On Friday, May 26, PatriotPartner and I were joined for the evening by our good friends Mark and Cory, to view the World Premiere of the new Disney/Pixar movie Cars at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Thirty-thousand other folks sat in the rain-drenched speedway bleachers to be the first to lay eyes on the new animated film. (My review will be posted tomorrow; Cars is released in theaters this Friday, June 9)
The premiere event itself was so interesting that I wanted to reflect on it with some highlights.
We had to wait in the car for about 30 minutes until the violent thunderstorms stopped. Luckily Cory had a very large umbrella because about 20 minutes after we were waiting in front of the speedway, the skies opened up again and the rain came down in torrents. Just as Cory popped the umbrella, a woman jumped underneath it and asked if it was okay if she and her
husband, boyfriend, friend joined us. We really didn’t say yes but she jumped in with us anyway.
So here we are… four gay guys in a big old Red State at a NASCAR speedway with a woman who reeked of bourbon and cigarettes huddled with us under our umbrella while her one-legged friend (yes, I’m serious) refused to join her. I increasingly felt a clash of cultures was brewing since it was clear the one-legged guy was very uncomfortable with us as he was being soaked to the core by the monsoon.
So I’m thinking “Man… this figures. Charlotte has been so nice to John and I, and here we invite our friends who are more Blue than Red to join us at the Speedway… and this happens.” I suppose I was letting my own prejudice get in the way, huh?
But then it happened. In the most drunken, loud, Southern female accent you can imagine…. the woman asks “Are you all gaaaaaay?” Poor Cory nearly had a stroke on the spot. She continued, “…. ’cause I watch Will & Grace.” (Oh brother.)
I looked at her and replied, “We are but I really don’t think this is an appropriate place to have this discussion.” Frankly I was more afraid of her being drunk than a holy roller aiming for a biblical fight. I learn when to pick my fights and this wasn’t it. It would have just ruined our night.
When the rain stopped, we said our goodbyes to Mr. & Mrs. Trailerpark and quickly skedaddled away. While I kept my eye out for a one-legged man, we found another line at a new gate to the Speedway. To my absolute glee, we began talking with a baby boomer-ish married couple from Charlotte. Now let me say that we weren’t screaming queens by any stretch… but anyone with a brain (including one filled with bourbon) could have figured out we were gay dudes. I was thrilled when this couple began talking with us and interacting with us the same way everyone else has since we arrived in Charlotte — with acceptance and open arms. We all started comparing our notes from our cruises on the Disney Magic. It was a great time that was a breath of fresh air from our first encounter the few minutes before.
After what seemed to be an eternity, the gates finally opened and we were let into the Speedway.
The pre-movie entertainment, which included a 12-lap NASCAR “race”, was emceed by “Larry The Cable Guy”. Best joke of the night….
So this movie Cars is about cars that drive themselves. Shouldn’t we send two of them to the Kennedy family?
During the pre-movie show, featuring three songs by the incredible Brad Paisley (who is featured on the Cars soundtrack), we learned an interesting fact. The entertainment wasn’t delayed by the rain, but by Paul Newman who insisted on driving around the Speedway track for 30 minutes. So while the peons were waiting in the rain, Mr. Newman was getting his jollies behind the wheel.
Mr. Newman’s selfishness explained soooo much. Because before the show on the stage in the Speedway started, we were shown a live feed from the red carpet at one of the Speedway entrances. Mr. Newman and Joanne Woodward never interacted with the crowd, but instead in true Hollywood uppity, breezed right past everyone and into the VIP section. Meanwhile, the last people to enter the Speedway from the red carpet were Brad Paisley and Cars voice star Owen Wilson. Only Brad and Owen signed autographs for the eager fans.
Red State decency conquers Blue State arrogance yet again!
A brief preview of my Cars review: Best Pixar movie yet. Fantastic!