'From Mae West to Punk: The Bowery on Film' Is a Don't-Miss Series

This anthology plumbs Bowery history.

Less masterful yet still eager to honor skid row's harsh reality: "Goodbye My Lady Love," a 1959 episode of The Naked City, the cop-and-crime show that aspired to the tough drama of Kazan, the clear-eyed fluidity of Rossellini, and whatever it is that Dick Wolf's been trying to achieve with Law & Order. This one, concerning New York's last horse thief, offers priceless glimpses of Bowery bums, another visit to the Round House, and too many scenes of actors monologuing drunkenness right into the camera.

On the Bowery visits the Bowery Mission. The charity of the "gentle spirited" is also the subject of the 1941 short "This Is the Bowery," which insists that the needy don't have to endure a spiel about Jesus to secure soup and a bed — instead, they're treated to a minister's buck-up speech and some cuddle time with a Great Dane. It's bonkers. If you can catch just one of the Anthology's programs this week, the shorts night might be it — outside a pair of choice Looney Tunes, you won't be seeing this stuff on the big screen again anytime soon.

Location Info


Anthology Film Archives

32 Second Ave.
New York, NY 10003

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: East Village


"From Mae West to Punk: The Bowery on Film"
Anthology Film Archives
May 16-19

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The series is rounded out by recent documentaries charting the history of the neighborhood itself, including Scott Elliott's enlightening Slumming It: Myth and Culture on the Bowery (2002), Mandy Stein's Burning Down the House: The Story of CBGB (2009), and Jen Senko and Fiore DeRosa's outraged The Vanishing City (2009), which covers the latest tragedy to hit this and so many other New York neighborhoods: Rather than a distinctive strip alive with history, it's becoming another development site for the fabulously wealthy, a place distinguishable from the rest of Manhattan by street names and memory instead of its own character. It's encouraging that the Bowery's crusaders of today want people just to be able to live — not instruct them on how to.

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