My article “Truth, Justice & The American Way” is featured in Crystal City’s News/Press section!
Check it out here (listed under June 11.)
Many thanks to Adrienne Williams for making this happen!
Crystal City Business Improvement District (Crystal City BID to those in the know) may not be the most catchy of titles, but this is one group you should know about if you’re in DC this summer.
Every Monday until the end of September, Crystal City BID is hosting outdoor screenings of superhero movies. The lineup started in May with all three Spiderman films, followed by both Hulk films. The set of five Superman movies began this week, and will be followed by the three X-Men flicks and two Fantastic Four films. The series finishes with a flourish, screening all six Batman films, capping off with the masterpiece that is The Dark Knight.
Having prayed to the weather gods to hold off the near-perpetual DC rain, I took the train to Crystal City on Monday night for a screening of the original Superman, starring Christopher Reeve. Crystal City is actually in Virginia, as my friend Dave helpfully pointed out, but the train ride from my apartment is minimal. The metro lets out next to a Marriott Hotel and a conglomeration of square, shiny office buildings, enclosing a large rectangle of grassy courtyard. When I arrived, the lawn was packed with groups of young professionals, families with children, and middle-aged couples on dates. Everyone was sharing late dinners or after-work drinks, lying down and chatting, or reading books. Blankets, low lawn chairs, picnics and wine are allowed, but no umbrellas. (Come on, weather gods!) An inconspicuous table offers free apples and candy, as well as alcohol for a price and surveys to rate the film experience.
The experience was superb. I’d never seen any of the Superman films before, and Crystal City was a superb place for my first exposure. Outdoor screenings bring out everyone’s inner Rocky Horror Picture Show audience member, turning the film into A Large And Awesome Event. We cheered every time Superman did something AWESOME: he picks up the truck as a five-year-old! He flies for the first time! He changes into his Superman suit in the revolving doors! YAYYY!
Overall reaction? Christopher Reeve is hot. More importantly, Christopher Reeve is a very good actor. I was astonished at how adorably bumbling yet devastatingly heroic his Clark Kent-cum-Superman was.
The film has an odd dual quality of being very clearly dated while also being timeless. 1970s fashion trends and slang, a needlessly long and slow opening sequence, and a trippy rhyme/interpretive-dance-in-midair montage are offset by some really personal, honest dialogue, mostly between Clark Kent and Lois Lane (played by Margot Kidder.) The plot is sturdy, the effects are great (who knew that Krypton had black lights?), the trio of villains has great comedic timing, and the themes of Americana and heroism are infectious.
Crystal City has no mosquitoes (though I can’t promise anything as the summer drags on.) The focus is the film, so don’t get rowdy or talk too loudly to your neighbor during the movie. Arrive early to get a good seat, but don’t kill yourself if you’re a bit late- I arrived an hour before the film began and I had a great sight line to the screen. All screenings start at sunset, or 9 pm. A word of caution: the Crystal City metro closes at 12 pm, but the last train leaves around 11:45 pm, so hustle to catch it when the film ends.