Video By: Visual Grunt Media
Being a rookie on the Violent Gentlemen crew with just a year under my belt there are two things I know for certain: We’re batshit crazy about hockey and we know our way around a good time. Put those two together and that’s how VG events are born. We harness our passion for hockey and funnel it into an event fit for the masses. With the U.S. release of Goon: Last of the Enforcers on the horizon, we took it upon ourselves to challenge the status quo and create a unique experience. In the early stages of planning was when we realized screening the film wasn’t enough, so we doubled down and added a 2nd night of Goon action by hosting another famed VG Art Show.
When I found out the wonderful news that Goon: Last of the Enforcers was hitting the big screen in March of 2017 I was ecstatic. That excitement was slighted by the fact that March was only the release date in Canada. People like myself, fans below the U.S.’s northern border had to wait until September...
A September U.S. release seemed like an eternity compared to its Canadian debut. That “eternity” ended when we took over The Port Theater in Corona del Mar and turned it into VG headquarters once again. (cue the choir)
The velvety blue ropes were placed with purpose to contain the patrons eager to watch the exclusive showing of this hockey flick. The doors were set to be opened at 8 pm, but that didn’t stop people from arriving hours earlier to ensure they had the best chance of getting a proper seat. While they stood in line with anticipation we were at work. One cog in the wheel that makes VG events special is the exclusive merch that is made and available for them. This event was no different with the exclusively licensed line of Goon apparel. So an important part of the set-up was having a prime spot for everyone to get their hands on this awesomely inspired gear.
We took things a step further. Each seat in the theater was graced with custom Highlanders rally towels to give the theater a resemblance of a hockey arena during playoffs.
We even had a surprise guest all the way from Halifax.
That’s right Angus made it all the way to sunny Southern California to take pictures and have a couple nights of fun with the Gents. The doors opened and fans filed in only to be struck with the dilemma of deciding what Goon merch was going home with them.
What followed was what is normally on the checklist for attending a movie. Snacks and beverage of choice were purchased from the Port Theater’s great menu and the seats were filled. The only job left was for the projector to display the long awaited movie on the big screen.
A follow-up movie is like being a rookie on the first line with a proven vet. Sometimes its hard to meet expectations and coach ends up scratching them. I have good news, that doesn’t apply to Goon: Last of the Enforcers. This is said with no intent to exaggerate. Right out of the gate this movie had the crowd roaring with laughter. This film has no moniker of being “Goon 2” because it is meant to both stand alone as well as being the second chapter. ( I know, deep…) The original cast stayed intact while adding some new faces that mesh well with the tone of the flick. The hockey action didn’t disappoint, and if you pay close enough attention you may find some players that have “professional hockey player” listed before “actor” on their resume. As the movie came to an end the applause began. Smiling faces could be seen leaving the theater as the lights turned back on. Some last minute shopping was done by the few that didn’t take part before the movie started. Once they finished we closed down shop packed everything up and set our efforts towards the next night.
SoCal was in the midst of a heat wave in late August. Luckily for all in attendance, the second night of this event took a turn for the cooler. Literally, We had the art show in a hockey rink. An art show inspired by a hockey movie at a hockey rink. Pretty genius if you ask me. As we arrived and were setting up, youth hockey clinics were taking place only adding to the ambiance. The doors were set to be opened at 8 pm. That was slightly altered due to said youth clinics. (That ambiance really bit us in the ass). Angus was tasked with keeping the lengthy line entertained while the finishing touches were made.
We transformed a standard Olympic ice rink into something truly special. Lights? We didn’t need them. We brought our own and placed them decisively to make sure the focus was on the art. Custom banners hung over the player's bench that boasted the names of worthy Highlanders.
Our merch table found its' home for the evening and featured new products that accompanied the ones available from the night before. We also had limited prints of some the awesome pieces of art that were submitted and on display at the event.
The Penalty box was given the night off and was tasked with the duties being a photo booth fitted with sticks, gloves, and helmets for people to capture their excitement. Angus thought he was receiving multiple minor penalties because of how much time he spent in there taking pictures with fans. The original Goon movie was also being projected in black and white with the sound off to add an artistic “cherry on top” to the event.
Quick question, what’s an art show without art? If I had to guess It’s probably just a bunch of confused people staring at blank walls. Luckily we had featured pieces from these talented artists: Luke Wessman, Gustavo Jaimes, Jay Weinberg, Blake Stevenson, Doc Reed, DKNG, Unsung MFG, Johnny Vampotna, London Reese, Billy Baumann, Forefathers Group. They were able to pull themes from the movie and create truly unique pieces of art. Make sure to give them a follow if you’re on social media. If you’re not on social media, realize it's 2017, step your game up, get on social media and give them a follow.
VG is “humongous big” fan of commitment as Bryzgalov would so eloquently put it.
To reward the commitment for everyone in attendance who RSVP’d on our Eventbrite page we had a raffle. We dusted off our golden raffle ticket drum to give away a Warrior Hockey stick signed by the cast of Goon: Last of the Enforcers. We’re no one trick pony though. That's why we threw some gift cards into the mix (none of the wimpy $10 b.s.). We were raffling off some beaucoup bucks to our site. The biggest one being a mammoth $200. The silent crowd stood in anticipation as numbers echoed through the rink. Only to be interrupted by the exclamation of excitement from the ones who heard their numbers called.
Eventually, all the prizes had been claimed the music was cranked back up and before we knew it the event had reached the finish line, and I'd like to think everyone who was there was a winner.
Violent Gentlemen wants to extend a huge thank you to both The Port Theater and Anaheim Ice for being stellar hosts. The biggest thank you of all goes to everyone who made it out! Whether it was one night or both nights, without rad people coming out for a good time we’d be a bunch of dudes just standing around wondering if we forgot to send out the invites. Keep your ear to the ground for rumblings of our upcoming events. See you next time.