Wenham Street Cinema back in action; screenings and four concerts planned for the summer

Looking for a place to meet new neighbors, share some snacks, and enjoy films and concerts?The Wenham Street Cinema, a community gathering place for screenings and concerts in JP resident Matt Shuman’s garage, is back in full swing as all COVID restrictions are now lifted in the city. 

The Gazette spoke with Shuman to learn more about recent programming at the Wenham Street Cinema, and what’s coming up for this summer.

The cinema’s season began in April with the screening of Judas and the Black Messiah, where attendees were limited to 15 and masks were required, according to the Wenham Street Cinema Instagram. 

Shuman said that in early May, a screening of the Oscar nominated animated short films was held, where seating was also limited due to COVID restrictions.

Now that restrictions have been lifted, more events can happen and more people can attend.,

“We’ve doing a bunch more events and it’s been great,” Shuman said. 

On June 5, the cinema showed Paris is Burning in honor of pride month. The documentary takes a look at 1980s ball culture in New York City. Other previous films include Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and The Third Man.    

Shuman sad he’s “trying to get a good mix; a decent mix.” 

On Sunday, June 13, the cinema showed the musical Best Summer Ever, where writer and producer Andrew Pilkington will attend, and on June 17, the HBO documentary Crime of the Century about the opioid crisis will be screened. Jordy Lacks, an addiction medicine specialist at Boston Medical Center, will speak before the screening. Both shows start at 7:15pm.

On June 19, the cinema will be showing the 2019 biopic Harriet in celebration of Juneteenth, also beginning at 7:15 pm. 

All events are always free and open to everyone, Shuman said, but he does ask that people bring their own chairs and some food and drink to share. 

“It’s just been super, super fun to have people back together,” adding that it’s been “so insanely positive.”

The Wenham Street Cinema was also recently featured in WBUR’s “A 2021 Guide to New England’s Summer Drive-Ins and Outdoor Movie Pop-Ups” roundup.

Additionally, Shuman said that Chris Anotonowich, who owns Light of Day Records inside of Monumental Market on Centre St., said he wanted to hold some concerts this summer but didn’t have a large enough space to do so. Shuman offered his garage space for concerts, so four have been planned, one each in June, July, August, and September.

Shuman said he worked with the city to allow the entire street to be shut down for the concerts, which will be free to attend but the Venmo handles of the artists will be provided if people would like to make donations. A $10 donation is suggested if attending a concert. 

“That’s going to be some serious fun and really, really cool,” Shuman said. 

The first concert will be on June 26 and will feature Will Dailey—who’s signed to CBS Records— doing two sets. The July 17th concert will feature Aaron Bear + Jade Madrone, and the August 28th show will feature the Foundation Movement and DJ Al Watkins and will also serve as a fundraiser for District 6 City Council candidate Kendra Hicks. The September 25 show will feature Genie Santiago and Só Sol.

All show will be from 4-7pm, with the live music beginning at 5pm. 

For more information about Wenham Street Cinema and all upcoming events, follow Shuman on Instagram @wenhamstreetcinnema, or follow the cinema on Facebook. 

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