The “Birdman” On Film

by Jessie Roberts

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Jessie Auritt explains how she came to make the above short documentary, The Birdman, about the owner of the copiously-stocked Rainbow Music shop in Manhattan’s East Village:

I had been wanting to do a short film, and was thinking about something I could do locally, and was curious — how do all of these, or at least what remains out of these, music stores stay in business? So I just poked my head into Rainbow Music — that was the first place I visited because I figured that would be a good place to start because the store itself, you can see … it’s a disaster. … So I just poked my head in there, told him I was interested in doing a documentary and at first his response was “no, I don’t want you to show my face. You can film the store and you can interview me but you can’t show my face.” And then once I got in there he totally warmed up and I just kind of plopped the camera down and he started talking. So I didn’t necessarily have a story outlined before I started, but it was just more of a subject I was interested in. I was initially planning on going around the neighborhood and interviewing different owners of music stores, but then The Birdman was such a fascinating character to me that I felt like he deserved his own film.