Rentertainment news... a blog of sorts.
Expanded Section Alert: Lots of Operas now at That's Rentertainment!
In order to meet demand (or create it, as the case may be)
we've beefed up our Opera offerings and now have almost 35 with
more on the way. To help you pick which ones to start with, I've
created a special page to fill you in
on what we've got. Check it out here.
Dig our new
motto: "That's Rentertainment: Urbana-Champaign's largest
collection of films no one wants to see including Cycling, Mexican
Horror Films and now Opera."
AFI Announces its Top 10 Movies and TV Shows for 2006
The American Film Institute
(famous for making"Best of" lists for just about everything
-- there may even be a "Best of the Best of lists" list)
has announced its picks for best films and TV shows of 2006. Have
a look and see how many you answered correctly:
AFI Movies of the Year
Babel, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious
Nation of Kazakhstan, The Devil Wears Prada, Dreamgirls, Half Nelson,
Happy Feet, Inside Man, Letters From Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine,
AFI TV Programs of the Year
Battlestar Galactica, Dexter, Elizabeth I, Friday Night Lights,
Heroes, The Office, South Park, 24, The West Wing, The Wire.
Serene Bean Cafe
I always wish small business owners the best of luck -- what with
so many forces working against them. However, every now and then
a place opens that I really, really, really hope will do well (and
deserves to). Such is case with the Serene Bean Cafe (located
in the McKinley Foundation at the corner of 5th and Daniel).
Many folks have made attempts at running a cafe in that spot (myself
included... almost 20 years ago) but so far none have lasted
more than a few years -- until now, I hope. The new cafe features
freshly baked breads and pastries, has sandwiches and soups, and
serves only organic fair trade coffee. They are open every day except
Saturday (weird?) and have tons of seating. Plus, the McKinley
Foundation is a cool place that has done so many great things for
our community. I did, however, notice the Serene Bean Cafe didn't
have a web site so I put their information here.
Stop by next time you are on campus.
Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films
How amazing is this? A fifty DVD box set of great films (not
a dud among them) put out by the folks at Janus/Criterion.
Just put this baby on the shelf and whenever you are in need of
a great film just grab one -- why not start at the beginning and
work your way through. Of course, at a list price of $850 (but
you can get it for as cheap as $650) you may be better off
renting them... (link)
Adrienne Shelly, 40, found dead...
I have loved Adrienne Shelly since I first saw her in Hal Hartley's
Truth" and "Trust"
(both all-time Rentertainment favorites). She has since
starred in over 25 films and written/directed half a dozen (including
starring Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion which was just completed).
She had such natural beauty and charm and was wonderful in everything
I've ever seen her in. It's sad to know she won't be gracing the
big screen again...
(Read more about Adrienne Shelly on IMDB
British Filmmaker Tony Palmer comes to town...
On Monday, November 6, 2006, the University of Illinois' School
of Music welcomes British filmmaker Tony
Palmer to campus. Palmer's more than 100 films range from early
works with The Beatles, Cream, Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa, to
famous portraits with and about Georg Solti, Britten, Stravinsky,
Shostakovich, Maria Callas, Renee Fleming, Mitsuko Uchida, Henryk
Garecki, Andre Previn, Vaughan Williams, and John Adams. Over 40
international prizes for his work include numerous EMMY Awards.
He is the only person to have won the Prix Italia twice.
Public lectures (Monday, November 6, 2006):
"'I am the enemy you loved' - Stalin & Shostakovich"
Noon, Smith Music Building, Memorial Room, 805 S Mathews, Urbana
"Kubrick's Music" 4:30pm, Spurlock Museum Auditorium,
600 S Gregory, Urbana
Two of Tony Palmer's films will be shown in the School of Music
Auditorium, 1114 W Nevada, Urbana (Monday, November 6, 2006):
7:30pm - "Testimony",
his 1987 film about Shostakovich, featuring Ben Kingsley
11:00pm - "All
my Loving", Palmer's 1968 film (rated R) about
Frank Zappa, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, etc.
Mr. Palmer is pleased to meet with interested students and faculty
Monday November 6, from 1pm - 3pm, and on Tuesday November 7, from
2 - 4pm. Contact Katherine Syer for more information. You can listen
to Tony Palmer's interview on WILL
(Focus 580) here.
Harold's Chicken Shack open's on campus...
After Sarki's sudden disappearance (were they even open for
6 months?) Rentertainment's old space in Johnstowne Centre
has been filled with Harold's Chicken Shack. We haven't eaten
there yet but it sure smells good wafting down the street... and
they have peach cobbler. My only complaint so far is bread instead
of biscuits. Oh well.
French Film Festival - October 13-19, 2006
The University of Illinois and Parkland College (along with
Boardman's Art Theatre)
have put together the 2nd
Annual French Film Festival -- make a point of getting to at
least one of the films this year!
Kevin Kelly's True Films
Kevin Kelly (of co-founding
editor of Wired Magazine, Whole Earth Review, Cool Tools, etc)
presents True Films -- "the best general interest true films I've found."
Kevin defines True
Films as "documentaries, educational films, instructional
how-to's, and what the British call factuals - a non-fiction visual
account." You can buy a pdf copy (that's a digital download,
mom) of the 56 page book listing his top 100 True Films for
only $3 from the folks at BoingBoing here.
Syd Barrett's Bikes
Two bikes owned and hand-painted by Syd Barrett, co-founder of Pink
Floyd, are among items being auctioned by his estate on Nov. 29-30
in Britain. Barrett died last month at age 60. In 1972, he had a
nervous breakdown blamed on drug use and withdrew from public life.
He lived as a semi-recluse in Cambridge and got around town on his
bikes, according to the BikeBiz industry website. For Pink Floyd's
1967 debut album, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Barrett wrote a song
called "Bike" with these lyrics:
I've got a bike,
You can ride it if you like
It's got a basket, a bell that rings
And things to make it look good
I'd give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it
Display Case 'o Fun
That's right -- we've added a "Display Case o' Fun" in
the store. Every month or so we'll put another pile of "really
cool" stuff (by my definition, not necessarily yours) in
it. This month I brought in bunch of Pogo paraphanalia -- some rare,
some not, but all "really cool" (once again, by my
definition, not necessarily yours). Watch for upcoming cases
full of Edward Gorey, Cycling Gear (of course) and Cool
Advertising Figures. Maybe some day we'll do a case of old home
video formats (8mm, Beta, VHS, Laserdisc, RCA SelectaVision
VideoDisc, CED, VCD, Video 8, UMD and soon BlueRay and HD-DVD)...
Bayfield, a mighty wind
Last week Jill and I went on our annual trek up north to Bayfield,
WI -- a beautiful town of 611 people on Lake Superior. Jill
is an artist (www.hooeybatiks.com)
so we go up every year for the Bayfield Festival of Arts. This year
was a bit crazier than usual. Have a look.
If haven't checked out the anonymously written blog OpeningBlands
yet, do! Dead on hysterical mockery of all local music (my label,
Parasol, included). The
writer has a great knowledge and history of the local music scene
-- going back to the way old school (like Head East), working
through the latest wave old school (Hum, Menthol, Lanterna,
Adam Schmitt, etc) and hitting the current crop of bands (Elanors,
American Minor, Mike Ingram, etc). Funny stuff. See if you
can figure out who the writer is...
New cafe in Urbana!!!
Caffe Paradiso just opened a 2nd location inside the Urbana Free
Library (just inside the old front doors on Race Street).
Right now they are just serving drinks but that may change some
day. Stop by for one of the best cups of coffee in town (made
beans). You can even sit on that fabulous veranda out front.
Check out their soon to be revamped web site here.
(Dec 15, 2006 Update: This location is now
Super no Onna (aka: Supermarket Woman)
What a cute film! I've been hesitant to buy any of the imports of
Juzo Itami's films because they cost so much (close to $60 each!) but I loved "Tampopo"
Woman" so much that I thought I'd better get at least one
-- now I'm looking for the box set. "Supermarket
Woman" is Itami's second to last film (before his mysterious
suicide). It's a comedy about the serious subject of big business
trodding upon the little guy (like the local Walmart situation)
-- in this case a small grocery store in Japan. Supermarket Woman
stars two of Itami's regulars -- Nobuko Miyamoto (Itami's real
life wife) as Hanako the concerned shopper and Tsuga Masahiko
as Goro the small store's owner. Other than one somewhat drawn out
(and overly silly) scene this movie as as wonderful as
they come. Watch it!
Wednesday Renters take note: Like the Dinosaurs
and cheap gas (those two are connected somehow, aren't they?)
"Two for One Wednesdays" are soon to
be a thing of the past. Starting in August, Wednesday's special
will be dollar rentals from the American Independent and GLBT sections.
So, if you get the right two films you could actually save $0.50
over the old two for one deal... plan accordingly.
New Pizza place on campus!!!
Artie's just opened up at 809 S 5th (inside the McKinley Foundation).
It's a delivery only place run by a guy named Artie (imagine
that). He's got thin, deep dish and stuffed pizza's as well
as calzones, bread sticks, and chicken wings. Right now he's doing
a "Dinner & Movie Deal" where if you buy any large
pizza you get a free 2 liter soda and a rental from That's Rentertainment!
Check out the menu here.
It's not about the bike, it's about Lance fighting cancer.
Check the newsstand now for the May 8 edition of Sports Illustrated
and the terrific cover story by Austin Murphy. Says the headline:
"Lance Now: Attacking his new career like he did the Tour de
France and closing ground on cancer, he's becoming a political force
unlike any other athlete in history." Makes us proud to be
roadies and contributors to the Lance
OK -- I'm finally fed up with Roger Ebert. Today at Ebertfest he
gave special recognition to the folks at Netflix saying that they
are great because they have so many films and that the only other
alternative is the "nameless store with Adam Sandler specials
every month." And this just a few weeks after the CEO of Netflix
announced their goal was to closed every brick and mortar store
in the country. Way to support the indies, Roger.
If you’ve ever dreamed of making a movie, now you have no
excuse... AND you can help a worthy cause in the process! The 25by25by5
Short Film Contest to support the Leukemia
& Lymphoma Society has
been announced! Click
here for more information.
Today, my friend Sara called to asked me if I remembered what
today is -- it's the 17th anniversary of our good friend Josh
Gottheil's death. Many students know Fred Gottheil, Josh's father,
who tirelessly raises funds for the Josh Gottheil Memorial Fund
for Lymphoma Research on the University of Illinois campus. Josh's
name still pops up in conversation on the local music scene --
most recently on Opening
Bands when someone asked "Who is this Josh Gottheil I
keep hearing about?" -- the overwhelming response to that
question was amazing! Those of us who where lucky enough to know
Josh will always treasure his friendship and enthusiastic outlook
For more about
Josh's life -- click here.
Former Renter employee makes good
You should all remember Jeanine -- she's the beautiful super friendly
gal who worked at the Lincoln Avenue Rentertainment a few years
ago. Well, after graduation she moved away, joined a band (The
1900s) and put out an amazing record ("Plume Delivery").
Read all about it here,
check out their MySpace
page, and have a look at their web
site. You can buy it locally at Parasol
Records and Borders. Also, they play around these parts every
now and then -- keep an eye out -- the shows are always great.
No Shirt, No Service
We finally got our second batch of shirts in -- this time in a plethora
of sizes but only one color, white. Stop by the store to get yours
or get one on-line. Either way, they are
Iron Weed Film Club
We recently signed up with another cool monthly film club -- Ironweed:
is more than a monthly film club... it's a growing movement of
people like you championing independent filmmakers who tell engaging,
important, human stories."
seems to be more on documentaries, social issues and environmental
activism. They encourage films clubs to show their movies and
have an online "community" that includes member spotlights,
oppurtunities to sign petitions, and chat groups (and blogs)
for members. Very well done.
for a list of the Iron Weed films we have in stock)
I finally figured out how to list sub-categories of fims using
a code hidden away in our video store software. As a demonstration,
here are all of the films we have from the good folks at Film
Movement. And, while we are on the subject, everyone should
check out the Film Movement web
page. They are doing a really cool thing.
I've been telling this story for years but never knew if it was
true -- well, here it is from the world wide web so it must be:
Harpo was the second oldest [Marx Brother] and the one
who never spoke. Not entirely true. He spoke quite regularly on
stage until the production of "Home Again". Les Marsden
had some more information about Harpo's 'speaking career': "He
still had about six lines in "Home Again", but uncle Al
Shean simply didn't think he delivered lines all that well. Harpo
was so upset that after they had toured the show in vaudeville for
awhile and were playing (according to Harpo) the [Virginia] theatre in Champaign, Illinois, Harpo decided to ad-lib all through
the performance. A critic in the local newspaper described the show
by saying, in part, "Adolph [as Harpo was known at the
time and up until WWII] Marx performed beautiful pantomime
which was ruined whenever he spoke." Harpo then decided he
could do a better job of stealing focus by not speaking. And he
really did continue to speak on stage regularly - just whenever
he felt like it. For example, on opening night of 'Animal Crackers'
he tackled Margaret Irving and proceeded to tell her a well... let's
just say a questionable joke. Groucho, Chico and Zeppo came out
onstage and did a running commentary. But he did speak extemporaneously
onstage on occasion. Just not from a script and not often. Steve
Allen has told me (and has also recounted the tale in various
books, etc) all about the evening Harpo left show business
during Allen Sherman's show in Pasadena, during which he spoke for
several minutes to a stunned audience." (from www.marx-brothers.org)
Spinervals are here!!!
cyclists take note: That's Rentertainment now sells (no rentals,
sorry) the entire line of Spinervals products: "Designed
for the competitive cyclist, Spinervals Competition workouts will
increase your power output, pedaling technique, and speed. Best
of all, these time-efficient workouts can be done in the comfort
of your own home." (from the Spinervals
web-site). Click here for more information.
Scott Coady's "The Tour Baby" update
This just in from Scott Coady (director and star of The
Cobbles Baby! coming soon. My second film, Cobbles Baby! will be
available on DVD in April 2006. The film captures my adventures
following the 2004 edition of the Queen of the Classics, Paris-Roubaix
and other cycling related side trips in and around Northern France
and Belgium... I don't know if you’ve heard, but Davis Phinney
was recently asked to speak at NASA about leadership and leading
your own life. His speech touched the hearts and minds of the mostly
non-cyclist crowd. He received a standing ovation and many were
moved to tears. Davis's foundation will now become the target of
my fundraising efforts. A portion of the proceeds from Cobbles Baby!
will go directly to the Davis
The Next Renter T-shirt
That's right, the next Rentertainment t-shirt is already in the
works. Our crack design team (that would be Anni at LMNtal) is putting it all together. We can also thank Anni for the new "Daily
Specials" signs you see hanging in the front window every time
you come by. Isn't she great?
Renter buddy Edward Burch recently forwarded his list of "Images
of Labor in Film" -- see it here.
Why don't you guys have...?
Some films just are not available on DVD -- that's why we don't
have them. I've started a list of the films that we have on our
perpetual "need-to-get-it-if-it-ever-comes-out" radar.
Have a look at the list here. If you know
of other films that need to be added or if you know of a source
for any of the films on the list let
International section changes
I've finally added a search feature to the web site to search by
country. See it here.
Also, we've split the old "Spain/Central & South America"
section (in the store) into "Argentina",
and "Misc Central & South America" sections. Enjoy!
E: The Environmental Magazine
recently printed an article (L.A. Environmental, Sept/Oct
2006) about Hollywood movies that deal with environmental
themes. Read it here. There is also
a complete list of all the movies mentioned in the article at
the bottom -- watch 'em all.
By the way,
if you are green and are concerned about our environment E:
The Envirnmental Magazine is an excellent magazine to subscribe
New Pocket Pal listing alert
I've added a nice list of movies that reference cycling in them
(not cycling films like the tapes of the Spring Classics but
rather films like "Triplets
of Belleville", "Breaking
Away" and "The
Bicycle Thief" -- of course we have the Spring Classics
as well). Check out the list here.
for 2005, 2006 and 2007 news.