Quick Snaps: Live Camels at the Paramount


DSC_0299 by The Paramount Theatre, on Flickr

The Paramount Theatre has been hosting all kinds of fun extra events this summer to accompany their Summer Classic Film Series: live performances, special treats, contests -- even manicures (Breakfast at Tiffany's, natch). But the downtown theater outdid itself last Thursday night for the film series' closing-night party before a screening of Lawrence of Arabia: actual camels outside the theater.

According to the Paramount's Executive Director, Ken Stein, the theater procured the noble beasts from Texas Camel Corps. (I was wondering where one found camels in Austin, even during drought conditions.) Stein noted on his blog that a few protesters parked a van proclaiming "animal cruelty" nearby. However, judging from the Paramount's Flickr set, the camels were popular with theatergoers, ushers and anyone who walked down that section of Congress Ave. at the time. Apparently there were belly dancers too, but I couldn't find any photos of that particular attraction.

Although the Summer Classic Film Series is over for 2009, the Paramount often shows movies during times when few live performances are scheduled, such as the Thankgiving and December holidays. The theater will also be a venue for splashy premieres and big-name films this fall at Fantastic Fest and Austin Film Festival.

I've got a couple more photos to show you after the jump:

'Extract' Premiere Benefits Texas Filmmakers

Extract red carpet

The world premiere of Mike Judge's new film Extract took place on Tuesday night in Austin at the Paramount Theatre, with star Jason Bateman (pictured above with Judge) and others attending. The premiere was a benefit for the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund. It's been a big week for Austin Film Society (AFS), with the recent announcement as reported by Jette of the TFPF grants awards announcement and now a major premiere benefiting the fund. I spoke with actors from Extract as well as AFS founder and filmmaker Richard Linklater, who was in attendance supporting fellow Austin filmmaker Mike Judge and the TFPF benefit. 

Jenn interviewed Mike Judge for Slackerwood earlier that day, so rather than inundate him with questions I did ask him the one question that was in the back of my mind:

'Shorts' Premiere Turns Congress Ave. into a Carnival

Red carpet events continue in Austin this week, and I cut my Cinemapocalypse experience a few hours short at 7:30 am so I could rest before another special event on Sunday afternoon.

Writer/director Robert Rodriguez, producer Elizabeth Avellán, and cast members Jimmy Bennett, Trevor Gagnon, Devon Gearhart, Jake Short, Jolie Vanier and Rebel Rodriguez walked the red carpet this past weekend at the Paramount Theatre for a special screening of their new movie Shorts. The event was a benefit for local organization Thoughtful House Center for Children, and included a free post-screening carnival including rides, sno-cones, cotton candy and more. Danny Trejo, whom I photographed at Cinemapocalypse, made an appearance as well as Richard Linklater. Rebel and Racer Rodriguez worked the red carpet like pros, answering questions and posing for photos.

When I'm working the red carpet I will rarely ask folks the same question, but due to Robert Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellán's strong involvement in the Texas Motion Picture Alliance and film incentives I wanted to hear from both of them on the subject. Here's how they answered the following question:

What Would You Show at the Paramount?


SXSW 2009 at the Paramount

The Paramount Theatre is holding a raffle right now to benefit the theater's youth outreach program. The website doesn't say what the deadline is for buying raffle tickets, but they're announcing the winner on September 23, so I assume it's shortly before that date.

The winner gets to hold a private film night at the Paramount and invite anyone they want -- up to 1,100 audience members total. The website says you can show "the movie of your choice" but it also says restrictions apply, which probably means No Porn, although you'll have to win to find that out for sure. You can't charge admission for the event, either.

Quick Snaps: '500 Days' at SXSW


500 Days at SXSW by J. Kernion

On Friday, the romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer opens here in Austin, at Arbor and Alamo South. But this isn't the first time the movie has screened in town -- it was the closing-night film for SXSW 2009. I managed to take a few photos that evening. Everyone wanted to get a shot of the two stars, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, pictured above.

Slackerwood will be posting a group review of the film on Friday, so come back tomorrow and find out what we thought of it. And after the jump, I've got a couple more photos from the SXSW screening.

Tix on Sale for Rodriguez's 'Shorts' Premiere at Paramount


R. Rodriguez at Troublemaker, by Jette KernionThe splashy movie premieres that the Paramount sometimes hosts are rarely for family films. However, you now have an opportunity to take your children to a kid-friendly gala premiere, when Robert Rodriguez's upcoming film Shorts gets the red-carpet treatment.

Tickets just went on sale this morning (10 am) for the Sunday, August 16 regional premiere of Shorts at the Paramount. Tickets are $30 plus service charges, and include not only the movie but a children's carnival nearby on Congress Ave. afterwards. There are also VIP badges you can buy ($125), but I don't know what extra perks they provide apart from better seats. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit a local nonprofit, Thoughtful House Center for Children.

Shorts, written and directed by Rodriguez and produced by Elizabeth Avellan, was shot here in Austin. The PG-rated film is about a mysterious Rainbow Rock that falls from the sky and grants people unlikely wishes. The cast includes Rebel Rodriguez (Robert Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellan's son), Kat Dennings, Jon Cryer, William H. Macy, Leslie Mann, and James Spader.

Quick Snaps: Looking Up at the Paramount


Looking up

I took this photo of the Paramount marquee during the Office Space anniversary screening back in February, and realized I've never shared it here. I don't have any particular news associated with the Paramount or the image above; it's just a photo that I like and hoped other people would, too. Enjoy.

Upcoming Movie Events at Paramount


The State and the Paramount

You probably already know about the Paramount's Summer Film Series. Maybe you rushed over there to catch Breakfast at Tiffany's (bleah) or The Awful Truth (woo-hoo). However, you might not be aware -- I wasn't -- that the Paramount also has planned special events around some of the movies they're showing.

For example, Singin' in the Rain and An American in Paris are double-billed at the theater this weekend. Between the two screenings on Saturday, the Paramount will host live "vaudeville-style performances" from Schave and Reilly.

And next Friday, June 26, the theater is hosting a The Big Lebowski-themed downtown scavenger hunt before showing the movie as a double-feature with Fargo. You can buy a ticket through the Paramount website that gets you into the scavenger hunt and both movies, as well as a free soda and popcorn.

Unfortunately, the Paramount website doesn't seem to have a separate section where all the film-related special events are listed. The event info is included with the descriptions for the appropriate films on the website ... or you can sift through the printed/PDF full calendar. To make it easier to find out about these little extras, we'll post an update at the end of this month that lists the special events for July, such as an egg-eating contest before Cool Hand Luke.

[Photo credit: "The State and the Paramount" by Jette Kernion]

Your Turn: Favorite Paramount Stories


Air S** at the Paramount

It's Memorial Day, and what a gorgeous day it is. A perfect day to be outside. Yet we'll probably all be in theaters anyway -- or maybe the Mondo Tees rummage sale over at Alamo South Lamar. At any rate, I'm taking the day off from writing.

So it's your turn. Please take a minute and post to the comments section of this entry. Share your favorite story or amusing anecdote about a memorable experience you've had at the Paramount Theatre here in Austin. Movie-related stories are best, but anything entertaining related to the historic theater is welcome.

I've already told my favorite Paramount story, about the time I saw Ann Richards at a screening of Blood Simple during Austin Film Festival. Surely you all can top that? Let's hear 'em. And if you've already written your story elsewhere, as I did, feel free to post a link -- links to photos are fine, too.

Paramount: Summer Film Series, New Film Fan Benefits


Paramount's summer movies begin

The Paramount Theatre has just released its 2009 schedule for the Summer Film Series, which has been going on for how long? 34 years, according to the website. I remember seeing MASH there in the summer of 1994, even though I had such a bad cold I could barely speak. I had never seen an unedited version of the movie, nor seen it in a theater, and I pretty much forgot about my cold for 2 hours. The print was pink from old age, but that didn't matter.

Over the years, the summer film series has grown bigger and more varied, and the quality of the prints has improved greatly. But they still start every year with Casablanca in late May, and reserve Labor Day weekend for Gone with the Wind.

Some of this year's highlights are a special screening of Buster Keaton's The General with music by Guy Forsyth; a double-feature of Chaplin's City Lights and Modern Times; Hal Ashby's 1970 film The Landlord, which isn't on DVD yet; and the little-seen Frank Capra film American Madness from 1932.

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