Dave Chappelle’s 2021 pandemic documentary “Dave Chappelle – Live in Real Life” will be screened Sunday, June 12 at 7 p.m. at the Schuster Center as a benefit fundraiser for Gem City Market.
A Dave Chappelle’s Pilot Boy Production produced and directed by Academy and Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert (“American Factory”), “Live in Real Life” is a love letter to the beauty, quirks, culture and politics of Yellow Springs. Set against the backdrop of the emotional period of medical unease and societal unrest in the summer of 2020, the breezy two-hour film captures a pivotal moment in which the quaint village of 3,700 found itself at a standstill. As COVID-19 shutdowns forced businesses into a bind and the nation coped with the death of George Floyd and rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, Chappelle took it upon himself to simply create art in the place he calls home.
With help from his famous friends, who were stringently COVID tested upon arrival, the Emmy and Grammy Award-winning comedian’s socially-distanced shows at Wirrig Pavilion quickly became the hottest ticket in town. Despite controversy and pushback from citizens who objected to the noise and adult language among other complaints, Chappelle and his team persevered with humor and heart until a positive COVID test within their bubble forced cancellation. Nonetheless, the over 50 shows produced ultimately brought in more than $9 million to Yellow Springs and the region.
In addition to the hilarious yet topical and thought-provoking stand-up routines from Jon Stewart, Michelle Wolf, Chris Rock, Tiffany Hadish, Donnell Rawlings and Mo Amer among others, enjoyably kooky moments pop up out of nowhere such as singer Erykah Badu’s twirling entrance at Springfield Municipal Airport, actor Jon Hamm leading “Don’t Stop Believin,’” the sight of a lone squirrel crossing a deserted street, and Chappelle channeling his inner Kevin Bacon a la “Footloose” with help from John Mayer.
Bognar and Reichert also provide an array of insightful interviews with Yellow Springs business owners commenting on the economic landscape such as Karyn Current of Current Cuisine and Dino Pallotta of Dino’s Cappuccinos. And in a definite sign of the times, the duo is able to generate drama from a Zoom meeting as pavilion owners Steve and Stacey Wirrig fight on Chappelle’s behalf for a temporary usage variance during a Zoning Board session overseen by Miami Township Inspector Richard Zopf.
Credit: Kevin Winter
Credit: Kevin Winter
Tickets go on sale to the general public tomorrow, June 3, at 10 a.m. via daytonlive.org. Tickets are priced at $43-$103. A pre-sale began today at 10 a.m. and continues through 10 p.m. for supporters of Gem City Market. Patrons are reminded the screening is likely to sell out. Chappelle is expected to appear at the screening along with Bognar and Reichert.
The film had its Miami Valley premiere in March at the Little Art Theatre in Yellow Springs and its Dayton premiere June 1 at the Neon.
The Schuster Center is located at Second and Main Streets, Dayton.
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