On Saturday, Dormont's favorite home for cinema, the Hollywood Theater, will transform into a shrine of a decidedly funky variety thanks to a "Purple Rain" party and screening. For both diehard and casual Prince fans, event organizers Leonard Lies and Frank Cosentino promise a memorable night.
"The Hollywood is really interested in events where people experience not just the theater, but get completely taken away," said Lies, who is on the board of the theater in addition to running Dreamcatcher Films on West Liberty Avenue. "We want people to experience a whole different world when they walk through those doors."
It was Prince super fan and collector Cosentino that brought the idea to Lies. He became a fan of the artist in 1982, a devotion that has only grown stronger throughout the decades.
"All of my friends have gone from liking one band to another, but I stuck with Prince," said Cosentino. "Prince has helped me through a lot. Going through hard times, I could put on an album or a concert and for an hour or two, I could go on a journey."
The two men found that a screening of "Purple Rain" could be easily fleshed out to a full event, especially considering the rare collectibles Consentino could provide for the evening. Included among the treasures: posters of never-before-seen images of Prince outside Paisley Park Studios and a collection of photographs obtained directly from the photographer. The gallery of images will be displayed in the lobby before the movie begins.
"The images are extremely rare," said Cosentino. "We have to be really cautious and make sure that people don't take photographs of the artwork. But I wanted to give people a glimpse of something they have not seen before."
Guests will also be treated to unreleased Prince tracks playing in the empty theater, purple cupcakes, and the opportunity to dress as their favorite rock stars. The first 40 people to arrive will also receive a gift cup of purple Kisses, a purple lollipop, and a paper replica of Prince's "Purple Rain" jacket, handmade by Consentino. One lucky attendee will receive a "Purple Rain" T-shirt and CD.
Lies got the rest of the Hollywood Theater board interested in this event as a jumping off point for others of its type.
"You could do it for the Beatles, the Stones, or someone more modern," said Lies. "This is the pilot for how the theater is going to do these kind of events. We're being watched very carefully but everybody on the board is getting juiced up for it."
For the event's organizers, the evening's main draw is the chance for Prince's enduring cult of fans to come together.
"Everyone is there for the same reason, to immerse themselves in the Prince experience with the same passion," said Lies. "Everyone will be on the same wavelength."
"People will come because they want to see 'Purple Rain' on the big screen," said Cosentino. "But also for the rare artwork, the music, the community. The whole vibe is going to be a trip."
The "Purple Rain" party and screening is on Saturday, August 6th at the Hollywood Theater on Potomac Avenue. Doors open at 6pm, movie screens at 7 pm. Tickets are $7.
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