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Archive for May 28th, 2021

The kick off post is by Jamie Uhler

We opened last year’s Allan Fish Online Film Festival with a pointing out of the obvious: how being under lockdown in a pandemic would necessitate the exact modus operandi of the Festival idea, watching movies and shows via streaming platforms (or, if you’re still like me, physical media as well). This year is still little different, perhaps with a bit of the uncertainty eased via a full scale vaccine rollout (at least for those of us in the States, I don’t want to speak for anyone else), but still very much living in a nervous year, now stretched to another.  

So my picks begin with that still very much in mind. To ease my mind during the endless work from home hours and emotional strain of the pandemic, I found myself, almost like a zombie, subconsciously drawn to my past loves without even really thinking. The pieces of art that had been an emotional balm for me my entire life, the things I loved unconditionally that had shaped much of my tastes and psychological concerns during my younger years. Days started with spinning of 45s from a pool of my top favorites, the types of songs I’ll never tire of, ones that instantly charge you up to face the day. Days then wound down with movies, much of which would be derided as ‘low art’–car chase films, B- or C-level action, Charles Bronson vigilant pictures, forgotten studio genre pictures, gore and classic Horror, Hong Kong fight movies and 1950’s American technicolor epics. In between was reading of course, which saw me get back to reading literature and poetry again, after a few years away spent mostly reading nonfiction. All things to reclaim something that had been taken from me—as I understood it, live culture—but realizing they’d never gone anywhere, I’d just drifted elsewhere, sought different joys. I suppose this wasn’t much different from what most would do, anything to ease their minds and find little pockets of distraction in an otherwise chaotic, turbulent year. And, along with a pandemic, being in Chicago, I spent many of the warmer months trying to bike as often as possible. Not only a great reliever of stress, I quickly found this particular mode of transportation greatly conducive to easily transporting me to points of protest in the city, a near weekly occurrence during 2020 as the Black Lives Matter movement gained steam across the globe. COVID wasn’t enough, we had to heap even more onto our plates. 

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