Great Midwest International Bike Messenger Film Festival | Chicago Reader

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Compiled by Guenevere Nyderek, these 15 videos by and about bike messengers are mostly amateurish, though the best capture the irregular rhythms of urban cycling and the anarchic energy of the messenger subculture. Paul Kazemi's episodic Big Trouble in Little Bummytown chronicles the lives of bike messengers in San Francisco with goofy, subadolescent humor, while Dominic Stobart's Alleycats documents an unofficial bike race in New York City with delivery points at office buildings, just like a messenger's route. In Jake Snakeboy's Bike Brigade three muscular women in drag lift weights and fetishize their bikes, their sense of self-parody recalling Kenneth Anger's motorcycle films. In the autobiographical We Stole Three Bikes, the best video on the program, Narangkar Khalsa relates how at age ten he accompanied two older boys on a very long ride; his tentative imagery, combining simple line animation and scratching over the image, evokes the helplessness of childhood. The running times total about three hours, but the program will include two intermissions and more tapes may be added.

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