"Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise"

Aug. 6

This 1980 concert film/lecture about the cosmos from free jazz self-mythologizer Sun Ra jumps between three performances from Sun and his Arkestra in Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore and features Ra pontificating in front of the White House (he asks why there isn't also a Black House) and amid Egyptian art and sculpture at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. Here, you get to see a late iteration of the Arkestra, in which they were at their most freewheeling and noisy but also somehow at their most traditionalist, nodding to pre-bop jazz and even classical a little bit. Some cool history: The Baltimore performance we see in "Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise," took place in the Famous Ballroom and was held by the Left Bank Jazz Society in what is now part of the Charles Theatre, where the film is screening (Famous Ballroom was on the second floor), so when you go see "Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise," you're watching it in one of the places it was shot. More Baltimore free jazz trivia: John Coltrane's last performance ever was at the Famous Ballroom. 9 p.m., The Charles Theater, 1711 N. Charles St., (410) 727-3464, thecharles.com, $9.50. (Brandon Soderberg)

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