The Wicker Man: How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare

wickerman-blogHAWKS NITE OUT: The Wicker Men at Villain
Sunday, May 1; 5pm | TICKETS

5764885078_7eefde6e14_bThere is no better filmic celebration of Mayday than the Christopher Lee-starring, Robin Hardy-directed, horror classic, The Wicker Man (1973). In honor of its brilliant unusualness, cultural importance, and Lee’s amazing hair, below is a text I wrote last year called How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare. The essay was written in collaboration with UK artist Darren Banks’ solo exhibition, Backwater, and compares the film to Joseph Beuys’ performance piece that gives the text its title. 

How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare
Robin Hardy’s bizarre film The Wicker Man (1973) situates horror at the boundaries of sanity and puts varying degrees of morality up for grabs. Emerging at the death rattle of the utopian ideal that was widely envisioned in the 1960s, it is situated amongst American shockers The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Last House on the Left (1972) which grappled with the disillusionment of societal stability in the wake of the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Junior and Robert F. Kennedy, the 1969 riots, and emerging fragile economies. The Wicker Man is a decisively British interpretation of this failure by hippie culture and reactively calls those in authority into question. At the same time, it challenges a reluctance to return to nature and the generation’s abandonment of community in favor of new individualism. It’s a unique film that both embraces and discards community, nature, sex, religion, capital, and the value of life.


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Q&A: Ethan Hawke on his Chet Baker Biopic BORN TO BE BLUE

On Wednesday, April 13, 2016, Ethan Hawke dropped by Nitehawk to talk on his new biopic on the life of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker BORN TO BE BLUE. Moderated by film critic Joe Neumaier, the two talk on adding an element of reality to the biopic form, drawing influences from Chet’s music, and about a million other things in a lengthy, energetic discussion.

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Q&A: Director Jeremy Saulnier talks Punks v. Neo-Nazi Thriller GREEN ROOM

Ahead of its April release, Nitehawk hosted director Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin) to talk about his punks vs. white supremacists blood bath Green Room. Headed up by Entertainment Weekly writer Kevin O’Sullivan, the two share a funny talk about Saulnier’s punk rock past, the film’s genre movie roots (“it’s a way to get Mad Max for super cheap”), and why he followed up a critical darling like Blue Ruin with a bloody, hard hitting punk thriller.

“If you think you are the one person to make the one movie at the one time then you know it’s the right choice… even though it seems lazy.” – Jeremy Saulnier

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Q&A: THE BEST OF EVERYTHING with Matt Zoller Seitz, Alan Sepinwall & Emily Nussbaum

On Monday, March 28, 2016, Nitehawk’s BOOZE & BOOKS presented a screening of THE BEST OF EVERYTHING in celebration of Matt Zoller Seitz’s book, MAD MEN CAROUSEL, published by Abrams Books. A panel discussion with leading television critics Matt Zoller Seitz (author of Mad Men Carousel), Alan Sepinwall (author of The Revolution was Televised), and Emily Nussbaum (TV Critic at The New Yorker) followed the film, the three discuss the film, how it relates to Mad Men, and the state of modern television.

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Springin’ Along: Nitehawk’s 2016 Spring Menu [Photos]

It’s finally time to shake the slushy, weirdly mild, gross winter of 2015 off our heels and celebrate the dawn of Spring with an overhauled dinner menu to nosh on in our theaters. Along with the highlights below, we’ve got a new seasonal popcorn (chipotle ranch), new small plates (tuna wontons, heirloom tomatoes with burrata), and a (eeee!) Pina Colada Float made with coconut sorbet, pineapple Jarritos and rum.

We’ve already got a great line up of exciting new first run films and repertory movies lined up to pair with these dishes, and before long we’ll be dishing out even more new goods with a Summer menu and programming.

00 image11Fried Calamari
squid, zucchini, red pepper, chipotle aioli, lemon

We haven’t had calamari on the menu in a while, so we’ve decided to bring it back with a bang. Battered in buttermilk and corn meal flour, we’re serving the deep fried calamari along with zucchini and red peppers on a bed of chopped romaine. For dippin’ we’ve got a kick-y chipotle aioli that’s made in house. (more…)

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Q&A: Director Trey Edward Shults talks KRISHA

On Tuesday, March 15, Nitehawk and A24 came together for a special sneak preview screening of 2015 SXSW winner KRISHA with director and co-star Trey Edward Shults. Moderated by WOR Radio film critic Joe Neumaier, Shults talks about this deeply personal film of addiction and anger, starring several members of his own family. A winner of a bevy of awards – it won the top prize at SXSW in 2015, and Shults nabbed the Cassevettes Award at the 2016 Independent Spirit Awards – Krisha follows a woman, long plagued with addiction, as she returns to the family she left making for a particularly troublesome Thanksgiving. Krisha opens for a full run at Nitehawk Friday, March 25.

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Q&A: Writer/Director Benjamin Dickinson talks CREATIVE CONTROL


Following our Local Color screening of CREATIVE CONTROL, the film’s writer and director Benjamin Dickinson sat down for a chat with Tribeca Film Festival Senior Programmer Cara Cusumano. Creative Control is a satirical look at a bleak, Yuppified near future of Williamsburg and its so-called “creative class” – or, as Dickinson puts it – “a miasma of crapulence and self-hatred.” Cusumano prods Dickinson on his visual inspirations – Antonioni and luxury advertisements – and the challenge of switching between the emotional taxation of acting and the analytical eye of directing.

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Country Brunchin’: Dökk Vetur Performs Before THERE WILL BE BLOOD

Nitehawk kicked off its 2016 Country Brunchin’ program over the weekend of March 5 in the oil soaked deserts of New Mexico featured in Paul Thomas Anderson’s THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Not your average Western, we parted ways with the usual honky tonk fanfare that accompanies a Country Brunchin’ presentation and invited NYC drone band Dökk Vetur to perform a set before the film. 

Above is the full performance, along with a montage of oil barons, massive fires, and vast oil fields put together by Nitehawk’s cinema department.

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Q&A: THE LEGEND OF SWEE PEA w/ Lloyd Daniels & Director Benjamin May

On Wednesday, January 27 Nitehawk invited former basketball phenom Lloyd Daniels and director Benjamin May talk THE LEGEND OF SWEE PEA in a rowdy Q&A w/ Vice Sports editor-in-chief Jorge Arangure. The two talk race, disappointment, redemption and life in the NBA.

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VIDEO: Open Your Third Eye w/ Drippy Eye Projections, The Joshua Light Show & Worthless Live

This January, Nitehawk’s art & film program Art Seen expanded its horizons with a psychedelic performance by Drippy Eye Projections, The Joshua Light Show and Brooklyn band Worthless.

Stemming from the unique history of the Joshua Light Show that began in the 1970s, this interactive live psychedelic light show features a mix of analog and digital projections (a “psychedelic  slipstream”) along with a live musical performance. The visuals and audio operate in an evolving conversation throughout and each performance is a unique experience suited to the space in which its acted out.

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On January 13 (2016), Nitehawk’s LOCAL COLOR and Tribeca Film Festival presented a special ART SEEN screening of PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT.

Q&A with director Lisa Immordino Vreeland, producer Dan Braun, and Nitehawk’s Senior Film Programmer, Caryn Coleman.

Lisa Immordino Vreeland follows up her acclaimed debut Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel with Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict. A colorful character who was not only ahead of her time but helped define it, Peggy Guggenheim was an heiress to her family fortune who became a central figure in the modern art movement. As she moved through the cultural upheaval of the 20th Century, she collected not only art, but artists. Her colorful personal history included such figures as Samuel Beckett, Max Ernst, Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp as well as countless others. While fighting through personal tragedy, she maintained her vision to build one of the most important collections of modern art, now enshrined in her Venetian palazzo.

Local Color is in partnership with Tribeca Film Festival. Art Seen is in partnership with frieze.

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Q&A following the screening of MEN GO TO BATTLE on December 15, 2015 at Nitehawk Cinema with Director Zachary Treitz, Cinematographer Ben Jutkiewicz, and Co-producer Brendan McHugh; moderated by Cara Cusumano (Senior Programmer, Tribeca Film Festival).

Presented by Nitehawk’s “Local Color” (program of independent New York filmmakers) and Tribeca Film Festival.

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Q&A: Ralph McDaniels Talks VIDEO MUSIC BOX with DJ Red Alert

Weekdays at 3:30pm on Channel 31 is a time slot that means only one thing to a certain generation of New York hip-hop heads: Video Music Box, a locally produced music video and interview showcase produced by Brooklyn native Ralph McDaniels.

McDaniels kept Video Music Box on the crest of the New York hip hop wave, going deep into the scene with live recordings of heavy hitters like Nas, Biggie, Jay-Z and The Wu-Tang Clan, while they were all teenagers living on a hope and a dream. In the 30 years that McDaniels has produced Video Music Box, he’s amassed a one-of-a-kind library of interviews, concert footage and music videos chronicling the growth of hip hop from party rockers into a world wide phenomenon.

Nitehawk’s Music Driven series and Mass Appeal invited McDaniels to share a taste of his massive collection and talk about his career in television and music video directing. Moderating the Q&A is another New York City legend and a long time friend of McDaniels, Kool DJ Red Alert. The pair went on for over 40 minutes about the development of Video Music Box, its importance to the hip hop landscape and the legacy of McDaniels’s library.

Below we have a taste of the Q&A.

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Recap: TRADING PLACES Film Feast with Victory Brewing Co.


For this year’s yuletide Film Feast, the folks at Nitehawk rang in the holiday season with a five-course meal based around scenes from John Landis’s 1983 smash, Trading Places. While Nitehawk’s kitchen took care of the cooking, we teamed up with Pennsylvania brewery Victory Brewing Company for the libations, making for a Christmas party rich enough to please even the sleaziest of stock brokers.

randolph_dukeScene 1: “Pork Bellies. I knew it, I knew it!”

crispy braised pork belly, green lentils, saffron honey
Beer Pairing: Victory Prima Pils

Louis Winthorpe is the managing director of Duke & Duke, a commodities brokerage firm headed up by two spectacularly rich windbag brothers, Mortimer and Randolph. Winthorpe is something of the golden boy of the company, regularly feeding tips to the Dukes that make the pair a fresh fortune on the daily. As the film opens, Winthorpe plays one of his hunches on the declining price of pork bellies that scores big with the pair.

Suitably decadent for these gilded age hucksters, the first course contained a braised piece of pork belly, lacquered with saffron honey and served atop a bed of earthy green lentils. To go with the dish, Victory chose the crunchy Prima Pils to balance out the rich pork.



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