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LAist @ Sundance 2011: Red Shirley aka The Lou Reed Movie

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Lou Reed had more to do than simply warm the lives of the few hundred people who nearly froze to death waiting to get inside of his small venue, special performance at Sundance last week. He also had a film there.

Red Shirley, a documentary short Reed considered doing for years, features an interview with his cousin Shirley Novick on the eve of her 100th birthday shot by portraitist Ralph Gibson on a Canon 5D. Beginning with a moving dedication to her hometown destroyed by Nazis, the film explores Shirley's journey to America at age 19 from a small town in Poland via a short stay in Montreal, Canada -- a place she found to be "too provincial."

Inspired by the "hustle and bustle" of New York Shirley describes being smuggled over the border, her extraordinary life work as a 47-year seamstress in the garment district, her participation as a union pioneer, and her involvement as an activist in the March on Washington. A Q&A after the film revealed that Shirley, now 102, still lives in her apartment in Chelsea. Her thoughts on the film? "You left out a lot!" remarked Reed.