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It's showtime for Rochester microcinema

It's showtime for Rochester microcinema

This weekend, Rochester’s first microcinema opens its doors to the city with a pair of screenings. Gray Duck Theater and Coffeehouse, 619 6th Ave Northwest, will show Charlie Chaplin’s 1925 silent film, The Gold Rush.

“The first weekend, I wanted something that was distinctly different,” said Gray Duck founder Andy Smith.

With The Gold Rush, he’s found it. In addition to being old, silent, black and white, and in 4:3 aspect, the film is also score-less. Thus, for its inaugural show, the theater will feature live musicians playing along to the film with their own score, as was tradition with films released in the early days of U.S. cinema.

When the staff at Gray Duck researched that era of films, they found that, originally, silent films didn’t have a soundtrack. Scoring duties fell to local artists who would play music they’d come up with themselves, sometimes in real time, as they watched the movie. It is in the spirit of those showings that Gray Duck’s opening night will feature a live band scoring the silent Chaplin movie.

Related: Independent movie theater to open in Rochester's Design District

Friday night’s grand opening is “the big shebang,” says Smith. The microcinema will open its doors at 6 p.m. for extensive, behind-the-scenes tours of the building and the live-musician-scored movie. Tickets are $75.

On Saturday, the second night party begins at 6 p.m. This event will not include behind-the-scenes tours, and The Gold Rush will be set to a recording of the previous night’s performance. Tickets for Saturday are $20.

After this weekend, pending an inspection on Thursday, Smith says the space should be open for regular hours. Monday through Thursday, the space will operate as a coffeehouse from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., serving Fiddlehead beverages. On weekends, movie showings go at 7 p.m. and then around 9 p.m. Each showing will be a different movie. Single movie tickets are $8, while a double-feature ticket is $12.

For tickets and more information, head over to Gray Duck’s website.

Bryan Lund covers politics and culture for the Med City Beat.

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