'Exit through the Gift Shop' makes its entrance downtown
In the meantime, we did stop by the premiere of Bansky's "Exit through the Gift Shop" last night. (This is the art-world thriller/meditation from the guerrilla street artist that made a splash at Sundance and is now being distributed by sales agent Cinetic Media. It's also a documentary -- or perhaps just an elaborate postmodern joke.)
The premiere brought out the expected mix of art-world figures, actors and general celebrities-around-town -- Joaquin Phoenix, Ashlee Simpson, Pete Wentz, Shepard Fairey (we'd heard Mr. Brainwash, the unlikely star of the film, was not there, but that's unconfirmed for the moment.) The after-party was one part performance art (think fake policemen dancing on a podium) and one part Los Angeles art world gathering. Mainly it reminded us of the old-world glory of the Los Angeles Theater, which stands as an example of a certain kind of glamorous, pre-war European-style venue architecture (San Francisco's Great American Music Hall also comes to mind).Banksy, never one to shy away from a smart promotional move, has savvily tagged some spaces around the city (some examples sat parked in front of the theater last night, as pictured here).
There's also a film-marketing question in all this -- namely, can the media-world sensation drive the opening of a movie. The reviews have been strong (David Edelstein of New York Magazine labeled it "acidly funny') -- and the word of mouth will no doubt grow. It's a classic case of buzz versus big marketing money. We'll see how this round goes down.