Tuesday, July 05, 2005


The late Jim Bradford frequented the Biograph. He was good enough to send two of his former VCU film society chairmen, both fine arts majors, to the Biograph with his strong endorsement. Bradford was an art professor and then served as faculty advisor to the most active film society on campus. Fortunately, for the Biograph, I hired both guys: Chuck Wrenn and Trent Nicholas. Both became assistant mangers. Both are known for their senses of humor.

Bradford could be funny, too. He went on to become one of the three original partners at the legendary Texas-Wisconsin Border Cafe (1982-99). Many a time standing around the Border’s old “power corner” I watched Bradford on his favorite bar stool -- who was a knowledgeable film buff, perhaps scholar -- sandbagging some blowhard who was talking about this director, or that film. Inevitably, he'd catch my eye and sure enough, there would be that outrageously mischievous look that was his trademark.

Bradford figured I knew the speaker was full of baloney, and he couldn’t resist having a silent collaborator. But he would never let on, so neither would I. It was fun to watch him encouraging the expert to go on proving his depth of knowledge, and, of course, making more of a fool of himself.

Artist/teacher/bar-owner Jim Bradford, who died in 1997, enjoyed a private laugh as much as anyone I’ve known.
(Illustration by F. T. Rea)

No comments: