Thursday, January 22, 2015

Jan. 22 Press Release

Date January, 22, 2015
To: All media for immediate release
Re: Richmond premiere of "Finding Vivian Maier" (Academy Award nominee)
From: The Bijou Film Center

“Finding Vivian Maier” (2014) is a movie about a mysterious photographer. From the 83-minute film, directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel, viewers learn that Vivian D. Maier was an eccentric nanny, a tall lady who spoke with an odd accent. Stemming from a serendipitous purchase at an auction Maier’s remarkable photographs have become known to the public, but only in the last few years.

When it came to selfies, Vivian Maier wrote the book.

In conjunction with our partners, The Byrd Theatre, Candela Books + Gallery, the VCUarts Department of Photography and Film, the Bijou Film Center will present the Richmond premiere of “Finding Vivian Maier” on Feb. 15, 2015, at 7 p.m., at the Byrd Theatre.

By the way, in the wake of its praise from movie critics, "Finding Vivian Maier" has been nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar. It's a documentary that doubles as a mystery movie.

The film poses questions about its subject: Why would anyone take thousands upon thousands of photographs, then hide the images from the scrutiny of others? What was her background? Why would she not even make prints of a good many of them? If the photographer didn’t want to look at the souvenirs of frozen time she had captured, what was the point? Who was Vivian Maier?

Viewers of the film are shown clues. Vivian routinely photographed whatever caught her eye in her travels, mostly people on Chicago streets; it seems a good many of her subjects were strangers. She was quite opinionated. Gradually, we are prompted to suspect there was a dark side to her. Some of the now-adult children she minded as a nanny remember her fondly, others not so much. Regardless of her offbeat nature or her motives, one thing is for sure -- Vivian Maier (1926-2009) had quite a knack for knowing when to snap the shutter.

Now some art/photography critics are seeing Vivian Maier as one of the 20th century's great street photographers. Recently made prints of the scenes she happened upon and documented with her Rolleiflex are hanging in posh galleries. Other critics are resisting the popular culture momentum to lift Vivian's work to such a lofty perch.

Admission: Tickets at the box office will be $7.00. The proceeds from this one-time-only screening will be split between the Byrd Theatre Foundation's "Journey to the Seats" and the Bijou Film Center.

Advance tickets are now available online at Eventbrite for $5.00 (plus processing fee). Between Jan. 23 and Feb. 15, advance tickets can be purchased for $5.00 (cash or check) at Bygones Vintage Clothing, Candela Books + Gallery and Ipanema.

For the after-party at the New York Deli, to begin shortly after 9 p.m., the live music will be provided by Chez Roué. There will be no cover charge for this portion of the evening's entertainment.  

Contacts:
  • James Parrish: Email: jtparrish@bijoufilmcenter.org. Phone: (804) 564-3224.
  • Terry Rea: Email: ftrea9@gmail.com. Phone: (804) 938-7997.

About the Filmmakers and Their Award-Winning Film:

"Finding Vivian Maier" is distributed by IFC Films. It represents the directorial debut for both filmmakers.

Not long before her death, a huge cache of her photos was discovered by John Maloof, who was searching for old photos of a Chicago neighborhood. For $380 Maloof bought the trove in a storage box at an auction. All he knew was that it was chock full of photos, negatives and random junk. He took a chance. Maloof never spoke with Vivian. After her death he began discovering what his acquisition entailed. With its evidence of who the photographer was, it led him to wonder if Vivian was even who she said she was.

Maloof is a filmmaker/photographer/entrepreneur. He now serves as an overseer and marketer, a self-styled curator, of a significant portion of Vivian Maier’s work. He edited the book, "Vivian Maier: Street Photographer."

A former lawyer, Charlie Siskel is a television and film producer with movie credits that include "Bowling for Columbine" (2002), and "Religulous" (2008). He is the nephew of the late Gene Siskel, who was a Chicago-based film critic, best known as Roger Ebert's debating partner. 

Quotes from reviews:
Absorbing, touching and satisfyingly enjoyable. -- New York Times.

A faithful tribute. This fine documentary unveils the "mystery woman." -- The New Yorker.

More connect-the-dots detective thriller than traditional doc, John Maloof and Charlie Siskel’s revelatory riddle of a film unmasks a brilliant photographer who hid in plain sight. -- Entertainment Weekly

Riveting documentary about one of the 20th century’s greatest photographers. It’s no ordinary artist biopic. Haunting. -- Indiewire
More background on the film and filmmakers is available here.

Happy Hour before the screening and raffles:

Between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. there will be a pre-screening happy hour at the Portrait House, across Cary Street from The Byrd. The first of several drawings for raffle prizes (tickets $1.00 each) will take place in that time. Later drawings will be held at The Byrd and afterward at the New York Deli.

After the Screening:

Immediately following the screening of "Finding Vivian Maier" there will be a brief discussion about the photographer, her work and the film in the Byrd's auditorium. It will be led by Gordon Stettinius of Candela Books + Gallery. For those who would rather continue that conversation than take in the live music at the New York Deli, the discussion will move across Cary Street to the Portrait House. 

At the New York Deli the live music show will go on between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. The four virtuoso performers in the Chez Roué ensemble are:
  • Roger Carroll on saxophone and vocals
  • Debo Dabney on piano
  • Brian Sulser on bass. 
  • Johnny Hott on drums.
For Chez Roué fans it's important to bear in mind that this gig will be Roger Carroll's next-to-last performance in Richmond, before he moves to Chicago.

List of the event's partners and sponsors:

Click on the links to see websites for the Bijou's indispensable partners for this event, as well as the sponsors who have chimed in to help us put it together.
About the Bijou Film Center:

The Bijou Film Center's studio/office is now at 1 E. Broad St. in Richmond's downtown "arts district." That's the neighborhood in which we intend to find a location to establish a nonprofit film center, which will include a 100-to-120-seat movie theater auditorium, a small cafe and a film preservation business that will specialize in doing high-quality transfers of our clients' old Super 8 films and VHS videos to a digital format. We expect to launch that aspect of our endeavors in a few months. The cinema and cafe will take longer.

As we progress we will strive to become a hub for all things to do with film exhibition, film preservation and film production in Richmond. More information about the community that is forming around the Bijou Film Center can be found on the Bijou's Facebook page and its Bijou Backlight blogzine.

A hundred years ago Richmond's first movie theater, The Bijou, was already a fixture in the city's thriving theater district, some seven blocks east of our current digs on Broad Street. Richmond's first Bijou was the brainchild of a former baseball player named Jake Wells, who went on from there to establish a chain of 43 theaters in the Southeast.

The Bijou Film Center's founders:

James T. Parrish, Jr. is a fundraiser, artist and leader in the Richmond arts community. He was founder of the Richmond Flicker (1998-2008) and co-founder of the James River Film Society. He currently serves as the Director of Foundation Relations for Virginia Commonwealth University.

F.T. "Terry" Rea was the original manager of Richmond’s repertory cinema, the Biograph Theatre (1972-83). He was the founder/editor/publisher of SLANT (1985-94), a Fan District-based periodical, devoted to popular culture and politics. He is now a freelance artist/writer.

More Info: bijoufilmcenter@gmail.com and www.bijoufilmcenter.org

 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Chez Roue' signed for Feb. 15 Bijou fundraiser


The Bijou Film Center is delighted to announce that Chez Roue' will play live at the New York Deli (9 p.m. - 11 p.m.) following the screening of Academy Award nominee “Finding Vivian Maier” (2014) at the Byrd Theatre on Sun., Feb. 15.

"Finding Vivian Maier" is being presented in conjunction with our partners for this occasion: The Byrd Theatre Foundation, Candela Books + Gallery and the VCUarts Department of Photography and Film. Showtime for the movie is 7 p.m. Admission at the box office will be $7.00. Advance tickets for $5.00 will be available soon at selected locations. Advance tickets are already available online at Eventbrite for $5.00 (plus $1.27 handling fee).

Please note, there will be no cover charge for the live music at the Deli. In the photo above, left-to-right, Chez Roue' are: Debo Dabney on piano, Roger Carroll on saxophone, Johnny Hott on drums. Brian Sulser (seen only in the mirror) is on bass. For Chez Roue' fans it's important to bear in mind that this gig will be Roger Carroll's next-to-last performance in Richmond, before he moves to Chicago.

We’re still polishing some details, including lining up prizes for the raffles, but the schedule is now set for the Bijou Film Center’s second Bijou at the Byrd fundraising event. As before, film-wise, there will also be a wee surprise.

This is going to be a lot of fun. Stay tuned for more information soon.

-- Photo credit: Scott Elmquist, Style Weekly

Friday, January 2, 2015

Feature: "Finding Vivian Maier"


Why would anyone take over a hundred thousand photographs of a wide range of subjects and go to great pains to hide all the images from the world? Why would she not even make prints of thousands of them?

Vivian Dorothea Maier (1926-2009) was an eccentric nanny, a tall lady who spoke with an odd accent. She earned her living taking care of other people’s children. With her Rolleiflex camera Vivian photographed whoever/whatever she found in her travels, mostly on urban streets. It seems a good many of her subjects were strangers. Then, by habit, she kept all those images to herself … along with her other secrets.

Not long before her death, a huge cache of her photos was serendipitously discovered by John Maloof, who was looking for old photos of a Chicago neighborhood. Maloof bought the trove in a storage box at an auction. All he knew was that it was full of photos and negatives. He never spoke with Vivian. After her death he began discovering what his acquisition entailed and who the photographer was.

Since she used various names at times, was Vivian even who she said she was? What was it she was so dedicated to documenting, or was it a random process? Was the sly photographer a spy of some sort? What do the children she looked after remember of Vivian?


Now the world knows who Vivian Maier was … or does it? Nonetheless, prints of the scenes she captured with her Rolleiflex are now hanging in posh galleries.

“Finding Vivian Maier” (2014) is an award-winning documentary that doubles as a mystery movie. It was directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel (see update below).

In conjunction with our two partners, Candela Books + Gallery and the VCUarts Department of Photography and Film, the Bijou Film Center’s upcoming fundraiser -- a one-time-only screening of “Finding Vivian Maier” -- will be presented on Feb. 15, 2015. It will be the Richmond premiere for this fascinating 83-minute documentary. Proceeds from our second Bijou at the Byrd event will again be split between the Byrd Theatre Foundation's Journey to the Seats and the Bijou Film Center.


By the way, when it came to selfies Vivian wrote the book. Happy new year.

*

Update (Jan. 15): "Finding Vivian Maier" has been nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar. See the film on Feb. 15 at the Byrd. Root for it to win on Feb. 22.

More details will soon follow. 

Photos by Vivian Maier; click on them to enlarge. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bijou at the Byrd Leads to Bijou on Broad

Sept. 21, 2014: The crowd for the first Bijou at the Byrd event, a 50th
anniversary screening of Richard Lester's "A Hard Day's Night." 
Photo by Todd Schall-Vess..
Having read Terry's account of the Bijou's first big event (Thanks for the Memories) this past Sunday, you know that it was a huge success. Attendance was around 800 people, and any time the Byrd has to open up the balcony you know you've done something right. Thanks to those of you who were there.

While our event was more about raising awareness of the Bijou Film Center than raising money, I won't lie to you -- we needed to raise some money. Terry and I put this event over without two nickels to rub together. No lie. And the only way we were able to do that is because of friends and partners. The Byrd Theatre, led by Todd Schall-Vess, was the first to say yes -- this would not have gone any further if Todd and The Byrd Theatre hadn't wanted in on it. Janus Films, the distributor of A Hard Day's Night and countless other wonderful films (most of you may be familiar with their sister company, The Criterion Collection), was next to sign on. By offering us a great deal on the film because we were doing a fundraiser put us in a position to make some money for both the Bijou and the Byrd. For a run down of sponsors and champions, read Terry's piece linked above.

So, how did we do? Well, after expenses (film rental and publicity materials) we were left with $2,800, split 50-50. That means that you helped us raise $1,400 for The Byrd Theatre Foundation's "Journey to the Seats" campaign and $1,400 to help establish the Bijou Film Center. On top of that, the Plan 9 raffle raised $200 and we received more than $370 in additional donations. All of which leads me to the most exciting news ... as of October 1 there will once again be a Bijou on Broad! (For more on the original Bijou, check out Terry's Short Subject: Jake Wells' Bijou on Broad St.

Rea and Parrish at Anchor Studios.
Photo by Bill Lohmann for the RT-D.
We're using some of the proceeds from Sunday's event to establish the Bijou Film Center's first office at 1 East Broad Street, becoming a member of Anchor Studios, located across Foushee from Tarrant's. We've got a long way to go before we'll have the Bijou Theatre open, but we've achieved our first big goal: to establish the Bijou Film Center in the heart of Richmond's downtown arts and cultural district.

While we're not ready to announce any details yet, we are kicking around several ideas for one or two more film events this fall, working on the Bijou Film Center's logo, website and promotional materials, filing for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, exploring a partnership with a local foundation to serve as our fiscal agent until we become a card carrying member of the nonprofit sector, and preparing to launch our first fundraising campaign, which will center around the purchase of a Super 8 film-to-digital transfer machine to help individuals and artists take care of their precious filmed memories. The heart and soul of the Bijou Film Center will be this important work.

We'll also be looking for a lot more people to help us build out the Bijou Film Center of our dreams, complete with a 100-seat art house cinema, a cafe and film center devoted to wide world of cinema, from home movies to Hollywood and everything in between. Look for more information on how to get involved soon.

Thank you Richmond for showing us on Sunday night that you want there to be a Bijou!

- James Parrish

P.S. Please stop by Anchor Studios during the next First Fridays on Friday, October 3 to say hi and to visit the Bijou's first home at 1 East Broad Street.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Thanks for the Memories

Photo by Sky Andersen for RVA Magazine
Ed. Note: The Bijou Film Center, such as it is, wants to say thank you to the great audience that showed up to see “A Hard Day’s Night” on The Byrd’s big screen last night. That so many people took the time to help us begin the process of building The Bijou, by watching a 50-year-old black and white movie, was very encouraging. In the photo above that's James and me, Terry, in front of The Byrd last week.

The warm reception “A Hard Day’s Night” received confirmed our thinking that today Richmonders will turn out to see good movies, old or new. 

At the top of the Thank-You list we have to cite The Byrd’s Todd Schall-Vess and the Byrd Theatre Foundation for providing that grand movie palace for the screening. Plus, the theater’s staff did a fine job of showing the films and handling the large crowd smoothly. And, naturally, we’re happy to have helped The Byrd’s non-profit foundation raise some money for its restoration campaign, Journey to the Seats.

Several websites picked up the story of the screening and live music show from articles that appeared in STYLE Weekly, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond Magazine, RVA Magazine, etc., and posted the essential information without any prompting from us. WRIR's Open Source devoted a segment to chatter about the project, thanks to Don Harrison.

It all helped. Plan 9 put news of the event on its website and donated Beatles-related prizes that we raffled off. Volunteers (Julia, Wayne, Brian, Lynn and Nathan) helped us with that raffle, selling and taking the tickets. Deep Groove also donated a just-released Beatles album to the cause. On top of the unsung help several other people provided in making the benefit show possible -- then successful -- eight sponsors contributed to the project in significant ways: They were: Anchor Studios, Bygones Vintage Clothing, Janus Films, New York Deli, Portrait House, Steady Sounds, Uptown Color, 97.3 FM WRIR Richmond Independent Radio.

After the movie ended the after-screening live music show unfolded in the New York Deli, two doors west of The Byrd. The Taters put on a splendid show that were well received by a packed house. The range of ages on the dance floor was impressive.

Mark Brown's photo of James singing "Act Naturally"
with The Taters at the Deli.



For James and me it was a lot of fun presenting such quality entertainment to an audience that obviously appreciated it. Soon we’ll have news to share about our next pop-up event. In addition to staging more fundraisers at various venues, our plan is to establish a film restoration/transfer business first; our studio space for this work will be in Anchor Studios at Foushee and Broad. All the while we will be striving to open a small cinema with an adjoining café in that neighborhood -- the Arts District. The intention, as a film center, is to eventually become involved in preserving films, exhibiting films, distributing films, and the production of films.

After several conversations with members of last night’s audience, we now know the feedback we‘re going to get from lots of people, folks who want to be a part of this venture, is going to influence the direction of the Bijou Film Center‘s endeavors from here on.  

What happened at The Byrd and the New York Deli on the last night of 2014’s summer was a good start. With any luck, we'll always remember it. Thanks. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Thanks for the Publicity/Help



Ed. Note: The publicity we've received about our September 21st fundraising event has been quite positive and very helpful. Our thanks have to go out to some good folks in the local press, as well our friends on Facebook and otherwise, who've done what they could to help spread the word.

Yesterday a piece penned by Stephanie Manley for Richmond Magazine was posted online. 
Parrish and Rea, who are both deeply involved in the arts community in Richmond, have focused much of their careers on film. (Rea was manager of the Biograph Theatre and Parrish co-founded the James River Film Society).

In addition to constructing their own theater, Parrish and Rea decided that attaching it to a café would create a more successful business. The partners also frequently returned their discussion to their love of film preservation, which led them to add to their business plan a center devoted to transferring small-format amateur films to digital.
To read “Building the Bijou” at Richmond Magazine click here.

Today Sky Andersen’s piece for RVA Magazine was posted online.
On September 21st, the Bijou Film Center, a small up and coming unique theatre group co-founded by F. T. “Terry” Rea and James Parrish, is presenting The Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary in July. A Hard Day’s Night is a 1964 comedy starring The Beatles, and was included in Time Magazine's All-Time 100 Movies.
To read “Bijou Film Center hopes to bring thriving film community back to RVA” at RVA Magazine click here.

Later today an interview conducted by Don Harrison for 97.3 FM WRIR can be heard on Open Source at 4 p.m. Click here to listen online.

And, in case you missed last week's articles about the screening of "A Hard Day's Night" at the Byrd Theatre on Sunday, September 21 at 6 p.m., here are links:

To read "Bijoumania" written by Brent Baldwin for STYLE Weekly click here.

To read "Cinema plan taps into downtown’s potential" written by Bill Lohmann for the Richmond Times Dispatch click here.

And, our thanks goes out to Jerry Williams for breaking the story about the Bijou's first event, way back on August 18, by way of his Sifter website devoted to show business.

Don't forget, the Taters are playing live (no cover charge) at the after-screening-party at the New York Deli. To help get the news of that aspect of Sunday's festivities around The Taters' Craig Evans crafted this online poster after the 50-year-old poster for "A Hard Day's Night." 

Finally, we're delighted with what Bygones Vintage Clothing did with its Beatlemania window (thanks Maynee), as shown below in the photo by Jere Kittle.


By the way, you can still buy advance tickets at Bygones and at Steady Sounds until the day of the show. Or you can click on the Buy Bijou Tickets button at the top of this page to buy tickets online. 

The Beatles were big, BIG, I tell ya!

Richmond Times-Dispatch photo (cropped) 
Publisher's Note: Friend and musician Alfred Walker sent us this remembrance after we posted this image of "A Hard Day's Night" on the marquee at The National, August 1964. 

Alfred Walker, age 12
That spring at Glen Lea Elementary - the spring after JFK and Ed Sullivan and the biggest sales pitch I'd ever made (a seven-fold advance on my 25 cent allowance to purchase "Meet the Beatles" at Blair's Drug Store) – no less than four different classes put on Beatles skits for the annual talent revue. The presentations were interchangeable in featuring an offstage teacher dropping a needle on or near a Beatles song - most often "I Saw Her Standing There" - while a quartet of 5th or 6th graders waited to begin their pantomime with brooms for guitars and a few classroom trashcans positioned as drums.

My best friend Billy was in one of the configs. As we were in different classes, he shared with me some of the ongoing angst and backstage drama that went into the making of Mrs. Dodsworth's Beatles. Three of the boys wanted to be Paul. One had been edged out early, and it came down to Billy and Dean, one of the most popular kids at the school. Billy felt his own self looked more like Paul, but he knew Dean carried the cache to win the gig. Keep in mind: we were all 11 and 12 years old, and most every boy had maintained an astronaut crew cut until those Sunday nights in February. So the bangs were just starting to come in, and most of the Glen Lea Beatles were desperately mashing down the front of their coifs, still too short and stiff to point anywhere but up. For that matter, my favorite act in the talent show was four girl Beatles from Miss Simmons' class; they had good energy - and hair! Still, there were hot arguments around who most resembled Paul, the Beatle to whom us boys seemed the most unashamedly attracted.

That summer, Billy and I met the news of an impending Beatles movie with great anticipation - and some caution. There was so much hype and rumor around the band - and no Google for fact checking; you might not believe in a Beatles movie until you could actually read the show times in the Times-Dispatch. Finally in August, we could!

Richmond, Va.- The Capitol Theater- Broad St.
1964- Waiting in line for tickets to "A Hard Day's Night"
Photo from Visual & Vintage Virginia.
I wish I could ask my dear mom about her thinking in taking us to see A Hard Day's Night - not only driving us to the Capitol Theater, but sitting through the movie herself! She was 36 when she had me, which made her an older mom in those days - a classically trained singer, life-long churchgoer, not much for pop culture. But there she was between me and my little sister, who still considers that the other unsolved mystery of that day: why at age 7 she was allowed to attend!

With my mom (and not my dad) handling the transportation, we arrived for the matinee on time. That meant we saw the newsreels, cartoons, and previews before the main feature instead of after. It also allowed our anticipation to build.

Iconic still from "A Hard Day's Night"
I recall lots of clips from the movie as if from the first time viewing - that's probably a trick of the mind. But I have clear ear, eye, and body memories of that first chord striking, the Beatles running down a narrow street and right at us, and Billy and me turning toward each other and - though we were no longer little boys - clasping our hands to our chests and giggling with glee. We were several days into the film's Richmond run and perhaps not among the first tier of rabid fans. There was some good-natured girl-screaming in the opening chase scene, then everyone settled in and enjoyed the movie. As my sister points out: with A Hard Day’s Night, we were catching a big lead on the whole music video thing.

After an intimate hour and a half with the Beatles, I thought Billy looked even less like Paul. But I was headed for 7th grade at a new school with new classmates – a hard year’s fall, you might say. Sharing the Beatles movie with my best friend was a cool way to close out the summer.

Alfred Walker (on sax), age 14

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lohmann on the Plan for The Bijou

Terry Rea and James Parrish in front of Anchor Studios.
 

In his RT-D piece about the Bijou Film Center concept and the first fundraiser Bill Lohmann writes:
James T. Parrish Jr. and F.T. “Terry” Rea, film fans and co-founders of this venture, have taken the first step toward opening a small, storefront cinema and café in the city’s Arts and Cultural District along Broad Street east of Belvidere.

The independent, nonprofit project is called the Bijou Film Center, and as a kickoff event, the Beatles’ classic, “A Hard Day’s Night,” which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, will be shown at the Byrd Theatre on Sunday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m.
 

Click here to read, " Cinema Plan Taps Into Downtown's Potential."

Starting in October, the Bijou Film Center's first workspace will be a basement studio at Anchor Studios in the Arts District.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bijoumania!

Terry Rea, former manager of the Biograph, and James Parrish, 
co-founder of the James River Film Society, are launching their new 
Bijou Film Center project with a showing of the 50th anniversary restored 
version of the Beatles film, “A Hard Day’s Night” at the Byrd Theater.

For STYLE Weekly's Fall Arts Preview issue, Brent Baldwin writes:
Parrish attended the last three Art House Convergence gatherings held by the Sundance Institute and notes that 80 percent of the country’s art house cinemas are nonprofits — places such as the Castro and the Roxie in San Francisco, the Austin Film Society in Texas, and the Charles in Baltimore. He’s convinced that Richmond is ready to support a community-based, mission-driven art house cinema.

“We need a place where we can see great little films, a place where we can eat, drink, and talk about these films,” he says. “ A place that helps filmmakers and anyone with a home movie they don’t know what to do with.”
Click here to read the entire article, which explains the Bijou Film Center concept and devotes some ink to the Bijou's first fundraiser.

Click here to visit the Facebook event page for the one-time-only screening of "A Hard Day's Night" on September 21.

-- Photo by Scott Elmquist for STYLE Weekly.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

About Advance Tickets to 'A Hard Day's Night'


On September 21 "A Hard Day's Night" (1964)
will be screened at the Byrd Theatre. 

  • Pre-screening Happy Hour, 4 p.m. - 6 p.m., at the Portrait House, across the street from the Byrd. 
  • The show starts at 6 p.m.
  • Admission is $7 at the box office.
  • Before the day of the show advance tickets are available at Bygones Vintage Clothing and Steady Sounds for $5. 
  • The proceeds of the screening will benefit the Bijou Film Center and the Byrd Theatre Foundation’s “Journey to the Seats.” The film will play one time only. 
  • The after-party at the New York Deli starts at 8:15 p.m., where The Taters will play live; no cover charge. 
  • To visit the event's Facebook page click here

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sept. 4 Press Release

Date: Sept. 4, 2014
To: All media for immediate release
Re: Bijou Film Center presentation at The Byrd Theatre

On Sunday, September 21, 2014, the Bijou Film Center will present a classic film followed by some splendid live music to launch its fundraising effort and begin putting the story of its mission before Richmond's movie-loving public.


4 p.m.: Thirsty admirers of the eye-catching Beatlemania window in Bygones will cross the street to take advantage of a special Happy Hour getting underway at Portrait House, 2907 West Cary Street.  It will offer Fab Four fans a selection of themed drink specials at attractive prices.

6:05 p.m.: From the stage in front of the screen at The Byrd Theatre, James Parrish and Terry Rea will introduce the feature attraction, “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964), which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The sound and picture have been newly restored. And, perhaps a wee surprise will be served up. 

6:30 p.m.: “A Hard Day’s Night,” starring the Beatles in their first movie, will be screened. Shot in glorious black and white the motion picture runs 87 minutes.

8:15 p.m.: At the New York Deli, The Taters will start their first of two sets of live music. Drink specials will be available. And, yeah! yeah! yeah! The Taters will do some Beatles-related material.

Admission to the screening will be $7 at the box office. Up until the day of the show, advance tickets will be available for $5 at Bygones Vintage Clothing and Steady Sounds and online at Eventbrite for $5 plus processing fee ($1.27). 

There will be no cover charge at the Portrait House or at the New York Deli -- free admission!  

The proceeds from the screening will be split evenly by the non-profit Byrd Theatre Foundation’s “Journey to the Seats” and the Bijou Film Center (a non-profit work-in-progress).

Contacts:
  • James T. Parrish, Jr.: Email: jtparrish@bijoufilmcenter.org. Phone: (804) 564-3224.
  • F.T. "Terry" Rea: ftrea@bijoufilmcenter.org. Phone: (804) 938-7997. 
  • Click here to visit the Facebook event page. 

Beatlemania

On Sunday, February 9, 1964, most of the young Beatles fans who tuned in to watch that historic live performance on the Ed Sullivan Show had only been aware of the Fab Four for a month, or so. Only the most avid pop music aficionados knew much about them before their first big hit in the USA, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (B-side: “I Saw Her Standing There”), was released on December 26, 1963. How it came to be released that day is a story for another time.

“I Want to Hold Your Hand” took off like a rocket. It hit No. 1 on the American pop chart just eight days before that first television appearance launched Beatlemania in the USA.

On the other hand, the frenzy had been underway for some time across the pond. The feature film that gathered the Beatlemania phenomenon, to present it on the big screen -- “A Hard Day’s Night” -- was conceived and sketched out before the Beatles left England to conquer America, via the CBS Television network. With Richard Lester as the film's director, the rock ‘n’ roll quartet from Liverpool was working on shooting the movie a couple of weeks later.

Prior to that, here's a smattering of history: In August of 1960 the pre-Ringo Beatles arrived in Hamburg to polish their act; in October of 1961 Polydor released "My Bonnie" in West Germany. In November of 1961 the Beatles began playing regularly in Liverpool’s Cavern Club, among other venues. On their first tour of the UK, in early-1963, the Beatles were on an eleven-act bill, headed up the 16-year old Helen Shapiro. They played a lot of live gigs during 1963, sold plenty of records and became the most important musicians in Great Britain before the year was out.

Now folks might ask, who was Helen Shapiro? On November 4, 1963, at the Royal Variety Show, before actual royalty -- to introduce their cover of “Twist and Shout” -- John Lennon announced, “For our last number, I’d like to ask your help. Will the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And for the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.”

As for America, the Beatles' timing was perfect. Their peppy, jangling harmonies and harmless, spontaneous sarcasm broke through the fog of depression that had engulfed the USA, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, just a month before the Beatles double-sided hit 45 was released here.

In the gloom of that winter, 50 years ago, this country surely needed something fresh to lift its spirits. Before or since, there’s never been a popular culture explosion to equal the Beatlemania phenomenon of 1964.

The previous fan frenzies over pop singers in America, such as those that associated with Frank Sinatra in the 1940s and Elvis Presley in the 1950s, had surrounded individuals who sang songs written by tune-smiths in front of sidemen. Beatlemania was something new, it was about a rock 'n' roll band singing in harmony, like gospel singers or doo-wop groups. By featuring the collaborative aspects of the band's sound and image, together with the integral contribution of its two main songwriters, it showed everybody a picture of where pop music was going.

The Movie

“A Hard Day’s Night” (1964): 87 minutes. B&W. Directed by Richard Lester. Produced by Walter Shenson. Cinematography by Gilbert Taylor. Screenplay by Alun Owen. Edited by John Jympson. Cast: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Wilfrid Brambell (Grandfather), Victor Spinetti (the TV director), Norman Rossington (Norm), Kenneth Haigh (Simon Marshall).

During 1963 the Beatles had sent four singles and two albums to the top of the British pop music chart. By the time “A Hard Day’s Night” premiered at the London Pavilion on July 6, 1964, the Beatles were celebrities of the first magnitude in the USA, as well. 

“Beatlemania” had been the original working title of the romp that was released as “A Hard Day’s Night” in Great Britain and the USA (in its first-run dates it had various titles in other countries). Accounts vary about what prompted him to say it, but there seems to be general agreement that it was Ringo Starr’s use of the phrase, “a hard day’s night,” as a wisecrack/malapropism -- that led to it becoming the title of the film.

Instead of just another quick-and-dirty rock ‘n’ roll exploitation flick, the director, Richard Lester, 32, assembled what became a milestone of popular culture history. After 50 years, the movie’s deft anti-authority tilt, with its humor -- both sly and slapstick -- together with its cinéma vérité look and exuberant pace, still holds up nicely.

To shoot this film, Lester guessed that improvisation in front of multiple cameras would work better than a bunch of tedious rehearsals. Lester later noted: “Before we started, we knew that it would be unlikely that they could (a) learn, (b) remember, or (c) deliver with any accuracy a long speech. So the structure of the script had to be a series of one-liners. This enabled me, in many of the scenes, to turn a camera on them and say a line to them, and they would say it back to me.”

Cinematically, Lester captured what was in the air in 1964. He mixed techniques he had used in television with those being used in cutting-edge documentaries. He threw in looks he freely borrowed from the French New Wave.

“I have seen directors who write down a list of scenes for the day and then sit back in a chair while everything is filmed according to plan,” Lester explained. “I can’t do that. I know that good films can be made this way, but it’s not for me. I have to react on the spot. There was very little structure that was planned, except that we knew that we had to punctuate the film with a certain number of songs.”

In crediting Lester with establishing a “new grammar,” movie critic Roger Ebert wrote in 1996: [Lester] influenced many other films. Today when we watch TV and see quick cutting, hand-held cameras, interviews conducted on the run with moving targets, quickly intercut snatches of dialogue, music under documentary action and all the other trademarks of the modern style, we are looking at the children of ‘A Hard Day’s Night.’”

In 1965 “A Hard Day’s Night” received two Academy Award nominations: Alun Owen for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay, Written Directly for the Screen; George Martin for Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment.

After “A Hard Day’s Night” music videos were inevitable.

The Bijou Film Center

The idea to establish and operate a small cinema in Richmond began to percolate in James Parrish’s mind as he worked at booking films and planning events for the James River Film Society, especially its annual festival. Parrish was one of that group’s founders.

While putting together a 2012 fundraiser for the JRFS, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Biograph Theatre (a local repertory cinema, 1972-87), James began to share his movie house dream with Terry Rea, his collaborator for the 40th anniversary project.

Afterward, they continued to talk about the “little cinema” movement and what it would take to create such a venue in Richmond. They decided a small café attached to the cinema would give it a better chance to survive. During their talks Parrish and Rea also spoke frequently of the importance of preserving old films, which eventually led them to explore the idea of starting a business devoted to transferring small format amateur films to digital.

By this time, they began wanting to do something more than create an artsy cinema. And, they decided their dream for a non-profit film center, to do with preserving, producing and exhibiting gourmet movies would have its best chance to thrive if it could be based in the Arts District.

The first of the Bijou at the Byrd fundraisers (we hope there will be more) will set in motion the effort to establish the film transfer enterprise. Advances in the process, going from Super 8 to digital, can liberate those long unseen images -- moving pictures now trapped on plastic three-minute reels -- with better results than in previous years.

The proceeds of this kickoff endeavor will also go into the larger effort to establish a 100-seat movie theater (in a location yet to be determined.) In November a second event, featuring home movies, will be staged to further expose the film center concept to the public, and to help raise money to buy the equipment the film transfer business requires. A Bijou Film Center website will also go up in the fall, to begin to serve as a hub of information about film production and exhibition in the area.

*

James T. Parrish, Jr. is a fundraiser, artist and leader in the Richmond arts community. He was founder of the Richmond Flicker (1998-2008), co-founder of the James River Film Society. He currently serves as the Director of Foundation Relations for Virginia Commonwealth University.

F.T. "Terry" Rea was the original manager of Richmond’s Biograph Theatre (1972-83). He was the founder/editor/publisher of SLANT (1985-94), a Fan District-based periodical, devoted to popular culture and politics. He is now a freelance artist/writer.

Sponsors

On top of the unsung help several people have provided/volunteered, to help make this fundraising effort successful, eight sponsors have contributed to the project in significant ways: They are: Anchor Studios, Bygones Vintage Clothing, Janus Films, New York Deli, Portrait House, Steady Sounds, Uptown Color, 97.3 FM WRIR Richmond Independent Radio.

https://www.facebook.com/bijoubacklight?fref=nf

Monday, September 1, 2014

About 'A Hard Day's Night'

The Fab Four in "A Hard Day's Night."

Ed Note: “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964): 87 minutes. B&W. Directed by Richard Lester. Produced by Walter Shenson. Cinematography by Gilbert Taylor. Screenplay by Alun Owen. Edited by John Jympson. Cast: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Wilfrid Brambell (Grandfather), Victor Spinetti (the TV director), Norman Rossington (Norm), Kenneth Haigh (Simon Marshall).

During 1963 the Beatles had sent four singles and two albums to the top of the British pop music chart. By the time “A Hard Day’s Night” premiered at the London Pavilion on July 6, 1964, the Beatles were celebrities of the first magnitude in the USA, as well. 

“Beatlemania” had been the original working title of the romp that was released as “A Hard Day’s Night” in Great Britain and the USA (in its first-run dates it had various titles in other countries). Accounts vary about what prompted him to say it, but there seems to be general agreement that it was Ringo Starr’s use of the phrase, “a hard day’s night,” as a wisecrack/malapropism -- that led to it becoming the title of the film.

Instead of just another quick-and-dirty rock ‘n’ roll exploitation flick, the director, Richard Lester, 32, assembled what became a milestone of popular culture history. After 50 years, the movie’s deft anti-authority tilt, with its humor -- both sly and slapstick -- together with its cinéma vérité look and exuberant pace, still holds up nicely.

To shoot this film, Lester guessed that improvisation in front of multiple cameras would work better than a bunch of rehearsal. Lester later noted: “Before we started, we knew that it would be unlikely that they could (a) learn, (b) remember, or (c) deliver with any accuracy a long speech. So the structure of the script had to be a series of one-liners. This enabled me, in many of the scenes, to turn a camera on them and say a line to them, and they would say it back to me.”

Cinematically, Lester captured what was in the air in 1964. He mixed techniques he had used in television with those being used in cutting-edge documentaries. He threw in looks he freely borrowed from the French New Wave.

“I have seen directors who write down a list of scenes for the day and then sit back in a chair while everything is filmed according to plan,” Lester explained. “I can’t do that. I know that good films can be made this way, but it’s not for me. I have to react on the spot. There was very little structure that was planned, except that we knew that we had to punctuate the film with a certain number of songs.”

In crediting Lester with establishing a “new grammar,” movie critic Roger Ebert wrote in 1996: [Lester] influenced many other films. Today when we watch TV and see quick cutting, hand-held cameras, interviews conducted on the run with moving targets, quickly intercut snatches of dialogue, music under documentary action and all the other trademarks of the modern style, we are looking at the children of ‘A Hard Day’s Night.’”

In 1965 “A Hard Day’s Night” received two Academy Award nominations: Alun Owen for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay, Written Directly for the Screen; George Martin for Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment.

After “A Hard Day’s Night” music videos were inevitable.

Now for the good news: the newly-restored version of “A Hard Day’s Night” is coming soon to a big screen in Richmond. More news on Wednesday.

 
Richard Lester, they went that-a-way...


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Beatlemania!


On Sunday, February 9, 1964, most of the young Beatles fans who tuned in to watch that historic live performance on the Ed Sullivan Show had only been aware of the Fab Four for a month, or so. Only the most avid pop music aficionados knew much about them before their first big hit in the USA, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (B-side: “I Saw Her Standing There”), was released on December 26, 1963. How it came to be released that day is a story for another time.

“I Want to Hold Your Hand” took off like a rocket. It hit No. 1 on the American pop chart just eight days before that first television appearance launched Beatlemania in the USA.

On the other hand, the frenzy had been underway for some time across the pond. The feature film that gathered the Beatlemania phenomenon, to present it on the big screen -- “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964) -- was conceived and planned out well before the Beatles left England to conquer America, via the CBS Television network. With Richard Lester as their director the rock ‘n’ roll quartet from Liverpool was working on shooting the movie a couple of weeks later.

Prior to that, here's a smattering of history: In August of 1960 the pre-Ringo Beatles arrived in Hamburg to polish their act; in October of 1961 Polydor released "My Bonnie" in West Germany. In November of 1961 the Beatles began playing regularly in Liverpool’s Cavern Club, among other venues. On their first tour of the UK, in early-1963, the Beatles were on an eleven-act bill, headed up the 16-year old Helen Shapiro. They played a lot of live gigs during 1963, sold plenty of records and became the most important musicians in Great Britain before the year was out.

Now folks might ask, who was Helen Shapiro? On November 4, 1963, at the Royal Variety Show, before real royalty, before closing with their cover of “Twist and Shout,” the founder of the Beatles, John Lennon, announced, “For our last number, I’d like to ask your help. Will the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And for the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.”

As for America, the Beatles' timing was perfect. Their peppy, jangling harmonies and harmless sarcasm broke through the fog of depression that had engulfed the USA, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, just a month before the Beatles double-sided hit 45 was released here.

In the gloom of that winter, 50 years ago, this country surely needed something fresh to lift its spirits. Before or since, there’s never been a popular culture explosion to equal the Beatlemania phenomenon of 1964.

The previous fan frenzies over singers in America, such as those that associated with Frank Sinatra in the 1940s and Elvis Presley in the 1950s, had surrounded individuals who sang songs written by tune-smiths in front of sidemen. Beatlemania was something new, it was about a rock 'n' roll band singing in harmony, like gospel singers or doo-wop groups. By featuring the collaborative aspects of the band's sound and image, together with the integral contribution of its two main songwriters, it showed everybody a picture of where pop music was going.