We have been duly warned that the Austin based movie theater chain, Alamo Drafthouse, is coming to the Dallas area soon. Soon is more like April or May of 2013, but we have plenty to celebrate as we count down the months to its arrival.
Look for plenty of locations in and around Dallas with the first site to be in Richardson on the southwest corner of Belt Line Road in the old Pep Boys location in the Richardson Heights Shopping Center. The shopping center is predominately occupied by Indian restaurants, grocers, clothing and gift shops, but that is how Alamo rolls. They prefer a very indigenous location that might need a boost of economic juju.
Alamo plans to completely raze the section of the strip mall where the theater will squat and begin construction within about one week.
Once in the neighborhood, Alamo plans to bring along a few other Austin buddies including restaurants that are not currently in the Dallas area, and retail businesses.
Last weekend we made a trek to Austin on a media junket that would indoctrinate us in the ways of the Alamo Drafthouse, and to see what all the hype is about exactly. We were accompanied by local Drafthouse owner Bill DiGaetano who moved to Dallas in preparation for the Dallas invasion back in July. Since then DiGaetano has been meeting with various city leaders working on site selections. A second location is already in the works and we should see that Alamo online about 9 months after the Richardson theater goes live.
Once in Austin we met up with super-programmer and film curator Lars Nilsen who walked us through the under belly of the theater. There we saw hundreds of rescued films that would have normally ended up on the bottom of the ocean floor, a standard burial ground for old films so it would seem.
One of the major differences between Alamo and other theaters is that we will not be spoon fed just first run films, but classics as well. Nilsen’s job is to select these films and prepare the now famous preshow clips. Alamo refuses to inundate movie-goers with commercials and other drivel before each showing. Instead you will be amused by a preshow montage of clips of old commercials, films and other video extracted from all known sources of media. These are relished by patrons and are a large part of the experience behind Alamo.
Alamo is also famous for their special themed series such as a recent showing of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy that lasted a full day. The films were paired with elevated food that was taken from the film itself at an all-day cost of $105. There are other much less expensive themed nights such as Girls Night Out, where you are offered props and even allowed to shout out lines from the chick flicks ala bouncing ball.
We enjoyed something rather special last Friday night as the Austin improve troupe Master Pancake riffed on Conan the Barbarian MST3K style. This was not for the delicate in nature as the language was bawdy and hilarious.
These examples are the few chances an audience will get to participate with the films as the theater has a legendary no talking policy. This policy is followed strictly that it made national news when one seemingly intoxicated young lady was booted for texting during a movie.
We will bring you more news on Alamo Drafthouse as we come closer to the date, but we did want to also mention that the prices are extremely good and the beer is on par with our best pubs in Dallas.