Nina Simone (1933-2003) defied labels—musical, sexual, or political—and today enjoys a popularity and recognition never realized in her lifetime. Lieberman’s extensively researched film draws upon interviews with dozens of friends, family members, band members, lovers, and fellow activists, who not only recall her astounding musicianship and genius, but her fearless demand for respect–whether from segregationists, record companies, or audiences. Director Lieberman follows Simone through the ups and downs of her career: growing up in a small, segregated town, becoming a teen classical piano prodigy, gaining experience as a bar singer, rising to stardom in the late 1950s with “I Loves You, Porgy,” and, finally, emerging as a fiery activist through songs such as “Mississippi Goddam”–all while struggling with a complicated bisexual love life and battling bipolar disorder. Simone’s story, like her music, is startlingly unique. (118 mins.) 

Welcome to our 33rd annual edition of Reel Music. We’ve been on the lookout all year for new works—and timely classics—to feature in our annual celebration of sound, music, and image. Whether your passion is jazz, blues, rock, soul, opera, classical, avant-garde—or anything in between—we hope you find something to discover and inspire you in this eclectic mix of the familiar and unknown. As always, our special thanks go to Music Millennium, Willamette Week, Walker,, MusicFestNW, All Classical Portland, PDX Jazz, XRAY.FM, KMHD, KBOO, PDX Pipeline, Oregon Music News, and Marmoset.

THE AMAZING NINA SIMONE screens Saturday, January 16 at 7pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located inside the Portland Art Museum).  The program is being presented as part of our 33rd Reel Music Festival.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

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