Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

TCM Classic Film Festival

After years in Los Angeles, I finally made it to the red carpet of a star-studded premiere. And ironically, it was blogging that brought me there. Danny and I are attending the TCM Classic Film Festival, thanks to the recommendation of blogging friend Jane Devin and the cool people at Buick. There are movies and lectures about classic movies from morning until night. Hey, Roger Ebert, is it humanly possible to see five movies in one day?I once made it through a special showing of the Star Wars Trilogy, but I had a headache for a week, and I was drugged up on coffee.

My first post about the event is going to be a little short, because I am rushing to the Chinese theater to see King Kong! Most of the films are at the classic Chinese and Egyptian theaters in Hollywood, so that makes it extra special.

Last night was a showing of “A Star is Born” with Judy Garland, a favorite of anyone who has tried to make it in Hollywood, or any gay male. I have seen the movie so many times, but never on the big screen. At the party after the movie, there was much conversation about Judy Garland and James Mason’s teeth because the big image allowed us to see how imperfect and coffee and cigarette-stained they were. Imagine, movie stars with REAL TEETH! Ah, now that is classic cinema!

I love “A Star is Born,” but this was a re-mastered version where they added material that was edited out after the premiere. Danny explained to me that the movie was not a total success at first, so the studio edited out some scenes to quicken the pace, against the wishes of George Cukor. George Cukor is a brilliant director, but I think the studio was right. Do you ever see the extended version of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” where Spielberg added in a sequence of Richard Dreyfuss walking into the spaceship and meeting the aliens. Sometimes, less is more. However, it was cool that they tried to be historically accurate and show the movie exactly as it was during premiere night.

Since I have a guest pass, I’m bringing Sophia to many of the films. It should be interesting to hear her reviews.

Today should be a wild day of screening. Here is my schedule of what I want to see:

King Kong
Sweet Smell of Success (with Tony Curtis in attendance)
The Producers (with Mel Brooks in attendance)
Imitation of Life (with Peter Bogdanovich, Juanita Moore, and Susan Kohner)
Casablanca
Midnight Cowboy
and The Day of the Triffids at midnight

Let’s see if I can keep my eyes open. (but free popcorn and soda!)

Since Buick is a sponsor of the event, they are also MY sponsor. For a week, I can drive around in a fancy, classy new Buick Lacrosse, a really cool car. Buick is smart. They are aware that some of us still think of a Buick as “Dad’s car,” rather than something cool, hip, and timeless — like Casablanca.

“So if they want to position themselves as cool and hip, why did they ask YOU to do this?” wondered Sophia.

Nothing could be farther than the truth about Buick being old-fashioned. This is one nice car, and even I’ll agree that I looked sexy driving it.

More later, including OFF-CENTERED photos of me ON THE RED CARPET.

13 Comments

  1. I loved “A Star Is Born.” My mother took me and my (gay) brother to see it on a big screen at some place in Palm Beach when we were kids. I would love to see it again.

    What a cool opportunity, Neil. Enjoy it!

  2. You got the car for the whole week & you are in LA? That sounds like a road trip to Vegas!!!! Pick me up at the airport and we’ll hit the road!

  3. Holy Crap! Imitation of Life is one of my guilty film pleasures. Its main theme seems to be: If you want to be a woman with a career, get ready for it to ruin your life because women are meant to be homemakers and stay-at-home-moms. Wow. Who knew that a movie about pancakes could be so deep?

  4. I would love to see any of those pictures on the big screen. How fun! Can’t wait to see some pictures of you in your sexy Buick.

  5. Oh, how cool!!! Cars and old movies. . . sigh. So jealous!

  6. Hey…my first 2 cars were Buicks. Once again, a trend-setter. And what the heck, no free Twizzlers?

  7. My Dad had a black Buick that he named Betsy. He was sad when he traded her in for another car at the end of a long reign.

    The new Buick that I see on commercials is so incredibly gorgeous I wish my Dad was alive to see it. He would be impressed.

  8. Are you wearing boxers or briefs to these premieres?

  9. When I was growing up, my dad drove a Buick station wagon. He called it the “Bu-Hog”. I’m still not sure what that means, but it was supposed to be funny. My mother drove a Corvette.

  10. The best car any of my boyfriends ever had was a 1956 Buick convertible.

    I envy what you’re doing today!!

  11. Neil….Lucky Lucky You! Oh, to once again see “A STAR IS BORN” on the Big Screen. Danny is not exactly accurate about this film not being a success when it opened. I saw the film on Opening Day in New York City—TWICE! It was FANTASTIC! The reason it got cut was the Studio couldn’t get in as many screenings because of the length—MONEY! Greed was rampant even back
    then. And, in my humble opinion, the film was a Masterouece in it’s original length. What you are seeing now is STILL Not the full version because of all the lost footage. It was a shame that they shortened the film so they could get in One More Screening a day.
    I am thrilled to say I saw the Full Length Original in all it’s glory…No “stills” or “Voice over” stuff…every beautiful scene in it’s entirety. In this case MORE was really MORE! This Film Festival sounds like it was truly a special four days…! Like I said, Lucky You!

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