Alamo Drafthouse

Cutting the Ribbon at Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter


Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Robert Rodriguez and Tim League

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema had a soft opening of their newest location during SXSW, but the official grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Slaughter Lane location wasn't held until last Thursday, March 22. Members of the press and special guests enjoyed a morning filled with tasty tacos and coffee ... and Bloody Marias and mimosas. As a bonus, mid-morning screenings were open for attendees to try out the new seating and dining design of the theaters, which allow for easier access to seats for both patrons and staff.

Austin filmmaker Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids, Machete) was in attendance along with Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League, as you can see in the above photo. Rodriguez not only referred as the Alamo Drafthouse concept as being innovative, but he called League the most "innovative exhibitionist in the country, if not the world," and praised the Drafthouse creators saying that despite their growth, it is obvious that they care so much to keep the integrity of a small business that grows organically.

See more photos from the event below including Rodriguez's introduction to the Drafthouse ceremonial sabrage.

SXSW 2012 Guides: Dining in Austin


BarleySwine shellfish Risotto

Who knows the Austin food scene better than Austinites? Hungry festgoing Austinites (and a few honorary locals). For SXSW 2012, Austin has been through some restaurant changes -- closures, moves, new venues. and more alternatives to brick-and-mortar restaurants. This guide will help you find your way. We'll start with some general tips, then venue-specific recommendations, followed by some other recommendations by Slackerwood contributors and filmmakers.

Four Star Dining, Two Step Dress. The best part about Austin is few restaurants employ a strict dress code. Which means it's okay to show up at Barley Swine in your jeans. Some upscale restaurants like Uchiko do have a "smart casual" dress code, so don't show up in shorts and flip flops, mmk?

Top Chef. Speaking of Uchiko, yes, Paul Qui is an Austinite (and from all accounts as nice as he is talented). No, you are not likely to be able to use your connections to get a seat at Uchiko. Few reservation slots are available for Uchiko (and fewer for Uchi) during SXSW on OpenTable. But don't forget, Qui also co-owns East Side King food trailers, which has three locations along 6th Street.

No Reservations. If there's a place you really want to dine at during SXSW, check to see if they make reservations and make one ASAP. As in, stop reading this guide and go make the reservation now, especially if you're planning brunch.

Photo Essay: Alamo Slaughter, A Theater In Progress


Alamo Slaughter

I recently participated in a hard-hat tour of the newest Alamo Drafthouse in the Austin area, which is called "Alamo Slaughter" since it's on Slaughter Lane (just off Mopac). As I mentioned yesterday, Alamo Slaughter will start showing movies for the first time as a SXSW satellite venue -- it'll also have a "soft opening" starting March 8, with some second-run selections. The theater will officially open to the public with first-run movies on March 22. Alamo Slaughter will have eight screens -- the largest ones seat about the same as the big theaters in Alamo on South Lamar, and the smallest one is more like a half-theater, with 32 seats, a nice choice for private rentals.

But on to the photos! The tour was conducted by the four gentlemen in the following photo: Alamo Drafthouse CEO and co-founder Tim League, architect Richard Weiss, Executive Chef John Bullington, and Beverage Director Bill Norris. We all wore hard hats and construction was still actively going on around us in some parts of the building.

Jump on the Catbus and Head to Alamo's Studio Ghibli Series


Still from My Neighbor Totoro

February brings us a new film from Japan's Studio Ghibli, internationally known for its animated movies. The Secret World of Arrietty will open in Austin on Feb. 17. But that's not the only treat for Ghibli fans in Austin. Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar will host a Studio Ghibli Retrospective starting later this week and running through early May (with a break for SXSW). The series features new 35mm prints of nine animated films, all subtitled, seven of which are directed by Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki. Each movie will screen once a night for a week-long period.

Here's a list of the films being screened and dates:

  • Spirited Away (2001), Feb. 10-16 [tickets/info] -- The Academy Award winner for Best Animated Film follows a young girl in her adventure in a spirit world populated by masked wraiths, a witch with a huge head, a big baby and more.
  • Castle in the Sky (1986), Feb. 17-23 [tickets/info] -- I haven't seen this one, but it seems this movie tells the story of a flying city named Laputa, a boy and a girl searching for it, and involves a glowing crystal and sky pirates. 

Inconceivable? Alamo's 'Princess Bride' Event and Signature Wines


Princess Bride Feast

The Alamo Drafthouse has combined several of their signature events -- a quote-along, a feast, and Sommelier Cinema -- and taken them to a new level with "The Princess Bride Feast," taking place on February 14 and 15 in Drafthouse locations around Texas. In addition, they're also launching yet another business endeavor -- this time involving wine.

If the special sneak preview that Austin press were treated to recently was any indication, the Princess Bride feast is sure to be the hottest ticket item for food, film and wine lovers this Valentine's Day. Tickets for the Feb. 14 event sold out so quickly that additional screenings were added for the following day. Personally, I prefer to avoid the busiest romantic day of the year and recommend you buy tickets for the available February 15 screenings.

Be advised that for this signature event you are not only allowed but encouraged to talk during the screening (if it's related to the film, of course). The Alamo Drafthouse's Action Pack has added subtitles to their favorite Princess Bride lines in key places, but you can quote along for as much or little of the movie as you like. The Action Pack has other special surprises to make the Princess Bride a date night to remember.

Quick Snaps: Tarzan and Arab in Austin, Updated with Video


Tarzan and Arab at the Ritz

A couple of weeks ago, we reported on a special night when two filmmakers from the Gaza Strip, Tarzan and Arab, traveled to Austin to see their first movie in a theater, as well as screen their short film Colorful Journey. Thanks to Alamo Drafthouse, you now can watch video from the event, which we've embedded after the jump.

In addition, Alamo founder Tim League and Ain't It Cool founder Harry Knowles have established a Kickstarter campaign where you can donate to help Tarzan and Arab fund their first feature film. With 20 days left, they have raised more than 25 percent of their goal.

Photo Essay: Tarzan and Arab at Alamo Ritz


Tim League Introduces Tarzan and Arab

Last Wednesday, October 26, the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz hosted a very special presentation of an incredible pair of Palestinian artists, along with two related films. Above, Drafthouse founder Tim League introduces the show and explains the enormous task of bringing them to Austin.

Twin brothers and filmmakers Tarzan and Arab (Ahmed and Mohammed Abu Nasser) hail from Gaza, where the last movie theater was destroyed in a bombing two years before they were born. The sons of an art teacher, they conceived an art project where they would create movie posters for imaginary films with titles based on codenames for Israeli military operations.

Photo Essay: 'Young Adult' Surprises Alamo Audiences

Patton Oswalt & Jason Reitman

The Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar played host this week to a "secret screening with special guests." The guests turned out to be filmmaker Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air) and actor/comedian Patton Oswalt.

Free Friday at Fantastic Fest: 'El Infierno' for Cine Las Americas Badgeholders


Cine Las AmericasCouldn't get a badge for Fantastic Fest? If you were a Cine Las Americas badgeholder this year, you can see a free movie during the fest anyway, with the director in attendance.

I love it when film festivals collide this way; both fests bring outstanding international programming in a variety of genres to Austin. I also love free. I especially love it when there is free at a festival.

Tomorrow at 2 pm at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, Cine Las Americas is hosting a special screening of the Fantastic Fest selection, El Infierno. This is not on the Fantastic Fest schedule, so you don't have to worry about getting in a queue for the online ticketing system. This particularly screening is reserved exclusively for CLA badgeholders, so unless you also happen to have a Fantastic Fest badge, you will probably not be able to see this movie again anytime soon (El Infierno screens twice as part of the regular Fantastic Fest schedule). 

The hitch is that you need to get to the theater on time and bring your badge from Cine Las Americas. If you're like me and attend a lot of festivals, you keep your badges, but then you have to find the right badge. To make it easier to find it, the badge has the 2011 Cine Las Americas poster on it, pictured here.

Just remember to leave plenty of time for parking -- it's only day two of Fantastic Fest so there is probably a full parking lot. 

Quick Snaps: 'Footloose' in Austin


Last week, I attended a special "Cut Loose with Footloose" advance screening of Footloose hosted by Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar and Paramount Pictures. Actor Kenny Wormald and director Craig Brewer (pictured above) were at the event for a Q&A after the movie. I've posted more photos from the event after the jump.

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