Hopefully Old Sac’s Willemina’s Restaurant and Bar will pardon any initial skepticism about its hosting of the Lobotronic Film Show last Thursday night. The bar has a great old-school vibe, a regular schedule of live music and deep-fried, um, everything, but most folks who descend its grimy staircase probably don’t imagine it’s the best place to watch a movie. Luckily, a balmy night and some planning ahead dispelled any doubts, as somebody had set up a large-ish screen and plenty of seating on the spacious back patio to properly accommodate the evening’s festivities.
As to what exactly those festivities were, well, that’s a bit harder to describe. The Lobotronic Film Show, begun last year and hosted by Sactown’s own nationally syndicated late-night-cable-access superstar, Mr. Lobo—with his frequent companion, the positively Amazonian Queen of Trash—featured four hours of bizarre bygone commercials, TV spots, film trailers and other assorted weirdness screened via satisfyingly scratchy 16mm projection. Highlights from the first half of last Thursday’s program included “Outdoor Tips with Corn Kix,” a vintage “Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots” ad and a crowd-pleasingly profane collection of outtakes from the original Star Trek. Suffice it to say that by the time a gloriously cheesy Xerox safety presentation filled the screen, you were either along for the ride or left alone in a roadside ditch.
A robust and surprisingly diverse group of folks did come along, gathering in the night with plastic cups in hand and eyes fixed on the peculiar pop-culture pablum unspooling before them. Although some lasted longer than others, most everyone attending was jovial and engaged; all seemed to consider themselves in the presence of greatness. Inside the bar’s dim caverns, two additional screens bore other, digitally projected goodies, like the schlocky low-budget Vincent Price vehicle The Last Man on Earth and episodes of Mr. Lobo’s B-movie-showcase TV show, Cinema Insomnia.
The many who missed out should have no fear, for the Lobotronic Film Show soon will return. Another program is planned as part of the inaugural Sacramento Horror Film Festival, coming this fall (www.sachorrorfilmfest.com). Last week’s show actually served in part as a fund-raiser for the fest, which will take place at Stockton Boulevard’s historic Colonial Theater. Mr. Lobo and the Queen of Trash once again will host, this time presiding over a whole weekend full of screenings, live music and star appearances. So, if getting to meet Tony “Candyman” Todd in person somehow isn’t enough to entice you out to the Colonial come October, the mind-expanding Lobotronic Film Show should do the trick.