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The Loft Cinema Screening of Best F(r)iends and The Disaster Artist
April 14, 7 p.m.
When Tommy Wiseau wrote, directed and starred in The Room in 2003, he could never have imagined the fate that lay ahead for his film, his career, and that of his costar and former roommate, Greg Sestero.
Right out of the gate, The Room didn’t exactly look like a winner. In fact, after a production that could only be called torturous (with multiple cast replacements, convoluted and ever-changing script, reshoots, and other snafus), Wiseau’s film lacked a marketing campaign (except for a rather creepy-looking billboard display), or widespread distribution.
But a group of film fans found it anyway, and sang the quirky praises of this tale of love-gone-wrong in a way that rippled into a cult movement. Wiseau, a true survivor, embraced the view of his dark drama as a comedy, and championed showings where fans shouted out lines and threw plastic spoons (a reference to the ersatz set décor) at the screen. He even launched a line of T-shirts and other goodies that drew on the film’s most famous lines (i.e., “Oh hi, Mark!” “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!”).
Sestero, blessed with leading man good looks, a dry wit, and the smarts to recognize a great opportunity when he saw it, turned his memories of the lengthy and chaotic Room shoot into the best-selling book The Disaster Artist, which was subsequently made into an award-winning film starring James Franco as Wiseau and Dave Franco as Sestero.
The experience of making The Room might have scared more timid men away from filmmaking, but Sestero bravely plunged back in, both writing the script for, and starring in, Best F(r)iends, a comedy thriller. Costarring Wiseau, the plot involves a drifter and a mortician who develop a friendship as well as a business partnership, and how those ties are tested by the lure of money and the love of a beautiful woman.
Best F(r)iends actually was filmed in two parts, with substantial sections of Volume Two of the series (slated to be released a little later this year) lensed in Tucson and around Southern Arizona.
On April 14, The Loft Cinema will screen both The Disaster Artist, and Volume One of Best F(r)iends, with several other exciting activities on the bill, too. A live, staged reading of scenes from The Room will be held on The Loft’s stage, and Sestero will be on hand to regale the audience with stories from the productions he has been involved with and sign books and DVDs. The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. 795-0844. http://loftcinema.org; www.bf-movie.com
April 14, 6:30 p.m.
This annual event raises money for the charity “The Forgotten Children,” which is providing shelter and an education to homeless children in Senegal. The evening will include performances by Groupe Solidarite Sympa, specializing in music of the Ivory Coast; The Key Ingredients of African Soul, a local multicultural band that draws from African folk, African pop, and Afro Cuban influences; and dance by Denise Bey and Yarrow King, and Dancing in the Streets. The master of ceremonies will be Chezale Rodriguez, and the keynote speaker will be Rubin Salter Jr. Food, from a number of local restaurants, is included with admission price. Armory Park Center. www.theforgottenchildren.org.
Arizona Friends of Chamber Music
April 15, 3 p.m.
Romanian cellist Andrei Ionita, who won the Gold Medal in the cellist division of the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition, comes to Tucson as part of the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music’s Now Music Series. Ionita will perform solo on an instrument created by Giovanni Battista Rogeri in 1671. The program will be: Pietro Locatelli’s Cello Sonata in D Major; Igor Stravinsky’s Suite italienne; J.S. Bach’s Solo Cello Suite No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008; and Shostakovich’s Cello Sonata in D minor, Op. 40. TCC Leo Rich Theater. https://arizonachambermusic.org.
Pete Swan & Triple Threat
April 20, 7:30 p.m.
Local vocal favorites Julie Anne, Katherine Byrnes and Crystal Stark — collectively “Triple Threat” — join forces with saxophonist Neamen Lyles, keyboard player Richard Katz, bassist Evan Arredondo and drummer Pete Swan for an evening of free jazz in Main Gate Square. www.maingatesquare.com/events.