City’s 70s Revival Continues with “Vigilante” Fest


The other day we mentioned David Byrne’s peepshow-inspired bike rack, and said the DOT’s approval of his imagery for installation near Times Square showed a remarkably blithe attitude toward the sort of raunch the Giuliani Administration used to treat as a Biblical plague.

Now we see the very classy Anthology Film Archives tonight opens a “New York City Vigilantes” festival, featuring such grindhouse visions as Maniac Cop and Maniac Cop 2.

“The sweltering heat of the city in high-summer getting you down?” playfully suggests the Archives. “What better way to channel your frustrations than by indulging in some vicarious vengeance?”

The New York Press and Gothamist have touted the series, and the Voice‘s own Nick Pinkerton writes, “As much as in the repetitive cataracts of death, the pleasures here are in visiting a bygone city… that’s since disappeared.”

We doubt the Anthology theaters will be turned for the duration into anything like the old Selwyn, with loud imprecations directed at the screen and open drug-dealing. But the fact that folks are revisiting these totems of pre-Rudy New York cheerfully rather than disapprovingly suggests a big cultural shift is underway. We look forward to Martin Scorsese’s inevitable film tribute, The Age of Unprotected Anal Sex.