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July 9, 2011

"Heavy Metal Parking Lot"

Excerpts from John Jurgensen's story in yesterday's Wall Street Journal follow.

On May 31, 1986, two young men packed a bulky video camera into their Pontiac Bonneville and headed for a concert arena in suburban Washington. They wanted to explore the culture surrounding the rock group headlining the Capital Centre that night: Judas Priest. What they documented—animal-print bodysuits, mullet hairdos and lots of hoisted beers—was edited into a 17-minute film. It would morph into an underground phenomenon, one that the filmmakers' parlayed into an ongoing franchise, if not big paychecks.

Filmed in 1986 at a Maryland concert arena parking lot before a heavy metal show, "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" is a documentary tribute to rock and roll fans, and a time-capsule of tailgater ritual.

When the filmmakers pose a boilerplate question to one of the many wiry, shirtless guys in the film—"Where are you from?"—he replies, "I'm on acid. That's where I am." Women, though fewer in number, are equally uninhibited. One, describing the contents of her cup says, "Jack Daniels and Coke, what else?"

"We spent two hours there, and we're still talking about it 25 years later," says Jeff Krulik, who with his friend John Heyn created the film "Heavy Metal Parking Lot," when they were 25 and 28 years old, respectively.

July 9, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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