05-29-2017  12:44 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Portland Art Museum Hosts Upstanders Festival May 27

Event includes spoken word, workshops and poster making in support of social justice ...

Happy Memorial Day

The Skanner wishes readers a safe and happy Memorial Day ...

North Portland Library Announces June Computer Classes

Upcoming courses include Introduction to Spreadsheets, What is the Cloud? and Learn Programming with Games ...

Merkley to Hold Town Hall in Clackamas County

Sen. Jeff Merkley to hold town hall in Clackamas County, May 30 ...

NAACP Monthly Meeting Notice, May 27, Portland

NAACP Portland invites the community to its monthly general membership meeting ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Ensuring the Promise of the Every Student Succeeds Act

The preservation of Thurgood Marshall's legacy is dependent upon our dedication to our children ...

CFPB Sues Ocwen Financial over Unfair Mortgage Practices

What many homeowners soon discover is that faithfully paying a monthly mortgage is in some cases, just not enough ...

B-CU Grads Protest Betsy “DeVoid” in Epic Fashion

Julianne Malveaux says that Betsy “DeVoid,” is no Mary McLeod Bethune ...

NAACP on Supreme Court's Decline to Review NC Voter ID Law

NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks made the following remarks ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Men at Lunch photograph

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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