Something else you might like to know about tonight is the Canadian premiere of Tamra Davis's film Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Golden Child, by most accounts an unflinching -- though undoubtedly warm -- portrait of the artist by a director who knew him as a friend. (scroll down to read a squib by NY Times critic Manohla Dargis here).
The short form of the story is how Basquiat, a street-art naif, rocketed to fame and wealth in a staggeringly short period in the late 70s and 80s, before he died of a heroin overdose in 1988, when he was 28. Lumped into the market-spectacle "Neo-Realist" painting movement, alongside such artists as Julian Schnabel, Basquiat's work, raw and gutsy, had an intense magnetic pull for an art world desperate for a visceral thrill, after a couple of decades of heady, sterile conceptualism. It made him an instant millionaire; it also cost him his life.
I'd like to tell you more about the film, and Davis; but I'm not allowed to see it in advance, and was denied an interview with her -- something about the distributors being leery of anything resembling a review being in print before its official release.
It's a curious marketing strategy -- don't let anyone see it, so they can't tell others about it. Brilliant. In any case, Davis will be in conversation with former Globe critic Sarah Milroy tonight, prior to the film's screening as part of the Real Artists Film Festival. No idea if there are any tickets left, but a click on that link should tell you what you need to know.