Mission to Lars is a touching, entertaining true story that will resonate with anyone whoever dreamed of meeting a rock star or their idol, or needed to face their fears. The film also covers the hazards of trying to make someone else's dream come true.
And you can see it at a special screening Sunday at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, where a fundraiser has been organized by a Long Beach family and others in a Southern California support group for Fragile X Syndrome, an autism-like condition.
A reception with light refreshments and champagne will begin at 1:30 p.m., along with a silent auction, and raffle drawings. The movie screens at 3 p.m. The $45 ticket also includes a chance to meet London filmmaker Kate Spicer and the drummer of Tenacious D, Brooks Wackerman of Naples, who has donated an acoustic Fender guitar signed by the band for the Mission to Lars event.(Tenacious D, best known as the rock band formed by actor and singer Jack Black.)
The documentary follows Tom Spicer of England, who lives in a home and earns money making animal beds out of newspaper. His journalist sister Kate and filmmaker brother Will, both of London, feel guilty they've grown apart from Tom. For a decade, Tom has been a huge fan of heavy metal band Metallica, obsessing on drummer Lars Ulrich. The movie follows the siblings' effort to try and meet Ulrich. It's tag line:
"The roadtrip o f a lifetime with just one condition...Tom's."
But the Southern California family that has helped bring the film to the fundraiser has its own interesting stories, and is well-known in music circles. Among the interesting threads in the large family is James Wackerman, who has Fragile X Syndrome, and was the first special education student to be named Millikan High's equivalent of homecoming king. It is a story enjoyed by tens of thousands of Patch and AOL readers.
James' grandfather is Chuck Wackerman, a local legend, having been the music director at Los Alamitos High School for over 20 years. He now teaches jazz at McAuliffe Middle School in Seal Beach.
His brood of now-grown kids all became working musicians. They include Belmont Shore's Chad Wackerman, a gifted drummer who has recorded or played with the late Frank Zappa, and James Taylor (at Carnegie Hall and the White House for President Obama). And Chad Wackerman is married to Naomi Star, a singer in a popular former group in Australia; she is known widely to locals as one of the best singing teachers around.
It is this family that helped organize the special screening, put on by the Fragile X Association of Southern California, on whose board Naomi Star serves.
One of the Mission to Lars event's main sponsors is the Long Beach law firm of Keesal, Young and Logan. Besides the silent auction Sunday there will be raffle prizes drawn.
Naomi Star said this weekend that an added bonus at the event will be "the world's foremost expert on Fragile X, who the support group flew down from the MIND Institute at UC Davis for a Q & A after the screening."
Tickets will be available at the door. More information can be found on the attached flier for the event, or at the website: www.fraxsocal.org
Short trailers of the documentary can be found with this story as well as at http://vimeo.com/38366274
Corrected: Chad Wackerman does not currently play for Tenacious D.