Update: Chapter 24 of "Trapped In the Closet" is online now! Meet yet another R. Kelly alter ego, Pimp Lucius.
It was a really weird night at the Sunshine Cinema on Houston Street in NYC. A bunch of excited reporters and a few lucky fans showed up around 6:30 p.m., willingly turned over their cell phones and took a seat as they prepared themselves to ingest the magic about to befall them: an advanced screening of R. Kelly's 23rd and long-awaited chapter of his epic "Trapped in the Closet" hip hopera, premiering November 23 on IFC.
While the short film (it really is a short film) was, as expected, bewildering, hilarious and just as convoluted, if not moreso, than the last 22 chapters of the saga, the real entertainment came after the viewing during the Q&A with R. himself (or "Sylvester," his character's name if you're nasty).
Dressed in a pristine suit, smart-looking glasses and beautifully expensive red leather gloves (holding what we're sure was an equally expensive cigar), R. Kelly was in a damn good mood. (As was the die-hard R. fan seated next to me—she has "R. Kelly" tattooed on her hand—who beelined it all the way from Jersey for the event. What up, Necee?) R. Kelly laughed! R. Kelly joked! And it was apparent he'd been waiting for this day for a while.
The big news from the evening's Q&A is that "Trapped in the Closet" is headed to Broadway. Yes, the same Broadway that hands out Tony Awards. While R. didn't have too many secrets to spill with us regarding when it would hit the stage, he did say he would appear in a few of the performances, "depending on the city." So apparently the show will travel—it's a Thanksgiving miracle.
The other big news of the night, besides the fact that there are about 85 "Trapped in the Closet" chapters in the bag, is that R. Kelly has the best quotes... ever. Since his mind was tellin' him no but his body was tellin' him yeeahh-hey-yah back in 1994, R. Kelly's been turning emotions and feelings into words like no one else.
From the man who brought us Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me and lyrics like, "Girl I promise this will be painless, painless/We'll take a trip to planet Uranus," here are seven things R. Kelly actually said out loud at his "Trapped in the Closet: Chapter 23" screening:
On his current occupation and the inspiration behind "Trapped in the Closet": "I don't have a job, so I think of stupid stuff to do all day."
On how he comes up with the characters and the storyline for "Trapped in the Closet": "I sit in this chair and get me some Cognac."
On switching between Sylvester, his "Trapped in the Closet" character, and R. Kelly, the R&B singer: "It makes me feel weird in my body."
On being a scientist of music: "I'm a scientist of music."
On what his superpower would be if he could have one: "I'm gonna get corny on y'all, but I would heal the world."
On what to expect in the following chapters of "Trapped in the Closet," of which there are 85: "I have a leash on this thing, and I'm gonna walk it."
On the only way to experience a "Trapped in the Closet" screening with R. Kelly: "['Trapped in the Closet'] is an alien, and I'm the astronaut taking you on a journey."