"Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme" next in Historical Museum film series
- Floor Spiders added
to bill! -
Documentary explores 25-year history of improvisational rap

For immediate release February 22, 2008


Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

(DES MOINES) – The State Historical Museum’s “Movies at the Museum” film series continues in March with “Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme,” a documentary about underground hip-hop MCs and DJs from the early 1980s to present day. Check out the distributor's page here.

Making a special appearance, Des Moines hip-hop performers, historians, and B-boy crew, The Floor Spiders, will perform and conduct a question and answer session at each screening. Learn more about them here.

“Freestyle” will be shown at 7 p.m. March 6 and 2 p.m. March 9 at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at Iowatix.com and at the door. Moviegoers who purchase a ticket at the door and bring a non-perishable food item for the Food Bank of Iowa will receive a $1 discount. State employees who present an identification badge when purchasing tickets at the door may receive a $1 discount. More information is available at www.culturalaffairs.org or 515-281-5111.

Known as The Center for Hip-Hop Education, “Freestyle” takes the viewer on a journey through the previously unexamined dimensions of hip-hop as a spiritual and community-based art form, combining the best of independent art house cinema within the hip-hop mix tape format.

The documentary explores the world of improvisational rap – the rarely recorded art form of rhyming spontaneously, or “off the top of the head.” It was made over the course of more than seven years, mostly with borrowed or stolen cameras by a co-operative of students, b-boys, DJs and MCs. The film contains adult language and some situations that may not be appropriate for children.

The project features appearances by: Supernatural, Mos Def, Freestyle Fellowship, Lord Finesse, Cut Chemist, Craig G, Juice, DJ Kool Herc, Boots of the Coup, Medusa, Planet Asia, Sway, Crazy Legs, Jurasic-5, Wordsworth, Bobitto Garcia and The Last Poets.

“Movies at the Museum” continues through April and May with the following films:

Our Brand Is Crisis
Thursday, April 3, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 5, 2 p.m.
Admission: $5 at iowatix.com or at the door
For decades, U.S. strategists-for-hire have been quietly molding the opinions of voters and the messages of candidates in elections from the Middle East to the South American jungle. With flabbergasting access to think sessions, media training and the making of smear campaigns, we watch how the consultants’ marketing strategies shape the relationship between a leader and his people. Our Brand is Crisis is an astounding look at one group’s campaign to elect the President of Bolivia and its earth-shattering aftermath.

In the Mirror of Maya Deren
Thursday, May 1, 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 3, 2 p.m.
Admission: $5 at iowatix.com or at the door
Deemed “Fellini and Bergman wrapped in one gloriously possessed body,” Maya Deren is arguably the most important and innovative avant-garde documentary filmmaker in the history of American cinema. Using locations from the Hollywood Hills to Haiti in the 1940s and 1950s, Deren made such mesmerizing documentaries as At Land, Ritual in Transfigured Time, and her masterpiece, Meshes of the Afternoon, which won a prestigious international experimental filmmaking prize at the 1947 Cannes Film Festival. Starting with excerpts from these documentaries, In the Mirror seamlessly and effectively interweaves archival footage and observances from acolytes and contemporaries such as Stan Brakhage and Jonas Mekas with an original score by experimental jazz legend John Zorn. Documentarian Martina Kudlacek has fashioned not only a fascinating portrait of a groundbreaking and influential artist, but a pitch-perfect introduction to her strikingly beautiful and poetic body of work.

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The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible for developing the state’s interest in the areas of the arts, history and other cultural matters with the advice and assistance from its two divisions: the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council. DCA preserves, researches, interprets and promotes an awareness and understanding of local, state and regional history and stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and public interest and participation in them. It implements tourism-related art and history projects as directed by the General Assembly and designs a comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available at www.culturalaffairs.org.

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