Spoke Art: MiDNiTES FOR MANiACS 35mm Double Bill. Art by James Rheem Davis


Spoke Art and MiDNiTES FOR MANiACS presented a 35mm screening on Friday, August 25, 2017  of TAXi DRiVER (1976) – Restored 35mm Print Transcendental stylist/screenwriter Paul Schrader concocted this blood soaked, neo-noir giving director Martin Scorsese the Palm d’Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. Robert De Niro’s defining loner performance as Travis Bickle, an insomniac Vietnam-vet, still stands as one of cinema’s greatest achievements.

With a cast like Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel, Jodie Foster, and Albert Brooks you knew you were in store for something special.

Not only are you seeing this classic in amazing 35mm but Spoke Art released a limited edition, alternative art poster by James Rheem Davis at the screening as well.

This is what James had to say about the print. Oh yeah, it was such a big event that he was in attendance as well.

Listen, you fuckers, you screwheads…Greetings from the gritty streets of the Mission District. I’m here to go see a 35mm screening of the classic film Taxi Driver at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco. City of my birth. My buddy Paul and I are running late. He had to work and traffic at rush hour is never getting better. We zig and zag through the side streets avoiding bumper to bumper metal coffins all wanting to go to the same place at once. We see packs of homeless building their future homes with the discarded trash of corporate greed and waste. Our windows are down, the radio up and my flatulent symphony is an improvement over the sweat, urine and shit stained concrete around us.

It feels like there’s an electric charge in the air. We drive by a bus stop at 16th and Mission where about 20 years ago I sat reading a newspaper waiting to catch a bus to Potrero Hill as shouting voices and gunshots rang out behind me. People running for their lives screaming. Sirens. Lights. Uniform Police everywhere. More guns. Always on time to find no crime. “They went that way” someone yelled and pointed. The most shocking thing about that story, was I was reading a newspaper. Oh, memories. Traffic still heavy. Unexpectedly, we find parking right away. WTF? It helps that my rental is a Toyota Yaris. That’s right, a Fucking Yaris!!! If you want to find parking in this city, compact is where it’s at. Plus, chicks dig the Yaris. I’ll prove it! It only cost me $100 to get a Platinum Blonde Sky Ferreira lookalike in the backseat for a “71”. That’s a “69” with each of us contributing one finger of our choosing into each other’s sphincter. Paul watches and takes notes.

Apparently, we are now criminally late. We’re starving. Paul suggests a Mexican restaurant called Pancho Villa. It’s packed. Two street musicians play really loud covers of pop songs with Mexican influences right at the entrance. Is that “We Built this City” by Starship??? I order the #5 combo of carne asada, chicken asada and prawns with a Corona, not realizing it can feed a family of 4. Paul gets the mountain high steak and prawns nachos and some chunky strawberry drink. Mother fucking shells on the prawns. C’mon man! We reminisce about our younger days of freedom. The silly Super 8 movies we used to make. All the panties we used to sniff. Who’s doing what…blah, blah, blah. Then Paul takes out his notes and glances at them. He seems intrigued. He leans towards me, looks me dead in the eye and asks why I chose my middle finger. I told him it’s the longest. More bang for your buck. He shrugs his shoulders, finishes his drink while sucking out the last bits of strawberries and says, I would of given her “The Fonz”. Aaaaaaaahhhhh!!!

The second half of the double feature was the criminally underrated BRiNGiNG OUT THE DEAD (1999), which reunited Paul Schrader (writer) and Martin Scorsese (director) 23 years after the success of Taxi Driver. Although not nearly as well celebrated as their first film, the acting by John Goodman and Nicolas Cage, as well as the tone, pacing, and existential exploration are definitely worth the watch. Especially when presented on 35mm film.

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Cake Blissken

Cake Blissken AKA: James Rheem Davis is a part-time Graphic Designer (www.giantsumo.com), Film, Music and TV lover, holder of useless information, Condom user and Defender of the Night.