Sections

The Last Picture Show

Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Chinatown Fair, where arcade games used to welcome a crush of youth, in Kurt Vincent’s “The Lost Arcade.” | 26 ARIES
Chinatown Fair, where arcade games used to welcome a crush of youth, in Kurt Vincent’s “The Lost Arcade.” | 26 ARIES

The appeal of Kurt Vincent’s documentary “The Lost Arcade,” a eulogy for Manhattan’s video arcade Chinatown Fair, might seem limited to gamers and people who grew up in the ‘80s. However, Vincent manages to speak to the ways New York has changed thanks to gentrification — and not for the better.

As critic David Jenkins suggested, analog culture has been rudely shoved out of the streets; one can see this from the closures of Kim’s Video, St. Mark’s Books, and Other Music. It still hangs on in Brooklyn, where one hopes the colossal record and book store Rough Trade can stay afloat in Williamsburg and independent book stores can cope with increasing rents.

We live in a culture where the options for buying books, DVDs, or music are downloading or ordering them from iTunes and Amazon most of the time. The Internet was supposed to expand our cultural options, not narrow them. “The Lost Arcade” offers a history of how gaming went from a social activity that took place in dodgy neighborhoods like ‘80s Times Square to an asocial home endeavor, played out on Nintendo or Sega machines.

Kurt Vincent’s doc on shuttered video arcade charts decline of communal life in Manhattan

The film is a narrative documentary that starts by introducing us to a few of the people who played an important role in Chinatown Fair’s history. First and foremost is Pakistani-American owner Sam Palmer. There are also a number of kids, now approaching middle age, who discovered the place in the ‘80s and made it their home. One of them was literally homeless, having been rejected by a foster family, when he discovered the Times Square arcade Playland; its main attraction for him was the fact that he could find stray quarters underneath the machines, but he soon got hooked on video games themselves.

Many Chinatown Fair devotees became employees, including Henry Cen. However, rising rents and the move to home gaming — which led to a decline in the release of arcade-only games — decimated Chinatown Fair’s ability to stay in business. Fortunately, some of its more creative fans came up with ways to keep social gaming afloat.

Despite its location, Chinatown Fair didn’t cater solely to Chinese-American youth. In fact, it attracted a remarkably diverse crowd. I was waiting for a Wu-Tang Clan reference, and my patience was rewarded; Wu-Tang member Ol’ Dirty Bastard shot his video “Brooklyn Zoo” in Chinatown Fair. The arcade popped up in the media a few other times as well; its infamous tic-tac-toe playing chicken appeared on David Letterman’s talk show. Yet I sense that Chinatown Fair’s hardcore following didn’t care about these pop culture shout-outs.

Kurt Vincent’s style combines talking-heads and man-on-the-street interviews. He talks to his subjects on a variety of subjects, ranging from Palmer’s upscale suburban home to the street outside Chinatown Fair. Rather than narrating it himself, he lets his subjects tell the narrative of Chinatown Fair’s rise and fall. The film uses a deliberately cheesy synth-pop score that evokes the ‘80s heyday of games like “Pac-Man” and “Defender.”

It’s easy to feel despair about the prospects for culture in Manhattan these days. The borough’s streets are littered with empty storefronts. The Ninth Street space previously occupied by St. Mark’s Books never found a commercial tenant; it currently houses an art gallery run by Cooper Union, which own the space. When St. Mark’s Books moved to Third Street, it was hobbled by the fact that the size of its new store was much smaller; consequently, its stock consisted of new releases and a few perennially popular authors. It seemed that begging for money on Kickstarter, rather than selling books, was its main source of income in its final days.

Still, “The Lost Arcade” is surprisingly optimistic. A magazine editor relates a story about traveling to Barbados and seeing a tiny storefront where poor children played Nintendo and Sega games intended for the home. Perhaps inspired by this story, Cen opens up an arcade called Next Level offering a similar experience in Brooklyn. I won’t spoil the film’s narrative beyond that point, but it has further twists to offer. Even if you don’t give a damn about video games and can’t tell the difference between “Dance Dance Revolution” and “Mortal Kombat,” “The Lost Arcade” has something to say to every New Yorker who cares about street-level culture and communal spaces in our city.

To top the film’s release off, the Metrograph is offering a week-long program of video game-inspired films. You can watch “War Games,” in which a teenage Matthew Broderick almost hacks his way into starting World War III, and emerge into a world where every 12-year-old has a cell phone with Internet access. Without an ounce of technophobia, “The Lost Arcade” says something about what’s gone wrong during the intervening years.

THE LOST ARCADE | Directed by Kurt Vincent | 26 Aries | Opens Aug. 12 | Metrograph, 7 Ludlow St., btwn. Canal & Hester Sts. | metrograph.com

Updated 5:17 pm, July 20, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:


Reader feedback

rankbuilders says:
Thanks for sharing this quality information with us. I really enjoyed reading. Will surely going to share this URL with my friends. advogado criminalista no rio de janeiro
Sept. 30, 2017, 2:47 am
bond550 says:
It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commentators here! removals and storage
Feb. 5, 2018, 1:42 am
QmmMovers says:
I found your this post while searching for some related information on blog search...Its a good post..keep posting and update the information. acte auto sector 6
Feb. 8, 2018, 4:03 am
QmmMovers says:
I found your this post while searching for some related information on blog search...Its a good post..keep posting and update the information. acte auto sector 6
Feb. 8, 2018, 4:03 am
QmmMovers says:
Great article with excellent idea!Thank you for such a valuable article. I really appreciate for this great information.. DecorSnob.com
Feb. 8, 2018, 7:04 am
bond550 says:
It was wondering if I could use this write-up on my other website, I will link it back to your website though.Great Thanks. http://www.onelawyerjones.com
Feb. 10, 2018, 5:38 am
bond550 says:
Enter text right here!It is imperative that we read blog post very carefully. I am already done it and find that this post is really amazing. business industry
Feb. 11, 2018, 11:49 pm
bond550 says:
This article was written by a real thinking writer. I agree many of the with the solid points made by the writer. I’ll be back. ac service center
Feb. 13, 2018, 1:11 am
bond550 says:
I have read your article, it is very informative and helpful for me.I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. Thanks for posting it.. property management company
Feb. 13, 2018, 2:32 am
QmmMovers says:
I am hoping the same best effort from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing skills has inspired me. home teeth whitening https://glowhiter.com/
Feb. 14, 2018, 1:10 pm
Body Massage Delhi says:
t was wondering if I could use this write-up on my other website, I will link it back to your website though.Great Thanks. Body to body Massage parlour in delhi Full Body to body Massage parlour in delhi Female to male Body to body Massage in delhi
Feb. 17, 2018, 5:10 am
sohailkhatri says:
Excellent website! I adore how it is easy on my eyes it is. I am questioning how I might be notified whenever a new post has been made. Looking for more new updates. Have a great day!business industry
Feb. 17, 2018, 9:32 am
sohailkhatri says:
chiangmai condo for rent provides hundreds of condo and apartment for rent and sale in Chiang Mai.Save your time and money looking for properties in Chiangmai :Please feel free to contact us regarding buying or selling condo and apartment.chiang mai condo for rent
Feb. 18, 2018, 6:44 am
sohailkhatri says:
It is a good site post without fail. Not too many people would actually, the way you just did. I am impressed that there is so much information about this subject that has been uncovered and you’ve defeated yourself this time, with so much quality. Good Works!asian escorts new york
March 13, 2018, 7:20 am
sohail khatri says:
Whether you are transitioning residency between Canada and the U.S. or you have already made the move, it is important to understand the benefits of a cross-border financial plan. Learn how Cardinal Point can help when holding investment assets or financial interests in the U.S. or Canada.canadians living in america
March 26, 2018, 2:14 am
massage in delhi says:
Wellness Spa & Beauty Professional massage, performed by a female therapist, with experience in serving the male audience and their needs. (45m to 01h) http://www.wellnessspadelhi.in/ http://bodytobodymassageinkailashcolonydelhi.word... http://www.nicedeals.co.in/full-body-to-body-mass... http://www.wellnessspadelhi.in/blog/female-male-b... http://www.nicedeals.co.in/blog/full-body-to-body... http://www.wellnessspadelhi.in/blog/full-body-to-... http://www.wellnessspadelhi.in/blog/relaxing-full... http://www.wellnessspadelhi.in/blog/female-male-f... http://www.wellnessspadelhi.in/blog/female-male-f... http://www.wellnessspadelhi.in/blog/female-male-f... http://www.wellnessspadelhi.in/blog/female-male-f... http://www.wellnessspadelhi.in/blog/full-body-mas... best body to body massage in delhi massage in kailash colony delhi body to body massage parlour in delhi full body to body massage in delhi body massage in delhi by female to male
May 4, 2018, 5:01 am
Criminalista RJ says:
Very Good http://www.ednardomota.com.br
May 8, 2018, 3:08 am
sohail khatri says:
Wow, this is fascinating reading. I am glad I found this and got to read it. Great job on this content. I liked it a lot. Thanks for the great and unique info.SEO GOOGLE
May 9, 2018, 6:01 am
sohail khatri says:
Believe it or not, it is the type of information I’ve long been trying to find. It matches to my requirements a lot. Thank you for writing this information.ΚΛΕΙΔΑΡΙΕΣ ΑΣΦΑΛΕΙΑΣ ΑΘΗΝΑ
May 13, 2018, 6:57 am
sohail khatri says:
iSmartSafe home security systems are DIY, self-controlled and self-monitored wireless home security systems with no monthly fees and no contracts required. The systems are the most advanced home security systems in the current market with WiFi and Cellular double connection built-in. Home Security cameras and video doorbell are also available in iSmartSafe. The systems can be easily expanded and customized.wireless home security system
May 14, 2018, 6:30 am
Body to Body Massage says:
High level of relaxation female to male full body to body massage in delhi from head to toe. http://www.bodytobodymassage.co.in/ http://www.fullbodytobodymassage.com/ https://delhibodytobodymassage.weebly.com/ http://www.oclicker.com/in/Services/Parlours-Salo... is body to body massage legal in delhi i need full body massage in delhi body massage in north delhi body massage in south delhi
May 17, 2018, 9:40 am
sohail khatri says:
I am always looking for some free kinds of stuff over the internet. There are also some companies which give free samples. But after visiting your blog, I do not visit too many blogs. Thanks.turismo casablanca marrocos
May 18, 2018, 5:35 am
Natasha Singh says:
Professional complete full body massage parlour in delhi & Gurgaon. http://www.body-massage.co.in/ http://www.body-massage.co.in/24-hours-body-massa... http://www.body-massage.co.in/b2b-massage-parlour... http://www.body-massage.co.in/body-massage-parlou... http://www.body-massage.co.in/full-body-massage-p... http://www.body-massage.co.in/body-to-body-massag... http://www.body-massage.co.in/female-to-male-body... http://www.body-massage.co.in/full-body-to-body-m... http://www.body-massage.co.in/cross-full-body-mas... http://www.body-massage.co.in/full-body-to-body-m... http://www.body-massage.co.in/full-body-massage-p... http://www.body-massage.co.in/body-to-body-massag... http://www.body-massage.co.in/full-body-massage-p... http://www.body-massage.co.in/body-massage-parlou... http://www.body-massage.co.in/full-body-to-body-m... http://www.body-massage.co.in/female-to-male-body... http://www.body-massage.co.in/full-body-to-body-m... http://www.body-massage.co.in/female-to-male-body... http://www.body-massage.co.in/body-massage-center...
May 21, 2018, 5:57 am
Geetanjali Spa says:
Female to male full body massage centres in rangpuri, mahipalpur near indira gandhi international airport new delhi at geetanjali spa. full body to body massage cetner in mahipalpur body to body massage parlour in delhi massage parlour in delhi full body massage parlour in delhi body to body massage center in delhi massage parlour in mahipalpur body to body massage parlour in mahipalpur full body to body massage center in delhi body massage center in mahipalpur body to body massage center in mahipalpur body massage parlour in delhi full body massage parlour in mahipalpur body massage parlour in mahipalpur http://www.geetanjalispa.in/
May 22, 2018, 4:53 am
Geetanjali Spa says:
Female to male full body massage centres in rangpuri, mahipalpur near indira gandhi international airport new delhi at geetanjali spa. body to body massage parlour in mahipalpur full body to body massage center in delhi body to body massage parlour in delhi massage parlour in delhi massage parlour in mahipalpur body to body massage center in delhi full body massage parlour in mahipalpur body massage parlour in mahipalpur full body massage parlour in delhi body massage parlour in delhi full body to body massage cetner in mahipalpur body to body massage center in mahipalpur body massage center in mahipalpur
May 22, 2018, 4:54 am
thomascool says:
This writer is starting to show why he's the real deal. Lately, the work has been outstanding here and I can only hope that it will keep improving. I think there are bright days ahead for this lad. mens fashion
June 12, 2018, 1:54 pm
sashawide says:
The essayist that has composed this article here has unquestionably earned the privilege to call himself an outstanding essayist. I would love to see more content from this essayist in the near future soon. สล็อตออนไลน์
June 17, 2018, 1:10 pm
Phillip Park says:
Amazing post. Appreciate it and look forward to seeing many more. Thanks from alpha male.
June 20, 2018, 8:55 am
body massage delhi says:
Good information……Great….very good ideas really….thanks a lot…keep it up
June 21, 2018, 4:23 pm
Prakash Kaur says:
best massage spa centre spa in delhi ncr b2b massage parlour in delhi full body massage in new delhi female to male body massage in delhi body massage centre in delhi full body to body massage in south delhi body massage in delhi ncr spa in delhi full body massage in delhi ncr body massage parlour in delhi body to body massage in south delhi body massage in delhi
June 23, 2018, 3 am
Ruchika Chawla says:
Thanks for the post. It was very interesting. https://www.amritaspa.in/full-body-to-body-massag... https://www.amritaspa.in/erotic-massage-delhi.htm https://www.amritaspa.in/sensual-massage-delhi.ht... https://www.amritaspa.in/sandwich-massage-delhi.h... https://www.amritaspa.in/happy-ending-massage-del... https://www.amritaspa.in/female-to-male-massage-d... https://www.amritaspa.in/nuru-massage-delhi.htm
July 4, 2018, 6:22 am

Comments closed.

Classifieds

Schneps Community News Group

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: