|Chickenhead Bound Press Pack|
FULL CREDITS LISTING
DuSablean Enterprises Inc. Presents
A Not Ready For Follywood Production
A Mark F. Armstrong Film
A gothic epic hip-hop farce
Christopher “Rekkhan” Green
& The Not Ready For Follywood Players
With Special Appearances by
K-Rek of Public Enemy camp
Nlz of Wu-Tang Clan’s Killarmy
Music Supervisor: Mars Mixon of Quadraphonics
Music by: Various Midwestern Artists
Casting by: DuSablean Enterprises Inc. & Fat Girl Entertainment
Edited by: Gary Jenkins
Directors of Photography Gary Jenkins & Mark A. Pratt
Executive Producers: Mark F. Armstrong, Phil Mason, Dominique Rowland, Daniel Fagen
Produced by: Mark F. Armstrong
Screenplay by: Mark F. Armstrong
Directed by: Mark F. Armstrong
Tamika Powell as Drusilia Livia/Black Widow Headhunter
Harold Dennis as Robin Good
A.C. Mikell as Jock the Ripper
Craig Heard as Army Strong
William Sayre as Cecil B. Illa
Akilah Powell as Afrika Noir
Lisa Lane as Aquanette Beauchamp
Christopher “Rekkhan” Green as Second Cumming
DeBorah Boston as Ms. Lena-May Russell
Lance Tate as Huey Ka-Blewie
Tracy Jones as First Beverly Bum
Edem Agbley as Second Beverly Bum
Valencia Dantzler as Extra Salty Happy Hooker
Shontel Denny as Gigi Brown
Dominique Rowland as Cool-Ass Howie
Radiça Radovic as Twelve-Inches Broad
Aretha Hughes as Ghetto-Ass Customer, Ghetto-Ass Groupie
Markesa Pratt, Lavashané Pratt, Kenisha Ousley, Shelley Powell as Robin Good’s Groupies
Aimee Bravo as Unionized Hooker
Howard White as Union-Whipped Pimp
Stephanie Bryant as Nia Uhuru
William Clayton as Trevor Fernando Douglass
Marvin Gentry as Big Daddy Love
Mike Miggity Maestro as One Love Studio Engineer
Michael Drake MacRae as First Caller (Pervert)
Natalie “Phoebe” Natalie as Second Caller (OK Broad)
Ed Moreno as Third Caller (Cholo Thug)
Melinna Garcia as Third Caller’s Girlfriend (Sexy Latina)
Tiffany Griffin as Fourth Caller (Evangelist Clementyne DeWitt)
Tyrone Peters as Fourth Caller’s Husband
K-Rek as Rico Bogart
Lorenzo Hunt as Lil Caesar Cagney
Emanuel Oliver as Rico’s Hype Man
Shawn Gates as Rico’s Backup Singer
Derek Dow as First Rico’s Bodyguard
Cordell Rainey as Second Rico’s Bodyguard
William Ruff as Third Rico’s Bodyguard
Solomon Murray as Fourth Rico’s Bodyguard
Toussaint Muhammad as Fifth Rico’s Bodyguard
Orlando Edwards as Smoked Out Homie No. 1
Norman Scales as Smoked Out Homie No. 2
Robert Berry as Smoked Out Homie No. 3
Jeanne Dohm as Rico’s Girlfriend
Bryce Ari Nathaniel Day Dooks as Da Bomb Beauty Artist
Eric Adrieansen as Giancana
Amanda Ewing as Giancana’s Groupie
Gary Sugarman as Weed-Fiend Photojournalist
Jackie Bishop as Noisy Urban Journalist
Susan Russell as Rock Television Show Host
Tom Lustina as Entertainment TV Magazine Host
Ryan Ourth as Entertainment TV Magazine Producer
Richard Kevin Taylor as Entertainment TV Magazine PA
Tenique Mathieu as Record Label Publicist
Sam Sweis as Worried Record Store Owner
Gino Calantoni as Regional Record Label Product Manager
Robert Suzuki Jr. as Regional Record Label Account Executive
Darren Meyers as Regional Record Label Marketing Representative
Nick Ferrin as Limousine Driver
Tiffini Funches as General Groupie No. 1
Kristin Mitchell-Warren as General Groupie No. 2
Sarah J. Davis as General Groupie No. 3
LaShona Nicole Bean as General Groupie No. 4
Gregory Christopher Armstrong as Radio Announcer
Nlz of Killarmy (Wu-Tang Clan) as Slick’s Cuts DJ
Scandalous of Killarmy as Slick’s Cuts DJ’s Girlfriend
Executive Producers: Mark F. Armstrong, Phil Mason, Dominique Rowland, Daniel Fagen
Director, Screenwriter & Producer: Mark F. Armstrong
Directors of Photography: Gary Jenkins & Mark A. Pratt
Editor: Gary Jenkins
Legal Counsel: Jay Quatrini of Davenport Lyons
Associate Producer Valencia Danztler
Script Supervisor: Kenyatta Ousley
Key Grip: Shelia Ivy
2nd Camera Operator: Martino Hernandez
Audio Dialogue Recording: Gary Jenkins
Wardrobe Supervisor & Makeup Artist: Aretha Hughes
Unit Production Photographers: Mark A. Pratt & Mark F. Armstrong
Foley: Maurice “Titan” Davis of Fam Biz & Gary Jenkins
Property Masters: Mark F. Armstrong & Mark A. Pratt
Chief Technology Officer: Dominique Rowland
Production Assistants: Aaaron Hixon, Tiffini Funches, Thomas Sigmon, Gabe Marroquin, Thomas McDonough, Hudson Meadors, Christopher Binion
Music Supervisor: Mars Mixon
Location Production Partners: WGCR Web & Satellite Radio, Hixson Family, Strong Family, Armstrong Family, Chicago Park District, Motel 6, Helen Wooten & HK & Associates
Marketing Production Partner: Perception2020.com
Catering & Craft Service by: DuSablean Enterprises Inc., Armstrong Family, Lady Di Cakes & More, Kenyetta Ousley
Titles & Opticals by: SIP Productions
Color by Gary Jenkins
Lenses & Camera Equipment by: [whoever]
The producers gratefully acknowledge
the support and assistance of
SIP, Big Bill Ruff, Titan of Fam Biz, Fred & LaTonia Spivey of Cas-I-Can Productions, Wendy Day of Rap Coalition, Mother Diva & Fat Girl Entertainment, Big Pikture Management & Big Pikture Entertainment, Mr. Peabody’s Records, Performink, ReelChicago.com, Illinois Film Office, Indiana Film Commission, Ft. Wayne Film Society, Chicago Park District, Urban Pictures, Perception2020.com, Perception Wireless, Chicago Hip-Hop Initiative NFP, Chicago Urban Mines, Exposé TV Show (CAN-TV), Mr. Peabody’s Records, Napalm Recordings, The Pratt Family, The Armstrong Family, The Strong Family, The Hixon Family, WGCR Web & Satellite Radio, Creative Control Filmworks, Blackstone Group & DataPrompt International, Residents of Maple Park subdivision of Maple Park-Chicago, Chicago State University Television & Radio Department, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Letitia Binion, Illanoyze.com, Helen Wooten & HK & Associates
The characters and events in this film are fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons and events is purely coincidental. Where based on true events, the names in this film were changed and events fictionalized for dramatic purposes.
This motion picture is protected under the laws of the United States, Canada and other countries, and its unauthorized duplication, distribution or exhibition may result in civil liability or criminal prosecution.
Copyright ©2004 by Mark F. Armstrong & DuSablean Enterprises Inc.
All Rights Reserved
[songs, titles, and copyrights, publishing to be added after picture is scored]
SHORT “Chickenhead Bound” SYNOPSIS
Allowing horniness to override his good player sense, love- and lust-smitten R&B crooning libertine ROBIN GOOD encounters mysterious sex kitten DRUSILIA LIVIA during a shoot for cablecasting and webcasting “STREETFARE” urban video magazine show at Slick’s Cuts Records Store in the Beverly Hills neighborhood on Chicago’s Far Southwest Side.
ROBIN hooks up with her later in his Beverly Hood Hotel suite for some serious romancing and sexing only to end up bound and gagged, and facing castration, strangulation and butchering in chickenheaded fashion alongside equally subdued hardcore rapper-producer HUEY KA-BLEWIE as a sacrifice to the deity of hip-hop purity BIG MAMA when DRU changes to cold-blooded single man-hating serial killer BLACK WIDOW HEADHUNTER.
ROBIN and HUEY are momentarily reprieved when BLACK WIDOW HEADHUNTER is confronted by HUEY’s homeboy, conscious poet-rapper SECOND CUMMING, flygirl college student and Beverly Hood housekeeper AFRIKA NOIR and AFRIKA’s working-class hood queen cousin and Robin’s No. 1 fan and groupie AQUANETTE BEAUCHAMP. Robin wakes up to discover that the entire drama was a dream. But reality takes an eerie twist when Robin encounters DRU again in earnest at Slick’s Cut.
“Chickenhead Bound” Synopsis
Influenced by the sociopolitical stage farces of Molière, Goldsmith, Sheridan, and Thornton Wilder and the biting cinematic humor of Joseph Mankewicz, “Chickenhead Bound” explores how insecure society can become when hip-hop goes kitsch and banal. “Chickenhead Bound,” for baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965), will be reminiscent of the counter-blaxploitation farces of the ‘80s and ‘90s associated with the likes of Robert Townsend and Keenan Ivory Wynans, with creative touches reminiscent of Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino.
For so-called Generation X (those born between 1966 and 1981) and so-called Generation Y (those born after 1981), “Chickenhead Bound” will be provocative urban cinema that will challenge thought, as opposed to sedating and placating it, on the stagnation of U.S. hip-hop in a world demanding more politically charged revolution in its rap-based culture.
“Chickenhead Bound” cinematically demarcates the thick line between rap as “the industry” and hip-hop as “the culture” of the urban beaux-arts that society now belatedly embraces commercials and today’s equivalent of the beatniks and hippies religiously practice.
“Chickenhead Bound” is a dark, farcical Midwestern hip-hop comedy revolving around the story of record label publicist DRUSILIA LIVIA. Driven mentally over the edge by boorish, trifling music industry operatives ranging from artists and managers to A&R’s, who are more interested in the expedient profits than the painstaking art of creating hip-hop, DRUSILIA ceases to think of hip-hop as the source of her paycheck and begins to observe it as religion. Deciding that the “Faith” has been profaned long enough, DRUSILIA appoints herself as a sort of Grand Inquisitor of hip-hop and takes on the alter ego of BLACK WIDOW HEADHUNTER, who seduces and then strangles and decapitates bachelor hip-hopheads in sacrificing them to the deity of hip-hop purity BIG MAMA.
To conceal her lethal alter ego, BLACK WIDOW HEADHUNTER masquerades as a soft, air-headed sex kitten DRUSILIA LIVIA. And her animal magnetism in Chicagoland rivets the attention of fast-rising R&B crooner ROBIN GOOD during his promotional appearance at a South Side record store with a cable access music video and urban magazine show produced by the neurotic ARMY STRONG and his color blind, Aryan suspect, white boy DV cam operator CECIL B. D’ILLA. ROBIN is very much under DRUSILIA LIVIA’s femme fatale spell and very primed to become the benchmark Offering No. 4,080 BLACK WIDOW HEADHUNTER needs to take out so she can collect enough shrunken heads toward dedicating a temple to BIG MAMA and teach other women how to reform hip-hop with 4,080 bachelor homicides.
Resolved that he must “have” DRUSILIA, ROBIN resists everything from ARMY STRONG’s Type-A insistence that he stick to the rest of his scheduled promotional appearances with the video show to the Medicare-and-menopause attentions from landlady of his ghetto fabulous hotel MS. LENA-MAY RUSSELL.
ROBIN’s booty call dream comes to life with DRUSILIA’s arrival incognito at his suite hotel but turns into a major nightmare when he awakens bound and gagged and on the verge of being garroted by her in BLACK WIDOW HEADHUNTER persona and running through more personalities than Sybil. He gets a reprieve when hardcore rapper-producer and pothead HUEY KA-BLEWIE calls on ROBIN to make a swap of promo material and talk about collaborating on some projects. But after some distraction—first by DRUSILIA’s voluptuous damsel-in-distress pretense and then by ROBIN’s frantic, desperate, muffled warnings—HUEY awakens from a knock on the head to find himself in the same predicament as ROBIN and equally facing castration and death like ROBIN.
After encountering an EXTRA SALTY HAPPY HOOKER, who mistakes him for a date who took her “P,” cigarettes and Link card and bailed without paying, HUEY’s conscious poet and MC’ing partner SECOND CUMMING arrives to confront BLACK WIDOW HEADHUNTER in concert with flygirl college student and hotel housekeeper AFRIKA NOIR, and her ghetto queen of a working-class cousin and ROBIN’s No. 1 fan AQUANETTE BEAUCHAMP.
But ROBIN awakens to find that the day’s drama was merely a dream and heads to a promotional record store appearance with ARMY STRONG and CECIL to encounter DRUSILIA LIVIA all over again—this time in reality.
“Chickenhead Bound” TECHNICAL CREW
Phil Mason—Executive Producer
PHIL MASON is a Cook County Sheriff’s deputy and the principal of Big Pikture Management and Big Pikture Entertainment, based in Calumet City, Ill. PHIL has managed a variety of Chicago talent for the past half decade, ranging from DJ Twlight Tone to the legendary producer connected with Common and No I.D., Dug Infinite. He is vice president of the production company for “Chickenhead Bound,” DuSABLEAN ENTERPRISES INC., and a founding member of its board of directors.
Daniel Fagen—Executive Producer
A descendant of Daniel Boone, DANIEL FAGEN is founder of the furniture manufacturer American Pride Custom Furniture Inc., based in St. John, Ind. American Pride furniture can be found in the homes of Greater Chicagoland’s politicians and sports figures.
DANIEL has recorded voice-overs for History Channel and Toshiba, and he is currently seeking election to the Indiana House of Representatives. He is also secretary of DuSABLEAN ENTERPRISES INC. and a member of its board of directors.
Dominique Rowland—Executive Producer
DOMINIQUE ROWLAND is a visiting pediatric nurse and principal of the Greater Chicagoland-based multimedia company Perception 20/20, which is a media partner for DuSABLEN ENTERPRISES INC. offers a variety of services ranging from Web site building to urban party promotion. Perception’s recording label division boasts a range of Greater Chicagoland from popular DJ Journey to Panamanian-Jamerican ragga rapper Zulu.
DOMINIQUE makes a featured “Chickenhead Bound” appearance as COOL-ASS HOWIE, and he is chief technology officer for DuSABLEAN ENTEPRISES INC. and a founding member of its board of directors.
Jay Quatrini—Legal Counsel
With offices primarily in New York City and also in London, JAY QUATRINI is an entertainment attorney with the firm of Davenport Lyons. His more than 15 years of experience in entertainment law includes a deep knowledge of music recording, publishing, distribution, touring,, and merchandising. His distinctively celebrity-based clientele has included Diana, Princess of Wales, Lady Sarah Ferguson, Harry Belafonte, Tyra Banks, David Banner, Beenie Man, Black Rob, Bounty Killer, Beres Hammond, Henchmen Entertainment, Junior Reid, Slick Rick, Larry King, VP Records, and U-God. JAY holds J.D. from the New England School of Law and an L.L.M. from New York University.
Mark Fitzgerald Armstrong – Writer/Director/Producer
“Chickenhead Bound” marks MARK F. ARMSTRONG’s film directing debut. He has lined produced on several independent projects including the Hawkfilmz Ltd./Maverick Entertainment rap drama “When Thugs Cry,” the Urban Pictures/Maverick action drama “Back Against Da Wall” and the Urban Pictures’ neo-soul sex comedy “Java.”
He has also line produced on such experimental projects as Creative Filmworks’ horror short “The Basement,” Stolen Merchandise’s tragedy of errors “Cerebral Inferno” and the Chicago State University horror short “What’s Real?” MARK is currently assisting with casting for the Cas-I-Can romantic bisexual comedy “Trying to Get Bi” and working as a founding member and parliamentarian with the not-for-profit hip-hop community development corporation Chicago Hip-Hop Initiative NFP to organize urban filmmakers from Southeast Wisconsin to Northwest Indiana.
He studied mass communications at Clark College (now Clark-Atlanta University), where filmmakers Spike Lee and Monty Ross took their undergraduate courses. MARK’s coursework while at Clark included television production courses at the school’s mass communications department and a playwright course through neighboring Spelman College’s renowned drama department through the Atlanta University Center system of historically black colleges and universities. He continued his creative writing studies after college at the Writer’s Loft on the Lincoln Park neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side, conducted by fame writing guru Jerry Cleaver. MARK is also president/CEO of DuSABLEAN ENTERPRISES INC. and a founding member of its board of directors.
Gary Jenkins—Director of Photography/Editor
An award-winning editor who has worked on such projects as a Tupac Shakur-Biggie Smalls documentary, GARY JENKINS heads SIP Productions, a film production enterprises based in Hillside, Ill. that offers a range of services from scriptwriting to cinematography and editing.
Mark Anthony Pratt – Director of Photography
A graduate of Columbia College-Chicago film school graduate, MARK A. PRATT has crewed on several independent and Hollywood projects ranging from “Soul Food” to Nferno Production’s “Deep Passion” and “Boston.”
In additional to shooting music videos for several independent Chicago hip-hop artists, MARK has won awards for his short films “Voices of Cabrini” and “Flight of the Pigeons.”
Key Grip – Shelia Ivy
SHELIA IVY, a Columbia College-Chicago film school graduate, has crewed on several independent and Hollywood motion picture productions.
“I have come to love film again,” Shelia says. “With so much going on, I didn’t think I’d have the opportunity to do this again.”
Mars Mixon—Music Supervisor
A nephew of one of the members of the famous Jamaican reggae group The Benders, MARS MIXON is a DJ, urban entertainment promoter, principal of Perception2020.com and owner of Perception Wireless in the upscale Wicker Park-Bucktown enclave on Chicago’s Northwest Side. MARS is overseeing the score and sound track for “Chickenhead Bound.”
“Chickenhead Bound” CAST
As Drusilia Livia/Black Widow Headhunter
“Chickenhead Bound” marks TAMIKA POWELL’s first lead role in a feature film, which has led to supporting and lead roles in other motion picture and stage productions. She has also appeared in “Barbershop 2” and “Shall We Dance.”
Tamika has also held down primary roles in music videos featuring rap artists ranging from O-Type Star to R-Kelly and Nick Cannon to Twista and Kanyé West. She performs as a vocalist with the girl R&B group Karma.
“It was challenging work, with a new cast member at almost every shoot, but I have to give it to MARK [ARMSTRONG],” Tamika says. “His casting allowed me to work with some of the most talented and fine brothers in Chicago. Ladies, this is definitely a movie you don’t want to miss.”
As Robin Good
HAROLD DENNIS has played lead, supporting and featured roles in several independent Greater Chicagoland stage and film productions, including Griot Filmworks’ “One Week” and Bronzeville Film’s “Dark.”
“My character Robin Good has undergone a mental facelift because of his talents and recognition,” Harold says. “Quiet as it’s kept, he is a mirror image of a lot of hip-hop artists today.”
As Army Strong
CRAIG HEARD has appeared in several independent film projects based in Greater Chicagoland, including B-Cole’s comedy “The Gathering,” which recently screened last summer at the Atlanta International Film Festival. He’s just finished shooting a supporting role of a player who catches the love bug in Urban Pictures’ neo-soul sex comedy “Java.”
As Cecil B. D’Illa
WILLIAM SAYRE has taped voiceovers or appeared on camera in featured roles for a variety of projects based in Greater Chicagoland.
As Afrika Noir
AKILAH POWELL has appeared in supporting and featured roles in independent and Hollywood film productions in Greater Chicagoland. One of her more recent projects including supporting role last summer with Urban Pictures’ neo-soul sex comedy “Java.”
As Aquanette Beauchamp
LISA LANE has appeared in several supporting and featured roles on stage and in stage and independent and Hollywood film productions in Greater Chicagoland.
As Second Cumming
CHRIS GREEN has appeared in several independent and Hollywood productions, including “Mr. 3000.” He raps under the name “Rekkhan” for his Chicago-based label Rekk-cognize Entertainment.
As Huey Ka-Blewie
“Chickenhead Bound” is LANCE TATE’s acting debut.
Nlz (Killarmy/Wu Tang Clan)
As Slick’s Cuts DJ
“Chickenhead Bound” is NLZ’s film acting debut.
K-Rek (Public Enemy),
As Rico Bogart
K-REK has appeared in several British and U.S. films, including a featured role as a club rapper in Nferno Productions’ “Deep Passion.” When he’s not performing solo, K-REK tours regularly with legendary conscious hip-hop band Public Enemy.
As Lil Caesar Cagney
LORENZO HUNT has appeared on state in Dublin, Ireland, and his past film appearances include such Hollywood and independent productions as “The Weathermen, “The Cost of Bread” and “King B’s Raw Fusion Show.”
As Slick’s Cuts DJ
NLZ is a member of the Wu-Tang Clan group Killarmy. “Chickenhead Bound” is his debut feature film appearance.
Chickenhead Bound—MAIN PRODUCTION NOTES
What “Chickenhead Bound” has accomplished through postproduction in half a decade of fine-tuning proves that visionary rule breaking in independent filmmaking can overcome the most cynical industry insider savvy.
Starting with development of the “Chickenhead Bound” script, writer/director/producer MARK F. ARMSTRONG envisioned his epic gothic hip-hop farce as provocative, intellectually challenging but riveting cinema.
“Quirky would be the most convenient label for ‘Chickenhead Bound,’ but the intent was not to create something patently knee-jerk, something that would merely titillate out of a shallow sense of shock value,” MARK said. “I wanted to make a timeless sociopolitical comedy, along the lines of a new age Moliére, Oliver Goldsmith, Phillip Sheridan, Thornton Wilder, where apparently disadvantaged plebs outwit and ultimately win over aristocrats possessing apparently superior advantages of money, political power, and, in certain cases, education.
“Because the target audience for ‘Chickenhead Bound’ is baby boomers like myself, I wanted to revisit the type of unapologetically sacrilegious humor we grew up with that became infectious ammunition against status quos, even the kind existing in pop culture—‘Second City TV,’ ‘Saturday Night Live,’ ‘Laugh-In,’ the ‘Flip Wilson Show’ and the ‘Carol Burnett Show,’ are among a few of the classics that immediately come to mind. At the same time, I wanted to go farther than ‘Hollywood Shuffle,’ ‘I’m Gonna Get You Sucka,’ ‘CB40’ and ‘Fear of a Black Hat.’ The compelling rule bending and rule breaking that went into those now classic urban farces was lost when urban cinema leaped from under the radar to the grasp of Madison Avenue hucksterism.
“Plus, I’m heavily influenced by the character- and dialogue-driven films of Joseph Mankewicz and the creative filmmaking ‘anti-rules’ of [film critic and Boston University professor of film and American studies] Ray Carney and [Belgium film critic] Alfons Engelen. Whether it was the struggling shop girls that Joan Crawford portrayed for MGM to the conniving bitch in lost lambs’ clothing outwitting the theater world’s elite in ‘All About Eve,’ Mankewicz made his dramas as intriguing as life without running a gauntlet of fancy camera angles. In fact, his pictures are so much like life that they’re more like nearly documentary photoplays showing life instead of a stylized presentation of it.
“As for Carney and Engelen, they’re talking from the standpoint of academia and literati conveniently removed from the struggles and frustrations that writers, directors and producers face in the real give-and-take world of filmmaking. That lack of getting their feet wet in the film world doesn’t make their rhetoric any less liberating for people like me, who look forward to filmmaking or any art that’s full of as many surprises as life. That’s why ‘Chickenhead Bound’ takes a deconstructive twist on stock themes and characters found in typical urban cinema and allows whores to assert their labor rights with pimps, shortchanged happy hookers to play bill collector, an apparently fragile airhead to outwit men possessing apparently more game and brawn, a flygirl to balance academia with a blue collar job and other female characters to find other ways for turning their male counterparts into chickenheads.”
In his essay “How (and How Not to) Do It: An Open Letter to the Next Generation of American Filmmakers,” Carney insists on no limitations, filmmaking what you really are, making movies as strange as life, resisting the urge to dumb down movies to comic book level, resisting assembly-line Hollywood looks, using darkness in cinematography and insisting on making films that examine hard and serious adult social relationships (learn more about Carney and his essays advocating creative independent filmmaking at http://people.bu.edu/rcarney/aboutrc/).
Engelen is quoted in Rick Schmidt’s Feature Filmmaking at Use-Car Prices, 3d ed. (New York: Penguin, 2000) observing that filmmaking is only a century old and that “only a dozen letters of the film alphabet are known. Therefore, look for something new, never done before. As a filmmaker, cameraman, actor or actress, editor, make something new, never done before … fresh.”
“Chickenhead Bound” was conceived in 1999 was an extended skit MARK wrote in connection with an appearance by a Yonkers, N.Y. R&B singer, Kibwe Dorsey, on a Chicago Access Network urban video magazine MARK was line-producing titled “A Day In the Life.” Each show for the program, which was part reality show, featured an urban figure in sports or entertainment making their rounds for a day or two. At the time, Dorsey was popular as the smoky tenor voice behind the hook on the single “No Pigeons,” the one-hit wonder recorded by Dorsey’s Yonkers homeboys Sporty Thievz as a rebuttal to TLC’s hit R&B tune about trifling men, “No Scrubs.”
MARK believed that he could kill several birds with one stone by opening CAN-TV up to a “Saturday Night Live” style of writing and acting not available on Chicago cable access and increasing ratings for “A Day In the Life” so that the program could qualify as a CAN-TV series. Since the producers of “A Day In the Life” were also in charge of Dorsey’s schedule in connection with his promotional Karl Kani fashion show and concert appearance on Chicago’s southeast lakefront, MARK ended up obtaining a fraction of the footage he had envisioned shooting guerrilla style in a matter of minutes.
“We had Kibwe as the muscular pretty boy lead to reel in a major share of CAN-TV’s viewers, MARK said. “As supporting cast, we had a rapping homeboy of his from Yonkers who had once been signed to a major label deal. Then everything awful that I thought couldn’t happen did—in excess.
“We were already behind schedule on Kibwe’s touring schedule when the crew arrived at his motel room to discover that we was just getting dressed. I learned in line rehearsal with the girls we cast for the female roles that Kibwe wasn’t as comfortable or knowledgeable about the dialogue and blocking as we thought. And he was resisting any dialogue and action that cut against the grain of the goody-goody church boy image he wanted to portray, although the slightly libertine character I had written was closer to Kibwe’s persona before he turned from gangster rap and the street life that inspired it to Christianity and R&B, which somewhat lingers in his ‘new life.’
“By the time we had gotten everyone to the point that they would deliver their lines in a decent manner, Kibwe’s manager was sweating us to hurry up so we could get Kibwe to sound check at the venue in a timely manner. My plans for shooting that 15-minute segment in two hours went up in smoke. We were shooting with prosumer Hi-8 camcorders at the time. The lighting was so poor that the camera operators to this day refuse to let me see the rushes.”
MARK had been through a manager, two directors and a couple of co-producers when he determined in late 2002 that he could also direct “Chickenhead Bound.” He had moved “Chickenhead Bound” beyond the unfulfilled promises, false starts, limited financing and rhetoric on how and how not to get “Chickenhead Bound” completed toward shooting a prototype feature version of the project on Hi-8mm from late summer to mid-autumn of 2003, for which he arrived at a fine cut for by spring 2004 shortly before launching into production for the longer version on digital video. For MARK, it boiled down to a case of letting “Chickenhead Bound” live for him, instead of burning himself out living for the picture, by pursuing the enterprising filmmaker’s credo of simply getting a camera, getting some stock and shooting your picture.
Production on “Chickenhead Bound” especially picked up after MARK cast TAMIKA POWELL in the lead female role of DRUSILIA LIVIA/BLACK WIDOW HEADHUNTER behind scrutinizing at a two-hour audition her potential for making the character leap off the page. MARK encountered concerns from cast with more film-acting experience than TAMIKA that she lacked an ample supply of curves for the role. But MARK refused to summarily write TAMIKA off, following a hunch that her catlike features and ability to take gratifying risks with her acting would make DRUSILIA LIVIA/BLACK WIDOW HEADHUNTER more three-dimensional in spite of her svelteness.
In the end, MARK’s decision to stick with TAMIKA for “Chickenhead Bound” proved that fresh strong acting could win out over flesh in production on a daring urban feature film project.
“When we cast TAMIKA, the original deal was that she’d get a reel out of temporarily filling in on the prototype version of ‘Chickenhead Bound’ for an actor already cast as the female lead who possessed the tits, and ass and other eye candy the insiders said was necessary for the role’” MARK said. “In spite of that deal, I was gravitating toward using TAMIKA permanently in the role because she was the first actor among many we had run across who could make BLACK WIDOW HEADHUNTER as believably sicko and psycho than she could make DRUSILIA LIVIA believably charming, mysterious and alluring.
“When he original actor cast in the role dropped out of the production, that freed me up to extensively help TAMIKA develop that Mankewicz-style ‘bitch virtuosity’ of an Eve Harrington vital for DRU and BLACK WIDOW, where she could switch a the drop of a hat from soft and cuddly as a newborn kitten to as lethal as a cornered alley rat.
“We didn’t run across any guys in the cast who were even mildly repelled by TAMIKA on and off camera. All of them took as much of an interest in benevolently helping me push her buttons enough for her to make your blood freeze in your veins as they did in putting the mack on her for the camera. The proof in the pudding is the references the DP’s children make about her as ‘the crazy lady in the film’ and those by others beyond ties to the production about that ‘sick, crazy bitch.’ TAMIKA kept improving in the role to the point that I got skittish a couple of times about turning her loose on the set with the sharp and blunt instruments we used among the props, although I knew that deep down inside she’s a sweetheart who’s very sensitive about hurting even a fly.”
Another asset on the casting end is the other broad range of talent defined by veterans of stage, television and independent and Hollywood film productions, including affiliates of Public Enemy and Wu-Tang Clan. Testing of both versions for “Chickenhead Bound” with audiences in selected screenings at club events and office parties reflects how on-the-money MARK’s instincts were on the writing and producing end of “Chickenhead Bound.”
Baby boomers born in the decade and a half immediately after the end of World War II gravitate toward “Chickenhead Bound” as much as the remainder of their generation born in the decade and a half before the emergence of hip-hop. Those born in the decades when hip-hop evolved from counterculture to pop culture have also found the “intelligent humor disguised as shtick” in “Chickenhead Bound” engaging.
That response fulfills MARK F. ARMSTRONG’s ambition for “Chickenhead Bound” to bridge hip-hop’s generation gap by creating a dialogue through which baby boomers, Generation X and Generation Y can redirect the culture as the tool of a privileged few back to art for the people.
“Chickenhead Bound” Production Company Description
DuSABLEAN ENTERPRISES INC.
DuSABLEAN ENTERPRISES INC. is a Chicago based multimedia company existing since 1996. It was incorporated in 2002 as a domestic close corporation, or privately owned Illinois business entity. In its eight-year history, it has collaborated on radio news talk and documentary programs, films, music videos, urban promotions campaigns, books and news articles and events including those especially related to urban entertainment.
DuSABLEAN ENTERPRISES’ founding board of directors comprises President MARK F. ARMSTRONG, Vice President PHIL MASON, Secretary DANIEL FAGEN and Chief Technology Officer DOMINIQUE ROWLAND.
The company also consults on filmmaking with other film producers and with music recording companies. A feature of the consulting provided by DuSABLEAN ENTERPRISES INC. is its business development assistance for music recording companies and film production companies that ranges from entertainment and intellectual property-related paralegal services to writing proposals, business plans and media promotions material.
DuSABLEAN ENTERPRISES INC.’s corporate accomplishments:
•Contributed articles on Electoral College, federal election law and Illinois election law, federal and Illinois constitutional law for hip-hop voter awareness guide published by People For President and Chicago Local Organizing Committee of the National Hip-Hop Convention.
•Co-producing Creative Control Filmworks horror feature project currently in development.
•Assisted with casting for Cas-I-Can Productions’ bisexual romantic comedy “Trying to Get Bi” in 2004. Services including writing and placing casting notice and screening candidates before referring them to director for consideration.
•Line produced on several Urban Pictures/Maverick Entertainment projects 2003-2004, including as unit production coordinator for action drama “Back Against Da Wall” and as unit production manager for neo-soul sex comedy “Java.”
•Assisted with casting and some line producing for Stolen Merchandise comedy-drama short “Cerebral Inferno” in 2004.
•Broke down script for continuity and advised paralegal capacity on Chicago State University student horror short “What’s Real?” in 2004.
•Co-produced, assistant directed and helped supervise postproduction for Creative Control Filmworks’ horror short “The Basement” from 2003-2004, which was a selection at the 2004 Shytown Shorts Film & Music Festival in Bensenville.
•Co-founded not-for-profit hip-hop community development organization Chicago Hip-Hop Initiative NFP in 2004 by drafting and filing it Articles of Incorporation with the Illinois Secretary of State, registering them with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds and drafting the organization’s constitution and bylaws. Also researched links and other content for organization’s adjunct voter awareness Web site Headz Up. Advised organization in paralegal capacity as a member of board of directors and parliamentarian.
•Assisted 2003 conference and festival on hip-hop and political activism at Chicago’s Filed Museum of Natural History by advising lead organizer on personalities, media and events to include.
•Expanded listings since 2003 in Illinois Production Guide published by Illinois Film Office.
•Drafted 2003 resolution introduced in Chicago City Council and approved by that body designating July as Chicago Hip-Hop Heritage Month.
•Wrote, directed and produced phases of DuSablean Enterprises dark hip-hop comedy “Chickenhead Bound” shot on 16mm, Hi-8 and DV from 2002-2004 and attracted home video distribution deal offer for latter version.
•Revised the business plan and wrote presentation for Hawkfilmz Ltd./Maverick Entertainment hip-hop drama “When Thugs Cry” to Lions Gate Films proposing a television series version of that movie, provided paralegal services, assisted with casting, and obtained media hits by organizing and conducting media promotions campaign from 2002-2003 as an associate production coordinator for “When Thugs Cry." Also researched history of Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s Southwest Side toward development of script for Hawkfilmz Ltd./Breakaway Films/Maverick horror feature “The Evil One.”
•Wrote combination press release/bios for Chicago-based labels Hoodrich Records Inc. and Parlay Music Group LLC on benefit single projects dedicated to victims of the E2 nightclub disaster (Hoodrich, for the Big Twiinz single “Thinking Of You and for PMG, the Corona Brone single “Heaven’s So Far Away).
•Wrote bios in 2002 for Big Pikture Management’s artists producer Dug Infinite and rapper Third Verse.
•Wrote bio, advised on corporate structure, and planning and carrying out media promotions campaign that successfully generated media hit for Chicago rap group The Outfitters and New York-based record label Gun City Records in 2002.
•Planned, organized and conducted media promotions campaign toward appearance of rapper Lomai in Hiphophunks.com for Ready Star Management and appearance for Akbar on same Web site in 2002.
•Obtained media hits by planning, organizing and carrying out extensive media promotions campaign for Edo G., affiliated group The Kreators, Souls of Mischief and Akbar, for simple partnership promoting 2001 Chicago hip-hop concert featuring those acts and other local Chicago talent at Chicago’s Congress Theater.
•Obtained media hits for Twista and other Legit Ballin’ Records Inc. acts during 2001, including for Legit Ballin’ Family’s “Come Ball With Us” music video directed by Chris Adams.
•Planned, organized and carried out extensive media promotions campaign for Boston rap group The Kreators 2000-2001.
•Wrote bios and consulted on media promotions strategies for Creator’s Way Associated Labels group Speedknot Mobstaz in 1998.
•Assisted production on 1998 WBEZ-FM documentary on Chicagoland’s hip-hop community asan extended family by consulting with lead producer on local hip-hop personalities, events and institutions to include in coverage.
•Line produced urban video magazines “A Day In the Life” and “Channel Zero,” airing on Chicago Access Network cable access television from the ‘90s to the turn of the 20th century.
•Wrote bio on rapper Grav in 1996 for Correct Records.
DuSABLEAN ENTERPRISES INC., has also worked as a consultant to:
•Chicago Hip-Hop Political Action Committee, primarily by advising it on establishing as a not-for-profit 501(c) corporation loaning it free publications from the Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois State Board of Election, Illinois Film Office, Indiana Secretary of State and Indiana Film Commission for table at 2003 “Hip-Hop & Social Change” conference at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.
•Diverciti Productions Inc. in 2003 on drafting its Articles of Incorporation as an Illinois domestic close corporation, setting up its corporate structure, writing it business plan and expanding its services for actors, casting agencies, casting directors, talent agencies and producers to offer talent scouting and development.
•Big Picture Entertainment Corp. on legally establishing and organizing as a privately owned music recording company based in Chicago in 2003, finding an competent entertainment attorney in Chicago with demonstrated influence in New York City and California.
•Chicago Urban Music Industry Networking & Entertainment Social as an sponsor in events planning and coordinating 1999-, including booking appearances of rap and R&B acts and arranging screening of trailer for Hawkfilmz Ltd. hip-hop drama “When Thugs Cry” and an appearance by the Outfitters in 2002.
•A 1998 radio documentary program on Chicagoland hip-hop as an extended family for the “Family Matters” series on National Public Radio affiliate WBEZ-FM.
•The Vibe History of Hip-Hop, ed. Alan Light (New York: Three Rivers/Random House, 1999) as an authority on Midwestern hip-hop.
•Creator’s Way Associated Labels in 1998 on media promotions for label, Twista and Speedknot Mobstaz,
“Chickenhead Bound” PRODUCTION NOTES — EDITING
The digital video version of “Chickenhead Bound” was nonlinear-edited, or desktop computer edited, throughout every phase of production using Macintosh-based Media 100 software on a G3 system. Or in short, “Chickenhead Bound” operated on an edit-as-you-go basis with Media 100.
Described as the “Pepsi Cola of the pro editing world” and “a fine and very sophisticated tool” by Chris Jones in Guerilla Film Makers Blueprint (London: Continuum, 2003) [Jones is also coauthor with Genevieve Jolliffe of Guerilla Film Makers Handbook (London: Continuum, 2001)], Media 100 runs on two monitors. Unlike widely preferred Avid, Media 100 allows the mixing and matching of third-party software and manufacturers to tailor the system to a specific user’s needs.
“When I watched [“Chickenhead Bound” Director of Photography] MARK PRATT at work on Media 100 on a rough cut for the longer DV version “Chickenhead Bound,” and eventually [“Chickenhead Bound” Director of Photography/Editor] GARY JENKINS also using Media 100, I didn’t find the system too terribly different from the Apple Final Cut Pro 4 [considered a major contender to widely used Avid] on a Mac G4 system used by another editor with less training and experience than GARY JENKINS and MARK PRATT to edit the shorter Hi-8 [high-band 8 mm video] version of “Chickenhead Bound,” said MARK F. ARMSTRONG, “Chickenhead Bound” writer/director/producer.
“And although somewhat more sophisticated in its ability to handle larger projects, Media 100 wasn’t dramatically too unlike Apple’s iMovie software that I’ve played around with on my G3 iMac. It was easy, super-affordable editing that achieved professional, film-like results without using such finishing software as FilmLook®.
“MARK PRATT, and moreso GARY, delivered rough cuts of the scenes that made “Chickenhead Bound” leap off the page within days after we shot them. MARK PRATT whipped up a rough cut of “Chickenhead Bound” on Media 100 within two weeks after we wrapped on production.
“The experience with Media 100 on “Chickenhead Bound” reinforced my preference for Mac-based postproduction, and it proved that Final Cut wasn’t the sole way to go toward achieving film quality on a DV-shot project. Using Media 100 on “Chickenhead Bound” also broke me out of buying into the myth that the key to achieving film quality with DV is shooting at 24 frames per second, which Chris Jones strongly recommends against in Guerilla Film Makers Blueprint.”
Media 100 offers editing at the powerful, top range 100xr level, featuring professional audio tools and real-time effects options and costing an estimated $20,000. “Blair Witch” creators Haxan Films used the “xr” system to edit their hit film, which was shot on Hi-8 and 16mm. The documentary “Full Blossoms,” about character actor and poet Robert Blossom, now widely known as the old man in the church with Macaulay Culkin in “Home Alone,” was edited on Media 100 by Brih Abee, in co-production with Morgan Schmidt-Feng, the son of filmmaker Rick Schmidt. Rick Schmidt, author of Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices, 3d (New York: Penguin, 2000), is a major advocate of the system and has used it in his famed highly collaborative summer independent filmmaking Feature Workshops.
Various versions of Media 100 allow on-location editing of video using Mac Power books and can also handle Hi-8 and high definition video formats. Media 100 is also reputed to make it quite easy to separate sound from video for the use of best sound takes. And the system is also famed for easy importing of music.
For more information about Media 100, visit www.media100.com.
“Chickenhead Bound” LOCATIONS
The setting for “Chickenhead Bound” is Greater Chicagoland, primarily in the industrial Calumet District region, which comprises the southern portion of Northeastern Illinois and Northwest Indiana.
SLICK’S CUTS RECORD STORE is set and was shot in the original Beverly Hills on Chicago’s Far Southwest Side. The historically upscale community is more than a century and a half old and lies along the Blue Island Ridge, a prehistoric glacial ridge that is Chicago’s highest elevation, rising 100 ft. above Lake Michigan’s current level. The ridge and the southwest Chicago suburb of Blue Island derive their names from the blue green haze they gave off on breaking the surface of a glacial lake, designated Lake Chicago by geologists, as its waters receded and left a succession of beach terraces and the lake plain that the Chicagoland area is now situated on.
Several homes in Greater Beverly Hills-Morgan Park dating before the U.S. Civil War were stations that sheltered runaway slaves along the Underground Railroad, and the community was among the handful in Chicago to integrate peacefully. The area has been the haunt and home of such public figures personalities as drug store magnate Charles Walgreen, legendary WVON founder and black music promoter Purvis Spann and “Soul Train” founder and executive producer Don Cornelius. The Beverly Hills community derived its name in 1889, when realigning its suburban tracks to expand commuter service north of 99th Street, the Rock Island Railroad named its 91st Street station “Beverly Hills,” a corruption of “Beverly’s Hill,” in honor of a woman from Beverly, Mass. who lived in a hilltop home near the station (the Rock Island District is now a southwest branch of the Metra system of commuter rail lines stretching from South Bend, Ind. to Kenosha, Wis.). The subdivision of Beverly Hills, Calif. did not open until 1907 and was not incorporated until 1914.
Among Beverly’s landmarks is the Beverly Art Center, newly relocated about the Ridge from its original site built in 1969 on the Morgan Park Academy campus to larger quarters at the Beverly Hills crossroads of 111th Street and Western Avenue. Financed by community contributions, the art center boasts a large collection of paintings by John H. Vanderpoel (1857-1911), a community resident who was head of the instruction department at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Remnants of the historic Dixie Highway—a series of automobile roads dating back to 1915 and extending from the Strait of Mackinaw at the northern tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Miami near the southern end of the Florida peninsula—exists in Chicago’s Beverly Hills and the Blue Island Ridge as Western Avenue. The northern end of Dixie Highway was originally fixed at Chicago, and this part of the road, which joins the west route from the eastern shore of Michigan southward to Chattanooga, Tenn., is still considered part of the highway.
The Dixie Highway was the idea of pioneer Indianapolis automobile manufacturer Carl G. Fisher, found of the Lincoln Highway, an historic transcontinental road stretching from Atlantic City, N.J. on the East Coast and westward to San Francisco and predating the Dixie Highway by a year (and which joins the Dixie Highway in Chicago’s far south suburbs near Matteson). A century before the car age, the Dixie Highway route through Chicago’s Beverly Hills was a corduroy wagon trail, or wooden plank-paved route, known as the Blue Island Plank Road.
The BEVERLY HOOD HOTEL is set in the heart of Beverly near the 1886 Givens Irish castle (now Beverly Unitarian Church and Beverly Community Nursery School) at 103rd Street and Longwood Drive. Robert Givens was an early developer in the community who is credits with reinforcing its aristocratic nature.
The culinary landmark Lumes Pancake House, which ARMY STRONG, ROBIN GOOD and CECIL B. D’ILLA is actually in Morgan Park, a neighborhood on Chicago’s Southwest Side adjacent to Beverly Hills. Morgan Park , traces its beginnings to 1844, when Englishman Thomas Morgan purchased all land along the Blue Island Ridge from 91st to 119th streets. The Ridge began transforming from a small farming settlement to a suburban community in 1869, when the Blue Island Land and Building Co. purchased acquired Morgan’s property, platted it for residential use and hired British designer Thomas F. Nichols to lay out curving streets and green spaces for the area’s first subdivision, Morgan Park.
The area west of Ridge was platted with large deep lots suitable for spacious Victorian homes. A section of the community was platted east of the Ridge and south of 111th Street with small and narrow lots for working class families.
A major boost to the new subdivision was the Rock Island Railroad’s establishing in 1870 of a “dummy” line to provide commuter service from the southwest suburb of Blue Island to downtown Chicago, with several stops in Morgan Park, including one at the subdivision’s central at Morgan Avenue (now 111th Street/Monterey Avenue).
In 1877, the Blue Island Land and Building Co. persuaded the Baptist Union Theological Seminary to move to Morgan Park from the Chicago’s Douglas neighborhood on the near Southeast Side by offering the institution 5 acres free, contingent on the school’s permanent residence in Morgan Park, thus giving the subdivision a landmark under the leadership of Thomas W. Goodspeed and William Rainey Harper that put in on the map and attracted families to the community (Goodspeed and Harper’ names ended up forever linked to the Hyde Park neighborhood—Goodspeed as a member of the University of Chicago’s board of trustees; Harper as the school’s first president—when that rival on Chicago’s Southeast Side beat out Morgan Park in a bid as a seat of the new University of Chicago supported by the American Baptist Education Society and endowed by John T. Rockfeller and the seminary relocated to the university’s gothic Hyde Park campus in 1892). After pledging an initial endowment of $600,000 to the then new University of Chicago, Rockefeller immediately added another $1 million to the endowment on the condition that the Baptist Theological Seminary was transferred from Morgan Park to the Midway Plaisance in Hyde Park as the university’s divinity school.
The subdivision of Morgan Park was already relatively well known as that time as the home of Morgan Park Military Academy, founded in 1873, and the Chicago Female College, founded in 1875. Baptist Union Theological Seminary was especially renowned for training ministers in Scandinavian languages before it was absorbed in Hyde Park as the University of Chicago Divinity School.
Morgan Park’s first building boom followed after its incorporation as a village in 1882, with the construction of gracious Victorian homes near the seminary on Morgan Avenue, the development of a business district around the Rock Island depot and the construction of churches by Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Methodists and Presbyterians to rival the size and influence of Morgan Park Baptist Church near the seminary at 110th Street and Bell Avenue. That boom in the village’s Protestant church membership was the result of old-line families moving from the changing ethnicity of Englewood and Normal Park neighborhoods of Chicago’s Southwest Side, both originally suburban communities of large frame houses north and east of the Ridge that were built up with apartments beginning in the 1890s.
Morgan Park was well established as an elite residential community by 1900, with homes in the village built by the likes of executives with the Rock Island Railroad, the Chicago stockyards and the Chicago Bridge and Iron Co., which opened on nearby Vincennes Avenue in 1889.
As in with its neighbor Beverly, Morgan Park prohibited saloons, factories and other business along the Ridge, and developers took great care to remove only trees that interfered with building. Street cars were not available along Morgan Park’s main thoroughfares of Western Avenue, 103rd Street and 95th Street until the 1930s—although such public transit service along Vincennes Avenue began in 1896—because the village’s community leaders believed that streetcar lines threatened the exclusivity of the area. Thus Morgan Park retained its suburban character as it expanded from a few frame homes along the Ridge in the 1880s to brick mansions, Chicago bungalows and a few apartment buildings by the 1930s. And by the 1920s, Morgan Park, like Beverly, was distinguished from other Chicago neighborhoods as being free of street cars, heavy traffic, smoke and other industrial smells, the hustle and bustle of business, glittering movie palaces and dance halls.
In the 1920s, Catholics became a visible presence in Beverly-Morgan Park and have grown since then to become to largest denomination in the area. The St. Patrick’s Parade down Western Avenue, first organized in 1979, has evolved into a symbol of the predominant Catholic presence along the Ridge.
A black community developed in Morgan Park around 111th Street and Ashland Avenue before it was annexed to Chicago in 1914. Early maps show Loomis Street as the village’s eastern boundary, but Vincennes Avenue became the dividing line between whites and blacks. The Chicago Commission on Race Relations reported in 1921 that whites and blacks in Morgan Park “maintain a friendly attitude [but] there seems to be a common understanding that Negroes must not live west of Vincennes Road.” The swampy land between Ashland Avenue and Halsted Street subsequently developed into a middle-class black residential area and was included in Morgan Park on city maps. But for years the black community of Morgan Park was distinguished from its white community, or “Old Morgan Park.”
The tradition of neighborhood shopping persisted in Morgan Park and Beverly in spite of the opening in 1952 of the 45-store Evergreen Plaza shopping mall, complete with parking in the 9500 block of South Western Avenue just beyond the Chicago city limits in southwest suburban Evergreen Park. Ninety-fifth Street within the Chicago limits remained the largest commercial shopping district in the area and shopping strips along the Rock Island Railroad continued to thrive. In 2004, Beverly Hills-Morgan community leaders preserved local shopping traditions at Evergreen Plaza and in surrounding neighborhood shopping districts by fighting the construction of a Walmart on the former site of the Drury Lane South Theater. Dating back to the late 1940s, the Drury Lane was renowned on Chicago’s Southwest Side for its dinner theater featuring such national acts as Debbie Reyonds. And besides many a wedding reception and prom, the venue was host to such historic events as a November 1988 birthday campaign rally featuring then Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Michael Dukakis.
The village of Evergreen Park is also the home of Asian cuisine restaurant that ARMY STRONG mentions in “Chickenhead Bound,” Chi’ Tung. Evergreen Park traces its beginning to a farm built in 1828 by one Blasius Schwer and was named in the 1870s for a group of evergreen trees in the community’s geographic center, now the site of the village’s Klein Park. Before the Dutch and Germans settled there, several Native American tribes lived in what is now Evergreen Park, the last being the Potawatomi. Today the 3.5 sq. mile village is very multicultural.
Evergreen Park was incorporated in 1893 as a collection of dairy and vegetable farms that sold produce to nearby Chicago. In the late 19th century, Chicagoans traveled regularly on the Grand Trunk Railroad to attend funerals at Evergreen Cemetery and later St. Mary’s Cemetery. In 1899, passengers could travel the Grand Trunk from Evergreen Park to downtown to Chicago’s Loop in 51 minutes. In 1910, the Grand Trunk brought in water to help a bucket brigade including the police chief and fire marshal extinguish a great fire in the village that destroyed two factories, a hotel and several homes. Three robbers made off with $133,000 in payroll from the First National Bank of Chicago destined for industrial workers in south suburban Harvey after forcing clerks in a Grand Trunk mail car at gunpoint to open a safe. Those perpetrators were apprehended two years later.
Evergreen Plaza, which ARMY STRONG refers to as “Everblack” in “Chickenhead Bound,” was the idea of the late real developer Arthur Ruboloff and was the first shopping mall of its kind in the Midwest. It current accounts for 96 percent of the village’s tax base.
The first kidney transplant was performed in Evergreen Park at Little Company of Mary Hospital by Dr. Richard M. Lawler in 1950.
Vincennes Avenue ceased to be the dividing line between white and blacks in Morgan Park as bungalow-belt neighborhoods east of Ashland Avenue and north of 91st Street changed from white to black with lightning speed. Under the federal government’s Section 235 program, subsidized construction of 400 small homes, a modern version of the 19th century workers’ cottages, occurred from 1969-1974 along Vincennes Avenue and south of Morgan Park High School. Extensions of public transportation, primarily Chicago Transit Authority and suburban bus lines and CTA’s Dan Ryan/Red Line rapid rail line by 1969, made newer generations of Beverly Hills-Morgan Park residents less dependent on the Rock Island Railroad then older generations. And as ridership remained high on that commuter line, residents began driving downtown to Chicago’s Loop, especially after the west leg of the Dan Ryan Expressway (Int. Hwy. 57) was completed in 1957.
Community leaders headed of re-segregation in Morgan Park and Beverly by reorganizing the Beverly Area Planning Association, a federal of local civic groups founded in 1947. BAPA succeeded in halting racially charged panic peddling and block-busting in the area by publicizing its fine housing, sponsoring home tours and promoting the area’s designation as a landmark district by the National Register of Historic Places to the extent that in 1975 the Ridge had stabilized and home values began to increase. Racial tensions and religious hostilities have eased in Morgan Park, as in Beverly, allowing the area to emerge as one of the few Chicago neighborhoods to maintain cultural diversity.
The Ridge Historical Society, founded in 1971, and operating a museum at 10616 S. Longwood Dr. in the former Driscoll mansion, has established landmark homes throughout the area and established an oral history program and archives.
Among Morgan Park’s landmarks are the following:
The 1936 art deco U.S. Post Office built under the Depression-era Works Progress Administration, the new 22nd District (Morgan Park District) Police Station replacing the original postmodern deco one built in the early 1950s, Morgan Park High School built in two stages from 1916 to 1974, the Victorian 1870 Monterey/111th depot of Metra’s Rock Island District main line, adjacent Bohn Park with street lamps from the 1893 World’s Columbia Exposition—all in what was Morgan Park’s business center along Monterey Avenue that flourished from the 1880s to the 1970s—Morgan Park Baptist Church built in stages from 1896 to 1954, Morgan Park Academy, a private coeducational grammar school and high school that was originally Morgan Park Military Academy, a white frame house that was the former residence of Thomas W. Goodspeed when was pastor of Morgan Park Baptist Church and secretary of Union Baptist Theological Seminary, the limestone Walker Library branch of the Chicago Public Library, donated to the village of Morgan Park by George C. Walker, president of the Blue Island Land and Building Co., and the Cenacle, a Catholic retreat house established in 1946 in the former Charles Walgreen home.
Morgan Park along Western Avenue falls under a Chicago ordinance banning smoking from business establishments along that Morgan Park-Beverly Hills thoroughfare. Both Morgan Park and Beverly Hills boast the oldest, intact, at-grade railroad stations in the Metra system.
BEVERLY HOOD HOTEL interiors were shot at in south suburban South Holland and Chicago’s historic Austin Village neighborhood on the Far West Side adjacent to Oak Park, the large built-up west suburban village associated with writer Ernest Hemingway, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the movie and television series drama “Soul Food.“ Wright and his protégés are also credited with designing landmark homes, churches and parks in Austin and Greater Beverly Hills-Morgan Park. Dating back to 1866, Austin was a politically powerful exclusive residential west suburb until the village was annexed to Chicago after its city fathers allowed the extension of the Lake Street Elevated Railroad (now the Lake Street branch of Chicago Transit Authority rapid rail’s Green Line) through the area to the Oak Park community line. Austin’s founder and first developer Henry Austin was a lifelong resident of the Oak Park community but contributed to its growth, especially but founding its West Parks system that includes Columbus Park designed by famous landscape architect Jens Jensen.
RICO BOGART’S MANSION is set in Jackson Park Highlands, an upscale neighborhood on Chicago’s Southeast Side off Lake Michigan and adjacent to the Chicago Park District’s Jackson Park Links that was once part of the main fairgrounds for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and now defined by the eclectic campus of the University of Chicago. Interiors for that location, along with exteriors for some Beverly Hood Hotel scenes featuring Robin Good, were partly shot at a three-flat apartment building built in the late 1910s and associated with one of Al Capone’s attorneys. Some scenes from Hawkfilmz Ltd./Maverick Entertainment’s “When Thugs Cry” were shot in the same location.
Jackson Park Highlands was subdivided and developed in 1905 west of Jeffrey Boulevard and south of 67th Street into a planned community of Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood that introduced large front yard setbacks, underground utilities, 50-ft. lot widths and no alleys. When farmers settled the area in the 1850s, the area was mostly swamp with high ground over which rough trails had been cut. The area did not enjoy better than wagon road connections with Chicago until 1881, when the Illinois Central Railroad decided to open a South Kenwood station at 71st Street and Jeffrey Boulevard. By the early 1890s, middle-class subdivisions of single-family homes and apartments began emerging in the sparsely settled area.
Jackson Park Highlands derives its name from a ridge that overlooked nearby Jackson Park. The historic district’s architectural styles are represented by American Four Square, Classic Revival, Queen Anne, Dutch Colonial, Colonial Revival, Tudor and Prairie School.
Adjacent to Jackson Park Highlands is the Jackson Park Links, originally including a nine-hole and an 18-hole golf course. Opened in 1899, it is considered the oldest public golf course in the United States. Jackson Park, with its 543 acres, was established in 1869 as part of the 1,055-acre South Park, including what is now Washington Park, and the South Park District that encompassed part of Chicago and much of then sparsely settled Hyde Park Township (including what would eventually become the village of Hyde Park). The eastern division of South Park was renamed Lake Park in 1871 and ultimately renamed in 1881 for President Andrew Jackson.
Famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted—who planned more than 80 public parks including New York City’s Central Park and the park system and Capitol grounds in Washington, D.C.—laid out Jackson with lagoons, woodlands, meadows and boulevards. In 1890, the U.S. Congress approved Jackson Park as the site of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, celebrating 400 years of Christopher Columbus’ landing in the Americas, and Olmsted was appointed to plain the fairgrounds at Jackson Park and the Midway Plainsance. Although the first operations for digging the lagoons were undertaken in 1874, Jackson Park’s marshy terrain proved such a challenge for drainage, impoundment and dredging that the area were little improved when the fair opened in spring 1893.
Chicago’s first rapid transit line, the Chicago and South Side Rapid Transit Co. (now the Chicago Transit Authority’s Green Line), which began service in 1892, extended its original 3.5-mile elevated railroad track in 1893 from Congress Street downtown in the South Loop to 35th Street ultimately to Jackson Park to capture a share of Chicago World’s Fair traffic, ending at the Transportation Building on the fairgrounds. The eastern branch of the Green Line is still known as the Jackson Park Line, although the original Jackson Park terminus station at 63rd Street and Stony Island was discontinued and the line was cut back slightly west to the nearby Woodlawn neighborhood in the early 1980s because of concerns about the structural soundness of a truss bridge over the Illinois Central Railroad tracks approaching the original CTA terminus for the line.
The Midway Plaisance, connecting Jackson Park with its South Park system sister Washington Park, evolved from a dusty country highway to the first carnival midway for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Before, during and after the fair, the second University of Chicago’s first buildings went up alongside the Midway (the first University of Chicago was operated by Baptists from 1856 between 35th and 39th streets along Cottage Grove Avenue in the Douglas neighborhood on Chicago’s Near South Side before closing its doors to financial difficulties in 1886).
Other remnants of the fair at Jackson Park include the Museum of Science and Industry (originally the Palace of Fine Arts), the Osaka Garden on Wooded Island (originally the Japanese Garden) and the Statute of the Republic marking the site of the fair’s Administration Building. When the fair ended and was removed, the remaining rubble was covered with new plantings of trees and shrubbery and topsoil was brought in from a farm south of Chicago to bring Jackson Park back into usable condition.
The nine-hole course, now the Golf Driving Range, was the first public nine-hole course west of the Alleghenies when it opened in 1899.
Jackson Park was not completed until around 1905, when Olmsted’s vision of a romantic style with graded curving walkways, shrubs and trees began to emerge with the mature beauty of the park.
Also after the fair, the housing market exploded and developers quickly subdivided farmland in the area. South Shore, including Jackson Park Highlands, took on the characteristics of a middle-class neighborhood with the construction of more and more housing.
Jackson Park Highlands has boasted among its most famous residents the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis. Famous screenwriter, film director and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet was also once a Jackson Park Highlands resident. A few scenes occurring at Rico Bogart’s mansion were shot in an early 1960s bi-level home in the southwestern end of the middle-class Maple Park subdivision of the West Pullman neighborhood on Chicago’s Far Southwest Side.
Second Cumming and Huey Ka-Blewie’s exterior scenes together near the BEVERLY HOOD HOTEL were shot at and near an Austin Village home. AQUANETTE BEAUCHAMP’S BEDROOM scene occurs at her Austin Village home, for which the interior, along with those for Robin Good’s Beverly Hood Hotel suite, was shot in South Holland.
South Holland grew out the Laage Prairie (Low Prairie), a community of Dutch Protestants who moved to the area in the mid-19th century near the famed stagecoach route known as the Vincennes Trail (now part of the Illinois Route 1). The village, incorporated in 1870, was the primary setting for the Edna Ferber’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “So Big.”
Onion set growing became the focus of South Holland farming on the decades before World War II, and by the 1940s the village claimed the title of “Onion Set Capital of the World,” with corporations of farmers growing 1.5 billion onion sets annually. The community character changed from rural to urban in the years after World War II. Its famed onion fields still intact, South Holland is now the scene of a development and redevelopment boom in Thornton Township, the largest township in Illinois and the nation.
The UNIONIZED HOOKER and UNION-WHIPPED PIMP scene is set in the LITTLE HELL neighborhood near the Cabrini-Green housing project and the upscale Gold Coast of Chicago’s Near North Side. That scene, and the Extra Salty Happy Hooker scene and all the BEVERLY BUMS scenes near the BEVERLY HOOD HOTEL were shot in the Maple Park subdivision of the middle-class West Pullman neighborhood on Chicago’s Far Southwest Side .
Originally a middle-class Swedish enclave that grew out of temporary “relief shanties” that sprung up in the area a half century after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Little Hell derived its name from a gas plant’s smoke and flames in surrounding blocks as well as that from nearby Goose Island. The neighborhood was associated with a succession of Irish street gangs and then Italian street gangs from the 1890s until the turn of the 19th century. The Cabrini-Green complex began with the opening of the low-rise Cabrini Homes built by the Great Depression era Works Progress Administration in 1941 to replace dilapidated two- and three-story buildings to make way for the development, which housed mostly Italian and some black families and with preference given to war workers and military service personnel earning less than $2,100 a year. They were named in honor of Mother Frances Cabrini who, as head of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, opened a convent school in the community and founded Columbus Hospital and in 1946 became the first U.S. citizen canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.
The Cabrini Extension high-rises were completed in 1959, featuring one high-rise that became famous as the “International Building” because its 262 families represented black, German, Chinese, Puerto Rican, Swedish, Irish and Italian backgrounds. The surrounding neighborhood had turned almost black when the William Green housing project was dedicated in 1962.
JOCK THE RIPPER’S CONDO scene occurs in Gary, Ind.’s upscale MILLER BEACH neighborhood off Lake Michigan. His scene with Black Widow Headhunter occurs in BASEMENT DUNGEON OF AN ABAONDONED MOTEL in the far southwest Chicago suburb of Country Club Hills, Ill. Those scenes were also shot in Maple Park subdivision.
The studio for Chicago hip-hop community station ONE LOVE FM is set in the Stewart Ridge subdivision of the West Pullman neighborhood on Chicago’s Far South Side. That scene was shot at WGCR Web & Satellite Radio in the Bronzeville-Prairie Avenue-Record Row-Automobile Row District of Chicago’s Near South Side.
Miller was once a remote wilderness of creamy dunes and scrub oak off Northwest Indiana’s Lake Michigan shore dating back to the mid-19th century. The area was named in 1852 for a John S. Miller who threw the switches at a Miller Crossing he lived near so that trains for two intersecting tracks of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad did not collide. Development of the area began after the Michigan Southern established a coaling and watering stop at Miller Crossing. Miller Crossing was along the route of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train to Chicago in 1865.
A community of mostly Norwegian and Swedish railroad workers, many fleeing the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 developed around the crossing. Those early residents organized in 1894 Temple Bethel Church, which is still operational in its original frame building along with a cemetery off U.S. Route 20. Other early residents made their living trapping for beaver, farming, picking wild berries that grew in the dunes, fishing and cutting large chunks of ice in winter out of nearby lagoons to be shipped off to ice houses locally and in Chicago.
The Aetna Gun Powder Co. moved into the area in the 1890s and manufactured ammunition for the Spanish-American War. During the dawning of the car age in the early 20th century, Miller was along the main road between Chicago and Detroit.
By the early 1900s, Miller because a tourist attraction. The Carr family claimed ownership for much of Miller Beach (dating back to the mid-1870s) until 1930 and developed tourism there. In 1904, the most famous U.S. passenger train, the 20th Century Limited, made its first run.
The area’s famous hermit Diana of the Dunes (aka Alice Mabel Gray), a University of Chicago graduate, became a local legend by rebelling against the bustling competitive world of Chicago and fleeing to the area in 1915 with nothing but a knife, a spoon, a blanket, a jelly jar and two guns. Miller was opposed to an association with Gary after that city incorporated in 1906, and Miller incorporated as a village in 1912 to fight annexation to Gary.
One of the elder statesmen of aeronautics in 1900, Octave Chanute, performed his early glider experiments on Miller’s beaches in 1896. His experiments developed the basic biplane that the Wright Brothers adopted.
Miller was annexed to Gary in 1921. Blacks were banned from using the recreation available at Miller Beach. The Marquette Park Pavilion and Bathhouse (originally Lake Front Park and Lake Front Pavilion) was developed in 1923-’24 at the former headwaters of the Grand Calumet River. The statute of Father Pere Marquette at the park’s gateway, dedicated in 1932, was created by Henry Hering, a sculptor who once kept a studio-apartment on the 79th floor of New York City’s Empire State Building. That skyscraper, incidentally, features Indiana limestone at its base. The architect for the bathhouse and pavilion, Phillip Maher, also designed Gary’s landmark city hall.
Small cabins began appearing east of Marquette Park. After World War II, many year-round homes were built. Today, many choose Miller as the locale for their primary and summer homes and the area is an integrated and exclusive upper-middle class community of rebounding Gary.
Incorporated in 1958 as a middle-class suburb, Country Club Hills, Ill. derives its name from the country clubs that have existed by the turn of the 19th century in the nearby upscale municipalities of Homewood and Flossmoor, among the richest in the country, especially Flossmoor, which is home to bluesman Buddy Guy and childhood home of his rapping Ludacrhis-connected rapper Shawna. Country Club Hills began in 1955 when developer J.E. Merrion fulfill his dream of building spacious, affordable, middle-income homes with country-like appeal. The area was originally known as Cooper’s Grove and settled by German farmers in the 19th century. Some of the settlers founded their owned church and school in 1872.
New families were enticed to the area by half-acre lots, award-winning home design and winding streets. In 1956, when 117 homes were completed in the community, the Country Club Hills Homeowners Association pushed for incorporation of the community under a mayor-aldermanic form of government. Besides the 1873 German church, remnants of Country Club Hills Cooper’s Groove past exist in the few farms scattered throughout the city.
Because the well to do lived moved from the southeast quadrant of downtown Chicago’s Loop south to Prairie Avenue after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the area became Chicago’s first Gold Coast. Here railroad car manufacturing magnate George M. Pullman, meatpacking magnate Phillip Armour, department store magnate Marshall Field, piano manufacturer W.W. Kimball, real estate and hotel magnate Potter Palmer and architect J.J. Glessner built mansions. Chicago’s oldest house, the 1836 Henry B. Clarke house, still stands in the district a few blocks from its original site further north toward the Loop.
The fire also forced residents of what would become Chicago’s “Black Belt” and eventually Bronzeville to move south to the district, and it also forced the vice district then known as the Tenderloin or Levee to move there. Al Capone operated his headquarters in the area at the Lexington Hotel. Music publishing companies and some of the Chicagoland’s first car dealerships were established in the area before World War I, and recording companies historically associated with black music, such as Chess Records, moved the Prairie Avenue District after World War I—giving first breaks to the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Rufus Thomas and John Lee Hooker. The Spanish Mission-art deco Chicago Defender building, McCormick Place Exposition Center, R.R. Donnelley Lakeside Press building and a mix of low-rise and high-rise housing developments now characterize the area.
The exterior for the SECOND CALLER’s (OK BROAD’s) KENSINGTON-ROSELAND BRICK BUNGALOW from the ONE LOVE FM scenes-within-scenes was shot in a greystone townhouse of the Hyde Park neighborhood, on Chicago’s Southeast Side, that was once the heart of Bronzeville. That location is a half block from 47th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, which was once part of the commercial and cultural hub of Chicago’s “black metropolis” (older Chicagoans who predate Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination will remember the neighborhood as Washington Park-Grand Boulevard because of nearby public Washington Park designed by famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and because sections of King Drive were once known as South Parkway and Grand Boulevard).
Forty-Seventh Street between State Street and Cottage Grove Avenue was once characterized by black-owned businesses and nightclubs. The Michigan Boulevard Garden Apartments, financed by Sear philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, was one of area’s most fashionable addresses through the 1950s from its opening in 1929. It was home to hundreds of middle-class black families. And after its first facelift, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.
Forty-Seventh and King Drive was famed for the Regal Theater, built in 1927 and featuring the likes of such black entertainers as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ethel Waters, Cab Calloway, Lena Horne and the Jackson Five through the ‘60s. The Regal’s demolition in 1973 was considered a sad day for black Chicagoans, underscoring how black families had moved beyond the confines of Bronzeville as the geographical center of the city’s black community with integration in Greater Hyde Park and Chicago’s suburbs. The heart of Bronzeville is currently enjoying a cultural and commercial renaissance with cafes, construction of new single-family homes, transformation of old apartment buildings to condos, a planned Starbucks. The Harold Washington Cultural Center to replace the Regal and strip shopping area at 47th Street and King Dr., including the Spoken Word Café, now replace the former Regal Theater.
Outlasting the Regal in the neighborhood is Liberty Baptist Church house of worship dedicated in 1956 for a congregation dating back to the 1920s. Known as the “Church with a Common Touch,” Liberty Baptist served as King’s Chicago headquarters. He was scheduled to speak there the fourth Sunday of April 1968 at the time of his assassination on April 4, 1968. Before his death, King had planned a Poor Peoples March to Washington, D.C. And in May 1968, more than 30 busloads of civil rights activists and supporters left Liberty Baptist and a tent city known as “Resurrection City, U.S.A.” Through the leadership of the Rev. A. Patterson Jackson, son of the church’s first minister, who had been pastor since 1951, the congregation became identified with the title “Common Folks in an Uncommon Cause.”
Also surviving a few blocks north of 47th Street in the Kenwood neighborhood is the former home of black banker and real estate dealer Jesse Binga near 44th and King Drive. It was bombed nearly ten times between March 1919 and November 1920, at a time when the Ku Klux Klan was active in nearby Hyde Park and white families west of Dearborn Street and the Rock Island Railroad tracks vigorously resisted attempts by blacks to settle in their neighborhoods as the black population swelled during World War I as thousands of Southern blacks sought jobs in the city’s meat packing houses and steel mills (and although a black community had existed along Dearborn since the 1890s).
Until the later 19th century, Kenwood was a suburb of Chicago known as the “Lake Forest of the South” and “the Jewel of the South Side” because of its stately mansions and tree-lined streets. It was founded in 1856 by Dr. John A. Kennicott, a Chicago dentist, who built an estate at what is now the Illinois Central Railroad tracks and 43rd Street and named it after his mother’s ancestral home in Scotland. In 1859, after several other wealthy families moved there, the Illinois Central agreed to establish a stop to serve the growing and then new community. In the 1890s, many of Chicago’s leading families who made their fortunes in meatpacking, steel and stocks built mansions there. By the 20th century, such names as Swift and Rosenwald were listed in the social register as Kenwood residents. Middle-income families were attracted to the neighborhood with the opening of the Kenwood branch of the Chicago & South Side Elevated Railroad in 1910 (a defunct branch of what is now the CTA Green Line, formerly with a terminus at 43rd Street and Lake Park Avenue), taking up residence in the newly constructed apartment buildings.
By the 1920s, the odor of the meat processing market in the livestock market 3 miles west of Kenwood and pollution of the lakefront steel mills in the South Chicago neighborhood a few miles south brought about the decline of the neighborhood by compelling the very rich to leave it for less polluted communities. Although now primarily black, South Kenwood, the part just immediately north of 47th Street, tends to identify with neighboring Hyde Park because both had tended to be middle-class and racially integrated, especially after University of Chicago faculty and other professionals moved to the area. Plus the Kenwood and Hyde Park neighborhoods were tied closely by urban renewal. North Kenwood, that portion immediately south of 35th Street, has become closely associated with the all Oakland community that includes Holy Angels Catholic Church and School associated with the Rev George Clements.
Roseland was settled 1850 by Dutch and Swedish farmers atop one of Chicago’s prehistoric Pleistocene beach ridges. Thornton Road (now Michigan Avenue) was an important route for stagecoach lines that ran along the Green Bay Road from Wisconsin. Many of Roseland’s existing residential structures were built in the first decades after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
West Roseland and Kensington were once villages in Hyde Park Township, which stretches from 35th Street to 130th Street at the Indiana State Line. Roseland’s growth remained steady after approximately 1870. Beginning in the 1880s, many workers settled in Roseland because they worked in nearby industries, such as the Pullman Palace Car Co. just east of the Illinois Central tracks, and found easy access to the Loop by railroads and street cars.
When Hyde Park Township was annexed to Chicago in 1899, the Greater Roseland area lost its status as an independent settlement and became a city neighborhood. Roseland’s growth stabilized in the 1950s. The neighborhood transformed from white to predominately black by the ‘70s, and a large segment of the population in Roseland and Kensington is Latino, especially Mexican-American
West Pullman was a suburban outgrowth of the company town that Pullman slightly northeast between the Illinois Central Railroad tracks and Lake Calumet. Its earliest residents sought a respite from oppressive control over their lives in Pullman and established substantial schools, churches, parks, libraries and businesses in the area in the half-decade before the 20th century. Stewart Ridge developed before the turn of the 19th century as a subdivision of West Pullman, which its own stop along the Blue Island branch of the Illinois Central (now part of the Metra system).
Maple Park subdivision was developed on a swampy former “duck pond” between Halsted Street and Ashland Avenue in the early 1960s, modeled partly on the British “new towns” and the suburb of Park Forest, Ill. much farther south as a self-contained residential community of primarily single-family detached homes, a strip shopping mall, churches, schools and parks. Although intended as one Chicago’s first integrated communities from the start, black and biracial families quickly bought up the homes, primarily built with GI loans, in the sylvan setting between Morgan Park, Roseland, a more industrial section of West Pullman and the historic southwest suburbs of Calumet Park and Blue Island.
Eastern Maple Park has once part of a 19th century farming village called Gano, and houses in that section of the neighborhood date back to the turn of the century. Among the neighorhood’s oldest housing stock are worker’s cottages, greystones and brownstones, Cape Codes and Chicago bungalows.
The neighborhood’s fringes once housed vital industries, such as the Great Lakes Lumber mill and a railroad car brake shoe plant that once served the Pennsylvania Central Railroad that once ran through the neighborhood and a small meatpacking plant. The Wilton cake decorations factory operated for two decades on the community’s northeastern fringe before moving to the southwest suburb of Sunnyside, Ill. in the 1980s. Maple Park’s earliest association with a high-profile public figure was when Patricia Daylie, daughter of radio personality Daddy-O. Miss Pat, as Patricia Daylie was known, operated her dance school for a few years out of the Maple Park Shopping Center and later out of a storefront bordering the community in the historically black section of Morgan Park. Maple Park United Methodist Church was a location for the Griot Filmworks/Film Life/First Look drama-comedy “One Week,” which, like “Chickenhead Bound.” also used locations in adjacent Morgan Park and nearby Washington Heights.
The new West Pullman Branch of the Chicago Public Library is nearing completion southeastern Maple Park, making it the first public library outside a school for the neighborhood. Among the neighborhood’s most famous residents is actor Carl Wright of “Soul Food,” “Big Mama’s House” and “Barbershop” and “Barbershop 2” fame, who was first watched by millions dancing on the “Ed Sullivan Show” in 1958 and was discovered by Hollywood in the mid-1990s while co-hosting with Purvis Spann a comedic variety show with a cult following on Chicago cable access television.
“Chickenhead Bound” marks the first time a feature length film has been shot in Chicago’s Beverly Hills, Austin Village, Jackson Park Highlands and South Holland.
Chickenhead Bound FEATURE FEEDBACK
Please jot down some notes on the following questions (please use back of page if necessary):
Did you care about Robin Good?
What would make you care more?
Did you care about Drusilia Livia/Black Widow Headhunter?
What would make you care more?
Do you have any comments about any other characters?
Jock The Ripper?
Big Daddy Love?
Trevor Fernando Douglass?
First Caller (Pervert)?
Second Caller (OK Broad)?
Third Caller (Cholo Thug)?
Third Caller’s Girlfriend/Sexy Latino?
Fourth Caller (Evangelist Clementyne DeWitt)?
Fourth Caller’s Husband?
Cecil B. D’Illa?
First Beverly Bum?
Second Beverly Bum?
Ms. Lena-May Russell?
Ghetto-Ass Slick’s Customer/Ghetto Ass Groupie?
Lil Caesar Cagney?
Record Label Publicist?
Other characters now mentioned above?
Can you think of any other stars for those roles?
Was anything unclear?
What did you find unbelievable?
What did you find funny?
Did anything offend you?
Where did you begin losing interest?
Which turns in the story appeared predictable?
What would make the movie more interesting based on what you observed?
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