It’s a Wonderful Life is as American as mom and apple pie.
Before the age of streaming and video on demand, viewers could look forward to The Wizard of Oz and It’s a Wonderful Life on TV to accompany holidays. Regarding the latter, Califon – HQ of Bex – is proud to call itself the official inspiration for the film, which the writer of the short story the film is based on verified. Now that Chef Becky owns the art gallery building adjacent to her cafe, she plans to show the film on the side of the building during the holidays.
A Bex Fete
Continuing the momentum of the Bex Fetes – Chef Becky’s way of rebooting the supper club – what is more fitting than a showing of the film in its inspirational town, with Bex food? “I went to Parsons School of Design in the 90s,” the Chef details, “and I remember how Talking Heads did a video for ‘Burning Down the House’ that had singer David Byrne’s face projected on the side of a plain-looking house in suburbia. It’s a great way to use space creatively. In the grassy quad area between the buildings, we have a nice cozy space for people to gather, sit, eat, and take in a film classic.”
Bringing Culture to Califon
“I grew up in this area,” the Chef says, “and as much as I love its natural beauty and seclusion, sometimes rural towns get a bit cut off from culture. So by bringing in bands, art, and now film to the area, it gives the town some culture and something exciting for all ages.” The film, in black & white, tells the story of a man who gets deeply depressed during the holidays, but a guardian angel shows him his life objectively and its positive impact on people. It is a reworking of the classic Dickens tale A Christmas Carol. Interestingly, It’s a Wonderful Life, like many now-classic things, was not so successful at first, but when its copyright lapsed in 1974 into the public domain, it was shown on TV and gained a larger audience. In 1990, it gained a solid position as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress.
The bridge over the Raritan River that connects Califon’s downtown from uptown is the inspirational bridge in the film. In winter, as the river freezes and the town falls into frigid slumber, you can get the full experience like in the film. “Winter can be a tough time,” Chef Becky says, “so I like to provide spaces for people to connect and reconnect. Califon is such a quaint and historic and all-American town and lends itself perfectly to a Rockwellian winterscape.”
The Deets – Calendar December 2nd
As a way of giving back to the community, Chef Becky will be throwing the event for free on Saturday, December 2nd. She’s going all-out: she plans a craft activity for the younglings (popcorn & cranberry strings, birdseed ornaments), a live tree to help decorate, carolers, a firepit, blankets, and of course, warming food and drink. She’ll make chili, hot chocolate, and cookies. If the crisp December weather is too much for you, The Gallery at Bex will be open for indoor warmth.
We look forward to having you join us to welcome us in the holidays. In a world that is unpredictable and sometimes scary, let’s celebrate the local joys and wonderful aspects to have gratitude for.