Rowland: Film Society returns to ‘Casablanca’

January 15, 2009 

Swedish-born actress Ingrid Bergman, right, appears with Humphrey Bogart in a scene from the classic 1943 film "Casablanca." (The Associated Press)

Swedish-born actress Ingrid Bergman, right, appears with Humphrey Bogart in a scene from the classic 1943 film "Casablanca." (The Associated Press)

Of all the movie joints, in all the towns, in all the world, the Modesto Film Society walks into ours.

And the classic cinematic landscape in Modesto has been better for it ever since.

The Modesto Film Society celebrates is fourth anniversary with a screening of the movie that started it all for the group, "Casablanca."

The timeless World War II romance featuring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman launched the film series in January 2005. Now, the Modesto Film Society will rescreen the film Sunday to kick off its fifth season.

The Modesto Film Society screens classic films at the State Theatre. Most of its showings include classic newsreels, serials or cartoons, some have had themed receptions and all of them honor our rich cinematic history.

Over the years, the group has grown from a small band of classic-film enthusiasts to an organization with more than 200 paid members and underwriters.

The showings attract some 200 to 400 people each month. The group started out screening six films a year and has increased that to nine.

The group also has worked in conjunction with other community organizations — from the Graffiti Summer folks to the Modesto Art Museum and Stanislaus County Bar Association — to bring in certain films and appeal to a wider audience.

Co-founder Randy Siefkin said the group will continue to work to "preserve this country's cinematic heritage through promotion and education."

Now, with the installation of an organ at the State, the society also is looking into the possibility of showing silent films.

"Casablanca" screens at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the State. Tickets are $8 public, $5 film society members. Membership ranges from $15 to $250 a year. For more information visit or call 521-8772.

Elsewhere around the Scene:

The State Theatre has postponed the kickoff to its 75th-anniversary yearlong celebration.

Scheduled for Jan. 31, the event will be moved to a later date because of scheduling complications. The new day for the kickoff has not been finalized.

For more information on the State, visit or call 527-4697. ...

Aqua Lounge & Bistro will have its official grand-opening celebrations Jan. 23-24.

While the restaurant and nightclub opened in November, it will celebrate in style next weekend with two parties.

First is a Jan. 23 party with guest host Forbidden (aka Christine Dolce) at a themed lingerie party.

Then on Jan. 24, dance to the sounds of DJ Splyce, who has spun at parties for such stars as Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan, Janet Jackson, Jesse Metcalfe and Kelly Osbourne. He also was the DJ for the 2006 Grammy celebration at the Staples Center.

The guest list is RSVP with open bar hours and dinner specials. To get on the guest list, call 613-7673 or visit aquamodesto. ...

Looking to laugh?

Check out the new EHP and GrossDaddy presents Central Valley Comedy Series at Hero's Sports Lounge & Pizza Company.

Performing tonight will be touring stand-up Dante. The funnyman appeared on the fifth season on "Last Comic Standing" and has worked with the likes of Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, and Weird Al Yankovic.

Also performing will be P.H.A.T. Joe and Ryan Wingfield.

Show starts at 9 tonight. Tickets are $20. Call 581-7643. ...

Modesto music lovers have the choice of jazz or rock at two local shows Saturday.

First join area rockers Anthem in a benefit show at 7 p.m. at the Queen Bean Coffee House. The public is asked to bring in a can of food to be donated to the Samaritan House in Turlock. Show entrance is free. Also playing will be Wicked Hickey and La Magdalena. More at

Then catch jazz singer Mary Elizabeth Boutte and her band at 7:30 p.m. at the Barkin' Dog Grill. The show is free. For more visit ...

And finally, mark your calendars for the return of Edgar Winter to the the State Theatre on Jan. 23.

Multi-instrumentalist Winter boasts a 40-year career mixing rock, blues and jazz and has more than 20 albums to his credit. He is best known for his hit single, "Free Ride." Tickets are $28-$45. Call 527-4697.

Bee entertainment writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at 578-2284 or Read her blog SceneIt at

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