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The Outsiders : USC's Open-Air Theater Proved a Fine Site to Premiere 'Strapped'

August 06, 1993|KEVIN ALLMAN

The Scene: Wednesday night's premiere screening of the new TV movie "Strapped," the directorial debut of actor Forest Whitaker. The reception, held outdoors at USC's Norris Theater, was hosted by Home Box Office, the Black Filmmaker Foundation and the USC School of Cinema and Television. "Strapped" airs on HBO on Aug. 21.

New in Town: The Black Filmmaker Foundation was founded 15 years ago in New York to support emerging African-American directors and develop audiences for their films. It has a national membership of 3,000 and opened offices in L. A. a year ago, said president Warrington Hudlin, who attended the screening.

Who Was There: Director Whitaker; stars Bokeem Woodbine and Starletta DuPois; USC film school dean Elizabeth Daley; and guests including Nancy Allen, Michael Colyar, Regina King and Linda Hamilton. Whitaker's look-alike siblings Kenn and Damon were also there, the three brothers confusing party-goers with their resemblance.

Dress Code: Vests and hats with "Strapped" logos for the VIPs. Shiny suits and business drag for those on the business side of the industry. Oversized hip-hop gear for those on the creative side. Radio headsets for event organizers.

The Well-Dressed Film Student: Thrift-shop jacket, jeans, high-top basketball shoes and baseball cap worn backward.

Chow: Duck sausage, chicken, pizza, antipasto and fruit cobbler.

Quoted: "My mom is here," said Woodbine. "I have to keep checking and making sure that she isn't telling stories about me when I was growing up."

Sign of the Times: When the screening ended and guests headed for the reception, there seemed to be more cellular phones in their hands than cigarettes.

Triumphs: The USC campus is a great place for an outdoor party on a warm summer night. Now if only the studio executives could be convinced that they won't fall off the edge of the Earth if they go east of La Brea.

Exit Line: The television crews often show up for smaller events than this one, but the only electronic medium on hand was the cable network Black Entertainment Television. It seemed to support Hudlin's contention that, "We have a long way to go in Hollywood."

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