ROCKLAND — Next week, a documentary titled “Hey Bartender” will be whirling through the Midcoast, landing in Rockland Aug. 20 at the Strand Theatre and the next night, Aug. 21, at the Colonial Theatre in Belfast.
Why is this special? Because for the many bartenders, wait staff and caterers who serve our communities through the crazed summer and fall months, right straight through the quiet (and poor) winter and spring months, this documentary gives a voice to the many who choose this lifestyle.
Director Douglas Tirola puts it much better:
“I wanted to show how people view bartenders and how bartenders view themselves. What are bartenders’ dreams, aspirations; what goes through their minds as they make drinks and what they think about at the end of the night when they are on the way home by themselves?
“I also wanted to articulate an understanding that having a working‐class job is something that cannot and should not be stereotyped. Working with your hands doesn’t mean you are limited by your intelligence, your education, your worldview or what you make over the course of your life. I think in movies we often view people who have jobs traditionally considered working class, like a bartender, as someone who had no other options, or as a result of some mistake or failure had this as a last, viable career choice. I wanted to show that people who work on their feet and with their hands everyday, or as I like to say, the sort of people who shower after work, can lead fulfilling lives and have successful careers. I think this portrayal of the working class is severely missing in contemporary films.”
Of the two principal bartenders the documentary follows, one, named Steve Schneider, will change your view of what it means to be a bartender in today’s culture. After finishing at the top of his class in the Marine Corps., becoming an intelligence specialist and volunteering for an elite unit headed for Afghanistan, Steve had a tragic accident and suffered a severe head injury. His military career ruined, Steve took a job behind the bar near where he was stationed in Washington, D.C. Steve’s appetite for learning and passion for the mixology movement led him to New York City, and a position as an apprentice bartender at the world‐famous cocktail bar, Employees Only. This past year, Steve has set records in a global speed bartending competition, as well as won an international cocktail competition in New Zealand. He has been featured in numerous magazines and television shows for his cocktails, including Zagat’s inaugural 30 under 30.
“Hey Bartender” had its world premiere at SXSW Film Festival in March and just had its theatrical release in New York City June 7 — to great success. The documentary is playing in theaters all over the U.S. throughout the summer.
Following the Aug. 20 and Aug. 21 screenings, there will be Q-and-As led by director Douglas Tirola and a few local bartenders. The show at the Strand Theatre starts at 7 p.m. and at the Colonial Theatre the show starts at 7:15 p.m.
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com.