When you go to one of Cinema Bomar's free monthly screenings of ephemeral films from yesteryear, a key part of the experience is listening to the clatter of the projector, just like you remember from school days. Or if you're younger than 30, without the requisite sense-memory to draw on, you may better appreciate the historical significance of these films, free of blurry nostalgia. It's astonishing how 50 or even just 30 years can make the world into someplace strange, frightening, and often very funny.
Cinema Bomar's next screening is loosely organized by a theme recalling the basic of all human motivation, the very bottom plank of the hierarchy of needs: "Food, Clothing, Shelter, Sex."
They are joined this month and next by the Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI), an outfit in Austin dedicated to the preservation of Texas film heritage, including home movies, television, and industrial films with a Texas connection. At nearly all TAMI events - there will be several in Houston coming up in May - they invite audience members to drop off their old home movies or outdated institutional collections, pretty much any film with a Texas connection, to be digitized for free and added to the archive.
TAMI contributes two films to Cinema Bomar's next film screening on Tuesday. One is from Austin's Night Hawk Restaurant in 1963, cheerily bringing the restaurant's kitchen home to you though the magic of frozen steaks delivered to your doorstep.
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The second film, from the 1980s, profiles the work of the Texas Runaway Hotline. Many of these sorts of films grow unintentionally funny with time, but this one is an exception, still heartbreaking 30 years later, even as it intercuts actual interviews with footage of a hokey reenactment.
Texas Runaway Hotline: Cinema Bomar keeps the focus on shelter but brings back the funny with a rendition of "Three Little Pigs" starring real-live pigs. Then for sex and clothing, we have drunken sailor's recreation with frolicsome mermaids and the more-to-it-than-you-might-have-thought story of a pair of blue jeans.
Cinema Bomar's events at Domy Books benefit from its shared patio with Café Brasil, allowing moviegoers access to their menu and their bar. More so than at other film screenings, Bomar audiences share jokes and laughter and plenty of cross-talk . And because this is Houston, you should keep an eye out for the critters creeping around the fences and power lines: you keep your distance and they'll keep theirs.
Food, Clothing, Shelter, Sex will screen at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, at Domy Books, 1709 Westheimer, or if Domy Books is closed, enter through Café Brasil, 2604 Dunlavy. In case of inclement weather or to confirm the show, call 713-523-3669.