Garthapalooza – 7.13.18

My friends at BBQ Films are back with another amazing interactive film screening. I met them years ago when I shot their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles screening for the Village Voice. I had such an amazing time that I actually started showing up at their brainstorming sessions and helped them work on a number of screenings over the years. The entire time I’ve known them I have been trying to get them to do Wayne’s World and they finally did it! (Although I haven’t been to any of their meetings in a long time so I don’t think I had anything to do with it.)

I have a BFA in “Photography and Filmmaking” and while I focused primarily on the photography part of that, I took a ton of film classes. Pretty much every elective I took was a film history class. I loved that shit. I was a huge film nerd and when I was still living in Virginia I was taking a couple of trips a month to NYC just to watch films. One of the main reasons I moved to NYC in the first place was to watch more movies (ironically when I moved to NYC I didn’t have the time or money to keep up my cinephile ways). Essentially, I have spent most of my life as a pretentious asshole when it comes to film. I mean just look how many times I called it “film” in this paragraph. What a dick!

The point of that totally needless paragraph was to explain that despite my art house cinema pretension, my favorite movie of all time is Wayne’s World. I have loved it since I saw it in the 5th grade and I have seen it probably 100 times since. It’s the movie I have seen the most (by far) and I can quote half the movie which happens to be really annoying when watching it with me at my apartment, but really fun when you are in a music venue surrounded by a couple hundred people who are quoting every line along with you.

BBQ Films threw their Wayne’s World party, AKA Garthapalooza, at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, AKA Gasworks, in Brooklyn. They picked a musical venue because they wanted to incorporate the musical aspects of the movie into an interactive experience. They had several female fronted bands play the show before the screening and part of the profits from the event went to Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls to help inspire a new generation of female musicians. Hit Like a Girl opened the show and were followed by Early Riser.

The interactive experience really kicked off after that with “Wayne and Garth” introducing “Crucial Taunt” aka Young Thieves who covered the Tia Carrere cover of Sweet’s Ballroom Bliz.  The Young Thieves front woman dressed like Carrere’s character Cassandra and it was amazing. They did some of their own songs as well before Wayne and Garth came back out to announce that sadly the headliner “The Shitty Beatles” had canceled. Fortunately they had a back up plan and Calico Cooper of Beasto Blanco was introduced. Calico happens to be Alice Cooper’s daughter and she performed Alice’s song from the movie Feed My Frankenstein. (Hey Stoopid by Alice Cooper was absolutely the album of the summer between 5th and 6th grade.) She didn’t have her band with her, but no matter, a mix of people from BBQ Films and Young Thieves backed her up and it was really amazing. 

After the Calico Cooper performance the movie began, but a few minutes into the movie the lights came up and the BBQ Films actors playing Wayne, Garth and their crew were sitting on the steps of the stage almost as if they were seated in a car. Young Thieves returned to the stage and the entire crowd sang along to the infamous Bohemian Rhapsody scene. The movie came back on when the Mirth Mobile stopped to pick up their drunk friend Phil (played by my buddy Mike) who if he was going to spew, had to spew into this. They all got back into their fictional car and the band picked up right in time with the movie and we finished the singalong. I actually woke up this morning with a sore neck from all the head banging I did during the climax of the Queen classic.  After that the movie played as usual with everyone in the crowd yelling along to all the classic lines. The whole BBQ Films team came on stage as the credits rolled and the night was pretty much over.

On top of all that amazingness BBQ pulled out all the stops as usual. They had a photo booth set up that looked like the Wayne’s World set and a hockey net set up with a couple of my friends playing throughout the show, occasionally yelling CAR and GAME ON as they played. They had a bunch of extra sticks so people could take shots on goal all night. There was a “roadie training” set up and VIP Passes made to look like the Alice Cooper backstage passes from the movie. They had “Glen” from Stan Mikita’s passing out donuts and you could buy Red Vines for a dollar. They even had Wane’s famous Wayne’s World hat for sale (I managed to escape wth one myself) and of course they had the whole BBQ Films crew dressed up as characters from the movie which was slightly confusing given that half the crowd came dressed up as character from the movie as well. It was all really fantastic.

I am probably forgetting some stuff but this is nearly 1000 words already and nobody has time for that. Just go look at the photos and get on the BBQ Films mailing list so you don’t miss their next interactive movie. I hear it’s going to be spooky…

Click here to see all the photos from the BBQ Films Garthapalooza screening of Wayne’s World!



Calico Cooper





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