Sections

The Park Slope man who saved ‘Purple Rain’!

for The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

One of the most exciting events of the summer is a participatory screening of Prince’s classic film “Purple Rain” in Prospect Park — but it never could have happened without one Park Slope man.

Howard Bloom saved Prince’s self-produced, 1984 film from the dustbin of history with an unprecedented one-man crusade that comes into full fruition with the sing-along presentation at Celebrate Brooklyn on Aug. 6.

“Prince made a film his way, which was outrageous at the time because people didn’t just cross from music to film in the 1980s,” said Bloom, who was then a music industry PR man — in theory, the opposite of the kind of free spirit who would’ve been attracted to a film as weird and non-commercial as “Purple Rain.”

But Bloom was Prince’s loyal subject long before the singer went to the big screen. Back in 1981, when Bloom was busy working with Earth, Wind and Fire (remember them?), Bloom finally heard Prince’s eponymous 1979 album — which went platinum.

“It was phenomenal,” said Bloom. “A kid no one had ever heard of had come out with an album no one had ever heard of and had gone platinum. It caught my attention, so I landed him as a client.”

One day, Bloom was sitting in his Manhattan office when Prince’s manager Bob Cavallo called with some horrible news: The suits in L.A. were grumbling about “Purple Rain.”

“You’ve got to be in Los Angeles at 11 am tomorrow,” Cavallo told Bloom. “We’re showing it to Warner Brothers tomorrow!”

Bloom arrived just in time to take part in the first-ever full screening of “Purple Rain.” The lights went down, the film started, and two hours later doves weren’t the only thing that had cried.

“I didn’t want the lights to go up” because everyone would see the tears, said Bloom. “The film tore through my emotional system.”

The suits remained unsatisfied — so Bloom put on the PR spin of the century.

“I got pissed off,” Bloom said. “Everyone was saying it wasn’t a movie.”

So he got up and made a speech in which he used terms like “cultural milestone,” “artistic landmark,” and “genius.”

“I also said that ‘killing “Purple Rain” would be a sin against art!’” said Bloom, who now spends every afternoon at the Tea Lounge on Union Street in Park Slope writing his latest non-fiction tome, “The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Revision of Capitalism.”

During his career, he represented Michael Jackson and Grandmaster Flash. But to this day, he is most eager to talk about “Purple Rain.”

“Kids still say to me, ‘Thank god you saved “Purple Rain,”’” said Bloom, whose other books include “How I Accidentally Started the Sixties,” which argues that he was at least five years ahead of the sex, drugs and rock and roll curve. “They tell me, ‘It’s the ultimate make-out movie.’”

So on Aug. 6, while the teenagers are going at it, and their parents are singing along, Howard Bloom will be miles away typing away at yet another book at the Tea Lounge. He doesn’t need to take part in the “Purple Rain” fun; he’s seen the movie before.

“Purple Rain Sing-A-Long,” part of Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park band shell (enter park at Prospect Park West and Ninth Street in Prospect Park), Aug. 6. For info, visit www.briconline.org/celebrate.

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

Gilesi says:
Of COURSE I remember Earth Wind & Fire! What kind of a question is that? If you a real Brooklyniner, you're born dancing in september.

Surely most now in the big B are outsiders who think other things are cooler or kewler than Earth Wind & Fire.

Never heard of Bloom before for any Prince related business ventures. And I know almost all the names. Interesting story. Any photos or other inside stories from Bloom?
Aug. 2, 2009, 4:15 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.