Just wanted to share this wonderful review of our doc.This is the way I like to start off a Thursday morning!
Berkeley's News | The Daily Californian Thursday, June 19, 2014
FILM & TELEVISION SF Doc Fest talks subcultures
BY SARAH ADLER AND JENNIFER WONG
“Astor Barber All-stars”
It’s where Bruce Willis once asked a stylist to tweeze his ears, the long-haired hippies of the 1960s almost drove business to a halt, and a sign on the front desk announces: “We speak Italian Russian Greek Spanish French Polish.”
Since 1939, Astor Place Hairstylists has been a fixture of Manhattan’s West Village. In its heyday, the barbershop boasted multiple floors and was so crowded that customers were herded over a microphone. Today, the family-owned business is still bustling along to the breakneck pace of a New York minute.
“Astor Barber All-stars” introduces us to Astor Place, where 30-plus barbers serve up haircuts starting at $16 and use straight razors to etch meticulous lineups, tapers and designs. An enduring New York landmark, Astor Place has thrived for nearly 75 years and remains one of the last barbershops of its kind, a mom-and-pop establishment where the occasional fist fight is unavoidable and payment is always cash-only. Jessica, a stylist, offers the following by way of explanation: “We’re not fancy, but our work is.”
Filmmaker Karen Gehres’ no-frills documentary isn’t fancy, either. Instead, her approach is a straightforward one. Gehre weaves archival footage and contemporary interviews with stylists and clients into a comprehensive profile of the iconic and much-beloved barbershop. With unassuming sincerity, Gehre captures the legacy of Astor Place as it always has been and continues to be: that of a cultural institution where the clients are loyal, the music is loud and old-fashioned artistry still reigns supreme.