|06.27.07||Alamo Downtown|| Here it is. This is it. There've been a lot of clever little phrases popping up like "Remember the Alamo" and "The Alamo is dead, long live the Alamo," and I'm tempted to start quoting The Doors myself, but all the silly writing aside... here it is; this is it. The Last Night at the Alamo.|
I wanted to get there at around 8:30, ended up walking in at 9 thanks to parking woes. It's weird to think that the slotted spots on 4th between Congress and Colorado won't be the holy grail anymore. I guess in the grand scheme of things, where I park is about the least weird thing to think about but there it is.
After being treated to one last line on the stairs in stifling heat, they let us into the lobby and there was a nice table spread with flowers and candles showing off the feast they had just served. I've been pretty comfortable with missing Big Night (the first film of the evening) since they announced ticket prices, but I must say that seeing the food made a small part of me (well, not so small according to my belt) regret not splurging. Especially when they let us in the theater and all the feasters had the choice seats (I fared pretty well though, ending up 2nd row center which is actually almost ideal for me) and sneaking a peak at the full menu. Reading that thing made me really sad to miss it, but the other parts of me that pays rent didn't mind. Just for the sake of it, here's the Big Night feast that I missed:
paired with Feudi de San Gregorio, Fiano di Avellino, Italy 2004
Il Risotto: A trio of seafood, truffle, and spinach risottos
paired with Bottega Vinaia, Pinot Grigio, Trentino, Italy 2005
Il Timpano: A heavenly drum of pasta filled with penne, egg, sausages, salami, parmesan, mozzarella, and fontina baked to golden perfection
paired with Casa Dreolino, Chianti, Rufina, Itally 2004
Salmon with meyer lemon, roast tomatoes with basil, and artichokes with radicchio
paired with Poderi Colla, Dolcetto D'Alba, Italy 2005
Roast suckling pig with cherries and blood orange, poussin with grape sauce, beets with sage, roast garlic with rosemary, sweet and new potatoes
paired with Sette Ponti, Crognolo, Tuscany, Italy 2004
Merinque cookie with mascarpone, fresh fruit and nuts
paired with Casalnova, Prosecco, Veneto, Italy NV
yeah... I bet that was good. Feasters also got treated to a half hour introduction by Tim, making us double feature ticketholders wait all the longer while they dined in extravagance. whatever.
So when Tim got up to introduce Earthquake, the house was packed. Alamo staff started handing out hardhats as Tim explained that the one time they brought this much bass to show Earthquake was down in San Marcos at the fault line where they had noise complaints in a three mile radius and it took them 40 minutes to locate where they were. But, they weren't inside then... so this was basically new ground and Tim had realised a few days before that he was the one that installed the drop ceiling above our heads and didn't have the upmost confidence in his handiwork. So we all got official Alamo last night hardhats to wear during the movie just in case a heavy ceiling tile fell on us (we had to sign a liability waiver in line). TIm also mentioned that while he loved all of us, he hated Hated HATED Cuba Libre: the club downstairs from us that moved in on the pretense of being a low-key club and dodging the city's sound shielding specs and then becoming a trendy hair gel monster farting out a constant bassline thud every weekend night, ruining untold quiet moments in the theater with their obnoxious music. So this was for them!
Unfortunately, even with the bass so loud as to vibrate bottles off tables and break a light fixture, Cuba Libre only heard distant thunder. Lars did his part however by punching and kicking on the wall. Oh well, at least we got some chest-vibrating gut-wrenching crotch-fertilizing bass out of the deal.
I'd never seen Earthquake before. It was pretty great. The print was showing its age (one reel was a little warped creating focus issues) but I loved Chuck Heston as the lead and Richard Roundtree as a motorcycle daredevil and especially George Kennedy as the pissed off cop and Marjoe Gortner as the crazy grocery store clerk slash volunteer national guard. I guess I need to see Starcrash now. Oh yeah, having Walter Matthau pop up was also a surprise (even credited as Walter Matuschanskayasky).
Mostly though, I got the kind of vibe like this was a slightly more gonzo version of the 70s disaster flick. I don't know why, but it seemed to give much less time to the dramatic death scenes of each star and deadly serious tone in place of seemingly random but ultimately much more entertaining moments like when Roundtree goes on his test run and biffs the loop de loop or when Gotner gets harassed by a trio of reprobates loafing on his stoop, not to mention when Gotner goes batshit crazy and guns them down in cold blood (spoiler!). I think Towering Inferno and Poseidon Adventure could've used more scenes like that.
Beforehand, they played an assortment of classic Alamo ads for events of a bygone past. Soe I remembered (Tim Doyle's knee-popping Napoleon Dynamite Mondo Tees spot), some I'd seen but had forgotten (The human frogger for atari 2600 gaes at the theater), and some were before my time but really great (Lars and Henri's porn compilation shot at Vulcan). It was a nice little trip down the memory lane involving sitting through the adreel 3 times a week and having them burned into your brain.
Then came a video by Don Coscarelli basically wishing well to the Alamo before one of those fancy little balls flies in and explodes his head.
Then a series of vintage trailers, ostly of disaster flicks. Let's see, there was Tentacles, The Towering Inferno... dan, can't reember the others. They were good though, trust me.
After the show, the sadness I felt when I first got into the lobby and saw the funereal table spread quickly washed over with the happiness that watching a movie with basically everyone I've ever met in town and feeling the incredible bass (with little sounds thrown in the stereo mix making it sound like girders were bending and glasses were breaking behind us) wash over us all. Seriously, looking around at the crowd, i felt like the new kid on the block all over again. Everyone there had been an alamo fan for much longer than I have... I don't know that I've seen as many familiar faces in one place ever. Truly, pretty much everyone showed up. It was great.