Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blue Light Special: The "Troop Beverly Hills Experience!"...

Erika Adickman takes the job of being a fan very, very seriously. After first seeing the 1989 campy (no pun intended) comedy Troop Beverly Hills years and years ago, she dragged her DVD copy with her on a recent camping trip with friends. Popping in it, she probably didn't know if she would be laughed at and out of the cabin or if her friends would prove to love the movie just as much as she does, but thankfully the latter was the case.

"One of the girls there was from Iowa, and one from Florida, and we all found ourselves quoting the same parts [aloud]," Adickman was happy to report. Looking around, she realized if these few knew and loved the movie so well, there just
had to be more out honorary Troop 332 members out there!
The idea for a screening came and quickly went from Adickman's mind. "It just didn't seem like it would be enough," she explained. "Anyone anywhere can host a screening, but I wanted to really make this an experience."

And with the help of actress (she played the salesgirl who sells Phyllis a dress missing a bead) and songwriter (the infamous "Cookie Time") Hilary Shepard, it very quickly turned into one. Shepard contacted Adickman after seeing a blip about the event plans on the internet, wanting to know if she could come. Soon Adickman found that Shepard wasn't the only Troop 332 alumn who wanted in: costume designer Theodora Van Runkle (she even has a shout out in the film!), writers Pamela Norris and Margaret Oberman, and director Jeff Kanew all quickly signed on. Oberman in particular was excited to meet the long-time fans who were willing to pay fifteen dollars to "watch something [they] could just get in Target!"

Word spread around the internet hard and fast this past weekend, when Michelle Collins of
Best Week Ever fame posted about how she wants this event to travel to New York. In fact, actress Aquilina Soriano (Lily Marcigan), heard about the event through a friend and promptly emailed Adickman to see if she could join in on the fun and nostalgia, as well. She did make a surprise appearance on stage with the rest of the panel, though there were no new patches for her, since her presence was not anticipated.

Adickman, whose proceeds went to WriteGirl, by the way, did mention receiving interest from New York, as well as Portland, so she is entertaining the idea of taking this show on the road, so to speak. However, she is also considering replicating the experience event but with a different film. Both she and her sister Janah of Delish Your Dish, who flew in from Florida to help with the event and sell her amazing homemade Girl Scout cookies and cake pops (!), feel
Adventures in Babysitting might just have to be the next film on their "experience" list.
Adickman introduced the evening with a trivia slideshow and led the Q&A panel with special guests, giving them all more than well-earned sashes full of achievement patches, such as Screenwriting with Style patches for Norris and Oberman, and the Dynamic Directing patch for Kanew.

The film screened next, with many on-screen prompts ala
Rocky Horror's midnight sing-a-longs, telling the audience when to boo the Red Feathers, stand up and do the Freddie, and quote some of the most memorable one-liners ("Excuuuuse me, Officer!") right along with the actors. During "Cookie Time," event volunteers even tossed packets of cookies at the crowd. For only it's first screening, Troop Beverly Hills: The Experience proved to be just as legendary as its aforementioned predecessor. Kanew got back up on stage as the film was rolling end credits to ask for a round of applause for Adickman. He gave her a big hug and even seemed to tear up a bit, perhaps overcome with the outpouring from fans he may not have known he had.

With this event marking the 20th anniversary of the film, only one question remains: where's the special edition DVD release??? I know at least a couple hundred Los Angelians alone who are waiting not-so patiently for it, and judging from the panel last night, there are plenty of commentary-worthy stories to tell!


Karen said...

It was so much fun and I was happy to see so many come out and nerd it out with us, lol. Can't wait till the next one.

Macey said...

Sorry to be a random commenter, but this blog post rocks!!! I just googled Troop Beverly Hills, my all-time fave movie, and found this! Wish I could have been there, I would have been sooooo happy.