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Cicada Cinema partners with the Owlery for dinner and a movie event



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A crowd watches "The Florida Project," screened on behalf of Cicada Cinema Collective in January. Cicada Cinema was founded in 2016 when Nile Arena, Eric Ayotte, Charlie Jones, David Carter and Josh Brewer wanted to create a local cinema group. Buy Photos

Bloomington film collective Cicada Cinema is partnering with local vegan restaurant The Owlery for its monthly film screening event, a showing of the 2004 documentary “I Like Killing Flies,” at 7 p.m. Feb. 25.

Tickets, which can be purchased in advance online, cost $15 and cover a fixed-menu dinner that is anticipated to be vegan, as well as attendance to the film.

Two of Cicada Cinema’s founders, Josh Brewer and Nile Arena, both said they wanted this month’s film event to feature dinner and a movie.

“We knew we wanted to do something with the Owlery,” Arena said. 

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As a pop-up cinema collective, Cicada Cinema has no fixed space to call its own. For 2018, its organizers have made it their goal to pair up with a new local business or venue each month to offer potential viewers a unique space and to support local businesses. 

The film follows restaurant owner Kenny Shopsin as he tries to sort out the relocation of his famous Greenwich Village eatery after over 30 years in the same location.

Brewer said much of the film’s appeal comes from Shopsin’s personality and quips.

“The movie is littered with amazing one-liners, and his views on philosophy and the ways of living are crazy awesome,” he said.

“Crazy Wisdom,” Arena called it.

Arena said they wanted to pick a film that would pair nicely with their dinner and a movie idea. 

“We wanted something that would kind of be watchable while you’re having food, and while there are all these distractions,” he said. “We felt like a documentary would go well with that.” 

Bewer said the food-themed nature of the movie fit the bill perfectly.

He described the delectable-looking concoctions featured in the film as wild and zany.

“It’s almost like if Jackson Pollock were making food,” Brewer said.

The film was also championed by two of the Owlery’s owners, Brewer said. 

To compliment the wild and wacky food depicted onscreen, Brewer said they wanted to feature a special menu for the event.

“They were excited by it because Shopsin’s deli makes interesting food,” he said. “I think they wanted a chance to do their own food for this event.”

Arena and Brewer were tight-lipped about the specifics of the menu, except for one potential item: a new vegan food trend called the Impossible Burger.

Arena said Impossible Burgers mimic real beef burgers with meat substitutes that better capture the texture and flavor of real meat than do most alternatives.

“I just really like the idea of serving these ‘Impossible Burgers,’” Brewer added, chuckling.

Brewer said Cicada wanted to put together the event to offer the community a nice bit of reprieve in the midst of late winter and an all-around tumultuous time.

“It just seems like a crazy time politically, but also just the time of year,” he said. “February kinda sucks, and it’s just nice to get a warm meal and a good movie this time of year.”

Arena said he felt the same way.

“My thought is, football season is over and the Oscars haven’t happened yet,” he said. “If you need something to get you to spring time, we’ll make sure you don’t leave unhappy.”

Both agreed they wanted the event to be more about the experience than anything else.

“Just come out for good food and good times,” Brewer said.

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