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The Arts

Epsilon Spires launches outdoor movie series

‘Phantom of the Paradise’ kicks off series on July 3

BRATTLEBORO—Every Friday night during July and August, Epsilon Spires will transform its parking lot behind the building into Backlot Cinema, a safe, socially-distanced outdoor cinema.

“Imagine a picnic under the stars where you are entertained by film screenings and live performances — the program features international art films and cult classics, with themed evenings ranging from glam rock to Afrofuturism to Bollywood,” Jessamyn Fiore, Epsilon Spires art curator and board member, said in a press release.

On Friday, July 3, the series kicks off with an evening of Glam Rock a Go-Go featuring Brian De Palma’s rock musical Phantom of the Paradise (1974).

This cult classic subverts the old Phantom of the Opera tale with a 1970s rock-and-roll twist — “it’s a truly wild horror-comedy romp that skewers the money-hungry American music industry with vivid spectacle, flash costumes and a killer soundtrack,” Fiore said.

Doors open at 8 p.m. Program begins at 8:45 p.m. with a pre-show surprise.

Every audience member at Glam Rock A Go-Go will receive a free raffle ticket to win a $50 gift certificate to Boomerang, a clothing store on Elliot Street that is sponsoring the evening’s event.

“Sometimes, severe limitations can inspire truly innovative ideas,” said Fiore.

With the ongoing pandemic, Fiore said the venue has had to think up “new ways we could bring art to the community while keeping people safe.”

“Turns out the answer was right in front of us — or rather in back of us!” she said — “a big parking lot with a large wall that can support a sizable film screen — the essentials for an open-air cinema.”

The back parking lot will be empty except for the film projection equipment. On the pavement, circles will be marked out in varying sizes — for groups up to 2, 4, and 6. Each circle will have over 6 feet around it on all sides, to make sure it is a safe, socially distanced space.

Guests are encouraged to bring blankets, cushions, folding chairs.

Bar and local food vendors will be on site. Restrooms are provided and will be cleaned throughout the evening. Hand sanitizer will be available at multiple locations.

Space is limited. Visit to reserve a space to fit your group size: Up to two people, $20; up to four, $40; up to six, $60.

In case of rain, the event will be moved to the Sanctuary under strict distancing and safety guidelines.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #568 (Wednesday, July 1, 2020). This story appeared on page B2.

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