Sunday, May 31, 2015

Chicago Isn't Very Happy With Little Spike Lee

Sheldon Jackson Lee, known for sometime making what some call inflammatory movies and stirring the pot so to speak, is in the Windy City to make another Spike Lee Joint. 

But the subject of gun violence in Chicago's black neighborhoods, and working title of the film have some not so enamored with the film maker. 
NYT - Mr. Lee, who declined to be interviewed, has not publicly confirmed the title of the movie, but city officials who have met with him said he had told them that he intended to call it “Chiraq.”
The film, Mr. Lee has said, is focused on gun violence on the South Side; some reports, unconfirmed by Mr. Lee, offer the intriguing possibility that the film is a comedic reimagining of “Lysistrata,” the ancient Greek tale by Aristophanes in which women withhold sex to force the men to end the Peloponnesian War.
Gun violence is a way of life for many Chicagoans, especially in pockets of the South and West Sides. Street gangs have splintered and multiplied in recent years, complicating police efforts to tamp down crime.
During a meeting with Mr. Lee and several City Council members in April, Mr. Burns, the alderman, urged Mr. Lee to reconsider the title, he said.
“I said in that meeting, ‘A lot of people take offense to the term Chiraq,’” Mr. Burns said in an interview. “These are communities where people are doing the right thing, people trying to have a decent neighborhood. Having a movie called ‘Chiraq’ will make it much more difficult for folks like me and other aldermen to bring economic development to those neighborhoods. Who wants to live in a place that people call Chiraq?”
And like a good wealthy Hollywood types, he asked for the public tax credit to make his movie:
"An alderman from the South Side, William Burns, was so perturbed by the title that he angrily suggested that Mr. Lee, the renowned director of films like “Do the Right Thing” and “Malcolm X,” should not get the $3 million tax credit that he is seeking for filming here.
“If he wants to name the movie 'Chiraq' and film it in the city of Chicago, he should be able to get the permits for that and he should be able to do it, but we shouldn’t give him money as taxpayers to brand a part of the city as Iraq.” 
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel met last month with Lee, who has been spending time in Chicago as he prepares to film his new movie, to express his displeasure about the choice of the title — which comes from rap lyrics about violence in some of the city’s black neighborhoods.