Sunday, October 31, 2010

RiffTrax Live Live!

Last Thursday evening, I had the great pleasure of attending the live performance of RiffTrax Live at the Belcourt Theater in Nashville, Tennessee. I'll save the story about the trip to Nashville for another post. For now, I'll pick up with Courtney and I standing in the parking lot of the Best Western Music Row. I gave her my parking permit to put on her dash then we left for the show in my nice, new Honda Fit.

The Belcourt Theater was 1.2 miles from the Best Western (thanks Mapquest!). As we drove slowly, looking for the theater, the line of people waiting to go in was impossible to miss. The Belcourt has a parking lot adjacent to the theater, but oops! It was taped off and occupied by 3 large, white trucks--one with a satellite dish--and a large white tent. This was apparently the RiffTrax uplink. The side road we had turned onto was narrow and all parking spots appeared to be taken. Anything that looked like a parking spot was actually the mouth of a driveway. Most fortunately, I did find a short spot (which fit my short car) near the end of the road.

Due to the low pressure front that had recently swept through the Midwest, Nashville was chilly. The low for the night was to be 39 F., but at 6:40 PM CST, it was still a pleasantly crisp walk back to the theater. The doors had opened at 6:30, so the long line had shortened considerably by the time we queued up.

The lobby of the Belcourt was very small. There was a confusion of lines: concessions, men's and women's rest rooms. I thought I was standing in a line to enter the theater, but it turned out I was just standing in the vicinity of the lines for concessions and the men's restroom. As I was trying to get my bearings, I spied @euphoriafish (Hi, Tracey!) It's always nice to meet a fellow MSTie! Once I realized we could just walk on into the theater, we did so and took a couple of seats in the middle, about 3/4 of the way back from the stage. The Belcourt is a small venue, so this gave us a perfect view.

The gentleman in this photo was affectionately called "Bald Spot" by the crowd. He did the mic checks and "read us the rules": pictures of us could be used by RiffTrax, turn off cell phones, don't record the show, and applaud loudly when appropriate! He had us yell, cheer, and clap so the guys in the sound truck could get a level reading. We made it loud!

This was my first time seeing Kevin, Mike, and Bill. When they walked onstage, it was a chill-worthy moment. Bill wore cat's ears, Mike wore a "Weird Al" wig and hippy shades, Kevin wore a rubber "Medusa" cap. I've got to say that watching a RiffTrax Live show via simulcast is very much like being there in person. Seeing the guys right there in front of me was awesome, but it also gave me an appreciation of the high quality of the simulcasts.

Both of the short features were hilarious and deeply disturbing. The first, Magical Disappearing Money, was about a witch-like woman who apparently lived inside a stacked display of grocery items at a supermarket. She stalked shoppers and disapproved of their food selections. At the peak of her disgust, she gave a demonstration (as if she were selling Ginsu knives) to the shoppers about how much money they were wasting buying such items as sugar-coated cereal, instant oatmeal, and frozen zucchini.

The second short was a detailed nightmare about the production of paper. A hapless child was set upon by hallucinations of a talking paper bag, very much in the vein of "Coily" from MST3K. If the voice of the bag had been less cheery, this could have been a depressingly accurate depiction of the onset of schizophrenia in a young boy.

The main feature, The House on Haunted Hill, has always been a favorite of mine. I loved Elisha Cook "the gunsel" in the too-big jacket in The Maltese Falcon. In Haunted Hill, the guys were constantly joking about his looking like a leprechaun (too true). Vincent Price is great, too. He's one of the few celebrities I've seen in person. I passed him on Fourth Street in Louisville one Derby Eve. He was tall and gaunt--but of course, you knew that! Richard Long suffered a head wound early on and, for the rest of the movie, he was pelted with riffs about being a bumbling idiot.

I can't wait for the DVD to come out! I understand that neither Courtney nor I made it into the broadcast. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

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