THE AUTOMAT–Recipes, In The Movies & More

Assembled by Gary Meyer

(Updated November 21, 2022)

The theatrical release of a new documentary by Lisa Hurwitz, The Automat, has taken me back in time with its wonderful clips from classic movies and discussions of food favorites of our youth from Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken Pot Pie to Custard Cups and Pumpkin Pie. It is essential viewing for those interested in the history of restaurants in the 20th Century, the combining of technology and home-cooked meals and a trip down memory lane even if you were born too late to actually visit one. But we also cover contemporary attempts at automated food. We have included many photos, film clips, recipes, music, and related links to supplement your enjoyment of The Automat now playing in theaters and at film festivals—only on the big screen. 

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ANIMATION EXPLORES NEW DIMENSIONS IN 2022

By Robert Bloomberg

In 1928, inspired by the talkie that changed the world, “The Jazz Singer,” Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks created “Steamboat Willie,” the first cartoon with fully synchronized music and sound effects, demonstrating the potential power and delight of animation. 

The ten films in this year’s Animation Show of Shows perfectly illustrate the culmination of that potential. Most of the shorts, curated and presented by Acme Filmworks founder Ron Diamond, require no subtitles and rely solely on that marriage of image and sound.

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GROWING UP IN LOVE WITH THE MOVIES

By Meredith Brody

(November 5, 2022)

I’ve been a film buff ever since I first saw a re-issue of Cinderella at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland when I was just a tot.

I wasn’t able to fully exercise my film buff inclinations for the next decade or so, as I was dependent on my parents for transportation. They made the movie choices, as well. Oddly, since they were both New Yorkers and went to movies weekly or more often as children, there was a joke amongst my siblings and I: “They take us to two movies a year, whether we need them or not.”

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THE BEST PROGRAMMING IN TOWN: French Noir

By Meredith Brody

(November 5, 2022)

San Francisco is lucky to have Donald Malcolm’s French Noir Series, The French Had a Name for It at the Roxie.

The upcoming festival programs 15 films over four days at the Little Roxie, and once again I will be there for all of it.  It unspools on Sunday November 6 and Monday November 7, and the following on Saturday November 12  and Sunday November 13.    

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SECRET HORRORS OF THE CASTRO THEATRE: A True Story

by Julie Lindow

(Updated October 30,2022)

One would never expect such real-life horror to happen at the gorgeous, historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco. That fateful night, I was slinging candy and popcorn. The air was thick with that hot buttery scent as I salted the last bag of popcorn and patrons scurried into the theater. The manager clunked the heavy double doors closed. The calm after the storm. It was also the calm before the storm of Hallows’ Eve that was a few nights off.

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Know Any Cat Daddies?

By Marilyn Freund

(October 28, 2022)

Cat Daddies is a deceptive film, and therein lies its emotional punch. On the surface, director Mye Hoang’s documentary debut presents episodes from the lives of nine men whose lives have been changed by their relationships with cats. But underneath, it takes a look at what behavior our culture has traditionally considered to be “manly,” and how those stereotypes might be redefined today.

Truck driver David Durst visits Sedona, AZ with his cat Tora. Image by Mye Hoang.

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