These Thursday movie nights have been going on a while at Betalevel, the brainy underground (literally) hive of geeky art & tech activity that spun off from Chinatown’s C-Level (from whose loins also sprang Machine Project). Don’t know what the hell I’m talking about? Click those links & give yourself a pat on the back for being a good culture student: this loose collective of mad-skillz geeks have hosted hackathons, circuitbending music-making (that’s where you screw with noisemaking children’s toys until they make fantastic sounds; the best I ever saw was a keytar made from a Speak-n-Spell); live Tetris competitions projected in vast scale along walls, with competitors in bizarre costumes…etc, ad infinitum.
Every Thursday, this basement-level art-space/gallery/file-sharing meatspace/technogeekery HQ/poetry-reading hall/whathaveyou screens a film: 1st Thursdays of the month are Bollywood Night, 2nd Thursdays are Zombie Night, 3rd Thursdays are Keanu Night, 4th Thursdays are the intriguing Weimar Night and 5th Thursdays, when they occur, are Miscellaneous Night. The room isn’t huge, so there’s a warm, convivial atmosphere you usually only find in restaurants where everyone has to sit at long shared tables and is forced to interact.
Tomorrow, Bollywood Night features the noirish black-and-white “Pyaasa,” with a narrative that could have inspired Moulin Rouge: Vijay, a poet, is unemployed, broke, and can’t get published. His family lambasts him. The husband of his former girlfriend steals Vijay’s writing and commits him to a mental institution. “Vijay takes to drink, gets in trouble with the law, ends up in a brothel. There he meets a prostitute who wants to help him get the recognition he deserves.” It just all sounds fantastic.
For the amazing directions to Betalevel, click here.