Just Like Being There

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:23 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Just Like Being There
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Daniel Danger, Jay Ryan, Kevin Tong
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: Virgil Films
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Kiddie Movie: Only if they want to learn a little something about art and concert posters. There’s also some bad words better left for when they’re older or on the playground with their friends.
Date Movie: Ditto.
Gratuitous Sex: Um, no.
Gratuitous Violence: Um, no.
Action: Um, no.
Laughs: Some of the people are kind of quirky.
Memorable Scene: I was fascinated at the look at the artists who still did nearly all of their work by hand.
Memorable Quote: “I tried to paint and I’m shit at it”“The history books will tell what happened, but the art will tell them how we felt about it.”
Directed By: Scout Shannon
Cool things about the DVD: Actually some of the deleted scenes were interesting, and the expanded band interviews were pretty cool.

And here I always thought they were some kind of ground, marketing campaign by a record company to advertise a show, and in my head a weird type of marketing campaign only to be seen by a select few who might be driving near a concert venue. I’m talking about concert posters, or “gig” posters as they are sometimes called, and they are those posters, usually with some giant text and cool artwork, that if you live in the small city have probably only seen in the movies, but if you live in any larger city, near a concert venue, will see them used almost like wallpaper along a wall, usually plastered on construction barriers and such, whenever a “cooler” kind of band comes to town. Little did I know that most of the time those posters are made by local artists, saluting bands they love or bands that inspire them, and the documentary “Just Like Being There” well, documents those people’s stories.

Little else did I know that most of these artists mostly do this for love, but a lot of them do it for love and money, as the gig poster world has become a haven for collectibles at times, with some works commanding thousands of dollars.

Who knew?

“Just Like Being There” gives a fascinating look at the world of the gig poster and follows a variety of poster artists, with names most people won’t know like Daniel Danger and Jay Ryan. The documentary follows them through their days, through their creative process, and in the span of the 83 minutes of the film, I learned more about screen-printing than I’ve ever known. We see what inspires the artists, we see how some of them are old-school about their craft still doing a lot of the work by hand, while others have entered the digital age, and there is also the interaction with the bands, many of whom don’t really know what artwork is awaiting them until their arrival in a city, which at times is almost a “Welcome” mat for the band.

We also learn that many of these artists are kind of quirky, with personalities nearly as interesting as the artwork they create, there is a look at the collectability of many of the artists with gallery shows highlighting the much varied artwork that goes into the poster world, and how, many times, there is so much more involved rather than just a colorful poster with some big lettering. There is a passion in many of the artists, and a nice development of how their work does a great job at trying to tell a complete story of a band, of a time in history, all on one poster.

The documentary also includes a lot of cool music, with bands like Archers of Loaf, Spoon, Nada Surf, and Tokyo Police Club highlighted, and the interviews with the bands are sometimes just as interesting as the spotlight of the artists.

As a music lover, and a person who has sometimes wondered who was actually putting up “gig” posters, I was pleasantly surprised at the work put into “Just Like Being There.” It’s a complete documentary, giving a great, inside look at the art world of the poster and their place in the music industry, a wonderful view of those who have become household “gig” poster names, and a love for those who are really in the world with a passion for something they love.

It’s 4 stars out of 5 for “Just Like Being There,” and if you have ever wondered where those concert posters come from, this documentary has many of the answers and will give you a greater appreciated for the work, and quirkiness, that goes into their creation.

As far as the DVD, it pretty much is what it is, but there are some extras including some deleted scenes, a greater look at the work of Daniel Danger, and more clips of band interviews that are always fun to watch. The DVD really is a solid, and seeming complete look, at the world of concert poster art.