April 8th, 1995, is a day that should be remembered by all who love music and overly tanned men. Because it was “Rex Manning Day,”the day that the man himself (your favorite singer in high school) arrived at the Empire Records store to promote his latest hit Say No More (Mon Amour). The chants of “Rexy, your’e so sexy” by his mostly female fans were heard for miles, and is the source of the store’s record number of noise complaints. Thankfully, this special day was recorded in the 1995 cult hit Empire Records and BBQ Films, the group who has taken us Back to The Future and hosted a Weekend at Bernie Jr’s (R.I.P BJ), help celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Rex Manning Day” inside Rough Trade, one of the most popular record stores in NYC.
Rough Trade turned into Empire Records for this event. Like always, BBQ Films went all out with free head shaves, a mock funeral, and even installed a neon sign that resembles the one in the film. BBQ Films chooses films that resonate and it shows at each event–here, sing along and chants of DAMN THE MAN! SAVE THE EMPIRE! rang through the venue. As for Rex himself, he was a man of no words, when we was introduced on stage, he approached the microphone, paused, then just pointed to a young woman in the crowd. The young lady screamed with glee at being handpicked by the pop idol and they both exited stage left. Rex wasn’t seen until the end of the screening, but throughout it, we kept hearing the faint sound of a copy machine going off somewhere in the venue.
Throughout the night, guests sang along and recited lines of dialogue from the movie. The loudest cheer of the night went to the band GWAR, a heavy metal band in the original film. At Rough Trade, they offered a human sacrifice to the creature they brought along with them. [Well we think it was GWAR, as were given “special” brownies during the screening and it could have just been a hallucination.] Then, Ethan Embry (the actor who plays Mark) fought his way out of the creature, where he has been for 20 years along with Johnny Whitworth (AJ), to the roar for the Gen-X’ers who filled up the stage venue.
When the screening wrapped, bands came out to perform covers of popular ’90s songs, some of which were played in the classic soundtrack of the film. While many of us don’t go to record stores as much as we used to, the event, like all of BBQ Films events took us back to a different time. Scroll down for additional photographs from the event:
Next, check out 12 of NYC’s best record stores.
After defeating “The Man” he wants to go dance on a rooftop. To join him, contact the author on twitter @ChrisLInoa