In a crowded Philadelphia garage, Adam Cramer revives vintage motorcycles and the American tradition of grease-stained self-reliance.
I met Adam Cramer five or six years ago, when I was living in South Philadelphia. My film career was just getting started and I was spending a lot of time in a local coffee shop called Gleaner’s Café. It was the neighborhood hangout, and while the coffee was good, it was really the local color that drew me to the place. Adam was a regular with an iced-coffee always in hand, and from our very first meeting, he made an unforgettable impression.
It wasn’t until I started rebuilding vintage bikes myself that I learned that Adam, coincidentally, did it for a living. With our shared interest — his much further honed than my own — it wasn’t long before I started imagining a short film about him. I feel incredibly honored to have had this chance.
I’m compelled by what Adam has to say. As someone who rebuilds motorcycles as a hobby and comes from a blue-collar family (my grandfather had an auto body shop, and my dad’s a woodworker), I personally get enjoyment from working with my hands. And while I don’t agree with Adam’s entire take on things, I do believe he makes a valid argument. Clearly, it comes from his heart, his head, and his own skilled and calloused hands.
As an aside, I do think that the larger setting of this film is worth mentioning. Liberty Vintage is in Fishtown, Philadelphia. The name of this neighborhood is derived from the area’s historic role — since the 1800s — as the center of shad fishing on the Delaware River. The area has been a working-class one for generations, and I wonder if Adam’s thoughts resonate widely there. I have a feeling they might.
And finally, many thanks to the Japanese band Mono and Temporary Residence Limited for allowing me to use their music. I’m appreciative beyond words.