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Race is the Place

Race is the Place" is a lively survey of contempo U.S. ethnic-minority writers and performers who address racial divisions and injustices. Plentitude of angry rhetoric and '80s-style performance art will turn off some viewers, but pic will prove a good tool for stirring discussion. Co-produced by the Dallas-Fort Worth PBS affiliate, this feature by vet documentarians Rick Tejada-Flores and Ray Telles will presumably require a few language bleeps when pubcast.

Cast:
With: Kate Rigg, James Luna, Pipi Thomas, Danny Hoch, Havnani-Kay Trask, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Raymond "Boots" Riley, Culture Clash, Andy Bumatal, Ahmed Ahmed, Beau Sia, Kamau Daood, Amiri Baraka, Lalo Guerrero, Willie Perdomo, Mayda del Valle, Shabaka, Michael Franti.

Race is the Place” is a lively survey of contempo U.S. ethnic-minority writers and performers who address racial divisions and injustices. Plentitude of angry rhetoric and ’80s-style performance art will turn off some viewers, but pic will prove a good tool for stirring discussion. Co-produced by the Dallas-Fort Worth PBS affiliate, this feature by vet documentarians Rick Tejada-Flores and Ray Telles (who previously teamed on “The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers’ Struggle”) will presumably require a few language bleeps when pubcast.

Talents spotlighted include elder statesman Amiri Baraka nee Leroi Jones (“Dutchman”), but mostly emphasize a newer generation of ethno-conscious spoken-word artists, standups, conceptual artists, etc. Sometimes potent, occasionally shrill material ranges from black monologist Shabaka’s turn as a Klansman to Kate Rigg’s “Rice, Rice Baby” rap screed against the “Suzie Wong” exoticizing of Asian-heritage women. Archival news footage; 1960s interview excerpts with late, great African-American scribe James Baldwin; views of work by several like-minded current visual artists (many appropriating vintage racist images); stereotype-laden old cartoon and musical clips all help break up the potentially monotonous succession of new performance clips. Tech aspects are solid.

Race is the Place

Production: A Paradigm Prods. and KERA production in association with ITVS. Produced, directed by Raymond Telles, Rick Tejada-Flores.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Vicente Franco, Robert Shepard, Emiko Omori; editor, Herb Ferrette II; music, Jon Jang, Wayne Wallace. Reviewed at San Francisco Latino Film Festival, Nov. 14, 2005. Running time: 91 MIN.

With: With: Kate Rigg, James Luna, Pipi Thomas, Danny Hoch, Havnani-Kay Trask, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Raymond "Boots" Riley, Culture Clash, Andy Bumatal, Ahmed Ahmed, Beau Sia, Kamau Daood, Amiri Baraka, Lalo Guerrero, Willie Perdomo, Mayda del Valle, Shabaka, Michael Franti.

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