Mistakes were made

New York City meets Munich

Behind the velvet rope

May 15th, 2003 · No Comments · Uncategorized

fan-dan-go (faen daeng’ go)

  1. a lively Spanish or Spanish-American dance in triple time for a couple playing castanets, or the music that accompanies this dance.

  2. a web site where you can order movie tickets in advance.

  3. the dance the theater manager does when you are sold tickets to a big movie premiere that doesn’t actually exist.

I was suspicious when I saw it. Here were tickets being offered on Fandango for the Matrix Reloaded for Wednesday, a day before the opening. I figured it was a glitch, but I thought I’d see if I could buy them.

I expected to get some error during the purchase process. I didn’t get one. With an eyebrow raised, I printed out the confirmation details. I still didn’t believe it, so seeing as I had a few days until the show, I figured I would pick up my tickets ahead of time, just to be sure.

As per usual, the Loews automatic ticket machines were all out of order on the Monday night I stopped by. The confirmation slip said I could fetch tickets from either the machine or the ticket counter. I walked up, clutching my confirmation, feeling hopeful but expecting a problem.

The woman swiped my card and handed me two tickets. Matrix Reloaded, theater 11, 8PM, Wednesday.


Wednesday, we show up at the theater a little after 7PM. I’m a bit worried that there is a line out front already for the 10PM show. Inside the theater things are strangely quiet. I get to the ticket taker and hand him the tickets.

“There’s a problem with these tickets. You will have to speak to him,” he says, tilting his head to the manager standing at the customer service counter a few steps away. The manager is already dealing with three other patrons, who are clearly not happy.

ConnyWho is Conny? and I look at each other. I knew it was too good to be true.

We get to listen to the manager explain to the other people he has no show for them to go to. The 10PM show is sold out, and the only other screening is a private rental. Eventually they accept tickets for a show the following day and shuffle off.

We are told a standard tale of technological woe: It’s a glitch with Fandango, you see. We have no control over that. We had no idea they were selling tickets to a non-existent show. We only found out tonight. Very sorry, but what can we do?

I nod sympathetically. Yes. Yes. But why did a person at the counter hand me two tickets two days ago? I came down before the show explicitly to determine that the tickets were valid. I made an extra trip, and someone who works here handed me these tickets. There was plenty of time to catch the goof.

The manager nods. Oh. Well. Let’s see what I can do. Come with me. Perhaps I can sneak you in to the private show.

He takes to the upper level, where a party is going on. Velvet ropes, hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. He guides over to one area, and opens the ropes, and scoots us inside.

“Good luck. Don’t get caught. Have a drink and act like you belong here. This show starts at 8:30.”

Score! First stop: the bar.

Conny View definition in a new window and I had a drink and I helped myself to more than one or two nibbles being handed out from platters. We fit right in. A photographer was circulating, capturing the moment for whoever was sponsoring this little soiree. He eventually got to us.

“May I?”

“Of course!” We turn and smile for the camera, my arm around my wife. A week or two from now, someone will be looking at the pictures and trying to figure out who the hell we are.

They seated us shortly before 8:30 and we were close to the doors, so we scored two fine seats. My only regret was not hitting the bar one more time before being seated.

It was a very civilized way to see a premiere.

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