orange is the new black: season 2 premiere screening

I RSVP’d “Hell yes, plus 1” to an invitation to the famed NYC Ziegfeld Theatre for a screening and after party to follow of the Netflix Original Series Orange Is The New Black. I’m assuming cast members will be present in that distant, let’s look, let’s listen, let’s say we were there with them way. I’m also assuming it will be the premiere episode of Season 2, which will be available to stream on Netflix come June 6, 2014. I’m going mostly because it’s something creative to feed my soul, an outing, something different, storytelling, outside of kids and mothers. More later…

Later has arrived.
What struck me most about the evening was its vibrancy. On overcast days, colors read more saturated. As lines snaked their way around the block of 54th Street, wrapped around Avenue of the Americas, around 55th Street, with hopeful fans eager to make the cutoff, or to snap a photo of a celebrity as they walk the carpet, the energy inside the theater felt heightened in that same way; in color-drenched moments that left you feeling more alive.

I don’t read movie reviews before I see films because I don’t like to be persuaded. I enjoy going in with a fresh canvas. For those who’ve never seen the series, obviously, I’d say start at the beginning. There are some people I know who have tried to get into the show but who say they can’t get into it, that it’s too much for them, too hard, too disturbing. Too intense. There are 31 Flavors for a reason. Based off Piper Kernan’s memoir of the same name, the series is basically told from the point of view of a shell-shocked upper white class white girl who goes to a women’s prison. Some people say it’s too good.

As for the OITNB Season 2 premiere episode itself, creator Jenji Kohan nailed it. I sat there in the theater enraptured. Fully in it. Smart writing. Great use of flashback. In life, I love the way our past story arcs inform our present lives and decisions, which is why I enjoyed the use of flashback here. Also, when things get intense Jenji adds the comic relief to quickly buoy us up. Well done. I also find the flashbacks essential because I don’t want to spend all my time in prison. In the same way that I don’t enjoy watching stage plays adapted as feature films because they feel too claustrophobic, too “one room,” not enough set changes and atmosphere, I can’t spend too much time inside a prison. I don’t notice it with OITNB because of the flashbacks and because of the scenes with Piper’s fiance, Jason Biggs. Good or bad, I know I’ll binge watch the episodes of season 2 through the wee hours of night.

Natasha Lyonne Orange Is The New Black Season 2 Premiere Screening Ziegfeld Theatre May 15, 2014 NYC
PHOTO by: Marion Curtis/StarPix
It was a late night, one that involved heels and flip-flips smuggled into purses. Open bar, sliders, fries, a dessert bar. My agent from CAA. I spoke with Ted Sarandos, the Cheif Marketing Officer at Netflix and with Jenji Kohan, and as it turns out I was dead wrong. The cast members, crew, everyone behind the project weren’t just present in some distant let’s look and listen and say we were there with them way. They were at the after party, mingling and enjoying themselves, engaged, celebrating, present. The only person I never ran into, whom I would’ve loved to meet was Natasha Lyonne (She always finds some sympathetic quality to add to a character she plays, adding something brilliant that writing alone cannot impart). I felt very connected last night, very human. Very alive and whole and vibrant, radiant, and it feels wonderful. Sometimes you have to lift your head and say, “Time’s up!” You have to walk away from your life for a night, from that role of BLANK, and just be you. The you that you were before you became BLANK. You can fill in the madlibs with a career, a relationship, a caretaker position. We sometimes wear one identity a little too snug and need to remember that a wardrobe change is a common courtesy for one and all. Stop playing the typecast role you’ve cast for yourself and play a little. Everyone will thank you for it! Your later has arrived.

Also, congratulations to Entry #66 Lauren E, you’ve won the 3-Month’s of Free Netflix Service Giveaway! Thank you to all who contributed.



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