Friday, June 8, 2012

Girl Walk// All Day at White Box KAFFNY 2012

June 6th D-Day.

68 years ago it was the invasion of Europe.

This year it was a wild dance party at White Box on the fringes of New York’s Chinatown.

The occasion was a special screening of Girl Walk//All Day that was being hosted by the Korean American Film Festival New York. It was absolutely a blast.

If you’ve been reading the blog you already know that I love the film. If you read Planet Chock Zine you know that Mr C also loves the film. Grabbing Chocko we all headed down for the screening.

Outside we met Brian of The Film Panel Notetaker. Brian’s someone I’ve been conversing with on line for a while now and it was nice to finally meet him and have face to put with a name.

White Box is a gallery that had been stripped of all of the art. As we walked into the gallery music videos were being projected on three of the walls. It was a mix of animation, actual music videos and things that Girl Walk director Jacob Krupnick had put together, including what he said was essentially Anne Marsen's audition for Girl Walk. If you thought she could dance in the film, you'll be truly amazed by what she does here.

Speaking of Jacob, I went over and introduced myself to him. We talked for a bit about the screening, the videos and a few other things, including who was the worse pool player.

I then moved up front with C and Chocko where we took up a place along one wall near one of the speakers. They pointed out that Charlie Ahern who directed the ground breaking cultural earthquake Wild Style was in the house. I was impressed since the film had a profound influence on many people I know in how they danced and what music they listened to.

As the videos ended, Jacob and his lovely wife and producer Youngna Park were introduced. They introduced the film by explaining that owing to the nature of the film’s soundtrack the film will never get a real commercial release. They said that they found that the unconventional screening method that has resulted from that, it's shown in galleries and open spaces, worked best since it allowed for multiple projections, which made audience interaction and participation easier. Since everyone isn’t looking the same way we were free to talk, to drink and to dance…

I won’t go into the movie itself. I’ve done that, instead I’ll talk about the experience.

For me seeing the film as a continuous film instead of in 12 parts as it is on line was special. Seeing how each bit flowed seamlessly into the next was a revelation. Seeing it as a continuous film makes it something more special. You really get into the story more since it all keeps going.

Seeing the film projected all around me, as big as 12 feet high, was awesome in the truest sense of the word. Here was the action happening right before me (and to my side and behind me...) Additionally seeing the film that big revealed all sorts of things, background details and facial expressions I never knew were there when I watched it repeatedly on my lap top.

And of course the thumping beat of the score sounded great. I love how it drives everything forward…and drives everyone in the audience to bop and dance along.

Watching the audience interact with the film was really cool. As the film started everyone was just standing talking and drinking. A few moments in some people were bopping or nodding their heads. A few more moments later the dancing started, just a few people here and there. As the film played, more and more people began to dance. By the end almost everyone were dancing or if not moving to the music.

Down at one end of the gallery where the largest projection was, a large group of dancers were really going to town in a dance circle with everyone taking turns in the center, and some people competing with others.

I stopped watching the movie and started watching the interactions of the dancers to the film and each other.

It was amazing.

While I’m not a dancer I was swaying to the music and tapping in time on the wall. Occasionally I was singing along, thankfully my off keyvoice was drown out by the loud music.

Even Mr C and the normally staid Chocko were moving to the music.

The three of us didn’t really talk to each other much, we all watched the film and the dancers though occasionally we’d talk about a sequence that we liked, but mostly we watched and swayed.

When the credits rolled everyone applauded.

There was an attempt at a Q&A after the film but everyone seemed to be more interested in continuing to dance. After John Doyle who plays the Creep was introduced, they decided to chuck the Q&A and play the film again which brought applause.

Sadly, I had to leave. Heading to the door, I reconnected with Brian who started to introduce me to several people (sorry I forgot your names), I made my excuses and then moved toward the exit, I thought I was followed by Brian, but he had stopped to talk to some people and got lost in conversation.

Catching up with C and Chocko I found them at the front door taking to Charlie Ahern. They introduced me to him and then they made some plans to connect with him down the road. We then headed out, me to my train and the Planet Chocko boys to their car.

I had a blast. I know they had a blast too.

This is the way to experience Girl Walk, larger than life in sound and fury, and with enough room to dance around. Actually seeing the film this way is a completely different experience to seeing it on the lap top. Seeing it big the film connects to you and the people around you on a visceral level. Seeing the film as a film, its very much a more conventional, and equally valid experience that tugs the heart strings in different way.

Seeing it live is is to live it.

Seeing it as a film is to feel it.

I’m explaining it badly but I think you know what I mean.

I had a blast.

If and when you get a chance to see this projected do so. (you can see it now by going to the Girl Walk website).

Thank you KAFFNY for bringing to the film to my attention and arranging the screening. You guys and gals rock.

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