- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 7, 2006

‘Heavy Metal’ heyday

“I’m David Helvey,” boasts a strawberry blond-locked dude sporting a white T-shirt with its sleeves cut off, one hand clutching a beer can and the other snaking behind a big-haired, 13-year-old girl named Dawn. “I’m 20 years old,” he continues. “And I’m ready to rock.”

It was May 31, 1986, just before a Judas Priest concert at the now-defunct Capital Centre in Landover, and Mr. Helvey was one of dozens of metal-heads willing to talk to two random guys with a video camera. No one involved had any idea they’d someday become underground rock legends.

But the 16-minute documentary that aspiring filmmakers John Heyn and Jeff Krulik produced from their footage, “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” took on a life of its own, spawning bootleg copies that have made it into the hands of everyone from director Sofia Coppola to the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl. It even made VH1’s list of 100 Most Metal Moments (it’s No. 16), and landed the moviemakers on the pages of GQ magazine in 2001.

Now, the producers have re-released “Heavy Metal” as a 20th-anniversary DVD. Last month, they held screening parties at Arlington Cinema ‘n’ Drafthouse and Baltimore’s Ottobar.

While perhaps not as mythical as a well-worn VHS copy of a copy of a copy, the new DVD edition features a clearer picture of the outrageous spandex and mullets, the trash-talkers and the beer-pounders, vintage Camaros and Trans Ams. Plus, it includes lots of extras — like outtakes, directors’ commentary, and a “where are they now” section.

This time around, the filmmakers finally get to earn some coin off their cult classic’s popularity. (It never had a theatrical release, and with the exception of some limited VHS sales, the duo has received little financial compensation for it.) Mr. Heyn and Mr. Krulik have continued working in film around the D.C. area — the former makes training videos for a government agency, and the latter is a freelance movie and TV producer. But like it or not, “Heavy Metal” remains their defining picture.

In addition to the bodacious fashion it portrays, Mr. Heyn says that it really captures the subversive nature of the rock scene. “That’s why it’s had all this staying power,” he says. “It kind of has this universal theme of rebellion, and still packs a wallop, even in this day and age when people aren’t usually shocked.”

Mr. Krulik sounds slightly more ambivalent. “I just keep trying to come up with something else and top it,” he says, “and all anybody ever wants to talk about is ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot.’ ” Zebra spandex kind of has that effect on people.

For more about the film, visit www.heavymetalparkinglot.com or www.planetkrulik.com. The 20th-anniversary DVD is available at Baltimore’s Atomic Books (www.atomicbooks.com), FilmBaby.com, Netflix.com and Amazon.com. (Because of the raucous nature of the video, it is not recommended for children.)

Jenny Mayo

African films

Danny Glover was in town last night to open the New African Films Festival at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring.

The “Lethal Weapon” actor has a cameo in “Bamako,” which made its area premiere last night. But even if you missed the film, in which director Abderrahmane Sissako stages a mock trial of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, there is still plenty to see until the festival winds down on Monday.

Tonight, for example, you can catch “Indigenes (Days of Glory)” at 7. The film follows four North African soldiers fighting for France — their colonizer — during World War II. Its four leads won a collective Best Actor Award at Cannes earlier this year.

In “Drum,” screening tomorrow, “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” star Taye Diggs plays Henry Nxumalo, a magazine writer in 1950s Johannesburg who goes undercover to reveal the true nature of apartheid. It’s based on a true story. “The Governor’s New Clothes,” filmed in Congo, is not. It’s based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Director Mweze D. Ngangura has adapted the story into a musical set in an African village.

Admission for all shows is $9.25 ($7.50 for AFI members, seniors and students). Tickets can be purchased at the AFI Silver Theatre Box Office at 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. A schedule and information on the films can be found on its Web site at www.afi.com/silver.

Kelly Jane Torrance t

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