Did Bill Cunningham Live Up To The Twitter Hype?

Did Bill Cunningham Live Up To The Twitter Hype?

Yeah, OK. Now I've seen Bill Cunningham New York, too. And yeah, it's cool, passionate and compassionate. Anyone who can't find something to love about the movie and the man is a bad person. A very bad person.

Bill Cunningham is a cool guy. Charming. He's certainly passionate about his work and about fashion. He's also peculiar. Iconoclastic. He's slightly tragic, though I imagine he would disagree, perhaps even take offense at that. Sorry, Bill. But why did you cry?

I'll refrain from tweeting about my favorite parts, since that's been done to death, but as long as you're here I'll share my thoughts on the film after the jump.

My favorite Bill moment: When he mends a cheapo poncho with duct tape. "I know this embarrasses everyone," he says with a grin.

My favorite Bill lesson: Pay attention to what's happening in the real world and appreciate the style of regular people. I never really cared about celebrities anyway.

My favorite Bill surprise: During flashes of past pages from his On the Street section in The Times, I caught a glimpse of fanny packs. Fanny packs in The Times! So they really were OK, once upon a time.

My favorite Billisms: "Let's get snappity crackin'!" and "Stop your antics!"

Cunningham and his camera on the street
Cunningham and his camera on the street

I hoped for a deus ex machina to save Bill and his buddy, 96-year-old photographer Editta Sherman, from being evicted from Carnegie Hall, where he had lived for 60 years. No such luck. It really did happen in 2010.

In a video for On the Street, Bill put his typically sunny spin on the move. "I fell into a pot of gold," he said. True. He was moved to a new apartment near Carnegie Hall and the conditions of his former lease moved with him.

Still, for all Bill's joie de vivre, the movie made me feel a bit melancholy. He represents a genuinely bohemian New York that is slipping away, year by year and dollar by dollar.

But that's just me. I tend to be maudlin. You will might see something else in the movie and have a different reaction. You're bound to like it, though. Everybody does.

Bill Cunningham New York will be released on DVD September 13. Visit amazon.com to pre-order a copy.

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