Sunday, May 21, 2017

Langley Park!

From Dave McKennas's magisterial oral history of the creation of "Heavy Metal Parking Lot", whose source materials have now been archived at the University of Maryland -
“The movie is a really fascinating primary source,” says Laura Schnitker, an ethnomusicologist and curator for the libraries at the University of Maryland, explaining the school’s push to procure the Heavy Metal Parking Lot papers. “You’re getting a firsthand look at a community, a subculture from a very musically specific time in history. The heavy metal years were quite something in the history of popular music, and the movie offers you a glimpse of this really distinctive, fascinating and kind of repelling working class culture that shares a love of a certain kind of music.” 
“‘Repelling’?” asks the journalist.
“That means repulsive,” says the social scientist....
They hoped getting Judas Priest involved might spark something. When they heard the band was coming back to the Capital Centre for the “Ram It Down” tour in 1988, Heyn and Krulik convinced the promoter to give them backstage passes to hawk their movie. Back then, of course, screening at a remote location wasn’t as easy as breaking out an iPad or even a DVD player; they had to bring along their own professional equipment, including a bulky 3/4-inch tape playback deck and heavy monitor, plus a boom box to pipe out the audio signal.
Alas, all their hauling brought them was a night of rejection. They never got close enough to any band members to get any introductions. They did get near the catering tables, but were told to leave Judas Priest’s supper alone. The best they could do was get some of the band’s road staff to watch the movie in their dressing room. But even that went badly.
“They showed complete disinterest,” says Krulik, “other than the merch guy kept pointing out people in the parking lot and saying, ‘That’s a bootleg shirt! That’s a bootleg shirt!’”
They did get an apathetic Judas Priest staffer to give them the okay to show Heavy Metal Parking Lot over the Capital Centre’s video system, called the Telscreen, which hung from the rafters and was hailed as the first in-house replay system in the country. But they were told the movie had to be played very early in the evening—before the opening act, Cinderella, hit the stage—so as not to confuse fans into thinking that this was a band production.
A Capital Centre producer, though, nixed any screening. “He told us that [Capital Centre and Washington Bullets owner] Abe Pollin might be in the building, and Mr. Pollin wouldn’t approve of what went on in his parking lot,” says Krulik. 

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