A Spectacle in Williamsburg

One of the reasons I was drawn to New York City was the presence of many great places to see movies, especially small independent theaters that are often referred to as “microcinemas.” These are not necessarily repertory houses, such as the Film Society and the Film Forum, although those are great, too. A microcinema screens rare, forgotten, or cutting-edge work that only a small audience would ever want to watch. New York was perfect for that. As I’ve said elsewhere, New York has a thousand things to do and a hundred people that want to do that, too. But as moviegoing and New York City both have changed over the years, many of these microcinemas have disappeared like the video stores that once supplemented one’s rabid cinephilia.

The Spectacle Theater in Brooklyn is one such remaining microcinema. Located on South 3rd Street off Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, it screens a wide variety of offbeat films you probably can’t watch anywhere else (except the Internet), and they screen their films in what looks like a storage room inside a prewar tenement building (except the space was last a bodega).

Spectacle Theater, Brooklyn New York

The Spectacle Theater occupies a former bodega’s space on South 3rd Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (Photo: Ken Rowe / Cinema Treasures.)

Also, they charge only $5 per screening.

As with any financially unfeasible operation, they have taken to Kickstarter to raise some money. The folks behind the Spectacle have somehow secured a ten-year lease on their space and have launched a fundraising campaign to in order make some much needed repairs and improvements to the space.

According to their Kickstarter announcement, some of those improvements will include:

  • upgrade to a new and better projector and sound system
  • sound-proof the theater so that Brooklyn’s sirens and screams no longer form part of our films’ soundtracks
  • install upgraded 16mm projection capabilities (no more tripping over our projectionist extraordinaire John Klacsmann as you enter the theater for 16mm screenings)
  • install an actual HVAC system so you will no longer swelter in the summer nor freeze in the winter, and we’ll build new risers so that you back-row people will be able to see the screen better
  • repair our sad-looking floor
  • redo our facade (but not in a lame way)

I’m as skeptical as they come with many, many Kickstarter campaigns. But this is a good one. If you’re a New York–area cinephile, contribute some money so they don’t have to resort to “raising ticket prices or selling $12 single-origin chocolate bars and açaí bowls,” as they threaten to do in their campaign announcement.

Contribute to South 3rd Street Forever!

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