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Heavy Metal Parking Lot

On May 31, 1986, the aimless young burnouts of the DMV region hopped in their muscle cars and converged en masse on suburban Maryland to watch the heavy metal bands Judas Priest and Dokken play at the now-demolished Capital Centre. Local filmmakers Jeff Krulik and John Heyn were there, too, to document not the concert itself, but the pre-show rituals in the arena’s parking lot. With equipment they had borrowed from a public access TV station, pretending that they were there on behalf of MTV, Krulik and Heyn interviewed an assortment of shirtless, big-haired, drugged-out suburban concertgoers, eager to opine on everything from why Judas Priest ruled to why punk rock sucked. By the end of the night, Heyn and Krulik had the makings of what would become Heavy Metal Parking Lot, a 16-minute short that today stands as perhaps the greatest cult concert film of all time. Though there’s never a bad time to revisit this indelible portrait of late-’80s local teenage heavy metal dirtbaggery, the film seems especially evocative now, at a moment when tailgating, going to concerts, hanging out in parking lots, and sticking a microphone directly in your mouth as you answer an interviewer’s question all seem like distant, receding memories. Pull your cutoffs out of storage, pop the top on a can of domestic macrobrew, and watch it again and again. The film is available on Vimeo and at heavymetalparkinglot.com. Free. —Justin Peters

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The Best of CatVideoFest

The day we collectively discovered Netflix’s Tiger King was the first time in the past month that we managed to not think about the new coronavirus. For some, it took murder plots, double crosses, and the horrors of the North American exotic animal trade to even briefly ease our fretting. Others, however, could have done without the redneck-crime-thriller aspect and were more taken in by the B-roll of big cats. If watching the tragedy of Joe Exotic made you wish there was a way to just kick back and enjoy some feline antics without having to wonder whether Carole Baskin fed her husband’s bones to tigers, the American Film Institute has just the thing for you! In collaboration with Oscilloscope Laboratories, (known film distributors and animal lovers in their own right who employ a dog nicknamed “Landshark” as their head of security) AFI brings you Best of CatVideoFest: Creature Comforts Edition. Normally, you can only see CatVideoFest compilations in theaters, where original cute cat videos are screened to raise money for animal welfare. This week, you can rent a 40-minute reel of raw cuteness for as little as 99 cents. Don’t be afraid to kick in a few dollars if you can spare them! Three quarters of your generous contribution goes to Silver Spring institution AFI Silver, which screens independent and classic films year-round. The compilation is available at catvideofest2020.vhx.tv. $0.99. —Will Lennon

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