The Sublime Entertainer

Fall, of course, is a time for musing. And fall in NYC—with its urges for transformation—arouses the impulse, electrifying our minds with each crack of the sidewalk. It is a time to do what the Romantics did: Lift our chins and ruminations skyward, leaving behind modernity and all its obligations. Society stifles. Imagination lifts the shackles. But as the days grow shorter and the temperatures cooler, the outdoors become less of the desired setting.

The film house is the embodiment of all things Romantic. It is the instigator. It says, “Hey you, come into my darkness for a while and be transported,” and follows with “see what happens when you step back into the real world.” And it’s right. We’re moved. In a world bent on braceleting us to our desktops and little entertainment dens, the theater reminds us to explore our revelations in a big way—much bigger than the surround sound and 60-inch televisions that have invaded our homes.

When we think of film houses as sublime entertainment, we cannot help but think of Angelika. She’s a sweetie but she can bite (as evidenced by the surprising Euro-edgy “k” lead into her fourth and most capricious syllable).

A child of the eighties born in a Lower East Side that was raw and bold and singular, she’s getting older but in that punky irreverent way that makes her immortal, like a goddess. To date, there are dozens or so of her twin Angelikas around the world, but the original, the iconic, the most beautiful of them all is and always will be in NYC. She’s standing tall on Houston and is mostly indifferent to passersby—not because of haughty, holier-than-thou apathy—but more likely because of earnest preoccupation. She’s busy stirring up a pot of the chimerical. Her work is too important to put down for a cavalier honk or a materialistic ching ching. Like Dionysus, god of wine and revelry who, incidentally, was also credited with being the god of madness, she makes entertainment out of our sorrows and levels our successes so that we bow to our greater respective natures.

Angelika’s doors are always open. She welcomes you into her home where she screens the greatest independent films and programming in the world on the best home entertainment system in the universe, which is of course, your mind.

Events at Angelika abound. For a complete listing of Q and A’s, filmmaker talks and special events for October, check in at:

photo: Patrick Conway

alan semerdjian

Alan Semerdjian is a writer, musician, English teacher, and occasional visual artist. Besides LI Pulse, his work has appeared in Newsday, Adbusters, Chain, The Lyric Review and numerous other print and online publications, anthologies, and chapbooks. His first full-length book of poetry is In the Architecture of Bone (Genpop Books 2009). You can visit him digitally at and find out about his music at