Jeff Krulik and John Heyn's "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" offers a bracing glimpse into the heavy metal subculture -- and in this case, you can emphasize either the "sub" or the "culture." The 15-minute documentary, shot at last year's Judas Priest concert at Capital Centre, will be shown Sunday and Monday nights at d.c. space as part of its 10th-anniversary celebration, and continuously at the Vinyl Event at the Silver Spring Armory on Oct. 11.
"John and I were drawn to the notion of documenting a crowd warming up for a heavy metal concert," says Krulik, a public access director for MetroVision Cable. "From our days of going to concerts, we speculated it would be pretty colorful and we zeroed in on a crowd we thought might have total abandon. It was all very spontaneous -- we stayed in the parking lot, videotaping and interviewing everything and anybody that we came across. We didn't encounter any hostility and in fact were met with open arms. The fans really reveled in it, and we shot an hour's worth of footage and edited it down to the most intense 15 minutes."
The film seems to confirm every Parents Music Resource Center fantasy about the mind-numbing effects of heavy metal, and, Krulik admits, "it was definitely an aberrant form of behavior -- they didn't care what they said or how they presented themselves because they were so completely wrapped up in the event, in their love for heavy metal and alcohol. They were pretty juiced up. I couldn't imagine what it was like inside, the parking lot was too intense.
"I think anybody who's ever gone to concerts has encountered people like this, and it's certainly a rite of passage," Krulik adds, pointing out that "you might get the same intense devotion in many crowds, but I doubt it would be as colorful or as Neanderthal. We interviewed everyone -- parking lot attendants, men, women, old, young. We got a cross-section of fans, and the crowd was very well oiled and primed for their evening out." Krulik and Heyn have also produced videos for local rocker Butch Willis and Elvis impersonator Michael Hoover and are now finishing a documentary on Washington's great movie palaces and theaters, the ones that didn't have numbers after their names.
Dancin' the Blues
Saturday's day-long Blue Bayou Music Festival at the Prince George's Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro is a celebration of American vernacular music styles, from the roiling rockabilly and rock 'n' roll of the Original Sun Rhythm Section and Tex Rubinowitz and the deep rhythm and blues of Noble (Thin Man) Watts and Barance Whitfield and the Savages, to the exuberant doo-wop of the Orioles, the sizzling Cajun rhythms of Wayne Toups and the Zydecajuns and the mighty blue wave of the Nighthawks.
"The festival is a larger version of the concept at Twist and Shout," says Marc Gretschel, who has turned Bethesda's American Legion Hall into one of the great dance halls around (and we're talking dancing here, not disco). "The common denominator among the bands is that they play a simpler, older form of American music common in the middle of the century, but within certain parameters there's a lot of diversity.
"Whether we're doing a festival like Saturday's or a weekend show at the Twist and Shout, the people who are into it are into it with both feet. There aren't that many releases for them, but luckily we've built up a certain credibility now. They may be familiar with the Cajun group Beausoleil and so when we bring in someone like Bruce Daigerpont or Wayne Toups, they may not have heard of them but they'll come out. After a while, it becomes very personal."
On Saturday there will be two stages offering continuous music from noon to 8 p.m. and booths offering such vernacular foods as chicken, ribs, burgers and dogs. Tickets are $8 at Ticket Center, $10 at the gate (at that price, you feel like you've won something right away). The Equestrian Center, located at Routes 4 and 301 in Upper Marlboro, is trying to establish itself as a popular venue for large outdoor events -- it hosted this year's record-breaking Sisterfire Festival -- and Gretschel is hoping that the Blue Bayou Music Festival will become an annual celebration.
The Wammies at Lisner
Sixty-four Wammies will be given out at Monday night's Washington Area Music Awards at Lisner Auditorium, including a pair of Hall of Fame inductions and a Special Achievement Award to the late Tony Taylor of Lettumplay Inc. Many will be given during a reception in the lower lobby of Lisner before the evening show, which will feature 25 awards and nine performances by artists representing the wide range of music in the nation's capital.
This year the awards were voted on exclusively by the Washington Area Music Association membership, which according to WAMA board member and promoter Mike Schreibman is somewhere around 400, the highest it's ever been. In previous years, much of the voting was open to the public, but "because we're a volunteer outfit, we felt that doing a successful public ballot was more of an undertaking than we could handle," says Schreibman.
Tickets (at $18) are available at all Ticket Center locations or by phone-charge at 432-0200. A special $25 ticket, which gets you a seat up close to the stage, also lets you attend the preconcert reception and hobnob with the stars. All ticket holders are invited to join winners and losers alike at a postshow party at Wolensky's in the 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. Mall next to Tower Records.