Friends, we’re moving forward to establish the Bijou Film Center. This Tumblr served me well in the early days — kind of a virtual notebook. I won’t say I’ll never post here again, but, for now, keep your eyes focused on Bijou Backlight for illumination and updates on all things Bijou.
"The Biograph," a 1985 collage on plywood (5’ x 4’). Larry Rohr owns the piece. This one was done as part of a series of collages that F. T. Rea did in the ’80s.
Of course, the granddaddy of them was the one installed along the hallway from the theater’s lobby down to the larger auditorium, Theatre No. 1. It was about 30’ x 10’. Originally put together when the Biograph was converted into a twin cinema in 1974, it was repaired and covered with clear plastic in 1975. In 1982 a new collage was assembled for the 10th anniversary. The staff assisted in the work on both versions.
Facilitated by a leaky roof the Biograph’s hallway collage was destroyed by the wrath of nature during the period of time the building was not in use, between 1987 and 1992, and all was left to rot in the dark.
The above description was written by F. T. (Terry) Rea. The top image is a better reproduction of the piece. The bottom image is one I snapped of the artwork sitting on the porch of Larry Rohr’s home in Dogtown on Saturday, May 4th, the day of the 34th Biograph Derby Day Reunion Party. It was great to meet so many people that I’d only heard about through Terry, Trent Nicholas and Mike Jones. — James
The fundraising has officially begun! My son Logan announced to me one day recently that he was collecting money for the Bijou. So, I helped him make it official. This summer look for an event or two — the Bijou’s coming out so to speak — to raise awareness and money. Ultimately, we’re looking for a storefront in Richmond’s arts district. Stay tuned and let me know if you have any ideas. — James
A few of my photos from this past weekend’s Bastard Film Encounter. First image: Lump, the site of Friday night’s bastard film encounters; Second image: a bastard film (Lemon Refreshed Mr. Clean for office!); Third and final image: a view from outside Lump looking in through the gallery window … the reflected light of downtown Raleigh, the projecting light of the 16mm projector (Skip’s hand is in the mix too) and the projected light of a bastard film. — James
I made a quick round trip on Friday night to hang out with some bastards … bastard films that is … at the Bastard Film Encounter, put on by A/V Geeks’ Skip Elsheimer, who has made a number of stops in RVA by way of the James River Film Society. Sure wish I could have taken in the entire Encounter, but have to settle for the taste I got. So great to finally meet Dwight Swanson, Brian Graney and Snowden Becker (Liz Coffey I somehow missed you!). Great seeing Dan Streible, Brian Frye, Skip and his lovely wife Katrina. Wonderful meeting Dean Jeffrey, Mark Cooper, Heather Heckman and to top it off with a “small world” moment, Medwick Byrd, an engineering prof at NC State, founder of Lump Gallery, where the Friday night Bastard festivities were held and a native of my hometown, Benson, NC. Med is about five years older than me. We attended the same high school, know a lot of the same people (especially teachers like Miss Nixon “bonjour class!”) and, as he put it so well both “fell far from the tree.” Next time Skip throws another Bastard Film Encounter, I will be there for the duration!
For those of you in Richmond, VA: The 20th James River Film Festival wraps tonight with a strong double bill at the VCU Grace Street Theatre: David Williams’ THIRTEEN at 7 pm (come find out for yourself why Roger Ebert loved it so much) and Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 spaghetti western classic DJANGO at 9 pm. Both shows are $8/$5 JRFS members, VCU students FREE! Help us pack the house. Beforehand get in the mood with some spaghetti and wine at Edo’s!
Once the Bijou Film Center is open you can count on films like this getting some screen time!
Harry Kollatz wrote a great piece after interviewing Harold Lloyd’s granddaughter, Suzanne Lloyd, to help promote the 20th James River Film Festival screening of SAFETY LAST! The best part for me was watching it with my 7-year-old son Logan, who guffawed and snorted and fell laughing into my lap throughout. Magical movie experience for father and son. Thank you Harold Lloyd and Janus Films!