“Slippery Characters” documentary film noted for risk-taking in the public humanities.
Chicago—The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) has awarded this year’s Lawrence W. Towner award to JazzReach Inc. for its project “Slippery Characters,” a film that will explore the lives of three men who reinvented themselves through ethnic impersonation.
Every January, the IHC board selects an awardee from a list of five grant applicants from the previous year, identified by IHC staff for it’s unconventional or unique methods in pursuit of ambitious goals. The film “Slippery Characters” will examine the phenomenon of ethnic impersonations and their influence on the shaping of the American identity. In particular, this Laura Browder film will devote attention to three men who reinvented themselves through new ethnic identities. Among these three will be Chicago’s Mezz Mezzrow, a Chicago-born Jew from Russian parents who reinvented himself in the South Side jazz clubs and became a well-known jazz musician and redefined himself as black.
The Towner Award was created by the IHC Board of Directors to honor William “Bill” Towner, past President of the Newberry Library and chair of the IHC Board of Directors. Towner was beloved for his venturesome spirit, and the award was instituted to encourage “risk-taking in the development and execution of a public humanities project.”
Previous winners of the Towner Award include Free Street Programs for its project “Facing Extremism,” Center for Working Class Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago for the “Chicago Labor and Working-Class History Map,” Beyondmedia Education for their “Women in Prison” project, Video Machete for “Global Youth Project,” the Rockford Art Museum for the Hager Collection of African-American Contemporary Folk Art, the University of Chicago for its project “Trading Fours: Jazz and its Milieu,” the Chicago Historical Society for its project “A House Divided,” and the Illinois State Museum for its floating exhibit “Harvesting the River.”
For more information about JazzReach Inc. and “Slippery Characters,” please contact Laura Browder at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information about the Illinois Humanities Council may be obtained by visiting www.prairie.org or calling 312.422.5580.
The Illinois Humanities Council is a nonprofit educational organization [501 (c) 3] dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Organized in 1973 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.
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