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Broke-Ass Brooklyn Cinemas

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In December, seven new silver screens will come to life in North Brooklyn when the Williamsburg Cinema opens its doors. Initially slated for November 2nd, the opening was delayed by Hurricane Sandy. Now the theater’s owners are hoping to be open in time for Christmas blockblusters, including some 3D fare such as New Line’s The Hobbit.

The new-fangled multiplex is the latest in a series of new cinemas popping up in the neighborhood to serve the needs of those movie-lovers who don’t want to brave the L train and Manhattan’s hobo-infested, vomit-scented (yeah, I’m including Sunshine in this category) theaters. The area already boasts four theaters, including last year’s much-lauded Nitehawk where locals can take in a Lars Von Trier film while sipping from an appropriately themed specialty cocktail and having dinner. A few blocks away on Kent Ave, IndieScreen keeps Williamsburg well supplied with independent films, while also hosting the Annual Williamsburg Independent Film Festival, the third installment of which played just this past week. I’ll be honest; I find that place just a tad bit pretentious. Still, both theaters offer slightly lower ticket prices than their Manhattan chain-operated counterparts. Oh, and the carpets don’t smell so strongly of rancid nachos. And even if they did, at least the Nitehawk lets you get loaded.

Two smaller screens have also recently appeared in the area. The first of these is Videology’s revamped video-rental store, which features a bar and a small screening room (capacity: 35-45). The first screening was an $8 showing of Holy Motors, a bargain by my standards. I haven’t seen a new release that cheap in years. And in fact, many of Videology’s screenings are totally FREE! The theater also hosts older releases and the odd midnight B screener. You can even take your kids there – if you have that misfortune – for Videology’s Kids Club.

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So we’ve got our big screens and small boutique affairs… but what about DIY spaces? This is Williamsburg after all. Well, on S. 3rd street there’s a little theater known as The Spectacle. This is truly the cream of the crop if you’re into midnight movies, underrated epics, and lost archival prints of Dennis Hopper films. Many showings are free, but most others cost just $5. It’s BYOB, so you’re welcome to show up with all the Tecate/Bud/PBR you can hustle from the corner deli, and get totally obliterated while watching a series of 90’s experimental VHS from Japan followed by a 1am showing of El Topo.

Of course, most of these theaters don’t show that sometimes much-needed holiday big-budget moral booster. So if you have any interest in seeing the latest Arnold Schwarzenegger film, you are still going to patronize those Manhattan cheese-factories. However, all of this will change come December when, in addition to a plethora of cheap indie screens, Williamsburg inhabitants will finally have access to the glory of Hollywood’s biggest spectacles. No word yet on pricing for this new theater, but if it’s in keeping with the current trends for the theaters in the area, we can hope for yet another addition to the Broke Ass Brooklyn Cinema Scene.

Photo Credit: Cassadecor.combroke-ass-brooklyn-cinema

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Jules Owen - Wandering Wastrel

Jules Owen - Wandering Wastrel

Going to a rich kid school when you aren't even given an allowance certainly trains you to live large on the cheap. Armed with such expertise, Jules travelled the globe, surviving off of 50 cent beers and 2 dollar meals everywhere from Buenos Aires to Mumbai. Three years ago he returned to the United States, living first in Baltimore while he settled a debt with the IRS, then in Brooklyn where he plays music and writes. He aspires to one day live in a van on N.15th and Kent.