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MoMA Presents 1-Week Run Of Restored 35mm Print Of Long-Lost Last Poets Doc 'Right On!'

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by Tambay A. Obenson
January 23, 2013 4:14 PM
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If you're one of those who's been asking whether this film would ever be re-released, here's your answer.

The thought-to-be long lost film starring the Original Last Poets, from director Herbert Danska, titled Right On!, captures the Original Last Poets, in a combo documentary, live performances and music videos, as they perform their revolutionary poetry on the rooftops, fire escapes and back alleys of Harlem, NYC.

Experimental in nature, the film is considered a noteworthy look at the origin of hip-hop, and now, after some 30 years since it *disappeared,* the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) here in NYC has restored the recently recovered 35mm negative, and will screen the film for 1 week in March - from March 6 - 11. 

The Original Last Poets will make a special appearance during the premiere.

The rest of the vital details from MoMA:

Described as “a conspiracy of ritual, street theater, soul music, and cinema,” Right On! is a pioneering concert film, a compelling record of radical Black sentiment in 1960s America, and a precursor of the hip-hop revolution in musical culture. Shot guerilla-style on the streets and rooftops of lower Manhattan, it features the original Last Poets performing 28 numbers adapted from their legendary Concept-East Poetry appearance at New York’s Paperback Theater in 1969. Opening almost simultaneously with Melvin Van Peebles’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, Right On! was described by its producer as “the first ‘totally black film,’” making “no concession in language and symbolism to white audiences.” The film has rarely screened over the past 30 years, and this is the premiere run of MoMA’s new restoration, made from the recently recovered 35mm negative. This restoration was undertaken by The Museum of Modern Art with support from the Celeste Bartos Fund for Film Preservation and Paul Newman (San Francisco). A special appearance by the Original Last Poets accompanies the premiere; details are forthcoming.

A look at the film follows below (Note that this isn't from the restored negative; I just happened to come across it on YouTube):

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