Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A freebie worth checking out

Before computer-generated special effects, before the dawn of the summer blockbuster, before Technicolor, movies could be just as captivating as they are today - or more so.

That was the lesson of my visit Sunday to the Public Library’s summer film series at ImaginOn, the library/children’s theatre in uptown Charlotte.

I mentioned the series in Monday’s column about places to see free movies in the region this summer, and both that list and the video report I did with WCNC might have left the impression that the only free movies in town are for kids.

Not so - be sure to check out the remaining lineup of this Public Library series. From this Sunday through July 29, the Wachovia Playhouse theater at ImaginOn will be home to notable films of Joseph Mankiewicz, from “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” to “All About Eve” and “Suddenly, Last Summer.”

Last Sunday marked the second and final chance to see a classic silent film - in my case, Buster Keaton’s “Our Hospitality.” Local pianist Eytan Uslan provided live musical accompaniment during the 74-minute film, and I found his blend of popular tunes from the 1920s, classical music and improvisation flawless.

I knew of Keaton’s legendary reputation for physical comedy, and had seen clips of his films before, but never a full movie. I was pleased to see the theater was nearly full on Sunday, with a diverse all-ages crowd. They gave Uslan's playing a standing ovation.

Sam Shapiro, manager of the Main Library’s Music & Movies Room, gave an introduction with such intriguing details as the fact that Keaton did all of his own stunts - including one that led to his near-drowning, captured on film and included in the finished movie. I wished there’d been a chance for a Q&A afterwards.

Parking is simple - you can park under the ImaginOn building by entering from Sixth Street, or at the neighboring Seventh Street Station parking deck, and get your ticket validated. And surely you don’t have something pressing to do every Sunday at 2 p.m. from now through July.

So, I’d encourage you - especially if you’re a newcomer - to come check out this great free opportunity.

I’ve written several times before about free things to do in Charlotte. What other freebies do you like participating in?


Blogger Liz said...

One of the most fun freebie's I always take advantage of are the Pop's in the Park concerts featuring the Charlotte Symphony every Sunday in June and starts at 7 pm at South Park Mall. Parking is free (which is a rarity) and you can bring your own food and drink. We usually have lots of snacks and beer and wine. It's a great way to wind down from a usually hectic weekend.

You can enjoy good music, an extremely entertaining conductor, good friends, and good picnics. It is something I look forward to every year to start my summer off right.

11:32 AM  

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