Ali Center plans weeklong series events to honor boxing champ on 70th birthday
The Muhammad Ali Center plans a weeklong series of special programs, films and exhibits this month to honor the 70th birthday of the three-time heavyweight boxing champion and Louisville icon.Ali, born on Jan. 17, will be the guest of honor at a $1,000-a-ticket dinner and program that will be a fundraiser for the non-profit center. The event will be Jan. 14 at the center, 144 N. Sixth St.
Attendees will include center donors, friends of the Alis and dignitaries, but around 80 tickets are expected to be available for the public, said center spokeswoman Jeanie Kahnke.
The celebration “will surround him with friends, people he admires, people who have made a difference in his life and who will be honored to celebrate with him the seven decades of his remarkable life,” a center news release said.
Ali and his wife, Lonnie, will appear at the dinner, which will be at 6 p.m. on Jan. 14, but are not booked for the weeklong series of events to follow.
For ticket information for the dinner, contact Gina Davis at 992-5305.
YUM! Brands is the main sponsor of the dinner, with contributions from Alltech, Brown-Forman, JP Morgan Chase and Norton Healthcare.
The weeklong events honoring Ali Jan. 15-21, “Seven Days for Seven Decades,” are being promoted as a community-wide celebration. Throughout the week people can visit the center exhibits at a discount of $2 off the admission, if they bring a non-perishable food item to go to Dare to Care. (The discount can not be used with other admission specials.) The regular adult admission to see the center exhibits is $9.
Here are the planned events honoring Ali (some are free while others require paid admission):
• Jan. 15: Exhibit of “Truth Teller” portraits, including of Ali and Malcolm X, by artist Robert Shetterly (admission required). Free workshops throughout the day promoting Louisville as “Compassionate City.” Magician and clown to entertain in lobby throughout day.
• Jan. 16: Free showing throughout day in center lobby (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) of the short film of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. At 5:30 p.m. free panel discussion on “America’s On-going Struggle for Equality.”
• Jan. 17: Preview of traveling Smithsonian exhibit, “IndiVisible” that will be at the Ali Center through March 16 (admission required). It focuses on the lives of people with dual African-American and native-American ancestry. Also, free showing throughout the day of documentary film “Facing Ali” that features boxing opponents, including Joe Frazier, talking about Ali.
• Jan. 18: Seniors Day ($2 admission for those 70 and older). Showing of free film at 11 a.m. at 2 p.m., “Ali Rap.” Compilation of Ali quotes and statements.
• Jan. 19: $2 admission for seniors 70 and older. Free film 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. “Through the Eyes of the World,” Documentary on Ali’s life focusing on his “grace, charisma and remarkable bravado.”
• Jan. 20: $2 admission for seniors 70 and older. Free showing of film “When We Were Kings” at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Documentary on the 1974 bout in Zaire between Ali and George Foreman.
• Jan. 21: Official opening of IndiVisible exhibit, dancing and drumming performances, native American activities, refreshments (throughout day, no admission required).
As a prelude to the weeklong series of events, Lonnie Ali will speak at 7 p.m. on Jan. 12 at the center and again at the center’s “Daughters of Greatness” breakfast series on Jan. 13 at 8:30 a.m. Both events require tickets; for information, call the center at 584-9254.
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