A trippy alchemical potion of a movie, Space Is The Place inhabits an alternative reality that could only exist in the Afrodelic cosmology of Saturnian jazz priest Sun Ra.
Directed by John Coney in 1974, the movie is a hybrid of B-grade sci-fi, Blaxploitation flix (on shrooms), the films of Kenneth Anger and surrealist head trips like El Topo and the electric western Zachariah.
In the film, as in life, Sun Ra is the quintessential outsider and space is a metaphorical Eden for this much put upon black man. The plot is threadbare, involving villainous pimps and dealers, Black Panther avenger protagonists, local nightclubs, pool halls, cat houses, and, of course, an Outer Space Employment Agency that Sun Ra sets up after coming to Earth from a faraway planet. To recruit a new colony, he espouses racial freedom through Egyptian epigrams, Stockhausen-like jazz and a spirit filled Rocket Ship. Of course, Ra is challenged by establishment agents and a supreme villain, the Overseer (Ray Johnson), who lures impressionable black men away from Ra’s brand of truth with the vices of sex and money. Ra preaches against decadence and hits a nerve when showing the pimp and his followers that they are no different than the White Man (Nixon, here) they rage against. Ra promises a land of racial harmony and social justice lies within the Milky Way’s stars, and who are we to argue?” - Alfred Eaker
The cinematic equivalent of one of Sun Ra’s free jazz improvs, Space Is The Place is all over the cosmic map so it helps to find that Zen spot where you just lock into the frequency and go with the flow. As Sun Ray instructs, get in tune with the universe.
“The people have no music that is in coordination with their spirits. Because of this, they’re out of tune with the universe. Since they don’t have money, they don’t have anything. If the planet takes hold of an alter destiny, there’s hope for all of us. But otherwise the death sentence upon this planet still stands. Everyone must die.” - Sun Ra
Set your controls for the heart of the Sun Ra.