There are many types of grand openings, including restaurant debuts and movie premieres, and some members of the BTR staff have had a chance to check out a few. From nerdy midnight movie premieres to band documentary releases, not to mention the re-opening of The Westcott Theater to a Central Perk pop-up cafe, these are the grand openings attended by BTR staffers.
Molly at the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight. Photo courtesy of Melissa Langen.
When I was in high school and college, I attended a fair share of midnight movie premieres, including The Dark Knight, The Incredible Hulk, The Hunger Games, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, and a bunch of the Harry Potter films. Although I generally didn’t dress up for the movie premieres–unlike many others in the theater–I did wear a costume to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at midnight in my hometown.
One of my friends knew her way around a sewing machine and so she made Hogwarts robes for herself and me out of oversized black polo shirts–mine was a Slytherin robe even though I’ve come to accept I’d actually be sorted into Hufflepuff. Another one of my friends made our whole group pins that read “Weasley is Our King” and we wore those into the theater.
I haven’t gone to a midnight premiere since college, but they were always a fun chance to share excitement about a movie with not only friends, but an entire theater of people who are equally passionate. In fact, a friend of mine and I were thinking of going to another midnight premiere next year for David Ayer’s Suicide Squad–we may even dress up as some of the characters.
Photo courtesy of Sara Crow.
Last week I attended the premiere of the long-awaited documentary Never Get Tired, a film that chronicles the musical journey of Jeff Rosenstock and his band, Bomb the Music Industry!
Manhattan’s SVA Theatre was filled with Rosenstock’s followers and supporters, all who have been clinging onto whatever bits of BTMI! they can since their disbandment in 2014. Being a part of the first screening of the documentary that so accurately depicts the spirit of this iconic DIY band reinstated the feeling of community that has developed around the punk scene.
Throughout the film, audience members applauded, laughed, and sang along to their favorite lyrics. As the credits rolled, the entire theatre rose and faced Rosenstock–who was seated in the crowd–for a standing ovation.
Attending the premiere of Never Get Tired felt incredibly celebratory. That night, friends and strangers came together to witness the culmination of months and years of hard work and dedication, poured into a single project.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Balch.
Its magic used to be little more than a dusty gem, badly in need of polishing. The building that is now known as The Westcott Theater made its debut as a movie theater in 1919, but management changed hands quite a bit over the decades that followed. The venue eventually became an adult smut theater before the community decided enough was enough.
Given its prime location (nestled in one of Syracuse, NY’s most artistic communities, and a stone’s throw from the University) the idea to transform the place into a music venue didn’t seem like a stretch of the imagination. The old haunt just needed a considerable face-lift.
It’s now the premier venue in the city, drawing a variety of genres including a growing list of artists like Skrillex, Grace Potter, and Odd Future. I’ve had the privilege of playing there with my band, The Fat Peace, and have seen many budding artists begin their careers performing on that stage.
One of my fondest memories of The Westcott is attending the grand re-opening back in 2008. The band selected to headline that night couldn’t have been a better choice: Bob Marley’s old reggae backup band, The Wailers.
While the maximum capacity for the venue is 700, there were closer to 1,500 in attendance–many of whom were high school graduates looking to party one more time together. They weren’t let down. Up-tempo Rastafarian rhythms sent the dance floor into a sweaty, beer-soaked frenzy. The guitar player, ecstatic about the response from the zealous crowd, dove headfirst into the surging mass–never once missing a blistering note. A thick and sticky smoke filled the air, painting smiles and blurred vision in the crowd.
Through the haze and joyous confusion, I didn’t even realize that I had just met one of the original Wailers–Aston “Family Man” Barrett–while stepping outside for a smoke before the show.
Photo by Dane Feldman.
About a year ago, I found myself standing on a line for the grand opening of a coffee shop that looped all the way around a busy block in Manhattan’s neighborhood of Nolita, right next to Soho. You might be asking yourself why in the world I’d be waiting on such a long line for some coffee, but this was no ordinary cafe. This, friends, was the opening to Central Perk.
That’s right. A replica of the famed cafe that first made its appearance in the opening scene of Friends in 1994 was set up right in the heart of Manhattan. If you ask me, the pop-up should have been located just a bit west in the West Village where the six friends spent most of their time sipping coffee at the “real” Central Perk, but this version was plenty good enough for me.
Once inside, I got a glimpse of the dog statue, Phoebe’s guitar, and even the framed copy of Monica and Chandler’s wedding invitation. Then, I sat on the orange couch.
As a super fan of the sitcom that came to a close in 2004, I couldn’t have been more excited to attend this opening. Free coffee and the opportunity to sit where so many stars once sat was the perfect way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the very first season.
Oh, and did I mention we ran a photoblog?
Featured photo courtesy of Sam Howzit.