Dress as an Oompa-Loompa and get in free to UPAC’s Willie Wonka screening

Do you have an inner Oompa-Loompa dying to see the light of day? If so, your timing couldn’t be better. And the veil of darkness this time of year couldn’t be better.

Of course, you know what we’re talking about: that short-statured, green-haired, orange-skinned and white-panted creature that lurks behind one’s Ego with protruding knees, which appeared first in the book and later in the two film versions of Roald Dahl’s deliciously mischievous Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

Why do we ask, you ask? Ahhh…because all Oompa-Loompas will be getting in for free at the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) in Midtown Kingston this Friday night, December 16, when the 1971 film classic starring Gene Wilder plays on the big, big, big screen as part of its “Family Classics for the Holidays” film series.

Okay, so the original 1964 book (and Tim Burton’s loudly strange Johnny Depp-starrer of a few years ago) was actually called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The story of Charlie Bucket’s receipt of a golden ticket to visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory with four other children from around the world is the same whatever way you look at it: an odd child’s dreamscape/nightmare world of chocolate rivers, lickable wallpaper and truly just (and quite gruesome, really) desserts – like Lewis Carroll thrust into a consumerist world.

What’s great about this film, being shown in a new Blu-Ray version, is the way that it captured the zeitgeist of psychedelic adventure that partly defined the 1971 age of post-acid, pre-cokehead, wild-style bacchanalia of its time – as well as our continuing fondness for it all, years later. This plays as well for kids as for grownups, and represents one of the first such mash-ups of young and old audience enjoyment that have become such a norm since.

The screening of Willie Wonka starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) at 601 Broadway in Kingston. For further information call (845) 331-1613 or visit www.bardavon.org. All seats are $5 (unless you dress up).


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