“Because I could not stop for death,” read one sign for the New York Poetry Festival chalked into the pavement on Governor’s Island on Saturday, “I KEPT WALKING.”
If you kept walking, you’d run into the festival, sponsored by the Poetry Society of New York, as it stretched across the lawn at Colonels’ Row, fenced with white banners and food trucks. In front of each of the three small stages bearing the names “Chumley’s,” “The Algonquin” and “The White Horse,” around 20 attendees sat cross-legged or mermaid-style on blankets.
Those who were not inclined to pay the $5 entrance fee leaned against the fence as a bizarre medley of voices echoed through the space, either floating into ears of passersby or slammed their senses with the extra oomph of the amps.
Twelve years ago, Brendt Barbur was happily riding his bicycle through the streets of New York City when one oblivious driver doored the hapless biker, throwing him into the path of an oncoming bus. “I saw the light,” Mr. Barbur said, quickly adding, “just kidding.” While he was able to walk away from the accident with limbs in tact, it inspired him to found the Bicycle Film Festival (adorably acronymed BFF) to “do something positive for bikes,” he said. Since its 2001 founding, the festival has traveled to over 30 cities around the world, including Moscow, Sydney, Paris, San Francisco and, of course, New York. This weekend BFF is back for the 12th annual Bicycle Film Festival NYC, and before the credits roll tonight at Anthology Film Archives, Mr. Barbur sat down with The Observer to talk about snooty bikers, lemonade massages and Meryl Streep’s secret biking fetish.