Articles from the Boston Compass, Compass Editorial

Boston Compass Editorial #61

Boston SciFi's 40th Annual THON


This article originally appeared in the February 2015 Boston Compass (#61).

Crucial Cultural Ceremony: Boston SciFi’s 40th THON

The Boston Science Fiction Film Festival and Marathon, also known as Boston SciFi, is an 11-day annual cinematic event held at one of those reel important film institutions of ours, the Somerville Theatre, from February 6–16. This year’s edition marks the 40th anniversary of this odyssey, the oldest genre fest in America. I still feel my nose wrinkle in disbelief at the freakish dedication to freakdom this landmark event stands for. The significance of SF40 goes well beyond the sci-fi realm. The fact that the Somerville Theatre (and the Orson Welles before it) are willing to host such a large batch of imagination in this special way speaks to the potential for legitimate institutions to work with independent thinkers and artists of all types. Arrangements like this are all too rare, but they do happen, carving out a wedge of the pie (11 days in this case) for us true believers.

The closing portion of Boston SciFi is the THON, a 24-hour-long  group-binge on far-out flicks new and old, carefully chosen to provide a flow conducive to heavy viewing of paranormal and futuristic cinema. Surround this big, historic screen with hundreds of fans, blankets, aluminum hats, and a full-circle rotation of coffee, beer, popcorn, soda, and coffee, and you’ve got yourself a very unique experience. The THON is all about vigorous appreciation. It is a rare coming-together of minds to celebrate their amusements and expressions in such a complete way. The existence of such an event is avocation advocacy in and of itself. It is recognizing the relevance and even gravity of discovering life’s simple pleasures in art, music, film, sleeping out on the sidewalk to be first in line, what have you, and occasionally getting drenched in them.

—Sam Potrykus

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