Jake Menache and Max Golden arrived at noon. They're friends from back in their film school days and Wright's breakthrough movie, Shaun of the Dead, was a big deal for them. Aside from being fans of Wright, they had their eyes on a couple prints that would be available here. A few minutes before they met, they got their numbers, 18 and 19. They were still close enough to the front to have a pretty good chance at getting what they wanted and, in the end, they did.
Up at the front of the line is Alex Solether. He has been here for just over 24 hours. It's the first time he's camped out for something. Before this, he hadn't spent more than five hours in a line. "I feel like I'm running on fumes," he says.
The experience may have been exhausting, but Solether looks ecstatic when we meet up again inside the event. He had just bought an Alex Pardee print of The Wright Stuff. It's the image used on the showcard for this event. Shaun, the titular character of Shaun of the Dead, appears with sunken cheeks, blank eyes and an exploding head. Out of the gore emerges references to multiple Edgar Wright films. There are records and bullets and beer bottles, swirling around characters from films like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Hot Fuzz. It's an impressive piece. Solether now owns the first signed and numbered print out of an edition of 15.Camping out for a spot in line has become a semi-regular occurrence at Gallery 1988. The gallery, with two outposts on Melrose Avenue, does a lot of tribute shows dedicated to hot properties and popular directors. People come here in part for the prints, which feature the works of a wide variety of artists in limited numbers and at fairly low prices.
This show is a little different in that the subject of the tribute, Edgar Wright, is set to appear at the event with his frequent collaborators, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Pegg and Frost both star in Wright's latest film, The World's End, which will open on Friday. Pegg co-wrote the script with Wright.
"The Official Edgar Wright Show," however, is special for more than just the tie-in to the new movie. "It's almost seven years in the making," says Jensen Karp, co-owner and co-curator of Gallery 1988.
Seven years ago, the gallery launched a popular series of art shows called Crazy 4 Cult, where artists draw inspiration from cult films. They worked with Kevin Smith on the first show, who introduced the gallery to some of his friends. Amongst them was Edgar Wright, who had recently made a cult hit of his own, Shaun of the Dead. Karp remembers a conversation where Wright mentioned that he hoped to one day have enough films to spawn an art show. Last year, Karp brought up that conversation to Wright and the pieces started to fall together.