O'Neill Exhibit Headlining Pittsburgh Filmmakers' Lineup

You literally cannot go wrong with any of the three theaters operated by the Pittsburgh Filmmakers. This weekend, master photographer Annie O’Neill's "Work in Progress" exhibit opens at the Melwood, plus showings at the other two Filmmakers' locations: the Regent Square Theater and the Harris.

Annie O’Neill’s "Candy-Rama" will be on display as part of the "Work in Progress" exhibit that opens at the Melwood Screening Room on Friday.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Filmmakers   

Pittsburgh Filmmakers is one of Pittsburgh’s finest and most under-appreciated cultural institutions. There are thousands of reasons to love Filmmakers (its education efforts are perhaps the foremost), but the group is consistently a favorite of mine for one key reason: You literally cannot go wrong at a Filmmakers’ theater.

I’ve rarely seen films I wasn’t wild about at the trio of cinemas operated by the Filmmakers (Regent Square Theater, the Harris Theater and the Melwood Screening Room), but even in those cases, the offending film was interesting, unique, worthy of discussion—in short, still worth seeing. I would be willing to go to any of those theaters on any night without even checking to see what’s playing, and that’s something that I couldn’t possibly say about any other venue.

This blind faith extends, of course, to anything else that’s going on at Filmmakers—from exhibits in the Melwood galleries to the always-fantastic Three Rivers Film Festival to the one-of-a-kind Film Kitchen events.

Easy Rider at the Melwood Screening Room

This weekend, start Thursday night with a special screening of the classic Easy Rider at the Melwood. The counterculture epic is now 42 years old but still holds a certain outlaw reputation—a tour I took in New Orleans’ famous St. Louis Cemetery breathlessly recounted the tale of Dennis Hopper and crew breaking into the facility to illegally film there, still a source of outrage in the Big Easy. Since Hopper passed away last year, now is the time to see this one if you haven’t, and the big screen is definitely the way to go.

An informal discussion will follow the screening, but if the spirit catches you, you’ll be more ready for a mind-expanding cross-country trek. While I can’t endorse that—I endorse nothing that takes you away from Pittsburgh—get the general feel by dropping by a biker bar and throwing back a few cold ones. Hop on Bigelow and cross the bridge for a stop at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, perhaps.

"Work in Progress" at the Melwood Screening Room

The mood will shift around the Screening Room Friday night with the opening of local master photographer Annie O’Neill’s new exhibit, "Work in Progress." The P-G veteran and nationally awarded artist is combining two series of work for this exhibit: "50 Years of Service," portraits of individuals who’ve worked more than 50 years at one job, and "Uniformity," a collection of workers in uniform. The reception is from 6-8 p.m., and, hey—it’s free.

Other Films Around Town

That is, of course, far from all at Filmmakers. At the beautiful Harris Theater downtown, Kaboom opens Friday; I can’t  describe it with justice, but suffice to say, it’s a somewhat outlandish college-aged sex, drugs and rock-n-roll drama that’ll have you yearning to revisit your inner sophomore.

Regent Square Theater—still the theater with the best bars in walking distance, including Murphy’s Tap Room, The Map Room, D’s 6-Pax n Dogz and more—is opening The Strange Case of Angelica, described as a “supernatural romance” and  made by the world’s oldest living film director, 102-year-old Manoel de Oliveira. That’s probably remarkable enough to get me to show up—the dude started making documentaries in 1931, for Pete’s sake—but it also looks like the most interesting film playing in town this weekend.

There’s also a repertory screening of the Catherine Deneuve classic The Umbrellas of Cherbourg at Regent Square on Sunday and a documentary forum at the Melwood on Saturday.

So, again—you literally can’t go wrong. This is a fine weekend to expand your cinematic horizons, and you’ve got three excellent spots to do it—so get out there.

(Show dates, times and locations available at pghfilmmakers.org or 412/681-4111)

Categories: After Dark