by AARON BREWINGTON
Printing issue No. 1 ominously on April Fools’ Day 1979, The Ryder is the sole survivor of a half-dozen or so free alternative publications circulating in Bloomington at the time. Peter LoPilato, 67, is The Ryder’s founder and publisher. A former Indiana University English literature student, LoPilato learned the ins and outs of the industry by working at several of those publications in the late 1970s. Fun City and The Bloomington Examiner are a couple of examples. Each printed a few issues before folding. “I learned some skills and had some idea of how a publication might work,” LoPilato says.
The Ryder’s success, he believes, is due in large part to The Ryder Film Series, which started shortly after the first issue. LoPilato, from New York City, had friends back home telling him about films he had to see that never came to Bloomington movie theaters. Times were different then. “This was the only chance you were ever going to have to see a movie,” he says. “It wasn’t coming back six months later on some other platform.” LoPilato decided he’d bring the movies to town and write about them in the publication to get people interested. The only problem was finding a place to show them.
Originally, Time Out, a bar located where Switchyard Brewing Company is today, agreed to show films but closed after four screenings. Then Bear’s Place took over. “We were a pop-up cinema before the term ‘pop-up cinema’ existed,” LoPilato says. Continuing that tradition today, The Ryder Film Series shows films in the IU Fine Arts Theaters, at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, in untraditional places like Soma Coffee House and Juice Bar, and, in the summer, under the stars in Bryan Park.
Keeping the 40-year milestone low-key, the magazine is revisiting popular stories from the past and the film series will show a movie from its early days—the 1978 French romantic comedy Get Out Your Handkerchiefs.
Visit theryder.com for upcoming events and films.