Feature Film Program

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Redux, Remix & Requiem

Rooftop Films and The Town Hall present Melvin Van Peebles’ groundbreaking classic set to a live score performed by the Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber, featuring an in-person appearance by the living legend himself!

Thu May 30 7:30 PM

The Film

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Redux, Remix & Requiem

Melvin Van Peebles | US | 97

Melvin Van Peebles' Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song was a cinematic milestone; within weeks of its April 1971 release it became the most successful independent feature in American film history. Van Peebles financed, wrote, starred in, edited, produced and distributed the film. He composed the score himself and got a band of upstarts he met through his secretary to play his tunes for the soundtrack. That group, uncredited on the vinyl release, became more well-known a couple years later as Earth, Wind & Fire. Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber revisit Van Peebles' compositions, performing a live score remix with actors and band members reading from the original script while a silent print of Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song is projected onto the big screen on Fort Greene Park's Myrtle Avenue hill.


Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber

David Fricke of Rolling Stone calls them “a multiracial jam army that freestyles with cool telekinesis between the lustrous menace of Miles Davis’ On The Corner, the slash-and-om of 1970s King Crimson, and Jimi Hendrix’ moonwalk across side three of Electric Ladyland.” Founded by Village Voice icon Greg "Ionman" Tate and co-led with monster groove bassist Jared Michael Nickerson since 1999, New York City’s Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber is a sprawling band of musicians whose prodigious personnel and adherence to Butch Morris's "Conduction" system allows them to freely juggle a wide swath of the soul-jazz-hip hop & rock spectrum. This very accom­plished crew’s personnel has play­ing cred­its that range from Melvin Van Pee­bles, TV On The Radio, Toshi Reagon, DJ Logic, Gary Lucas, Tamar Kali, Phish, William Parker and Liz Wright to Marshall Crenshaw, The Holmes Broth­ers, Wadada Leo Smith, The The, David Mur­ray, Billy Ocean and Living Colour’s Vernon Reid. With commissions from venues such as The Apollo Theatre, Sons d'hiver Festival in Paris France, The Detroit Institute of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Philadelphia's Painted Bride Art Center, Hartford's Real Art Ways, N.Y.C.'s Joe’s Pub & Lincoln Center and Buffalo's Hallwalls Art Center the BSA has spent the last three years “caramelizing" the music of James Brown, Steely Dan, Melvin Van Peebles, David Bowie, Chuck Brown, Miles Davis, Prince, Fleetwood Mac, Rick James and Sun Ra. The Burnt Sugar Arkestra is a territory band, a neo-tribal thang, a community hang, a society music guild aspiring to the condition of all that is molten, glacial, racial, spacial, oceanic, mythic, antiphonal and telepathic. Robert Christgau says “Its electric Miles with soul, Maggot Brain with a PHD, the Hendrix Evans band of dreams, the underwater funk some hear in A.R. Kane.”

Event Details

7:30 PM
Doors Open
8:00 PM
Twentieth Anniversary "Groiddest Schizznits” set by Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber
8:30 PM
Film/Performance Begins
This a free event, but restricted to ages 18+ only. In the case of rain, show will be rescheduled. No outside alcohol is permitted.


Fort Greene Park

Washington Park St, Brooklyn, NY 11205

venue on Google Map

The show presented in partnership with