Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, June 09, 2021

If you miss the experience of sitting in your car, squinting/gawking at a giant projection while futzing with your radio to find the accompanying audio, then be on the lookout for the spontaneously-organized outdoor movie showings that may crop up in your area.

Whatever the arrangement, guerrilla drive-ins give new meaning to the phrase “community theater.” People can get up, walk around and socialize during the show if they wish, with some MobMovs taking on the feel of tailgate parties.

Eric Kurland, 41, an independent filmmaker living in Los Angeles, runs a popular 4-year-old weekly showing, HollyMobMov.

“I miss the old drive-ins,” said Kurland, who remembers the thrill of seeing “Star Wars” in 1977 at a long-defunct Pennsylvania drive-in near his home. “It’s like nothing else, and people are really hungry for that kind of experience.”

And though they’re decidedly do it yourself-style, all aspiring MobMovers are urged to keep it legal and secure required approvals from property owners and film distributors, who charge roughly $150 to $300 for a showing. Guerrilla drive-ins are typically free, with attendees’ donations used to offset the organizer’s expenses.

I think I got to go to exactly one authentic drive-in movie, and I believe it was E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. My memory is pretty fuzzy on it, since I would have been 11 years old at that time. I remember it was a primitive affair, with a blurry image and scratchy sound, and therefore extremely unsatisfying. So, y’know, not much incentive for me to relive that experience.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 06/09/2021 11:51:08 PM
Category: Creative, Movies
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stripped gehr
A tanking economy called for a cutback on extravagance in Brooklyn’s proposed Atlantic Yards, and that meant saying goodbye to “starchitect” Frank Gehry and his arresting $1-billion NBA arena design.

So developer and New Jersey Nets owner Bruce Ratner went to Plan B: A basketball barn downsized in pricetag and aesthetics, and already being savaged accordingly:

Whatever you may have felt about Mr. Gehry’s design — too big, too flamboyant — there is little doubt that it was thoughtful architecture. His arena complex, in which the stadium was embedded in a matrix of towers resembling falling shards of glass, was a striking addition to the Brooklyn skyline; it was also a fervent effort to engage the life of the city below.

A new design by the firm Ellerbe Becket has no such ambitions. A colossal, spiritless box, it would fit more comfortably in a cornfield than at one of the busiest intersections of a vibrant metropolis. Its low-budget, no-frills design embodies the crass, bottom-line mentality that puts personal profit above the public good. If it is ever built, it will create a black hole in the heart of a vital neighborhood.

But what’s most offensive about the design is the message it sends to New Yorkers. Architecture, we are being told, is something decorative and expendable, a luxury we can afford only in good times, or if we happen to be very rich. What’s most important is to build, no matter how thoughtless or dehumanizing the results. It is the kind of logic that kills cities — and that has been poisoning this one for decades.

Yes, a good deal of snobbery permeates this critique: Ellerbe Becket’s Kansas City pedigree alone amounts to an affront when considering large-scale development in the five boroughs. Metropolitan propriety bristles at any hint of importing structures that resemble flyover-country landmarks.

Still, it’s not like Ratner didn’t ask for it with this stripped-down shell. There really is nothing distinctive about this proposed facility — it’s just a generic roof to provide a covering for the 20,000 seats beneath it. It’s utilitarian, but obnoxiously so. And it’s certainly not born from a vacuum — a comparison with Gehry’s might-have-been makes the Ellerbe Becket design look that much cheaper (even if “cheaper” still adds up to around $800 million).

At this point, it’s obvious Ratner is merely salvaging the attempt to develop his patch of Brooklyn, with any mega-square-footage enclosure feasible for housing the relocated Nets. Last-ditch effort that’ll probably get ditched altogether.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 06/09/2021 10:38:10 PM
Category: Basketball, New Yorkin', SportsBiz
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Thought-provoking quote I came across in my readings today:

“A path has no value once you have arrived.” - Hujwiri

This is straight out of the canon of Muslim Sufism, which basically strips down Islam to a permanent in-the-moment experience with no past and no future. Thus, the act of discarding the means once the end is achieved.

Less mystically, it reminds me of the blase resistance I used to encounter when formatting published content for the insta-archiving and cross-categorization of Web presentation. It always amazed me how editors, writers, and other producers would purge themselves of their latest missives once deadline had come and gone, never looking back but always looking forward to the next piece. There’s a virtue in that, and plenty of people in all walks of life function that way. Still, so much for the value of institutional legacy.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 06/09/2021 01:52:33 PM
Category: Creative
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