The Chelsea Hotel & Beat This – A Hip Hop History
Every third month Heavenly Films team up with BBC Arena to screen gems from their extensive archive of outstanding documentaries. This months topic is New York and we have two rarely screened classics from the early ’80s.
Full details of the films below.
You must have a ticket to both portions of this double bill – the Q&A (£12) and the films (free). Entry to the films is not possible without a ticket for the Q&A.
7.30pm – Beat This – A Hip Hop History (1984)
8.25pm – The Chelsea Hotel (1981)
9.20pm – A Q&A session with counterculture legend and one time Chelsea Hotel resident Barry Miles and Arena series producer Anthony Wall – hosted by author Travis Elborough.
- BBFC rating
- Running time
- 110 mins
Q&A with Barry Miles and Anthony Wall
Beat This – A Hip Hop History
(1984) 55 minutes
Filmed on the streets of New York City during 1984, Beat This tells the story of Hip Hop’s roots. Gary ‘The Crown’ Byrd raps us through the elements of Hip Hop – breakdancing, body-popping, graffiti art, rapping and scratching-and introduces us to its then heroes. We meet Cool Herc, its legendary first DJ; the head-spinning breakdancing Dynamic Rockers; romeo rappers the Cold Crush Brothers and white funksters Malcolm McLaren and Mel Brooks. And we take the ‘A’ Train to Planet Rock-the devastated homeland of Hip Hop, better known as New York’s South Bronx-to meet the ‘Godfather’ himself, Afrika Bambaata whose wild youth as a member of the notorious Black Spades gang, led him to forsake violence for music and dance and found a new and powerful New York tribe called the Zulu Nation.
Director Dick Fontaine
The Chelsea Hotel
(1981) 55 minutes
It was in the Chelsea Hotel, New York, that Bob Dylan wrote ‘Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands’, Andy Warhol filmed Chelsea Girls and Dylan Thomas drank himself to death. For 100 years the Chelsea has been a legendary haven for artists and performers from Mark Twain to Sid Vicious. Arena explores the brilliant and eccentric worlds created behind the drab brown doors of the Chelsea’s apartments.
Andy Warhol and William Burroughs have dinner in the room where Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001; Virgil Thomson, doyen of American composers, reveals the truth about Alice B. Toklas and those famous cookie cakes; Quentin Crisp recalls moving in to ‘the place where the great stylists have lived’, Nico, star of the Velvet Underground, sings ‘Chelsea Girls’; George Kleinsinger, composer of Tubby the Tuba plays a waltz for his turtle, painter Alpheus Cole reflects on being 104 years old, Warhol superstar Viva relives the birth of her daughter and legendary painter Larry Rivers recalls old times with the Chelsea’s manager Stanley Bard.
Research Anthony Wall
Director Nigel Finch
- BBFC rating
- Running time
- 30 mins