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May 13, 2007

Freddy’s Bar, Donald O’Finn, and Underground Video Art



One of the many, many things I miss about Brooklyn is Freddy’s Bar. This storied speak easy represents the best combination of dive bar and underground cultural mecca. Unfortunately, Freddy’s very existence is currently being threatened by Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards Project which, among other things, plans on bringing the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn and making tons of money while ruining the spirit of this fine city in the process (read more about this at Fans for Fair Play).

There are many great things about Freddy’s and a million reasons to save it, but one that I want to focus on in particular is the underground video art of its manager Donald O’Finn. Having a drink at Freddy’s is not only more pleasant and significantly cheaper than any where else in NYC, but you also get a lot more than a few drinks for your visit. The television on the wall behind the bar often offers an ongoing collage of clips from various films, the pacing of which is simply mesmerizing. I was originally attracted by the videos because of their use of innumerable clips from obscure b-movies. I found myself trying to name the movie, or find some kind of reference so that I could somehow get my hands on it. After watching these videos a number of times, I began to notice a some thematic patterns for these collages. They were not meaningless montages (is there such a thing?) but rather narrative sequences that tell a series of compelling stories. In short, brilliantly imaginative stuff!


Posted by amy at May 13, 2007 11:22 AM