Photo by Fred AskewTonight’s adventure into the world of of Richard Sandler is Brave New York. The more I see of Richard’s work the more I get a feeling that he prefers New York past, rather than New York present. That became apparent after I had reviewed ‘Sway’, he wrote to me and informed me that the New York subway system is now safe, money had been used, and the edgy, kind of scary aspects are gone. Now just between you and me, and don’t tell Richard I said it, but I think he may be a little eccentric himself!

We should be thankful to Richard, he has chronicled the golden age of New York.

Brave New York is yet another look at the fine eccentrics that called New York home. He certainly has the knack of being in the right place at the right time. It was nice to see some repeat ‘offenders’ from The Gods Of Times Square, and my favorite has to the Reverent Billy who is so famous he has his own web site. The good Reverent is concerned about the morality of shops and shopping, and has created a fuss in such establishments as Disney Stores, Wal-Mart and Victoria’s Secret. In Brave New York we catch him whipping the crowd into a frenzy in front of a Starbucks. “This used to be the Apollo Diner, and it had soul”, he tells his parishioners. “Now it is hollow”, and the chant begins “Boycott Starbucks, Boycott Starbucks”. Once he has played the crowd out he announces “Ok, lets go to Barnes and Noble”. The reverent has a basic problem with commerce “Stop shopping” is his mantra, and his followers, if only for a short time, sing along with the Reverent Billy.

The Rev Billy seems positively sensible compared to some of the souls that Richard manages to document.

Brave New York is not available on DVD yet, but it looks like a deal is in the works, so if you don’t catch it on the local indie film fest circuit don’t panic, it will be coming to a Blockbuster near you soon!

Simon Barrett

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