Wednesday, June 27 will mark the Closing Night of the original Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. It will be a night for the ages, a night that is forcing me to put off many other momentous occasions (Swanberg, I would only ruin your bachelor party anyway) so that I can soak up the last few hours in 409 Colorado Street. You would think, based on this weekend’s local media, that the Alamo was going away forever. It’s not (it’s merely moving locations downtown).
That hasn’t stopped both the Austin Chronicle and the Austin American-Statesman from dedicating ample column space to the last week of the location. For the Chronicle, Marc Savlov chats geek love with co-owner Tim League:
Tim League ballparks the original Alamo’s film screenings somewhere in the vicinity of 3,000, which makes for one helluva lot of fond memories:
“One of my favorite things about this space,” says League, “was having the opportunity to meet Doris Wishman. When she came through town, she didn’t want to be alone that night – she had a really early flight in the morning – and so I ended up staying up all night with her, which was a really great experience. And then there were people like Dave Friedman, Herschell Gordon Lewis, and Russ Meyer; this space has provided me with the opportunity to meet a lot of my idols in the film world.”
At the Statesman, John DeFore takes a comprehensive look at the 10-year history of the original location, and all it has yielded:
Tim and Karrie League rolled the dice on Austin when they moved from Bakersfield, Calif., in 1996, hoping we were a town that would support a homemade theater in the age of the multiplex and gambling that their esoteric tastes would resonate with our own.
They were right and have been rewarded, which is the way things are supposed to work. They branched out and franchised, earned accolades from “Entertainment Weekly” and saw their programming imitated by theaters across the country. As a recent episode of “Heroes” reminded us, movie freaks now travel from across the country (and, in fact, the world) in pilgrimages to the theater.
Expect a few more tributes between now, and next Thursday morning…