The Lost Boys secret screening at Glasgow Film Festival

Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) has a history of putting on special one-of-a-kind screenings in unusual settings. I am always super excited by the announcement of their Special Events strand and this year I was lucky enough to get tickets for The Lost Boys secret screening, which was programmed to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary (try and not cry – yes 30 years!).

Back in the day, I had the poster, watched the VHS at least 50 times and listened to the soundtrack on repeat. In fact, my husband and I’s shared love of this film is definitely one of the reasons we got together and The Lost Boys was one of our table names at our wedding. So kudos Joel Schumacher!

22535

We arrived at the Glasgow Film Theatre on a cold February evening to board one of six buses, filled with like-minded 30-somethings; all giddy with anticipation. With a motorcycle escort (very cool), we set off towards our soon to be disclosed secret location, chatting away at every turn off about where we could possibly be heading.

And it was… motorcycle rev… M&Ds Theme Park at Strathclyde Country Park. It was the perfect choice of location, considering that a lot of The Lost Boys is set at an amusement park and beachside boardwalk. We had over an hour to take in the attractions, rides, arcades, comic book stand and vampire face painting stall. I particularly enjoyed a romantic chips dinner on the ferris wheel.

World famous comic book artist, Frank Quitely, whose work is about to be the subject of a retropsective at Kelvingrove Art Gallery, introduced the film. He explained that he was chosen for this role due to his and the film’s close connections with comics and horror, but he admitted, to a chorus of boos, that he hadn’t actually seen the film!!!  He was humorously self-deprecating about this and signed off by saying, ‘well I am not even going to say enjoy the film as you obviously will, I just hope I do’.  He doesn’t seem to be on twitter so I couldn’t tweet him to ask if he enjoyed it, but let’s just assume that a man of such esteem surely will have.

the-lost-boys-movie-poster-1987-1010469510We then all sat back to enjoy the cult classic which Empire film magazine describes as a “supremely watchable example of something the 80s did right”.  For those of you unfamiliar with The Lost Boys – the set up is that a family of three, mum and two teenage boys, move to the fictional Santa Carla (murder capital of the world) for a new start, only to find that the place has a goddamn vampire problem. Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, Dianne Wiest and the two Coreys (Haim and Feldman), the fast paced and tight 1 hour 37 minute feature is a witty and bloody coming-of-age that contains timeless one liners, eccentric characters & clothing choices and a soundtrack that just keeps giving.

Look at your reflection in the mirror. You’re a creature of the night Michael, just like out of a comic book! You’re a vampire Michael! My own brother, a goddamn, shit-sucking vampire. You wait ’till mom finds out, buddy!” Sam (Corey Haim)

Advertisements

Top five picks of Glasgow Film Festival 2017

The Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) launched their programme last night. And seriously, what a programme! There are over 310 performances to choose from at this year’s event – now one of the largest film festival’s in the UK. It is a festival that attracts massive audience numbers, which is probably a direct response to the fact that the organisers clearly love their audience and programme innovatively, yet without pretension.

The eclectic programme is divided into 17 strands – there’s everything from Dangerous Dames dedicated to Hollywood’s most badass film noir females and Pioneer showcasing first and second features from directors who display distinct talent and vision; to returning and ever popular strands, such as the Stranger Than Fiction (documentaries) and FrightFest (horror).

But for Audience Adventures, there is one major strand worth checking out – Special Events. These one-of-a-kind screenings offer an immersive experience for film-goers, with many taking place in pop-up cinemas within well-loved city venues.

Here’s my top five pick of this year’s GFF:

The Princess Bride at Maryburgh Halls (Feb 25)
princess-bride-the

Enter an enchanted forest for a treasure hunt, fencing performances and a chance to rediscover this swashbuckling, hilarious adventure that is magical for children and adults alike.

The Thing at Snow Factor (Feb 23)
thing-the-1John Carpenter and Kurt Russell = always a winning combo! Dress warm and trust no one for this ski slope screening of an 80s horror classic, which sees a crew of researchers in the Antarctica picked off one-by-one in chilling circumstances and settings. Ice bar anyone?

Move at the Joytown Grand Electric Theatre (Feb 18)
movereA pop-up audio-visual experience which aims to transport its audience through time and space to celebrate Europe. Rarely seen archive film will be brought to life by musicians and dancers, with a party to follow in one of Glasgow’s most exciting new venues.

Raving Iran presented by Sub Hub at Barras Art and Design (Feb 19)
raving-iranre

Raving Iran follows two young men who continually risk their freedom in order to share banned Western music in their home of Tehran, culminating in one epic blow-out. The screening will be accompanied by Iranian street food, with more activities to be announced soon.

Secretary at SWG3
secretaryre
This 15th anniversary screening of Secretary – a sweet romance between a dominant lawyer and submissive secretary – will be followed by a party featuring Torture Garden performers and a specially curated playlist. Dress up encouraged!

Other Special Event films on the line-up are: The Big Easy, Dirty Dancing, Surprise Film and The Wee Govan Pipers. There are also two sold out screenings in this strand, which went on sale at an earlier date, Lost Boys (sold out) and Lost in France (sold out) – both of which would have been in my top five if there had been tickets available. For more information visit glasgowfilm.org.

Escape the Room

I’m late to the party but I finally got round to taking part in an Escape the Room game.

Ideal for corporate team building, hen & stag dos, and for groups of friends and family looking for an alternative night out – these interactive live games have sprung up everywhere in the past couple of years.

Part of the success is down to their simple and tightly constructed concept. A team of 2-6 people enter a room, which is then locked. Engaging quick mental prowess and skills of deduction, your team must work together to solve the puzzle before the timer runs out in 60 minutes. If successful, the door is opened. If you fail, the door will never EVER open.

I went to Riddle Rooms in the city centre of Glasgow, who operate a number of scenarios, including a Spy Room, Identity Room and Mansion Room. Myself and three friends took on the Mystery Room.

Upon entering the room, you are given a brief set up – in our case a young woman had fallen victim of a mysterious murder and we had to uncover the killer and their motivation.

There was an occult angle to the murder and we had to employ all senses and creative thinking to solve the well plotted series of puzzles, which finally led to the answers we’d been seeking and – bam! – we were out the room; with a whole two minutes to spare.

At this point, I should reveal two key facts:

1, Staff are on hand to feed clues through a speaker or TV screen if you are failing to progress.

2, I performed very poorly. In my defence, my three friends had all taken part in other Escape the Rooms before so got into the mindset quickly and they all play Dungeons and Dragons and therefore have well honed problem solving skills. In opposition to my defence, I am a procrastinator who likes others to make decisions for me. If the bill comes at a restaurant when out with friends, I don’t even attempt to work it out. Someone else can do that.

So did I enjoy it? I did and I didn’t. I found the first half stressful as I realised how shit I was at it, but at the same time I was appreciating how well it was constructed and the details of the set, puzzles and layers of story; as well as my friend’s brains. Once I solved one puzzle I finally relaxed and got into it much more (phew! – same feeling as when you are the last member of a pub quiz team to offer up an answer).

There are a variety of Escape the Room games across Glasgow, so if you like the sound of it, then check out the three that I think look best:

Escape the Past by National Trust for Scotand– Set in Glasgow’s historic Pollok House, you travel back in time to experience life below the stairs in the Edwardian period as you attempt to thwart the Butler’s devious plans.

Contagion by Escape Glasgow – Get your white coat and safety googles on as your team play the part of scientists attempting to create a vaccine for a global fatal virus, which each of you have managed to contract.

Alcatraz by Escape Reality – Set in 1934, your team must escape from the world’s most notorious prison. As the largest Escape the Room experience in Glasgow, the multi-room game is based across 4,000sq ft  of underground vaults at the city’s Merchant City Square.

Get me out of here…

‘I hope this is over soon,’ ‘keep your shit together’, and ‘get me out of here’ were my main abiding thoughts during Glen Neath & David Rosenberg: Seance. These are the exact same thoughts that I had recently when watching the Peppa Pig Live Show. But I really enjoyed and was affected by Seance. Peppa Pig – not so much.

Enjoyed is probably the wrong word; as from the second I entered the shipping container performance space with my fellow dozen audience members, I had to fight the urge to scream ‘let me out’.

Once inside the container, we were instructed to take a seat at a dining table and to put on a pair of headphones. Sitting opposite one another, we exchanged nervous smiles before the lights were cut and we were plunged into complete darkness. What follows is an incredibly creepy, intense and unsettling 15 minute show, which is conducted through sound only.

Seance
Photo credit: glenneath.co.uk

It is hard to describe what happens next… The medium of the Seance tells us to keep our hands firmly on the table no matter what; he whispers to audience members; stalks up and down the table; keep your hands on the table; summons a demon or did he mean to dispel it; questions us as to whether we believe; the demon arrives; keep your hands on the table; audience members are made to lie on the table; the demon’s breathing is getting closer; the entire place is vibrating now; KEEP YOUR HANDS ON THE TABLE…

And it’s over. Phew!!!

This is one immersive audio experience. I don’t think any of the above actually happened. Okay I knew at the time that a demon wasn’t really there – obvs! But I was pretty convinced that people were getting out their seats and lying on the table and that the medium was speaking directly to me at points (I answered him on a number of occasions) and that keeping my hands on the table was pertinent to everyone’s safety. But really, none of this happened right? I was just listening to a meticulously devised recording.

This is the third project that writers and theatre-makers, Glen Neath and David Rosenberg, have collaborated on. I love the quote that have use as a descriptor for the show:

‘The most important thing in this world is the destruction of superstition. Superstition interferes with the happiness of mankind. Superstition is a terrible serpent, reaching in frightful coils from heaven to earth and thrusting its poisoned fangs into the hearts of men. While I live, I am going to do what little I can for the destruction of this monster’ – Robert Green Ingersoll (1886)

I saw Seance in the Faraway Forest at Latitude Festival. To find out where it is next showing visit glenneath.co.uk.

 

Immerse yourself this summer

Immersive cultural events are on the rise, giving audiences the chance to get closer to their entertainment than ever before.  The level of audience interaction varies greatly – from 3D blockbusters in D-box shaky cinema seats to full on theatre shows where audience members are dressed as a character and breaking the fifth wall – to everything in between.

Audience Adventures has teamed up with WOW 247 to bring you 11 immersive events worth experiencing in Glasgow this summer.

Bard in the Botanics, Botanic Gardens (June 23 – July 30)
Scotland’s premier Shakespeare Company bring their imaginative productions to the beautiful outdoor setting of the Botanic Gardens. Prepare to follow the actors in promenade theatre style for this season’s productions of Twelfth Night, Coriolanus, Macbeth and Christopher Marlowe’s Dr Faustus (marking the first time the company has departed from the Shakespearean canon). Keep an eye on the company’s handy weather watch!

Wee Green Cinema, Pollokshields Playhouse (July 2-3)
The Wee Green Cinema is a UK first, with audiences and crew pedalling to power it, as it screens an exclusive programme of films about the planet. The 40-seater will be visiting Glasgow’s southside for one weekend only for a Southside Film Festival special event to celebrate all things green, with screenings of WALL-E, Wadjda and more. Screenings are free and unticketed.

SURGE Festival, Merchant City Festival (July 30 & 31)
SURGE is Scotland’s annual festival of street arts, physical theatre and circus. Cutting edge Scottish and international performers fill the streets and spaces of the city during one weekend of the Merchant City Festival, with shows and street encounters that are outlandish and wildly unique. Programme to be announced soon.

Escape Glasgow (all year round)
The ‘escape the room’ format that has proven so popular with hen & stag dos, as well as for corporate team building, has set up a permanent base in Glasgow. Participants (2-5 people) are locked in a mysterious room and have 60 minutes to work out how to escape. There are two games to choose from: Classic – where code breaking, observational skill and mental dexterity are put to the test; and Contagion, where participants take on the role of scientists working against the clock and against infection to create a vaccine for a fatal global virus.

To view all 11 events, visit WOW 247 Glasgow.

Hinterland

Scotland’s Festival of Architecture 2016 is under way with the opening event, Hinterland, setting the tone for a year of spectacular events celebrating the country’s overwhelming strengths in this field.

Hinterland saw one of Scotland’s most impressive modernist buildings open up to the public for the first time in 30 years. St Peter’s Seminary just outside Helensburgh has been sitting in a ruinous state, since closing in the late 1980s after serving as a training ground for Catholic priests for just 13 years. Devised by public arts organisation NVA, Hinterland was the last chance to see the seminary in its last days as a glorious ruin, before it is transformed into a £4.2 million national platform for public art and heritage.

The sell-out event took place over 10 consecutive nights in March. Audience members met at a central meeting point and were then bused to the site and handed a light up walking stick upon arrival (much lightsaber re-enactment ensued!). You could then walk through the building at your own pace and reflect upon the architecture – the unusualness and possibilities of the space. This was all accompanied by a light installation and soundscapes which subtly complemented but never overwhelmed the building (in fairness, nothing could overwhelm a building like this). There was one set piece in the large central area of the building, which evoked the original purpose of the building, as two people undertook rituals whilst carrying incense.

No modern ruin is complete without graffiti and there was plenty here – of varying quality. I love the idea of graffiti artists travelling to Helensburgh and discovering this palace of opportunity.  It must also be a location scout’s dream, as it could provide a unique spot for filming across a variety of film genres.

For me, I was taken by the harshness of the building – the coldness of the concrete, the vastness of the space. I couldn’t imagine any furniture of any era ever adorning this space. But at the same time, I was astounded by the daring of the design, the beauty of the undulating roof, the poetic feel of the floating balcony over the trees, which on a sunny day must have provided the perfect spot in which to reflect upon the meaning of life. If the architects were trying to provide future priests with an environment that would have the dual purpose of inspiring contemplation whilst keeping them grounded to the values and hardships of a consecrated life, then they hit the brief.

This was a truly unique evening, as devised by NVA, who are masters at creating unusual and dynamic public art within extraordinary natural and built heritage sites. I hope that the building thrives in its next life as an arts space. Whatever purpose the building serves in future years, I am sure that its original life as a monastery will continue to echo throughout.

Trilogy Blog – Part 3: The final act

I’m going for the approach that audiences like to take in the largest section of action in the first act and the shortest in the final act. That is a thing isn’t it? So, if you’ve read Part 1 and Part 2 of my trilogy blog, you’ll see that the length is decreasing as we progress.

So, for the final installment – what are the longest and shortest plays that I have seen?

4776637523_aaa8deffd2_bThe longest was Lanark: A Life in Three Acts at the Citizens (photographed), which clocked in at 4 hours long. The adaption of Alasdair Gray’s seminal Glasgow novel, Lanark: A Life in Four Books, benefited from combining the 4 books into 3 acts.

The shortest was Far Away by Caryl Churchill, also at the Citizens, with a running time of approximately 45 minutes. It was most notable for an eccentric and hilarious hat parade, which featured a small baby and seemed to last for about half the play.

Have you been to see any epic or modest plays in terms of length? Are you going to see any of the trilogy plays in Scotland this year? Let me know in the comments section below.