FishHead sat down with Damianos (known to the world as ‘Dee’) George in the glamorous Black Sparrow bar of Wellington’s famous Embassy picture theatre. Dee has been the manager of the Embassy for the past eight years, and loves every minute of it. After years of working in the Wellington hospitality scene, and a short stint in health insurance, he caught wind of the Embassy management position and jumped at the opportunity. On top of working in such an exciting and creative industry, Dee gets the added bonus of seeing most of the films before they are available to the public!
My favourite place in Wellington for a good drink and a hearty feed would have to be…Sweet Mother’s Kitchen — as it’s across the road, we go there a lot. I’ve eaten at Duke Carvell’s a couple of times recently and I loved it! I’ve been there for brunch a couple of times and dinner. A group of us got some shared platters for dinner, we had a sirloin, pork and lots of side dishes.
If I’m in need of a drink after work, you’ll find me… At the Embassy bar, the Black Sparrow! I spend a lot of time here. I did check out Vinyl on Courtenay Place recently — it’s got a really nice environment, like a mini bar that’s not as cramped as some of the other places you find on Courtenay. And Dragonfly! There are so many places in Wellington to choose from!
When I’m in need of a slice of culture…I don’t need to go far… I’m subjected to so much culture in the film industry. From mainstream blockbuster, to arthouse, the Embassy caters to so many tastes. I did go to Mighty Mighty last week to see the Real Hot Bitches dance group, who dance to 1980s numbers in tight spandex. Whenever I went to Mighty Mighty I had a lot of fun, I’m really sad to see that go.
Wellington’s best-kept secret would have to be…The Black Sparrow bar! We’ve been open for two-and-a-half years and we still get people coming in and saying, “Oh my gosh, this is so cool, when did you open?” It’s a bar that services moviegoers, but it also caters to people who just want to come in for a great environment and a great drink. You’ll have to try the Garden Party cocktail. It’s purple and delicious, but it’s quite strong!
A past event at the Embassy that stands out to me would have to be…The world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Logistically it was massive: it took months of preparation and long hours and stress. It’s particularly memorable because, despite all the stress, on the day of the event everything went so smoothly, everyone did his or her bit, and the show went off without a hitch.
A film I’m looking forward to seeing this year is… A film called The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, which is coming up this year. I’ve actually already seen it — but it’s really good! Also, A Little Chaos with Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman is a comedy about two landscape artists who are competing to win a contract to work on the Palace of Versailles. Lucy, with Scarlett Johansson, is another one I’m really looking forward to seeing.