Vintage Movies. Over the next two weeks, Tinker Street Cinema in Woodstock will honor American animator and filmmaker Ralph Bakshi. He is best known as the creator of the first X-rated animated film, 1972’s Robert Crumb-inspired Fritz the Cat (playing Sat. Feb. 18 at 7pm). The scandalous status of the film’s motion picture rating came to overshadow its artistic genius and truly innovative contributions to animation in film. For example, Fritz pioneered the use of watercolor painting under tracings of real-world photographs to add a sense of detail and realism previously unseen in “cartoon” films.
Bakshi went on to direct a run of eccentric, cult classic animated movies into the early 80s, including The Lord of the Rings (1978) (playing Fri. Feb. 10 at 7pm), American Pop (1981) (playing Sat. Feb. 11 at 7pm), and Wizards (1977) (playing Fri. Feb 17 at 7pm).
By the way, have you noticed Tinker Street Cinema just keeps getting weirder and cooler? Programming like this does true justice in upholding Woodstock’s eccentric cultural reputation.
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After Do the Right Thing came out in 1989, the film world was never quite the same. Spike Lee’s seminal film featured debuts and early career appearances by the household names of today’s acting world: Giancarlo Esposito, Rosie Perez, Martin Lawrence, Samuel L. Jackson, and John Tuturro to name a few.
After the film’s release, our culture was never the same. It was arguably the most influential film of its time in addressing issues of race. And though both audiences and critics agreed on its genius – and its timeless status endures – the Oscar for Best Picture that year went to Driving Miss Daisy, a cringey film that fails to hold up with its portrayal of outdated stereotypes.
You’ll have an opportunity to Do The Right Thing and honor the film with a big-screen viewing at UPAC in Kingston this Fri. Feb. 10 at 7:30pm.
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If you like to go way back in film history, the Saugerties Film Society will present The Awful Truth (1937) at Saugerties Public Library this Fri. Feb. 10 at 6pm. This vintage flick about a soon-to-be-divorced couple that rediscovers love puts its characters through a series of zany, screwball scenes.
Meet the moviemakers. We are still experiencing the aftershocks of a creative world under lockdown during the pandemic. A new film titled this body is so impermanent… explores the impact of the virus through the lens of a passage from the first-century Buddhist text Vimalakirti Sutra, which tells of finding a path towards spiritual awakening and facing life and death with no illusions.
The film features the virtuosic vocals of South Indian singer Ganavya Doraiswamy, improvisational dancer Michael Schumacher, maverick calligrapher Wang Dongling, and fiercely unique director Peter Sellars. All four will be in-person guests at a pair of Upstate Films screenings: Starr Cinema in Rhinebeck (Wed. Feb. 8 at 7pm), the Orpheum in Saugerties (Thu. Feb. 9 at 7pm).
Comedy. Before there was The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, there was Short Attention Span Theater, a sort of proto-Comedy Central boiled into a single show, hosted by Stewart and his stand-up comedian co-host, Patty Rosborough. She takes the stage with Dave Goldstein and Jim Medrinos for a comedy show at Daryl’s House in Pawling this Fri. Feb. 10 at 8pm. Also see special Valentine’s Day comedy events in this Almanac’s cover story.