Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Beats, Rhymes, and Life: The Travels With a Tribe Called Quest ~ DC Screening

I've written at least a couple of posts (i.e. for this blog) about the Beats, Rhymes, and Life: The Travels With a Tribe Called Quest documentary, so of course I had to venture out last night for the Washington, DC screening at the AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival.

For those of you that don't know the background, I'd seen A Tribe Called Quest in 2008 in the Bay Area.  I have a good friend, Gary Harris (aka the Insideplaya), who's friends with the group, and he had invited me out to Rock the Bells.  Backstage during the show I was also introduced to Michael Rapaport, who was filming for this movie at the time.  This movie is his directorial debut.

Seeing as that I had/have somewhat of an inside peek into the dynamics of the group and a very small part of the process, I've been following this project closely.  Last night I finally went full-circle and saw the final product.

Tickets weren't available on-line, when I looked, so I knew I needed to get to the theatre early.  I was first in-line in the standby line, but was "rescued" when a man handed me a free ticket.  The two girls behind me said they were "blessed" to get into the screening.  The 4th girl in line probably would like to punch me (i.e. I'm sure she'd argue that she was in front of me), because she didn't get in.  ****  She left to go to the bathroom, and when she returned to the line, I offered to let her have her spot back.  She said it was fine.  Oops!

The screening was at 8:45PM.  I couldn't get an accurate answer from any of the volunteers with regard to capacity of the theatre, but I'd estimate about 20 rows with about 20 seats across.  The theatre had to bring in extra folding chairs to accommodate the people with passes (e.g. industry, press, special guests, film makers) and ticket holders interested in the movie.

As I watched the movie and journeyed into hip-hop history, I enjoyed the music of the movie.  The music is a character in this film (i.e. similar to NYC being a character in the Sex and the City series).  Interviews with the band, one-liners from Phife, and footage from the past performances  all came together to tell a story and form the "soundtrack".  The film's music and imagery complemented the story and led people in the crowd through their own musical, life story (i.e. evidenced by people singing along to "Buddy" and laughing at all the outfits from costumes past).

People rode the wave of the ATCQ's travels and musicology and seemed to relate to the story of the band members.  The audience seemed to understand and empathize with the personality conflicts and other issues, just as cousins empathize with the issues that surround brothers and sisters.  ATCQ is a family.  Families get along well some times and families feud some times.  That's life.  Life is long and has its ups and downs.  Friendships come and go, but family is family and in times of need - families come together.

The overall sentiment at the end of the documentary, appears to be of hope.  For those of you that don't know.  ATCQ has one more record left on their deal...

Excellent directorial debut.  Captivating movie.  I didn't want it to end.  I hope the story isn't over.  Based on the questions and answer session held after the screening, it looks I am not alone...  People still love ATCQ, and I think that if they watch the movie ~ people will love that too.  Every good story has some laughs, makes you think, and honestly I think I heard a girl crying in the theatre last night...  If you like ATCQ, hip-hop, or just enjoy a good human story I recommend you check the movie out.

Here's a link to the release dates:


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