Fade away. . .and radiate

Ooh baby, watchful lines vibrate soft in brainwave time.
Silver pictures move so slow.
Golden tubes faintly glow.

–Blondie, Fade Away and Radiate

Movies have never been more democratic in number. There are a lot of movies out there, but i miss the cinema.  I have seen so many movies in my life,  i no longer really need  to see more movies, as i can play them in my head more than 24 frames a second. Popular movies and music, and some not so popular,  are so ingrained in our culture our brains become a virtual storehouse of sounds and images, subconsciously played over again. Or as Chris Stein wrote, “vibrate soft in brainwave time.”

Whether midnight showings of Rocky Horror in the suburbs, or latenight at the Elgin with El Topo or a dubbed version of Alphaville on Channel 5, the cinema had a certain place in culture, that was different than going to the movies.  It occurred simultaneously through cigarette smoke, dilettante types who talked too loud and the sometime sound of sprocket holes when something went wrong. It had its charm.

Today, many movies look great, even the bad ones. We watch our movies today often via mail, on demand or bootleg. We can have triple cable stations delivering movies repetitiously like nonnews from CNN. Kids fall out of SUVs in the morning, screens still playing.

“Damn, Joan Crawford and her knitting needles,” another Hollywood star once said of her, nervously knitting while previewing films in the comfort of the screening room in her own home. Private screening rooms were reserved for the rich. Today everyone has some kind of screen whether home or via phone. My kids have a giant screen in class. In fact, the world is a little closer to Bradbury’s (not Truffaut’s) Fahrenheit 451.  People post all kinds of things via YouTube or facebook. That is what I mean about movies never being more democratic.

Movieplex theatres today hold too many opening commercials to fill up wait time. Art Houses are long gone, I think. They got their name from running foreign Swedish and French films showing a little T&A, quite scintillating in the old days when nudist camps were around in New Jersey! I remember several people arrested on Hoffman Island, in the pre-Factory days, for getting caught making an “art” film, their faces plastered on the cover of the Daily News.’

There are still artsy theatres around, many running “classic” movies out of the 70s or 80s, they might do better running early Mtv and “classic” 60s and 70s commercials. Some older art movies have become as dated as the Black Bottom: A recent viewing of Repulsion made me realize I would rather watch Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, over the old Polanski nugget.

The more fun “Dollar” theaters retain little of the magic of going to the cinema, with a change of audience, popcorn replacing cigarette butts and dozens of kids running up and down the aisles. And we are talking late night. Paranoia of unknown weirdos has made kiddie matinees passè, where we saw what we thought were the greatest movies ever: Circus of Horrors, Blood and Black Lace and The Magnificent Seven!

Make your own cinema. Cinema is evolving into something new and more personal. It will be interesting to see where it goes.


Movie stills (top) La Dolce Vita, (center) Desperately Seeking Susan and (bottom) Circus of Horrors. The center from YouTube, captured by Corel and processed by Photoshop.


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One Response to “Fade away. . .and radiate”

  1. thinkvisual Says:

    I just use the service, I don’t actually know anything about the administration side of it and you might want to consult someone who is more familiar with it, look on the internet, do some research, find out what is secure, what is not, what are people saying, what gets ratings, all that type of stuff.

    I don’t think I have had any breaches, like stuff on facebook, etc. What made you contact me? Thanks.

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