Tag Archives: art

Capri Movie Poster Sale

Although the struggle between art and commerce has been waged since the advent of humanity, there was nevertheless, on Saturday morning in Montgomery, a beautiful excerpt from the front lines.

It happened in the lobby of our treasured arthouse movie theater, The Capri, and it was captured in the trajectory of the blindly swinging elbows of the obese man, sweatily trying to unroll a movie poster. Although we left the poster sale only minutes ago, I have already forgotten whether he was wearing a shirt with a character from Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away on the front, unrolling a poster from a Francois Truffaut film, or perhaps the other way around.

You see, this enthusiastic shopper was one of many — an innumerable mass, really — that had descended upon The Capri to acquire (at low, low prices) what is evidently the highest art form that America has to offer. The sale was not of the movies themselves, which people probably screen on Netflix while doing God-knows-what. Rather, they were seeking to grab up the paper advertisements for the “indy” films, perfect for hanging in the hipster home, loft, or dorm room. Soon, someone will be getting the poster for Goodbye Lenin! as a gift, offering an awkward thanks, having no idea that the giver of the gift nearly got pressed to death in a poster sale that called to mind the Hillsborough soccer crush.

We thought we were smart to arrive a few minutes before the doors were scheduled to open. We suspected trouble when we joined the line at the corner in front of Sinclair’s. We felt pity when we reached the door of the theater and looked back and saw that the line was now extended back around the block. We felt remorse when we saw that the movie posters were not unrolled, not attached to cardboard backers, and were, in fact, in tubes (which were jammed into boxes) and were somehow linked to a numerical coding system. We felt fear when we saw that the crowd, many of whom had browsed the list of posters ahead of time, had no idea what numbers were linked to their desired posters and, as a result, were frantically unrolling, re-rolling, and crinkling various posters in a hurricane of outstretched arms, flying elbows, cardboard tubes, and movie nerd sweat.

Our arthouse movie theater does not possess a very large lobby, and the people that had been standing in line for 30 minutes or so in the Alabama July sun were anxious to crush into the lobby, get some air conditioning, and beat the mob in the quest to find that poster of Mifune’s Last Song. Codes? Numbers? Must buy something! Adding to the crazy was the fact that it appeared that the crowd (in full consumer conquest mode) smelled bargains that could be re-sold on E-Bay. And the fact that The Capri is currently screening Will Ferrell’s Everything Must Go didn’t help. People probably read the theater marquee and assumed that this was some sort of going out of business sale.

Not sure how long this link will be up, but the list of available posters is here. We hope they sell them all, since we love and support our theater and want them to have as much space and money as they need. We just hope the mob didn’t make off with the popcorn machine and we’re glad we got out alive.

Anybody want to sell us a really cheap poster from Waltz with Bashir?

If you go: Mulberry street shops

It was Sunday and we were determined to find something Montgomery-ish to do. Despite our general aversion to charming and useless household decorations and brightly colored things with ribbon on them (a.k.a. much of rich folks’ visions of “Alabama art”), we soldiered forth to the Mulberry shopping district’s annual Holiday Open House. It seems to be a sort of stroll-n-shop, and all the stores were offering some kind of treats to munch on, from sugar cookies to suspicious-looking dip to tiny bottles of water.

Now, a discourse on the entire concept of the Southern Rich Lady Gift Shop is proper for another post. But you need to know that sort of thing to fully appreciate the Mulberry Shopping District and the Holiday walkabout. It’s the aging sorority girl who has always been told that she is creative, opening up a shop of her handbags and “Bless This Mess” signs. It’s the wife of the coach needing a place to invest the family money while “keeping busy” and thus stockpiling a collection of antique stuff that could go on an end table in a beach house. It’s the old lady who collects angels or roosters or kitty-shaped candles. Know the place?

We learned about the open house at our monthly neighborhood association meeting, where a neighbor passed around a postcard that talked up an art show called “Cloverdale Relics” at an establishment called In the Mood. This seemed cool to us – the postcard described an artist that was building stuff from ‘found items’ in Cloverdale (our neighborhood) in unusual ways. We are very interested in art made from found items, and especially appreciate the idea of capturing the spirit of a neighborhood in this way.

Which might go a long way toward explaining why we were so epically saddened by what we found at the gallery. Which is really more of a gift shop. This was evidenced by our conversation with the owner who told us that she buys from artists who “sell to gift shops all over the nation.” The artist in question evidently sells to any number of exotic locations – Cape Cod, Aspen, Key West – a claim that, once we saw her work, seemed both highly dubious and depressingly likely.

Quotes from “classic rock” bands painted in pastels on planks? To hang on the wall of what? Your lake house? Your intellectual property law firm that you run to sue artists who steal lyrics from bands and sell them as “art?”

What do you even say about something like this? Sure, it’s great that someone found some wood siding in Cloverdale and wanted to do something with it. But painting a candy-colored peace sign? That’s the thing? We saw one sign that said “Old Cloverdale” and another that said “Sweet Home Alabama,” and everything else in the “show” could have been put in any other tchotchke shoppe in the world and pronounced “absolutely precious” in any variety of regional dialects by ladies whose appreciation for Pink Floyd or the Rolling Stones was probably rather limited in the first place but is now deepened in the sticky honey nostalgia machine now busily re-purposing The Sex Pistols and The Clash for the charming wall art of our coming twilight years.