Master Sartorialist

Every day, 82-year-old Bill Cunningham stands on a bustling NYC street corner and takes pictures of strangers. He’s not a creep; he’s the photographer behind the New York Times’ weekly “On the Street” column. And to appear in one of his street-fashion roundups is validation you’re sporting a trend months before it hits the runways. His curatorial eye is enough of a reason to see the documentary Bill Cunningham New York when it screens this Thursday at Miami Beach Cinematheque. But what makes the film a must-see is director Richard Press’s portrayal of Cunnigham’s bohemian work ethic and strangely austere lifestyle. Despite his fame, the octogenarian lives an almost monastic life of voluntary poverty. His home is a tiny studio in Carnegie Hall, which is lined with file cabinets and a fold-up cot but has no bathroom or kitchen. And even though Vogue editor Anna Wintour and dandy Tom Wolfe admit to dressing to impress him, Cunningham lives on $3 breakfast specials and uses duct tape to mend his daily uniform of a cheap blue parka. His secret to never selling out: Don’t touch money. As soon as you depend on a paycheck, people can start telling you what to do. How many people are willing to shave down to the most spartan of lifestyles so they can do whatever the freak they want?
Thu., April 28, 9 p.m., 2011
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Amanda McCorquodale