Tuesday, 23 July 2013
Maysles Cinema Presents:
Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie
One Night Only, Wednesday 7/24 at 7:30pm
The "most dramatic rose ceremony ever." Extension-yanking showdowns between "real" housewives. Glenn Beck and his primetime politics. He-said, she said, they-said brawls on any given talk show. Yeah, you know the drill and you probably know how it's going to end. It's just another day on TV, and it's not gonna be pretty.
But before the expansive wasteland that is today's reality television was overdeveloped by the Jerry Springers and Mike Fleisses of the networks, there was a single, polarizing star who launched the genre. Welcome to the late Eighties, when bigger was way better - hair, cars, business and personalities - not the least of which was Morton Downey Jr. Known as the "Father of Trash Television," Downey was the teeth-baring, cigarette-smoking, brash and in-your-face right-wing pioneer whose explosive talk show was a loathsome but guilty pleasure for millions of Americans. With memorable smack downs between some of the biggest pot-stirrers of the 80s - including one particularly heated incident between CORE chairman Roy Innis and the Reverend Al Sharpton - The Morton Downey Jr. Show sealed its rightful place in pop culture infamy.
Roy Innis Touré
Playing this week at Maysles Cinema is Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger'sÉvocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie, a new documentary that attempts to piece together the man behind the larger than life façade. Through interviews, footage from "The Morton Downey Jr. Show," animated interludes and shocking behind the scenes clips, Évocateur gives us good reason to flinch, and makes it impossible to turn away.
A significant portion of the film explores the brawl that took place between Roy Innis and Al Sharpton during a taping of "The Morton Downey Jr. Show" at the Apollo Theater in August 1988. The subject of the show was Tawana Brawley.
This screening and Q&A at the Maysles Cinema will mark the 25th anniversary of the Apollo Theater taping. Touré (co-hosts MSNBC's "The Cycle" and is the author of "Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness? What It Means To Be Black Now,") and Roy Innis (CORE) will participate in a discussion afterwards about race and media with director Jeremy Newberger. Al Sharpton has also been invited to attend. In light of Trayvon Martin coverage, the potential reunion and debate guarantees to be fascinating.