West Side Blues singers Willie D and Larry Taylor, 2008 Chicago Blues Fest

YouTube video

The BBF (Better Boys Foundation, for both boys and girls), one of the longest-serving social agencies on Chicago’s West Side, is focusing on music films this week for its FREE annual summer festival, “Sundown in K-Town”—from Jazz to House to Hiphop. 

This Thursday Aug. 7, will be BLUES NIGHT, with a closeup concert video of real West Side Bluesmen in action, produced by this AWN blog’s author and  filmed a year ago right there at the BBF. Singers Willie D. Freeman and Larry Taylor bring you long years of good blues, from deep in the Delta to funky Chicago soul.  Backing them up are Joe B and guest Jon McDonald on guitars; Curtis LaBon on drums; J.R. “Bootsie” Lee from the South Side on bass; and yours truly, Barrelhouse Bonni, on keys.  Willie D and Larry cagily compete for the audience attention all evening, joining together to sing one final “Eeny Weeny Bit.”

Chris Wilkinson’s clever camera work on “Blues at the BBF” reveals not only every expression on the musicians’ faces, but every clear note ringing through the night air.  

Doors open at 7 p.m. with light refreshments, followed by the film screening, 8 to 9 p.m. I’ll host a discussion panel afterward featuring Darryl Pitts, TV producer and creator of the documentary “Reel Black Love” about African American movie romance; and West Side  bluesman Larry Taylor.  We’ll be joined by a student from BBF’s after-school film lab, which draws many talented neighborhood teens.

“Sundown in K-Town” film nights are FREE and open to the public. Doors open by 7 p.m. each night at the BBF, 1512 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago 60624. Parking in the BBF lot and on the street; CTA bus 53 on Pulaski Road.  The complete week’s lineup:

Wed. Aug. 6:  CHICAGO SUN (RA)

BBF FilmLAB Short Feature 

Cry of Jazz (Dir. Edward Bland, 1959, 34 minutes) 

Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise (Dir. Robert Mugge, 1980, 60 minutes) 

Thurs.  Aug, 7: CHICAGO BLUES 

BBF FilmLAB Participant Short Feature 

Blues at the BBF (Dir. Bonni McKeown, 2013, 65 minutes) 

Fri.  Aug. 8: CHICAGO HOUSE 

FilmLAB Short Feature 

Official Teaser: The House That Chicago Built (Dir. Lil Louis, 2014, 6 minutes) 

Pump Up the Volume: The History of House, Volume I (Dir. Carl Hindmach, 2001, 50 minutes) 


BBF FilmLAB Short Feature 

Clapping for the Wrong Reasons (Dir. Hito Murai, 2013, 25 minutes)

From Jack to Juke (Dir. Sonali Aggarwal, 2012, 60 minutes) 



Sundown in K-town is co-Hosted by BBF and Facets Multimedia  in partnership with the Hot House and funded in part by the Illinois Humanities Council. The author thanks BBF for making us a part. 

Sundown in K-Town 2014 Committee: Jerry Blumenthal, Billy Brooks, Charles Coleman, Nancy Goldenberg, Ben Kolak, Peter Kuttner, Mojo Lorwin, Tom Palazzolo, Mary Visconti, Floyd Webb


"Barrelhouse Bonni" McKeown, the author of "West Side Blues Blog," has played piano and written about blues music for over 15 years. www.barrelhousebonni.com  She has led classes for young and old on...