You know that acquaintance on Facebook, the person you don’t know too well, but their life is too interesting to ignore? Well for me, that person is Leah Taylor Dunbar. We met years ago when her husband and I worked together on Manson The Musical – yes, a musical comedy about Charles Manson that surprisingly never made it out of off-off-Broadway. Leah has, for the past few years, been posting photos of her involvement with an immersive cinema company called BBQ Films. After seeing her post photos from their latest Mean Girls event in Greenpoint, I decided it was time to ask Leah what this BBQ Film thing was all about.
Leah couldn’t wait to tell me about the company and invited me to her office at Flavorpill in Soho to discuss. “The production company started out as a casual rooftop cookout and film screening in Spanish Harlem,” she told me, “and developed into a pop-up cinema club and then to the fully experiential production company around today. Their goal is to use storytelling to create community and bring an element of surprise and excitement back to movie fans.” (more…)
Fans and staff donned full costumes at the BBQ Films launch of their Ghostbusters run last night. Photo by Meghan Stephens/Brokelyn.
Full disclosure: When Ghostbusters II came out in 1989, I arrived at the theater next to the Rag Shop in Toms River, NJ in full fan gear: a plastic toy proton pack strapped on my back, blasting imaginary ghosts with the yellow foam beam while we waited in line. So I sympathized with the four-year-old kid who showed up to the first night of BBQ Films immersive Ghostbusters movie experience/fan playground in full costume, only to be told he couldn’t get in. The event was 21 and older.
“People want their kids to be able to celebrate!” BBQ Films co-founder Gabriel Rhoads said. “It was so, so sad!”
Organizers gave the kid a bunch of swag from the event, let him take pictures with the replica Ecto-1 and the adult Ghostbuster cosplayers outside and assured him he could come back on Saturday, when BBQ Films is hosting its first-ever kids matinee screening of a movie. It actually surprised me that kids are still into the movie, which hasn’t existed as a film franchise or cartoon series since the Clinton administration. The event featured, in typical BBQ Films style — a buffet of fan service art and activities, from Ecto Cooler cocktails and a fridge containing a gateway to Zuul to a trap-throwing lane and a hands-on slime station. The movie, of course, still holds up 32 years later — but the fan culture runs deeper than I thought.(more…)
BYO vampire teeth. Please control yourself if you’re a real vampire
New York Comic Con is almost upon us again, and among the standard convention panels, previews, cosplayers, and what we can only assume will be an overabundance of Star Wars exclusive trailers, comes an event that perfectly marries NYCC to the spookiest month of the year. BBQ Films, the folks behind this past April’s sold-out, multi-night Empire Records phenomenon, are bringing Marvel’s pre-Phase 1 cult classic, Blade, to life with a no-kidding vampire blood rave at Terminal 5. Yes, you heard right: There Will Be Blood.
The tribute to 1998, or as I like to call it, the year of Stephen Dorff (not counting 1987’s The Gate), will happen on October 9, and will feature a screening of Blade, but anyone who knows BBQ Films knows it doesn’t end there. They specialize in interactive movie experiences, which in this case means an actual rave headlined by The Crystal Method, among other electronic artists, actors roaming the floor re-enacting scenes from the movie, sword fighting demos, raffles, and mystery special guest appearances. Oh yeah, and there’s going to be a “splash zone.” The best news though, is that you can be there for free! (more…)
Were you unable to go to the Empire Records party at Rough Trade and now you’re seething with anger seeing your friends’ Facebook pictures showing them having a great time? Don’t worry, you can upstage them in the most ridiculous way possible, because now you can buy the Empire Records sign that BBQ Films brought to the party. The only catch is that you’ll have to bid on it on eBay against other crazies who want the sign (it’s at zero bids still as of this posting). (more…)
The 20th anniversary of Rex Manning Day, the annual holiday where Americans get together and wail “No Live Tyler, don’t do it, don’t throw yourself at Rex Manning!” is coming. How are you going to celebrate? If your answer was “Watch Empire Records alone,” we have a more social option for you: head to Rough Trade Records, which is going to be turned into a full-scale replica of Empire Records by BBQ Films, to celebrate the nostalgic capstone for a generation of people who thought working at a record store was the coolest job you could ever have (before they all started music blogs and downloading music). (more…)