Monday, June 13, 2016

DINNER & A MOVIE - Why Dinner & A Movie?

During my time at The Mystic Theatre as Production Manager & Chief Engineer, I put the concept of serving dinner and watching a movie on the big screen (30'x40') in the theater on the desk of owner and booking agent Ken O'Donnell a number of times, but I never could get him to agree to the concept. I think it created a conflict for him, even on one the off nights. At the last moment a big name band may pop up at the last monthly moment and well... no movies! There were of course a few adventure films and film festival events and of course my annual urban legend screening of "The Dark Side of Oz" that I produced there for 8 years, but sadly through the years very little was done with the movie theater aspect of The Mystic Theatre.

I did my best in the 15 years that I was there to treat The Mystic like the grand old movie house that it was by making my own theater trailers and eventually own music/video syncs as live pre-show door time entertainment just to push the movie house vibe and give the patrons something to point at (think Gene Kelly in "Singing in the Rain" mixed with Billy Idol's "Dancing by Myself".) Those experiments with the pre-show audio & video entertainment taught me a lot about audience interaction with the screen and also taught me a few good lessons about having a captive audience.

This feature that I developed for The Mystic led me into a full time artistic path, producing and releasing original Music/Video Syncs as well as having the good fortune of being able to feature my original art work nightly in front of hundreds of unsuspecting people! During this period I was also very busy setting up multiple youtube channels for the viewing of my syncs on-line. It just made sense to be able to pass my card along to curious patrons and say "most of my syncs are right here."

Those youtube sites are still up and running today and attract viewers from all around the world daily. It's precisely for that reason that I will be featuring my "Best Of Syncs" at my new "Dinner and a Movie" Series that I'll tell you more next.




Dinner and a Movie... I've been wanting to do this for years...


1st, you have to be optimistic and find a large room that will seat and hold a few hundred people, one that has a full dinner menu, good service and a large drink selection. The venue has to have proper sound and lighting and of course a large big screen or at least a location to place one for movie viewing. I haven't even mentioned one of the hardest elements to find, the requirement of a long term, like minded venue owner that has the community's best interest at heart.

I was recently contacted by Andre de Channes at KRSH Radio in Santa Rosa about a local venue in Cotati that was planning an expansion and wanted to know if I was available to come down and give the new system and stage a once over and offer any advice. Many of you are aware that I've had my hands and ears involved in quite a few of our County venues through the years, namely "The Studio KAFE" and "Magnolia's" in Santa Rosa as well as "The Inn of The Beginning" in Cotati and of course "The Mystic Theatre" in Petaluma. Apparently the rumors of my retirement are greatly exaggerated and of course I was very interested in the prospects of helping with the upgrade of yet another County treasures, "The Redwood Café" with long time owner Michael McCullaugh. As with any good venue, it's a work in progress and the results of that discussion are now the expanded stage and a re-designed sound and video system currently in the works, in a town that I dearly love... Cotati.

As The Professor, I'm looking forward to staging my "Dinner and a Movie" night once a month at The Redwood Café. The 1st of the series will feature "The Big Lebowski" on Tuesday June 28th followed by "Spinal Tap" on Tuesday July 26th from 6-10pm. This not only gives me the chance to dawn on my Professor robe but also offers you the opportunity to see some of the very best Cult/Classic movies and a way to introduce you to my illegitimate art of music/video syncs.

The Redwood Café is set up for dinner table seating and will feature a full menu and beverages for the entire evening as well as FREE POPCORN for everyone! A minimal $5 cover is requested (dinner not included.) Dinner seating @ 6pm - The Professor @ 6:30 - followed by our feature "The Big Lebowski" (Adult content warning) @ 7pm sharp - Costume Contest @ 9pm - Syncs till 10pm.
I've planned a costume contest for the best "Dude" or "Stranger" with a generous $30 gift certificate from The Redwood Café to the winner, followed by The Professor's music/video syncs until 10pm.

Well there it is and I'll leave you with this thought... A venue is only as good as the community that attends it. Get out more often and support live music and live entertainment. Put down your devices and connect with faces and maybe, just maybe we'll see you at the 1st "Dinner and a Movie" night on Tuesday evening June 28th at The Redwood Café in the colorful town of Cotati...

      Bon Appetite' - THE PROFESSOR