PULP FICTION LIVE
9 p.m., 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31 | Will’s Pub, 1042 N. Mills Ave. | willspub.org | $10-$12
Pulp Fiction is so flashy, it’s easy to overlook the slow build of spectacular reveals. But amid the snake-tongued dialogue, the bursts of violence, the mood-rich settings and a stunning soundtrack, it’s the disruptive contrast between songs and paired scenes that exploits and excites the audience more than even the eccentric appeal of Mia Wallace, the compulsive zeal of Jules Winnfield, the commanding mystery of Marsellus Wallace. In many ways, it’s the jarring song choice guided by music supervisor Karyn Rachtman that cements the film’s legacy, as Quentin Tarantino’s sharply penned plot intertwines with songs never relegated to the background.
“It’s kind of hard to talk about the music on its own without mentioning the movie,” says Bryan Sherbrook (the Plush Monsters), who joins an ever-increasing number of musicians this week to perform the movie’s soundtrack at Pulp Fiction Live. “Because I can tell you that it’s definitely part of the experience, and for years, even now, whenever ‘Let’s Stay Together’ comes on in the car, it’s very hard not to picture the back of Marsellus Wallace’s head. … There’s something kind of iconic about the music with what [Tarantino] pairs [it] with. In the case of that song, it’s a really weird song choice of something super sensual for this pure business conversation.”
Sherbrook got the idea to put on Pulp Fiction Live after being blown away by the Purple Rain tribute show local musician Gerald Perez (Maximino, Thee Wilt Chamberlain) orchestrated in January. Perez was contributing cello to the Plush Monsters’ June release, Warm Blooded, and Sherbrook casually mentioned his interest in cultivating a live show based on the cult classic. Within a week, they’d looped in show promoter (and Orlando Weekly columnist) Dave Plotkin and the date was set for Will’s Pub on Halloween.
As the Pulp Fiction plans developed, the plot thickened, and in addition to outfitting Will’s Pub and Lil Indies as Jack Rabbit Slim’s – complete with Ed Sullivan and Marilyn Monroe – Uncle Lou’s Entertainment Hall got mixed up in the dirty business and will serve as Maynard’s pawn shop. At Lou’s, there will be tribute art, standup comics, DJs and a special guest appearance worth stopping by to witness. Because there will be two separate show times (9 p.m., 11 p.m.), audiences at each performance can indulge in movie-themed oddities at Lil Indies or Uncle Lou’s before or after the performance attended.
At Will’s Pub, a core group of musicians – Sherbrook, Perez, Jordan Schneider, Cole Schneider and Jay Yerkes – will perform songs in the order they are heard in the film as a Band Apart (a nod to Tarantino’s production company), joined at times by additional performers to fill in on more elaborate songs like “Jungle Boogie.” While the show is focused mainly on music over theatrics, crowds can take part in a twist contest led by dancers cast as Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace.
While researching the show, the performers re-watched the movie repeatedly and picked up on details they’d previously overlooked.
“I never even noticed that scene in the movie where they steal the trophy,” Perez says. “When Bruce Willis’ character knocks out the guy that he fights, and he jumps out the window to go into the cab. Well, inside the cab ride, the radio report of the evening is this broadcast about the trophy at Jack Rabbit Slim’s being stolen. So Mia Wallace and Vince Vega don’t win that trophy for the twist contest, which I always thought, you know? That scene just cuts.”
The admiration the musicians feel for the artful, considered approach Tarantino is now famous for is palpable. Attendees who dress on theme will be treated to a free drink, and if you come as the Gimp, you get three free drinks. It’s sure to be surreal, and you’d be foolish not to stop by Lil Indies for a $5 shake (Vega would approve; this version is alcoholic) and a look at artist Jaime Margary’s curated tribute art show.
“Pulp Fiction was sort of a gateway to that music for me,” Sherbrook says. “I’d have never heard of Dick Dale or – well, my mom’s a big disco fan, so I definitely knew ‘Jungle Boogie,’ but a lot of those songs were completely introduced to me by that soundtrack, so that definitely holds a special place for me.”
Perez adds, “I would not really know a lot about surf rock if it wasn’t for Pulp Fiction. And it’s so cool, like the way that he crosses ‘Misirlou’ into ‘Jungle Boogie’ at the beginning of the movie with the little dial tone – that’s so cool. He clearly has his music as a vital part of all of those scenes.”