After a nightmare year, we’re ready to dream again.
My earliest memory of going to the movies was in the backseat of our baby-blue Volkswagen Beetle in the summer of 1968 at the drive-in in Lincoln, Nebraska. We brought our own popcorn in a matching baby-blue tin container—mom and dad in the front seat, and two-year-old Brent and six-year-old me in the rear, with the backseat folded down so we could sprawl out and sleep when we got tired. I remember seeing “Camelot,” and dozing off before the end, but with a three-hour running time, I bet I wasn’t the only one. I also remember “The Love Bug”—we had a special connection to that one in our own beloved bug—and perhaps another Disney movie or two.
So you can imagine I’m excited to share the news that Newcity’s third movie, “Dreaming Grand Avenue,” will have its world premiere at the drive-in. There have been few silver linings in this dark COVID cloud, but the revival of the nearly extinct drive-in theater is one of them. (And this is coming from someone who does not own a car.) The drive-in is an iconic part of American film and cultural history and even family history, since my dad told me, not long before he died, that he’d worked a summer at the White Spot Drive-In in Fargo, North Dakota in the 1950s where part of his job was busting kids who hoped to sneak into the theater by hiding in the trunk of their car. (Nowadays, most drive-ins charge by the car so the jig is up on that move.)
Many years and miles away, “Dreaming Grand Avenue” premieres on September 23 at ChiTown Movies in Pilsen, a theater recently constructed in the parking lot behind the ChiTown Futbol indoor soccer facility. We’re partnering with the Music Box Theatre and Elevated Films on the evening, and we hope to see you there so we can dream together. But don’t sleep on tickets: the premieres for our previous two films, “Signature Move” and “Knives and Skin,” quickly sold out. But if you get caught napping and miss this one, we’ll be opening September 25 at the Music Box Theatre, both in physical and virtual cinema formats.
Who should see “Dreaming Grand Avenue”? If you liked the “Twilight” movies and especially Jasper Hale, you’ll love seeing Jackson Rathbone toddling around your hometown. If you liked the “Narcos” series, you’ll love seeing the range that one of its underused stars, Andrea Londo, brings to our very big screen. If you like Chicago’s own Tony Fitzpatrick, for his museum-caliber art or his Newcity “Dime Stories” columns or both, you’ll love seeing his best performance yet as an actor on screen. If you like David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks,” you’ll enjoy seeing the Chicago member of that TV show’s cast, Wendy Robie (she of the eye patch) as she deploys her formidable acting skills in mystical ways. If you love poetry, whether slams or classic verses, you’ll love seeing Walt Whitman interacting with Marc Smith at the Green Mill. In fact, if you’re a Chicagoan in body or spirit, you’ll love the many locations ranging from the Seminary Co-op Bookstore to the Smart Bar to the Lincoln Park Zoo to the Chicago River tour boat.
And if, like me, you’ve always been a dreamer, this movie is made for you.
Speaking of Tony Fitzpatrick, he’s been writing about the political conventions for us, in his own singular voice, at Newcity.com.
See you at the movies.
Look for Newcity’s September 2020 print edition at over 1000 Chicago-area locations this week or subscribe to the print edition at Newcityshop.com.
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