Darkness On The Edge of Asbury Park: Recapping Bruce Noir:


Thought I’d give a brief recap to the Bruce Noir Film Fest event that I participated in this past weekend down in Asbury Park.

As with any event like this, it has its pluses and minuses. Let’s start at the top of the ladder and work our way down.


* Film Noir and Bruce Springsteen. I mean, it doesn’t get any better than that…at least in my book. That said, it’s a pretty niche film fest. More on that in a bit.

* The Showroom Cinema is a gem of an art house theater. Looks great from the outside, looks great inside. There’s a few different film room. Comfortable chairs. Really nice screens and really, really nice people overseeing to. Michael Sodano and Nancy Sabino are doing a great job.

* The film noir part of the fest had some really cool offerings: GUN CRAZY, BADLANDS, OUT OF THE PAST, ATLANTIC CITY, THUNDER ROAD. Bruce Springsteen, at one point or another has mentioned 99 percent of these songs. (He’s never mentioned ATLANTIC CITY, though he did borrow a line from the movie and put it in one of his songs). THUNDER ROAD isn’t really a noir piece, but it’s got to be included in this type of film fest (Bruce said he never saw it, just the movie poster and the title stuck with him). THUNDER ROAD also is one of my favorite Robert Mitchum movies anyway, so it wasn’t much of a stretch for me to enjoy it anyway.

* OUT OF THE PAST was awesome on the big screen! I’ve seen it many times, but only on TV. It was just so much fun to watch it on the big screen, without a laptop open or other things going on and just get immersed in it, especially the snappy dialogue.

* The host for the weekend, crime novelist and local resident, Wallace Stroby, did a great job setting each film up and tying it back to the Springsteen angle. Wallace is a strong novelist and a huge Bruce fan so it made sense for his to have him drive this car. He offered some really good insight into some Springsteen songs and the connection with the films. I especially liked his intro to ATLANTIC CITY. Wallace also gets extra credit for admitting to me he once used one of my images in blog post, but didn’t attribute it as he didn’t know who shot it at the time.

No harm, no foul, Wallace. We cool.

No, Lady Gaga didn't show...but an art installation next door did.

No, Lady Gaga didn’t show…but an art installation next door did.


* The weather. The damn sunny and 85 degree absolutely gorgeous day weather. Really? It couldn’t be a bit chilly and rainy? Which leads me to…

* Low crowd turnout. As I said earlier, this was a pretty niche film fest. When OUT OF THE PAST started at 4 p.m., it was absolutely gorgeous out. Most people were still strolling the antique shops on Cookman Ave., sitting outside having a drink or up on the Asbury Park boardwalk having a Mogo Korean Taco. And it would be hard to really blame them.

The crowd was better for ATLANTIC CITY and still even better for the 9:30 p.m. showing of THUNDER ROAD. But alas, OUT OF THE PAST and my presentation was sparsely attended.

* I missed the Skype interview with Bruce author Peter Ames Carlin That had nothing to do with the Showroom Cinema or the weekend…I just couldn’t get down for it. Wish I could have heard it.

That’s about it…not much more less-than-good things to bring forth. Which brings me to my presentation…

I put some time into my presentation deck, and wrote out a pretty good script. And then….15 minutes prior to my start, we were trying to figure out why the songs I had embedded into the photos I was showing wouldn’t play. My guess is it was because they were MP3 files and the Apple machine we were running my presentation on wouldn’t play them. I’ll make the .wav files next time. Anyway, we tinkered and tried, and couldn’t get them to work. Then, Wallace said “OK let’s get started….”

That script I wrote out? Left it in my bag in the back of the theater. Now, I’ve made presentations for work before but still..I wished I had remembered my notes. And if you’re going to do any presenting, my word of advice: Go slower than you think you should. I don’t think I rushed it, but adrenaline kicks in and I probably did hurry it some.

And I wish I had figured out how to play the bits of music I had embedded in the slides. I think it would have just added a little something.

All around, it was a great experience for me. I do wish The Showroom Cinema had more traffic for such a terrific theme. Maybe a Fall/Winter event would go over better. Don’t know. Still, it got some nice local press and I think it can help for future similar film fests.

And I was happy and honored to be proud of it. Mike took a flier on me after I sent him that email, and I appreciate it.

Finally, thanks to Mike, Wallace, Steve from Back Alley Noir and everyone who attended my presentation and said nice things about my images. It was great to show them some Jersey Noir and talk about them.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2013.


4 thoughts on “Darkness On The Edge of Asbury Park: Recapping Bruce Noir:

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