From BIM to "BOOM!"
The Apple and Stunt Rock @ The New Beverly Cinema, March 25th
Little gives an LA cinephile greater joy than to see the New Beverly Cinema booming at the start of 2008. In light of longtime owner Sherman Torgan's sudden and untimely death last year, it seemed as though our last remaining true revival house might have hit its lowest ebb; yet from grief springs optimism, and despite losing their chief the New Bev not only experienced a banner '07, but dodged an imminent threat to their lease. (Hoopla!) Following extremely successful festival offerings from Quentin Tarantino and Edgar Wright, Peck's bad boy of horror Eli Roth is currently in the middle of his own slate of favorites, "The Greats of Roth."
Gitcha programs right heeeah...
The New Bev's Matt breaks from popcorn duty to crank out the BIM marks
It speaks volumes about the impassioned following the theater continues to garner, too, that on a night which isn't featuring a lineup of the sort of horror titles one would expect Roth to program (and there have been a few so far, to be sure) - and even the host himself missed his scheduled appearance due to illness. ("He's not hungover, either," guests booker Julia Marchese assures the post-Oscar night crowd, "He's really sick!") - there's still a sizeable turnout for a brilliantly boomtastic cult match-up. First up is The Apple, now a bona-fide cult hit after lounging in obscurity for 20 years thanks to midnight screenings that started at the Nuart; New Bev staffers distributed handmade "BIM marks" (the utterly naff fashion statement of the mind-bendingly gaudy futuristic musical...with biblical allegories. Yes, you really must see it to believe it; lead babe Catherine Mary Stewart is a miracle for making it out with her career intact.) In the crowd, devotees sang along whilst virgins registered their responses from aghast to elated. (Sometimes within seconds of each other - not even Xanadu has that kind of batting average.)
Post-Apple, still in the afterglow of a nonsensical ending...
Trenchard-Smith intros, while Marchese looks on.
Second on the marquee, however, was a true testament to what the New Beverly aesthetic is all about - a large group of geeks gathered in a dark room to devour a faded print with an outdated title of a true cult rarity... with the director in the house. For ultimate 70's mental-mash-up thrills, it's hard to beat Brian Trenchard-Smith's Stunt Rock, an extremely loosely scripted cocktail of bad-assery shaped around the genuinely jaw-dropping skills of legendary Aussie stuntman Grant Page, and the onstage stylings of glam metal outfit Sorcery (In his utterly charming post-feature Q&A, Trenchard-Smith revealed they got the job after the likes of Foreigner had passed. Just as well... can Foreigner do MAGIC? Or do they have a keyboard player in a gimp mask? Or does every one of their musical numbers look like what the guys in Spinal Tap fondly described their Stonehenge number as, back in the days when everything worked? I think not.)
The Apple and Stunt Rock screen again Tuesday, February 26; "The Greats of Roth" continues through March 1st;. Check out the New Beverly's website and MySpace page for further lineups and other upcoming programs.
All photos by Nicole Campos.
Plus, a peek at what you might have missed: