Remember how much fun it was to be in a club with you were young? Sure, it was usually the no girls/boys allowed club or the pretty pretty ponies club, but it was fun none-the-less. Adults have less options when it comes to forming a club, but the Oriental Theatre and the Key Sunday Cinema Club bring to Milwaukee a new option.
"The Key Sunday Cinema Club is like a book club -- except with films. Members watch a film and then our local moderators lead a 45 minute to one hour discussion after the film with the audience," says Katherine Yungmee Kim, Key Sunday Cinema Club co-owner with her husband Benjamin Levy. "We bring the best of independent and foreign films to our clubs and show them to our members before their local commercial release. We have eight other successful film clubs around the country -- several of which are sold out season after season. Once members join, they tend to stay."
The discussion following each screening will be led by Patrice Petro, director of the Center of Internal Studies and professor of English and Film at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Gilberto Blasini, professor of Film at UWM, will
The first meeting of Milwaukee's Key Sunday Cinema Club will be on Jan. 28 at 10 a.m. The Oriental's Key Club will be the ninth for the group.
"First and foremost, Benjamin absolutely fell in love with The Oriental. He said it was unmatched in beauty and it was a terrific venue for gathering and watching films," Kim says. "We have also been looking to expand into smaller U.S. cities and the grosses for art film in (Milwaukee) have been very strong, proving to us that the interest exists for good cinema. We also have a long-standing relationship with Landmark -- three of our other clubs are at Landmark theatres."
Milwaukee's Key Sunday Cinema Club will start up Jan. 28 at 10 a.m. and Kim says that it's a film she's rather excited about. It's already an award winner, but we'll keep the title secret so as not to spoil the surprise. That's part of the fun of the club.
"One of the greatest delights that I have working in the movie business is the chance to see movies early without much knowledge or hype of what they are, no expectations, no prejudices," says Hugh Wronski, senior regional publicist for Landmark Theatres. "This gives ordinary filmgoers a chance at such a thing."
Kim agrees. "The other nice aspect is that members get to see movies before all the reviews and trailers have assaulted them. So they can go into a screening not only not knowing what the film will be, but very little about the narrative and media reaction.""
She says that this also gives people the chance to see films and to have a discussion with like-minded people.
"It's an elevation of the filmgoing experience. Some people say it's like going to a film class in college -- without the papers," she says. "There is so much to be gained from watching a movie, and then sharing and debating your insights with other intelligent people, after the screening."
But there's also a chance that people can see movies prior to them actually hitting the Milwaukee film market.
"for example, our San Francisco members got to see 'The Queen' weeks before it opened in the city. Part of it is the enjoyment of being ahead of the curve," Kim says.
There will be seven screenings for the Winter/Spring 2007 Key Sunday Cinema Club series. To become a full-fledged member of the club, there are three ways to sign up: Check ($95), credit ($99) and Paypal via the Key Club Web site ($99). However, walk-ins are acceptable for $20.
Originally from Des Plaines, Ill., Heather moved to Milwaukee to earn a B.A. in journalism from Marquette University. With a tongue-twisting last name like Leszczewicz, it's best to go into a career where people don't need to say your name often.
However, she's still sticking to some of her Illinoisan ways (she won't reform when it comes to things like pop, water fountain or ATM), though she's grown to enjoy her time in the Brew City.
Although her journalism career is still budding, Heather has had the chance for some once-in-a-lifetime interviews with celebrities like actor Vince Vaughn and actress Charlize Theron, director Cameron Crowe and singers Ben Kweller and Isaac Hanson of '90s brother boy band Hanson.
Heather's a self-proclaimed workaholic but loves her entertainment. She's a real television and movie fanatic, book nerd, music junkie, coffee addict and pop culture aficionado.