This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

RENEGADE DREAMERS

Documentary follows new generation of protest singers

Documentary follows new generation of protest singers and spoken word activists in New York City

RENEGADE DREAMERS (Karen Kramer, 2019)
Cinema Village
22 East 12th St. between University Pl. & Fifth Ave.
Opens Friday, May 31
212-529-6799
www.cinemavillage.com
www.renegadedreamers.com

Filmmaker Karen Kramer spent seven years on Renegade Dreamers, including four years following a group of young contemporary spoken word artists and protest singers. She could have done something better with her time. A longtime downtown New Yorker who made The Ballad of Greenwich Village in 2005, Kramer initially set out to make a documentary about the coffeehouse scene around MacDougal and Bleecker Streets in the 1950s and ’60s, and the sections of Renegade Dreamers about the post–World War II Beat poets and folk singers, including Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Len Chandler, and others, as well as Woody Guthrie, are terrific, with rarely seen archival footage that is stirring and exciting. She speaks with such key figures as Wavy Gravy, Hettie Jones, Eric Andersen, Ronnie Gilbert of the Weavers, Maria Muldaur, David Amram, Izzy Young, Tom Paxton, and Richie Havens (some interview footage was completed for her previous film), who share intimate stories about their struggle against McCarthyism, the Vietnam War, anti-unionism, consumerism, and conformity. “They considered progressive thinking to be anti-American,” Peter Yarrow says of 1960s mainstream America, something that is true again today.

But that’s also where the documentary falls apart. The new generation of protest singers and spoken word activists Kramer focuses on are Matt Pless, Saroya Marsh, Gio Andollo, Tiffani Hillin, and Jeremy (Germ) DeHart, most of whom she discovered during the Occupy movement in Zuccotti Park; unfortunately, these quirky young people fighting the status quo with their mouths and their guitars are not particularly compelling or even that interesting. While it’s great that they’re directly influenced by their forebears, they’re preaching to tiny choirs, a sliver of political music connoisseurs, and they don’t seem to be adding anything to the already vigorous and inclusive twenty-first-century discourse battling Wall Street, the Iraq War, racism, economic inequality, police brutality, and other societal ills. It’s hard to see these determined artists making any kind of real difference outside of their very limited circle. “We have to question everything. We can’t just take for granted what we’ve been handed,” one of them says. They should keep fighting the power and spreading the word every way they can, as we all should. But that doesn’t make them worthy of a documentary, or anywhere near as influential as the coffeehouse renegades of fifty years ago; instead they seem quaint, obsessed with a bygone style. Renegade Dreamers opens May 31 at Cinema Village, with daily Q&As following the 5:10 and 7:10 shows through June 6.

FIRST SATURDAYS: STONEWALL 50

The Queer Houses of Brooklyn and the Three Towns of Boswyck, Breukelen and Midwout during the 41st Year of the Stonewall Era. (Based on the drawing by Daniel Rosza Lang/Levitsky and with illustrations by Buzz Slutzky.) Crank-Knit Yarn, fabric, thread, sequins, poly-fil, 1" pins (free to the public and replenished endlessly). 9' x 9' x 14'. 2011

LJ Roberts, The Queer Houses of Brooklyn and the Three Towns of Boswyck, Breukelen and Midwout during the 41st Year of the Stonewall Era (based on the drawing by Daniel Rosza Lang/Levitsky and with illustrations by Buzz Slutzky), crank-knit yarn, fabric, thread, sequins, poly-fil, 1" pins (free to the public and replenished endlessly), 2011 (photo courtesy of the artist)

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, June 1, free (some events require advance tickets), 5:00 - 11:00
212-864-5400
www.brooklynmuseum.org

The Brooklyn Museum honors Gay Pride and the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots in the June edition of its free First Saturday program. There will be live performances by New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, Linda LaBeija, Amber Valentine, and Madame Gandhi as well as teen staff members presenting an intersextions variety show inspired by “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall” and artists Morgan Bassichis, TM Davy, DonChristian Jones, Michi Osato, Una Osato, and special guests celebrating the updated edition of The Faggots & Their Friends Between Revolutions; a book club talk with Jodie Patterson discussing her latest, The Bold World, with Elaine Welteroth; a curator tour of “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow” led by Lindsay C. Harris and Carmen Hermo; a hands-on workshop in which participants can design buttons based on LJ Roberts’s The Queer Houses of Brooklyn in the Three Towns of Boswyck, Breukelen, and Midwout during the 41st Year of the Stonewall Era; a community talk on radical queer histories with Audre Lorde Project; and an “Archives as Raw History” tour focusing on the museum’s LGBTQ+ histories. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “Garry Winogrand: Color,” “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall,” “Eric N. Mack: Lemme walk across the room,” “Liz Johnson Artur: Dusha,” “One: Egúngún,” “Something to Say: Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine, Deborah Kass, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Hank Willis Thomas,” “Infinite Blue,” “A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt,” “Kwang Young Chun: Aggregations,” and more.

SPLIT SCREENS FESTIVAL: THE ART & CRAFT OF TELEVISION

Alan Cumming will be at IF Center for Split Screens Festival showing of Instinct

Alan Cumming will be at IF Center for Split Screens Festival showing of Instinct

IFC Center unless otherwise noted
323 Sixth Ave. at West Third St.
May 29 - June 3, $12-$17
212-924-7771
www.ifccenter.com
www.splitscreensfestival.com

We all watch television now in multiple formats, on computers, smartphones, and even, sometimes, on television. But the Split Screens Festival offers something unique: an opportunity to see episodes of your favorite television series on the big screen, followed by discussions with creators, actors, crew members, and critics, moderated by Split Screens co-creative directors Matt Zoller Seitz and Melanie McFarland. The third annual festival takes place May 29 to June 3 at IFC Center, with inside looks at such programs as Russian Doll, Fear the Walking Dead, The Good Place, Better Things, Mr. Robot, and others and will also present Janet Mock with the Vanguard Award for Pose. “At a time when the old boundaries between cinema and television have fallen and everything has become ‘content,’ yet stories of every kind of length and tone and genre are still using cinematic and literary language, a festival of this kind becomes more important than ever,” Zoller Seitz said in a statement. Among the participants at the festival are Alan Cumming, Pamela Adlon, William Jackson Harper, Sanaa Lathan, Christopher Abbott, and many others.

Wednesday, May 29
Inside Russian Doll: A Guided Tour of Time, Space, Death, and Resurrection, Netflix Close-Up with co-creator and co-executive producer Leslye Headland, production designer Michael Bricker, hair department head Marcel Dagenais, editor Todd Downing, costume designer Jenn Rogien, director of photography Chris Teague, and editor Laura Weinberg, 6:45

When They See Us, Netflix premiere screening, guests to be announced, 8:30

Thursday, May 30
Instinct, CBS premiere screening, with actor Alan Cumming, actress Bojana Novakovic, and executive producer Michael Rauch, 7:45

Friday, May 31
Better Things: How Pamela Adlon Makes Life into Art, FX Close-Up with executive producer, writer, director, and actress Pamela Adlon, 6:30

Deadwood: The Movie Viewing Party, HBO special event, SVA Theatre, followed by live video Q&A with star Ian McShane, 7:15

Replay episode of Twilight Zone is part of Split Screens Festival

Replay episode of Twilight Zone is part of Split Screens Festival

Saturday, June 1
(S)heroes: Women of Action!, TV Talk with presenters Jessica Aldrich, Delia Harrington, Emmy Potter, Connor Ratliff, and Jamie Velez and critics Caroline Framke, Soraya McDonald, and Sonia Saraiya, 11:30 am

Skip Credits: Critics on Storytelling in the Age of Streaming, TV Talk with critics Caroline Framke, Soraya McDonald, James Poniewozik, and Sonia Saraiya, 2:00

That’s Some Catch: Christopher Abbott in Catch-22, Hulu Close-Up with actor Christopher Abbott, 3:30

Vanguard Award: Janet Mock, with a special screening of Love Is the Message from season 1 of FX’s Pose, with writer, producer, director, and advocate Janet Mock, 5:30

Is It Safe? Sam Esmail on Mr. Robot, Homecoming, and the Paranoid Thriller, Close-Up with Sam Esmail and a screening of Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999), 8:00

Sunday, June 2

Queen Sugar, OWN premiere screening, with actors Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe, and Rutina Wesley, showrunner and episode writer Anthony Sparks, and producing director and episode director Cheryl Dunye, 12:30

The Good Place: A Conversation with William Jackson Harper, NBC Close-Up, with actor William Jackson Harper, 2:30

Twilight Zone, CBS All Access screening of Replay episode, with actress Sanaa Lathan and screenwriter Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, 4:00

Warrior, Cinemax premiere screening with executive producer Shannon Lee and creator and executive producer Jonathan Tropper, 6:00

Fear the Walking Dead, AMC premiere screening, with executive producer Scott M. Gimple and others, 8:15

Monday, June 3
The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu premiere screening, 7:00

THE HOUR OF LIBERATION — DECOLONIZING CINEMA, 1966-1981: THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS

THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS

Members of the FLN hide from French paratroops in Gillo Pontecorvo’s neo-Realist classic The Battle of Algiers

THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966)
Film Forum
209 West Houston St.
May 24-25, June 6-7, 11, 13
Series runs May 24 - June 13
212-727-8110
filmforum.org

Film Forum kicks off its impressive three-week series “The Hour of Liberation: Decolonizing Cinema, 1966-1981” with Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1966 masterpiece, The Battle of Algiers, one of the most important films about colonialism ever made. To lend additional insight, Elaine Mokhtefi, author of Algiers, Third World Capital: Freedom Fighters, Revolutionaries, Black Panthers, will participate in a Q&A following the 8:30 show on May 24, and cultural historian Kazembe Balagun will introduce the 9:20 screening on June 11. In Pontecorvo’s gripping neo-Realist war thriller, a reporter asks French paratroop commander Lt. Col. Mathieu (Jean Martin), who has been sent to the Casbah to derail the Algerian insurgency, about an article Jean-Paul Sartre had just written for a Paris paper. “Why are the Sartres always born on the other side?” Mathieu says. “Then you like Sartre?” the reporter responds. “No, but I like him even less as a foe,” Mathieu coolly answers. In 1961, French existentialist Sartre wrote in the preface to Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, the seminal tome on colonialism and decolonialism, “In Algeria and Angola, Europeans are massacred at sight. It is the moment of the boomerang; it is the third phase of violence; it comes back on us, it strikes us, and we do not realize any more than we did the other times that it’s we that have launched it,” referring to European colonization.

“There are those among [the oppressed creatures] who assert themselves by throwing themselves barehanded against the guns; these are their heroes. Others make men of themselves by murdering Europeans, and these are shot down; brigands or martyrs, their agony exalts the terrified masses. Yes, terrified; at this fresh stage, colonial aggression turns inward in a current of terror among the natives. By this I do not only mean the fear that they experience when faced with our inexhaustible means of repression but also that which their own fury produces in them. They are cornered between our guns pointed at them and those terrifying compulsions, those desires for murder which spring from the depth of their spirits and which they do not always recognize; for at first it is not their violence, it is ours, which turns back on itself and rends them; and the first action of these oppressed creatures is to bury deep down that hidden anger which their and our moralities condemn and which is however only the last refuge of their humanity. Read Fanon: you will learn how, in the period of their helplessness, their mad impulse to murder is the expression of the natives’ collective unconscious.” Sartre’s brutally honest depiction of colonialism serves as a perfect introduction to Pontecorvo’s film, made five years later and then, unsurprisingly, banned in France. (In 1953, the Martinique-born Fanon, who fought for France in WWII, moved to Algeria, where he became a member of the National Liberation Front; French authorities expelled him from the country in 1957, but he kept working for the FLN and Algeria up to his death in 1961. For more on The Wretched of the Earth, see the documentary Concerning Violence: Nine Scenes from the Anti-Imperialistic Self-Defense.)

Terrorism and counterinsurgency take to the streets in Oscar-nominated THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS

Terrorism and counterinsurgency take to the streets in Oscar-nominated The Battle of Algiers

In The Battle of Algiers, Pontecorvo (Kapò, Burn!) and screenwriter Franco Solinas follow a small group of FLN rebels, focusing on the young, unpredictable Ali la Pointe (Brahim Haggiag) and the more calm and experienced commander, El-hadi Jafar (Saadi Yacef, playing a character based on himself; the story was also inspired by his book Souvenirs de la Bataille d’Alger). Told in flashback, the film takes viewers from 1954 to 1957 as Mathieu hunts down the FLN leaders while the revolutionaries stage strikes, bomb public places, and assassinate French police. Shot in a black-and-white cinema-vérité style on location by Marcello Gatti — Pontecorvo primarily was a documentarian — The Battle of Algiers is a tense, powerful work that plays out like a thrilling procedural, touching on themes that are still relevant fifty years later, including torture, cultural racism, media manipulation, terrorism, and counterterrorism. It seems so much like a documentary — the only professional actor in the cast is Martin — that it’s hardly shocking that the film has been used as a primer for the IRA, the Black Panthers, the Pentagon, and military and paramilitary organizations on both sides of the colonialism issue, although Pontecorvo is clearly on the side of the Algerian rebels. However, it does come as a surprise that the original conception was a melodrama starring Paul Newman as a Western journalist.

All these years later, The Battle of Algiers, which earned three Oscar nominations (for Best Foreign Language Film in 1967 and Best Director and Best Original Screenplay in 1969), still has a torn-from-the-headlines urgency that makes it as potent as ever, and it looks better as well, having recently undergone a 4K restoration for its fiftieth anniversary. “The Hour of Liberation: Decolonizing Cinema, 1966-1981” runs May 24 - June 13 and includes such other political works as Ousmane Sembène’s Black Girl, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade’s Macunaíma, and Hai Ninh’s The Little Girl of Hanoi.

ESTER KRUMBACHOVÁ — UNKNOWN MASTER OF THE CZECHOSLOVAK NEW WAVE: VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

Valerie (Jaroslava Schallerová) comes of age rather early in Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS (VALERIE A TÝDEN DIVŮ) (Jaromil Jireš, 1970)
Film Society of Lincoln Center, Francesca Beale Theater
144 West 65th St. between Broadway & Amsterdam Aves.
Saturday, May 25, 6:30, and Monday, May 27, 8:30
Series runs May 24-29
212-875-5050
www.filmlinc.org

The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s “Ester Krumbachová: Unknown Master of the Czechoslovak New Wave” series, presented in collaboration with the Czech Center New York, pays tribute to the career of writer, director, set designer, and costume designer Ester Krumbachová (1923-96), who was blacklisted by the communist government for her work. The six-day festival consists of ten films by such directors as Karel Kachyňa (Coach to Vienna, The Ear), Vojtěch Jasný (All My Compatriots), Věra Chytilová (Fruit of Paradise, Daisies), and Jan Němec (Diamonds of the Night), Krumbachová’s onetime husband and muse. On May 25 and 27, Jaromil Jireš’s Valerie and Her Week of Wonders will be shown, an extremely strange, totally hypnotic film on which Krumbachová served as writer and production designer. (Producer and curator Irena Kovarova will introduce the latter screening.) Based on the 1945 Gothic novel by Vítězslav Nezval (which was written ten years earlier), Valerie is a dreamy adult fairy tale, inspired by “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and other fables, about the coming of age of Valerie, a nymphette played by thirteen-year-old Jaroslava Schallerová in her film debut. Valerie lives with her icy, regal grandmother, Elsa (Helena Anýzová), in a remote village, where visiting missionaries and actors are cause for celebration. In addition, Valerie’s best friend, Hedvika (Alena Stojáková), is being forced to marry a man she doesn’t love. Valerie, who is in possession of magic earrings, is being courted by the bespectacled, bookish Eaglet (Petr Kopriva) as well as the Constable (Jirí Prýmek), who just happens to be an evil, ugly vampire who has a mysterious past with Elsa. Also showing an untoward interest in the virginal Valerie is the local priest, Gracián (Jan Klusák).

But don’t get too caught up in the hallucinatory narrative, which usually makes little sense. Characters’ motivations are inconsistent and confusing (especially as Jireš delves deeper and deeper into Valerie’s unconscious), plot points come and go with no explanation, and the spare dialogue is often random and inconsequential. And don’t try too hard looking for references to the Prague Spring, colonialism, and communism; just trust that they’re in there. Instead, let yourself luxuriate in Jan Curík’s lush imagery, Lubos Fiser and Jan Klusák’s Baroque score, Krumbachová’s enchanting production design, and Jan Oliva’s weirdly wonderful art direction. Valerie’s white bedroom is enchantingly surreal, a private world in a darkly magical Medieval land beset by incest, rape, fire, murder, self-flagellation, paganism, and monsters, everything dripping with blood and sex. No, this is most definitely not a fantasia for kids. “Ester Krumbachová: Unknown Master of the Czechoslovak New Wave” runs May 24-29 and also includes Zbyněk Brynych’s . . . and the Fifth Horseman Is Fear in addition to all the films listed above as well as Krumbachová’s own The Murder of Mr. Devil, the only film she directed, screening with introductions May 24 and 27.

FLEET WEEK 2019

Fleet Week will feature celebrations, commemorations, and memorials May 24-30 in all five boroughs (photo courtesy Fleet Week New York)

Fleet Week will feature celebrations, commemorations, and memorials May 22-28 in all five boroughs (photo courtesy Fleet Week New York)

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and other locations in all five boroughs
Pier 86, 12th Ave. & 46th St.
May 22–28
www.intrepidmuseum.org
militarynews.com

The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard will be pouring into New York City for Fleet Week, which takes place May 22-28 at the Intrepid, in Times Square, and at other locations. The annual celebration, which began in 1982, leads into Memorial Day weekend, reminding everyone that the holiday is not just about barbecues and beaches. Below are only some of the highlights, all free and open to the public. Admission to the museum, which is hosting many indoor demonstrations, exhibitions, and performances, is $24-$33 but free for all U.S. military and veterans.

Wednesday, May 22
Parade of Ships, New York Harbor, Pier 86, 8:00 am

Musical Performance: U.S. Fleet Forces “Brass Band,” South Street Seaport, 12 Fulton St., 12:30

Musical Performance: Navy Band Northeast’s “Ceremonial Band,” Washington Square Park arch, 4:00

Thursday, May 23
USNA Yard Patrol Squadron, visiting ship tour, Pier 86, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

USCGC Lawrence Lawson, visiting ship tour, Pier 86, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Musical Performance: U.S. Fleet Forces “Brass Band,” Union Square Park, noon

Thursday, May 23
through
Saturday, May 25

Navy Dive Tank, Military Island, Times Square, 10:00 am - 5:00

Friday, May 24
USNA Yard Patrol Squadron, visiting ship tour, Pier 86, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

USCGC Lawrence Lawson, visiting ship tour, Pier 86, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

USCG Silent Drill Team, Military Island, Times Square, 2:30

USMC Martial Arts Program demonstration, Military Island, Times Square, 3:15

Summer Movie Night: Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986), Intrepid Flight Deck, 7:00

Musical Performance: U.S. Fleet Forces “Brass Band,” Military Island, Times Square, 7:30

Saturday, May 25
U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force Auxiliary/Civil Air Patrol, LEGOLAND New York Resort, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Intrepid Education, American Red Cross, Restored and Antique Military Vehicle Clubs, Guide Dog Foundation/America’s Vet Dogs — The Veterans K-9 Corp, American Legion and FDNY, Pier 86, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

USCGC Lawrence Lawson, visiting ship tour, Pier 86, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Musical Performance: RamCorps, University of Mobile, Pier 86 main stage, noon

Facepainting: Faces by Derrick, Pier 86, noon - 4:00

Musical Performance: Latin Giants of Jazz, Pier 86 main stage, 1:00

USCG Silent Drill Team, Rockefeller Center Plaza, 2:00

Musical Performance: USMC Battle Color Detachment, including the USMC Silent Drill Platoon and Drum and Bugle Corps, Marine Day at Prospect Park, 3:30

Musical Performance — America's Sweethearts: Vintage Vocal Trio, Pier 86 main stage, 3:00 & 5:00

Musical Performance: 78th Army Band, Pier 86 main stage, 4:00

Musical Performance: Navy Band Northeast’s Rock Band “Rhode Island Sound,” Military Island, Times Square, 6:00

Musical Performance: USMC Battle Color Detachment, including the USMC Silent Drill Platoon and Drum and Bugle Corps, Father Duffy Square, Times Square, 8:00

Sunday, May 26
U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force Auxiliary/Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Intrepid Education, American Red Cross, Restored and Antique Military Vehicle Clubs, Guide Dog Foundation/America’s Vet Dogs — The Veterans K-9 Corp, LEGOLAND New York Resort, American Legion, and FDNY, Pier 86, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

USCGC Lawrence Lawson, visiting ship tour, Pier 86, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Facepainting: Faces by Derrick, Pier 86, noon - 4:00

Musical Performance: RamCorps, University of Mobile, Pier 86 main stage, noon & 2:00

Musical Performance — America's Sweethearts: Vintage Vocal Trio, Pier 86 main stage, 1:00 & 3:00

Musical Performance: singer, songwriter and Marine Corps veteran Laura Rice, Pier 86 main stage, 4:00

Musical Performance: Navy Band Northeast’s Rock Band “Rhode Island Sound,” Military Island, Times Square, 5:00

Monday, May 27
U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force Auxiliary/Civil Air Patrol, Intrepid Education, LEGOLAND New York Resort, and FDNY, Pier 86, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Memorial Day Ceremony, Pier 86, 11:00 am

Facepainting: Faces by Derrick, Pier 86, noon - 4:00

USCGC Lawrence Lawson, visiting ship tour, Pier 86, noon - 6:00 pm

USCGC Silent Drill Team Performance, Pier 86, 2:00

Gazillion Bubble Show: Interactive Bubble Garden, Pier 86, 2:00 - 6:00

American Cornhole League: Games and Challenges, Pier 86, 2:00 - 6:00

USCGC Search and Rescue Demonstration, West End Pier 86, 3:00

MoCA FILMS PRESENTS THE LOST ARCADE WITH IRENE CHIN

THE LOST ARCADE

The Lost Arcade follows the story of the rise and fall of the last old-fashioned arcade in New York City

THE LOST ARCADE (Kurt Vincent, 2015)
The Museum of Chinese in America
215 Centre St.
Thursday, May 23, $15 (includes museum admission), 6:30
855-955-MOCA
www.mocanyc.org
www.arcademovie.com

New York City has seen a dramatic rise in the closing of long-beloved institutions in the twenty-first century as gentrification and rent hikes soar. When filmmaker Kurt Vincent heard rumors that the Chinatown Fair arcade game haven was on the way out, he brought his camera to the Mott St. spot to document what it meant to him and the community that has been built around it since it opened back in 1944. “After all these years, the path to the arcade was ingrained, even in dreams,” he narrates at the beginning of The Lost Arcade, describing a dream he had. “As I stood in front of the doors, I could smell the arcade. The smell was a primordial memory hidden deep in my mind, somewhere beyond time and space, and somehow, in my dream, I connected with this distant and abstract memory.” Director-producer-editor Vincent and producer-writer Irene Chin, who previously collaborated on the experimental short The Bachelorette Party, have created a love letter to Chinatown Fair, affectionately known as CF, which has seen its ups and downs over the years, including a boom during the golden age of arcades in the 1980s and a problematic drop in the 2000s as kids stayed home to play video games on their computers and televisions. Vincent speaks with Anthony Cali Jr., who practically grew up in CF; former CF employees Henry Cen, Norman Burgess, Derek Rudder, and Akuma Hokura and their boss, Sam Palmer, who bought the place after visualizing it in a dream; and Lonnie Sobel, who attempted to resurrect it after its initial closure.

Teenagers and adults went to CF to play such old-fashioned games as Pac-Man, Ski Bowl, Space Invaders, Defender, Frogger, and Centipede, marvel at the dancing, tic-tac-toe-playing chicken, and visit the so-called museum in the back. Ol’ Dirty Bastard even filmed his 1995 “Brooklyn Zoo” video there. “All my pride and my disappointment and my joy was held in that quarter,” Hokura says, describing the importance of playing arcade games, which used to cost twenty-five cents. The film also has a very cool video-game-inspired score by Gil Talmi. Much like the analog games that lined each side of the narrow CF, the film has an analog feel to it, along with a sweet-natured sentimentality for the way things used to be in an ever-changing New York City. The Museum of Chinese in America is screening The Lost Arcade on May 23 at 6:30, followed by a Q&A with Chin; the evening also includes wine and admission to the museum, which currently has on display the exhibits “With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America” and “The Moon Represents My Heart: Music, Memory and Belonging.”