We travel the spaceways
April 19, 2008 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Brother from Another Planet (Pts. 2, 3, and 4) is a documentary about Sun Ra and his Arkestra(s) on YT. It features interviews with Archie Shepp, Amiri Baraka, John Sinclair, and several members of the Arkestra as well as several live clips and scenes from the 1974 movie Space is the Place. (previously)

It seems to be incomplete by a bit, but well worth the watch whether this is an introduction or you're an aficionado. Or, you could just read the book by John F. Szwed.

The YT user also has several other interesting videos up including Black President on Fela Kuti, Wim Wenders entry into The Blues series called "Soul of a Man", and several fine clips of Parliament-Funkadelic/Bootsy's Rubber Band.
posted by sleepy pete (18 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Nonsense. The Brother from Another Planet is a documentary about a mute alien chased by outer-space bounty hunters through the streets of Harlem.
posted by lekvar at 1:50 PM on April 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

I loved this movie when I saw it in the theater (and I have the book), and it's great to know it (or most of it) is online. Thanks for this, sleepy pete!
posted by languagehat at 2:58 PM on April 19, 2008

(Oh, and also the Sayles movie is one of my favorites as well.)
posted by languagehat at 2:59 PM on April 19, 2008

The Sayles movie would have only been better with Sun Ra (it's been years since I've seen it, but I'm guessing he's not in it).

Space is the Place is an excellent movie for fans of Sun Ra, science fiction, 70s blaxploiotation, and amazingly trippy monologues as well.
posted by sleepy pete at 3:16 PM on April 19, 2008

A Joyful Noise is also highly recommended. Extremely provocative Egyptology, as well as freedom from Saturn.
posted by odasaku at 3:27 PM on April 19, 2008

Completely oblivious to my favorite music as usual. Thanks Sleepy Pete!
posted by es_de_bah at 3:59 PM on April 19, 2008

The Sayles flick is on my list as well -- some good old school electro in the soundtrack, and a lovely time capsule view of NYC in the 80's.

This is good sleepy pete, thanks.
posted by vronsky at 4:05 PM on April 19, 2008

I look forward to watching some of this documentary. Sun Ra always seemed to my unscholared ears to be to jazz what George Clinton was to rock. Thanks, sleepy pete!
posted by not_on_display at 4:16 PM on April 19, 2008

Sun Ra always seemed to my unscholared ears to be to jazz what George Clinton was to rock.

I think you're spot on there, n_o_d. Ra is the beautifully eccentric, magnificently costumed and theatrical mystic of jazz, and that's exactly the position Clinton occupies in funk. I'd add Lee "Scratch" Perry (who I believe fills that particular job description in the world of dub/reggae) as well, to make a triumvirate of eccentric black music visionaries who have created their own universe within their chosen musical fields.

Thanks for the post, sp!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:33 PM on April 19, 2008

I'd also add Hendrix for rock and Rammellzee (whom vronsky did a nice post on) and Afrika Bambaataa for hip hop to flajax's comment. Space and race are pretty common elements among some performers and religions (NOI comes to mind--although that may be a myth as well). So, metaphor or reality tends to be the next question, which there have been books written about so I'll leave that alone.

Here's an interesting site on Afrofuturism, not_on_display, in case you want to look into it further. I can't get Mark Dery's to open at the moment, but he has a nice intro as well.

Sorry for the aside, but it's something that's interested me for years.
posted by sleepy pete at 5:25 PM on April 19, 2008

This is sweet. I'd seen 'Space is the Place', but not this. Thanks so much.
posted by lumpenprole at 5:46 PM on April 19, 2008

thanks so much for a great post, sleepy pete - love Sun Ra. I saw him at a festival in Maine once without having had any awareness or background of the Sun Ra thing going in - needless to say, it was a delightfully mind-blowing experience.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:36 PM on April 19, 2008

Speaking of Lee Perry, some kind soul has uploaded parts 3 and 4 of the documentary I linked a while back.
posted by vronsky at 11:10 PM on April 19, 2008

"Fuck the ghetto! Look to space!"

Article about the documentary
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:30 AM on April 20, 2008

+1 on watching A Joyful Noise, its quite worthwhile.
posted by sponge at 10:20 AM on April 20, 2008

Thanks for the post. I experienced Sun Ra at one of the first shows at the Boston Tea Party in 1967.

Incidentally, the father of current Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick was Laurdine Patrick, a side man for Sun Ra for many years.
posted by beagle at 6:10 PM on April 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

I gotta admit that I've never really been into Sun Ra's jazz material, but when I heard the stuff they recorded when they were (at least in part) a (really fucked up) R&B/doo-wop band...that shit blew my mind.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:50 PM on April 20, 2008

"They," "he"...you know what I mean.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:05 PM on April 20, 2008

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