Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Press Release for 'A Poem Is a Naked Person'

Date: Sept. 28, 2016
To: All media for immediate release
Re: The screening of “A Poem Is a Naked Person”
From: The Bijou Film Center

On Fri., Oct. 7 and Sat., Oct. 8: In its screening room at 304 E. Broad St. the Bijou Film Center will present to the public four screenings of a long-awaited film directed by the legendary Les Blank. Plus a wee surprise.

Admission: $9. No advance tickets.

Show times: 6:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.

About the director: As filmmakers go, Les Blank (1935-2013) was an independent's independent. His work frequently offers intimate glimpses into the idiosyncratic lives of people existing at the periphery of American society. Blank's mostly short films have focused on Cajun, Mexican, Polish, Hawaiian and Serbian-American music and food traditions. As well as on Afro-Cuban drummers, Texas blues men, Appalachian fiddlers, flower children and yes – gap-toothed women.

A Poem Is a Naked Person” (1974, 2015): 90 minutes. Color. Directed by Les Blank. Cast: Leon Russell, Willie Nelson and George Jones.

About the film: Les Blank shot and edited “A Poem Is A Naked Person” over a couple of years (1972-74), while living in the Russell/Shelter Records recording studio compound in Oklahoma. Although it was shown a few times by non-profits to private audiences, the highly-praised film wasn't released, theatrically. Then, after the filmmaker's death in 2013, his son Harrod Blank cut a deal with Leon Russell in order to re-master and finally release the 40-year-old film.


Note: A second, short Les Blank film will be screened before A Poem Is a Naked Person” for both show times on both evenings. The title? Be surprised.

Beer, wine and soft drinks will be for sale.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Press Release for 'La Jetée' and 'Time Bandits'

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Press Release for 'Danny Says'


Date: Sept. 13, 2016
To: All media for immediate release
Re: “Danny Says”
From: The Bijou Film Center

On Sat., Sept. 24: The Bijou Film Center will present “Danny Says” in its screening room at 304 E. Broad St. “Danny Says” is a new film about Danny Fields and his considerable influence on pop music, mid-60s to mid-'80s.
In conjunction with cinemas coast-to-coast, The Bijou will be participating in the first national Art House Theater Day. Accordingly, The Bijou will present “Danny Says” – a thoroughly entertaining new documentary that provides an insider's view of the music business. It will play one day only, a week before its national theatrical release.

Admission: $9 at the door. No advance tickets.

Show times: 5 p.m., 7:25 p.m., 9:45 p.m.

Danny Says” (2016): Color. 104 minutes. Directed by Brendan Toller. Cast: Danny Fields, Iggy Pop, the Ramones, MC 5, Alice Cooper, Judy Collins, Andy Warhol, Nico, Jann Wenner and more.

Note: Toller's cleverly edited film is about the rock 'n' roll life of Danny Fields, who crossed paths with legendary pop culture characters and managed some edgy, well known acts. The shaping role Fields played in the development of punk rock is fascinating. This doc should win awards. (Trailer)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Bijou's First September

Here's a handy list of what we have booked for the Bijou Film Center's shows in September:

Fri., Sept. 2: It's First Friday! Doors open at 6 p.m. Members (can pick up their Original Member T-shirts and mugs) and friends can stop by for a cold beer, or perhaps a glass of wine. At 9 p.m. Richmond's favorite rockabilly band since Hector was a pup -- the Bop Cats -- will perform live. Admission: 5.00.

*

Chaplin and Goddard strolling.
Sat. Sept. 3: "Modern Times" (1936) will play at 7:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. B&W. 87 minutes. Directed by Charlie Chaplin. Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman.

Note: Released in the middle of the Great Depression, Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp character is plunged into the daunting world of the assembly line. He can't keep up, so he cracks up. Although the comedy has lots of sound effects, music as well, it was essentially a silent film, in that it doesn't depend on dialogue to tell the story. However, Chaplin's voice is heard (for what was the first time in a movie).

Admission: $5.00.

*

Sharon Jones onstage.
Sat., Sept 10: "Miss Sharon Jones" (2016) will play at 7:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Color. 93 minutes. Directed by Barbara Kopple. Cast: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. Color. 93 minutes. 
 
Note: Kopple's film presents an extraordinarily talented and lovable woman maintaining her dignity in the face of whatever daunting obstacles she encounters. Sandwiched between the singer's sparkling performances onstage, Jones battles pancreatic cancer with a the-show-must-go-on spirit that makes the film more than just another documentary about a singer/musician. 
Admission: $9.00 (members 7.00).

*

A still from 'The Red Balloon'
Sat., Sept. 17:  "The 400 Blows," together with "The Red Balloon," will play on the same program.

“The 400 Blows” (1959): B&W. 99 minutes. Directed by François Truffaut. Cast: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Rémy.

Note: This story’s deft portrayal of a brave boy’s yearning for dignity in an indifferent world kicked in the door for the New Wave’s filmmakers.

“The Red Balloon” (1956): Color. 34 minutes. Directed by Albert Lamorisse. Cast: Pascal Lamorisse, Sabine Lamorisse, Georges Sellier.

Note: Using little dialogue, this utterly charming short French fantasy follows a boy and his balloon friend along the streets of Paris.

Show times: 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

*

Sat., Sept. 24: "Danny Says" will play one day only, a week before its national theatrical release. In conjunction with cinemas coast-to-coast, we will be participating in the first national Art House Theater Day. Accordingly, The Bijou will present a thoroughly entertaining new documentary about rock 'n' roll impresario Danny Fields. Show times to be announced.

“Danny Says” (2016): Color. 104 minutes. Directed by Brendan Toller. Cast: Danny Fields, Iggy Pop, the Ramones, the Doors, Cream, Andy Warhol, Lou Reed, Nico and more.

Note: Toller's cleverly edited film is about the rock 'n' roll life of Danny Fields, who crossed paths with legendary pop culture characters and managed some edgy, well known acts in the 60's and '70s and '80s. The role Fields played in the development of punk rock is fascinating. This doc should win awards.

Show times: 5 p.m., 7:25 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.

*

Well, that's a start. We're proud of that lineup. In October we plan to expand our hours to present films and/or live music on both Fridays and Saturdays. And, we will continue to build The Bijou.

Press Release for 'Miss Sharon Jones'

Date: Aug. 30, 2016
To: All media for immediate release
Re: “Miss Sharon Jones”
From: The Bijou Film Center

On Sat., Sept. 10, 2016, the Bijou Film Center at 304 E. Broad St. will offer the public two screenings of “Miss Sharon Jones,” a new documentary directed by Barbara Kopple, a two-time Academy Award winner.


Miss Sharon Jones” (2016): Color. 93 minutes. Directed by Barbara Kopple. Cast: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.

Note: Kopple's film presents an extraordinarily talented and lovable woman maintaining her dignity in the face of whatever daunting obstacles she encounters. Sandwiched between the singer's sparkling performances onstage, Jones battles pancreatic cancer with a the-show-must-go-on spirit that makes the film more than just another documentary about a singer/musician.

“Jones didn’t release her first album until she was 40. A Sony executive had dubbed her “too old, too fat, too short and too black” to achieve stardom, but she proved her naysayers wrong.” – Matt Fagerholm, RogerEbert.com

But what makes 'Miss Sharon Jones' most captivating is how its subject, in spite of hardship, remains a magnetic stage presence.” – Alan Zilberman, Washington Post

Showtimes: 7:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Admission: $9.00 (members $7.00). Available only at the door; no advance tickets.

Sharon Jones: “As long as I got my heart and my strength, I’m going to get out there. The adrenaline gets you going and it all goes away … I started late, and I suppose I only got a few more years. So I want to get it in while I can, before I go away from here.”

 

Aug. 17 Press Release

Date: Aug. 17, 2016
To: All media for immediate release
Re: First two shows at The Bijou
From: The Bijou Film Center

The Bijou Film Center's program of entertainment for its first weekend of operation in its Arts District location, at 304 E. Broad St., will be as follows:

On Fri., Sept. 2, The Bijou Film Center will be open for First Friday, between 6 p.m. and approximately 10:30 p.m, when we will be selling beer, wine and soft drinks to our thirsty guests. During that time we also hope some of our 400-plus members will stop by to look the place over and pick up their members' T-shirts and mugs. Short silent Charlie Chaplin films (in Super 8) will be projected onto the walls. Until 9 p.m. admission will be free. 

At 9 p.m. the Bopcats, one of Richmond's most enduring rock 'n' roll acts, fronted by Lindy Fralin will perform live. Five dollar donations will be accepted.

Sat., Sept. 3, The Bijou will screen Charlie Chaplin's classic feature film, “Modern Times,” at 7: 15 p.m and again at 9:30 p.m. This beloved classic will be The Bijou's tip of the Little Tramp's hat to Labor Day. Admission will be $5.00.

“Modern Times” (1936): B&W. 87 minutes. Directed by Charlie Chaplin. Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman. Note: Released in the middle of the Great Depression, Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp character is plunged into the daunting world of the assembly line. He can't keep up, so he cracks up. Mishaps ensue. He's hospitalized and later jailed. Although the comedy has lots of sound effects, music as well, it was essentially a silent film, in that it doesn't depend on dialogue to tell the story. However, Chaplin's voice is heard (for what was the first time in a movie). The popular song, “Smile,” which was written by Chaplin, himself, is presented.

About The Bijou's Name: Jake Wells, a former baseball player/manager for the Richmond Bluebirds, opened his original Bijou at 714 E. Broad St. in 1899, about five blocks east of our first home. Writing for the Richmond News Leader in 1952, George W. Rogers credited Wells with having been the “father of Richmond movie houses.”


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Bringing Movies Back to Broad St.

Date: July 5, 2016
To: All media for immediate release
Re: Bringing Movies Back to Broad St.
From: The Bijou Film Center

After having staged seven pop-up events (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven) and having conducted a membership drive that achieved its goal, the Bijou Film Center has parlayed its string of successes and good luck into a lease on the ground floor of 304 E. Broad St.

From here on the Bijou concept will no longer be a drawing on a napkin with no place to call home. The owner of the freshly renovated building, Matthew Bauserman, said this about the June 30th lease-signing to STYLE Weekly:
I'm so pleased to have the Bijou Film Center as a neighbor at the corner of 3rd and Broad. What James and Terry are doing is so exciting and there is no better home for them than the RVA Arts District. I couldn't ask for better than having TheatreLab, CodeVA, and the Bijou as my ground floor tenants - these folks are the real deal, who care about art, culture, education, and giving back to the community."
Since cinema pioneer Jake Wells' original Bijou opened in 1899, just five blocks to the east, the folks working to build The Bijou are delighted to have this opportunity to bring movies back to Broad Street. As soon as it's feasible The Bijou will begin showing films on a regular basis in its own location.

While it will start out with a temporary screen and folding chairs, in the fall we hope to install some of those seats that were donated to us by the owner of the building that once housed the Westhampton Theatre.

Although 304 E. Broad St. may not be where the Bijou Film Center concept will be fully realized, this starter-home seems like the perfect spot in which to incubate the non-profit film center's ambitious plan to become the hub of all things film in Richmond.

The first event in The Bijou's new space will be presented early next month. Need more information about the Bijou Film Center's history and mission?

For background go to The Bijou's website. Or its blogzine -- the Bijou Backlight. Or its Facebook page.

Contacts:

James Parrish: Email: jtparrish@bijoufilmcenter.org. Phone: (804) 564-3224.
Terry Rea: Email: ftrea9@gmail.com. Phone: (804) 938-7997.
Bijou Film Center, PO Box 4994, Richmond, VA, 23220. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Thank you to 1708 and Candela

Sasha Waters Freyer is seen here
(me) documenting the production
of “Uncle Vanya” in 1979.
At 1708 Gallery on June 10th and June 11th the Bijou Film Center presented the Richmond premiere of "Chekhov for Children," along with two short films. "Chekhov for Children" (2010) was directed by Sasha Waters Freyer, who is the current chair of Virginia Commonwealth University's Photography and Film Department.

"Chekhov for Children" tells the story of the 1979 staging of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" by fifth- and sixth-graders in New York City. It cleverly uses a trove of unearthed student documentary videos and Super 8 films shot in that era. The two short films were: "Les Mistons" (1957) by François Truffaut and "Mouseholes" (1999) by Helen Hill. All three films presented stories seen through the eyes of children.

The Bijou's seventh pop-up event was a departure from its previous presentations, in that the same film program was presented two nights in a row. We also had beer, wine and soft drinks available for thirsty film buffs. So, in those respects it was a step toward when The Bijou will be open and operating as a cinema. It also was our first opportunity to show films to an audience in the Arts District, the neighborhood we hope to eventually establish as The Bijou's home.

The films went over quite well. After the two screenings of "Chekhov for Children" Sasha Waters Freyer (a Bijou Film Center member) was kind enough to answer questions from the audience.

Once again we benefited from help from our friends. Our thanks go out to the members and guests who attended. The folks at 1708 were generous with their space. As it happened we had originally planned to use a different room, but when that became impossible 1708 came to the rescue. And, once again, the folks at Candela Books+ Gallery chipped in to help us cover film rental expenses. Our thanks go out to both galleries.

And, speaking of spaces in the Arts District, we hope to have some good news about that topic soon, as well as news about our next event. In the meantime, here's the link to a post about the screening on June 10th written by our friend Karen Newton (a Bijou Film Center member)

 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Bijou Presents: 'Chekhov for Children'

Sasha Waters Freyer (photo VCU)
Filmmaker Sasha Waters Freyer (pictured left) has been the chair of Virginia Commonwealth University's Photography and Film Department since January of 2013. She directed "Chekhov for Children" (2010).

For its next Bijou Presents event the Bijou Film Center is delighted to be able to screen "Chekhov for Children," along with two short films, in a program called "Through the Eyes of Children."

The two shorts, "Les Mistons" (1957) and “Mouseholes” (1999), will be presented before the feature. The presentation will take place at 1708 Gallery in Richmond's Arts District. This will mark the Richmond theatrical premiere of "Chekhov for Children."

Prior to her stint at VCU, Waters Freyer put in 12 years as an associate professor at the University of Iowa, where she taught in the Department of Cinema & Comparative Literature and was the director of film and video production. Her films have been exhibited in noteworthy film festival settings in the USA and abroad. For more about her a VCU podcast from Oct. 1, 2015 can be heard here.

Photo courtesy of the filmmaker.
Waters Freyer's film "Chekhov for Children" is a 72-minute documentary that employs a creative license that's both unusual and quite charming. When an artist stretches to combine elements that might seem unrelated, it's always risky; sometimes it's audacious. When the resulting assemblage creates a unique harmony that is both fresh and familiar, it can outweigh sum of the parts in a way that seems magical.

About the event: On Fri., June 10 and Sat., June 11,  "Chekhov for Children," “Les Mistons” by François Truffaut and “Mouseholes” (1999) by Helen Hill will be screened at 1708 Gallery, 319 W. Broad St.. The films will start at 8:30 p.m.

Admission: The Bijou's members will be admitted free; their guests will be asked to make $5.00 donations to the film center.

From Waters Freyer's website:
Born in Brooklyn in 1968, Sasha Waters Freyer is a moving image artist who makes unsentimental films about the loss of innocence, real or imagined. Trained in photography and the documentary tradition, she fuses original and found footage in 16mm film and digital media ... "Chekhov for Children" tells the inspiring story of an ambitious undertaking – the 1979 staging on Broadway of Uncle Vanya by New York City 5th & 6th graders, directed by the celebrated writer Phillip Lopate. Using a wealth of never-before-screened student documentary videos and dramatic super 8mm films from the era, "Chekhov for Children" explores the interplay between art and life for a dozen friends across 30 years – including the filmmaker.
At the 10th Orphan Film Symposium, on Apr. 8, 2016, Waters Freyer was presented with the Helen Hill Award at the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center's Packard Theater in Culpepper. Established in 2008, by the NYU Cinema Studies and the University of South Carolina Film and Media Studies Program, the Helen Hill Award is presented every two years.

The award recognizes innovative work that is in line with Hill’s legacy of creativity and independence as a filmmaker, educator, and animator. Dan Streible, director of the symposium, said:
What interested me is that much of ['Chekhov for Children'] is built out of Super 8 films or consumer-grade videos the kids used at the time. It has an archival component to it, an orphan-y quality. The jury also thought that because it was about children, and is so arresting and engaging, it was a perfect fit for the Helen Hill Award.
Note: Beer, wine, coffee and soft drinks will be made available for purchase at 1708. Because of the way Facebook is set up we needed to create two different pages for the two nights. For more information click on the links below:  


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Through the Eyes of Children press release

Photo courtesy of Sasha Waters Freyer.
Date: May 31, 2016
To: All media for immediate release
Re: A Bijou Presents screening on June 11
From: The Bijou Film Center

The next Bijou Presents event will be offered to the public on Sat., June 11, 2016. We are calling the program of three films "Through the Eyes of Children." We will be using the facilities at 1708 Gallery, 319 W. Broad Street. The doors will open at 7:30 p.m. The film program will begin at approximately 8:30 p.m.

"Chekhov for Children" (2010): Color with some black and white footage. 72 minutes. Directed by Sasha Waters Freyer. Note: The director of this award-winning documentary combines footage of a 1979 staging of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" by fifth- and sixth-graders in New York City, with videos and Super 8 films shot by children in the same era, with updated glimpses at those kids, grown up, some 30 years later. When an artist stretches to combine elements that might seem unrelated, it's always risky; sometimes it's audacious. When the resulting assemblage creates a unique harmony that is both fresh and familiar, it can outweigh sum of the parts in a way that seems magical.   

"Mouseholes" (1999): Color. 8 minutes. Directed by Helen Hill. Note: "Since I could not stop my grandfather's death, I tried to understand, through recordings of his voice, home movies and animated scenes of Heaven." -- Helen Hill.

"Les Mistons" (1957): B&W. 17 minutes. Directed by François Truffaut. Cast: Bernadette Lafont, Gérard Blain. Note: A group of five boys becomes obsessed with a beautiful young woman (Lafont in her first film) who rides her bicycle around the village and sometimes to meetings with her boyfriend. Out of a mixture of curiosity and jealousy the boys stalk the lovers and make mischief to annoy them. Liberated from the restrictions of the static camera and sound stage this delightful short film helped to set the French New Wave in motion; it got Truffaut the money to make his first feature.

Why these three movies? The thread that runs through them is that each offers us a view of life, essentially through the eyes of children. Before children have fully grasped what society expects them to notice and classify, they sometimes see what may be invisible to adults. 

This presentation will move the Bijou Film Center closer to what is envisioned to be its nature, once we have completed the one-off phase of our development and landed in our permanent location. Our plan is to consistently invite those who get it to take in cinematic experiences they will not find the likes of anywhere else in Richmond. Have a beer, or a glass of wine, or a cup of coffee. Have a bite to eat. Share the whole experience with people who enjoy watching good movies together, because they get it -- they know it makes a difference. 

By the way, this will be the Richmond premiere of "Chekhov for Children."

Admission: Bijou Film Center members will get in free and a $5.00 donation will be accepted from non-members. Note: The same three films will be presented the night before, Fri., June 10, to members only with admission free. Seating will be limited to 70 people on both nights.

Background on the Filmmakers:

Sasha Waters Freyer is currently the chair of Virginia Commonwealth University's Photography and Film Department. More information about her can be seen here;

Helen Hill was born in Columbia, SC, where she began making animated films as a child. She was educated at Harvard, taught filmmaking in Nova Scotia and was murdered in the nightmarish aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2007. More about Hill can be seen here.

François Truffaut is perhaps the best known/most celebrated director of what became known as the French New Wave of the 1960s. Among others his feature films included: "The 400 Blows," "Jules and Jim," "Fahrenheit 451," "Small Change" and "Day for Night." More about Truffaut can be seen here. 

The Bijou's Mission: The centerpiece of the Bijou Film Center we envision will be a small independent cinema -- a little art house theater that will strive to present the best of first-run independent and imported films available. They will be sandwiched between short runs of selected classics. Live music will occasionally be presented. In a small adjoining café/coffeehouse we will serve sandwiches, soups, salads, bagels, pastries, coffee, tea, beer, wine and so forth. 

We hope to soon (very soon!) sign a lease on a temporary space in which to experiment and further develop the concept. This will allow us to offer regular programs in the same space. Compared to what we've done so far, this event's atmosphere and programming style, sans folding chairs, should more closely resemble what's envisioned for operations in our permanent space. Beyond the exhibition of our gourmet film fare, we hope to be a friend to those interested in the preserving of old films and the making of new films.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Last Chance to Be an Original ... tick, tick, tick

The blissful irony of a roomful of Grouchos drinking a
toast to “membership.” Photo by Katey Knox.

When somebody says, "Timing is everything," it's usually hard to disagree. So here's a tip: the chance to be an "original" member of the Bijou Film Center will expire at the end of the day.

Tomorrow will be too late to receive the "original" designation. Oh, it won't be too late to become a member. Either way a membership still costs $50. But the deadline for the "originals" is the end of April 20, 2016. Click here to join.

Background: When the Bijou Film Center launched its first membership drive on March 3, 2016, a goal was set -- 360 members in 45 days.

The goal was reached on the last day. At the party staged at Hardywood (5 p.m to 9 p.m.), Bijou co-founder James Parrish announced at approximately 7:30 p.m. that we had reached, even passed, the 360 goal. The scent of success was in the air as the Green Hearts played their set before a roomful of seemingly happy members. The party itself was planned as a celebration and it worked out in a dramatic fashion.

The difference between an original and those who will become members after today probably won't matter to most people. Every member of the Bijou Film Center matters and will hopefully feel appreciated. But to those who want to get an "original member" T-shirt or mug, it's the key.

Those two particular membership gifts of appreciation, either one or the other, will only go to those who have signed up by the end of today. Similar T-shirts and mugs will be available soon, for sale online, but they will not have "original member" printed on them.

At Hardywood we had a good turnout and it seemed that in general everything went over well enough. Thanks to all who helped make it happen, as well as the many attendees. Another post about what went on at the party on April 16th will soon follow.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Lone Hamburger

Hardywood's Kerry Anderson and Becky Morrison
standing beneath the last of The Bijou's
Hamburgers on display.
When you arrive at The Bijou's Leap of Faith party at Hardywood on Saturday (5 p.m. to 9 p.m.) you may notice the Hamburger hanging on the outside front wall. "Hamburger" is the name we put on the object seen looming over Kerry and Becky in the photo to the left.

That Hamburger is the last of them still installed and on display. The other panels in the series of 12 were on view at various sites around town in early November. They were created to help promote the premiere of Rick Alverson's feature-length film, "Entertainment" (2015) at The Byrd. The screening and after-party were Bijou Presents events.

Each of the dozen wooden panels was cut to 2.67' by 4', as pictured. The spray-painted image used was fashioned after a still from the film. It depicts Greg Turkington, as Neil Hamburger, playing The Comedian, in Alverson's darkly entertaining movie that seems likely to eventually become known as a cult film. Yes, I'm talking about a man, playing a character, who then plays a role in a film.

After the screening all the Hamburgers came down. With some it took longer than others, but the one we put up at Hardywood remains. They seem to like it. And, we like seeing them like it.

To see other Hamburgers that were on display in other places, click here. Some of you will probably recognize the sites. But why Hamburgers? Why any of it, already?

For what answers to those burning questions, to learn more about why and how the Hamburgers were made -- and by whom -- click here. 

To look at The Bijou's Facebook event page for the Leap of Faith party, tomorrow (April 16th), at Hardywood, click here.

-- Photo by James Parrish


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Leap of Faith


This is the Bijou Film Center's second film produced to call attention to its membership drive and spotlight its overall quest is entitled "Bijou Film No. 2: Leap of Faith."

It went live on YouTube today. The work was done by Shane Brown and Terry Rea. We'd like to thank The Valentine for granting us permission to use their images.

And, we'd like to remind you of the ongoing membership drive and its culmination at Hardywood on April 16th. Between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. we're celebrating our success, to date. Live music. Free admission.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Press Release for the Leap of Faith party

 
Date: Mar. 29, 2016
To: All media for immediate release
Re: The Bijou's Leap of Faith Party
From: The Bijou Film Center


On Mar. 3, 2016, the Bijou Film Center's first membership drive was launched. Founding memberships cost $50 each. For our Leap of Faith campaign the goal is to have 360 “originals” by Apr. 16, 2016. On that Saturday The Bijou's “Leap of Faith Party” at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery will take place between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Live music and short films will be presented.

Three bands will perform live at the party on Hardywood's stage: Grass Panther; Big Boss Combo; The Green Hearts. For kids of all ages, Shane Brown will screen 8mm and 16mm short films – old comedies and cartoons – in the adjoining lobby area. The emcee will be Chuck Wrenn. DJ Carlito will be serving up tunes between acts. Admission will be free of charge.

The Bijou's Mission: The ultimate goal is to establish the Bijou Film Center in Richmond, Virginia. Its centerpiece will be a small independent cinema. That art house theater will strive to present the best of first-run independent and imported films available. They will be sandwiched between short runs of selected classics. There will also be a small adjoining café/coffeehouse. Beyond the exhibition of our gourmet film fare, we hope to be a friend to those interested in the preserving of old films and the making of new films.

Background: For more information pertaining to the Bijou Film Center please go to The Bijou's website. The Bijou's Facebook page and its Bijou Backlight blogzine are also chock-full of posts and comments.

About The Bijou's Name: Jake Wells, a former baseball player/manager for the Richmond Bluebirds, opened his original Bijou at 714 E. Broad St. in 1899. His second Bijou opened in the next block east on Broad in 1905, it was located where the Library of Virginia is now. Writing for the Richmond News Leader in 1952, George W. Rogers credited Wells with having been the “father of Richmond movie houses.”

Registration: Online membership is available at Eventbrite. Checks can be mailed to the Bijou Film Center, PO Box 4994, Richmond, VA, 23220. Membership registration will also be easy to do at the Leap of Faith Party.



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Bijou Film No. 1 Membership





                                                                  

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Membership Drive Press Release

Date: Mar. 3, 2016 
To: All media for immediate release
Re: The Bijou's Membership Drive
From: The Bijou Film Center


With five successful pop-up events under its belt, the time for the Bijou Film Center to do more than serve up attractive one-offs has come. Thus, Phase One of the building of The Bijou has been completed.

Phase Two begins on Mar, 3, 2016, with the launching of our first membership drive.

The Video: The Bijou's first fund-raising video can be seen online here. With a running time of less than two minutes, it's a teaser-style little film that encourages viewers to visit our website, where they can join the membership roll with convenience.

The Goal: Through membership fees our goal is to raise $18,000 in 45 days: Mar. 3 – April 16. To reach that goal, it will take 360 memberships, at $50 apiece. Here's why we're aiming at $18,000.

We need $12,000 for “good faith” money to secure a lease for what we see as an ideal space to house the Bijou Film Center's operations. We need to move on this or lose the chance. This would put our 100-seat theater, our small café and our offices under one roof in Richmond's Arts District. At this time, to avoid jinxing the process, we can't be more specific about the location.

We need $6,000 for a kitty set aside for staging events and acquiring equipment, both for the cinema and the café. Further down the road we will need to raise quite a bit more money for the build-out, but this start will put us in the position to take advantage of attractive opportunities that could suddenly present themselves.

The Bijou's Mission: The ultimate goal is to establish the Bijou Film Center in Richmond, Virginia. Its centerpiece will be a small independent cinema. That art house theater will strive to present the best of first-run independent and imported films available. They will be sandwiched between short runs of selected classics. Beyond the exhibition of our gourmet film fare, we hope to be a friend to those interested in the preserving of old films and the making of new films.

The day The Bijou opens for business, its founders and staff will raise their glasses to wish their venture good luck. That informal ceremony will take place in The Bijou's small adjoining café/coffeehouse, which will regularly serve sandwiches, soups, salads, bagels, pastries, coffee, tea, beer, wine and so forth.

Background: For more information pertaining to the Bijou Film Center please go to The Bijou's website. The Bijou's Facebook page and its Bijou Backlight blogzine are also chock-full of posts and comments. For more background about our overall concept and our well received pop-up events check out the articles below:

Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Cinema Plan Taps Into Downtown's Potential" (Sept. 11, 2014).
Richmond Magazine: "A Gem of an Idea" (February, 2015)
Style Weekly: Best Pick: Music, Movies & Magic at Hardywood Craft Brewery"
Style Weekly: "Best Hope for an Art Theatre" (May 27, 2015)
Commonwealth Times: "'Entertainment' and Quenching Richmond's Thirst for Arthouse"
I Could Go On and On (Karen Newton's blog): What's the Difference?" (Nov. 9, 2015)

Time to Celebrate: The members' party to celebrate reaching our $18,000 fund-raising goal will take place on April 16, 2016, at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. This will be our second springtime live music show at Hardywood. More details about that event will follow as soon as they are available.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

'Taxi Driver' turns 40

Travis at the wheel of his taxi.
by F.T. Rea

In 1976 the USA was getting over what many observers then saw as its worst foreign policy mistake, ever -- the Vietnam War. The Watergate scandal that had brought down a president, Richard Nixon, was in the rear-view mirror.

As the nation averted its collective eye from those concerns, to celebrate its 200th anniversary with gaudy nostalgic celebrations, punk rock was starting to gain traction. It was also the year Martin Scorsese's masterpiece, "Taxi Driver,"  was released.

In 2011 I penned a piece about "Taxi Driver" for the James River Film Journal to promote its screening, as part of the 18th annual James River Film Festival. 
Through the taxi’s windshield Travis [Bickle], as played by Robert De Niro, drinks in the filth he sees on the streets. It begins to focus his anger. His revulsion with the paved-over, neon-lit world outside his cab’s yellow skin mixes with a pitiful romantic disappointment to make for seriously bad medicine. De Niro’s unforgettable portrayal of haunted Travis, the alienated Vietnam War veteran — slowly giving in to his madness — was something to see in 1976. Thirty-five years later it still is. Yes, “Taxi Driver” is as ‘70s as it gets.
Click here to read "'Taxi Driver' at 35."

To read an article about what films most influenced Scorsese in creating his vision for "Taxi Driver" click here to read "'Taxi Driver' 40th anniversary: five films that influenced Scorsese’s masterpiece" at BFI Film Forever.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Hamburger Caper

by F.T. Rea


With 2015 in the rear-view mirror, there were some nice highlight moments associated with the four Bijou Presents events staged during the year. (To see the press releases for those events click on the numbered links -- 1, 2, 3, 4). However, the group-effort that went into creating the Hamburgers, as described below, tops my list of Bijou-related highlights. 

On Fri., Sept. 11, James Parrish and I went to the Lamplighter coffee shop on Morris St., near VCU, for a meeting with Rick Alverson. The purpose of the get-together was to discuss the pre-premiere* screening of "Entertainment" (2015) at The Byrd scheduled for Nov. 8. More specifically, we needed to talk about how to promote The Bijou's then-upcoming fundraising event. During the conversation that ensued the Hamburger Caper was born.


"Entertainment" is the fourth feature-length film Alverson has directed. Having seen the movie, by way of a screener supplied by the distributor, James and I already knew that promoting it as an easy-to-like laugh riot, suitable for a broad audience, would be a mistake. But the promotional material available -- poster and ad images -- for the movie didn't seem to have enough pizzazz to grab the attention of the artsy crowd that might like such a film for a one-off event. Since The Bijou's budget for promotion wouldn't allow for us to make a splash with conventional advertising, we needed a bright idea.

The conversation at the coffeehouse meandered pleasantly. When Rick and I started talking about hand-painted roadside billboards in Los Angeles the spark appeared. After finding out from Rick that they were still being done, I started yammering about how cool they looked back in the '70s, when I last visited LA. Rick interjected something like, "We ought to make the posters for the show look like Banksy's spray-painted graffiti."


Bingo!

Immediately, I told Rick I loved the idea and wanted to do it. While I'm not sure he believed me, the three of us happily brainstormed about it. Rick, James and I all liked the idea of using a variation of the image of the comedian in the film that appeared on the 1-sheet. We also talked about details about the film's star, Gregg Turkington, performing live, as Neil Hamburger, at the after-party at the New York Deli.


Later on, James and I kicked around the possibilities of how we might pull it off by making a series of Banksy-esque posters that would be displayed outdoors. How many to make? How big? Materials? Soon I suggested Chuck Wrenn ought to be in on making the Hamburgers. James agreed and said he wanted to bring in Ed Trask, too. Eventually, we decided to try to make the project to fabricate the Hamburgers into an art-making, beer-drinking happening.

We found both Chuck and Ed to be enthusiastic about lending their hands. Thus, after talking it over with other members of Team Bijou, we decided the posters should be painted on king-sized wooden panels. No movie title. No explanation (which had been Rick's original suggestion). Only the date of the screening -- 11/8/15. We optimistically assumed we could talk several friends with businesses on popular thoroughfares to allow us to hang the Hamburgers (as we came to call the painted panels) on outside walls facing traffic.


Trask brought in Big Secret to cut the stencils for the job. Chuck helped me pick out the material and he cut the panels to size (2.67' by 4'). We applied coats of white, somewhat-waterproofing prima to them (Herschel Stratego helped). Before the stencils were cut Ed, James, Chuck and I discussed at length how to achieve the look we wanted.

A team of six artists was assembled on Oct. 7 to do the spray-painting work in the basement of Anchor Studios at 1 E. Broad St; they were Shane Brown, Michael Harl, James, Terry (me), Ed and Chuck. All of did some painting. Ed did the most. We made Hamburgers in two sizes since Big Secret made large and small stencils for us. A day later, I cut the stencil for the date and added it to each panel over the image of the comedian.


The photos of the Hamburger-making scenes accompanying this piece were shot by Shane Brown and James Parrish. The image of the completed Hamburger at the bottom of this post was shot by yours truly. Click here to see how the finished products looked posted at various sites.

Why call it a caper?

It's more fun that way.


* The Bijou's screening of "Entertainment" was before the film had its theatrical first-run begin in New York City on Nov. 13, 2015. Our thanks for that special booking go out to Rick Alverson and the distributor of his film, Magnolia Pictures.