Event postponed until, Tuesday, January 23 because of snow.
Richard Sandler’s The Gods of Times Square (1999), a three-time best documentary winner, will be screened at Green Kill on Tuesday, January 23th at 8pm. Tickets are $5 at the door or reserved on Eventbrite.com.
The Times Square of legend takes a last loopy bow in Richard Sandler’s engaging documentary, “The Gods of Times Square.”
~ Lawrence Van Gelder, New York Times
The documentary premieres the Green Kill film program, curated by Mary Bosakowski. Screenings are scheduled for the third Tuesday of every month.
The Gods of Times Square is a documentary about a rich culture of religionists (myself included) who were drawn to the electric buzz of this fabled human meeting ground.
There, at the “crossroads of the world,” amidst it’s cathedral-like spires, we arrived to profess the creeds of wildly differing varieties of religious experience.
I am a New Yorker, and like most “natives” who loved Times Squares’ eclectic beat, we saw the place as magic on Earth, an island of choice and sanity in a Puritan culture. As a teenager in the early sixties, I gazed into the adult world through the looking glass of Times Squares’ poolrooms, sideshows, theaters and arcades.
There was racism, sexism and classicism all over 1960’s America,
but in the Times Square of that period those diseases were treatable with a mixture of one part high culture, and one part low culture: Shakespeare on one corner, jazz, striptease and “b” movies on the other.
The work was shot over a six year period that witnessed a radical transformation of Times Square. Disney’s renovation of the New Amsterdam Theater started a development roll that ended with a totally corporatized landscape.
Gone now are the Mom and Pop stores, squeezed out by a real estate gold rush. Gone too are the free spirits who made Times Square a “speaker’s corner”.
The former versions of Times Square offered it’s congregants a place to air their thoughts and blow off a little steam, now the choices are fewer, the prices are higher, and the “sin” is gone.
When I began this project I realized that my lifelong interest in religion would find expression in this fondly remembered place of youth. I discovered that The Gods of Times Square was to be a eulogy.
When Disney and Rudolf Giuliani were done with Times Square, the place was “cleansed” of pornography, prostitution and an all-night street life.
Amidst these fundamental changes most of the Square’s rich underbelly of colorful characters and religious zealots stopped showing up.
The Gods of Times Square thus records a time in New York City history when the place most identified with free speech and the soul of New York, changed from a democratic, interracial, common ground, to a corporate controlled soul-less theme park. The fabled “white way” now plays host to the newest of Gods: Mickey, Minnie and Goofy on one corner, Bugs, Daffy and Porky on the other…. God help Times Square!
About Richard Sandler
Richard Sandler is a street photographer and documentary video and filmmaker.
He has directed and shot eight non-fiction films, including The Gods of Times Square,(1999),
Brave New York (2004), SWAY, (2006) and Radioactive City, (2011). Sandler’s still photographs are in the permanent collections of the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Museum, the New York Historical Society, the Houston Museum of Fine Art and the Museum of the City of New York. Sandler’s first monograph, The Eyes of the City,(2016) was published by powerHouse books, and a sequel is in the works.
Sandler was awarded two New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships for photography, (1992, 1998), a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellowship for Filmmaking,(2006), and a New York State Council on the Arts fellowship for Filmmaking (2009). Currently Sandler’s documentary film, AKA Martha’s Vineyard is in post production; it recounts the lovely island’s history, told from only Wampanoag tribal perspectives.