Bleecker Street Cinemas
144 Bleecker Street,
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News About This Theater
- Nov 7, 2005 — Bleecker Street Cinema
One of the landmark Greenwich Village theatres played the offbeat films long before anyone involved with the Angelika was even born. Run for many years by Sid Geffen and Jackie Raynal who also had the Carniege Hall Cinema. The second screen called the Agee Room was added on January 14, 1983 and was very tiny.
The theatre went through a soap opera like ownership struggle near its end with three parties fighting for the space. The theatre ended it’s life as a porno theatre and then when the neighborhood complained had a very short stint again showing move-over art films, until it was closed on September 7, 1990 and was gutted for retail space.
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Recent comments (view all 70 comments)
So was it ever BLEEKER instead of BLEECKER?
The Agee Room opened in November 1980. It became the Bleecker 2 by 1985.
An ad for “COME BACK, AFRICA”;
Here is a link to a 1935 Berenice Abbott photo of 144 Bleecker St. Except for the awning, the street level looks much like the BSC of the 1960’s. http://www.flickr.com/photos/nypl/3110619012/
In the mid-sixties, every intermission featured a screening of Stan VanDerBeek’s NO SMOKING, and a selection of soundtracks. Here is a log of the intermission music tape as of 1966, with film and selection:
SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER – Charlie
JULES AND JIM – Le Tourbillon CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 – Sans Toi NIGHTS OF CABIRIA – Cabiria JULES AND JIM – Générique CITIZEN KANE – Charlie Kane GATES OF PARIS (PORTE DES LILAS) – Au bois de mon coeur MON ONCLE – Theme
AND GOD CREATED WOMAN – Dis-moi quelque chose de gentil BOCCACCIO ‘70 – Bevete più latte SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER – Rencontre UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG – Devant le Magasin LA GRANDE OLIMPIADE – Theme TOUCH OF EVIL – Borderline Montuna BLACK ORPHEUS – Samba de Orpheu A VERY PRIVATE AFFAIR (VIE PRIVÉE) – Sidonie STOWAWAY IN THE SKY (LE VOYAGE EN BALLON) – Theme JULIET OF THE SPIRITS – Theme
THE 400 BLOWS – Theme CONTEMPT – Camille’s Theme THE GIRL WITH THE GOLDEN EYES – excerpt THE ISLAND (ÖN) – Water Theme BLOOD AND ROSES (ET MOURIR DE PLAISIR) – Carmilla and Leopoldo MAGNET OF DOOM (L'AÎNÉ DES FERCHAUX) – Maudet and Ferchaux BAY OF ANGELS (LA BAIE DES ANGES) – Theme THE MATING URGE – Kandy Wedding L'AMERIQUE INSOLITE – Les delinquants
I visited this theater during its ‘porn’ period.
I will never forget going to the bathroom and it was really scary. I thought it was just me but another patron said that it was scary up there.
I felt very uneasy there and left.
This was not a great theater by any stretch and the bathrooms were always scary, but the programming—sublime!! It was like attending film school only more thorough. That’s how staggering it was. Films only ran for 2 days, sometimes 3, and everything was a double feature. That’s 6 different moves a week! It was a living, breathing Netflix. I am so glad I got to experience this period of film going and the Bleecker Street Cinema was the best of the best. And I’ll never forget the fake painted balustrade along the front of the theater. If you want to see this place in action, watch DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN. The Aidan Quinn character is the projectionist here.
The Bleecker Street Cinema is one of the repertory movie theaters of the past that is highlighted in my recently published book, “Repertory Movie Theaters of New York City: Havens for Revivals, Indies and the Avant-Garde, 1960-1994.” It’s listed on Amazon and www.mcfarlandpub.com.
This was a great place to see films. My first visit there, if I remember correctly, was a double bill of DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS and THE VELVET VAMPIRE. I also saw Warhol’s TRASH and HEAT there, and later on late movies like THE SUCKLING and SPACE AVENGER.
I looked this theater up because the marquee appears in the trashy movie called SPECIAL EFFECTS (1984) that I am watching right now on HBO. I lived in New York for 14 years and couldn’t remember it and wondered if it had changed names or was still there or what. Now I know it was long gone before I showed up.
Please update, second screen open January 14, 1983 and closed on September 7, 1990