When the famed acting and civil rights activist couple Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis were honored with a street renaming in Harlem recently, the Dwyer Cultural Center hosted the ceremony and previewed their film festival honoring the stars. An Alcorn McBride A/V Binloop synchronous audio/video player was used to play back clips and stills from the upcoming films on lobby monitors.
The Dwyer Cultural Center (DCC), which opened in 2009, is dedicated to supporting Harlem’s artists and arts organizations, as well as promoting the community’s cultural life. It includes a 75-seat multimedia theater, exhibition galleries, and rehearsal and workshop spaces. The Dwyer has hosted over a thousand events, performances, workshops and exhibitions attended by more than 100,000 people.
The Dwyer Cultural Center hosted the ceremonial unveiling of Ruby Dee Place and Ossie Davis Way at the intersection of 123rd Street and Saint Nicholas Avenue. The street renaming was attended by the Dee-Davis children and such notables as former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, Rev. Al Sharpton and Dwyer CC founder Cliff Frazier. The Dwyer was instrumental in the street renaming process, which was a three-year undertaking by Minerva Diaz, Executive Director of DCC.
In the 1970s Ruby and Ossie were instrumental in the development of the Community Film Workshop Council (CFWC), Third World Cinema (TWC) and the Institute of New Cinema Artists (INCA) along with Cliff Frazier and many other notables like Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte. All parties involved had one goal, fair practices, etc., for people of color within the arts community. Moreover, many are still direct beneficiaries of their work. Dee had a 70-year acting career and died at age 91in 2014. Davis’s career spanned more than 65 years; he died at age 87 in 2005.
The Dwyer also hosted a film festival honoring the couple and featuring “Black Girl,” starring Dee and directed by Davis; “Cotton Comes to Harlem,” directed by Davis; and “Buck & The Preacher,” starring Dee with Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte.
The A/V Binloop features three reproducer cards, which fed the three monitors set up in the Dwyer’s lobby to display the film clips and stills. “We had clips and stills from the films playing on three monitors in our lobby,” says Dwyer Executive Director Minerva Diaz. “We always use our Alcorn McBride Binloop when we’re using video content to promote our events. It has proved to be a good tool for our video playback needs.”