Forget the red carpet, last night’s carpet should’ve been blonde in color. Filmmakers Jon and Brantly Watts joined Atlanta legendary personality Blondie at the Atlanta Film Festival premiere of their film AKA Blondie. AFF Executive Director, Chris Escobar, introduced AKA Blondie as the most anticipated film of the festival, a major feat with some of the heavy hitting (and star powered) films showing over the 10 days.
The night opened in true Blondie fashion as she walked onto the red carpet and addressed the crowd outside. “I wanted to get all of you in for free, but didn’t know how many people I would have to sleep with,” Blondie joked obviously marinating in the spotlight of well-deserved notoriety. Blondie posed and snapped pictures with the media all the while joking about her attempt to lose 10 lbs this week, ” I only lost five but I don’t eat that much and I surely don’t drink that much,” winking at the crowd.
Obviously enjoying her night, Blondie didn’t hesitate to give advice to her gay fans (David readers voted Blondie Best Stripper 2011). “Be yourself. I’ve never stopped being myself and whether you’re gay, lesbian, queer, transgender, questioning just be true to yourself.”
Blondie shared the bullying she faced in school especially from people of her color who often teased her for trying to get an education. ” I wish people from school could be here and see what I’ve become,” she said beaming from the red carpet.After seeing the film AKA Blondie you get an idea of the woman behind the persona and Blondie is the first to tell you that she has had a ‘blessed life’ ups and downs, but she didn’t hesitate to say it wasn’t on her time. Blondie’s spirituality shined as she told us that everything has happened to her on ‘his time’. Blondie was joined on the red carpet by friend and comedienne/actress Margaret Cho.
Filmmakers Jon and Brantly Watts shared the 3-year journey it took to make this film. Jon said the idea came from a trip to The Clermont Lounge during his 25th birthday. Both Jon and Brantly were in awe of the women who worked at The Clermont. “The Clermont is seen as a novelty in Atlanta but what people don’t realize is that these are real women,” writer Brantly Watts shared with David Magazine.
AKA Blondie looks past the persona and attempts to delve into the woman that is Blondie. AKA Anita Rae Strange, filmmakers Jon and Brantly Watts look beyond the dancing and examine Blondie’s poetry, her hopes and dreams, her past with cocaine and prostitution as well as her childhood. The film succeeds in presenting the Clermont and those who work in the industry as more than just objects but where the film fails is its superficial look at the other aspects of Blondie’s life. I was especially disappointed that the closest we got to any of Blondie’s poetry in the film were through holographic images with highlighted key words and an excerpt read by Sally Jesse Raphael. As someone who admittedly has never been to The Clermont Lounge and has only seen Blondie through the lens of various media outlets, I felt the film could’ve dug a bit deeper and explored the other facets of her life. Don’t get me wrong because I feel like an American Idol judge right now who just critiqued the night’s best performance and the audience is booing, AKA Blondie was an interesting film and shed light on an Atlanta legend, I just wished it had been longer and dove a bit deeper.
We asked Blondie what was next and she hoped a book. Books are always better than movie, so I’m holding out hope that an AKA Blondie memoir will accomplish that deeper look. If you missed AKA Blondie, the film will show again Sunday April 1st. Check the Atlanta Film Festival website for more details.
Like the Official AKA Blondie Facebook page here
AKA Blondie Trailer
For all the Red Carpet Photos
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