Numero Group: By The Numbers

Stony Island, The Little Slice Of Chicago Soul That Would Not Die

April 4, 2012 8pm or April 5, 2012 8:15pm. Stony Island At the Gene Siskel Film Center

Stony Island, originally titled My Main Man Stoney Island is a lost chapter of soul music documented as it happened. We first encountered the movie back in 2004 when talking with Richie Davis about his groups Maxx Traxx and Third Rail. Both groups were talented, popular acts with big buzz in and around the Chicago and tri-state area that should have made it nationwide. Their live shows were electrifying. But there’s more to this story than your run-of-the-mill show biz near miss tale of woe. Richie Davis, the band’s nexus, grew up in Hyde Park at the center of Chicago’s changing racial landscape in an increasingly integrated environment. Chicago’s monolithic journalistic force, Studs Terkel, documented Richie’s young life as a young white man in living in a black world in his book, Race. And luckily, nascent powerhouse director Andy Davis documented it with the movie Stony Island.

Stony Island is a work of fiction, but it doesn’t feel like it. Many of the relationships are real. A host of cameos and burgeoning stars surprise and amaze throughout: Chicago guitar powerhouse Phil Upchurch, Denniz Franz, the Bangles Susanna Hoffs, legendary arranger Gene Barge, keyboardist Ronnie Barron and, posthumously, “The Boss” Major Daley, whose funeral procession was retrofitted into the script when it happened to occur during the filmmaking. The most famous star of the movie, however, is the city of Chicago… at the time it was so difficult to film in Chicago that few movies were actually shot there in the 1970s. Stony Island’s guerrilla-style filming makes it, today, an archive of period footage rarely seen in the years since it was shot. What is perhaps most noteworthy about the movie is that the film tells the the story of an obscure but real group that meets a tragic end. The Stony Island Band, assembled from a pool of extraordinary Chicago musicians, actually had a record deal and an opportunity to go national. Sadly, that opportunity was snuffed out by the tragic death of Ritchie Davis’ best friend Stoney Robinson shortly after the filming was wrapped. A true vocal star, the only place to see Stoney and hear this music is in this film.

April 4, 2012 8pm or April 5, 2012 8:15pm

Stony Island At the Gene Siskel Film Center

164 North State Street
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 846-2600

For ticket and parking information: STONY ISLAND

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