Off The Wall Cinema

15 Pearl Street,
Cambridge, MA 02139

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Showing 26 - 50 of 106 comments

michaelnicholson on December 9, 2014 at 4:28 am

Hard to believe, but this Saturday, December 13, is the 40th anniversary of our opening opening night. International Animation if I remember correctly. The following morning saw the first of our Alternative Family Cinema shows. michaelnicholson

MaxAndDave on August 28, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Very cool, thedragonb! What year(s) would that have been? Do you remember any particular shows?

thedragonb on August 28, 2014 at 11:03 am

Aaah, I remember Off The Wall cinema on Main Street, Cambridge as a child. I attended one of their animation afternoons one weekend where they showed cartoons and such. :) Very cool time. Grounds roots venue! :) Mad hippyish vibe! Between this Central Sq. Cinema and The Orson Welles, Cambridge had it going on back in the day! :)

DaleTheSmall on April 9, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Cool! Thanks! Heh heh.

michaelnicholson on April 9, 2014 at 4:31 am

You can reach me at .

zanelumelsky on April 8, 2014 at 9:04 am

Have been searching for “I Need a Head” but to no avail. Researcher at Library of Congress is currently trying for me. Also, there were more great films that I saw at OTW that I’d like to know about a view again. Can I talk with you directly. How?

michaelnicholson on March 28, 2014 at 4:29 am

Funny, but I was thinking about that one recently. It’s called “I Need a Head” (I think). I’ll check program notes for the exact title and film maker. It certainly was an audience and staff favorite. michaelnicholson

zanelumelsky on March 27, 2014 at 6:48 am

A question for Michael Nicholson: I saw a short claymation film at OTW in the 1970s that I’m trying to get the name of. The subject was a grunting, ogre-like character with only a head and torso on a table who mistakenly cuts off his own head, squeezes his shoulders, then pops out a new, but smaller head. Does that film ring a bell with you? Zane Lumelsky

MaxAndDave on January 13, 2014 at 8:28 pm

YOW! Really looking forward, rausifer!

rausifer on January 13, 2014 at 8:13 pm

UPDATE: I have found my DVD with the interview with Mike Nicholson. I am now in the process of figuring out how to convert and upload this to YouTube. It has some interesting footage, including my little news story (about 7 minutes) and about 7 minutes raw footage with Mike. Please don’t get your hopes too high, because this was done in 1979 with ½" B&W tape. The edited stuff is very glitchy, but the raw stuff is pretty decent quality. I hope to post it tomorrow…

MaxAndDave on June 14, 2013 at 10:46 am

Louis C.K. credits Off the Wall with giving him his start — or at least giving him the confidence to become a comedian. Ron Lynch, i hope you see this:

michaelnicholson on May 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Mel, very gratifying to hear your story. Hey, just remembering us is pretty good to me. The Alternative Family Cinema was always central to OTW. We opened on a Friday night and started the AFC the next afternoon. If you were on the floor, it must have been at the original Main St location. Tickets were only 50 cents and we had only 63 seats. We didn’t plan on selling seats on the floor but it was hard to turn parents and kids away. We didn’t have a carpet, though, but I’ll bet it was a chocolate chip cookie. Best of luck to you and please keep us up to date on your progress. michael nicholson

DaleTheSmall on May 25, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Great idea, Mel! It’s never too late to make your dream happen. Keep us posted. (I have performer friends in Perth — not close to you — but you never know who knows whom here!)

Mel_in_Aus on May 25, 2013 at 4:26 am

WOW!!! I can’t believe I stumbled on to this thread!!! You cannot believe the profound impact OTW had on my life! One of my earliest memories, of childhood, was laying on the carpet, with a big cookie in my hand, staring up at the screen watching ‘The Red Balloon!’

When I was 13, that memory came back and I was struck with the idea opening up my own OTW. My next thought was “I would teach kids how to make movies in the back of the theater.” I got that idea from being able to the the projector.

When I was 18 I attempted to go to college, and study film, but I wasn’t ready and it wasn’t ready for me. I did however get a job as a film projectionist at West Newton Cinema for a year or two. Then I left for London and got a job at the Richmond Film House.

After that I settled in Australia and established a pretty successful career in IT. But every once in a while that old idea would come back, and then I’d put it away. I was busy working and raising babies.

Almost 40 years after that first memory, I finally decided to follow that idea. I gave up my lucrative career. My children are much older and independent. I am now half-way through completing my degree at university, majoring in film & TV production, and minoring in Festival & Event Management and Australian Indigenous Studies.

Hopefully, if the god’s look favourably, I will recreate my memories of OTW, to kids in the most remote parts of the Queensland outback and the far north tropics.

I’m going to bring them a road-show of the best of children’s cinema (OTW quality), and then teach them to tell their own stories.

I wanted to call my non-profit ‘Red Balloon Productions,’ but that was already taken, so it’s called ‘Big Balloon Productions.’

I hope to launch at the end of 2014. In the meantime, I’ve written up the draft business plan. I am slowly creating a network of educators, Film Professionals and Academics to be involved. It’s a pretty ambitious project. But chasing this idea is the happiest I’ve ever been!

I always wanted to say thank you so much OTW, for that beautiful memory that has inspired my whole life. And now I feel like I have.

michaelnicholson on April 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Sad to say that Les Blank has passed away. Les, of course, made a memorable appearance at OTW during our Les Blank film fest. I have very fond memories of introducing the films and telling the audience about our special food offerings, culminating with wipping out from behind my back and consuming a chocolate covered garlic. I still have my “Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers” t-shirt, and both David and I have many of his films on dvd. The world has lost a very special film maker. On another note, Rick, I don’t recall your interview, but I’m sure I’ll remember when I see it again. michaelnicholson

MaxAndDave on March 3, 2013 at 11:40 am

Rausifer — Too cool! Let us know when it’s posted!

rausifer on March 2, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Everyone and Michael especially – I did a short interview with Michael at Off the Wall as part of a student project back in 1978 or so. My next project is to find it and post it on YouTube – I will do this as soon as possible! Dale – thanks for posting and reminding me!

Rick Usifer

DaleTheSmall on March 2, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Michael Nicholson, as I live and breathe! Long story but I just heard Ken on my radio last night (WNYC in Manhattan) and something about his “late wife.” I googled and discovered the bad news about Karen. So awful.

And don’t be so modest. OTW was a major force in the animation world. You guys created a space for so many filmmakers which was safe as well as comfortable. And didn’t Ron teach classes and/or have his stand-up students do a show at OTW? Such generous and sweet owners you all were!

michaelnicholson on December 13, 2012 at 6:21 am

As I write this on 12/13/12, this is the 38th anniversary of OTW’s opening. How time flies. Just discovered my old concert reviews and interviews on the Boston Globe website. Search the archives (1970-75, enter Michael Nicholson as author: there are 54 entries) if you’re interested. Yes, I will post some more history very soon. mnicholson

MaxAndDave on September 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Nat Segaloff, as I live and breathe! Last we heard you had gone off to LA and done a bunch of good things. Definitely Boston’s loss. So glad you remember some of those really special OTW moments. Weren’t you there for Chuck Jones' appearance as well?

Nataloff on September 18, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Hi Michael (and others) late of Off-the-Wall. I spent many happy hours there reviewing your programs, plus I got to meet June Foray, Bill Scott, Richie Havens and a few others whose films ran at OTW. Later worked with Larry Silverman at WSBK and Dana Hersey who is still, 25 years later, the best and most professional guy I ever shared a screen with. Nat Segaloff

michaelnicholson on August 3, 2012 at 6:05 am

French filmmaker Chris Marker (91) has passed away. “La Jetee,” which we screened many times at Off the Wall, is one of the most perfect films of any sort. I first saw this in a film series on PBS, which gave Larry and I a film education that was a crucial inspiration for OTW. I’ve been negligent in posting, I know. I’ll put out a new installment soon. mnicholson

michaelnicholson on July 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Sunday, July 10, there was a moving memorial service (at the Armory in Somerville) for animator Karen Aqua. Karen, among many, many things was a frequent contributor to Off the Wall and Magic Movies in particular. She also worked for a time at our original location, which is where we met her. I have fond memories of coming down out of the booth while the films were on and seeing her, her kitchen work done, sitting on a chair, working on drawings for her current film, on that would later be shown at OTW. The service featured remembrances, music, and of course , films. The attendees (seemed like about 200) marched to New Orleans music down the street to the Growing Center after the service. A wonderful sendoff for a wonderfull person. Michaelnicholson

MaxAndDave on April 6, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Well, thanks! Let us know if you find any more Off the Wall gems…
I wonder what happened to ALbert Lamb, the piano player in that clip?

televisionarchives on April 6, 2011 at 8:29 am

I know this thread is a little old but I was the original person to put up the Off the Wall video. Type in We don’t knock dana hersey WSBK in the youtube search and you will see it.