James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket

Oracle Productions + Black Cinema House +
the CSRPC at the University of ChicagoSouth Side Projections
present a FREE screening of…

James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket

Directed by Karen Thorsen
Restored and remastered in 2K HD from the original 16mm negative
Including a “Conversation with Jimmy” featuring director Karen Thorsen in conversation with scholar E. Patrick Johnson about Baldwin’s life, legacy, and continued importance

Admission is FREE in Public Access Theatre™
One night only!
November 20, 2015 at 7PM

Screening at the Black Cinema House
7200 S. Kimbark Avenue | Chicago
to American society in the 21st century. Audience participation will be encouraged.

This event is partially supported by:
The Reva & David Logan Foundation



Back in 1989, the 16mm version of James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket received stellar reviews and awards. The film was described as “Splendid” by Variety, “A video page-turner” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and “A haunting, beautifully made biography” by the Los Angeles Times.

Now restored and remastered in 2K HD, this film is an emotional portrait, a social critique, and a passionate plea for human equality. It is also a vérité feast. Without using narration, the film allows Baldwin to tell his own story: exploring what it means to be born black, impoverished, gay and gifted in a world that has yet to understand that “all men are brothers.” Restoration made possible by the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Maysles Documentary Center, Goldcrest Post, Stan & Joanne Marder, Greg Melville & Family.

Learn more at jamesbaldwinproject.org

Intercutting rarely-seen archival footage from over one hundred sources and nine different countries, the film melds intimate interviews and eloquent public speeches with astounding private glimpses of Baldwin. The film also includes a rich selection of original footage and interviews with close friends, colleagues and critics including writers Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, William Styron, Ishmael Reed and Yashar Kemal; painter Lucien Happersberger; and entertainer Bobby Short.

The evening will conclude with a “Conversation with Jimmy” featuring director Karen Thorsen in conversation with scholar E. Patrick Johnson about Baldwin’s life, legacy, and continued importance to American society in the 21st century.  Audience participation will be encouraged.


Award-winning writer / filmmaker Karen Thorsen finds inspiration at the intersection of art and social justice.  Her heroes are game-changers, the artist / activists who shape history – and her films tell their stories without narration, weaving first-person narratives with archival treasures.  ‘Cinéma Vérité Passé.’

Her first feature-length documentary was JAMES BALDWIN:  THE PRICE OF THE TICKET. Working with the renowned Maysles Films, Thorsen wrote, produced and directed BALDWIN (with Co-Producers Bill Miles & Douglas K. Dempsey, Executive Producers Susan Lacy & Albert Maysles).  A co-production with PBS/American Masters, BALDWIN was honored at festivals in over two-dozen countries – including Sundance, London, Berlin and Tokyo.  Now considered a documentary film classic, BALDWIN was described as“Splendid”  by Variety, “A video page-turner”  by The San Francisco Chronicle, and “A haunting, beautifully made biography”  by the Los Angeles Times.  “Stays with you after the program ends,”  said the New York Times.

Click here to read the rest of her biography.


E. Patrick Johnson is the Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University. A scholar, artist, and activist, Johnson has performed nationally and internationally and has published widely in the area of race, gender, sexuality and performance. Johnson is a prolific performer and scholar, and an inspiring teacher, whose research and artistry has greatly impacted African American studies, Performance studies, and Sexuality studies. He has written two award-winning books, Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity (Duke UP, 2003), which won the Lilla A. Heston Award, the Errol Hill Book Award, and was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South – An Oral History (University of North Carolina UP, 2008), which was recognized as a Stonewall Book Award Honor Book by the LGBT Round Table of the American Library Association. He co-edited (with Mae G. Henderson) Black Queer Studies – A Critical Anthology (Duke UP, 2005).


Black Cinema House is part of Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit organization created by Theaster Gates that endeavors to rebuild the cultural foundations of underinvested neighborhoods and incite movements of community revitalization that are culture based, artist led, and neighborhood driven. Black Cinema House hosts screenings and discussions of films by and about people of the African diaspora, and offers video classes to neighborhood youth, teaching the next generation to make their own films and tell their own stories. The first iteration of Black Cinema House was originally located across the street from the Archive and Listening Houses on Dorchester Ave. However, due to the limited capacity of this venue, in the fall of 2014 Black Cinema House migrated to its new home at 7200 S. Kimbark (formerly an Anheuser-Busch distribution facility). Black Cinema House is outfitted with state of the art A/V technology as well as an Eastman 16mm projector.

2015 Poster for the restored film.

2015 poster for the restored film.