Record Turnout For Park Ridge Series!

Program Host Matthew C. Hoffman
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For two weeks in a row, we’ve had record turnouts with our meeting room filled to capacity. Though we have a larger screen than most libraries, our seating capacity is limited to 90 officially. Two weeks in a row we’ve had lines of people waiting to get in. These lines have extended past the front door. What’s even more impressive is that last night’s turnout was for a silent movie made in 1928.

The line to get into the meeting room for Our Dancing Daughters: 3/22/12.

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These patrons are the real stars of the series. I only rack up the balls on the pool table and allow the films themselves to bring people in. You just need to know how to connect the past with the present in order to make these films relevant. Our patrons are knowledgeable and respectful towards the films. The regulars come for the right reasons. They either want to learn about film noir style, or what the Production Code was all about. Maybe they want to understand more about the tradition of silent comedy, or they want to learn about Art Deco set design in cinema, which is the focus of the current series. By contrast, how many venues have I been to where an older film is playing and younger people are laughing at things up on the screen that weren’t meant to be funny. And what they don’t understand they call “camp.”  I never get that at the Park Ridge Public Library. I’m grateful to have the support of people who actually care about film study.

In this past Thursday’s Park Ridge Herald-Advocate there was a nice article by J.T. Morand about the series, which you can access by clicking here!

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Given the quality of the ten films coming up in our series, I don’t see attendance going down. I just wish we had a bigger facility. It’s a shame some of our local politicians lack the vision to see the importance of a library. To me, a library is the center of culture for a community. So instead of a meeting room half the size it should be with storage chairs, I hope one day we will be able to build the kind of library the residents of Park Ridge deserve– complete with a 200-seat “Little Theatre” with stadium seating and a theatre stage to accommodate lectures, performances, and film presentations. This is all the more important when actual movie theatres that play classic film are either disappearing or shutting down. But we will always keep the tradition alive in Park Ridge.

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