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At The Cans Film Festival, Movies That Are Seminal to Queens and Creatives

"Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" screening tomorrow night at the Cans Film Festival

“Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” screening tomorrow night at the Cans Film Festival

Film “festival” might not be exactly the right word to describe this brand new monthly queer film series at Williamsburg’s Macri Park, but clearly the curators, Daniel Kessel and Ben Miller, are willing to bend things slightly for a solid pun. The Cans Film Festival pops off tomorrow night with the 1962 cult classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

The organizers are hoping to give people access to classic, nostalgic, and just straight-up weird films that have inspired local drag queens and other queer artists. “For queens, these films really shape your aesthetic– and not just queens but every person really, especially artists,” Daniel explained. “Everyone has their own set of films that they particularly love and that have shaped them, especially when they were younger and were coming into their own as people and artists.”

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At Big Al Screening, Sharpton’s ‘Right Hand Man’ Hashes Out Black Lives Matter

 (Film still from "Big Al")

(Film still from “Big Al”)

The Reverend himself was supposed to be at the Wythe Hotel for Wednesday’s screening of Big Al: a Week in the Life of the Reverend Al Sharpton, but he ended up ditching out for a special civil rights summit convened by President Obama yesterday. Which, I guess is understandable. Instead, a big-screen version of Sharpton in his heyday filled the room.

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Week in Film: Big Al, Reverend Badass and a Cameroonian Vampire Satire

Big Al: a Week in the Life of the Reverend Al Sharpton
Wednesday February 17, 7 pm at the Wythe Hotel: $11.50

Hey, it’s Black History Month which means we should be celebrating all kinds of incredible achievements from major badasses throughout American history. And, hey nothing against penis peanuts, but why don’t we give someone other than George Washington Carver a go for once? I’ll never, ever forget the look on my middle school teacher’s face when I told her, after reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X, I was considering converting to Islam– but what about some black icons who are part of our living history?

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Week in Film: Nicolas Cage, Hallucinating Cop; Soviet Synthesizer Nerd Fest

(Flyer via the Silent Barn)

(Flyer via the Silent Barn)

Audio Visuals
Sunday, Jan. 31, 3 pm to 7 pm at the Silent Barn: $5 suggested donation

Hey! It’s a combined live music/screening event at the Silent Barn in honor of the release of Kung Fu Crimewave‘s new music video for their very topical song, “Winter Squall.” The band is fluent in so-called “regressive rock,” or what sounds to us like a mix of weird-punk and psych– there’s a crush of instruments going on here but not in an annoying Arcade Fire way. But instead of having a traditional something-release show, the Kung Fu kids have brought together a bunch of local filmmakers (who have either dabbled in or are steeped in music videos) to share their work. There’s even a Q+A after the screenings, so if you’re curious about how they get stuff done, well here’s your opportunity to hear it straight from the horsies’ mouths.

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Gather Your Coven, This Witchy Film Series is Required Attendance

You better believe "The Craft" is a part of this lineup. (Film still via BAM)

You better believe “The Craft” is a part of this lineup. (Film still via BAM)

It’s no wonder February is shaping up to be the perfect time to binge on witchy happenings– the start of the month is marked by an important pagan festival, Imbolc, a time of “weather divination” (Groundhog Day!) and looking out for the first indications of spring and omens. No better way to help you seek out those good omens than an esoterica art show, curated by Pat Grossman of Phantasmaphile, a blog chronicling the fantastical. But to avoid the rather hellish indications that winter will continue from here until eternity (guys, that snow is going absolutely nowhere until July) we suggest you hole up at BAM, which will play host to another Phantasmaphile effort, “Witches’ Brew“– a series spotlighting the major cinematic witch tropes throughout film history.

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Fancy New Movie Theater in Bushwick Has Maybe the Cheapest Tix in the City

Syndicated has a bar/ restaurant to boot (Photo via Syndicated)

Syndicated has a bar/ restaurant to boot (Photo via Syndicated)

A brand new movie theater is opening up in Bushwick tonight, bringing their fancy take on the Nitehawk view-n’-brew model with them. Our guess is Syndicated will do quite well if they’re able to capitalize on a whole neighborhood’s desire to hibernate not far from the apartment during this season in hell. Proving their street cred, the cinema is kicking off their inaugural night with Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the 1997 Spielberg-before-Spielberg-was-annoying sci-fi film that cost (at, ahem, $18 million) only a fraction of what studios blow on that dude now.

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Week in Film: Count Dracula in 35 mm and a Very 80’s Suburban Desert Noir


Moonwalkers
Friday January 15 through Thursday January 21 at Village East Cinema

It’s about time we got a moon-landing conspiracy theory comedy– I mean, it’s all right there in front of us: everyone’s super loving the ’70s right now (don’t pretend you haven’t seen betches in bellbottoms recently, it’s happening whether we like it or not), cynicism regarding the government and Hollywood is at an all time high, and people are finally realizing there’s a high probability that lizard people rule the world.

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Spectacle Theater Reopens, Shows Off Its New Digs

Spectacle Theater gets a makeover (Photo by Nicole Disser)

Spectacle Theater gets a makeover (Photo by Nicole Disser)

Our favorite lil’ indie theater reopens tonight as a renovation project that choked up the reels for a whole month nears completion. For a brief time last year, the future of Spectacle at South 3rd Street, where it has occupied the ground floor for the last five years, looked like it was in jeopardy. Thankfully, the volunteer-run movie theater successfully raised more than $40,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to fund an overhaul that saved it from being forced out. I popped by this morning to get a peek at what’s new, fingers crossed that the theater had stayed true to its roots.

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Week in Film: STP Freak-Outs Plague the Hippies; an Xmas Demon Stalks ‘Non-Believers’

Silent Night, Deadly Night
Friday Dec. 18 and Saturday Dec. 19, midnight at Nitehawk: $11
Everyone knows the only sufferable holiday films are Xmas-themed horror movies. This 1984 genre classic Silent Night, Deadly Night tells the story of a young boy who witnesses the murder of his parents at the hands of a psychopath dressed as Santa. Traumatized by his exposure to such unspeakable violence, the boy grows into a truly screwed-up young man whose thirst for blood knows no bounds. Oh, and of course he feels the need to don a Santa outfit during his mayhem sprees.

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Michael Alig Will Battle it Out as ‘Club Kid Zombie’ in Coney Island Horror Flick

Michael Alig and Ernie Glam (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Michael Alig and Ernie Glam (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Don’t run screaming when you find out there are a ton of characters to keep straight in ZomBikers aka Vamp Bikers Tres– it’s true: witches, bikers, zombies, vampires, and club kids are all on the scene. “It’s like The Warriors,” explained Michael Alig, who’s starring as King of the Zombies, aka God, in the third and final installment of Brooklyn filmmaker Eric Rivas’ Vamp Bikers Trilogy

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Film:They Read By Night Premiere

Still from "They Read By Night" (Courtesy of Joe Wakeman)

Still from “They Read By Night” (Courtesy of Joe Wakeman)

We’re only experiencing half of Joe Wakeman’s creative self when he’s belting out meta lyrics and writhing his wiry body around stage, frontman duties for his arty indie rock outfit Bodega Bay. He’s part of a network of pals in various other bands like The Yin Yangs, Heavy Birds, and Journalism. Together, they make up a bitty scene of their own within the Bushwick DIY circuit.

Joe’s managed to bring all of them together for his first feature length film, which embodies that other half of Joe Wakeman most of us have yet to see. They Read By Night is “leather jacket film” with plenty of drugs, rock n’ roll, and pulpy mayhem, all against a clever literary background. The film premieres at Gravesend Recordings next week in Bushwick.

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Week in Film: a Berliner Thriller and Rarely Seen Vids Shot By a Downtown ‘Ethnographer’

Still from Michel Auder film (via Light Industry / Facebook)

Still from Michel Auder film (via Light Industry / Facebook)

Michel Auder + Rebekah Rutkoff: Sunsets and Other Stars
Tuesday, Dec. 15, 7:30 pm at Light Industry: $8 at the door
French artist, photographer, and filmmaker Michel Auder left France in the ’70s for New York City, where he’s resided ever since. He’s maybe best known as Cindy Sherman’s ex-husband (JK, but for real — how do you compete with Cindy Sherman?). Much of his video work (though apparently Auder “did not consider it fine art”) consists of ethnographic snapshots and sceney vignettes, the stuff of Auder’s cool Downtown life amongst artists like Annie Sprinkle, Larry Rivers, Hannah Wilke, among others.

But another good chunk of his focus was deadly personal. Take My Last Bag of Heroin (For Real), a 1993 piece which shows the filmmaker, who battled with heroin addiction for many years, breaking apart a glassine baggie of heroin onto a piece of aluminum foil and smoking the stuff. The video demonstrates the banality of drug use, often depicted as an explosively orgasmic experience, particularly in film.

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