Hooray for Ray

Let’s reflect on all the amazing things Ray Charles gave the world before he succumbed to lung cancer in 2004. He basically helped invent soul music by mixing up R&B and gospel with raw, emotive singing and lyrics. And he accomplished all of that as a native of a remote, segregated state — Florida — becoming a master rollicking pianist despite his blindness from birth. That pretty much eradicates all of your excuses for why things aren’t going as planned in your own life, eh?

Yes, Charles’s story is the kind of heartwarming stuff of which American dreams are made, and of course it wasn’t an easy ride. Director Taylor Hackford, writer James L. White, and star Jamie Foxx did the legend proud with the 2004 biopic Ray. (The movie also indirectly spawned the 2005 Kanye West hit “Gold Digger,” for which Foxx sang bits of Charles’s “I Got a Woman.” Thanks again, Ray!) The film made major buzz during its release year, even netting Foxx an Oscar for Best Actor. For a refresher this Thursday, head to SoundScape, the über-cool public park adjoining the New World Center. Ray will screen Wednesday at 8 p.m. as part of the SoundScape Cinema Series, a weekly series of free films in the park during the temperate months. The movie will be projected on the outside wall of the center, but the sound is loud and crisp enough to be heard from the grass below. Bring blankets, chairs, snacks, and drinks — but no glass.
Wed., Jan. 11, 8 p.m., 2012


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