Spike Lee coming to NCC for MLK week
Sun Staff January 4, 2011 9:36AM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
North Central College will play host to filmmaker Spike Lee as the keynote speaker during its 2011 Martin Luther King Week celebration.
“An Evening with Spike Lee” begins at 7 p.m. Jan. 18, in Wentz Concert Hall at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville.
Lee is a producer, director and actor who was born Shelton Jackson Lee on March 20, 1957, in Atlanta. Growing up in a relatively well-off African-American family, he was making amateur films by age 20. His first student film, “Last Hustle in Brooklyn,” was completed when he was an undergraduate at Morehouse College. He went on to graduate from the New York University Film School in 1982.
Lee became a director of promise with his first feature film, “She’s Gotta Have It,” in 1986. No stranger to controversy for certain provocative elements in both his films and public statements, Lee often takes a critical look at race relations, political issues and urban crime and violence. His next film, “Do the Right Thing,” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1989.
Subsequent films, including “Malcolm X,” “Mo’ Better Blues,” “Summer of Sam” and “She Hate Me” continued to explore social and political issues. “4 Little Girls,” a piece about the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary in 1997.
In 2006, Lee directed and produced a four-hour documentary for television, “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts,” about life in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He also did well at the box office that year with the crime caper “Inside Man,” starring Clive Owen, Jodie Foster and Denzel Washington.
Lee has also had success in directing television commercials, most famously opposite Michael Jordan in Nike’s Air Jordan campaign. Other commercial clients include Converse, Taco Bell and Ben & Jerry’s. His production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, is located in his childhood neighborhood of Fort Green in Brooklyn, N.Y.
His most recent feature film release, “Miracle at St. Anna” (2008), tells the story of four African-American soldiers trapped in an Italian village during World War II.
Tickets for the public are $20; call the North Central College box office at 630-637-7469 or visit northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.
North Central College’s Martin Luther King Week, Jan. 15-22, is an annual celebration of the college’s history of building bridges among cultures. Last year’s event featured keynote speaker Cornel West on the 50th anniversary of King’s 1960 appearance in the college’s Pfeiffer Hall. This year’s celebration includes a musical tribute to King by the Chicago Sinfonietta on Jan. 15 and the college’s 23rd annual Gospel Extravaganza on Jan. 22.
The Chicago Sinfonietta performs its musical tribute to King at 8 p.m. Jan. 15 in Wentz Concert Hall at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville. Titled “Concert III: A Dream Unfolds,” the celebration will feature multiple guest artists and a set of five works, performed by an orchestra known for its diversity and innovative programs. Tickets are $60 and $50.
North Central’s 23rd annual Gospel Extravaganza, featuring solo artists and local and national gospel choirs, begins at 7 p.m. Jan. 22, in the college’s Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave. Tickets are $15/adults, $8/students and senior citizens.