There’s a new openness to events at Prince’s Paisley Park.
First, there was the listening party for his “1999 Super Deluxe” boxed set in November. Then, there’s a New Year’s Eve party starring the Funk Soldiers, featuring former members of his NPG, with vocalists Judith Hill and Andre Cymone, for a $20.20 admission.
Now comes a film series in January entitled “Paisley Park Cinema: Music on the Big Screen.”
The three movies to be screened are:
Jan. 11 – “Wattstax”(1973) about a 1972 outdoor concert in Los Angeles featuring Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, Rufus Thomas, Kim Weston, William Bell, Albert King, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and others, to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the 1965 riots in the Watts area of L.A.
Jan. 18 – “Amazing Grace” (2018) featuring Aretha Franklin, fresh off 12 No. 1 R&B singles, returning to a Baptist church in 1972 to sing gospel music. It's an amazing documentary that made many critics' best-of-the-year lists in 2019 when it was finally widely released.
Jan. 25 – “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party” (2005) chronicling the comedian, inspired by the “Wattstax” movie, holding a musical block party in Brooklyn in 2004 featuring Kanye West, Erykah Badu, the Roots, Mos Def, John Legend, the reunited Fugees and others.
“Prince built Paisley Park as a hub of creativity, and to celebrate and inspire original music and art,” Alan Seiffert, new executive director of Paisley Park, said in a statement. “There is no better way for us to launch into 2020 than to showcase the artistry, compelling performances, and cultural significance of these critically-acclaimed concert films and to present them on the big screen at Paisley Park.“
Prince’s studio complex has been open as a museum since October 2016, about six months after he died. Graceland Holdings, which operates Elvis Presley’s Graceland museum, had a three-year contract to run Paisley, ending Sept. 30. Seiffert took over on Oct. 1.
Tickets for the cinema series, priced at $69.99, are on sale at paisleypark.com. The screenings on Jan. 11 and 25 include an after-party with a DJ. All movies will begin at 8 p.m.
Tickets for the individual screenings will go on sale in January.
Let's hope some unreleased Prince concerts are included when the series is extended -- notably the priceless first Piano and a Microphone Show at Paisley Park on Jan. 21, 2016.