Monday, May 19, 2008
[Updated] "Artists, filmmakers, movie theaters — we're getting pushed out of Manhattan"
That's Ray Privett, programmer at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater. In a New York Sun feature today, Privett discusses his latest project: the Queensbridge Theater. According to the article, "As envisioned, Queensbridge will occupy an entire building in Long Island City housing a restaurant, a dance floor, and a space for concerts and performances. Mr. Privett said the venue, which is scheduled to open in the fall, will ideally remain open for 20 or 21 hours a day and cater to both Manhattanites and local residents."
More from the article:
It is yet unknown whether Mr. Privett's decision to remain involved in the local film scene will help to assuage mounting fears that Manhattan is no longer a place where independent artists can thrive. Queensbridge, for starters, has left the borough entirely.
"This is all definitely part of the general trend," Mr. Privett said. "With Queensbridge, I'm working with a lot of people from the Lower East Side who can no longer continue having things on the Lower East Side. People in the film world are going to Texas and Germany. Artists, filmmakers, movie theaters — we're getting pushed out of Manhattan, and my evolution is yet more proof of that."
[Updated] Ray Privett left a comment to this post...He had posted a few clarifications to the Sun article:
The Pioneer is still open. My departure from the Pioneer did not close the Pioneer, nor did the two things coincide. Indeed, my successors booked the three films mentioned in the first paragraph of Mr. Snyder’s article. Clearly, the Pioneer can do interesting things without me. Hopefully they continue to. Good luck to them.
Moreover, the Lower East Side’s gentrification did not cause me to leave the Pioneer. I have never claimed it did.
I left the Pioneer because professional opportunities emerged at the Queensbridge Theater - which is not a movie theater but a performing arts club, and which is now where the bulk of my efforts have shifted. Meanwhile, in film related endeavors, I felt I could be more effective as my own boss.
However, while gentrification did not cause my shift to Queens, that shift does coincide with the general trend of Lower East Side arts people relocating to the outer boroughs. For example, several of my colleagues in Queensbridge have tilted much of their work to the outer boroughs.
Nonetheless, they still sometimes put on shows in the Lower East Side and elsewhere in Manhattan. Many will continue to do so; from time to time, I know I will, too.