For his first Secret Cinema program in more than six months, Jay Schwartz didn’t exactly plan the event as a triumphant comeback from a devastating bike accident last September. But “Curator’s Choice 2015: Unseen Corners of the Secret Cinema Archives” will mark his welcome return with an odd and eclectic grab bag of films that have not been projected before in Secret Cinema’s more than 20-year history.
“It’s not a commemorative program about bicycle accidents or anything,” Schwartz jokes in typically understated fashion. “But it is a minor clearing of the decks of films that I’ve never shown that have been piling up.”
Schwartz was riding his bike on Broad Street last fall when he was hit by a truck, breaking his leg, clavicle and ribs and requiring surgery. He spent a week recovering in the hospital, then an additional two weeks in a rehabilitation hospital. He was unable to support any weight on his leg for more than two months and has been undergoing physical therapy ever since the accident. “I’m a lot better and I can walk now,” he says, “but it’s still uncomfortable sometimes. I use a cane sometimes, depending on the day and how far I have to go.”
While he returned to his less physically demanding day job some time ago, the requirements of moving equipment and film reels (Secret Cinema is notable for Schwartz’s insistence on only projecting film, never video or digital) has necessitated a longer wait to return to a screening schedule after the cancellation of several events in the months immediately following the accident. “I did it roughly as soon as I could,” he explains.
This will be Secret Cinema’s debut at the MAAS Building, a former brewery and trolley repair shop in Fishtown that has been converted into an event space.
The lineup for the evening spans nearly six decades, from the silent era to the late ’60s. Selections include a short drama by cinema pioneer D.W. Griffith; a Boris Karloff-narrated exposé of teenage misbehavior circa 1964; a one-reel music short from the 1930s featuring the Hall Johnson Negro Choir; a production reel featuring British Invasion band Herman’s Hermits; and “Wringo,” a comic “stag movie,” or early X-rated novelty meant to be shown at men’s parties, among others.
If you go
Curator’s Choice 2015: Unseen Corners of the Secret Cinema Archives
April 10, 8 p.m.
The MAAS Building
1325 N. Randolph St.