Bickford cinema series focuses on film noir

Bickford cinema series focuses on film noir

Posted: Aug. 30, 2018 12:01 am

MORRISTOWN — The Morris Museum will launch its new Inside Cinema Film Series on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 10 a.m., in the Bickford Theatre. During this season, this film series will focus on film noir, and will be hosted monthly by David Landau, a professor of film at Fairleigh Dickinson University. For each screening there will be a discussion with Landau before the film to provide further insights.

The screenings are free for museum members with advance registration; non-nembers $15. Tickets can be purchased by calling 973-971-3706. For more information, visit or call 973-971-3721.

“Our film programming at the Morris Museum endeavors to track down hard-to-find content that, we feel, deserves to be known and seen. Today, our media world is so multi-layered and over saturated, and our lives are so busy, that a frightening amount of great work falls through the cracks every year. As a museum, we have a responsibility to sort through the past and bring back the very best for our audiences. We will bring a curatorial voice into the experience, so the audience comes away informed and inspired by what they’ve seen. We also hope that our film-goers rediscover the joy of watching great film as a shared, community experience,” said Cleveland Johnson, executive director of the Morris Museum.

Landau is an award-winning mystery playwright with seven works published by Samuel French including his internationally produced play “Murder at Cafe Noir,” a comedy tribute to the film noir movies of the 1940s, which would be performed in theaters across the United States and Canada for the following six years. His noir play “Deep Six Holiday,” inspired by the work of James Cain, has won several theater awards, and his noir short film “Joker’s Wild” (written and photographed by Landau), was featured on A&E Short Subjects, Cinemax, and won several film festival awards.

“I wanted to create a list of films that would encompass not just the classics that set the standard and were the inspiration for Nino Frank’s first use of the term film noir, but also show how noir has transitioned and changed over the years and how it’s still very much alive today,” Landau said. “Like the western film, noir is an entirely American genre. Film noir typifies the American psyche — the idea of the loner fighting against all odds who has their own code of ethics and will not be swayed from doing the honorable and right thing. And, by the end of the film, those that don’t adhere to those values usually end up dying or in prison.”

This film series is made possible thanks to the support of Dillard and Adrienne Kirby.

All screenings are at 10 a.m., in the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown.

º Wednesday, Sept. 5 — “The Maltese Falcon” (1941)

One of the most popular and best classic detective mysteries ever made. Starring Humphrey Bogart as detective Sam Spade along with Mary Astor as the innocent-looking, stunning brunette beauty, Ruth Wonderly. This film is the directorial debut for John Huston.

º Wednesday, Oct. 3 — “Murder My Sweet” (1944)

Raymond Chandler’s 1940 hard-boiled novel — a superb, complex, shadowy, twisting film noir of murder, corruption, blackmail, double-cross and double identity, starring Dick Powell, Claire Trevor and Anne Shirley.

º Wednesday, Nov. 7 — “This Gun for Hire” (1942)

The film that shot Alan Ladd to stardom. Assassin Philip Raven kills a blackmailer and his female companion. He is paid off in marked bills by his treasonous employer who is working with foreign spies. Also stars Veronica Lake, Robert Preston and Laird Crigar.

º Wednesday, Dec. 5 — “The Big Sleep” (1946)

Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he’s seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and John Ridgely.

º Wednesday, Jan. 2 — “Macao” (1952)

Nick Cochran, an American in exile in Macao, has a chance to restore his name by helping capture an international crime lord. Undercover, can he mislead the bad guys and still pursue the beautiful singer/petty crook, Julie Benson? Starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell and William Bendix.

º Wednesday, Feb. 6 — “The Big Combo” (1955)

A police lieutenant is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn’t been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown’s girlfriend who despises him, for information instead. Starring Cornel Wilde, Richard Conte, Jean Wallace and Brian Donlevy. Considered by many critics to be one of cinematographer John Alton’s finest achievements.

º Wednesday, March 6 — “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” (2005)

A petty thief posing as an actor is brought to Los Angeles for an unlikely audition and finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation along with his high school dream girl and a detective who’s been training him for his upcoming role. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Michelle Monaghan and Val Kilmer.

º Wednesday, April 3 — “House of Games” (1987)

A psychiatrist comes to the aid of a compulsive gambler and is led by a smooth-talking swindler into the shadowy but compelling world of stings, scams, and con men. Written and directed by David Mamet, stars Joe Mantegna and Lindsay Crouse.

º Wednesday, May 1 — “Phantom Lady” (1944)

Determined to save her boss from death row by finding his only alibi to his wife’s murder, a woman in a peculiar hat who nobody seems to remember, Carol Richman, solicits the help of Inspector Burgess to investigate the whereabouts of the woman and the real killer.

Girls spend summer vacation restoring Shea’s

Girls spend summer vacation restoring Shea’s

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Video games. Sports. The mall. Just hanging out with friends.  Some of the ways many kids spend their summers off from school.

But a pair of girls from Cheektowaga have been putting in the work to help restore one of Buffalo’s most famous buildings.

Jayla Baldenegro, 14, and Natalie Horner, 12, have spent their summer volunteering at the iconic Shea’s Performing Arts Center on Main Street.

“It’s just something to do for me. It keeps me busy,” Jayla said. “I just like the work of it. I like to accomplish things.”

She moved from Arizona to Cheektowaga with her family last year.  Doris Collins, a family friend, who also happens to be the restoration consultant at Shea’s, invited Jayla to join her.

“It’s very different. Being from Arizona I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s very original. It’s just so cool,” Jayla said.

Collins was impressed with Jayla’s willingness to try something new.

“She really took to it. She put her hand to whatever I showed her almost immediately,” Collins said.

This summer Jayla’s had a hand from a friend and neighbor.

Natalie, an admitted perfectionist, joined the team. Three days a week for about six hours a day, the two take on a a series of jobs at Shea’s, from stenciling in the theare, to re-painting the box office, even repair work on the walls in the 92-year-old theatre.

Natalie, a soon-to-be 8th grader at John F. Kennedy Middle School, never imagined this is how she’d use her summer break.

“We had to put in joint compound and make sure it had a texture so it could look like all of the other textured walls in here,” she said.

While their summertime activities are certainly not typical, the lessons they have learned could go a long way for the pair even though they’re yet to start high school.

“I think I want to be an interior designer. So this will help me along the way with that,” said Jayla, who will attend John F. Kennedy High School this year.

Both young women have shown wisdom well beyond their years as they help preserve of one of Western New York’s treasures.

“Keeping it up for my generation will look good for every other generation that comes in,” Natalie said. “Fixing it and restoring it to the way it looked.”

Celebrating our NZ theatre this month

Celebrating our NZ theatre this month

September is NZ Theatre Month, and if you did not know that, you are not alone. This is its first year.
It’s an annual event planned for the next five years and, around the country, theatres, professional and amateur, are presenting and celebrating New Zealand plays.

Roger Hall is probably this country’s best known and most successful playwright, and it is through his work that NZ Theatre Month is happening.
“Dean Parker (New Zealand screenwriter, playwright, journalist and political commentator) suggested it years ago, and nothing happened. A committee was established but no one could agree. So I set up a committee of one (me) and got it started. But I have Malcolm Calder slaving away on the heavy lifting — setting up the Trust, getting it registered as a charitable Trust, doing the website, and a lot more. It’s planned for five years so here we go with year one …,” says Roger.

The trust comprises Roger Hall, Malcolm Calder and publishing consultant John Daly-Peoples, bringing together a broad range of experience, knowledge and expertise. All are passionate about New Zealand theatre, committed to good governance and are collectively responsible for setting the organisation’s strategic direction.

While pretty much everything has its own day, month or year — last Friday was National Poetry Day — it’s about time Kiwi theatre was acknowledged and honoured. We need to perform the plays and get audiences out to the theatres to see them.
So full marks to Roger Hall and the trust for getting the ball rolling, hopefully for the next five years.
“It’s time theatre as a whole got more recognition — generally people know what’s on locally but have no idea of the range and diversity there is,” says Roger.
Which is why theatres in centres big and small are queuing up to help by putting on a Kiwi play.
“Thanks to people in various centres throughout the country , activities and events rare happening in many places.”


As part of NZ Theatre Month, Wanganui Repertory Theatre is presenting Eugenia from September 14-22. Eugenia is written by Aussie-turned-Kiwi Lorae Parry and directed by Phil Hudson.

* * * * * * *

Money. It’s always about money. For working people, it is the measure by which they are valued, and if conditions can’t be improved and the corporate bosses aren’t going to restore the resources their staff enjoyed before so much was shifted offshore and shareholders became the priority, then extra money is all they have to ask for.
Nurses, teachers, struggling with modern demands and the results of previous (and existing) policies, can only ask for more money to compensate them for the high stress their jobs bestow.

But All Blacks? Rugby players? Men whose primary concern is to move a ball from one end of a field to another are among the latest to hint at the need for more money. Apparently, high salaries overseas are luring players away from New Zealand, weakening our “national” sport.

In December, 2016, a collective bargaining agreement between New Zealand Rugby and the Players’ Association gave a cash injection to raise the players’ salary fund to $191 million by 2019. That made some of the All Blacks — but not all — millionaires. They were earning that much in a year, while the Silver Ferns are earning a fraction of that.

All Blacks or Silver Ferns, they are all still extremely well paid in comparison with people who actually do something for their fellow creatures, whether teaching or caring for them. For All Blacks to be asking for more money while teachers and nurses are being criticised for doing the same — and they deserve it! — is crass and insensitive. Some people just don’t know when they’re well off.

Remember, your predecessors played the game and represented their country unpaid, taking time out from their businesses, farms and employment to wear the silver fern.

Santa’s Sleigh is swooping into Blackpool’s Pavilion Theatre

Santa’s Sleigh is swooping into Blackpool’s Pavilion Theatre

Santa’s heading to town as part of the new Pavilion Theatre programme of events.

Earlier this year, a new partnership between the Winter Gardens and production company Selladoor Worldwide was announced.

Santa's Sleigh is swooping into Blackpool's Pavilion Theatre

Santa’s Sleigh is swooping into Blackpool’s Pavilion Theatre

And today, they reveal the first show for the historic venue, which is part of the original 140-year-old complex.

Direct from the West End, Christmas spectacular Santa’s New Sleigh – an ‘exciting and interactive adventure’ – is set to delight families from December 19 to 24.

A spokesman said: “Will the elves save Christmas at the Winter Gardens – or will Father Christmas be forced to cancel?

“Christmas is fast approaching in Sam Bradshaw’s production – a festive cracker of a show that follows the adventures of two elves, Sprocket and Dibs, as they rush to make a new sleigh in time for the big day.”

Santa's Sleigh is swooping into Blackpool's Pavilion Theatre

Santa’s Sleigh is swooping into Blackpool’s Pavilion Theatre

The Winter Gardens and Selladoor joined forces to establish a northern base for the theatre company, which will help restore the Grade II-listed Pavilion into a working venue once more with a new programme of productions. The deal was heralded as bringing ‘unparalleled opportunities’ for the resort.

Selladoor was behind last Christmas’s production of Peter Pan at the Opera House and is producing the Wizard Of Oz at the theatre this December.

Selladoor’s executive creative producer David Hutchinson said: “Having formed the partnership only a few months ago, we’re delighted to have programmed a magical seasonal offering for younger audiences that will sit alongside our own production of Wizard Of Oz in the Opera House – giving Blackpool plenty of seasonal options this Christmas for all ages.

“It’s brilliant the Pavilion will be busy this Christmas.”

Santa’s New Sleigh, which enjoyed sell out stints in Lichfield, Peterborough and London’s West End, will take to the stage in Blackpool from December 19 until Christmas Eve.

The Wizard Of Oz, which is set for a three-week festive season starring X-Factor’s Holly Tandy, Emmerdale’s Kelvin Fletcher and Radio Wave’s Scott Gallagher, from December 7.

Tickets for Santa’s New Sleigh are priced from £9.50 and include a meet and greet with Santa and a gift for every child.

For more information and to book visit

Boost for Burnley Empire restoration hopes

Boost for Burnley Empire restoration hopes

A TRUST’S hopes of restoring a grade II listed theatre to its former glory have received a welcome boost.

The Burnley Empire has stood vacant for more than 20 years in the town centre and volunteers say they are keeping the faith its revival will come to fruition now the National Trust says it wants to help bring the “hidden gem” back to life.

In 2015 residents united to form the Burnley Empire Theatre Trust (BETT) in aid of the abandoned cultural asset to raise awareness of its existence and prompt restoration.

A stakeholders group was formed in 2016 to determine a plan of action for East Lancashire’s only purpose built Edwardian theatre and together the group commissioned a viability study to establish if there was any viable way to restore the Burnley Empire and future uses.

The study concluded that the Empire had a viable future as a multipurpose entertainment venue and that the building could be restored through a phased and incremental project based within the community and with training at its core.

Along with Theatres Trust and TheatreSearch who have both continued to champion the reuse of the Burnley Empire, there is now a new addition to the workforce behind the future use of the historic Empire.

BETT members are pleased to announce that the National Trust have now joined the efforts of the campaign.

Matt Doran, head of external partnerships team at National Trust said: “The Empire is a real hidden gem in the heart of Burnley. We want to work with others to explore how the restoration and future use of this wonderful building can be achieved.

“Success would give a real boost to that part of town and give Burnley a unique venue.”

BETT member Shaun McCree added: “The task ahead will be far from easy but it can be done and theatres in far worse condition have been brought back to life and naturally regenerated the areas surrounding them. It has taken almost three years to build a credible campaign along with awareness to attract likeminded support.

“Having the National Trust onboard with the campaign is a great asset for the future of the Burnley Empire and town. It is very important that the building is secured as soon as possible.

“If the building was to be listed for auction at some point before new ownership is established, and were it to be bought by a speculator it could lie unused for another decade or so as it did before due to its nature and value as a Grade II listed building.”

Tom Stickland, Theatres Adviser at Theatres Trust added: “Projects of the scale of Burnley Empire’s restoration are never straightforward but we are encouraged by the number of key local and national stakeholders working together to support this theatre.

“While it remains a theatre at risk, we hope a long-term sustainable solution can be found to reopen this historic space.”

The Burnley Empire was built in 1894 and redesigned by renowned theatre designer and architect Bertie Crewe in 1911.

Volunteers say the auditorium of the building is architecturally unique and its heritage value is irreplaceable.

They say it is the only venue of its kind in the whole of East Lancashire and one of very few examples still standing across the UK.

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