Best of KC 2020: Stray Cat Film Center provides appointment viewing for the eccentric and wonderful

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Photo courtesy of a pre-pandemic Stray Cat Film Center

This month, we published The Pitch’s annual Best of Kansas City issue. You can browse the results of the readers’ poll here. The issue also included a list, compiled and written by our editorial staff, of some of our current favorite things about Kansas City in 2020. We’ll be publishing these items online throughout November. 

Every city worth its salt needs a great place to watch weird movies. Kansas City is lucky in that we have an abundance of options. For indie horror, you can go to the Screenland Armour. For unique appointment viewing, the Kansas City Underground Film Festival has your back. But if you want to see something truly weird, in a space that embodies the spirit of DIY punk, you go to the Stray Cat Film Center.

Stray Cat is a volunteer-run microcinema situated on the edge of the Crossroads that hosts several running film series and live events. A typical visit to Stray Cat—well, there is no such thing as a “typical” visit, really. In the days before the world shut down, you might see an arthouse classic on a Sunday afternoon, or a gem of trash cinema on a Friday night, complete with props. You could see a punk show, or get involved in a loving brawl at Wrestle Yr Friends. The possibilities felt endless.

The joy of Stray Cat isn’t just the unpredictability, but the sense of inclusivity. Nobody here is a snob. Everyone here loves John Waters, Jean-Luc Godard, Kathryn Bigelow and Spike Lee in equal measures, as well as many names you’ve never heard of. Want to watch Le Corbeau? Go for it. A stunningly cheesy movie about demonic bikers who come back from the dead? Absolutely. Everything and everyone is treated with equal importance and enthusiasm.

One day, we hope to be back there, throwing toys at screens, dressing up in costumes or doing unspeakable things with jello while a drag performer yells at us. In the meantime, however, the Stray Cat folks are keeping things safe and lively, with live movie watches on Twitch and regular outdoor distanced events at Lemonade Park. It’s not quite the same as sitting on donated couches holding a specially-printed scratch-n-sniff card in one hand and a beer in the other, but we’ll take any option to keep this weird, wild community going.

Stray Cat Film Center

1662 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108

Categories: Movies