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In partnership with the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, we’re proud to present two films made during or immediately after the infamous Chicago Seven conspiracy trial in the wake of the police riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. These two films emphasize the farcical nature of the trial and reflect the tragicomic politics of the times. Responding to the program is Mary Patten, an artist, video-maker, and activist who teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Richard Brick’s The Conspiracy and the Dybbuk (1971, 25 min., 16mm) is a record of the Radical Jewish Union of New York’s exorcism of the evil spirit that must be possessing Judge Hoffman, intercut with clips of speeches by Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, William Kunstler, and Jean Genet. And Kerry Feltham’s The Great Chicago Conspiracy Circus (1970, 92 min., DVD projection) is the film version of an off-Broadway play that combines transcripts from the trial with episodes from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The lines are recited at breakneck speed, emphasizing the nonsense of legalese and the nonsense of that trial, by actors who look like hippies and who sometimes change roles—the same actor plays Arlo Guthrie and Richard J. Daley, and sometimes Judge Julius Hoffman is played by a powdered wig perched atop a mannequin. Sometimes it’s just too much, and people break out in song. Newsweek called it “An often brilliant whirligig of burlesque, vaudeville, and straight documentary.”

When: Sunday, November 9 at 6pm
Where: Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th Street
Cost: Free