As we quietly chanted a self-affirming (however desperate) “you can do this” to ourselves while rocking back and forth in the fetal position, The Observer’s phone lit up with a surprise last minute invite to something a little off the beaten path: A two-hour reserved-seating Q&A session with screen legend Gary Oldman. The invite washed over us like an awesome wave.
First stop: Lincoln Center’s Walter Reed Theater
- Being fans of The Fifth Element is an understatement. Being in awe of Gary Oldman’s career is an even greater understatement.
- Mr. Oldman was whispered to be in an undisclosed location somewhere at Lincoln center having his photo taken on what photographers John Reuter and Myrna Suarez dubbed “The Largest Polaroid In The World.” We caught up with them as they approached the theater.
- As we cozy our way into the packed house, the screen lights up with scenes from Oldman’s career: Blood gushing from the mouth as Sid Vicious, revolver discharging wildly in The Professional, a tattered Sirius Black in Harry Potter, the menacing intergalactic arms dealer from The Fifth Element.
- The lights go on, and Mr. Oldman bounds toward the stage, beaming. We are an even bigger fan of him in person.
- Turns out this guy studied the art of mime. Whoa.
- When asked by an intrepid audience member whether he listened to music in preparation of a role, Mr. Oldman snickered, “Of course I do! Music is like pornography, it’s immediate, it’s a supreme art form.”
- A flask is a very important thing to bring to Lincoln Center.
Our sweet tooth for Oldman sated, it was time to get back to business: Nur Khan and Nima Yamini kicked off the Electric Room’s concert series.
- The erstwhile “supermodel” Abbey Lee Kershaw’s band Our Mountain would be on tap for the evening. Nobody in the room seemed to have any idea what to expect, but there was definitely a bike chain and a trashcan in the band’s setup.
- Bombay Sapphire seemed to keep the throng at bay as we waited for what looked to be a freshly bejeweled Abbey and her band to take their place in front of the, er, fireplace.
- Ok. Here we go. Things are happening.
- 17 cameras fixated on Ms. Kershaw, our ears start sending signals to our brains. The signals were mainly, “Uh, what?”
- More than our fair share of shrieking, howling, gyrating and experimental clothing later, it was time for the bike chain to come out. Boy, oh boy…
- Wouldn’t you know, this track isn’t so bad!
- Nur got the sense as the band slowly descended into a low BPM haze, he very well might lose the crowd. Expert ringleader he is, Mr. Khan makes a quick nod to DJ’s Todd Smolar and Mike Nouveau to take evasive action. The band finishes out their set, and we’re back to life.
- Keep that gin coming, baby.