Still Some Tickets Left for Ang Lee’s “Taking Woodstock” Chatham Premiere
There was a time when lots of small towns across America had an old movie palace like the Crandell, a theater in Chatham that was built in 1926 as a venue for vaudeville and the silent picture show. Since 1960, the year Psycho was the big hit, the Crandell has been owned by the Quirino family. These days, it is undeniably frayed around the edges, but to understand what a loss it would be to a town like Chatham were the Crandell to close, one has only to observe the people arriving at the theater on any given Friday night. Teens on what used to be called “dates,” a mother and her pre-adolescent son, three generations of one family, they all come to see whatever is being offered on the one big screen, despite outmoded projection and (until recently) sound equipment. They come because the Crandell is still the heartbeat of Main Street on the weekend evening, one small town movie theater whose role has not been usurped by some Vegas-style multi-plex in a strip mall outside of town. For that alone, it deserves to be treasured.
And it is. Even though its owner Tony Quirino is ready to pack it in, the Crandell is not going to close. At least not if the members of the Chatham Film Club have any say in the matter, which, apparently, they do. Their Save the Crandell campaign is a big deal and about to become much bigger. One film-club member, the Academy-award nominated screenwriter and producer James Shamus, a Ghent resident, pulled strings to have his most recent film, Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, which was shot in Columbia County (New Lebanon, Hillsdale), premiere at a benefit screening at the Crandell on July 30. The first show, at 6 p.m., is already sold out. Tickets are still available for the 8:30 show and for the gala that will be held in a tent near the theater from 7 - midnight.
It promises to be quite a night. James Shamus will be there, of course, and so will the Taiwanese-born director Ang Lee, as well as the film’s young star, Demetri Martin (Yale, NYU Law School, stand-up comedy—his poor parents— and now this). True to the smalltown spirit of the event, there will be a buffet of picnic fare—pulled pork sliders, hot dogs, potato salad, good tomatoes, pesto pasta salad—as well as wine, beer (Chatham Breweries, naturally), and soft drinks. And, of course, there will be brownies. As Sandi Knakal of the Film Club board points out, “What’s a Woodstock party without brownies?”
Chatham Film Club
Taking Woodstock premiere, 8:30 p.m.
The Crandell Theatre
Main Street, Chatham
Tickets: $25/8:30 show
Premiere Party 7 p.m. - midnight
Tickets: $50/general admission, $150/reserved seating