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“We all get dressed for Bill,” says Anna Wintour about Bill Cunningham, the 80-year-old New York Times photographer and unlikely man-about-town. Cunningham has two weekly columns in the Style section of The New York Times: “On The Street,” in which he identifies fashion trends as he spots them emerging on the street; and “Evening Hours,” his ongoing coverage of the social whirl of charities that benefit the cultural life of the city. The result is far from simple picture taking—it is cultural anthropology.

Still, no one knows a thing about Bill Cunningham, the man himself. Intensely private and averse to any kind of attention, it took filmmaker Richard Press and producer Philip Gefter years to convince Bill to be filmed. Using only small consumer cameras and no crew, Bill Cunningham New York has the intimacy and immediacy of a home movie.

Bill Cunningham New York chronicles a man who is obsessively interested in only one thing—the pictures he takes that document the way people dress. Bill has lived in the same small studio above Carnegie Hall for fifty years, never eats in restaurants and gets around on a worn-out bicycle—his sole means of transportation. The contradiction of his monk-like existence and the extravagance of his photographic subject matter is one aspect of his private life revealed in the movie.

The film’s cast of characters ranges from the downtown New York eccentrics Bill has photographed over the years to the uptown fixtures of New York culture (Tom Wolfe, Anna Wintour, etc) and pillars of “New York Society” who have never before appeared in a movie but who agreed because of their regard for Bill (David Rockefeller, Brooke Astor, Annette De La Renta, among others). The range of people reveals something of the delirious and delicious romp through New York that composes Bill’s world.

A sartorial Weegee, habitually dressed in a blue work jacket, Bill Cunningham has tried to live his life as an unencumbered man. He wants only his independence to be able to point his camera when beauty crosses his path. With this singular goal, he has managed to create a poignant and ongoing chronicle of the intersection of fashion and society in New York over fifty years—in effect, a portrait of New York City itself.

This screening is being shown as a tribute to the legendary New York Times street-fashion photographer, Bill Cunningham.


  • Free popcorn courtesy of Kiel James Patrick
  • Cash bar on-site – cocktails, beer, wines by the glass or bottle available
  • On-site food vendors: Boru Noodle Bar, Acacia Cafe Food Truck, Lemons Aid, Tricycle Ice Cream & Safari Room at OceanCliff
  • BYO picnic, blankets & chairs
  • Bike racks on-site provided by Bike Newport
  • Rain Venue: Casino Theatre, 9 Freebody Street, Newport

Free Event – Suggested $5 Donation


Get (Your Picnic) Dressed For Bill… In BLUE!

presented by RIB & RHEIN

“I’ve said many times, that we all get dressed for Bill.” – Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue

To pay homage to Bill Cunningham’s signature blue workman’s jacket, this year’s newportFILM Outdoors picnic contest will be judged on the most creative use of blues, keeping in mind Bill’s eye for capturing the “ordinarily fascinating.”

Let’s turn oceancliff’s grand green lawn to blue!

The top three picnic spreads will be acknowledged with fabulous prizes.

Thomas & Erin Ribeiro, RIB & RHEIN
Jet-setting, globe-trotting owners of RIB & RHEIN Boutique & RIB & RHEIN luxury brand

Kiel James Patrick & Sarah Vickers, Kiel James Patrick
Owners of Kiel James Patrick, a New England lifestyle brand

Bettie Pardee, author of “Living Newport: Houses, People, Style”
Accomplished hostess, seasoned lecturer, and author of several books on entertaining and gracious living

Photos from last year’s Picnic Contest at our screening of IRIS

Blue-themed picnic Pinterest Board.

6:15pm: Venue & food vendors open (picnic contest set-up begins*)
7:00pm: Pre-film live music featuring La Méchante et le Connard
8:15pm: Film, followed by conversation
Run time: 84 minutes
Director: Richard Press
Producer: Philip Gefter
Cast: Bill Cunningham
Bill Cunningham New York
This is a past event

[A] captivating and moving portrait of a singular man and a passing era… Mr. Cunningham finds something creative, life affirming and free, and preserves it forever. An intimate portrait that feels more found or captured than it does constructed. (Cunningham) is an aesthete and an ascetic, a member of the establishment and a bohemian, and among the last of his kind.


It’s a real privilege to watch this film!


The touching, heart swelling film—which covers the simple life of the city’s most beloved shutterbug—reminds us that fashion doesn’t have to be so serious. It can be fun. It can be frivolous. And, as Mr. Cunningham shows us night after night, it can be a wild adventure.


Fascinating! A smart, playful movie! As much a portrait of a kind of artist as it is a document of a city’s evolving sense of style.


A magisterial documentary about urban life and creativity.


CRITICS’ PICK! Press’s celebratory, humorous, and often touching directorial debut captures one of New York’s most appealing characters. As fittingly modest as its charming subject.


A near Buddhist reflection on what it takes to fully engage Gotham, as well as an astute snapshot of its evermore avaricious soul… Tagging along with Cunningham is a bracing reminder of what’s been lost to the bottom line.




Fascinating! A must see!


A great documentary for a deserving fashion legend.

Presenting sponsor of newportFILM Outdoors

Popcorn supported by