The Smithsonian may have already laid claim to the "nation's attic" nickname, but St. Louis should push for the "nation's recycler" tag. As anyone who's ever had a neighbor move out can testify, when people depart St. Louis, they leave stuff behind. As the Germans moved in behind the French rivermen, so the young loft-dwellers reclaim our fallow downtown; as the hoosier squatters abandon another block, so moves in a new generation of young homeowners. Thanks to our fortuitous geographic location as the Gateway to the West and our thrifty settler ancestors, St. Louis has both a steady supply of people moving through and the genetic wherewithal to re-use those people's cast-offs.
Take cine16 for example. The once-a-month evening of academic films has been a mainstay at Mad Art Gallery for the past three years, celebrating the golden age of industrial, experimental and educational short film. The marriage of the hip gallery (a reclaimed police station, it must be pointed out) and the film-historian crowd represented the best of the new and old together. And chances were if you appreciated the lure of the Dr. Seuss short Gerald McBoingBoing, the films of Charles and Ray Eames or even Andy Rooney's The Strange Case of the English Language, you'd like what was hanging in the gallery. It was a win-win situation for both parties. But now cine16's long residence comes to an end.
But is this the end of cine16? Heavens, no! Margie Newman, who co-curated the series with Marc Syp, explains, "It's been a great three years at Mad Art. We'll hold our farewell screening there on Thursday, November 17, and re-emerge in January for monthly screenings at Missouri History Museum in Forest Park." Just as it always has, the series screens on the third Thursday of each month, which means Thursday, January 19, is the date to circle on your calendar for the new cine16. But lest the month off and the venue change upset devotees too much, Newman reassures everyone that "one stipulation of the move is that there will still be a bar these films work better when alcohol is available!"
Indeed they do. Newman cites the need to "grow the series' visibility and reach" as the main reason for the move, but that's not the only change in the winning formula. With Syp gone to grad school, cine16 is left in the capable hands of co-curators Michael R. Allen and Claire Nowak-Boyd. But this is St. Louis, and the new caretakers know to take good care of their inherited baby. Newman is certain that "the new series team, led by Evalyn Wilson, will continue to curate programs that honor both the camp and the quality in our collection."
But that's a present we get to play with in January. For now, we have one last gathering at Mad Art, and "Artists and Animals" is the name of the program. Get ready for a short psychological thriller about the strained relationship between artist and model (Eye of the Beholder) and the juxtaposition of human athletes in action and their animal counterparts in the BBC's Animal Olympians. Don't forget to thank your hosts, Ron and Tracy, on your way out.