Paul Rusesabagina, the Rwandan hotel manager who sheltered Hutu and Tutsi refugees during the Rwandan genocide, will open the Madame Walker Theatre Center's 2014-15 season with an Aug. 28 talk followed by a screening of Hotel Rwanda, the 2004 film based on his work.
The season, the first under the leadership of new CEO and President Kathleen Spears, is titled "Journey to Freedom," and is, to quote from a brochure, "anchored by the core elements of our mission: cultural education, youth empowerment, entrepreneurship, art, entertainment, and civic engagement."
Arts and entertainment season highlights include a Sept. 12 concert by saxophonist Maceo Parker as part of Indy Jazz Fest; Savion Glover's one-man show Maria's Voice on Oct. 10; and an April 18 Macy Gray concert during the Walker's annual Spirit Awards.
The Walker's cultural eduction programming includes a Jan. 19 visit by Sarah Collins Rudolph, "the fifth little girl" injured in the 1963 bombing by white supremacists of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church that killed four African-American girls, including her sister. Rudolph's talk coincides with the opening of a traveling exhibit on the history of the Civil Rights Movement created by the National Civil Rights Museum and on display Jan. 19-Feb. 28.
The Walker's new Throwback Thursday film series will include a mix of fiction and documentary on the third Thursday of each month at 8 p.m. September and October will feature the first and second volumes of Che, Steven Soderbergh's four-plus hour portrait of Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara.
Spears told NUVO in June that the Walker is getting back to its roots by hosting a film series: "When this building was built in 1927, it was a movie theater. And it was built because African-Americans would go to the Indiana Theatre up the street and be charged three or four times as much or not be admitted at all."
Also launching in September is the First Friday art showcase Art on the Avenue, which will feature work by Julie Young, members of Outside the Box and Lilly Oncology on Canvas, among others. And the long-running Jazz on the Avenue, featuring local jazz on the Final Friday of the month, will keep on rolling through the fall, continuing Aug. 29 with a performance by Chubby Massey.
Head to the newly updated Walker site for more info on all events. Season tickets are available for $725 (or $950 for the VIP level), with half-season and entertainment-only packages available.