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Two Wheels to the Wind: Bicycle Film Fest 2009

By Veronica Murtagh in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 11, 2009 8:40PM

2009_08_BFF.jpg Bike commuters, fixie enthusiasts, racehounds and general fans of two-wheeled transportation can rejoice as tomorrow kicks off the Chicago stop of the five day 2009 Bicycle Film Fest. Pump up your tires, grab your U-lock and get ready to cycle the city in the name of film and fun.

The festivities begin Wednesday night with the Bikes Rock opening party at the Metro. The lineup for the evening features the slick electronic tunes of Glass Candy and Italians Do It Better labelhead, Mike Simonetti, as well as experimental hip-hop from LA-based Busdriver.

Thursday night shifts gears with a citywide scavenger hunt departing from Union Park. For a more low-key option, bike over to the MCA Warehouse on Hubbard Street for the the Joyride Art Show. The art show will give Midwest dwelling fans of lowbrow and street art the rare chance to see work from a vast roster of talents including the likes of Mike Giant, Scott Campbell, Peter Sutherland and Maya Hayuk. Chicagoans Cody Hudson and Josue Pellot add their work to the mix and round out the local angle.

After two days of parties and events, you'll be ready to have a seat at Columbia College where the festival's films will screen beginning Friday evening. Friday features two programs of films at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. We're intrigued by Program 1 which will screen Where Are You Go, a film that follows a group of friends on a 7,000 mile, four-month route from Cairo to Cape Town on the Tour d' Afrique, the world's longest bike race. Stick around after the feature for Program 2, a collection of 13 bike-themed shorts.

Saturday brings a full afternoon and evening of films with Programs 3-6. You're sure to find something aligned to your biking interests throughout the day's 19 cinematic offerings. Our interest was most piqued by Program 4's Keirin Queen, a classic Japanese track bike film screening for the first time in the United States and Program 5's I Love My Bicycle, the story of the the rise of BMX company FBM. After a full day in the theatre, head down to the Empty Bottle for The Urban Velodrome Party with local bike enthusiasts and DJs E-Six and Roan iPod battling LA's Them Jeans and Dan Oh with a special performance by Unicycle Loves You and a bike photobooth.

Sunday ends the festival with a Pilsen afternoon block party adjacent to The Skylark. Attendees can catch the BMX Flatland Jam, try their hand at bike polo, watch local mechanics in a build-off, and compete in sprint, skid and trick competitions.

A full schedule of times, locations and films can be found here. Tickets can be purchased individually for film programs, or a full pass to all showings is available for $25.