It’s not often that a kat like me (ahem…starving artist) gets to attend a movie premiere. Red carpets…flashing lights…impromptu interviews…photo ops…just doesn’t happen.
…I had the pleasure of attending the premiere of “Beats Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest” with one of my best friends, last week. We initially planned on going to see the documentary when it hit one of those small, art house theaters in DC, in mid-July. Then she sent me a note…AFI Silverdocs would be premiering the film at its annual film festival in Silver Spring in mid-June.
You think I didn’t buy the tickets that very night!?! There’s no way a film of this nature…of this magnitude, highlighting the career of one of Hiphop’s most cherished and beloved groups, would not be sold out.
And part one of our plan worked perfectly. When we arrived at the AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center, in the heart of Downtown Silver Spring’s Arts District…two and a half hours early mind you, the line was half way down the block…for another film festival premiere. But “Beats…” was sold out, too!
After gettin’ it in at Fuddruckers, we returned to the theater about an hour before the movie was to begin. We were second in line, which meant we were going to have the best seats in the house…or so we thought. There were two lines…one for regular ticket holders like us…and another for the elite.
Nonetheless, we were there…at the premiere.
Ahh…the red carpet. No, we didn’t get to walk it. But it was near by!
As we stood there, watching the line fill up next to us and behind us, guess who walks in through the backdoor of the building?! None other than the film’s director, Michael Rapaport, and a member of the band at the core of the movie, The Five Foot Assassin himself, Phife Dawg!
Yo…we’re at a REAL PREMIERE!! All of my true-Hiphop fans will understand my excitement.
Lights started flashing, video cameras started rolling. The energy in the building shot through the plates in the glass roof! We tried, unsuccessfully, to snap our own pictures with our camera phones, but someone’s head always got in the way. Oh well, at least we can say we shared the same air for a moment.
The doors for the theater opened and the “elites” were ushered in first. There weren’t many of them. But they looked like movie going professionals. We knew they were going to take the seats that we arrived an hour early to obtain. All we could do was sigh. And then, our line was allowed to enter. Fortune continued to smile on us because all of those elites chose the wrong seats! Our seats…center row, center aisle…were there waiting for us, unencumbered by the heavy bottoms of those folks with the heavy pockets!!!
The theater filled up quickly. As a matter of fact, AFI over-sold their tickets. They created a row of seats by placing plastic chairs in front of the first row of second tier seats. I would have been mad if I were them…but I wasn’t. We had the perfect seats. Movie bootleggers would have been jealous!
After a brief welcome, Michael Rapaport was brought up to introduce the movie. The lights went down. The screen lit up. And…
…the documentary was absolutely AMAZING!!! It only lasted about an hour and a half. But it didn’t leave you wanting at all. As a fan of ATCQ and a fan of movies, you got exactly what you wanted. Having seen the group perform in 1996, the energy they displayed on stage came across perfectly on film. (In other words…GO SEE THIS FILM!!!)
At the conclusion of the film, Mr. Rapaport and Phife-Diggy graced us with a question and answer segment. (I had hoped to add some video footage, but my video had no sound…yeah, that sucks!)
Of course I didn’t think of any good questions to ask until I awoke the next morning…you know I can’t resist a microphone and a chance in the spotlight…I coulda kicked myself!! Nonetheless, the two were great and Phife was surprisingly funny.
It was a great night. Even some of the “Elites“, who weren’t Hiphop fans and never heard of A Tribe Called Quest said they loved the film! At a time when legislators are continuing to ax funding for the arts, we should all do a better job of supporting documentaries and independent films. There are so many stories to be told and so much to learn through mediums outside of the Hollywood factory system. Help give artists the opportunity to share their talents and voices.
And help give us a chance at more photo ops!