(Photo: Siskel Center main auditorium. Credit: Nausea.)
I suppose it makes me an award-winning writer. Last week I submitted a review (more of a love paean, really) of the Art Institute’s Gene Siskel Film Center to the sage scribes of CenterStage Chicago. Today, the CenterStage eds told me I was chosen Review of the Week, allegedly for being last week’s most “insider-tip-filled” review. Eh, I just like it when people don’t talk at the movies. But thanks, guys, for liking my review, and most especially for the $15 gift certificate to Myopic Books. Three words: more used Kerouac.
Here’s what I submitted:
This must be the most underrated, little known, yet longstanding cultural gem in Chicago. Four arthouse, classic, or world movies every night of the week, pristine interior, in the heart of downtown (i.e. anyone can catch a 6pm Casablanca after work should they so choose) and five buck tickets if you’re a member.
Maybe people miss the entrance despite the big sign because there’s no huge neon or LED spectacular screaming for attention above the door. There’s a teeny little movie-times scroll inside the door and the box office is upstairs (via stairs or elevator).
But inside, two theaters, one small and one 200 seater, both state-of-the-art, neither afflicted by 10 minutes of commercials or other hype, a rapt attentive audience, and a small art gallery/cafe to boot.
When New York City groaned and mourned when Cinema Village and many others of its arthouse ilk died in the 1990s, this is exactly the type of venue our Gotham brethren were mourning. Turn anyone onto the Siskel Center, and when they get done telling you how they never ever knew it was there, they’ll go.
And if you go, please remember to open those hard candy wrappers all at once. That little-twist by little-twist move is obnoxious, no matter what your grandmother told you.