Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Girl Carl v. Fogbot

(photo caption) Oak Street Cinema in Stadium Village - Minneapolis, Minnesota. (photo courtesy Minnesota Film Arts)

Today, Girl Carl of Evil Cycling and Category 6 Racing Squad fame went toe-to-toe with Fogbot. The subject: what to do with the Oak Street Theater, which is having some financial trouble. In this episode, Girl Carl's generous spirit is trying to save the Oak Street; the ever-too-rational Fogbot is having a difficult time with that premise.

Here's the blow-by-blow account:

Girl Carl announces:
"hey - this isn't very bikey, but it matters to me and is consuming all my available energy right now. if anyone has interest in the oak street cinema, you can watch this video of a recent gathering concerning the future of our only twin cities repertory theater. (tim grady, owner of world cycling productions and minnesota film arts board member, speaks for a minute.)


thanks and xo - carl"

Fogbot responds:
"i like the oak street. i do. but their model is f'ed up. seriously. you've got an artsy movie theater with one screen located in a neighborhood populated by 18-23 year olds. now, i know that we all hope for the best and that these 18-23 year olds are 'artsy', but i think it's a reach. stadium village is not uptown. therefore, i believe that oak street is a goldmine in waiting, provided someone wants to buy and and model its film offerings after the riverview. think about it: offer discounted prices to recent, but hip (note i didn't say "artsy") hollywood films. mix in sarah silverman with 'syriana' with 'walk the line'. drunk/high/cheap/bored 18-23 year olds will definitely attend that shit. throw in some fun saturday midnight showings (a la riverview and uptown), and you've got a winner. now, who's got some loose cash sitting around who wants to buy a movie theater and let me run it?"

Girl Carl retorts:
"everything you just posted is stuff we've talked about over and over again for years and years. i like the riverview also. a whole lot. but see, we already have a riverview. actually, we also have the parkway. and we can see that shit at the lagoon and in edina and at the uptown theater first. we don't need another one. nobody else shows the stuff that oak street shows. guess why. because it doesn't make much money. hence the 'nonprofit' name. i guess i've made everyone else on the board want to punch me in the face at one time or another, so now i know the feeling and totally want to beat the shit out of fogbot. we should sell tickets to that. it's a 'goldmine in waiting.' think about it."

Fogbot fires back:
"i get the non-profit thing. however, federal non-profit designations does not have to equal not-profitable. the best non-profits actually make money; the money is then put back into the programs that they run (i.e., what ds is trying to do with cat6). this makes it 'successful'. i understand what the oak street community is trying to do. and i understand why they're having a problem: the market for the oak street content is simply not big enough to justify a 'brick and mortar' building and the financial obligations that go with it. and i agree with you, carl -- this fact sucks. the fact that people don't patronize the arts is a terrible stain on our society. but, as it stands right now, our society leans much more heavily towards the 'economy' side of the 'economy vs. culture' continuum (see h. michael hartoonian for more discussion). and that doesn't bode well for all artistic endeavors, including the oak street. further, with the advent of the dvd and plasma screens and high definition, ALL film theaters are in trouble. film distributors now want to release dvds the same day the film itself is released to theaters (read mark cuban's blog 'blog maverick' for more). imagine what that will do to all 'brick and mortal' theaters! so, while i completely admire what the oak street is trying to do, the bottom line for me is that non-profits don't have to be not-profitable. and i guess that's where the oak street loses me. but it doesn't have to lose you, carl. and if the oak street is something you believe in, then fight for it. as gandhi said, 'be the change you want to see in the world.' i believe that gandhi also said: 'don't punch fogbot in the face. he's too pretty.'"

Girl Carl responds:
"dudes, i'm through debating it after this. trust me, i haven't forgotten or everlooked anything. they've had midnight shows for years. did you ever go?"

Fogbot gets the last word:
"Yes, I have financially supported Oak Street."


Blogger Lunatic Biker said...

I agree with the great theater, wrong neighborhood concept. Sit outside the Dinkytown Liquor store some Saturday night and you'll see what college kids are interested in.

Thu Jan 19, 10:00:00 AM 2006


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