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‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot ‪Alumni: Where Are They Now‬?’
08.18.2015
09:06 am

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Amusing
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Music

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Jeff Krulik
Heavy Metal Parking Lot


 
The saga of Heavy Metal Parking Lot is practically indie-filmdom’s Greatest Story Ever Told. In 1986, Jeff Krulik and John Heyn brought a camera to a Judas Priest show and interviewed the fans milling about in the parking lot. The result was just about the funniest 17 minutes of nonfiction film ever produced—drunken, stoned, and just plain old amped-up metalhead kids mugged and preened for the cameras, and generally just obliged the videographers by absolutely reveling in the attention being paid to them. It’s people being people in some of the best slice-of-life filmmaking ever made, and no less an indie-film godhead than John Waters is said to have claimed that the film gave him the creeps.

Krulik went on to a career in video, working for Discovery Networks and the National Geographic Channel among other enviable gigs, and the notoriety of HMPL (nth-generation VHS dubs were practically a required possession of any self-respecting weirdo by the early ‘90s) allowed him to continue making short docs exploring the endearingly odd fringes of American culture. Most of them by far were NOT about parking lots, but the theme proved durable. In 1996, ten years to the day after he shot HMPL, he went back to the same concert arena to make Neil Diamond Parking Lot, which IMO was seriously way more fucked up than its forebear. The actually quite charming Harry Potter Parking Lot followed in 2000, and in 2004, the now-defunct Canadian cable channel Trio even commissioned Krulik to produce a parking lot documentary series called—yeah—Parking Lot.
 

 
HMPL was released on DVD in 2006. Rights issues concerning Judas Priest songs made it hard to release legitimately for a long time, though a legit-enough-seeming underground VHS compilation of Krulik films was commercially available at one time, if you were resourceful enough to find it. The DVD is blown out with extras, one of which is a wonderful short documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot ‪Alumni: Where Are They Now‬, wherein Krulik and Heyn tracked down four of the people featured in the film (three quite prominently, one for literally half a second), all by then approaching middle age. Amusingly, for years, none of them had even the foggiest idea that they had been part of an underground sensation. In fact, the iconic “Zebra Man,” a loudmouth young guy in an amazing and preposterous zebra-striped jumpsuit who made himself a spectacle by loudly proclaiming the merits of metal and calling Madonna a “dick,” is shown on camera as an adult watching HMPL, of which he’s inarguably one of the stars, for the first time. (There’s another revelation about the guy that I thought was HILARIOUS, but which I will not here spoil.)

One downer: they didn’t find the shirtless dudebro in suspenders who seems to have rather brashly called Judas Priest singer Rob Halford’s homosexuality a dozen years before Mr. Halford actually came out—or at least that’s what I always assumed his “Robert Halford, I don’t know about you” remark was supposed to mean. I don’t want to call some guy out as a homophobe if I’m misunderstanding what he’s trying to get at, but either way, there doesn’t seem to be any way that could have been an uninteresting follow-up interview. UPDATE 08/20/15: Via internet magic, he found me! He’s Zev Zalman Ludwick of Silver Spring MD, and since HMPL he’s become a Hasidic Jew, a bluegrass musician, and an aquarium designer. (There’s auto-playing media on that last link.) We had a lovely chat on the phone, and he confirmed that his remark in the film was indeed a potshot at Halford’s homosexuality, but that time has softened his views on gay people considerably. He also confirmed that he was, indeed, an interesting follow-up interview.

If you have a Roku device, both the original doc and the alumni follow-up can be seen on the SnagFilms channel (or you can watch the follow-up right here at the end of this post). And really, if you haven’t seen the original, it’s on YouTube. You should get on that, there’s a reason it’s been a stone classic for almost 30 years. Plus, absent the context of the original, I can’t imagine Where Are They Now having a whole lot of impact.
 

 
Propers to Mr. Marty Geramita for suggesting this post.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The director of ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’ returns with ‘Led Zeppelin Played Here’
Beatle bobbles, Madonna’s bustier, and half a Plasmatics guitar on Jeff Krulik’s Hard Rock Cafe tour
‘Where Are They Now?’: Bleak animation about the current lives of 80s cartoon characters

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Massive mural pays homage to cult film ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’
09.30.2014
02:14 pm

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Art
Movies

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Jeff Krulik

Heavy Metal Parking Lot mural by Jasper Patch
 
New York City based artist Jasper Patch was invited to hand-paint this 8’ x 70’ mural on a wall outside of a bar called Clyde’s in Chattanooga,Tennessee. The owners of Clyde’s left the subject matter up to Patch and he chose wisely, as the mural features several of the most memorable stars of director Jeff Krulik’s 1986 cult documentary “Heavy Metal Parking Lot.”

The mural took Patch about ten days to paint and according to the artist himself the response has been as big as his painting. In my estimation, the only thing this metal monstrosity is missing is an image of the long-haired acid tripper from HMPL, the forever shirtless Graham (“you know, like, gram of dope n’ shit?”). Here are a few close-ups of the mural.
 
Heavy Metal Parking Lot mural braces girl
 
Heavy Metal Parking Lot mural Zebraman
 
If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the drunken kids of “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” I have good news. In 2006, Jeff Krulik and his partner in crime John Heyn tracked down some of the film’s alumni to see what they’ve been up to. To the surprise of nobody they are all still headbanging devotees. They even found “Zebraman” (pictured above), an unwitting fan favorite of the flick who despite his acid-soaked proclamations about Mars, is improbably still alive.

“PRIEST IS THE BEST!”
 

 
Previously featured on Dangerous Minds:
‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’ trading cards

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The director of ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’ returns with ‘Led Zeppelin Played Here’
08.14.2014
11:45 am

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Movies
Music

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Led Zeppelin
Jeff Krulik


 
I’m sure that many—if not most—of our good-looking, high IQ readers have seen quirky documentarian Jeff Krulik’s underground classic “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” a short movie shot outside a Judas Priest concert in Landover, Maryland that exchanged hands on VHS tapes in the 80s and 90s. Krulik made a sequel with some Neil Diamond fans in that very same parking lot in 1996 and went on the road with McHale’s Navy actor Ernest Borgnine in his customized RV in 1997’s Ernest Borgnine On the Bus. His Heavy Metal Picnic came out in 2010 and now Jeff Krulik returns with a fun new film about a Maryland youth center where Led Zeppelin maybe… might have…. supposedly… (definitely!) performed on their first US tour.

From the director’s statement:

I recently finished a feature documentary called Led Zeppelin Played Here, which is my effort to prove that Led Zeppelin’s first DC area concert was in a youth center gymnasium in front of 50 confused teenagers on a snowy Monday night in January 1969. This whole project came about as I was set to do a film called “Maryland’s Woodstock,” about the Laurel Pop Festival which took place in July 1969, one month before the Woodstock. I wanted to highlight that there was this forgotten pop festival in our area, and basically tell the story of that two day concert, featuring Led Zeppelin headlining one night.

But I soon found a story arc as I connected the dots of Led Zeppelin’s performances: in May, they shared a bill as opening band for The Who at Merriweather Post. And in February they were on an opening slot with Vanilla Fudge at the Baltimore Civic Center. But the real curiosity was their first local concert which was said to have taken place on January 20, 1969 at the Wheaton Youth Center, a non-descript multi-purpose room and gymnasium in a Maryland suburb. And it happened to be the night of Richard Nixon’s Inauguration. And the weather was terrible. And 50 people were there, tops.

But surely this must be an urban legend. Or is it?

What I loved about Krulik’s charming, low key film is that the whole mystery of this did-it-or-did-it-not occur spur of the moment Led Zeppelin show is something that he uncovered while making a film about something else entirely. The Rashomon-like onscreen narrative becomes quite intriguing as the viewer goes along with the filmmaker on his fact finding mission, Krulik serving as a dogged rock snob gumshoe on the trail of this elusive and either legendary—or apocryphal—Led Zeppelin show. In the end, we’re left to decide for ourselves if this concert actually took place or not, his Columbo with a MOJO subscription sleuthing having provided no definitive answers.

I think it did happen, but… but then again I wasn’t there. Like an a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma that had no surviving posters, handbills or even a single photograph (let along a bootleg tape) ultimately we will probably never know if Led Zeppelin played at the Wheaton Youth Center on January 20th, 1969. They only people who know the truth were there, and even some of them aren’t sure.

Led Zeppelin Played Here screens tonight at Cinefamily in Los Angeles as part of the annual Don’t Knock the Rock film festival. Jeff Krulik will be there in person — plus there will be a Q&A moderated by Michael Des Barres of Little Steven’s Underground Garage on SiriusXM. Get tickets here.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Beatle bobbles, Madonna’s bustier, and half a Plasmatics guitar on Jeff Krulik’s Hard Rock Cafe tour
01.27.2014
10:31 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

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Jeff Krulik


 
Filmmaker Jeff Krulik became a sort of underground phenom in the ‘90s for Heavy Metal Parking Lot, that infamous, hilarious, and kind of astonishing short documentary about metalheads loitering outside a Maryland arena before a Judas Priest/Dokken show in 1986. He extended the franchise with Neil Diamond Parking Lot and Harry Potter Parking Lot. Krulik went on to serve as a producer for the Discovery Channel, and to independently make dozens of affectionately odd docs about endearingly odd people, like King of Porn, Obsessed With Jews, I Created Lancelot Link, and the not-to-be-missed Ernest Borgnine on the Bus.

Unsurprisingly, his YouTube channel is wonderful.

There’s tons of weirdness there to enjoy, but I was enchanted by this raw, unused footage of a 1994 tour through the Hard Rock Café’s memorabilia warehouse. We’re guided through the experience with the amusing and dryly acerbic commentary of overalled and ponytailed curator Steve (last name lost to the decades), who shows us everything from a Les Paul chainsawed in half by The Plasmatics’ Wendy O. Williams to an instrument donated by an impostor—who posed as a Billy Squier sideman, because he was apparently not a terribly ambitious impostor—that prompts wonder as to why they even kept it around. You will see valuable Buddy Holly and Who posters on the floor. Steve smartasses his way through priceless collections of toys and clothing, too. It’s good fun, and I’ll shut up now and just let you watch it.
 

 
Bonus! Here’s Krulik’s Hitler’s Hat, the tale of the Jewish-American G.I. who took Adolf Hitler’s top hat as a WWII trophy! This video also boasts my single favorite YouTube comment ever: 

”I wish i had a hat like that, i mean I don’t support the nazi’s actions, but hitler did have some good taste for hats.”

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Heavy Metal Parking Lot’ Trading Cards!

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’ brought to you by American Express???

image
 
Jeff Krulik and John Heyn’s Heavy Metal Parking Lot documents a tailgating party prior to a Judas Priest concert in the parking lot outside of the (now gone) Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland, on May 31, 1986. It is one of the most beloved and legendary relics of the 80s & 90s VHS trading scene, of which I myself was a participant. It is a low-fi masterpiece, a work of demented genius and one of the funnies things you’ll ever see.

Twenty-years after the film was made, the music rights were sorted out and Heavy Metal Parking Lot was released legitimately for the first time in 2006.

Now, hilariously, one of the most underground things you could possibly get your hands on back in the day, a true holy grail for people who had heard of it, but who had no way of seeing it, unless they knew the right person, has been licensed by the American Express corporation as part of their SnagFilms website. Of all the things to find a corporate sponsor…  I guess it shows how far pop culture has come.

In any case, this is one of the best, cleanest versions of the film that I’ve yet seen. Brought to you by American Express, it’s Heavy Metal Parking Lot:
 

 
The Prequel: Heavy Metal Picnic!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Heavy Metal Picnic!
09.26.2010
12:53 pm

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
Jeff Krulik
Heavy Metal Picnic

image
 
Jeff Krulik, the VHS auteur responsible for one of the most legendary low-fi masterpieces of the tape trading underground of the 80s and 90s, Heavy Metal Parking Lot, has a new film out that returns to the era of his much-beloved earlier film. It could almost be considered a prequel.

Dig it! I for one, cannot wait to see Heavy Metal Picnic. This looks amazing:

Produced and presented by the team behind cult hit Heavy Metal Parking Lot (Jeff Krulik and John Heyn), Heavy Metal Picnic is a celebration of mid-80s Maryland rock and roll and heavy metal, by those who lived —and survived—it.

The film focuses on the 1985 Full Moon Jamboree, a weekend field party bacchanal that took place at “The Farm,” home to a cast of colorful characters who lived and partied alongside unamused neighbors in the McMansions of Potomac. The Full Moon Jamboree, an affair so raucous that it made the evening news, was the farm party to end all farm parties, and much of it was recorded using a home video camera and a stolen CBS News microphone swiped from the Reagan Inauguration earlier that year. Twenty-five years later, we revisit the scene and meet the people behind the party, as well as the musicians who performed there, including mid-Atlantic doom metal icons Asylum.

 

 
Heavy Metal Picnic (official site)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment