The Reeler

Recent Comments

John Lichman on: RIP: Pioneer Theater, 2000-2008

Ray Privett on: RIP: Pioneer Theater, 2000-2008

Simon Abrams on: RIP: Pioneer Theater, 2000-2008

Matthew on: RIP: Pioneer Theater, 2000-2008

FILM ON THE WEB

A Girl and a Gun
A_Film_By
Ain't It Cool News
Alliance of Women Film Journalists
Anne Thompson
Art Fag City
ArtFlickChick
Better Than Fudge
Big Picture Big Sound
Bitter Cinema
Blank Screen
Blogumentary
Brian Flemming
Bright Lights
Celluloid Eyes
CHUD
Chutry Experiment, The
Cinecultist
Cinema Confidential
Cinema Eye
Cinema-Scope
Cinemarati
Cinematical
CineMe
Coming Soon
Cool Cinema Trash
Cyndi Greening
Dark Horizons
Defamer
Drew's Blog-O-Rama
Errata
Esoteric Rabbit
Film Detail
Film Experience, The
Film Journal, The
Film Journey
Film Stew
Film Rotation
Flickhead
GreenCine Daily
Greg.org
Hacking Netflix
Hammer to Nail
High Sign, The
Hollywood Elsewhere
House Next Door, The
IFC Blog, The
In the Company of Glenn
IndieScene Movie Marketing Blog
indieWIRE.com
indieWIRE Blogs
Jay's Movie Blog
JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Kaiju Shakedown
Kamera
Kinoeye
Like Anna Karina's Sweater
Last Night with Riviera
Light Sleeper
Long Pauses
Looker
Masters of Cinema
Matt Zoller Seitz
Midnight Eye
Milk Plus
Mind Jack
Metaphilm
Movie Blog, The
Movie City Indie
Movie Hole, The
Movie Poop Shoot
New York Cool
NY Post Movie Blog
News of the Dead
No More Marriages!
Notes From Underdog
Out of Focus
Persistence of Vision
Pullquote
Queer Film Review
Reel Roundtable
ScreenGrab
Screen Rush
Screener (Film Journal Int.)
Screening the Past
Self-Styled Siren
Short Sheet, The
Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine Blog
Still in Motion
Stranger Song, The
They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
Tisch Film Review
Twitch
Vince Keenan
World Film (at About.com)
You Know, For Film
Zoom-In

The Reeler Blog

RIP: Pioneer Theater, 2000-2008

By S.T. VanAirsdale

Rania Richardson on Sunday confirmed what New York Magazine had so grimly foretold last week: The Pioneer Theater is no more. The East Village institution shuttered early Saturday after a midnight Halloween screening of Night of the Living Dead; it had faced dire straits for what seems like forever, despite the heroic efforts of programmer Ray Privett to persist as New York's last remaining bastion of independent cinema and funky grindhouse wares.

The Reeler's own history is finely interwoven with that of the Pioneer, from our obsession with Mormonsploitation to our audiences with Dr. Reinhardt van Nostrand to ReelerTV's attempt at multimedia empire from its redoubt on East 3rd Street. This feels like a death in the family, but an inevitable one for which my appeals and eulogies have already been made. As such, after a moment of silence, I turn it over to you: What's your Pioneer Theater story?

Posted at November 3, 2008 8:56 AM

Comments (8)

I'd like to clear up an inaccuracy in the above post, if I may. My name is Lee Peterson, and I have been the Manager/Programmer of the Pioneer Theater since Ray Privett quit last Spring.

The SCHLOCKTOBER Festival is totally my baby. I planned it, I booked it, I promoted it, and I take full credit and blame for its success. I am incredibly proud of the festival, and I can say in complete humility, the response has been fantastic. In addition to sold-out World Premieres of New Indie Horror films, we have spotlighted some Retro-Schlock classics such as Lucio Fulci's ZOMBIE, Ted V. Mikels' THE CORPSE GRINDERS (I conducted a telephone introduction/interview with the director), and we are closing with rare screenings of Joel M. Reed's BLOOD SUCKING FREAKS and George A. Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. It has been an exhausting, but exhilarating ride, and I have been overseeing the festival in person nearly every night.

I'd like to clear up an inaccuracy in the above post, if I may. Since this story broke, every blog has repeated the same, inaccurate info. My name is Lee Peterson, and I have been the Manager/Programmer of the Pioneer Theater since Ray Privett quit last Spring.

The SCHLOCKTOBER Festival was totally my baby. I planned it, I booked it, I promoted it, and I take full credit and blame for its success. I am incredibly proud of the festival, and I can say in complete humility, the response has been fantastic. In addition to sold-out World Premieres of New Indie Horror films, we have spotlighted some Retro-Schlock classics such as Lucio Fulci's ZOMBIE, Ted V. Mikels' THE CORPSE GRINDERS (I conducted a telephone introduction/interview with the director), and we closed with rare screenings of Joel M. Reed's BLOOD SUCKING FREAKS (with the director in attendance) and George A. Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. It has been an exhausting, but exhilarating ride, and I have been overseeing the festival in person nearly every night.

Point taken! Twice!

I was a loyal Pioneer goer and will miss it greatly. Such a special place, catering to those of us who love exploitation and horror.

Memories...Their amazing Andy Kaufman documentary. Seeing Lydia Lunch as a dominatrix in some movie whose name I can't remember. The night I won like a bazillion porn DVDs during their retro 42nd Street screening. The pizza. The video store with the Pac-Man games. The Den of Cin which I entered only once, sadly.

Pioneer was a special place, and the fact that it even existed in a post-2000 NYC is amazing and to be admired. Maybe they can relocate to Williamsburg or Bushwick? Even a Pioneer Movie Night in a bar would be welcome.

I consider Pioneer Theater one of the few reasons I remained in New York.

Especially having interviewed Dr. VanNostrand at midnight under the Williamsburg Bridge and lived to tell about it.

Also, it doesn't hurt that I spent roughly four years around that theater and realizing I'd never truly be alone if I saw even the most obscure of Japanese film or low-grade slasher on any weeknight.

I agree, Lee booked Schlocktober. I had nothing to do with it. Congratulations and good luck to him.

I left at the end of March, after making sure every show I said I would do, I did; and, that every show I booked was paid according to the deals cut.

I wish Phil and Doris much success as they resolve their divorce and move on with their lives.

Thank you.

Lee, your Schloctober Fest events were terrific, especially the Wild Eye nights and the absolutely gonzo spectrum of stuff from MIL MASCARAS to THE COLOUR FROM THE DARK. You were nothing but gracious to my requests and I am very glad to have attended the events that I could make it to. I really, really hope you land on your feet and that we can enjoy your knack for niche programming again soon.

The Robert Kramer series where I saw Route One USA remains one of the greatest movie experiences of my life, and this film has STILL not played in NYC since.

I actually lamented the on-set of the grindhouse/horrir/shock nature of Pioneer bookings and wound up going there a lot less because of it.

NYC still needs a TRULY independent art house theater that doesn't just play the latest Hitchock revival, etc. Not to knock the Film Forum completely but they are as mainstream as an art house theater can get.

Bring back the hard-core!

Post a comment

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.thereeler.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb-AjOOtIAl.cgi/1668

Search The Reeler
Join the Mailing List

RSS Feed

Archives

Send a Tip