1084 N MILWAUKEE, CHICAGO

The Early Works of Cheryl Dunye

Six Short Films by Cheryl Dunye

Sunday, February 23rd, 7 PM, $7-$10

Vilified by conservatives in Congress, defended by major newspapers, and celebrated by audiences and festivals around the world as one of the most provocative, humorous and important filmmakers of our time, Cheryl Dunye practically invented a new form of cinema – call it the ‘Dunyementary.’ Using a mixture of narrative and documentary techniques, the ‘Dunyementary’ challenges social and cultural norms through a sharply funny and reflexive lens. Never scholarly or didactic, Dunye appreciates the value in entertaining viewers.

Her acclaimed first feature THE WATERMELON WOMAN (1996) introduced Cheryl to wider audiences, who fell in love with her self-deprecating and insightful wit – not to mention the great casts she assembled (including herself). But what came before this modern-day classic?

Presented here are the films that started it all – the early works which gave birth to an extraordinary and original filmmaking talent. Made with great creativity on often miniscule budgets, they represent the first chapter of the Cheryl Dunye oeuvre.

JANINE (Experimental Documentary, 1990)
The story of a black lesbian’s relationship with a white, upper middle class high school girl.

SHE DON’T FADE (Experimental Narrative, 1991)
A self-reflexive look at the sexuality of a young black lesbian.

“Sharp, funny and intelligent.” -Yvonne Welbon, Film Scholar

VANILLA SEX (Experimental Documentary, 1992)
Is it who you do, or what you do?

AN UNTITLED PORTRAIT (Video Montage, 1993)
Dunye’s relationship with her brother is examined in this mixture of appropriated film footage, super 8mm home movies & Dunye’s special brand of humor.

THE POTLUCK AND THE PASSION (Experimental Narrative, 1993)
Sparks fly as racial, sexual and social politics intermingle at a lesbian potluck.

GREETINGS FROM AFRICA (Narrative, 1994)
Cheryl, playing herself, humorously experiences the mysteries of lesbian dating in the 90’s.

“A winsome comic confessional… Dunye is so endearing that I felt privileged to spend 8 minutes in her company.” -Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Press

(1990 – 1994, United States, Digital, 80 mins)

Text from First Run Features.

Programmed by Kathleen Sachs.



Filed under: black and brown, documentary, essay, experimental, feminism, queer

Book Launch & Salon

Saturday, November 9th, 7 PM
$5-10 sliding scale (no one turned away)

Please join us as we celebrate the release of

Xandria Phillips’ debut poetry collection, HULL &

Raych Jackson’s debut collection EVEN THE SAINTS AUDITION.


Rachel “Raych” Jackson is a writer, educator, and performer. While teaching third and fourth grade in Chicago Public Schools, Jackson competed in numerous national poetry teams and individual competitions. Her poems have gained over 2 million views on YouTube. She is the 2017 NUPIC Champion and a 2017 Pink Door fellow. Jackson recently voiced ‘DJ Raych’ in the Jackbox game, Mad Verse City. Her latest play, “Emotions & Bots”, premiered at the Woerdz Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland. Jackson wrote a room dedicated to her city for 29Rooms’first installment in Chicago, through Refinery 29. She co-created and co-hosts Big Kid Slam, a monthly poetry show in Chicago. Jackson’s work has been published by many— including Poetry Magazine, The Rumpus, The Shallow Ends, and Washington Square Review. Her debut collection EVEN THE SAINTS AUDITION released September 24th through Button Poetry. She currently lives in Chicago.

Even the Saints Audition: A book of poems exploring the relationship between blackness, shame, and what it is to live a life tied to the church. Rich with historical context and a deeply engaging personal narrative.


Xandria Phillips is a poet and visual artist from rural Ohio. They are the author of Reasons For Smoking, which won the 2016 Seattle Review chapbook contest judged by Claudia Rankine. Their poem “For a Burial Free of Sharks” won the 2016 Gigantic Sequins poetry contest judged by Lucas De Lima. Xandria has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, where they are the First Wave Poetry Fellow. Their poetry has been featured in Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, Poets.Org, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere.

HULL explores emotional impacts of colonialism and racism on the Black queer body and the present-day emotional impacts of enslavement in urban, rural, and international settings. HULL is lyrical, layered, history-ridden, experimental, textured, adorned, ecstatic, and emotionally investigative.



Filed under: artist in attendance, autobiography, black and brown, collaboration, essay, experimental, lecture, performance, poetry, queer, reading, social justice

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