Space Is the Place  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Space Is the Place is an 82-minute film made in 1972 and released in 1974.

It was produced by Jim Newman, directed by John Coney, written by Joshua Smith and features Sun Ra and his Arkestra. An alternate title is Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Solar Arkestra: Space Is the Place. A soundtrack for the film was released on Evidence Records.

Like Ra himself, Space is the Place is one of a kind: part Blaxploitation film, and all polemic parable — a mythopoetic manifesto, made by people who believed in Ra's mystical message as much as they appreciated his Afro-psychedelica.

Plot

Sun Ra, who has been reported lost since his European tour in June 1969, lands on a new planet in outerspace with his crew "The Arkestra" and decides to settle African Americans on this planet. The medium of transportation he had chosen is music. He travels back in time and returns to the Chicago strip club where he used to play piano with the name "Sonny Ray" in 1943. There he confronts The Overseer (Ray Johnson), a pimp-overlord, and they agree on a duel at cards for the fate of the Black race. Each card drawn is a minor goal to achieve for Ra or The Overseer which will determine the winner of the duel. Then, to present time, Ra disembarks from his spaceship at Oakland and tries to spread his word by meeting with young Blacks at an Oakland youth centre and opening an "employment agency" to recruit people eager to move to the planet. He also agrees with Jimmy Fey (Christopher Brooks), the minion of The Overseer, to arrange radio interviews, a record album, and eventually a concert that will help him dictate his message. At the end, Ra takes Fey's "Black parts" with him to the spaceship, leaving him with his White parts. Fey, now acting white, leaves The Overseer who loses the duel. The planet Earth is destroyed after Ra's spaceship flies into the space.

Ra's greatest adversary in his quest is The Overseer, incarnation of evil in the Black community who poses himself to be a community leader and a man of charity. But in fact, he is the tool of the power structure. Ra is also pursued by White government agents (presumably from FBI) who attempt to assassinate him. On the other hand, Jimmy Fey is representative of the Black people in entertainment industry and mass media.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Space Is the Place" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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