Two-Zone Transfer

1979, 23:53 min, color, sound

Featuring performances from Jenkins's fellow Otis Art Institute classmates Greg Pitts, Ronnie Nichols, Roger Trammell, and Kerry James Marshall, Two-Zone Transfer depicts, in Jenkins's words, a "dreamscape in which the dreamer awakens to a visitation of three minstrels who tell the story of the development of African American stereotypes in the American entertainment industry." Flanked by the minstrels (who don masks of Presidents Nixon and Ford) and shrouded in dense fog, Jenkins delivers a sermon in the guise of a preacher before impersonating James Brown—complete with lip-synced vocal flourishes and dance moves pulled from Brown's Live at the Apollo album and his televised appearance on the 1964 T.A.M.I. Show. When Brown's "Please Please Please" reaches its fever pitch, Jenkins wakes up from his dream. "You know all I've ever wanted to do was to be myself and to be good at what I do," Jenkins remarks, "but I've been used and abused, sidetracked by many things. But after a dream like that, I know I’ve got direction. I know what I'm up against."

Performers: Kerry James Marshall, Ronnie Nichols, Greg Pitts, Roger Trammell, Ulysses Jenkins; Camera: Harris Eldleman; Sound and Lighting: Jules Lemelle; Audio Tracks: James Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire; Special Thanks to: Kim Martin; Ilene Segalove; Gary Lloyd; Sally Shapiro