In reanimating Zub for the wired world, we wanted to keep alive the spirit of the old Zub Alert photocopied ‘zine--sharing the excitement of things we loved with the Zub community--but be able to use the wonderful social media tools now available to better vivify our enthusiasm. Letterboxd is one of the ways we are doing that; you’ll see the link on many of the Zub pages.
On Letterboxd, we will add reviews and links to films we discuss on the Singles Going Steady Podcast and continue to grow the listings of music, classic, art, and cult films over time. If you share a passion for film, you might find Letterboxd a great tool for tracking what you’ve seen, want to see, or even what you hope to avoid seeing again. It is another forum where we can discuss pictures that move us.
My interest in classic films grew out of my love of design. Before moving south at 11, my family lived in the midwest and took frequent trips into Chicago where world class design, art, and architecture were happily inescapable. This grew into a fascination with Art Deco design and architecture. In my teens, I stumbled on a book of movie posters from the 20’s and 30’s and realized that these films could be a time machine to transport me back into a world immersed in the height of my design passion.
At that time, the mid-70s, classic films were relegated to the occasional UHF broadcast, library screening, school showing, or rare arthouse revival. Cable was in its infancy, and there were about a dozen TV channels over the air in my rural Iredell County. Still, the book served as a talisman, a to-do list of a kind, to discover flickering glances of the lost Art Deco world. In college, I voraciously attended campus film screenings of both classic and “art” films, as well as attending the cult and new release of music and art films at Chapel Hill’s then two downtown movie houses. I saw This Is Spinal Tap first run at the Varsity, where the “Vandermint Auditorium” scene, fictionally set in that town, drew uproarious appreciation from me and the stink eye from the only 5 or 6 other patrons who did not appreciate my hardy showing.
The Cafe and Then Some, where Steve and I both worked in the first Beef People days, served as an arthouse theatre on Wednesday nights. Ted Bruce curated a first class slate of wonderful films that were also an education for me.
Now everything is seemingly available on a streaming service, TCM, or even YouTube. I am deliriously pleased to live near a fantastic vintage movie house, the Carolina Theatre of Durham, a 1926 beauty that while sadly not Art Deco, is a classical jewel now dedicated to live events and has 3 screens, including the 1000+ seat Fletcher Hall. Jim Carl curates a wonderful Retro series, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
The Carolina Theatre has hosted a number of silent films accompanied by live players, including Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Seeing a silent film in a huge theater with live musicians, just as the place was built to present is beyond special. Seeing the sprawling Giant on an enormous screen or Lawrence of Arabia make it worth getting off the couch putting on pants and shoes and leaving home.
This year the Carolina added a Movie Diva series on selected Wednesdays, curated by Laura Boyes and that has put me over the moon. The inaugural run focused on independent women and this spring will focus on pre-Hays Code films revolving around women, many that I have not yet seen. I expect you will be hearing and reading about those in the months to come.
Movies have long been entwined with the Zub endeavor. In the early days, when VCRs were prohibitively expensive for young musicians, stores rented machines along with tapes. Dr. Strangelove was a favorite. “He’s gonna see the Big Board!” became a favorite repeated line, especially by our roommate, John Toke. When we mailed out promo copies of our single, Fragile/Nothing You Can Do,we tracked mailings and airplay using “The Big Board,” a corkboard-mounted map, and referred to in our best George C. Scott impression.
So come over to Letterboxd and watch our listed titles and reviews of zub films grow. What pictures move you?