Bicycle Film Festival starts off with a bang on Friday with free viewing


Watch the video interview on Vimeo, it’s 2 minutes long. 

We interviewed Terry Bloom the other day at his gym about the Bicycle Film Festival that starts tomorrow, a locally-produced event with international cachet that celebrates films about bikes but also the bicycles and the people who ride them. We wanted to know what will be different in 2012’s festival over 2011′.

First off, there are three new and different venues, starting with a free showing at the Claudia Cassidy Theater in the Chicago Cultural Center downtown. Donations will be accepted and seats are first come, first served, but if you join one of the three rides departing at 17:30h, “you will get a seat”, Terry guaranteed. Saturday’s screenings move to the Viaduct Theater, at the Belmont and Western Avenue viaduct in Roscoe Village, while Sunday’s films will be projected at the renovated Logan Theater in Logan Square.

See the full screening schedule, venue details, and ticket information (event page on Facebook). All other events are free. Continue reading Bicycle Film Festival starts off with a bang on Friday with free viewing

Voting has begun for Bike Chicago PSA video contest


The Lakefront Trail features prominently in “Chicago Bike Love”.  

Vote on the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special (DCASE) website to select the winning Bike Chicago PSA video. The four finalist videos will be shown on the big screen before a screening of Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure next Tuesday, June 12, at Millennium Park (see all events). Video links below open in a new full-size window.

Bike Chicago – You can dress like a revolutionary soldier and still ride a bike. Features Active Transportation Alliance staffer Rebecca Resman.

And Sometimes I Bike It Everywhere – An interview with three-year-old Amelie about biking in Chicago. Something really funny happens when she rides in the Kinzie Street bike lane at 1:13.

Chicago Better By Bike! – A kind of stop-motion video of many Chicago destinations. It’s amusing because it’s hard to tell if the person in the photo was ever moving in the shoot.

Chicago Bike Love – Boy meets girl on the Lakefront Trail and, after a MySpace-style photoshoot, have a picnic. Not a PSA, though.

There’s another bike movie event that week, on Monday, June 11, at Goose Island Brewpub, 1800 N Clybourn Avenue: Bicycle Film Festival will bring a special screening of “Bike Shorts”. The event is free and starts at 6 PM. Visit the DCASE website for all Bike To Work Week events.


Contest flyer. 

City, The Chainlink, Bicycle Film Festival team up with Goose Island to present video contest


Flyer for the Bike Chicago PSA Video Contest. 

Do you remember Terry Bloom? Of course you do. He’s the producer of the Bicycle Film Festival in Chicago and I interviewed him last November. He and I met up Sunday night to share with each other our submissions for the 2012 edition of Bicycle Film Festival (the deadline has passed). Terry recently returned after several months in India, where millions of people ride bikes every day. He told me about a contest he’s helping out with alongside Goose Island, The Chainlink, and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events’s (DCASE) Bike Chicago summer events program. It’s the Bike Chicago PSA Video Contest.

The contest is centered around Bike To Work Week, June 11 through June 15,  but you don’t have a lot of time: submissions need to be uploaded in two weeks, by Sunday, May 20. All the rules are here (including 30-90 seconds, must follow road rules, and reflect the “Bike it Everywhere, Chicago!” theme).


Goose Island made an announcement video for the Bike Video PSA Contest. 

Need an idea or a partner? Leave a comment below or on The Chainlink’s discussion board. Terry and I will be happy to help you, via email, develop concepts or deal with technical issues. Check our video archives for other short videos to get some ideas on what you could create. Continue reading City, The Chainlink, Bicycle Film Festival team up with Goose Island to present video contest



Brasília, the capital of Brasil, is one of the cities featured in “Urbanized”. Photo by Bruno Coutinho. 

“Urbanized” is a film about cities, places where a majority of the world’s population lives today. “Urbanized looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design, featuring some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers”.

It first showed once in October at the Music Box Theater, with a discussion afterwards with director Gary Hustwit. He also created the films “Helvetica” and “Objectified“. The film has now opened at the Gene Siskel Film Center at 164 N State St. There are four remaining screenings (listed at the end of this post with the trailer).

I asked some friends for their reviews of the film.

Aaron Renn, urban analyst, author of The Urbanophile:

In Urbanized…Hustwit fails to lock in on anything as an anchor, spinning us around through various places, ideas, and bits and pieces of information, and leaving us to try to sort out for ourselves what it all means. The film, however, does not equip either the urbanist or the average viewer with any tools to do that. Read the full review.

Luke H, urban planner and fellow graduate of UIC’s urban planning college: 

Despite the fact that the film’s focus was entirely on cities and largely on the topic of city planning and design, urban planners played a shockingly minor role. This is either a failure on the part of the film maker or a wakeup call that urban planners have become largely irrelevant. I suspect the latter. It’s time we as planners broke free of our conventional, policy obsessed, design averted shackles and started inventing bold solutions to the very serious problem cities today face.

Let’s be honest: the only film urban planners are going to star in anytime soon will be titled Bureaucratized – and it will be about a profession that became so afraid of repeating past mistakes that it simply removed itself from the dialogue and left a vacuum to be filled by egomaniac architects and the cash-lined pockets of bad developers. This film is beautiful, relevant, and well researched. A must see for anyone interested in cities and the future of the human race–even if your profession is planning. Check your rubber stamp at the door.

Lindsay Banks, bicycling enthusiast & parking nerd:

I thought it was beautifully pieced together, much like his other films, on a topic that I’m very familiar with. While I didn’t learn a lot of new things, I really enjoyed the comments from the couple behind us, awed by Bogota’s TransMilenio (“Whoa, now that’s a bus!”) and their occasional “wows” over different statistics and new approaches to creating livable places. It seemed like the film may have opened their eyes to what livability could be.

The best part of the film was the mayor of Bogota talking about putting people before cars and how there is no constitutional right to a parking space. He rode a bike down an awesome, paved cycling / pedestrian path and pointed out the pothole-filled dirt road next to it. He said that when they have more money they will pave the road, but for now, people come first.

Lynn Stevens, urban planner and Peopling Places author

I’m not sure if I’m qualified to judge Urbanized in lay terms. I found it entertaining and visually expressive. It touched on issues of urban design, alternative transportation, the urgent need for housing solutions in some cities, and by extension issues of equity. Roger Ebert got more out of the film than I can even recall having seen it a couple of weeks ago, but I think that has more to do with my day-to-day existence as an urban planner who is reading about these and more urban issues all the time. The experience of the film for someone less engrossed and engaged in urban issues is bound to be different than mine for whom the content was basic.

Some time ago, I also saw Gary Hustwit’s film Helvetica. While I don’t remember particulars, I was intrigued by some of the design concepts and processes. What is germane is that for someone like me that does not live and breathe graphic design, it was interesting and intriguing, it got me thinking and was accessible in its presentation via documentary and venue of presentation on PBS.

Early viewings of Urbanized are likely to have been preaching to the choir, a self-selected group of urbanists. The film ultimately can best be measured by two questions for the lay viewer:

  • Did you learn anything from it? (and I think you will)
  • Did it stimulate your interest in urban issues? (and I think it will, but I may be biased)


Q & A after an Urbanized screening in Philadelphia with director Gary Hustwit, left. Photo by Tom Ipri. 

Screenings in Chicago

Mon, Nov 7th at 6:15 PM
Tue, Nov 8th at 6:15 PM
Thu, Nov 10th at 6:15 PM
Thu, Nov 10th at 8:15 PM

Tickets are $13. If you want to buy tickets online, you must use the poor shopping experience presented by Ticketmaster. Members of Chicago Architecture Foundation, Landmark Illinois, or the American Planning Association get a $6 discount to the Monday and Tuesday screenings if they present their membership card.



Grid Shots: Bicycle Film Festival

What a busy weekend! One that I was mostly sick for, but I still made it out to 3 of the 5 screenings, a few minutes of Goldsprints (John stayed longer), and the BMX BBQ JAM.

The Bicycle Film Festival was held at the Logan Square Auditorium (2539 N Kedzie Blvd) and the BMX BBQ JAM (with free veggie burgers from River Valley Kitchens) was held at the Logan Square skate park (2430 W Logan Blvd). I’ll be writing reviews of some of the films in a couple weeks.


Alexis Finch (left) and pinup girl Jana Kinsman (right) talk to filmgoers about the Thought you Knew (TyK) project and sell calendars. Continue reading Grid Shots: Bicycle Film Festival

Bicycle Film Festival starts tomorrow and an interview with event producer Terry Bloom


Photo of Bicycle Film Festival in Chicago in 2007 by Steven Wade. 

I was thinking about the Bicycle Film Festival on Tuesday when I realized it started Friday and neither John nor I wrote anything about it (except on this fall events page). I contacted Terry Bloom, who I ran into a few weeks ago, and quickly setup a video interview for Wednesday. We met at the Logan Square monument, across the circle from the film fest’s venue: the Logan Square Auditorium (2539 N Kedzie Blvd).

Watch the video below to hear Terry, the show’s Chicago producer, tell you how it’ll be fun and unique. He also describes Goldsprints (I’ve never been) and that Chicago is one of the select cities to get “Bill Cunningham New York” (watch the trailer on Chicago Street Style). Continue reading Bicycle Film Festival starts tomorrow and an interview with event producer Terry Bloom