Three Sisters Tuesday, June 21 (7 pm) and Sunday June 26 (7:30 pm) at Spectacle Theater: $5
For six months, documentary filmmaker Wang Bing embedded himself in a tiny rural village, Xiyangtang, in China’s Yunnan province, following the lives of three sisters all under the age of 10, orphaned, and living under crushing poverty. Their mother has died and their father, who occasionally pops into their lives, but never long enough to see if they’re even meeting their basic nutritional needs, has gone to the city to work. The family represents some of the major problems for China’s rural residents– an extreme lack of resources that is leveled unevenly by women, and therefore children as well, when men leave to find work in urban areas (China is one of the few places in the world where the suicide rate for women surpasses that of men, and many of the suicides are related to death by fertilizer poisoning).
Grrrl Germs: a Visual History of Riot Grrrl 1990-1997 Various screenings, now through Saturday May 28 at Spectacle: $5.
It’s been nearly 30 years since the Riot Grrrl movement challenged punks everywhere to reexamine their subculture, demanded “girls to the front” at shows, and delineated punk’s physical and intellectual spaces as welcoming to women, but also as zones that were for and by a diversity of voices. Riot Grrrl may have become the victim of sensationalism due to a desperately out-of-touch media trying to figure out what the hell was going on with these tattooed, pierced, and sex-crazed Gen Xers.
City of Gold Friday March 11 through Thursday March 24 at IFC Center: $14
Perhaps you count yourself among those very special people who know no other way to discover new cities and far-off places than by eating their way through the landscape, from its street food vendors to corner taquerias and refrigerator-less open-air markets (Sorry, looking at the Michelin Guide doesn’t count. Wait, does anyone actually do that?). If so, here’s your chance to meet a man after your own heart. The subject of this doc is Jonathan Gold, the LA-based writer, and the first food critic to win a Pulitzer Prize.
Stan Brakhage’s series of several short films shot and released sequentially during the first half of the 1960s are what make up the 78 extremely dense minutes of Dog Star Man, screening as part of Anthology’s Essential Cinema program. In spite of its brevity, the film is often described as epic, grueling, and intense. And, you know, trippy. You know what to do before going to the theater. (Just please don’t do it in the bathroom of Biang noodles down the street, it wasn’t at all pleasant explaining to the servers that no, I wasn’t smoking jazz grass in the bathroom, actually I had a vaporizer back at the table.) And, I know it’s easy to mix them up, but go for the chiller strains– trust, you’ll need to keep your cool after your brain melts into you popcorn bucket.
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?
Spectacle calls this 1987 pulp noir, directed by Donald Cammell an “unmissable gem,” which was convincing enough, until we saw Cathy Moriarty sipping white wine in a massive fur coat backed by an original soundtrack composed by Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason. And then we were sold.
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.
It was a tough month without Spectacle, but the DIY movie theater is back from renovations and, as you might expect, better than ever. And despite the major cash influx from a Kickstarter and a fancy new facade, the all-volunteer-run theater has managed to keep it real as hell. To celebrate, they’re looking back at their favorite films from the last five years for the “Best of Best of Spectacle” screening series (which will extend throughout the year). The theater is especially attuned to cinema from the former Soviet Block, so it makes perfect sense they’d screen Golem, a dystopian take on Der Golem, a 1914 Czech novel by Gustav Meyrink. But Polish director Piotr Szulkin swaps out Prague for a terrifying future that could easily be the backdrop for a Kafka novel.
It was a tough month without Spectacle, but the DIY movie theater is back from renovations and, as you might expect, better than ever. And despite the major cash influx from a Kickstarter and a fancy new facade, the all-volunteer-run theater has managed to keep it real as hell.
The first film screening open to the public is Vera Chytilová’s Panelstory (1979), a cinéma vérité exploration of one of the major tropes of life under a socialist regime: the apartment block, or dull concrete towers filled with thousands upon thousands of replicated, spartan homes that, in their supposed sameness, symbolize equality, unity, and communal living. The story is told from the various perspective of residents who are rewarded with their own apartments and quickly moved in, only to find that the buildings aren’t quite finished. Made in Socialist Czechoslovakia, Chytilova’s film satirizes the Communist Party’s inefficiencies and missteps, and was somehow able to squirm past the censors.
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.
This week, cash in your change jar because you’re gonna need it for the screening of this lost Riot Grrrl film starring Kathleen Hanna. Also, pick from a bazillion or so documentaries this year at Doc NYC 2015, and more. Read on, friends.
Throughout the month of October, Spectacle is taking on their second series of gay porn classics with Man in Man II. The series focuses on Hand in Hand Studios, a production company that made some seriously out-there man-on-man porn films in the ’70s.
In keeping with Spectober’s theme of weird, creepy, bizzaro films, these gay porn films dabble in the occult and exhibit some seriously arty, avant-garde tendencies rarely seen in porn and erotica. We’re heavy into The Destroying Angel— which Spectacle describes as “more horror than porn” in its reconfiguration of an Edgar Allen Poe short story, though with um… some seriously imaginative interpretations. The basic premise is that a Catholic Priest embarks on a “sexy/deadly” mushroom trip where he’s stalked by his doppelganger.