When a true work of greatness occurs, it is often achieved, not in a single moment or thought or brush stroke, but with the culmination of many, often seemingly mundane, elements. When these elements -- a sunset, a wooden cup, a light cycle -- appear unaccompanied they are ordinary, but once set in the creative milieu they become worlds unto themselves. And where Citizen Kane may be remembered for its long-forgotten sled, I strive to keep Tron alive in the popular conscience in its uninterrupted whole.
I held my first Tron party in January 1999 with the same copy of Tron I had viewed many times as a little girl. The small-town video store had gone out of business and in the sell-off of the inventory I rescued Tron and brought it back to New York with me. It wasn't just the muddy picture quality or the ghost of our old console TV lurking in my memory that made the re-viewing of Tron great. It was the whole film, unsegmented, uninterrupted.
I had to share this genius with the whole world. But Tron could not just become another piece of trivial nostalgia, laughed at frequently and tossed aside. After all, Tron's Orwellian vision of the future heralded in our present computer age, lending imagination for the first time to the silicon world. Why without Tron, you might never have had the chance to be reading Popcrazy right now.
So I decided to hold an annual party: once a year on Martin Luther King weekend, in the depths of winter darkness, a perfect time to spend an afternoon in a dark room with snacks. Tron, like The Wraith, or Ladyhawke is one of those forgotten classics that only gain poignancy with their years. And where each person may have their favorite facets of Tron -- the gaming, the MCP, the trippy new age digital aesthetics, Jeff Bridges -- I insure with each Tron party that the viewer preserves this pure perception with the simple rule: No talking during Tron. I like to make fun of movies as much as the next person, but this is Tron we're talking about. This is different. Our shared silence fosters a feeling of sanctuary and camaraderie, while stressing the purity of the Tron experience: It's just you and Tron and nothing else. (Well, maybe some Fun-Size Snickers...)
I hesitate to put my perceptions of the profoundness of Tron into words, because I hate to color any viewing of the movie with my own ideas. So, I encourage Popcrazy readers to go out and view it themselves. The Tron phenomenon can spread across the globe like so much digitally-inspired wildfire, until at last we're all wearing cool glowy jumpsuits and riding shining-transports in the sky. This too can be a free system, Programs. --Sarah Feuquay
Photos: From the collection of Sarah Feuquay