Few things are more personally disappointing to me than people who promise something and then fail to deliver. (Note: people who behave in this manner are also sometimes euphemistically referred to as “liars”). Last week, both Geoffrey and I received email invitations to an advance screening of the soon to be released documentary, Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, which is Director Tamra Davis’ film about the late NYC painter. This particular screening was sponsored by local scenester DJ Spooky. G and I RSVPd separately to the address on the email and, in short order, we received email confirmations that our RSVP had been recorded, accompanied by the address of the screening venue. The email also noted that our email addresses had been “added to DJ Spooky’s Email list.” Fair exchange, I figured: I get to attend a free screening of a movie that I can write about for my Rad Blog, and the film not only gets free press but DJ Spooky gains access to my email account to spam me with whatever message feels inclined to send my way. I got really excited to see the film, because I love Jean-Michel Basquiat and The Radiant Child had already gotten so much positive advanced hype that I felt certain it would be worth it. Plus my keyboard has a “delete” key.
The day of the screening rolled around, and lo and behold, what did I find waiting for me in my mail box on that morning but a message alerting me that the “Radiant Child Screening Has Been Overbooked”! Apparently, the screening venue only holds 150 people and DJ Spooky’s mailing list received – wait for it – over 1,000 responses requesting to attend the screening!! Holy crap on a canvas, Batman! Surely there is no way that DJ Spooky’s organization could have foreseen that putting something out there on the Internet for the entire world to see might possibly result in an overbooking of this event. Surely there was no way that the mailing list could have been kept to perhaps 200 recipients, which would with little doubt have still filled the theater without disappointing 800 other art fans. And please don’t even imagine that this “invite to an advance screening” was just a ruse to collect email addresses with which to pad DJ Spooky’s promotional mailing list. Heavens no! Lastly, I was asked to understand that I was now officially uninvited to the screening of The Radiant Child, but could I please remember to “support the film’s theatrical release”? Wow. I mean, not that Radiant Child doesn’t deserve my support, but this incident just reminded me so much of the time Radiohead’s publicist sent me press release after press release for whatever new CD the band was promoting at the time, and when I emailed her back requesting a review copy of the album she suggested I “go buy a copy when it comes out and help the band sell some records.” Uh, Fuck and You, was I believe my response. Because I know bullshit when I smell it.
Blah Blah Blah.
Inviting a thousand people to a screening of a huge-buzz-generating film that you know at the outset only a slim fraction of those invited will logistically be able to attend is a pretty low method to use for augmenting your email list. Needless to say, but you can see I am about to, I will be deleting any messages I receive from DJ Spooky followed by a swift unsubscribe action. The Radiant Child looks like a great film. Too bad I can’t blog about it, because I wasn’t able to see it.