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Performer Mayyadda singing at the University of Minnesota Juneteenth Celebration “We Are The Noise: The Echoes of Our Ancestors” captured on Saturday, June 15.
Best photos of June '24
Published June 23, 2024

Debacle of Debauchery? part three?

There is poetic yet tragic justice in the recent news of Oak Street Cinema.

Last time I checked with vigilante cineaste club, Trash Film Debauchery, things were looking relatively sunny for the maverick but troubled student group.

The Student Activities Office, perhaps looking to atone for two long years of egregious ignorance (or was it two weeks of bad press?), toddled their way over to Trash Film Debauchery founder Theresa Kay, their diapers no doubt full, and promised never ever to be such meanies ever again. It’s nada compared to the nightmare on Oak Street. Wes Craven should rename his film series.

Kay, who was now fielding handsome proposals from both the Student Activities Office (in a cosponsorship) and the Oak Street Cinema (in the form of a Friday midnight flick), found herself choosing and not begging.

Either she could go through another merry-go-round trying to get quirky indies like “Death Race 2000” and “Bird People in China” approved by the Wonder Breaded priss police known as the Minnesota Programs and Activities Council, or she could enjoy complete artistic license at the area’s most respectable old-run hipster movie house next to campus.The choice seemed like a no-brainer, but at the Oak, Kay would have to go back on her cardinal promise to her cult-classic clanmates: At the insistence of the struggling theater, $5 admission would be charged.

Still, Kay thought this was a golden opportunity for some well-timed symbiosis between the Oak and the school it serves. Trash Film Debauchery would bring in cinema-starved kids to fill the Oak’s hundreds of empty seats, and Kay’s group would go on in this new incarnation while she continued applying for student fees to pay film distributors for the cheap but necessary rights to her funky gorefests and J-rock epics. Sadly, this freshly minted “midnight movie” concept was never to be.

The Oak Street Cinema met with Kay on several occasions only to pilfer the precious time away with pizza, beer and idle pop culture chatter every single time. “Let’s do this again sometime” was their brilliant closer at the end of each evening. Then, after dozens of calls and e-mails went unreturned, and Trash Film Debauchery and Kay found themselves left to die languishing in bureaucratic purgatory ” AGAIN.

Kay decided to check the Oak Street’s updated midnight movie schedule. Not only did the venerable theater steal Kay’s idea, they pissed all over it, throwing up retardo-ray Hollywood schlock like the $50 million Sharon Stone vehicle, “Basic Instinct.”

“Who the hell wants to pay $5 to see that in a theater ” and at midnight ” when it’s on cable every other week?” Kay wondered in an e-mail I received earlier this week.

Happily, hope was on the way ” at the unlikely hands of Coca-Cola, which has offered her $2,500 in no-strings grant money along with the University to do her dirty thing down in the West Bank Auditorium. She called eight distributors about securing copyrights to show her films, and, to her astonishment, five of the eight bossmen gave her the go-ahead for free.

Seems like the trashy girl gets to spend a few grand on pizza this semester. What about you, nightmare on Oak Street?

Adri Mehra welcomes comments at [email protected].

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