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Moving-picture Archaeology

You gotta love this stuff, embrace it, keep it sprouting up all over before we forget what it was like when directors were producers by choice and the medium of film was as accessible and hip as new digital video.

The Nervous Center is the underbelly of today's trendy coffee houses, a speakeasy-style, anti-cultural cabaret with racks of underground magazines, a loud non-stop mix of home recordings amidst the smell of perfectly-brewed coffee made from the finest fresh beans roasted in a vintage roaster only hours ago. It's a true-blue original, folks. The sorta place you either walk in and stick around for hours or run away screaming to the nearest sterile coffeemill (soon to be one in every apartment building). But if you take a seat, sip some vicious brew, eat some homemade veggie pizza, you'll also experience—absolutely free—a film festival that proprietors, brothers Ken and Richard Syska, have put together from an award-winning collection of vintage 16 mm prints.

This film festival is a compilation of educational and short subjects which, as the name The Nervous Center might suggest, rides up and down the spine like metal on fine concrete. Droll, out of the ordinary, and utterly mesmerizing, this funky lineup includes Dead Is Dead, Dot & Line, Shot Gun Joe, Pacific 231, American Shoeshine, Imprint, Lines Horizontal and nine others that guarantee to rattle all the senses. This is NOT your usual pack-'em-in-the-seats classic cinema, but rather the films you and your pals were forced to watch in dark, stinky gymnasiums in high school. This is the stuff you would've seen if you weren't too busy making farting noises or blasting paper clips or giggling over secret notes. This is "moving-picture archaeology" at its best, and you just shouldn't miss it for the world.

It's another exclusive Chicago film festival first, but listed here to unearth all the others lurking in the basements and backyards around this colossal country. You gotta love this stuff, embrace it, keep it sprouting up all over before we forget what it was like when directors were producers by choice and the medium of film was as accessible and hip as new digital video. And to those that take the time to dig-up these cinematic haunts, dust them off, expose them to the public, I furiously applaud you—whatta way to go!

So e-mail me, one and all, with the specifics of your film fest and I'll print them in R-rated; tell your friends and neighbors where to find you: four lawn chairs and a projector makes a theater in my book. If I'm in the area, I'll come join you, eat your microwavable popcorn and watch what you've uncovered while making farting noises, blasting paper clips and giggling over secret notes.

The Nervous Center
9612 N. Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL. 60625
(next door to the Davis Theater)


Posted by: r - Legacy Article

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