Obsolete Cinema’s “ShatShow” at Freddy’s Bar

Shat show! Film night celebrates the lesser-known works of William Shatner

The Brooklyn Paper
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Boldly watch what no man has seen before.

A couple of cinephiles are showing two of actor William Shatner’s lesser-known cuts for their annual celebration of the actor’s obscure oeuvre at Freddy’s Bar on March 22. The organizers of the Park Slope bar’s monthly screening night Obsolete Cinema said their third annual ShatShow will be a special one, because it falls on Shatner’s birthday.

“On March 22, 1931, he came to the world in Montreal, and now we’re bringing him to Brooklyn,” said Obsolete Cinema co-founder Tony Nigro.

Nigro and partner Joshua Machlin have been putting on Obsolete Cinema every month since 2011, and said the man best known as Capt. James T. Kirk embodies what the zany movie night is all about.

“He is a muse in the sense that here’s a guy who’s primarily known for one role — and, of course, that has blossomed over the years into various self-parodies — but he has a really deep career,” said Nigro. “He’s a hard-working actor and, despite that, he never really disappeared into his roles — he’s always Shatner.”

The theme of this year’s ShatShow is “Sex, Drugs, and Shatner,” so the pair is showing 1961’s “The Explosive Generation” — where Shatner plays an overly encouraging sex-ed teacher — and the 1973 made-for-television movie adaptation of “Go Ask Alice” — in which he portrays the father of a drug-addled teen. The night will also include Shatner trivia and prizes.

The duo said creating a theme for the cinematic celebration helps them avoid mainstream Bill.

“When we first started it was really easy, but when you get to the third one, the challenge becomes: when do you not go to ‘Star Trek?’” Nigro said.

Audience members at the last two ShatShows were not shy about doing impressions of Shatner — best-known for his over-emoting, halting speech, and general scenery-chewing — but no one has actually gone the whole hog and dressed as the impresario of stage and screen, Nigro said. Not yet, anyway.

“We get people doing Shatner impressions, but dressing up? God, I wish they would dress up,” he said.

Typically, the duo screens movies in the Video Home System format, but Nigro and Machlin couldn’t find analog versions of this year’s Shatner flicks, so they had to settle for a marginally less obsolete medium.

“DVD is practically obsolete too, so it’s good enough for us,” Nigro said.

Obsolete Cinema ShatShow III: Sex, Drugs, and Shatner! at Freddy’s Bar [627 Fifth Ave. between 17th and 18th streets in Park Slope, (718) 768–0131]. March 22 at 4 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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