11-19-2017  2:29 am      •     
MLK Breakfast
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NEWS BRIEFS

SEI, Sunshine Division Offer Thanksgiving Meals to Families in Need

Turkeys are being provided to fill 200 Thanksgiving food boxes for SEI families ...

NAACP Portland Monthly Meeting Nov. 18

Monthly general membership meeting takes place on Saturday, 12 - 2 p.m. ...

Multnomah County Animal Services Waives Adoption Fees Nov. 17

Special runs from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday ...

Fitzpatrick Presents 'Pathway 1000' Plan Before City Council

Plan would restore involuntary displacement by building 80 homes per year ...

Sisters Network to Hold Monthly Meeting Nov. 11

Meeting to take place Saturday morning at June Key Delta Center ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Local Author Visits North Portland Library

Renee Watson teaches students and educators about the power of writing ...

Is the FBI’s New Focus on “Black Identity Extremists” the New COINTELPRO?

Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.) talks about the FBI’s misguided report on “Black Identity Extremism” and negative Facebook ads. ...

ACA Enrollment Surging, Even Though It Ends Dec. 15

NNPA contributing writer Cash Michaels writes about enrollment efforts ...

Blacks Often Pay Higher Fees for Car Purchases than Whites

Charlene Crowell explains why Black consumers often pay higher fees than White consumers, because of “add-on” products. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Men at Lunch photograph
By Helen Silvis | The Skanner News

During the construction of Rockefeller Center in 1932, a photo was taken of 11 ironworkers taking a break from their arduous labors to eat, drink, smoke and talk to each other.

Because they were sitting on a steel beam dangling perilously some 69 stories in the air with Central Park and the Manhattan skyline in the background, the iconic image would soon sear itself permanently into the country’s subconscious.

But who took the picture called “Lunch atop a Skyscraper,” how was it staged, and who were the guys posing for the camera?

These are the questions which nagged director Sean O’Cualain ever since the day he and his brother saw the famous photo hanging on the wall while hoisting a few a world away in Whelan’s pub in Shanaglish, Ireland. A note next to the stunning snapshot identified a couple of emigrants to America from County Galway, Sonny Glynn (1903-1953) and Matty O’Shaughnessy (1901-1978), as the bookends on the far left and far right of the girder, respectively. That chance encounter in the bar was the source of inspiration for Men at Lunch, an enlightening documentary narrated by Fionnula Flanagan which unearths a cornucopia of factoids about the picture’s previously unheralded subjects.

Perhaps more importantly, the film also tells the greater story of the thousands of ironworkers who built skyscrapers during the Depression, a very dangerous undertaking indeed given the 2 percent annual mortality rate along with a 2 percent permanent disability rate. Still, given the dire state of the economy back then, any able-bodied man was likely happy just to have a $1.50 an hour job, even if it was as thankless as it was treacherous. Plus, perched so close to the heavens, they seemingly enjoyed an elevated social status relative to the working-class men making an honest day’s pay down on street level.

A posthumous testament to the intrepid crew of immigrants who risked their lives in the sky over New York City to erect 30 Rock.

Very Good (3 stars)

Unrated Running time: 67 minutes

Distributor: First Run Features

DVD Extras: Five bonus shorts: The 1929 Crash, Rockefeller Center, Joe Woolhead on September 11, 2001, The Inspiration of ‘Lunch atop a Skyscraper’ and Ric Burns on ‘Lunch atop a Skyscraper.’

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