Supplying a rare, yet incisive look into a cross-section of American culture that we don't normally see, the Bicycle Film Festival dissects the Urban Cycling Culture through the camera's eye view on the screen and through life, simply by observing the festival attendees. There exists there a feeling of a counter-culture that reiterates the "punk" anti-class present in the era of the Sex Pistols.
Approaching the evening's counter-culture Mecca, The Anthology Film Archives on 2nd Avenue, there was an aura of infectious energy. A line for tickets wound around the corner and part way down the adjoining block. On Second street, in front of the Archives, the Rude Mechanical Orchestra played rousing music while dancers interpreted the music with boundless energy. The normally still side street was charged with human energy.
Valet bike parking was available next to the red carpet, courtesy of New York Transportation Alternatives. Every festival goer that arrived on their bicycle, was greeted by a volunteer ready to safely stow their ride. The line of eager film viewers was surprisingly traditional albeit it casual for a city premiere performance. But, casual is today's hallmark. There were a few spiked hair denizens displaying the patented messenger snarl but if you were to typify the crowd, it would be a young cross section of New York urbanites. The one thread running through most of the crowd was dedication to a life on two human powered wheels... the love of the bicycle.
Throughout the Festival there was a buzz of activity along 2nd Street. Times Up was there to promote green living and their rides in support of environmentally sound lifestyles. The Trackstar bike shop held the Longest Skid Contest. In an awesome display of balance, dexterity and skid-skills several messengers vied for the skid title.
One messenger skidded half-way down the block, past the barriers, parted the audience and nearly made it into 2nd avenue traffic with his victorious skid. All the while another messenger illustrated his incredible balance by setting up a track stand while solving a Rubic's Cube. A youthful tattoo'd fixie riding crowd clogged the closed-off street. Friends gather for a social event and to watch art films.
Inside the darkened chamber of the Film Archive, a slide show of New York cycling beauty looped. Frame after frame of healthy youthful women on bicycles succeeded each other, one more beautiful than the next. It was eye-candy but, with a point, active = healthy = beautiful.
After another rousing indoor band/dance performance Brendt Barbur, the festival director gave his opening remarks to welcome everyone to the show...
::See the Film Screening Pull Out::
In a larger sense perhaps, this is the Bicycle Film Festival, an escape from maturity, an escape from tedium, an abandonded dance in the street free of preconceived notions or labels.