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The Wizard of Oz/Dark Side of The Moon Mash-up @ Clark Park.

July 14, 2014

JUMP_Wizard of Oz_BSpause-13Text and images by Brianna Spause.

From the bottom of a crater-like ravine in West Philly’s Clark Park, speakers boomed last Thursday night. The sound bounced off the hills, the trees and all of the lawn chairs in between to carry a few back-to-back Rolling Stones tunes down Baltimore Avenue as a crowd began to form.

Classic rock radio sponsor 102.9 WMGK was responsible for supplying the tunes from “The Bowl” area of the park and bringing in interested onlookers. The radio station gave out prizes and created atmosphere for the Awesome Fest, which brought the night’s headlining show under the stars.

On the bill for the free outdoor screening was the 1939 film classic The Wizard of Oz synched with Pink Floyd’s 1973 Dark Side of the Moon album. In celebration of the film’s 75th anniversary and the incredible amount of synchronization between the two, Awesome Fest projected the pairing on an inflatable 30-foot screen and left the invite open.

The Metro Goldwyn Mayer lion roared twice and after the next outcry, the album began with the slow heartbeat of “Speak to Me.” About 1,000 children, adults and dogs gathered in the park to watch the film, which flashed subtitles for this showing and allowed the music to carry the night. There were moments when the songs seemed as if they were written specifically for the movie.

When a tornado comes to strike Dorothy’s farmhouse in Kansas, “The Great Gig in the Sky” began to play. Lyrics created powerful imagery, like: “And I am not frightened of dying. Any time will do, I don’t mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There’s no reason for it – you’ve got to go sometime.”

The weather had it’s own hand in the coincidences that lined up that night. The sky was pink and the air slightly humid – a fine night to spend in the park. And as the tornado spun Dorothy’s house into the sky and the female singer begins to scream on the track, heat lightening appeared behind the projection screen. It was a subtle touch that added to the fear the song was creating and that the movie had originally intended.

Immediately after, Dorothy and Toto arrived in the Land of Oz to the tune of “Money” and the crowd went wild. Whistles and cheers erupted as the iconic clanging of change went off and the movie made it’s famed transition to Technicolor.

It should be noted that on the cover of the Dark Side of the Moon album, a white ray of light is refracted into a rainbow after passing through a prism – coincidentally, The Wizard of Oz’s transition from black and white to color is one of the movie’s major selling points.

The phenomenon that has been labeled “Dark Side of the Rainbow” started as an Internet phenomenon in the mid-Nineties, and took off when Turner Classic Movies broadcasted The Wizard of Oz with the alternative Dark Side of the Moon soundtrack on live television in 2000.

Despite the realistic soundtrack the DSOTM album creates when aligned with the movie, members of Pink Floyd have consistently denied any kind of connection. An audio engineer for the album even denoted the supposed connection as “eyewash” in 2003. As for the crowd, it was an obvious pleaser – intentional or not.

The production is a part of the fifth annual summer film series that squeezes movies into unconventional spaces, Awesome Fest. This year’s theme, “The Soundtrack of Awesome,” features movies that rock through August 17, with 29 different reasons to get out on the weekends.

The majority of the outdoor screenings are free, at Clark Park, Eakins Oval on the Parkway or Liberty Lands in Northern Liberties. The Trocadero is putting together 10 of the screenings, mostly on Mondays, with a $3 cover charge.

The next outdoor screening will be at Eakins Oval on Friday with Macaulay Culkin’s pizza-themed, Velvet Underground “tribute” band, The Pizza Underground, with openers Ang & The Damn Band. Perhaps the free pizza, and screening of the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie will prevent a repeat of the rockers getting booed off stage like they did in a festival in England this past May.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

One Comment
  1. karen permalink
    July 14, 2014 5:13 pm

    Another awesome and fun article!

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