“Oh, what a night.” The iconic refrain from the hit track, “December, 1963,” by the Four Seasons, was still stuck in my head the day after the Red Carpet Night hosted by Images Cinema. Why, you ask? (Please ask, as the entire rest of the article is contingent on your asking.)
I found myself humming the melody of “December, 1963” because the delightful Images employees chose the equally delightful tune as their walk-up song, so to speak, each time they capered up to the stage to announce the lucky raffle winners of their “Images & Chill” giveaway. (And yes, the periodic drawings were as awkward as the desperately-trying-to-be-hip name might suggest, although the raffles themselves were a nice addition to the night.)
In truth, the evening did get off to a slow start. Being the prompt individual that I am, I arrived at 7:25 p.m., only to find myself in what was nearly an empty theater. Looking around at the six other individuals who had taken their seats, it seemed as though I was the youngest to have – so to speak – walked the red carpet. All the same, I was proud to have lowered the average age from what I estimated was 65 to around 58.
But even at this early stage, there was an undeniable energy surrounding Images, which has now entered its centennial year. The lobby had top-notch decorations – an area for photo shoots complete with a backdrop, a cluster of lovely Mylar balloons and posters of Oscar-nominated films that had been shown at Images.One especially chipper Images employee reminded me – I suppose I must have looked mystified as I entered – that the event was totally free. I have to say, it is really something for Images to host such an event and charge nothing for it. Of course, there was a suggested donation of five dollars, but in my opinion, I think it’s a donation that is well deserved.
Upon entering the actual theater, I found myself at a crossroads of sorts. To my left stood Assistant Professor of Computer Science Brent Heeringa, armed with an impressive stock of alcohol, including a number of cocktails inspired by Oscar-nominated films. Across the aisle from the College’s own professor-mixologist were the good people from Cricket Creek Farm, who told me about their wonderful cheeses, which were being passed out both as a plated assortment and in the form of a grilled cheese. Needless to say like most cheese, it was fantastic. (And as an advocate for milk in all forms, I fully intend on someday trying their raw milk.)
My spirits were lifted as I saw my less punctual peers saunter in just before the ceremony got underway. It seemed that in the blink of an eye, we had a full house – a crowd that was made up of the young and the old, the dressed-up (looking at you, guy who went full Mad Max: Fury Road) and sweatpants-wearing (looking at you, me). We were treated to a short address from the executive director of Images, Doug Jones, in addition to the announcement that an adorable couple donning matching costumes from nominated film Brooklyn won the best dressed contest.
After a few other announcements all that was left was to kick off the Oscars was a legendary opening monologue from Chris Rock, one so honest that all of white Hollywood clapped out of sheer discomfort.