Thursday, February 14, 2013

Kickstart the Brattle

The Brattle Theatre is a venerable Cambridge cinematic institution, operating as a movie theatre since 1953, though it has a much longer history as a house of entertainment, and one of the few places in the Boston area where you can reliably see older and genuinely non-mainstream cinema.

A few years ago, during a major funding crisis, I decided I had to finally put my money where my mouth was: if I wasn't going regularly, I could hardly lament when the venue shut down due to lack of funding. The Brattle weathered that challenging period, thankfully, and shortly afterwards Sarah inaugurated an annual tradition -- a Brattle membership for my birthday. It's one of those gifts that never gets old: there's a new selection of pictures every time, and my only problem, as each year draws to a close, is that I've not been able to get to more of their screenings! With Sarah's essential parenting support I've still been able to go regularly since Shay arrived in 2011; we do miss making the trip together due to the hassles and expenses of babysitting, but we hope those days will return before too long, and I hope that Shay, in turn, will enjoy something of the magic I've always found in outings to the movies.

The Brattle has now launched a Kickstarter campaign to upgrade its HVAC and projection systems, to take it well into the 21st century. I'd urge you to pledge whatever you can to the cause: this is a great venue, with imaginative and unusual programming and a real desire to stay affordable and open to all. One of the things I love about their bi-monthly schedules is the sense that it is catering to many different publics -- local filmmakers, documentary obsessives, black and white fans, and oddball genre fiends (the genres are oddball, though the fiends may be, too).

As a small tribute, I've compiled a top ten of memorable Brattle outings, including double- and triple-bills -- going back through my notes and realizing I've had the chance to see these treasures on the big screen is a treat in itself. Well, perhaps The Goonies isn't a treasure, but it was hard to beat seeing it with a nostalgic Friday-night audience.

A Day at the Races / A Night at the Opera
Meet Me in St Louis
The Goonies
Red Riding
The Harder They Come
Week End
City Girl / Sunrise
Sherlock Jr.
Wake in Fright

Oh, and a special mention for the night we watched the finale of Lost at the Brattle -- the staff went all out and decorated every single piece of the venue in Dharma Initiative symbols, and threw in a whole range of entertaining and imaginative games to pass the time during commercial breaks. It's that kind of quirky gathering that makes this a place I want to see survive for another generation to enjoy.

Update (February 25): The Brattle made it to their very ambitious goal today, with an amazing array of people contributing over $140,000!

No comments:


List of all movies

Most of the images here are either studio publicity stills or screen captures I've made myself; if I've taken your image without giving you credit, please let me know.

About Me

Boston, Massachusetts, United States