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Harry Belafonte, Naked Lunch Come to Chicago

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 29, 2009 6:20PM

2009_7_28belafonte.jpg Sure, you can watch Quentin Tarantino walk the red carpet at River East, but there are two other upcoming events that even cooler.

First off, this Friday the legendary Harry Belafonte will be at the Music Box for a screening of the classic film noir Odds Against Tomorrow. It's one of our very favorites in the genre. Not only does it star Belafonte (looking ubercool in slacks and turtleneck) with Robert Ryan and Gloria Grahame, two outstanding and severely underappreciated actors, it also features a killer score by the Modern Jazz Quartet. It's a tale of a planned robbery gone bad, thanks to greed and racism. The event is part of the Film Noir Foundation's week long festival of hidden noir treasures. Other titles include Joseph Losey's The Prowler and two searing dramas shot on location in Chicago: Call Northside 777, starring James Stewart, and the pulpy exposé Chicago Syndicate. Tickets for Odds Against Tomorrow are $15 and going fast.

2009_7_28nakedlunch.jpg If wacked out, drug-fueled paranoia is more your bag then you won't want to miss the 50th anniversary celebration of William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch on August 28, presented by CIMM Fest. The book makes extensive use of cut-up techniques, and its ribald and often shocking content led to censorship. The appearance of its first chapter in the Spring 1958 Chicago Review was only one of many controversies, which in turn triggered landmark anticensorship rulings in various court cases. And of course it eventually inspired one of David Cronenberg's finest movies. The celebration gala will feature Peter Weller, the star of that movie, alongside Warhol Superstar Penny Arcade, SNL musical director Hal Willner and a certain distinguished professor by the name of Dr. Bill Ayers. An excerpt from a new feature-length documentary is also part of the lineup. William S. Burroughs: A Man Within contains exclusive interviews with John Waters, Laurie Anderson, Iggy Pop, David Cronenberg, Gus Van Sant, and Sonic Youth. The bash takes place at Th!nkArt Salon. Tickets are available in advance for $60 or at the door for $75 and include admission to the after-party, where David Daniell & Douglas McCombs (Tortoise, Thrill Jockey) will provide the music.