A female fight broke out during the closing minutes of last night’s Lincoln Square promotional screening of White House Down. Screaming, slapping, wailing, shouting. Crazy violence on the screen and crazy violence in the seats. It was absolutely fantastic — almost like that Radio City Music Hall scene in Alfred Hitchcock‘s Saboteur in which a shooting scene on the big screen is mirrored by real-life gunplay between the cops and Norman Lloyd‘s “Frye.”

It happened between (a) two 20something African-American chicks (I’m using that term with air quotes) who were sitting directly in front of me and (b) another pair in the row in front of them and off to the center — a spirited X-factor white girl and her African-American friend.

The action started before the film began when Ms. Spirited X-Factor took out a black umbrella, opened it and held it over her head. Although I was delighted that anyone would do such an unconventional, performance-art thing prior to a screening of a Roland Emmerich film, not everyone felt that way. “Put that umbrella away!,” said one of the girls in front of me. Words ensued. Ms. X-Factor (an artist or malcontent of some kind) got a little snippy and sarcastic, but she folded the umbrella.

Then the film started and the girls in front of me started talking out loud about it (a not-unheard-of tendency among New York urbans), and the black friend of Umbrella Girl told them to shut the fuck up. They started arguing back and forth, loudly. People sitting nearby were saying “shut up! stop it! chill out!” and so on. They finally did but the friend of Umbrella Girl got in the last word: “You shut up, bitch! We’re tryin’ to watch the movie!”

Near the very end one of the girls in front of me said something to Umbrella Girl and her friend, and then got up and left and headed for the rear exit. The remark must have been pretty inflammatory because Umbrella Girl and her friend talked it over for five or six seconds and then got up and ran back to slap it out with the other two. They started fighting somewhere near the least two rows. The whole theatre went crazy. Nobody was paying attention to the film. Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx were talking to each other on the screen, oblivious to what was happening. Screaming, shouting. Umbrella Girl was weeping a bit. One of the black girls had been tackled and was being held down by two or three guys. She was screaming — “Lemme go! Lemme up! Aaaggh!”

I loved it. I really fucking loved it. Nobody was really hurt — it was just great theatre.