The Ryder’s Fiction issue

Our annual fiction issue is on the stands. Special thanks to Fiction Editor Justin Chandler who read through the many submissions we received and chose the six that we have published. “Fiction is often most celebrated when it is most individualistic,” Justin says, “presenting an experience that is unlike any other, equating privacy and originality with authenticity. If that’s the case, is fiction capable of presenting life as a collective exercise? How do you tell the story of a pandemic? Of a divided populace? Of indifferent or even malevolent elected officials? It’s a year like no other and I hope that each of these stories offers you something new—if nothing else, the pleasure of reading, the opportunity to briefly step away from the endless barrage of information and to think newly and differently about the world.”

We would be remiss if we did not also acknowledge the work of Ali Maidi, whose distinctive illustrations accompany and enhance each story.

Also in our August issue:

The Many Faces of David Ortiz Y Pino: A downtown street artist who is finding a new path. by Mason Cassady

A Brief, Unauthorized History of the NRA: If anyone knows about guns and the NRA it is Frank Smyth. He’s heard more than his fair share of shots fired in anger in dodgy spots the world over while investigating human rights violations. He’s written an unauthorized history of the NRA and he talks to Ryder editor-at-large Jason Vest

From Farm to Table-Reading: Singer-songwriter Krista Detor is bringing nine NYU theatre-grads to Bloomington, re-imaging her farm as an artist’s residency. By Kellen Sillanpaa

Talk Talk Talk: Mike Leigh’s Peterloo: The award-winning filmmaker has turned his sights on the 1813 Peterloo massacre, in which armed British troops attacked peaceful protesters. Sound like anything you’ve read about recently? By Tom Prasch

and

The Hidden Cost of IU’s Reopening: By opting for on-campus instruction this fall, colleges and universities are essentially sacrificing the quality and equity of K-12 education in their local communities. By Jessica Calarco

We are normally supported by by paid advertising but that is not the case during the pandemic. There are no paid ads in this issue. The display ads that you will see as you flip through the magazine are published at no cost to the advertiser. And while it is true that by publishing electronically we are avoiding a printing bill, we do have other monthly expenses. And so if you see an article you like, or just want to support locally produced, independent journalism please consider making a donation.

The July issue of the ryder magazine is on the virtual newstands

Crimes of a Native Tongue: “To become an accidental advocate on the world stage for a father who is a political prisoner – and, by extension, for your entire people as well – is no easy task for anyone in the best of circumstance,” writes Filiz Cicek in Crimes of a Native Tongue. “For IU student Jewher Ilham, a teenage girl suddenly ripped from family moorings half-a-world away, unversed in any cultures or languages beyond her own, it might have been nearly impossible.” (there’s more to read in the July/August issue of The Ryder)

K-pop in the Age of Culture Wars: Most people who spend time online, particularly on Twitter, end up running into fans of Korean popular music. K-pop fans share photos or short videos of their faves with quips like “anyway, stan LOONA,” writes CedarBough T. Saeji. “They may not sound like serious political activists, but recent events have made news-watchers consider them in a new light. They flooded iWatch Dallas, the app set up by Texas law enforcement to prosecute protesters using citizen footage. K-pop fans instead presented the Dallas police department with their own citizen footage: thousands of videos of their favorite stars. Eventually, iWatch Dallas was forced to go off line. Similar approaches rendered white nationalist hashtags useless for organizing. ARMY, fans of the group BTS’s ARMY, flexed and donated $1 million to Black Lives Matter causes in just 24 hours. And then there was Donald Trump’s Tulsa rally…. (there’s even more to read in the July/August issue of The Ryder)

That’s not all.

The Vietnam War may be five decades old but the past is never far behind in Spike Lee’s new movie. Tom Prasch reviews Da 5 Bloods.

Many a soldier has gone to war believing in a cause. Ambrose Bierce emerged from combat realizing that the enemy of man is not so much other men but war itself. Jason Vest looks at the life and times of Indiana’s poet of the battlefield.

Jim Krause visits Ecuador, Mason Cassady gallivants around Bulgaria and Jeff Mease encourages us all to mask up in the July/August issue of The Ryder magazine.

We are normally supported by by paid advertising but that is not the case during the pandemic. There are no paid ads in this issue. The display ads that you will see as you flip through the magazine are published at no cost to the advertiser. And while it is true that by publishing electronically we are avoiding a printing bill, we do have other monthly expenses. And so if you see an article you like, or just want to support locally produced, independent journalism please consider making a donation.

Why The Ryder need your support today

WHY THE RYDER NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT TODAY

Through the years, The Ryder has been generously supported by local shops and restaurants, many of them in the downtown arts district, many of them purchasing ad space simply because they wanted to support a community magazine. Their support has benefited not just the magazine, but also, indirectly, the Film Series. If you flip through the current issue of the magazine (or any of the other issues that we’ve published since the start of pandemic) you’ll see display ads for local stores, cafes and community organizations. But given the current economic environment, we have decided that it’s our turn to step up. And so all of the ads in these issues have been published at no cost to the advertisers. And while it is true that by publishing electronically we are avoiding a printing bill, we do have other monthly expenses.

Back in March, when we made the decision to publish the magazine without ad revenue, we thought the pandemic would be under control by September. Clearly, we were wrong about that. Today, with the end nowhere in sight, we are asking for your support to publish The Ryder into the spring.  Funds will be used to cover operating expenses and continue to keep paid staff employed until advertising revenue begins to steadily increase. 

Paying it forward – with your donation of $50 or more to The Ryder, you can designate a community organization of your choice — the Community Kitchen, Middle Way House, the Animal Shelter, Bloomington Playwrights Project, the Bloomington chapter of Black Lives Matter or any other local organization — and we can reciprocate, in a small way, by offering them complimentary space in the magazine to promote their own project or fundraiser. You can make a donation through our GoFundMe page. After your donation, let us know which organization you would like to support; simply send an email to peter@theryder.com THANK YOU!

june issue of the ryder

The new issue of The Ryder magazine is on the virtual newsstands …

How can you govern a barnyard of pets in French cheese country? Wandering writer Mason Cassady felt a mix of shock, excitement and disbelief in France, Belgium and Wales.

How much do you really know about truckers, especially 21st century truckers?   They are no longer good ole boys. John Linnemeier tells us that today’s drivers hail from all over the globe and come in all colors, shapes and sizes.

It seems like we’re all living in a never-ending on deck circle, but Emily Nemens’ new novel, Cactus League, gives even non-baseball fans reason to hope during the long, long rain delay. WFHB’s Emily Jackson steps up to the plate with an insightful review.

Neal Stephenson’s stories are about outsiders, smart characters looking at their world in syncopated time and threading their way through, often making it better in the process. Rachel Duel Hertz explains that Stephenson may be our best literary companion for this pandemic’s strange gift of separation and time.

Look Who’s Talking: Danielle McClelland The outgoing Executive Director of the Buskirk-Chumley talks about the past and the future of the theater

All of this in the current issue of The Ryder magazine

Why does The Ryder need your support?

Our business model for the past 40 years has been pretty simple: the magazine would always be free and supported by advertising. That is no longer possible. Not now, and not for the foreseeable future. The local shops and restaurants that are open are in no position to lend their financial support to a local arts magazine, as much as they might like to.

Yes, as you flip through this issue of The Ryder you will see display ads for community organizations and local restaurants. But those ads are included at no charge. And while we do not have a printing bill right now, we do have other expenses.

And so if you discover one or two articles that you like and if you are in a position to make a donation, it will be gratefully appreciated. No amount is too small. You’ll be helping to support local, independent journalism.

MAKE A DONATION

let’s write a short story!

Now might be as good a time as any to dust off that short story you started when you were an undergrad. We are reading submissions from Bloomington writers for our annual summer fiction issue. What do we mean by “Bloomington writers”? We’re not really sure. A Bloomington address would help. But if you attended IU and no longer live here, that would be fine as well. Maybe you passed through town on your way to Evansville? Any connection will do, no matter how tangential.

Please put “Fiction Submission” in the subject line and send your story to editor@theryder.com

A few guidelines….

1 – Double-spaced in Word. Do not indent to indicate a new paragraph; a hard return will suffice.

2 – Word limit: 5,000 words. This is not negotiable. The 5001st word will not be considered, no matter how amazing it may be.

3 – Wear a mask and wash your hands for 20 seconds under hot water.

Send your story right away. He who hesitates is … how does that expression go? No matter. We look forward to reading your work!

Ryder magazine: april 2020

The Ryder <peter@theryder.com>AttachmentsThu, Apr 9, 12:31 AM (1 day ago)

The new issue of The Ryder is on the stands–well, not literally. This is our first issue to be published electronically. We considered publishing a print edition, but where would we distribute it?  Our April issue contains a number of entertaining and informative stories, but before we tell you about them, we have to talk about something else, something that makes us cringe when we think about it.
The Ryder has always been distributed free, with our expenses covered (hopefully) by advertising. There is no paid advertising in this issue.  Yes, when you flip through the magazine you will see ads, for not-for-profits hosting virtual fundraisers and local restaurants offering curbside service. Those ads are published at no cost to the advertiser, for all of the obvious reasons. Our biggest expense each month is our printing bill. But while there is no printing bill this month, we do have other expenses.
And so if you discover one or two articles that you like and if you are  in a position to make a donation, it will be gratefully appreciated. If you are not so inclined, you might instead consider purchasing a Ryder Film Series gift card. With either, you’ll be helping to support local, independent journalism.

MAKE A DONATION PURCHASE A GIFT CARD

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the good stuff….In the 1990s, Linda Poteat was a waitress at the Irish Lion. Today, she is a policy director at the United Nations, battling pandemics around the world. Contributing editor Jason Vest conducts an enlightening interview. “If you’re a right-wing person in a state like South Carolina,” Linda explains, “seeing an elite Hollywood liberal telling people to stay at home and wash their hands isn’t going to work.”

For three years in the early 90s, Bart Everson was one half of J&B on the Rocks, a weekly television show broadcast on BCAT that was years ahead of its time. Bart explains, “We began production with no expectation of success, with hardly a thought for the future. We slapped a camera on a tripod and sat under a bare bulb in a rough-hewn basement, our rambling dialog punctuated by liberal doses of liquor. Each week we recorded a new installment; each week our faces and voices appeared in living rooms around the city, through the miracle (or curse) of cable television. We quickly found the limits of legality, and soon after that we found an audience. The camera came off the tripod, and we escaped from the basement, as the scope of our production and our circle of friends expanded. The streets of Bloomington became our set, and the people of the city became our cast. There was no script, and no budget either.”  Twenty-five years ago, on April 18th, 1995, Rox became the first television show anywhere, to be broadcast on the internet. Time magazine was all set to do a cover story and then…well, you’ll have to read the article.

The first Earth Day took place 50 years ago, on April 22nd, 1970 and Ryder contributing editor Pennfield Jensen was there. Not only was he there, but he helped to organize it. “Earth Day has become an icon for earth awareness,” Penn writes. “But Earth Day 2020 shows only too well how miserably we, as environmentalists, have failed.”
There’s more in this issue. Mason Cassady writes about Beekeeping in Poland, Charlotte Zietlow discusses the challenges of County Government, WFIU introduces a podcast about Ernie Pyle and West Coast Bureau Chief Jason Vest writes about quarantine-life in a coastal town in northern California. “I am not one to romanticize small-town life,” Jason writes. He does not. 

Earth day

Some Notes on its Origin with a View to the Future

By Pennfield Jensen

[editor’s note: Pennfield Jensen is a recovering environmentalist and until now he has been a frequent contributor to The Ryder.]

Earth Day 2020. Fifty years gone by, and the next fifty trending badly. I hate to say it, but I feel today exactly as I felt when John McConnell launched Earth Day at my conference back in 1969. Let me explain.

The venue was the first UNESCO “Man and The Environment” conference, a three-day affair, November 23-25, held at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. It was set as a  precursor to the Main Event of the same name to be held three years later in Stockholm. I call it “my” conference but that’s a stretch. The organizer was Huey Johnson, at that time the director of the Western Region of The Nature Conservancy.  I was his de facto assistant. As gofer-in-chief, my task was managing the Sargasso of minutiae any conference of that magnitude entails. For example, John McConnell.

John was not on the roster of conference speakers. He wanted to be, desperately, and badgered me whenever he could find me, which was often, begging to find him a time slot somewhere, anywhere, but the schedule had been set in stone and I had no control over it. That said, no one had any serious objection to him being there. And “there” he was, bounding around pestering anyone who would listen to his idea of an Earth Day. He found supporters, and why not? Eventually he found the ear of Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, an avowed environmentalist. The very next year, 1970, Earth Day happened. San Francisco Mayor Joe Alioto sanctioned it; New York Mayor John Lindsay sanctioned it. Millions of people took to the streets around the country and around the world. A movement had gathered force. Yes!

Then something else happened. In early 1972 John came by my office. By virtue of a side trip co-founding Earth Times magazine under the tutelage of Jann Wenner and the editors at Rolling Stone, I had founded Clear Creek, “The Environmental Viewpoint.” In 1972 we were going strong, having played a significant role in getting unleaded gasoline legislation passed, and were now gearing up for the ’72 Stockholm conference.

The Creek offices were on the top floor of the old Reynolds Tobacco Building at One South Park, a seedy corner of San Francisco. These days it is one of the hippest neighborhoods in San Francisco. In those days we shared our environs with crack addicts, gang conflicts, and marginal businesses. The corner office window was graced by a bullet hole the size of a golf ball. The building had bronze Indian heads under the eaves of the roof and a large LSMFT logo in the lobby (“Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco.”) We got to step on it every day. We were a team of researchers, writers and artists. An amazing watershed of bright, wonderful people.

John McConnell was ever and always the kind of person whose strength of personality and honest enthusiasm was contagious and fun. But on this day he was distraught, and he was seeking our help. Specifically, he wanted editorial backing in his dispute over the “illegal” appropriation of Earth Day by senator Nelson and his aide Denis Hayes as “their” idea. We listened sympathetically. But we had no dog in John’s fight.

As journalist-environmentalists, our goal was to raise consciousness for environmental awareness as an ethic, not just a once-a-year event, then ho-hum back to business as usual. Earth Day seemed to trivialize that larger vision and to diminish the urgency of a much-needed environmental ethos. Second, there was Denis Hayes. Harvard educated and charismatic, Denis had been hand-picked by Senator Nelson to head up Earth Day as an international operation. All apologies to John McConnell, but case closed. John had been inspired in the Sixties by a ‘great idea,’ but frankly, I did not think, nor do I today that Earth Day was any one person’s idea. Earth Day is one of those inevitable ideas, like Stonehenge and the autumn equinox; its time had come and it belonged to everybody.

Or perhaps nobody.

In Indianapolis the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day is scheduled to be held on Saturday April 25th at Military Park. An array of 122 exhibitors, a beer garden and photo ops with various corporate mascots such as Roundup-Redi Kilowatt are planned. Should be fun.  Bloomington hopes to cheer on our lonely blue marble beginning at 1 PM at Switchyard Park on Saturday April 18th.  So we’ll have at least two weekends’ worth of sudsy gaiety and ominous warnings to look forward to. I had personally hoped to print up bumper stickers that read “I [Heart] Earth Day,” and organize volunteers to stick them on the windshields of every SUV they could find (which is every other vehicle I see) until Steve Cotter, a Bloomington Earth Day organizer, put the kybosh on it by saying “great idea, Penn—until someone gets shot.” Right.

Earth Day has become an icon for ‘earth awareness.’ That’s a good thing. My problem with Earth Day 2020 is that it shows only too well how miserably we, as environmentalists, have failed. The unchecked global rapaciousness that has pushed global warming past the tipping point of no return has created an irreversible fate for “Man and His Environment.” The 2015 Paris Accord to curtail global warming by controlling greenhouse gas emissions, was signed by every UN participant save Turkey and Iran. An end-game of sorts for the initial UNESCO conference in 1972, the Accord offered hope. It still does, even though Trump pulled the U.S. out of it and China never acknowledged it. That leaves the others to set the bar while the two largest polluters on the planet party hearty in open and arrogant defiance of irrefutable truth.

The science is good. What it tells us is not. We have failed to curb greenhouse gas emissions. We have failed to curb population growth. We have set in motion the demise of ecologies world-wide. Ultimately, we face a perfect storm of impending catastrophes that will be both as unavoidable as they will be horrific. Take pollinators as a random example. Thinking bees? And the global devastation they are undergoing? Their fate pales in comparison to the vast numbers of non-industrial insects, birds, and mammals that pollinate the grasses, flowers, and fruit trees on which we depend. Think ocean ecosystems coping with increased heat, acidity, and micro plastics, the “blanching” of the great coral reefs worldwide and the myriad creatures lost thereby. And of course melting glaciers, hellish droughts, damning floods. The consequences reach far beyond a few litigious millionaires whose oceanfront villas get swept away by rising tides. Sorry, but good riddance to what shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

The contingent sad truth is that there are no viable technological solutions to global warming, overpopulation, or the loss of ecosystems. A lot of attention is paid to solar power, wind power, tide power and sustainable growth. Those alternatives may slow the march to oblivion, here and there, but they won’t stop it. I think of the rage of Australian bush fires, and of the Wuhan coronavirus that as I write is wiping away trillions of dollars of global wealth and shuttering borders around the world. I don’t see these as once-in-a-hundred-years anomalies; they are the advance guards, nasty harbingers of what’s to come.

When tens of millions of people face bitter famine, convulsive war, and imminent death, their desperation will crush all hope. I hate writing this, but it is what terrifies me the most: losing the basic humanism that, up until now, has guided mankind through all of its darkest days. What happens when we turn against each other to save ourselves?

On the nominal Earth Day 2020, April 22nd, approximately 1,000 children will be born in the United States. Around 360,000 children will be born world-wide during those 24 hours.

Looking fifty years on down the road to Earth Day, 2070, I can’t imagine what those grown-up children will think of us.

And that’s tragic because never has any species achieved such a profound understanding of this incredible world which we inhabit, and of the universe in which we play such a small and insignificant part, yet only we it seems have the ability to comprehend. The wondrous truths that have been brought to light stagger the imagination. We cannot in a lifetime begin to appreciate it all. But we should try. We should work to “see” the world as it truly is. And we should teach others to do the same, otherwise we turn the lights out on life.

–Pennfield Jensen

The Ernie Pyle Experiment!

WFIU Debuts a New 13-Part Podcast Series on Ernie Pyle

This month, WFIU Public Radio debuts a new 13-episode podcast series created by writer, producer, and actor Michael Brainard from the archives of the Ernie Pyle collection at the Lilly Library of Indiana University.

The Ernie Pyle Experiment!, chronicles Ernie Pyle’s pre-war work as a traveling columnist for the Scripps-Howard Newspaper syndicate. Ernie and his wife, Jerry, traveled America from 1935–1942, in quest of interesting stories for his column “The Hoosier Vagabond.” The Ernie Pyle Experiment! explores how it was done.

Each episode, through fact and fiction, examines the circumstances surrounding an actual Ernie Pyle column from this pre-WWII era. The podcasts are based on recently discovered wire recordings in the archives of the Smithsonian Institute that give listeners a view into the Pyles’ everyday lives on the road and what led to the creation of the column. Each episode ends with a reading of Pyle’s actual column.

The podcast series begins in the spring of 1936 with Ernie Pyle (played by Brainard) and his wife Jerry (played by actress Greta Lind) laden with the ongoing obligation of work and travel. Scripps-Howard has given Ernie a sound recording device to bring with him on his travels across America. They want to hear how he interviews people and potentially use the recordings for archival purposes, major story sources, and even radio broadcast. Ultimately, hundreds wire spools get filled with recordings of the Pyles’ everyday life together, not exactly what headquarters intended Ernie should be doing with it.

Subsequent episodes of The Ernie Pyle Experiment! follow the Pyles’ travels to Ernie’s hometown of Dana, Indiana, and other locations across the United States. The podcast also dramatizes Jerry’s real-life struggles with alcoholism and how the couple dealt with it.

The first episode of The Ernie Pyle Experiment! is now available at wfiu.org/erniepylepodcast and on other major podcasting platforms.

Here’s a snapshot of each episode.

EPISODE 1THE BOURGEOIS STANDARD

As pressure mounts from the home office, Ernie is forced to use a voice recorder for his work in interviewing the people of America. Though he resists the boss’s ideas, he and his wife Jerry find a different use for it—recording themselves.

EPISODE 2 – THAT LONG SAD WIND

A quick trip to Ernie’s hometown of Dana, Indiana, to visit his folks results in a disgruntled Jerry. She has grown accustomed to living a certain way on the road that may invite judgment from an in-law or two. In the balance is Ernie. He likes the road life too, but the pull homeward proves as mysterious as a Midwest wind storm.

EPISODE 3 – THE SNAKE STORY

Ernie’s parents are enjoying Ernie and Jerry’s visit home, but his mother just can’t seem to accept what her son has become—a city-living work-a-holic. She understands he must make his own way in the world, but she would much rather he do it closer to her, in Dana, Indiana. And she is beginning to think she may be ultimately responsible for how her young boy turned out.

EPISODE 4 – MY MOTHER

After putting some very fine stories through his typewriter during his visit home in Dana, Jerry prompts Ernie to turn them into a series about his hometown. She convinces him to use the recording device to see if he can muster up some stories about what the neighbors think about his mother. Sure, he knows more about his mother than all of them put together, but what could it hurt?

EPISODE 5 – PERHAPS YOU’VE HEARD OF MY FATHER

Ernie discovers that his father drove his car through the front plate-glass window of the Dana dry-goods store. In a quest to get to the bottom of it, he realizes he must ask the most difficult question of his father, and himself: Who is going to care for his folks in their twilight years?

EPISODE 6 – THIRTY YEARS TOO SOON

In his quest to round out “the Dana series” of columns, Ernie targets his favorite aunt, Mary. In so doing, he seeks out Jerry’s help. However, Jerry may not be in the best state of mind as she has been holed up in his childhood bedroom contemplating the depths of a bourbon bottle. Not understanding how many sheets-to-the-wind Jerry has on her laundry line, Ernie insists she open the recorder on Aunt Mary.

EPISODE 7 – NOT THE WASHINGTON POST MARCH

Finally back on the road, Ernie and Jerry stop into a favorite haunt for the night. However, it is in Ohio. Ohio is home to five newspapers in the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain, Ernie’s employer, and whenever he sets foot in Ohio, they harass him for stories about their cities. It is all Ernie and Jerry can do to stay incognito until they get out of Ohio. A drink and a room, that’s all they ask!

EPISODE 8 – HAVE YOU BEEN AWAY?

Ernie and Jerry make their way to Washington, DC, where they are headquartered, and where they keep a home. But, before they make their way home, they stop in a city park for lunch. Forgetting how much a celebrity his column has made him, Ernie gets uncomfortable when people start to recognize him. He escapes on foot, leaving Jerry with the car and a thermos filled with rum. What could go wrong?

EPISODE 9 – A DESOLATE CORPORATION

Ernie’s first writing job was as an aviation columnist in The Washington Daily News. Amelia Earhart once said, “Not to know Ernie Pyle is to admit that you yourself are unknown in aviation.” Still believing Ernie is the one to go to for breaking news in the aviation world, Amelia drops in with some friends to await the facts of a pilot, and dear friend, reported down in the Rocky Mountains.

EPISODE 10 – THE ZIPPER

Though seldom out of ideas for the column, Ernie would write about anything, even if there were better reasons to write something else. Stories about himself always seem to make it into the column, here and there. And bolstering himself up as a bumbling fool is one of his favorite pastimes. So, when Ernie buys a new pair of pants with zipper that does not work, he uses the event to craft an all-time favorite column.

EPISODE 11 – A BED OF COALS

Ernie pays a visit to the home office for a meeting with his editor, Lee Miller. Miller, an old friend, knows about Jerry and her struggle with sobriety. He wants to make sure his investment, and friend, Ernie is not being affected by his wife’s problems. Ernie, feeling backed into a corner, looks for a way out.

EPISODE 12 – THE SIMPLE PROPOSITION

Jerry, happy to be back on the road, celebrates a little bit too much. It is all Ernie can do to stabilize her so he can make it to Albany by sundown. But Jerry has her own agenda. She forces Ernie into her state of mind, and Ernie sees that the near future is going to be problematic if Jerry is to stay by his side.

EPISODE 13 – GONE WITH THE WIND

It is three weeks since Ernie dropped Jerry off back at their home in Washington, DC. Jerry has been in the care of doctors, and she has sobered up and hasn’t had a drink since. When a caregiver comes by to check on her and her state of mind, Jerry circles the wagons. The “good-advice” and “wise council” are coming, and she might have something to say about that.

Virtual Film Screenings

We mentioned earlier this week that we have been talking to film distributors about creative ways to bring films to Bloomington in this time of social distancing. We’re happy to report that we have rescheduled three films that were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.   We will be hosting virtual screenings of Once Were Brothers, The Whistlers and Corpus Christi. You can see Once Were Brothers and The Whistlers right now; Corpus Christi will open next weekend. You can scroll down to read more about each film.

Here’s a heads up: these films are priced at $12. At first look, this might seem more expensive than a typical Ryder movie. That said, some of you – perhaps most of you – will be watching the film with one other person. Actually, that $12 ticket price would cover as many people as you can fit on your couch. In any event, ticket pricing is determined by the distributor.  And consequently Ryder semester passes will not work. We will offer pro-rated refunds or credit toward another semester pass as soon as we begin screening films in person again.  

We are not suggesting that virtual screenings can ever replace the communal experience of watching a film in a theater. But there are certain advantages. Chances are there is plenty of free parking in your driveway. You can take your shoes off. Hey, you can take all of your clothes off. And there’s no gum on the seats! At least we hope not.

Stay safe. Be smart. Chins up.

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band Anyone who was a fan of The Band or has an interest in Americana will want to see Once Were Brothers. The story of Bob Dylan’s one time legendary backup band is a colorful, cautionary tale. Simply called The Band, they would become one of the most influential ensembles in music history. Robbie Robertson serves as tour guide. Interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Martin Scorsese, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison and George Harrison are combined with a terrific storytelling arc, a treasure trove of archival footage and, naturally, those iconic songs.

The Whistlers In a delightful twist, acclaimed Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu, whose inventive comedies such as Police, Adjective and The Treasure have brought deadpan charm and political perceptiveness to his country’s cinematic renaissance, has made his first all-out genre film—a clever, swift, and elegant neo-noir with a wonderfully off-kilter central conceit.

Bucharest police detective Cristi is equally at home on both sides of the law. He is simultaneously investigating, and involved in, an ingenious criminal scheme involving a stash of Euros hidden in a mattress and a sultry femme fatale named, of course, Gilda. His investigation takes him to one of the Canary Islands, where he learns a clandestine, tribal language, comprised entirely out of whistling. This secret method of communication will keep his superiors off his trail.  The eternally stoic Vlad Ivanov stars in Corneliu Porumboiu’s take on the crime drama furthers his explorations of the intricacies and limitations of language, but is also his most playful, even exuberant, film.

If the Coen Brothers were Romanian, they might have made The Whistlers. –A.O. Scott, The New York Times

Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) After spending years in a Warsaw juvenile prison, 20-year-old Daniel is released and sent to a remote village to work in a sawmill. But Daniel has a higher calling. Over the course of his incarceration he has found Christ, and aspires to join the clergy – but his criminal record means no seminary will accept him. When Daniel arrives in town, one quick lie allows him to be mistaken for the town’s new priest, and he sets about leading his newfound flock. Though he has no training, his passion and charisma inspire the community. At the same time, his unconventional sermons and unpriestly behavior raise suspicions among some of the townsfolk – even more so as he edges towards a dark secret that the community hasn’t revealed in the confessional booth. Academy Award Nominee: Best International Feature Film

why the ryder needs your support

Our business plan for the past 40 years has been pretty simple: the magazine would always be free and supported by paid advertising. That formula is no longer possible. We have suspended publication of our print edition during the pandemic. We will continue to publish electronically – but without paid advertising. The display ads that you will see when you flip through the current issue of the magazine are published at no cost to the advertiser. And while it is true that by publishing electronically we are avoiding a printing bill, we do have other monthly expenses.

The Ryder Film Series, which in the past has supported the magazine during lean times (the 2008 recession comes to mind), has financial challenges of its own. (Watching films in our virtual theater is a nice alternative while we shelter-in-place, but it will never replace the experience of watching a film in a theater with friends and neighbors; virtual ticket sales reflect the difference.)

And so if you read an article that you like or just want to support locally produced, independent journalism, please consider making a donation. With your donation to The Ryder, you can designate a community organization of your choice and we can reciprocate, in a small way, by offering them complimentary space in the magazine to promote their own project or fundraiser. No amount is too small. A donation of any amount is greatly appreciated.

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