In L.A., I’m really bummed to have missed the opening weekend in Austin, of the new Alamo Drafthouse downtown location. The Alamo crew has renovated and remodeled the former Ritz club/theater on 6th Street. Now, the Alamo Ritz is a two-screen moviehouse, bound and determined to add an injection of cinephilia to the city’s famous entertainment district. Since I’m not there, I’ll just have to keep up with the local reports. For the Austin Chronicle, Alamo regular Marc Savlov gives us a glimpse at the history of the Ritz and how this new era came to be:
[Owner Tim League:] “Relocating the original Alamo into the historic Ritz is pretty much a dream come true for us – it all just kind of fell into place. Once it did, it just seemed so right, you know? The Alamo Village was a Seventies theatre; the Alamo Lake Creek was an Eighties theatre; the original Alamo Downtown was a warehouse. I mean, I love old theatres, and I’d never had the chance to move into one since our Bakersfield days. Even though, financially, Bakersfield was a disaster, the actual running of an old-time theatre has always been something I missed.”
Talking about the Ritz, League is painfully sincere (and, as the project’s 24/7 general contractor, sore as hell, to boot), and it’s impossible to not feel a swell of pride in everything he and his wife, Karrie, and their whole DIY, do-or-die crew have accomplished not only in the past six months since breaking ground on Sixth Street but over the decade, since they first opened that little, sweaty, sawdust-strewn rat-hole of a film-lover’s paradise at 409 Colorado. Wherever it goes, long may it reign.
On his blog, Out & About, Michael Barnes reports back from the events of Opening Night, which included a visit by filmmaker and Alamo fan, Quentin Tarantino.
Oh, and while I’m at it, I may as well share the news that SXSW will use both of the two screens at the Alamo Ritz for March’s film festival. Should be fun fun fun.