Friday 28th June - I'm still working my way through the hefty June backlog. Over two weeks ago, I met Taro near Limehouse DLR to attend Future Cinema's latest project, Saturday Night Fever. Future Cinema put on immersive, interactive screenings of films, with a large troupe of actors at their disposal to act out scenes or set the mood all evening in a variety of ways. This year they have already taken on Casablanca and Shawshank Redemption which both looked exciting. Future Cinema also run Secret Cinema which is effectively the same thing, except you don't know what film you are going to see. Personally, I prefer the Future Cinema strand as you are less likely to end up in Alexandra Palace watching four hours of Lawrence of Arabia against your will! I have been slightly afraid of what exactly a Future Cinema evening might involve, but I couldn't turn down the "live disco experience". I recommend switching on The Bee Gees heavy soundtrack now to get the most out of this blog.
List Leader "I wanna go dancing" Natalie bizarrely turned down the ticket, but Taro stepped bravely into the breach, slightly unaware what he had signed up for. Once we started walking from Limehouse to the stunning, old Troxy cinema (or Mecca Bingo, depending on your age), it became clear that we were a tad underdressed. Flares and 70s hair were the order of the day and we had neither, but opening a shirt button or two helped us to blend in. As we turned the corner to get to the Troxy, we were accosted by a Raft Rider who invited us to join his gang, and stamped our arms. We agreed to "represent" when the time came. Others were being drafted into the Imperial Dukes, the Dirt Road Diggers, the Faces, and the Jackson Heights Wanderers.
The venue had been turned into 2001 Odyssey, the club that Tony Manero (John Travolta) frequents in the film, and we joined the queue to get in. The door lady didn't like the look of us so we went through a back entrance with some other rejects. Before we made it into the main room, we were asked to show off our moves to gain entry. Taro and I obliged and had a little boogie which was deemed to be satisfactory. Finally we made it into the cinema, and were amazed by the venue transformation. There was a large light up dancefloor with a DJ booth in front, plus Tony's bedroom and Phillip's Dance Academy at the back. There were also make-up stations for the girls. We dived straight in and headed to the Dance Academy with a beer to have a lesson in dancing the hustle with Phillip from the film. We learned the moves quickly enough, but never quite excelled in the hip department.
We then made our way to the dance floor to take part in a Soul Train, which involves dancing in pairs down an aisle, like a really funky ceilidh. It wasn't quite up to the standard in the video below, but we gave it a good go.
The dance floor then hosted a dance contest akin to those in the film, which ended up with two competing couples duking it out for the trophy. The quality of dancing was incredibly high, and it was truly exciting to watch it happen live - if only nightclubs were still like this. Just as the winner was about to be announced, Stayin' Alive started pumping out and Tony Manero started strutting his stuff on the big screen, so we all rushed off to grab a good seat.
We settled down with some more beers, and Taro got himself a Big Apple Hotdog, who seem to be everywhere at the moment. The atmosphere was excellent, with people cheering John Travolta whenever he took his top off, or booing him when his behaviour got out of order. The actors frequently got involved, either acting out the scene at the same time, or adding some background action, and the dance scenes were often recreated frame for frame. We were also encouraged to get back on the dance floor for the big disco scenes, and at one point most of the room danced the Hustle that we had learnt in Phillip's Dance Academy.
As soon as the film finished, they got the whole room back up to the dance floor with a cabaret style singer (who sadly got slightly ahead of her backing track!) and scantily clad dancers, before switching to a superb disco DJ set from Horse Meat Disco. We befriended one of the actor/dancers called Margherita who was filling in for the evening, and she clearly had a great time being involved - check out her Cardboard Cabaret in Hackney. I hope Future Cinema are reading and decide to do something that needs a symphony orchestra or a string quartet so that Taro and I can get involved next time.
Thanks to Taro for putting on his boogie shoes and getting involved. Saturday Night Fever was already one of my favourite films but it will now always have a special place in my heart after Future Cinema's top effort. Keep your eyes peeled for their next event - they have just put up a video of The Ronettes singing Be My Baby which could potentially be a reference to Mean Streets or Dirty Dancing, but what do I know? For other crazy cinema experiences, look out for Edible Cinema who give you items to eat and drink at specific points during the film to add to the ambience, and Hot Tub Cinema who are pretty self explanatory. Rooftop Film Club should also not be missed while the weather is so good, and I recommend going for the Peckham Bussey Building branch as the views are stunning - more on that in a post coming soon. That's enough Jive Talkin' for one blog.