Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Upcoming Programming and Event Highlights For The Alamo Drafthouse Richardson!

August 9th is almost here, and that means the Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson is almost open. Since this type of theater is new to Dallas, not everyone will be acclimated with the way that the Drafthouse does business. WDYMS was lucky to attend a roundtable announcing all of the events that are coming up leading to the grand opening August 9th, as well a little bit of the culture of the theater. Check out the highlights from the roundtable.

L to R: Bill DiGaentano, James Wallace, Bryan Penley
During the roundtable we were joined by Bill DiGaentano, Chief Operating Officer of the Richardson Drafthouse, James Wallace, the creative programmer, and Bryan Penley, the operations manager, who all introduced the various managers within the staff who were busy hiring the best people in the area to serve you food and drinks.

One of the coolest things about the new theater is the fact that the new lobby will have its own 3D art. Each lobby for a Drafthouse that has opened recently has a certain theme to their lobby unique to the area where the theaters. For example, Austin's Slaughter Lane has a LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS-style plant theme, and the new Lakeline theater will have a PLANET OF THE APES theme. Given Richardson's reputation as a host to many technology companies and the fact that the neighborhood is steeped in the mid-century modern/1950's style, the theme for the lobby will be old-school robots.

The part that has excited me the most is the programming that's leading up to the grand opening. This ties in very well into the lobby since the week leading up to the opening will be themed around the robots! During August 6-8th, where tickets will be $2 and the food will be half off, there will be a special set of movies playing throughout the day. This time period will be used to train the staff to be as quiet and efficient as ninjas stalking the night.

What robot and Dallas themed event would this be if it didn't feature ROBOCOP in 35mm? The other big movies are THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE ('86), JIMMY NEUTRON, SHORT CIRCUIT, WEIRD SCIENCE (which programmer James Wallace justifies as having Lisa come from a computer), THE IRON GIANT, and *BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED. Finally, we get a special Master Pancake screening of TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY, with a couple of other potential surprises that haven't been revealed yet. For those that aren't familiar with the brilliance of Master Pancake, check them out our write up from the first press tour in the links below. Now, the tickets will go on sale at some point within the next week or two while the online ticketing system goes up. All of this will lead into the grand opening which will take place in August 9th.

What happens after you ask? Well, a big part of the draw of the Drafthouse is the fact that there is unique programming and various series that run on a weekly basis. Things like Afternoon Tea, Tough Guy Cinema, and Quote-A-Longs will indeed be here, but James will be working on having some unique Dallas-only events that will make even the guys down in Austin jealous.

There will also be the Drafthouse proprietary bar next door, Glass Half Full, which will serve as an extension of the lobby, and that Bill hopes to be a "go-to destination for residents in the area." Speaking of the bar, you guys will be happy to know that Glass Half Full and the Drafthouse will feature 32 taps with 11 of them being local beers as well as 35 bottles and of course, amazing cocktails. Real talk, one of the best Old Fashioneds I've had is from the Drafthouse. The food itself will also be all made-from-scratch.

Prior to the roundtable, we were able to get some more information regarding the theater itself. To start off something that's rather important to Drafthouse enthusiasts is the fact that the new theater will have just one long table per row. This is much better than the two person tables that have been adopted in newer Austin Alamo locations. Also, the reserved seating that has been adopted in Austin will be in place here. There are obvious benefits to this, mostly being guaranteed a seat, but this poses the issue of needing to plan ahead if you want to see a film with a big group.

Finally, we were treated to sneak-peek tour of the theater itself. As mentioned before, the lobby itself will have the bar next to it and due to the fact that there is reserved seating, the lobby won't be a huge space, but it will still be a comfortable place to chill before a movie. A personal highlight for me was the fact that the theater has reel-to-reel 35mm projection in two theaters which means we'll be able to enjoy some older movies. They will also be capable for 4K digital projection as well as Real 3D for those big blockbuster movies. What's really interesting is how the theaters all range in size and purpose, we have the smallest of the theaters having only 49 seats to the largest theater that has 249 people which is the biggest screen in Alamo history will be, where a few lucky winners will be able to get a sneak peek of THE WORLD'S END.

So these were the highlights of the roundtable. Be sure to check out our previous Drafthouse Richardson coverage here with a write up of the first Rolling Roadshow, parts one and two of the Magical Mystery Tour with more about the culture of the Drafthouse and a review of the Master Pancake show, and Jonesy's coverage from last week on the Rolling Roadshow.

See you guys there on August 9th!

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