CHECK IT OUT
‘Interactive’ film series to revitalize Cossitt Library
Beginning Saturday, an innovative and “interactive” monthly movie series will bring “Pandemonium” — defined by the Merriam-webster Dictionary as “a wild uproar” or “tumult” — to that typically most hushed of public spaces, the library.
The brainchild of Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer and local movie maven Matt Martin, the “Pandemonium Cinema Showcase” will transform a large open room on the second floor of the historic Cossitt Library at 33 S. Front into a free pop-up movie theater, art space and entertainment center, where roller derby athletes, “Monster Mashers” and Oompa-loompas will “blur the line between movie and reality,” Martin said.
The events should do more than amp up the movie-going experience. They also likely will bring new visitors to the Cossitt, a building that has been threatened with closure numerous times i n recent decades due to the shifting population trends of Downtown Memphis.
Originally a fabulous sandstone castle-like structure, the Cossitt opened as the city’s first public library in 1893. A rear addition doubled the library’s size in 1925.
Then, in a truly egregious example of Memphis myopia, the turreted castle was razed in the late 1950s to make way for the minimalist “midcentury modern” rectangle that is familiar today. Once derided by a critic for its “absolute ugliness,” the boxlike building now conveys a retro Atomic Age integrity, and even looks beautiful at night, thanks to the recent addition of candy-colored lights that transform its vertical sections into rainbow bands, as if it were a very large pack of Fruit Stripe gum.
Library historian Wayne Dowdy said the room where the movies will be screened originally housed the library’s reference materials, and was the place where Shelby Foote researched much of the first volume of his
“Tron” will be shown during Saturday’s movie showcase.