Fields of sunflowers with their friendly faces reaching up to the sky, as rumbles of enormous dark storm clouds approach rapidly. This scene was played out just a couple of days ago in my town and is pretty typical here in the heartland, as we transition from the long, hot days of late summer into cool Autumn. But what may be less known about this part of the country, is the surprising storm of classic film events swiftly advancing in the next few weeks.
In a fun mix of both silent greats and film noir dark delights, classic film fans can appreciate the multiple offerings in northeastern Kansas and Kansas City metro area.
FOOTPRINTS presents METROPOLIS:
- Sunday, 9/20 at 7:30pm
- Alloy Orchestra live musical accompaniment
- Lawrence Arts Center, Lawrence, KS
- cost: $19 + tax
- Tickets and more info: FOOTPRINTS site
Mick Ranney has been the owner of FOOTPRINTS shoe store for over 35 years, operating out of an old limestone storefront, originally built as a grocery store in the 1870s. Now a successful business with a heavy focus on all things Birkenstock (plus a few other lines to boot), Mick has turned his strong ties to the community combined with his passion of classic film to bring spectacular classic film events to this enchanting small town.
For several years now, he has brought silent masterpieces and recently restored gems such as NOSFERATU (1922), BLACK MAIL (1929), BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (1925) and the restored classic THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (part of his WW2 Film Festival, which at that time was recently restored and only being shown in 2 venues across the country – the Film Forum in NYC and little Lawrence, KS). Always presented with live musical accompaniment (usually the famous Alloy Orchestra or Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra) in the intimate setting of the 300 seat capacity Lawrence Arts Center. You can find tickets online here, but you may want to hurry before it sells out.
*Mick’s creative skills are playfully expressed in his video clips to promote his screenings. I highly recommend not only attending in person, but also ‘liking’ the Footprints FaceBook page to check out his fun video clips.
BUSTER KEATON CELEBRATION:
- Friday, 9/25 and Saturday, 9/26
- Bowlus Fine Arts Center, Iola, KS
- cost: FREE (donations are highly appreciated)
- Schedule: http://iolakeatoncelebration.org/prog15.html
This year’s theme is Buster Keaton & The Marx Brothers: Celebrating American Laughter. Andy Marx, Groucho’s grandson was originally scheduled to appear but canceled last month. No worries, a great line-up of guest speakers and artists are firmly on board with a full schedule of silver screen comedy treats.
Hosting this annual event since 1993, Iola is short hop from Piqua (pronounced “PICKway”), Buster Keaton’s birthplace. Recent presenters and speakers have included: members of the Keaton and Talmadge family, Oscar and Emmy winning director/producer/silent film extraordinaire Kevin Brownlow, actor and close friend of Buster’s James Karen, comedy legend Steve Allen, film critic Leonard Maltin, film preservationist David Shepard, Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, and many more.
This is a must for Buster aficionados, comedy and silent film fans, and frankly anyone up for great Autumnal weekend in this quant little town.
NOIR CITY Kansas City:
- Friday, 10/2, Saturday 10/3, Sunday 10/4
- Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet, Kansas City, MO
- cost: $75 for a passport to all 10 screenings plus nightclub party
- all the info: NoirCityKC.com
Just over the state line on the Missouri side, this is the 2nd annual installment of the Kansas City Film Noir Festival. Presented in part by the Film Noir Foundation, the “Czar of Noir” Eddie Muller’s ‘baby,’ ushers in 3 days and nights of 10 noir gems. The schedule of films include two 35mm restorations and two 35mm preservations! (Three of these four are fresh from FNF!) A total of ten dark delectables to savor including, of course, The Kansas City Confidential.
Individual screenings are very affordable starting $7 per show. Full beverage and food service is offered at these shows. The Nightclub event gets swinging Friday night, 9pm-2am. With three noir acts to set the retro KC mood with sexy, jazzy and even burlesque tones, Laura Ellis, Evie Lovelle, The Latenight Callers will perform at The Chesterfield. [NOIR CITY KC TIP: save that Alamo Drafthouse movie tix stub for a $2 drink discount.] Tickets: $10 in advance.
The best Noir City KC tip I can offer is to purchase the passport. It’s a steal for $75 smackers to get into all 10 screenings, the Nightclub and speedier, shorter lines for best seating. For directions and parking options, click HERE.
As you can see, you don’t have to fly out to one of the coasts to experience some amazing classic film events. If you’re not familiar with the Kansas/Missouri/Kansas City area, feel free to contact me for details on logistics and good places to stay and eat. Hope to see you there! Who knows. This might just change your definition of ‘the flyover states.’