Thursday, March 28, 2013

Iron Mule Turns 11

This April, the Iron Mule will mark its 11th anniversary.

Here are some things we're older than.


the iPhone

the Southern Sudan autonomous region (the one after the Second Sudanese Civil War, not the one after the First Sudanese Civil War)


American Idol

the sequenced human genome


Justin Bieber

the Kardashians' career

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The End of An Era: 92YTribeca to Close

Word came this month that the 92YTribeca screening room, the home of Iron Mule, will be closing this June.

92YTribeca was an atypical place; subsidized by the uptown 92Y, it was tucked away on an otherwise desolate stretch of Hudson Street between traffic entryways to the Holland Tunnel. But they had a state-of-the-art screening room, with a robust, exciting, and always surprising film program.

Before our time at 92YTribeca, the Iron Mule screened for many years at the dearly beloved Pioneer Theater in the East Village. 92YTribeca was just opening when that theater went under, and the fledgling institution offered us a new home. We were proud to hold one of the first screenings at 92YTribeca. And over the years, members of the Iron Mule community have shown all sorts of work there outside of our monthly screenings.

The film programmer, Cristina Cacioppo, has been a great friend to us. She fought for the best screening equipment for our filmmakers and she allowed us to program the occasional feature comedy films, which she procured on 35mm prints.

Cristina’s unique vision mixing good and so-bad-it’s-unbelievably-good cinema along with a dedication to amplifying the live experience of a theatrical film screening was a perfect match for what we strive for at the Iron Mule. She was an advocate for independent voices and all kinds of cinema, high and low. There has been and is no other programming line up just like Cristina’s. The closest cognate is the type of programming you get at the Alamo Drafthouse (outside of NYC, but moving here in 2014 – they could do no better than to hire Cristina immediately).

The people at the 92nd Street Y, which is a revered and powerful cultural institution, stated in their press release that “a second, physical location is not critical to our mission,” which discounts the thousands of filmmakers and scores of independent filmmakers who have relied on 92YTribeca for a unique film-going experience, and often the only opportunity to see rare and classic films on the big screen. We presented a screening of Olsen and Johnson’s Crazy House there in a 35mm print – we bet that will not happen again in a NYC theater for the next decade, if not longer.

As the New Yorker critic Richard Brody points out in his article “Save 92YTribeca,” 92YTribeca has made itself critical to NYC moviegoers and deserves saving. But whether such saving will happen is extremely doubtful. So we bid a fond farewell to 92YTribeca. There will be nothing quite like you. And here’s to the years of fantastic work by Cristina Cacioppo, and her singular programming vision. We can’t wait to see what she does next.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Notes from our March, 2013 screening

The Iron Mule returned to 92Y TriBeCa for another sold-out show. The night began with a performance by our guest judge, Audrey Crabtree. Hosts Jay Stern and Kevin Maher (playing the role of Victor Varnado) then kicked off the film program with an entry from Austin, Texas,  THE PROSTITUTE by Byron Brown, which took home our judges award. The film featured a male street walker with a wide array of costumes to choose from, including "karate Patrick Ewing."

We then played TUG , a hilarious film that explores the gray area between a bromance and a romance. The director/ star of the film, J Marvin Solomon, came all the way from LA to participate in a Q&A.

Also from Austin we showed a couple of films from one of the Iron Mule's favorite filmmakers, Steve Collins: THE BALLAD OF COURTNEY & JAMES and J.P.B.F. He too attended for a Q&A where he discussed his many short comedies and his critically-acclaimed dramatic features.

Heading back north we showed a film from New York-based, brother filmmakers Conor & Tyler Byrne. Just to prove how incestual the film industry is, these rising stars at the Iron Mule were actually students of Steve Collins' at Wesleyan University. Their film HEADBANGER was a fantastic short about a mother and son learning to rock together. This was the second film by the brothers Byrne to be screened at the Iron Mule and the entire Byrne clan was in attendance, including their mother who co-starred in the film.

From Todd Alcott we screened an absurd and funny dissection of a Beatles song, SHE LOVES YOU: A CLOSER LOOK. Click to unveil answers to the burning questions of who the "she" and "you" are in this pop gem.

Our audience award went to the improvised, guerilla, iPhone-shot PANHANDLER PARTY by Gary Lee Mahmoud and Josh Apter. The film featured a train filled with a circus performer, a lawyer, a WASPy couple, an undercover cop, and more all asking if you can spare some change. Click to join the party.

We then closed the night with our Wanna Be A Star? film (a monthly contest that puts one lucky audience member in front of the camera). This month's film was BRASS PARSNIP which was directed by Evan Cummings and starring audience member, Marissa Mancini.

We will see you at the next Iron Mule on April 6th at 92YTriBeCa.