There’s a light in the east — and it’s the glow of a new movie theater! Nearly a decade after the Showcase East shut its doors, a new theater complex opens today at the Monroeville Mall.
Officially called “Cinemark Monroeville Mall and XD,” the new cineplex has 12 screens. Half the theaters will be RealD 3D-capable, and for maximum “D,” there is an “Extreme Digital Cinema” auditorium.
Plus the standard amenities of 21st-century movie-going: floor-to-ceiling screens, digital surroundsound, plush stadium seating and a well-stocked concession stand.
The theater is showing current releases, plus one special treat through the weekend: Midnight screenings Thursday, Friday and Saturday of George Romero’s 1978 zombie classic, Dawn of the Dead, shot at the Monroeville Mall. See complete theater schedule here.
Imagine a drive-in that you could walk or bike to — and which screened a wide-range of short films, including comedies, dramas, documentaries and even experimental works.
Such a venue is happening for one night, Sat., Oct. 12, at 917 Liberty Ave., Downtown (a.k.a. Phil's Parking Lot, between Liberty and Exchange Way). The event is co-presented by Future Tenant gallery and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.
A sleection of film from up-and-coming local artists will be screened. Featured filmmakers include: Alex Goldblum, jtc45/D.S. Kinsel, David Safin, Mike Smith and Jeremy Waltman. (The press release notes: "Some themes may be unsettling," so consider yourself advised.) A $5 donation is suggested.
The screening starts at 7 p.m. Come early for good seats (which presumably will be provided), and for pre-show grub: From 5-7 p.m., food trucks will be parked nearby.
For more info, visit Future Tenant's website.
Tonight, Frontline (on PBS) airs a two-hour report about professional football and head injuries. The episode, "League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis," specifically addresses whether the NFL knew about the dangers of head injuries, and kept that information from players and, by default, fans of America's most popular spectator sport.
The controversial topic began here: It was Pittsburgh forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu who, in 2002, examined the brain of former Steeler Mike Webster, and found evidence of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a degenerative condition. Interviewed by Frontline, Omalu said: "I saw changes that shouldn’t be in a 50-year-old man’s brains, and also changes that shouldn’t be in a brain that looked normal.”
The program airs at 9 p.m.
Afronaut(a) is a seven-part free film series kicking off this weekend, curated by artist and filmmaker Alisha B. Wormsley. Each event, held twice a month through early December, is set up as a salon, comprising films of many genres (experimental, sci-fi, African diaspora) as well as related performances from local and national artists and discussions.
The first event Sun., Sept. 15, at 2 p.m. (doors at 1 p.m.), at the Alloy Studios (5530 Penn Ave., Friendship). Wormsley will introduce the series, and present some her films as well as Chris Marker's time-travel short, "La Jetee," and Richard Kahn's "Son of Inagi," with live accompaniement by Ricardo Iamuuri.
For more information and the complete schedule, see here.
If you're a film fan and you've got no plans for this holiday weekend, you might want to spend it cleaning out your DVR, because Turner Classic Movies is about to blow your mind.
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the cable channel is running a 15-week series, The Story of Film: An Odyssey, which promises "to tell the history of cinema through a global lens." Those documentary episodes are only 75 minutes, but alongside them, on Mondays and Tuesdays, TCM is running relevant films — an astonishing line-up of 119 films, plus shorts, from 29 countries.
A quick look at the exhaustive schedule shows many, many rare and unsual films, in addition to some familiar classics, that no discerning cinephile should miss.
Week 1 begins Mon., Sept. 2, and covers 1895-1918. It includes some of the very first films made, such as shorts from Edison, as well as influential full-length features, including four from D.W. Griffiths. Following episodes cover everything from European silents, early Asian cinema, the establishment of genre films under the studio system, the rise of world cinema after World War II, French New Wave, spaghetti Westerns, Third World cinema, the rise of "new American cinema" and "radical cinema" in the 1970s, and right up through today's concerns (digital filmmaking, post-9/11 cinema).
Some of the greatest films ever made that you may never have seen will be broadcast: The full schedule is here. I'm not sure it's humanely possible to actually watch every single film (they run into the wee hours on Mondays and Tuesdays), but if you did, you would know a LOT about cinema — and have fun learning.
You'd be right in guessing that back-up singers often get overlooked, so it's doubly sad that we missed getting the release of this documentary film about back-up singers into this week's paper.
Morgan Neville's new doc, 20 Feet From Stardom, opens Fri., July 5, at the Manor, in Squirrel Hill. He interviews back-up singers — Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer (works currently with Sting and the Rolling Stones) and Merry Clayton (that unforgettable voice on the Stones' "Gimme Shelter") — as well as those stars who rely on them, and the occasional singer who walks that very long 20 feet from back-up performer to headliner.
A new documentary, Free Angela and All the Politcal Prisoners, directed by Shola Lynch screens in Pittsburgh on Thu., June 13.
"Angela" is, of course, Angela Davis, an iconic crusader for civil rights in the late 1960s and early '70s, particularly for politcal prisoners. In time, she herself was jailed — and freed.
The local premiere, at AMC Loews in Homestead, is hosted by New Voices Pittsburgh. The film begins at 7 p.m., and Dr. Joyce M. Bell, assistant professor of sociology at Pitt, will lead a post-screening discussion. For more information, see www.freeangelafilm.com.
Will Pittsburgh be home to a double-dose of drag royalty? Will history be made as the crown goes to Pittsburgh's own Alaska, boyfriend of last season's winner of RuPaul's Drag Race, Pittsburgh's own Sharon Needles?
If so, will Sharon have to give her crown to Alaska? Or will it be a two-crown household — and which will be more fabulous?
Find out tonight on RuPaul's Drag Race, in a special two-hour episode starting at 9 p.m., on Logo, in which the three finalists, including Alaska, will be paraded on the runway one last time.
City of champions! Bring it home, girl!
If you're one of those folks who loves to see new movies before everybody else, there's a new opportunity in town.
Pittsburgh is one of 20 markets nationwide selected by distributor Gathr Films to hold sneak previews of new independent films; screenings are weekly on Thursday nights at the Hollywood Theater, in Dormont.
These aren't free previews — you have to sign up in advance and pay a membership fee ($19 for one month; $49 for 3 months). But that's less than $5 a film, comparable to renting a movie for home consumption. Membership guarantees a seat.
Upcoming films include releases from established indie-film distributors such as Millennium, Kino Lorber, Film Movement and Music Box Films. The programming covers dramas, comedies, music films, international films and documentaries.
May offers: The Iceman, with Michael Shannon; The Deep, an Icelandic doc/thriller; Ain't in It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm; What Maisie Knew, starring Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan; and 100 Bloody Acres, an Australian horror-comedy.
Full schedule details and how to sign up are here.
Some of Alaska's runway work has been shaky this season, but last night she was the big winner, wowing the judges in not one, not two, but THREE runway challenges.
She nailed the Beverley Hills brat in the "Sweet 16" look; gave up some "Executive Realness" in a tailored power-pantsuit and razor-sharp pixie wig; and was all kooky sweetness for the big "Candy Extravaganza" challenge, sporting a pink mini-dress (and matching topper) that screamed "cotton candy."
Guest judge — and fab-tacky fashion-designer legend — Bob Mackie LOVED Alaska's look, seemingly swooning over our girl's skinny bow-legs, and declaring her "a star from the crotch down."
All of this put Alaska snugly in the final three, with the winner to be decided next week. Could TV do the unthinkable — award the top prize to Alaska, whose boyfriend Sharon Needles won it last season? Certainly, Pittsburgh would love having such a Power Drag Couple.
At worst, Alaska's going to come in third, and that's nothing to shed drippy mascara tears over.
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