After Saturday’s massive second-line tribute through the New Orleans French Quarter, hundreds more David Bowie fans converged on Prytania Theatre on Sunday night to sell out two showings of his cult-favorite film “Labyrinth.”
The Prytania had originally scheduled only a single showing of “Labyrinth” for 10 p.m. Sunday — in which Bowie presides as the goblin king Jareth over a horde of Jim Henson-created minions — then quickly confirmed a second Bowie feature, “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” for next Sunday, Jan. 24. But as interest in the tributes to Bowie in New Orleans grew through the week — evidenced by the thousands in attendance Saturday for the second-line through the French Quarter — theatre owner Robert Brunet decided to add a second, earlier “Labyrinth” showing to Sunday’s schedule.
Brunet’s intuition proved correct. The 7:30 p.m. showing sold out, and before it was over, a line stretched down the block for the 10 p.m. screening as well. By the time it started, all 550 tickets had been sold for the two showings.
“I expected it to be good, but I didn’t expect to sell out two shows,” Brunet said. “We’re a weird city, and that’s a great thing.”
In fact, Brunet said, he may try to run the film once more in the coming week. He had also wanted to show the “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” documentary of Bowie’s final performance of that persona, but hasn’t yet been able to acquire the rights to show it. He’s also considering the possibility of other Bowie films, but said he’s not sure where he can fit it around the demand for a similar tribute to actor Alan Rickman and the upcoming Oscars series.
While the Bowie-esque costumes of Saturday’s second line did not reappear, many moviegoers opted for their own take on glam — platform shoes, multihued hairstyles, and garments that glimmered under the theatre chandeliers. Rebecca Rutherford and her young daughter both donned gold Venetian-style masquerade masks for their arrival at the theatre.
“I loved his music when I was a little girl, so I wanted to bring my daughter to come see it too,” Rutherford said.
A longtime Bowie fan himself — old enough to remember when Ziggy Stardust first arrived from Mars, he laughed — Brunet personally selected a slideshow of his favorite of the artist’s looks and images throughout the decades. He combined it with a soundtrack that stretched from “Space Oddity” late 1960s to “I’m Afraid of Americans” in the late 1990s, and let it run for nearly 45 minutes before the show’s start.
“It’s our way of doing some kind of memorial service or tribute,” Brunet said. “It’s a celebration. I don’t want people to just come in and watch the movie, and that’s it.”
The last song in Brunet’s playlist was the eponymous track from “Ziggy Stardust.” The theater went dark, the “Labyrinth” opening credits lit up the screen with the name “David Bowie” — and New Orleans cheered for their otherwordly hero once more.