Clear out some space on your bookshelf, ya’ll—Annette Hinkle’s Sag Harbor: 100 Years of Film in the Village is an absolute must-have. And not just for your bookcase. Buy one for your summer guests, your out-of-state business associates, your off-to-college East Ender. A portion of the proceeds, after all, goes to the Sag Harbor Partnership to help rebuild the cinema.
In case the rock you’ve been living under the last six months doesn’t have WiFi, the façade of the Sag Harbor Cinema along with a handful of neighboring businesses were irreparably destroyed in an early morning fire on December 16. The Sag Harbor Partnership, a local nonprofit, is currently in contract to purchase the cinema and rebrand it as the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center, a new entity committed to education, outreach and programming for all the people of the East End year-round.
Hinkle’s book includes a concise history of the building and plenty of historic photos, including a circa-1910 postcard which shows Sag Harbor cinema-less, but points out the building where the 101–year run of the movie house at 90 Main Street was soon to begin. Other photos throughout the text include the cinema from its time as the Elite (1919-1927), the original John Eberson renderings from March of 1936, the original program from opening night only three months later, lobby cards from the ’40s and ’50s, an eye–catching polka-dotted Cinema from the 1960s and several photos from the 2005 rehanging of the iconic neon. There are even a couple Dan’s Papers covers.
But it’s not all photos. Just one interesting anecdote of many spread throughout connects Sag Harbor to Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film Lolita. Apparently the lollipop and red heart-shaped glasses from the promotional poster were purchased at what is now the Sag Harbor Variety store. Who knew!?
Despite what some Main Street business owner might opine in a local paper, we need our cinema back—and not like we need another retail outlet selling $150 T-shirts, but like we need a cornerstone of local culture, education and community in a rapidly deteriorating political and cultural climate.
Get out to your local bookstores and other local businesses to buy Sag Harbor: 100 Years of Film in the Village and all the other great books by local authors who, over the years, were lucky enough to be surrounded by, and reap the benefits of, such great local institutions as the Sag Harbor Cinema and, of course, independent bookstores. The book can also be purchased by calling East End Press at 631-680-5081.
A book launch party will be held at Sylvester & Co. at 103 Main Street in Sag Harbor Saturday, July 8 from 6–8 p.m. For more information on the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center, and to make a tax-deductible donation, visit sagharborpartnership.org