Screening Room: ‘Columbus’

The small city of Columbus, Indiana features one of the greatest collections of modernist architecture to be found anywhere in the world.

It’s a surprisingly powerful setting for Kogonada’s winsome and romantic new movie, Columbus, which is playing in limited release and worth seeking out.

My review is at Eyes Wide Open.

Here’s the trailer:

Reading Spaces: The Wal-Mart Library

It’s a common problem: Wal-Mart comes to town, builds a ginormous hypermart just outside of town, local businesses shut down, and then eventually Wal-Mart closes as well, leaving a giant crumbling edifice surrounded by a weedy parking lot. Charles Fishman wrote a great and judicious book about it a few years ago called The Wal-Mart Effect (my Chicago Reader piece on that here).

When the Wal-Mart in McAllen, Texas closed down, though, the town came up with an ingenious solution. Take the empty space — the size of almost 2 1/2 football fields — and turn it into the nation’s largest one-story library. It’s been open since December 2011 and as you can see in this Los Angeles Times story, is a wondrous reading space and one of those increasingly rare things in America: a true community center.