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Inland Empire Screening Party - Slow Start, Great Finish

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LAists Elise and Heath arrived at the screening party for David Lynch's Inland Empire last night with an hour and a half to spare, thinking that would be plenty of time to get a good seat. We had forgotten that David Lynch's fans put the cult in cult movie. There was a line stretching around the entire courtyard, with some people having arrived early in the day to stake their claim. It was not a press event, as we had thought, but an open call-out. And when Lynch calls, they come running. There was a full bar, which makes waiting in line a good deal easier. Unfortunately, there were no "free drinks" as we had been led to believe. The only thing free was Dewars, and you needed a special black VIP wristband. I asked an usher how you know whether or not you know you are on the VIP list. He asked me, "Did David Lynch call you and tell you that you are on the VIP list?"

Immediately after seeing Lost Highways in the theatre, I had had the distinct feeling that David Lynch was playing a practical joke on the audience; that maybe it was all just a big experiment to see how much we would put up with. As every single person living in LA already knows, it was really hot and muggy yesterday. Standing in line sweating, my conspiracy theory seemed more and more feasible. Maybe Lynch was standing somewhere, hidden behind a screen, watching us and taking notes.

The screening room filled up quickly, and a number of us were herded into an overflow room. We were in the very last seats in the very last row of that very last room. I would guess that there were approximately 100 people who did not make it into either screening. A movie screen was set up on a tripod in the front of the room. With the lack of ventilation and the cement ceiling with exposed pipes, it had the distinct feeling of watching home movies in your uncle's basement. Then there was one of those hilarious moments of total surrealism that made everything worthwhile.