreno and Elliot Rabinowitz. Mitchell Sinoway who has worked on projects by Michael Jackson, Madonna, Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, Van Halen, Roy Orbison and many others edited Born In Chicago. The film is narrated by Marshall Chess, scion of the family whose Chess Records label helped catalyze Chicago’s post-war blues explosion.
The FSLC Sound + Vision screening of Born In Chicago is set for Friday, July 26th at 9:00 PM at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W. 65 St., between Broadway and Amsterdam. Following the screening, there will be a moderated panel discussion among Marshall Chess, Barry Goldberg, Corky Siegel with panelists fielding questions from the audience.
Acclaim for Born In Chicago:
“Born In Chicago sets the record straight about the mighty and tough urban blues scene that exploded from the Windy City in the 20th Century. The film also proves that many of the same musicians are still blowing harps and minds in the 21st. This is soulful stuff — exactly what America needs to remind itself of what it used to be.” – Michael Simmons/MOJO/The Huffington Post
“The kids fueled their teacher’s spirits. The teachers taught their students well. It was beautiful.” – Dave Hoekstra/Chicago Sun-Times
“..a pean to a vanished Chicago. Everything changes; one set of musical survivors informs another. The music carries it.” – Michael Phillips/Chicago Tribune
“…a valentine to a lost scene.. reminding us of what could once be dreamed and achieved.” – Gene Sculatti/Rock’s Back Pages
“Fascinating archival footage is mixed with contemporary performances… Enjoy and ponder.” – Michael King/Austin Chronicle
“Born in Chicago is very good documentary, one of the best films I’ve seen all year…” – Jake Salinas/Movie Talk
“…the story of a bunch of middle-clsss white kids… who forged personal and musical relationships with Wolf, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin and other seminal Chicago bluesmen. The result was an extraordinary body of work every bit as important as chart-topping blues-influenced British Invaders like the Rolling Stones, the animals and the Yardbirds.” – Michael Sigman/The Huffington Post