Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Remebering Ray Lum, Mule Trader

Remembering Ray Lum: 2 films and a conversation.
Vicksburg’s Dr. William R. (Bill) Ferris will be coming home for a program
debuting the latest chapter in a quest he has been involved with for over
fifty years. The Strand Theatre will host a special event featuring two short
films about local mule trader, Ray Lum, and a conversation with the
filmmakers and guests who are connected to the films.
Daniel Boone, program presenter at the Strand explained, “there was a time
in the first half of the twentieth century when mules were essential for
transportation, agricultural, and construction work. Here in Vicksburg, Ray
Lum was a mule trader. It was his occupation and his way of life. In other
words, he lived by his wits and his words. As automobiles and tractors and
other heavy equipment became accepted in other parts of the country, the
mule remained a valued tool and partner here in the South for a number of
years. After the mule was no longer needed by many, Mr. Lum auctioned
cattle and horses at his livestock barn.”  
Ray Lum was a larger than life character; a natural storyteller which served
him well in his efforts to sell livestock. He believed it was important to
always tell the truth even if it might sometimes be necessary to “handle it
with care,” according to Ray Lum: Mule Trader, a book told in Lum’s own
words by Bill Ferris.  
In the introduction to that book Ferris states, “In the late ‘60s while a
graduate student in folklore at the University of Pennsylvania, I
rediscovered and understood better my culture as I filmed and recorded
black blues musicians, storytellers, and folk artists from the Mississippi
Delta. By 1970 I was teaching English at Jackson State College, and my
father suggested I record Lum, whom he felt was unique as a storyteller. I
took my father’s advice and in 1970 began a quest for Lum and through him
my own identity.”  
In collaboration with Judy Peiser and Bobby Taylor, Ferris, a former
chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, coeditor of the
award-winning Encyclopedia of Southern Culture and author of several
other books; made a film about Lum in 1974, also entitled Ray Lum: Mule
That eighteen minute film will be shown at the Strand along with a
new film entitled Okay, Mr. Ray which utilizes footage shot by Ferris; and
which was directed by Ashley Melzer, a young producer, filmmaker and
writer based in Durham, North Carolina, who considers Ferris to be a

Ferris and Melzer will be at the Strand to talk about their films, and will be
joined in conversation by Henry Harris, the son of Squire Harris, who is
featured in the film, and Betsy Lum Lipscomb, Ray Lum’s niece.
According to Kelle Barfield, owner of Lorolei Books, “I have stock of Ray
Lum: Mule Trader
at Lorelei Books, which I will have at the Strand on July
13 for those who would like to purchase an autographed copy. I plan to
donate profits from sales to The Strand.”
This program is being supported by the Mississippi Humanities Council
who helped fund the new film.  
The event will be Saturday, July 13 at 7 PM at the Strand Theatre located at
717 Clay Street in downtown Vicksburg. It is free and open to the public.  

Because so many seats are reserved for friends and family of the Lum family, Harris family and the Ferris family, we are over capacity already. I cannot, at this point save any more, and it is unlikely any more can be squeezed in. I apologize. I explained to Bill that in Vicksburg he is a rockstar.


Friday, May 31, 2024

Sweat Opens at the Strand

A Pulitzer Prize winning play by Lynn Nottage.
It’s the year 2000 and a group of friends go to work at the steel mill and then decompress at the bar like they’ve been doing for over 20 years. But, unbeknownst to them, their lives are about to be uprooted. Their steel mill, is making some changes and the blood, sweat and tears, not to mention the generations of loyalty these workers have shown, don’t seem to amount to much. 
This poignant play takes a look at the de-industrial revolution through the lens of a history play, but also delves into the issues of today: the economy, immigration, race-relations in America, and politics.

Friday, May 31 at 7:30

Saturday, June 1 at 7:30

Sunday, June 2 at 4:30 

Friday, June 7 at 7:30

Saturday, June 8 at 7:30

Sunday, June 9 at 4:30 


Tickets are $15 and available in advance at Highway 61 Coffeehouse.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Mel Brooks' The Producers coming to the Strand


Mel Brooks' first movie and his first collaboration with Gene Wilder tells the story of 2 men who realize that there are times when a failure could make them a fortune. Now, if they can only do nothing right...

Springtime for Hitler???

So, this crazy hilarious movie was eventually made into a Broadway hit and remade, but the original did everything right...

“Some of the best lunatic humor since the Marx Brothers invaded the opera.”


“Pure lunacy… uproariously funny!”


I'm in pain! And I'm wet! And I'm still hysterical!

I picked the wrong play, the wrong director, the wrong cast. Where did I go right?

Don't be stupid, be a smarty. Come and join the Nazi party.

Will the dancing Hitlers please wait in the wings? We are only seeing singing Hitlers.

This is wine, women, and song... and women.

Shut up, I'm having a rhetorical conversation.

Not many people know it, but the Fuhrer was a terrific dancer.

You shut up! You are the audience! I am the author! I OUTRANK you!

Der F├╝hrer does not say, "Achtung, baby."

I'm not a "madam"! I'm a "concierge"!

Advance tickets at Highway 61 Coffeehouse: $9

At the door: $10


The Strand Theatre
717 Clay Street
Downtown Vicksburg

Saturday, May 18 at 7 PM

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Crme is Mine - a comedy abut murder and its benefits...

 The Crime is Mine

Saturday, March 2 at the Strand Theatre

at 7 PM


...new French film...

Paris in the 1930s—a playground for industrial heirs and debonair architects, but the City of Lights does not shine evenly for all. Struggling actress Madeleine (Nadia Terezkiewicz) and her best friend Pauline (Rebecca Marder), an unemployed lawyer, live in a cramped flat and owe five months’ rent.

Opportunity knocks after a lascivious theatrical producer who made an inappropriate advance towards Madeleine turns up dead. Madeleine stands trial for murder and ascends to infamous stardom, with Pauline serving as defense counsel and media circus ringmaster. A new life of fame, wealth, and tabloid celebrity awaits until the truth comes out.

Adapted from a 1934 play by Georges Berr and Louis Verneuil and featuring a murder’s row of a supporting cast including Isabelle Huppert, Dany Boon, and Fabrice Luchini, The Crime Is Mine is a rollicking farce and scabrous satire with a wily feminist edge from one of French cinema’s most chameleonic stylists,

Watch the trailer:

Tickets are $10 at the door, and available in advance at Highway 61 Coffeehouse for $9 each.

And...the POPCORN IS FREE!!!

Friday, February 9, 2024

Best of Enemies onstage at the Strand

 Best of Enemies

Live onstage at the Strand...

Best of Enemies by Mark St. Germain
Based on the bestselling book by Osha Gray Davidson, 
BEST OF ENEMIES is a true story about the relationship between C.P. Ellis, a Grand Cyclops of the KKK, and Ann Atwater, an African-American civil rights activist, during the desegregation of the Durham, North Carolina, schools in 1971. BEST OF ENEMIES exposes the poison of prejudice in the hearts of Atwater and Ellis who, by facing each other, are forced to face the worst, and best, in themselves.
Friday, February 9 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, February 10 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, February 11 at 4 PM
Friday, February 16 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, February 17 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, February 18 at 4 PM

Tickets are $15, and available in advance at Highway 61 Coffeehouse

Tuesday, January 30, 2024



Stanley Kubrick's

2001: A Space Odyssey

Sunday, February 4 at 3 PM

We continue our series of Sunday afternoon epic films with one of the greatest films ever made: Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, which redefined the limits of filmmaking. It's a classic science fiction masterpiece: a contemplation on the nature of humanity.
Stone Age Earth: In the presence of a mysterious black obelisk, pre-humans discover the use of tools--and weapons--violently taking first steps toward intelligence. 1999: On Earth's moon astronauts uncover another mysterious black obelisk. 2001: Between Earth and Jupiter, the spacecraft's intelligent computer makes a mistake that kills most of the human crew--then continues to kill to hide its error. Beyond Time: The sole survivor of the journey to Jupiter ascends to the next level of humanity.
Tickets are $10 / $9 in advance at Highway 61 Coffeehouse
It certainly won't be quite as cold as in outer space, but if it's cold in Vicksburg, it will be cold in the Strand. Dress appropriately.
And there's an intermission!!!
Free Popcorn...

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Seven Samurai at the Strand

Yes, Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai 
will be onscreen at the Strand.
Sunday, January 14, 2024 at 3 PM
One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai) tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This 1954 thrill ride from Akira Kurosawa—featuring legendary actors Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura—seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action, into a rich, evocative, and unforgettable tale of courage and hope.
Kurosawa was surely inspired by American Westerns, but his film inspired a whole generation of Directors in the U.S., including Spielberg, Scorsese, Lucas, and more. When it was released in America, it was called The Magnificent Seven which was remade by John Sturges in 1960, followed by several sequels, and then remade again by Antoine Fuqua in 2016.
The 2022 Sight and Sound poll calls Seven Samurai the 20th best film ever made, and a recent book about the film sums up its influence: Everything I Know about Filmmaking I Learned Watching Seven Samurai. This is a rare opportunity to see this film on a big screen, and a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. But be warned: if it's cold out, it will be cold in the Strand: dress appropriately.
And there's an intermission!!!
Tickets $10 ($9 in advance at Highway 61 Coffeehouse)
Happy New Year!
Free Popcorn!