Men in Black II's Pre-Filming Party

June 25, 2001, 12:00 AM EDT

Men in Black II pre-filming party Pier 63 Maritime Barge Monday, 06.11.01, 8 PM to midnight
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To celebrate the first day of filming Men in Black II, the sequel to the 1997 blockbuster, Columbia TriStar hired Terry Torok of Live From Earth Entertainment to throw a party on Pier 63's Maritime Barge (next to the Frying Pan) for its marketing partners (remember how much product placement was in the first Men in Black?), sponsors and film execs. As a film company that spends millions on crowd-pleasing special effects, Columbia couldn't just throw down some cocktails and hors d'oeuvres and hire a DJ--the event had to have drama. And it didn't disappoint.

After checking in and receiving name badges that deemed all attendees “Special Agents,” guests walked through a fabric sculpture tunnel from Pink Inc. that was lit with glowing blue, purple and yellow lights by Total Entertainment. Following cocktails, guests watched a Men in Black special agent “training video” (which featured Will Smith and Rip Torn, two of the film's stars) projected against a stretch fabric screen. The screen was torn away after the video to reveal a small tented stage area, which Total lit with a kaleidoscope of gobo patterns and more lights.

The party music was interrupted by the sound of a boat's distress call and a captain who requested an emergency docking because aliens from the film set had escaped and eaten holes through the boat, causing it to sink. On its way to the dock, a helicopter from Liberty Helicopters swooped in, purportedly with Men in Black special agents aboard, and began circling the boat, which sprayed hundreds of gallons of water as if it were sinking. Fireworks from Zenith Pyrotechnology exploded from the boat to imitate gunfire from the helicopter. The aliens were “arrested” and brought to the pier, where they joined the party. Oddly enough, upon disembarking their escape vessel, the aliens looked just like dancers with a lot of body paint and shiny clothes.

Following the “alien invasion,” the crowd was treated to a performance by up-and-coming Sony Music girl group 3LW. Following the show, Total M.C. Evan Tyler did his best to keep the energy from the group's performance going, running around the stage area while dancing, singing and encouraging shy partygoers to dance. For the most part, he was successful--we saw a few middle-aged couples busting loose to the fun party music. The event was perfectly timed, because just over an hour after 3LW's short song set, a nasty storm hit, and while the event was tented, the combination of a metal and wood barge on the water during a lightning and thunderstorm was enough to make a majority of the attendees depart, and left only the die-hard partiers to dance until past midnight.

--Suzanne Ito

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