Sorry about the radio silence for a while (including missing a Hit Me with Your Best Shot assignment that would have had me re-explore the amazingly awesome Zardoz), but I’m still going through a lot of things at once and the sudden loss of a personal computer and the immediate planning to depart from Miami to New York for an indeterminate amount of time adds to the inability to regularly post. Please forgive me.
In the meantime, all of my energy for the past week has been going into this particular post from the past month that I had intended to do as a personal tribute for a couple of friends who I are going through their own grand move pretty soon.
Since 2013, Nayib Estefan was roaming through Miami dead set on showing movies he loved to people who’d know exactly when to show up and in what zone to be in before watching them. A lot of those early screenings took place in the Blue Starlite Drive-In before he put his foot in the door with the Wynwood bar, Gramps, resulting in a back screening room affectionately title Shirley’s that held weekly screenings. By Halloween of 2014, Estefan got to taking his screenings over to the Coral Gables Art Cinema and – slowly but surely – made a point of making as many of those screenings be held in 35mm celluloid film. Early in 2015, he brought on a right-hand man in the form of Bryan Herrero, and together, the two have been keeping the classic reels of Miami rolling under the nomiker of
SECRET CELLULOID SOCIETY
This isn’t some kind of a coverage write-up, though. I’m not going to run through THE COMPLETE ABRIDGED HISTORY OF SECRET CELLULOID SOCIETY. I’m much too tired to dig into that – there’s so much they did within the past year alone between the Olympia Theater Birthday Bash of Dick Tracy and the opening of Snake Alley market and the running of Fading Formats in Shirley’s and so on. And there’s so many names that would have to be named alongside them in helping Nayib build SCS from the ground up.
But I can at least report on the result: Secret Celluloid Society primarily invigorated an interest in Miami towards retro cinema and brought in a welcoming atmospheric vibe for both casual filmgoers and hardcore film nerds.
As a result, it shouldn’t be such a surprise that many friends of mine had been made within these weekly (occasionally bi-weekly) nights where I’d go to watch a movie and hang back until the waking hours talking about whatever picture played on the screen or in my mind.
And what kind of movies did Nayib bring out? Well, we have Phantom of the Paradise, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Miami Connection, House, Labyrinth, Forbidden Planet, Night of the Demons and so many others that it’s impossible to exit any screening without a smile on your face. All for less than the price of an average film ticket and with free popcorn for attendees. And this is just talking about their Gables run and this is without even mentioning the absolutely hits like Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Evil Dead, Back to the Future, and other extremely recognizable names.
When you want to talk about people who did it for the love of cinema, Secret Celluloid Society is the very first name that pops in mind. It kept me around for certain.
Secret Celluloid Society is currently wrapping up its run at the Coral Gables Art Cinema and preparing to take its weird and eclectic selection of celluloid madness up to the O Cinema Miami Beach. It’s sure to be an exciting and uncertain time for them, given the circumstances and the location being not as accessible as Wynwood or Coral Gables.
Because of this, and just as a reminder that everybody who attended these screenings and loved them will stick around, I decided to put together all these testimonies (because I can never decide entirely on one thing, I was a bit between top five SCS moments and just whatever they wanted to write) from friends who also really appreciated the SCS experience.
It’s sure to be a long post. If you’re still waiting on my Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice review, you’ll have to wait. This ain’t for you. This is for us.
SCS has been a series of amazing moments. At my first screening, Roger Rabbit, I met Nayib. Just after meeting him, he invited me into the projection booth to quickly look at the 35mm print. He did the same thing the first time I brought my daughter to a screening.
It was a small gesture, but to me encapsulates what going to SCS every week is like. The 35mm movie experience is amazing and unmatched but the people there are what make it special.
I always go for the movie but I keep coming back for the people.
Most winters when I lived in the Northeast, I would buy a bag of candy and watch 1980s horror movies. It was one of the ways I would stay warm. I preferred 80s horror, because if the movie was not very good, I would still be amused by the dialog and wardrobe. My winter horror marathons sort of reawakened my love of horror and film. I couldn’t take the winters anymore and moved back to Miami in February of 2015. No more horrorthons for me… or so I thought…On May 30th 2015, I received a cryptic social media message from my friend Nicole Soden who was inviting me to Rocky Horror Picture Show on 35mm at a place called Coral Gables Art Cinema. She was playing the lead Dr. Frank-N-Furter for the shadow cast. It was an hour before the show. I hesitated as I often do, but I made the drive since it was so close to my digs. I was still at the time rediscovering Miami (I lived in NYC for 5 years) and the thought of going to a film screening at 11:30 at night for Rocky Horror in a town like Coral Gables left me perplexed and excited.Let’s just say I’ve been to almost every screening since Rocky Horror. One of my most memorable Halloweens of all time was with Secret Celluloid Society and the horror movie marathon at Gables Cinema. It was something I use to do by myself and now I was experiencing classics on 35mm with other true film lovers, freaks, weirdos, and horror fiends. My friend Nayib Estefan has done a wonderful thing for the community. I congratulate him and Bryan for moving forward to taking the madness to O Cinema in Miami Beach. I highly recommend going if you love movies. You will make friends and share some great times. Personally I can not wait for tomorrow’s screening of Return of the Living Dead. Maybe I’ll see you there.
My top 5 [screenings] are:1. Hedwig and the Angry Inch. My first time at SCS. A personal invite from Nayib. Who I only knew as some random person behind a computer screen associated with SCS. He was persistent in reaching out and inviting me to multiple SCS events before, that unfortunately I was unable to attend. I’m so glad I went to the HATAI!2. Little Shop Of Horrors. The time Nayib, in character, came up to each of the audience members, and Audrey II ate my cellphone and it accidentally flew across some rows of seats. The camera recorded being eaten by Audrey II.3. Labyrinth. It was a childhood fantasy that came to life for me. To be able to see it on the big screen in 35mm, I’ll take that memory with me for the rest of my life.4. Up All Night Halloween 2015. In particular, Eraserhead, it changed me that night I felt honored and so lucky to watch it for the first time, on 35mm, on the big screen, sleep deprived, with a room full of a bunch of crazies dressed up in costume. But some dude with mile high teased hair and a serious demeanor, stands out the most for me.5. It’s a tie between Brazil and Videodrome. I kid you not that when I say watching Brazil while being sleep deprived, sitting in the center first row, with the sound system at the insane volume it was set at, MESSED ME UP! I had a twitch for about a week, and the most insane night terrors. I was visually over stimulated with Brazil. Videodrome was freakishly intense in it’s own way.6. Honorable mention A: Purple Rain! No words. I felt like I was a teenager in the 80’s going to see Purple Rain on opening night. ♡♡♡♡7. Honorable mention B: The Notebook. I know this shouldn’t be anywhere on the list but it’s all about the memories dammit! Sitting in between Abe and Humby, while Humby made it very clear to me that I better not cry, and Singa Extreme aka Abe shoving the box of tissues in my face during every sappy moment!
Being at almost every single SCS screening since my first viewing of The Evil Dead, I’ve seen a lot of shit go down. Here’s just a sliver of what I consider to be some top moments:
- The Fly – People tend to chit-chat during screenings and that’s usually never a huge problem. During the screening of The Fly, there was a very drunk elderly lady sitting in front of me and it turned out to be a hilarious experience. Between her constant one-way banter with Seth Brundle, one particular phrase will never escape me: “why can’t he be a good fly? Why does he have to be a ‘bad’ fly?”
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit – I’ve seen my fair share of scratches and splices but nothing will ever compare to all the near white-knuckle moments during this screening. At one point everyone in attendance thought the film would just break and burn! You could hear the audience cheer or jeer whenever the film looked to become compromised. It’s never happened but this was the closest it’s ever come to.
- The Shining & 2001: A Space Odyssey – Kubrick is a legend and was a master at his craft. Watching a 35mm print of The Shining was life-altering. The warm color the print had was amazing. It was like watching the movie again for the first time. The crowd that night was incredible. PACKED house and not a whisper could be heard. Every scene was being dissected all over again. The same could be said with 2001. A dead silence befell the audience. The scene where HAL kills an astronaut was so quiet you could hear a pin drop in the room. Watching Dave disembowel HAL was mesmerizing.
- UP ALL NITE – The Halloween extraveganza was epic. I was at the theater over twelve hours. I enjoyed every minute. The Thing is one of my favorite films ever and being able to watch it in glorious 35mm was a marvel. Meeting the director of Night of The Demons was beyond a treat. Getting completely chocked up during ht climax of Eraserhead was totally unexpected. Hearing Leatherface’s chainsaw cut off during the final scene of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the perfect ending.
- The Evil Dead – This was the screening that got me hooked. I remember seeing the flyer at my job. A quick glance before attempting to toss them into the garbage was a life-saver. I saw the one-sheet for The Evil Dead on it. Alongside it was the statement: “35mm Film”. That was it. I knew I had to go to that screening. I knew no one at SCS. I had gone to a few screenings prior but never really connected with a single person except during Blade Runner were I chatted a bit with a couple guys that claimed they had never watched the film. I met my spirit animal during The Evil Dead screening. Mr. Bill Butler approached me that night when he saw I had a Necronomicon in my hands. We bonded that night and will most likely share that bond for the rest of our SCS experiences. I’ve had dozens of great moments at SCS. Some great, some not-so great. It’s been a blast meeting great people and sharing the love of cinema every night. It’s ruined my theater-going experience whenever I go to a major chain only to be shown a digital representation of film. Long live the new flesh!
Sitting with my back plastered to the theater seat, and my face plastered to projection screen, every sensation in my being was heightened beyond compare. Fully immersed in a dream-like, meditative state. Eraserhead – a black and white surrealist horror film by David Lynch – was being screened as part of the Secret Celluloid Society’s “Up All Nite” Halloween spectacular. Starting time was 4:30 am, making Lynch’s masterpiece the perfect selection for the smallest of the “witching” hours. My surroundings slowly began to melt away, and I focused entirely on the scene before me – which was of course being shown in the purest artistic glory of 35mm film. Like a supercharged tuning device, my mind began to recollect similar past “Up All Nite” experiences. A doorway that had been long since shut was opened, and a flood of emotions washed over me like a warm ocean wave.
Memories can be like fingerprints. A permanent way of tracing your identity. These “Up All Nite” memories were no exception:
As a young child, cuddling with my mom late on a Friday night, watching the classic horror monster movies. She knew I hadn’t been sleeping, and instead had nervously watched every frightening moment with her into the wee hours.
Going to the theater with my father on a Saturday night, spending hours at the diner afterward discussing what we had seen together, as the cold winter wind whipped and snow flurries danced around the street lamps outside.
Watching an endless barrage of “B movie” gore horror flicks with my best friends, laughing until what felt like near death, until we heard the morning paper hit the front door of my house with a bang.
Coming home from some of the most trying times of my life, not knowing where I was going, if I’d have anything to eat, or how I was going to get out of my latest eviction notice, turning on USA network’s “Up All Nite” program, and being comforted by my favorite cheeseball movies until the sun came up both in the world and in my heart.
Since it’s arrival shrouded in mystery, the Secret Celluloid Society has been many things to many people. For me, it’s been the “Up All Nite” I had been missing. The films, the friends, the fun. I never thought in a million years that I’d experience anything like this again… Until I was sitting there, back plastered to the theater seat and eyes plastered to the screen, watching Eraserhead with a new set of best friends, feeling love and desire and joy and weightlessness and wonder and beauty wash over me, enjoying EVERY SINGLE FRAME the projector had to offer. So I say to the Secret Celluloid Society: Let’s stay “Up All Nite” together… and make celluloid memories until the paper hits the front door 🙂
William Champ Butler
– William Butler is a Ft. Lauderdale based artist specializing in “Art, Mayhem, and the Macabre”.
It was a Saturday, 11pm. The date was October 11th.
My good friend Abe had been telling me about these rowdy group of people that played 35mm screening of really awesome movies for quite some time already. Me being the hermit that I’m I kept blowing off screening, until that October 11th. Little did I understand what I was in store for…The bright, loud, gore…. It was fucking beautiful. “House” was the 1st feature I attended at SCS (Secret Celluloid Society) but what people don’t understand about attending a SCS feature is that you don’t just go for the movies. Well, you do… but you stay for the company. All the best movies in the world wouldn’t mean anything if the event weren’t hosted by the SCS crew.
The brotherhood feeling that you get when you walk into a SCS screening is what kept me coming back; and these are my top five moments at SCS:
- Back to the Future
- Once I found out that SCS was screening back to the future, I just lost it. Again, as I mention above the movie was irrelevant. It was the fact that I was going to watch it would great people. An added bonus was that it was on the same weekend as one of my best friends Chris Cortes’ birthday, so I surprised him and his wife with tickets to the screening. That made the experience even better. Other than surprising Chris and Rebecca with tickets, the highlight of the night was the “Back to the Future Ride” simulation at the beginning of the screening that made the experience complete. It was like stepping back into the 90’s.
- Trailer Apocalypse
- Come one, this one is a no brainer… two hours of some of the grimiest movies made in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s….. You’re insane if you didn’t make it out. Again, for this screening,I was able to get my brothers Brian, Chris, and his awesome wife Rebecca out to see these amazing trailers. Reflecting once again on my main theme here, it’s not what you’re watching it’s who you’re watching it with. Also, these trailers “NEED MORE WENIER!!!”
- SCS Roadshow
- These screening where extra special. These where last minute locations, very small groups, and mainly black and white screenings all horror. Quite honesty that’s the only thing I would screen if I had the resources to do so. I was unable to attend the Night of the Living Dead screening since I was out of town that week, I also missed up all night, which I hate myself for it more and more each day for that. But I did make it out to one of my favorite Bela Lugosi movies White Zombie in the most random location, which happened to be walking distance from my house, Versailles.
- Mad Max Fury Road
- This was the movie that got me back into going to movie theaters. Before Fury Road I had given up on going out to watch movies. (we cover this in the SCS episode of my podcast) At least for me, I don’t like crowds or long lines. So going to a movie theater on a Friday night to watch the year’s blockbuster isn’t really my MO. That’s why I went to see Mad Max Fury Road on a Wednesday afternoon in the middle of nowhere. I also saw this film for the first time in D-Box (that crazy movies seat experience) the best way to see it other than 35mm, hands down. That being said, I couldn’t pass the opportunity to watch Fury Road in 35mm. The film grain from the 35mm celluloid gave the movie the grunge that was missing in the digital formats. Plus, I was watching it with the right people. With the brotherhood that is SCS.
- The Fly
- No not the Vicente Price fly, those of you that know me already know my obsession with Vicente Price, although I love the Jeff Goldblum version just as much. This is my top moment, not only because it’s one of my favorite movies with Goldblum but also because this was the night we recorded one of my favorite podcast to date. We set up the mic in the lobby, hit record and let the conversation just go. We covered The Fly (obviously) films in general, how the SCS began, and what everybody asks when you mention that you’re going to watch a 35mm screening: “What’s the point?! We have a Blu-ray version of that on the shelf!” Really worth giving a listen if you’ve attended any 35mm SCS Screening, not just because it’s my podcast.
So as you see, my moments weren’t so much the movies (well except for Mad Max Fury Road) a much as the events that happened around them, or where they happen. But most importantly the friends I’ve made while attending the SCS screening. I’d like to thank Abe, for introducing me to this family of awesome people. Nayib and Bryan for the awesome work and dedication to the art of film. And all the other amazing friends I’ve made while attending these screening: Ana, Butler, Dee, Greg, Humby, Kelly, Kiki, JC, Juan, Mike, Pam, Roja, Salim, Slim, and of course Ervin!
Thank for some awesome memories.
Secret Celluloid Society, or SCS, for me, is more than a simple film screening, it is a place where you will meet the most interesting people and watch 35mm films that would not otherwise be shown in South Florida. Honestly, every SCS event has been unforgettable because the SCS crew do their best to make each and every screening special from shadow casts to providing free popcorn to light set ups and so forth.
Here are just a few SCS events that have stood out for me thus far:
1. Up All Night! The Thing, Night of the Demons, Eraserhead, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are some of my favorite horror films of all time. And it just doesn’t get much better than watching these on 35mm with everyone in their crazy costumes at the cinema as part of a Halloween movie marathon! It was really an unforgettable night. The cherry on top was meeting Kevin Tenney, the director of Night of the Demons, and watching his personal reel of what might just be the ultimate Halloween movie (at least in my opinion).
These next two films are ones I never thought would be played in Miami:
2. Hausu because it is one of the most absurd and trippy flicks out there! It was entertaining to see and hear the reactions of people who had never seen this film before.
3. The Holy Mountain because it was a surreal experience watching an occult film among a sold out crowd. I love that the crowd participated in a spiritual mantra to prepare for the film.
4. The Evil Dead because it was my first 35mm screening for SCS so I will always hold it near and dear! That was the night I realized that SCS was going to bring some film culture to Miami after Nayib spoke so passionately about film and the importance of original format projections.
5. 2001: A Space Odyssey because it is one of those epic and visual masterpieces that needs to be seen on film in a movie theatre to really fully experience the film.
1. Miami Connection because my sides still hurt from laughing so much.
2. I have to mention at least one SCS roadshow because the whole concept is freaking genius! The one that really sticks out was the 16mm films shown at Versailles: Rabbit’s Moon, La Jetee, Un Chien Andalou, Night on Bald Mountain, The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer, and White Zombie!
3. The Rocky Horror Picture Show because not only did Nayib track down a rare print, he also set up an amazing shadow cast! The makeup, the performances, and the goodies bags with newspapers to shelter us from the rain that literally poured over us in the theater really makes this a once in a lifetime kind of experience.
I need to end this already because I can go on and on about each and every screening I’ve attended. So to quote our favorite SCS handler, Bryan Herrero, “get ready to get ready” because SCS is going to continue to bring us unforgettable film screenings and you don’t want to miss out!
– Kelly Cao is one of several regular attendees of the SCS screenings. Thanks for the write-up, Kelly!
For the last two years I’ve been covering everything that Nayib Estefan and Secret Celluloid Society has been doing for Miami. It’s been weird, to say the least, and it’s moved from me being cautiously optimistic to completely signing up for the experience that SCS provides.
The first time Nayib and I met was at Gramps, where I’d gone for an interview with him I’d been assigned, with my ex-boyfriend in tow, who was worried about his car because he’d never parked in Wynwood before. (This is not-so-long before he started working at O Cinema, which amusingly enough is now where SCS is heading). So I was being semi-rushed and also semi-uncertain of what the fuck an all-digital cinema in the back of the bar was going to be like.
Turns out it was pretty dang cool, resulting in this article (one of my first for the Miami New Times), and a new acquaintance who I’d bother in emails and Facebook messages on rare occasion. Seeing him setting up for Mannequin and seeing the atmosphere that had been created at Shirleys was enough to show me that this guy cared about movies, but I was still skeptical about where this would go.
It wasn’t until a full year later that we started chatting it up more and I started going to more screenings. By this point, it was in Coral Gables and I was much better suited to drive there than Wynwood. There was Phantom of the Paradise (considering both Paul Williams and Gloria Estefan were there, I would have happily murdered someone to attend and am thankful to say I didn’t have to), After Hours, Saturday Night Fever, Blade Runner, and Fantastic Planet. It sounds like a good chunk, but it wasn’t really that much (which I realized when looking at the SCS After Hours list on Letterboxd). I was sporadic with my attendance at first, but I always enjoyed myself.
And then came The Rocky Horror Picture Show. My good friend Lauren Cohen and I, dressed in our ridiculous dress clothes and colorful wigs, got to know a little about all the people in the shadow cast that would be performing and ran up to the front mid-song to do the “Time Warp” with a ton of others. Sure, it was unpolished and nobody in the audience knew the callbacks except for a rare few, but it was exactly the way I’d wanted to see Rocky Horror all along: on film and with a bunch of people looking to have a good time.
And then came Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Shining, Ghostbusters, and Beetlejuice, before Nayib and I, who had been talking a lot more frequently (and he can testify to how much I bother him with completely ridiculous stories on a regular basis), finally set up time for a follow-up interview. “Secret Celluloid Society Makes Saturday Night Screenings the Place to Be” was the title and the night was much less an interview set-up than it was me just following Nayib around the cinema before and after 2001: A Space Odyssey on 35mm. It was ridiculous, I was introduced to dozens of people, and I realized something amazing: this was exactly where I wanted to be practically every Saturday night.
There was The Holy Mountain (where Trae DeLellis and I downed a bottle of wine, much to the dismay of an audience member), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (where I met Lena Hall for the second time in my life and fangirled like an idiot), Grease (where I dragged my mother along with me to a theater full of people singing along happily), Little Shop of Horrors (which climaxed with a flurry of green confetti in theater), The Fly (featuring a piercing sharp audio blast on the print whenever the teleporter turned on), the amazing Up All Nite series that featured four films (and I covered in a semi-drunken, very-tired state of mind), Brazil, Videodrome, Goodfellas, Mad Max: Fury Road, Die Hard, The Wild Bunch, Purple Rain, Big Trouble in Little China, Boogie Nights, Labyrinth, The Notebook, Back to the Future, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Dick Tracy, Evil Dead 2, and Miami Connection.
I could list so many things that have happened at these screenings that have impacted me amazingly in some way, but I’ll just mention three of my favorites: winning the SCS Contest that resulted in my free tickets and my beautiful Eraserhead baby that I cherish every day, meeting one of my favorite filmmakers John Cameron Mitchell during his first viewing of Labyrinth ever, and experiencing Miami Connection with a full audience that seemed just as in love with it as I was.
Along the way through those screenings, I also realized I ended up with a weird family of sorts. I met amazing people! People from every place in Miami and further north who were all incredibly different (and who I won’t list here because I will inevitably forget someone and feel terrible), but came together because of what Nayib had made. They’re the same people I see at practically every screening (except The Notebook because you’re all terrible and you didn’t get to enjoy the fantastic Ryan Gosling “hey girl” memes on the screen with me) and they’re the same people who I’ve come to want to see outside of screenings.
And they’re the same people I’m going to keep on seeing once SCS moves to Miami Beach (and wherever they may move after that because our bond seems kind of endless at this point). Secret Celluloid Society, for better or worse, has taken over my life in a crazy way. I may not attend every screening, but nearly each and every single one I’ve attended has been well-worth it in some way; not just because I’ve enjoyed the movies (some new-to-me and some rewatches), but because I’ve enjoyed getting to know all the people who attend them with me all the damn time.
Months ago, I considered what life would be like if I moved somewhere else (because I was infatuated with a boy). I started taking stock of the things I’d miss the most, and after a particularly wonderful SCS screening, I realized that these screenings are what I’d miss the most. It’s something I never expected to happen, but I’m glad it did. It’s why I keep texting Nayib that I’m incredibly excited for the first O Cinema Miami Beach screening (which just so happens to be The Matrix by Lilly and Lana Wachowski – two filmmakers I adore – and takes place a few days after my birthday). Hell, if I had the money and costumers had more plus-sized options available, I would be dressing up as Trinity just for the sake of amping up the fun.
Anyway, I’m not here to sell you on SCS, but at the same time, I sure sound like I am, and I’m okay with that. Secret Celluloid Society screenings are not for everyone, but they’re enough to make me want to drive my tired ass to North Miami Beach every so often to watch movies and have a good time with my new weird family. So, y’know, join along sometime.
– You probably wouldn’t tell from the article he just wrote up there, but Juan Barquin is a journalist for the Miami New Times and the co-founder of Dim the House Lights (where yours truly recently authored a guest article).
Damn, and I guess that leaves just me. I am a very simple man, so I will stick to my original plan of my top five favorite Secret Celluloid Society moments.
5. Raiders of the Lost Ark – August 16, 2015
Raik is a movie that made me want to go adventure as a child and beat up Nazis and find treasure so badly that I was always going to be eager to see it in the big screen the moment SCS announced it. What of course made it all the better for me was hearing about how some guy coming down from Brickell was giving Bryan unnecessary hell over the delayed showtime (which has been a staple of SCS, but just went along with the whole lax mood of the show). The moment Nayib hears about this bollocking, he gets right up to the mic, calls out the guy in the least-antagonistic yet obviously seat-heating manner possible, and everybody begins booing the guy once he starts putting the mood down. Still wasn’t enough to kill the vibe once the lights went out and the movie started.
4. The Wild Bunch – January 2, 2016
Truth be told, this shouldn’t be listed anymore. I missed most of it and only barely caught the finale. Everything that made this screening seem spectacular should sort of be gone and lost in my mind. But I did catch that finale. And I did have a great time afterwards. And that memory is probably only going to belong to me, but it’s a memory I’m going to cherish anyway.
3. Blade Runner – April 25, 2015
It’s a secret to barely anybody that two movies battle for my heart as my favorite movie – Blade Runner and Casablanca. Both have been shown at SCS and while I did not attend Casablanca (I dating someone who wanted to see Kingsman: The Secret Service that same night which should have been a bad moon rising already), I was ready to attend Blade Runner and even brought my younger sister to the screening in anticipation when Nayib came out to sadly tell me that the film was sold out. Still, I was willing to wait it out along with my sister and our perseverance pulled us through when Nayib was able to squeeze the two of us in. I finally saw one of my favorite movies on the big screen and my sister got introduced to the kinds of movies I was into (which led to her raiding a lot of my movie collection when I wasn’t at home). And the best part was getting her to figure out the true nature of Deckard on the drive back home.
2. Mad Max: Fury Road – December 5, 2015
I feel like it may be thinking a bit too much of myself to assume this screening happened because Juan Barquin and I would never shut our mouth about the movie (I mean if you read this blog, you know I don’t shut up about Fury Road), though it seems naive to deny the hype that movie had being something that quickly caught Nayib’s eye as an instant sell-out. Up until this point, the most recent movie SCS screened was Hedwig and the Angry Inch and even that felt a bit too new-school for them – even 14 years old at the time. And I was really uncertain about how the film would look in 35mm celluloid given the manner that it was shot and voiced these concerns to Nayib (though I still encouraged it because who the fuck else would be able to say they saw it on film?). It was maybe the fast sell-out of SCS save for Pulp Fiction and it was an experience that gave new dimension to a film I saw 6 times in the same damn year it came out. The warm, yet obviously still-clean manner of the film gave a texture to the desert setting and suddenly the reds of the sand felt a bit more severe while the heavy blues of the night were less comforting. It was a really cool experience that I would never have dreamed of.
- Miami Connection – March 12, 2016
The moment I heard this gem of a flick was being screened, my heart stopped and I get so excited, I was literally clapping over my head like a monkey shouting YK KIM!!! I have witnesses to this. And in the week up to it, I was in the worst headspace and really not feeling like I was going to make it to the weekend, let alone the screening. Many of the people you see quoted above me in this post convinced me to snap out of it and come to the screening anyway (all of them heard my not shutting the fuck up about it so they knew how much I loved it) and with my best friend Josh Martinez in tow for his very first SCS screening, I ended up having one of the best nights I’ve been lucky to have in a pretty overwhelmingly long while. Chanted Tae-Kwon-Do to “Against the Ninja”, got to watch Josh’s reaction to this movie he had absolutely no knowledge of beforehand, got to enjoy the obnoxiously positive vibes from the movie, and all around me in that theater, the energy was high. I’m usually too much of a cynic to buy into the whole “Energy” and “Vibes” thing, but that was a night I was a believer.
Goddamn, that’s it, huh. I already reached my five moments. No space for Stephen Trask and Lena Hall performing before Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Or Bryan receiving an envious copy of the 1992 cut of Blade Runner on VHS. Not even a nod to Up All Nite or talking to Kevin Tenney. The times Nayib was eager to show the group the latest update to SCS’ journey or even sneak a peek at some stuff just get us more hyped and engaged. Recording the SCS podcast. Bryan recognizing me at Flamingo Bingo for my brother’s band. Buying a Raymond Carver anthology at Snake Alley (and being swindled by my sister’s friends for a Kubrick collection). Singing along with “Heroes” before Labyrinth just cause. Making a few shorts in the hopes of Nayib screening them at Up All Nite. The many roadshows – especially at Versailles. Showing up to Grease just to give my support, dressed as a Greaser, because I wanted to see SCS continue to grow. The time I got to help out with the Little Shop of Horrors shadowcast. Buying a ticket to Friday the 13th despite not attending. Bringing my friend Marianna to see Forbidden Planet for the first time. Nayib telling me he saw and loved my Hit Me with Your Best Shot video for Dick Tracy. Catching a problem with the projection of House and getting to chat with projectionist Dave Rodriguez afterward. Going to Denny’s one night being presented with a gift of a Tales from the Crypt issue by Kiki. The big damn raffle held around Halloween time. Juan passing on his plus-one (with Nayib’s ok) to squeeze Josh into the screening of Pulp Fiction. Tachyons+ popping up to give a display at Videodrome. Slim Rodriguez performing a magic trick with someone’s dollar when prompted one night. Catching Naked Lunch one beaten Wednesday night at Shirley’s just because. Having everybody around me in the back of Shirley’s suddenly discover the existence of an after-credits scene to The Great Outdoors. The Holy Mountain and El Topo.
These little moments, these memories. These are things that keep brings me back to SCS every week, as much as I can, glad to be around these folks. While I’m in New York, these things are going to be in the back of my mind. I’m carrying them with me. They don’t get lost in time, like tears in rain, they get stuck on my person like jangling loose change.
And I guess that’s why I made this long post for it. Not just to give Nayib and Bryan and company a lot of hype, but just to show how much it means to me to see these faces and the cinema lights reflected off of them as often as I can. Touching base with one of the few things in Miami that can keep me looking forward to coming back.
Thanks, Nayib, Bryan, photographer Ren Feria, and everybody else who keeps Secret Celluloid Society running.