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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution

The Essay
Show #209
The Phantom Matinee
David Gunn

It's Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, on the road again. Today's 209th episode is coming to you live from the middle third of a line of perambulatory film buffs outside the Oswald County Cineplex, where a matinee screening of George Lucas' "The Phantom Menace," the latest in the Star Wars juggernaut series, is imminent. We've been standing here since Thursday morning, when the line was already a mile long. Since then, we've moved steadily if incrementally closer to the theater, and have now reached the tail end of the 60 switchbacks that lead directly to the ticket booth. Many fellow line standers have gotten into the spirit of the event by masquerading as characters in the film. There's a person dressed as the focus puller, another as the caterer -- one of several hundred comestible provenders, actually -- and three others right behind her look like one of the buffet tables itself. There's someone impersonating a steadicam -- not the operator, but the device itself. Another couple is dressed as Bob Moog, Mr. Analog Synthesizer, whose birthday is tomorrow. The appearance of his doppelganger here is not a coincidence. Although people leaving the theater have been customarily tight-lipped about what they've seen on the screen, we have heard reports that a synthetic synthesizer salesman named B'Mooga does figure prominently in the film.

Originally, we'd planned to go to the Wednesday midnight premiere, but we were hoodwinked into attending "The Phantom Mantis," a movie about a pale green tropical predatory insect with two pairs of walking legs and powerful, grasping forelimbs that, even though it terrorized hundreds of people and devoured dozens more, seemed to have no physical reality. In truth, it wasn't such a bad film, the line was a lot more reasonable, and none of the costumed attendees saw the need to anthropomorphize the title character by feeding on live insects.

Oh, you may have heard the groan of palpable disappointment from the crowd, as we just received word that the matinee screening has begun. And I estimate that we're still, oh, a good 1,800 customer slots away from the popcorn machine. Since the theater seats fewer than 400, I'd say we have our wait cut out for us. Nevertheless, there's a wonderful feeling of camaraderie here, a sense that we're all part of a late 20th century happening, and hang the Y2K compliancy conspiracy theory that's linked to it. Of course, all the camaraderie in the world plus $1.55 will get you a cup of plankton juice.

While we await the next cinemacast, which unfortunately begins after we go off the air today, let us take a moment to explore the influence of the Star Wars film music on the contemporary music industry.

There. That's done. As is, at least for the time being, our live coverage of "The Phantom Menace," given the absolute dearth of anything of interest to report to our listening audient. But we will maintain off-mike contact with our in-line reporting team in case that changes. Until then, it's Damian signing off, and returning you to the radiophonic studio wherein lurks the musical specter of Kalvos.