"Secret Cinema" combines mystery movie with cinematically inspired art | Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

"Secret Cinema" combines mystery movie with cinematically inspired art

Hollywood Theater hosts Bill Murray-themed event

Bill Murray-inspired art by Dave Slebodnick
Bill Murray-inspired art by Dave Slebodnick

Ghostbusters. Groundhog Day. Rushmore. One of these movies might be the feature attraction for the April 25 Steel City Secret Cinema, at the Hollywood Theater. So far, however, all that's been revealed about the evening's film is that it stars Bill Murray. Not until the lights go down and the opening credits appear will audience members discover which of the comedian's classics they're about to enjoy.

While the mystery is part of the fun, Secret Cinema is more than just a movie kept under wraps. Founder Colin Matthews, a Hollywood patron, selects a new theme for each of these semiannual events and recruits a dozen Pittsburgh artists to participate. Each artist chooses a movie to illustrate that dovetails with the theme, but which is otherwise unrelated to the secret title (which Matthews also selects). The resulting artwork, which is displayed during the event, interprets popular films in inventive ways.

"You get the chance to take pre-existing characters and ideas from things people already know and put your own twist on it," says Seth Storck, who's designed artwork for all four editions of Secret Cinema. "It's great to see what scenes and little details inspire the pieces."

Last spring's 1980s-themed event screened George Romero's Day of the Dead and showcased paintings and mixed media that ran the gamut from Gremlins to Dirty Dancing. In November, the subversive Wristcutters: A Love Story was selected for the Dark Comedy edition; the accompanying art spotlighted an eclectic group of titles that included Inglourious Basterds and Murray's own The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. At Secret Cinema, almost anything goes, and that applies to the art as much as the clandestine movie.

All proceeds benefit the Hollywood Theater and the Arts for Autism Foundation of Pittsburgh. For artist Dave Slebodnick, this is what sets Secret Cinema apart from other art shows in the region.

"[People] come to enjoy the movie, the beer, the food and the art while simultaneously helping nonprofit organizations and smaller businesses throughout Pittsburgh."

The local brewery featured for the event rotates every six months; this time, it's Roundabout Brewery. Eat'n Park and Market District will provide the food.

So Caddyshack or Stripes? Lost in Translation or Broken Flowers? The artists aren't telling. That would spoil the surprise.

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