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Wednesday, Nov 19 1997
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One night at the Kabuki ...
At a recent 10:50 p.m. Saturday screening of Boogie Nights at the Kabuki Theater, the audience got something less than the Full Monty. For two hours and 15 minutes we had patiently borne the surprisingly unerotic, sexless, meandering porn-industry tale, and we were waiting for one thing: the movie's money shot, the 13-inch cock that ends the film.

If you didn't know, the main character, porn stud Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg), has a big ol' gun. We'd read about it, we'd heard about it, we saw every character in the movie look at it and react to it. We even knew it was a prosthesis, but goddamn it, we wanted to see it. However, as the movie wound down, the screen briefly went black. The soundtrack continued and the picture came back. And then went black again. For good. As audiences will do in such situations, we began to boo and hiss. The soundtrack persisted: Rick Springfield singing "Jesse's Girl," punctuated by irritating firecracker explosions.

The house lights came up and an intrepid usher dashed down the aisle, stood on the stage, and gave a very nice speech: "We apologize for the inconvenience, but it's an automatic system and sometimes things go wrong; please be patient and we'll try to correct the situation."

"Kill the usher!" one of our number shouted. After running a short distance in mock fright, the usher came back to center stage, explaining he was just the messenger. Someone came up with a better idea.

"Show us your cock!" the anonymous audience member shouted.
We roared our approval -- and the usher unbuttoned his official polyester AMC sport coat and threw it on the ground. "Now wait a second," we thought. "He wasn't really going to ... was he?" Then he undid his polyester AMC clip-on tie and threw it on the ground. Surely it would stop -- but then he undid the buttons of his shirt. He took that off and threw it to the ground. He began to take off his T-shirt -- but then ended the charade there, pants and undershirt still in place.

"We're not actually allowed to portray live the acts sometimes depicted on our screens," he explained. We booed.

Fifteen minutes later (it was now about 2 a.m.), he announced that the projector bulb had burned out and the screening was canceled. We were told we could a) get a cash refund or b) get two passes to another show. We packed into the lobby to wait in two lines to collect our recompense. Those of us who went for the passes were chagrined to see they were not good for "special engagements." Boogie Nights was, of course, a special engagement. "Unfair!" we cried. We may have wanted to see a fake 13-inch cock, but we knew injustice when we saw it. A third line was formed for the beleaguered theater manager to cross off and sign the offending notice on each pass. "I don't think I'd even pay to rent this movie, but I still feel gypped we didn't get to see the big cock," one audience member said to his party. We knew how he felt: We got passes, but we didn't get dick.

-- Joe Mader

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Joe Mader

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