Rob Crissinger: A Memory in the Arts I Can’t Forget
There was a shocking moment during the 2010 deadCENTER Film Festival that will forever stick out in my mind as the precise moment I fell in love with Oklahoma City and its arts community.
It was my second year volunteering on the festival’s public relations and marketing committee. The weeks leading up to the kick-off were abuzz with activity on the media relations front. We were doing all the traditional stuff, as well as guerilla marketing tactics like stunting in Kerr Park downtown with Biker Fox and pop-up street karaoke with “Simply Irresistible” from the Rock & Roll Dreams of Duncan Christopher.
Things got increasingly fast-paced when shortly before the kick-off event (the night before if I remember correctly) we learned that Academy Award nominated director/producer/actor Spike Jonze would fly in for the event, and even agreed to be available for a little pre-event publicity and a Q&A following the free outdoor screening of his documentary “The Birth of Big Air” starring Oklahoma native, and BMX legend, Mat Hoffman.
Smack Dab Into Spike
Things were hectic on the day of the event. The PR team was organizing a press conference on the fly with Mat and Spike. Minutes before their scheduled arrival, I ran across the street to check on parking and very nearly ran smack into Spike and his girlfriend crossing the street in the opposite direction. I reflexively pointed in his direction and garbled something resembling speech along the lines of “Hey, you’re Spike Jonze!” He was very gracious about it, so I didn’t feel like too much of a dork about the embarrassing exchange until the next day when I played the events back in my head.
So we all walked into Red Primesteak for the presser, and an hour or so later, emerged from the building and out onto Broadway, which had somehow completely transformed during that short time. The street was now a raucous festival, jam packed with thousands of people and activity everywhere!
The scene took my breath away. I was genuinely surprised, and felt such a surge of pride for our city in that moment.
When I caught my breath, I found my wife (taking pictures with Biker Fox), grabbed a few drinks from the bar, found a place to sit down, and enjoyed a great movie under the stars with thousands of our closest friends.
If you are stubborn enough to still think Oklahoma City is less than incredible, try going to the 2012 deadCENTER kick-off, and we’ll talk after.
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