On Friday night around 8:15 PM the south side arts organization Black Cinema House will host the first program in a summer-long series called “Movies Under Stars.” Copresented by Chicago Film Archives, the outdoor series centers on documentary shorts about jazz and blues musicians, with other rare nonfiction works rounding out the lineup. This week’s program consists of: The Blues, a 1973 doc by music historian Samuel Charters depicting southern bluesmen performing at home; Give My Poor Heart Ease (produced by the Center for Southern Folklore in 1975), which focuses on blues from the Mississippi Delta; and American Shoeshine, a 1976 doc in the direct-cinema mode about shoeshiners. The monthly series continues in June with more rarities from the Center for Southern Folklore archive; I’m most excited for the program on August 19, which features docs about Duke Ellington’s 1964 tour of Japan and the great drummer Elvin Jones.
Speaking of Chicago Film Archives, a week from tonight the organization will present another free outdoor screening, this one on the lawn next to Logan Square’s Comfort Station. The movie will be Burden of Dreams, a documentary about the infamous production of Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo by the recently deceased filmmaker Les Blank. (And speaking of Fitzcarraldo, that movie screens a week from tomorrow in Doc Films’s ongoing Herzog series.) It’ll be projected from a 16-millimeter print from the Chicago Public Library’s collection.