Saturday, May 12, 2007

Stella Brew & View

Ok, here is a basic dilemma. We want to show movies at Stella. Late in the evening, once or twice a week, we want to project DVDs onto the back wall for the enjoyment of our patrons. Sounds cozy, doesn't it? Coming to a coffee shop and watching a modern cult classic, like The Royal Tenenbaums, is certainly my idea of a good time.

Now, here is the where things get hairy. It turns out that The Man has no beef with us playing any sort of music at our shop (even Metallica). However, The Man has a major hard-on about movies played at the shop, even if we do not charge admission. A nice lady at Criterion Pictures informed me that a license for a single showing ranges from $200 to $300. It is unlikely we will be able to recoup that by just selling coffee. If we flout the law, we will be entering a world of pain, tout de suite.

The thing is, we want to do the movie thing anyway. The brew & view concept happens to really jibe with our idea of a neighborhood hangout. Please allow me to illustrate.

A while back, when both Maya and I were working at Northrop Grumman in Rolling Meadows, we one day decided to go see a movie at a bar. I found the place in The Reader, and it was called Liquid Kitty. The year was 1998, Wicker Park was still hip, and the smokey and boozy joint was packed with good-looking people with shaggy bedhead hair. It was real bedhead, too, before anyone started paying money to make their hair look like that.

We, on the other hand, looked like your run-of-the-mill harried commuters, having just spent 90 minutes on the expressway, with our corporate clothing and corporate hair. We did not fit in, but that did not prevent us from having a blast getting hammered while watching Se7en. We were able to follow the movie, although we people-watched most of the time. It seemed as though no one in that bar had ever heard of such a thing as Northrop Grumman, or Rolling Meadows for that matter, and that made us feel that perhaps those things had somehow ceased to exist. We were in for a rude awakening the following morning.

What we especially enjoyed that night was the ability to step out of the daily reality that surrounded us. We loved that we could go watch a movie somewhere other than a multiplex, surrounded by people unlike any that we saw every day. There are generally very few opportunities to do that, which is why we want to provide them whenever we can. There is nothing wrong with getting in the car and driving over to that gleaming multiplex by the side of the highway, but we don't want that to be the only way, do we? There are times when you just want to amble on over to your neighborhood coffee joint and watch a movie you've been meaning to see for years but can never get around to renting. You can do it while sipping a latte. You can even (gasp) talk.

So here is a pledge - we will do the movie thing if we can afford it. The choice of fare may be influenced by licensing fees, but even more so by popular demand, so I am happy to start taking requests right now. Whether it's Cagney noir, Truffaut New Wave, or Mel Gibson faith-based horseshit fantasy, we'll be happy to oblige, with kind permission from The Man.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Seventeen Moments of Spring, if you know what I mean. I bet you can treat it as "freeware", licensing free-wise, and they speak so slowly, that a synchronized translation can be arranged.

Pavel Yusim said...

...or better yet, just piano accompaniment.

Anonymous said...

In this case, you should play it at twice the speed, and you can be done with it in only eight and a half moments.

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