Vintage-Inspired Gifts for the Film Buff

1. A Vintage Movie Date:
Revue Cinema

1935
The Revue circa 1935. Why the large marquee is no longer there, they’ve worked hard to maintain its original charm.

ABOUT: “Discover what the Revue Cinema is all about. A unique Toronto cultural treasure with a vibrant historic past and an unwavering community commitment. We are dedicated to presenting programs which appeal to wide-ranging audiences of different age groups, diverse backgrounds and varying interests that reflect the ever-changing local community and the Greater Toronto Area.

The Revue creates community by bringing people together as we strongly believe in the power of shared experience. Our presentations engage, entertain and elevate as we strive to bring the best of independent, cultural, Canadian, documentary, current and classic cinema to our big screen.

We believe it’s our role to offer the community something different, whether it is to ensure great films from the past are not forgotten, important but less commercially successful films are properly recognized and special events from a range of cultures and interests have a venue for exhibition.

The Revue provides opportunities for people to discover, explore and learn through film, arts and culture. We program over a thousand screenings per year. Approximately one third are enhanced events which range from specially curated film series, multi-cultural film festivals, Q&A’s, panel discussions and conversations with experts, co-productions with talented exhibitors, artists and musicians, and rentals where the Revue provides the space and the staffing to support outside organizations (often not-for-profit) to run their own event, screening, or fundraiser.”

PRICE RANGE: $

SOCIAL IMPACT: The concept of a “community theatre” doesn’t really exist today outside of a few places, like the Revue. Here you can see more than just the big blockbusters (though they play those too) – you can see little known or forgotten films, attend discussions, sometimes even performances (like our Christmas pre-show a couple years back), it really is a space for the community to come together.

WHAT WE LIKE: We love that the building maintains a lot of its original charm, and that, even where things have had to be updated, they’ve held on to the old stuff (like the original stage) that we hope one day will be fully restored. The prices are cheaper than a chain movie theatre, the movies are more interesting, popcorn is better and really, the screen size is the same as the smaller ones in the big multiple room theatres. Why ever go to Cineplex when you’ve got this?

2. DVD Classics:
Eyesore Cinema

You know kids, before there was “Netflix and Chill” we’d go pick something out at a rental store and awkwardly inch closer on the couch in our parent’s basement.

ABOUT: “Rare, Import, Out of print, Specialty DVD, Bluray and 4K rentals and Sales – We do special orders!!! Books, Magazines, T-Shirts, Posters, Special Event Space and Cinema, Local Event Tickets, Fine handmade baked goods! This is a real place, an actual, tangible environment where human beings interact in person. A place where knowledge is exchanged, opinions are debated and relationships are born. Sure, you can live in a cultural vacuum of entitlement, virtual hedonism and solipsism… but for some, nothing can replace reality for true joy, edification and a sense of community! Oh, and we also have movies!”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: The place for the edgy film lover in your life, Eyesore is a great place to meet and hang out with like-minded individuals, something that gets increasingly difficult to do as we get older. Plus, it’s one of the few places that still rents out movies, something we wish wasn’t going out of style!

WHAT WE LIKE: This is where you go to find some great cult classics, and I don’t mean Reefer Madness, I mean that out-of-print, totally obscure B film you saw once in a college film class and can’t quite remember the name of. They’ve got cool stuff and are very different than most other shops in town.

3. Vintage Movie Posters:
Hollywood Canteen

Lights! Camera! Movie posters! Mike Orlando's memorabilia shop has kept old  Hollywood alive since 1984. | The Star

ABOUT: Hollywood Canteen opened in the 1980s and since then has been one of the top spots in the city for all things movie memorabilia. They’ve got posters of every size, reproduction and original, a huge selection of hard-to-find DVDS, props, merchandise – you name it. Most years you can find their booth at the CNE as well.

PRICE RANGE: $-$$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: This local shop has been going strong for decades, and really proves the value of having specialized stores with owners who know (and love) their stuff. You may find the odd gem at Sunrise, or spot what looks to be a good deal on eBay, but if you want to be sure you’re getting the real thing, or need help finding what that “thing” is, you can’t do better than stopping by to chat with the experts. We need to nurture local speciality shops, they are few and far between.

WHAT WE LIKE: Don’t let the dated website fool you, this place is THE stop for vintage movie posters and merch, and the owner really knows his stuff. I highly suggest you visit in store, just check their COVID procedures first.

4. Film-Inspired Fashion:
TCM Shop

Product Image
I’ve seen lots of film-inspired socks but never one focused on the prop department!

ABOUT: An affiliate of Turner Classic Movies (the company that owns the rights to the vast majority of golden age classics), this is pretty far from the local businesses we’re going to put most of our focus on. BUT, it is with good reason. They have a gigantic selection of films and some unique items like these socks, dog collars and more.

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: Turner Classic does ensure that audiences have access to a huge selection of classic films, and they organize interesting themed weeks or months, and often have informational programs on as well. So, less of an impact than some on the list, but we do see the value in preservation of our classics.

WHAT WE LIKE: TCM has every movie you can think of. All of them. Yep, even that one. Ok, maybe not new releases, but if you’re looking for something from the silver screen or golden age of Hollywood, chances are you can find it here.

5. Books On Cinema Behind-The-Scenes:
A Different Booklist

Danger on the Silver Screen
A different booklist has a wide range of film books, including ones on Indigenous filmmakers, cocktails from movies, the porn industry – you name it!

ABOUT: “A Different Booklist is an African-Canadian owned bookstore showcasing the literature of the African and Caribbean diaspora, the Global South and all the major publishers and small presses.”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: This small local business is Black owned and operated, and features a range of literature including titles you are unlikely to find in big stores like Chapters.

WHAT WE LIKE: While they showcase literature of the African and Caribbean diaspora, don’t let that make you think there’s nothing for you if you aren’t a part of those groups. This little shop carries books on EVERYTHING, and they have a lot of really focused, unique titles, as well as the ability to search for literature written by Black Canadians.

Got something you think should be on our list?
Let us know in the comments.

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Author: BygoneTheatre

Bygone Theatre was founded as a collective in October of 2012, and became an incorporated not-for-profit company in October of 2015. Our mandate is to produce theatre written or set in the early 20th century, focusing on historical aspects in design and incorporating a classic cinema aesthetic. ​ In 2019 Bygone Theatre was nominated for 14 Broadway World Toronto Awards, including Best Community Theatre and Best Play (Equity). We took home a total of 5 awards, 4 of which were for The Rear Window, including Best Direction of a Play (Equity); Best Original Lighting Design; Best Leading Actor (Play, Equity); and Best Featured Actress (Play, Equity). We took a hiatus our 2020/21 season because of the COVID19 pandemic, and used that time to develop our charitable initiatives. In August of 2021 we were nominated for the Toronto Star Readers' Choice Award for Best Live Theatre. Part of our mission involves inclusion and accessibility, and we strive to allow artists of all backgrounds and levels of experience the chance to have hands-on experience in whatever capacity they are most interested in; this has included youth outreach programs for high school students interested in production design, and acting opportunities for those who have never performed onstage.

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