New York, Spectacle Theater, Brooklyn

Boys by Piotr Krzymowski on screen at Spectacle Theater
Boys by Piotr Krzymowski on screen at Spectacle Theater

Spectacle Theater, 13/05/14

This is my first time in Brooklyn, and I’m struck by certain similarities it has to Brighton, at least the Williamsburg part that I’m in. Independent bars and stores, cute coffee shops with tech heads working away, and the ‘local’ feeling of a town. It’s very heart-warming after the swarms of Manhattan.

Spectacle Theater is a volunteer-run independent space, set up by a group of individuals who wanted to get more diverse, challenging and foreign language work shown in New York. The space has windows covered in posters from current and previous shows, it looks like the wrong type of exciting might happen inside; it’s stimulating after the shiny, clean downtown spaces.

John Dieringer, one of the programmers and projectionists for the space – who has been amazing in helping me out with showing the work – meets me at Spectacle. We test the films and talk about Spectacle’s work. Incredibly, the volunteer run space does a seven day a week programme, with sometimes three screenings per day. I am stunned by this, in awe. Ten volunteers are on the programme committee and research and deliver a seven day programme, this has been happening for three and a half years. Something to be said for the sustainability of voluntary-led organisations…

We have a small crowd, but they’re ideal; including one of the Selected 4 (2014’s programme) artists, Ian Giles, who brings along some friends. Films are received well, there’s some discussion at the end and we pack up.

I go for a drink with John following the screening and we talk about opportunities for seeing artists’ film as a screening, and, as has been usual, it’s not a common practice, even in New York. Light Industry is probably the most well know, a similar organisation to the Lux in UK. I’m also referred to Union Docs for interesting work going on in the city. There is also New York Film Anthology. I was told by another New York resident that Flux Factory and Silent Barn also do screenings from time to time.

And finally, Washington DC.