People, other humans, they’ve damn near ruined everything. Fox hunting, hard narcotics for a head cold, and the Ecto Cooler—the great things in life are slowly phasing out from our day-to-day, usually an order from some Fresca drinking slick-shaven-sally in a grey suit, something about safety or child labor laws. I’d come close, as I usually do. I was standing on my roof, clad in a trash-bag, one fist full of peanut butter, the other holding a shotgun, just me getting ready for the usual Tuesday night stuff. Then, the Old Gods intervened.
“Matthew,” a thunderous voice commanded, eyes and a beard forming in the clouds. “Matthew, what troubles your soul?”
“Besides low-calorie mayonnaise and Joss Whedon’s excuses?” I shot back. “The movies, cloud God. I can’t go to a movie theater anymore without pouring a Diet Coke on some pre-teen’s cellphone.”
The cloud smiled, then vanished, leaving only a light towards the west and a whisper in my brain.
“The Alamo Drafthouse,” the whisper beckoned with authority. “It’s, like, totally super badass.”
Soon, my life was to be changed forever.
I can’t attend the local theaters anymore, and this was a slow crawl of a decision. It started with the talking. I’m one of those folks who just can’t tone the stuff out. Every little whisper and slice of chit-chat pulls me kicking and screaming from the immersive experience I fished coins from that fountain to pay for. The cell phones are equally as bad, small lighthouses somewhere in the front row banging rays of color off of my corneas and killing my night vision or however the hell our eyes are supposed to work—something something, science.
The first few times, I’d do “the glare,” the dramatic turn back over your shoulder to snag a little eye contact, something that says “Please close your fat mouth,” or “Stop kicking my seat with your fat feet,” or “You are really fat and you don’t belong here, fatty, I was teased in middle-school for my weight and so I’m taking it out on you and also I’m really sorry.” Failing that, it progressed to “shushing,” which worked about as well as drinking oven cleaner to avoid attending my nephew’s graduation. The last attempt was to use actual words with the trouble makers, which sometimes worked, but often resulted in teenagers throwing popcorn at me until I snapped, and then later I have to introduce myself to my neighbors in new and embarrassing ways. That was a crack at sexual assault, in case you missed it, one of the many reasons I’m still not published.
The whole scene eventually drifted to my wife and I attempting to view new movies weeks after release on some odd Tuesday morning, anything to keep us away from other human beings. Then, nothing. We just stopped going to the theater. Instead, we simply waited for new releases to come out on iTunes, where we’d watch them struggle to play on an Apple TV, each few minutes of video in staccato with slow data buffering and my soppy tears.
Then, I was turned on to the fancy world of reservable-movie seating. I don’t know a slicker way to describe the places, but they have several beautiful attributes in common. For one, you pick out your seats, online, like you’re reserving airline tickets but with less anxiety and regret, and it’s surprisingly cheap. For two, you sit in a large, now-reserved, comfortable seat. This also includes a little table, where wait-staff will bring you food and drink. It ranges from bar food to an attempt at fancy-cafe edibles, but there’s no standing in line while some haggard thing attempts to wrangle their larva into deciding on the chocolate, the gummy candy, or a 1950’s-strength slap in their dumb little stupid smart mouth. Third, the culture is different—these are my people, and in our kinship we understand that we are all here to watch and enjoy a movie, in a theater, and this does not involve leaning over every six minutes to casually explain the plot-lines of Kill Bill to a toddler.
My devirginization to these places involved drinking hot chocolate in a leather love-seat while watching James Bond out-handsome someone right before a grizzly murder. Can humans really live like this? Goddess bless, with all this new hippy-esque love in my life I felt ready for a dandelion necklace, carrot juice, and suddenly being totally okay with photographs of hairy women peeing in a nondescript forest, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that at the end of the movie I was going to have to pony up for something terrible—like listen to a presentation on time-shares or let the theater staff take turns touching me on the bottom. But, nay, all remained above board, and it was marvelous. I got to enjoy all the great things about the cinema, and there was no butt stuff.
In the cadre of these types of magic experiences, one king sits on the Throne of Reels, and this is the Alamo Drafthouse. An original product of the late 90’s, Texas belched forth this holy place, and with it came a special brand of moviegoing experience that has since found its way to Colorado. Jesus, I cannot explain this to you faster, can you see how I am in love? I am not dicking around here people, so listen up, you savages! Here is how a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse works:
1.) You buy your tickets online, choose your seats, then sit back with the knowledge that just like an eBay auction for an entire pallet of frozen corn-dogs, you’ve made the right decision.
2.) You arrive at the theater roughly a half an hour early, and this is so you can order unexpectedly good food from wait-staff that don’t have “almost at puberty” or “eventual suicide” creased into their nicotine addled faces.
3.) Before the previews, a kitschy reel of nostalgia mined from your childhood will play. This generally has something do with the movie you’re about to see, e.g., The Muppets will play basketball with the Globetrotters or LeVar Burton will gently caress your brain with rainbows.
4.) Then, you shut your goddamn mouth! Several title cards will explain, with a delightful thoroughness, that at the Alamo Drafthouse we do not accept talking, texting, mouthing, or phoning. You get one warning, then, you will hit the streets! Out, I cast you out, you foul things!
5.) You enjoy the movie and try not to hate yourself for eating an entire pizza on your lonesome. Roughly forty or so minutes before the movie ends, the wait-staff will repel from the ceiling and discreetly place the check before you. You pay, you get out, you are thankful.
The place has rekindled my love affair with the cinema. I love being catered to and I love buying beer and brown-sugar lemonade from a chick covered with tattoos and then sitting in the air conditioning for two hours. Children under six and minors without their parents are completely verboten from the Alamo Drafthouse, and it is in this environment I feel at one with my inner self. After I’ve ordered fried pickles and I’m watching some strange mashup of All In The Family, I lean back in my chair and let the Alamo Drafthouse wash over my soul. As my third-eye peers into the history of space, astrophysicist Neil deGrass Tyson appears before me in a flowery white kimono. We drink ibogaine tea and my soul becomes one with the center of the goddamn sun. I am at its command, the Alamo Drafthouse—I’m carefully writing it glitter covered love notes and I’ll let it get me fucking pregnant if it wants.
They hold a variety of interesting events, special movie showings, the outfit has started its own film distribution company, and I even heard that on particular nights, well lit by the moon, the Alamo Drafthouse will sneak into your bedroom and whisper a fortune in your ear. I’m not saying it’s been in my bed, per se, but I can say I’ve got one hell of an eBay auction coming my way that may or may not have something to do with enough corn-dogs to replace my mattress.
Now available for Kindle:
Tincture, An Apocalyptic Proposition
Devil Men, Tobacco Pipes, and The Bacon Devotional
Image thanks to the gallery of nesster.