Tyler Jacobs is no stranger to show biz (aside from acting on TV as a child, he and his brothers work on the Aquabats! Super Show! and Yo Gabba Gabba!). But his latest project, CinemAttack, is all about being part of the audience.
CinemAttack's goal is to essentially make people fall in love with going to movie theaters again, by bringing films to life. "There seems to be a really big movement right now when people are really excited to go out to see a movie that they might even already own on DVD -- but in a theater with other people at an event," Jacobs says. "So even while fancy home theaters are on the rise and Hollywood struggles to fill seats, people still want to go out and have a really cool experience in a theater."
Jacobs is screening old-school, ska cult documentary Dance Craze on Friday, May 31 at the Art Theater, and they are even bringing in the film's cinematographer to talk at the screening. Why celebrate such an old-school art form? Read on to find out.
OC Weekly (Lilledeshan Bose): How did you come up with the idea for an event company? Tyler Jacobs: I've always had a huge passion for movies as far back as I can remember. I grew up in the entertainment industry, and I used to make tons of home movies in the back yard with my brothers (Christian Jacobs of the Aquabats and Parker Jacobs of Gogo13). I really liked the part when we got to get everyone around and make a big event to screen what we had made.
Even now, we love having "movie nights" for my kids and their friends and cousins where we make a big event out of it. We had an Avengers marathon last summer in preparation for the big movie -- a double feature every night of the week projected on my entire living room wall, floor to ceiling, with themed treats and everything.
So while I love working full-time with my brothers on children's TV, I wanted to try something new that was a little more personal to me. Being such a movie geek, it just felt natural to throw movie parties for a bigger audience. Thus CinemAttack! was born.
Why this film? Dance Craze had an enormous influence on me. It's a concert film featuring 2-Tone bands such as the Specials, Madness, the Selecter, etc. The songs are shuffled between bands, so it never drags, and it was beautifully filmed onstage at the height of the 2-Tone era in England, so it has this real explosive element to it.
Being a huge ska fan as a teenager, I used to watch and rewatch my bootlegged VHS copy of it while sewing patches onto my flight jacket. I heard stories from older mods who would go see Dance Craze in theaters back in the early '80s. People would get up, dance up one aisle, then around and back down the other. That always sounded like so much fun; I knew it was something we'd have to do.
What are your emotional ties to ska and movies? When my brother Parker introduced ska to me at 14, it really blew me away. I started my own ska band in Utah [GoGo 13] and spent most of my teen years going to ska shows between OC and Salt Lake City. I immersed myself in traditional Jamaican ska, rock-steady and reggae. I still love it.
As for movies, that's always been one of my biggest passions. When I was young, I'd always get so excited to see the billboards on Sunset Strip and imagine what crazy stories they represented. We used to go to 20/20 Video on Ventura Boulevard, and it was like a candy store for me. So much magic in every box. I would record edited-for-TV movies such as Repo Man and Revenge of the Nerds and memorize them. It was just such an exciting time to be a kid who loved movies. I worked at Blockbuster Video in the '90s and got even further into cult and independent movies.
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How did you find the cinematographer of Dance Craze, and how did you get him to come to the screening? My friend, Jason Lawless, read an article recently about a screening Joe Dunton, the cinematographer, held of the only existing 70mm print of Dance Craze in England. Jason got in touch with him, and they talked about doing a screening here in LA. When Jason caught wind that I was already planning to screen Dance Craze [at that time, a bootleg copy], we teamed up. It was an incredible, perfect storm of coincidence that brought it all together. We're lucky enough to get Mr. Dunton to come out to LA with one of the very few 35mm prints in existence. To my knowledge, a proper print like that hasn't been screened in nearly 30 years. So this is going to be really special night!
What else do you have planned for CinemAttack? You're planning to screen Scott Pilgrim too, right? That sounds really cool. We have the Scott Pilgrim Picture Show coming up on June 14, which I'm really excited about. Basically, we're giving Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World a Rocky Horror treatment . . . and pushing it even further. We're taking the most fun movies in recent times and throwing in live bands, audience interaction, costume contests, stuff-throwing, and even garlic bread . . . naturally.
I can't get too specific yet about anything unannounced, but let's just say I'm super-amped. We're cooking up some really cool ideas, like TV marathons, Q&As, curated films by very special guests, and so on. We plan to pop up at different theaters around Orange County -- as well as continue with the Long Beach Art Theater, which is awesome! -- to keep the dynamic fresh. We're even looking forward to doing outdoor events further down the road. . . . You'll be hearing a lot more from CinemAttack!
The Dance Craze Dance Party is at the Art Theatre, 2025 E. Fourth St., Long Beach. Fri., May 31, 11:50 p.m. Tickets: $17-$20 via cinemattack.ticketleap.com/dance-craze-dance-party. Follow us on Twitter @OCWeeklyMusic and like us on Facebook at Heard Mentality.