Austin Cinematic Limits

Austin has a drive-in movie theater? Really? No way! Actually it makes total sense, since Austin is a city that really loves movies and really loves cars [and pickup trucks and SUVs]. Besides, it seems to never rain here, so the weather is perfect for outdoor movie screenings.

Way back in 2010, native Austinite Josh Frank (author of “In Heaven Everything is Fine: The Unsolved Life of Peter Ivers and the Lost History of New Wave Theatre” and “Fool the World: The Oral History of a Band Called Pixies”) took a cue from San Francisco’s mobile drive-in MobMov.org — he constructed a modestly sized outdoor screen, acquired some car-speaker posts from defunct drive-ins via eBay, and restored a vintage runabout to use as a concession stand.

Frank’s Mini Urban Drive-in, The Blue Starlite, has existed in varying capacities and locations for the last two years. When he found out a few months ago that his lease at 1001 E 6th Street would not be renewed, the future of The Blue Starlite seemed uncertain. One of Austin’s best kept cinematic secrets was in jeopardy of disappearing forever. Along came a surprising announcement from the Austin Film Society – The Blue Starlite found a summer home at Austin Studios (1901 E 51st Street). They even built their first real drive-in movie screen to complement the new location.

The partnership with AFS is certain to give The Blue Starlite the legitimacy and attention it needs to survive. The AFS curated summer series features a mix of Texas films featuring up-and-coming Austin filmmakers and longstanding icons of Austin’s film scene, with a few drive-in classics tossed in for good measure. Tickets can be purchased through The Blue Starlite Drive-In website. Car packages can be purchased at different levels, ranging from $25 to $55. Pedestrian packages are also available for $25. Walk-up pedestrian tickets are $5.

The Austin Film Society Summer Series @ The Blue includes: Independence Day (July 4), Dazed and Confused (July 13), Night of the Living Dead (July 13), School of Rock (July 14), Waking Life (July 14), Grindhouse: Planet Terror (July 27), Spy Kids (July 28), Office Space (July 28), Princess Bride (August 10), Wild Man of the Navidad (August 11), Harry and the Hendersons (August 12), Lone Star (August 24), Giant (August 25), Goonies (September 7) and Grease (September 8).

What will happen to The Blue Starlite once the summer comes to its end? Well, let’s not concern ourselves with that right now. Let’s just hope that the current partnership between AFS and The Blue Starlite proves to be beneficial (and profitable) for both parties.

While on the subject of outdoor screenings… Um, did you hear about Drafthouse FilmsUltimate Klown Experience Rolling Roadshow Canoe Trip?! On Saturday, June 30, the stars of KlownFrank Hvam and Casper Christensen — will be taking a canoe trip (a.k.a. “Tour de Pussy”) down the Guadalupe River to an outdoor screening of Klown. This has to be one of the most amazing cinematic events happening in Austin this summer. Christensen and Hvam’s episodic humor is absurd, crude, inappropriate, immature, disgusting, and unbelievably wrong on so many levels…but it is abso-fucking-lutely hilarious. Oh, and for those of who would would prefer to watch it in a theater, Drafthouse Films is releasing Klown in NYC, LA & Austin on July 27 (in conjunction with the film’s VOD/Digital release).

Speaking of Drafthouse Films… Have you heard about their new “Drafthouse Alliance” membership program? By becoming a member of the Drafthouse Alliance for $124.99, you will get either a Blu-ray or DVD (and digital download) of a current Drafthouse Films title of your choice, plus the next 9 releases shipped automatically to your door. Additionally, you will be offered exclusive deals, bonus gifts and screening opportunities throughout the year.

Austin Movie Events This Week:

6/25 – Alamo Ritz - Austin Film Festival presents a Music Monday screening of Andrew Bird: Fever Year. (More info)

6/26 – Alamo South Lamar - AFS’s Essential Cinema Series features Vaho. (More info)

6/26-6/28 – Stateside at the Paramount - Each night features a different version of A Star Is Born from 1937, 1954 and 1976. (More info)

6/26-6/28, 7/1 – Paramount Theatre - It is musicals week at the Paramount, featuring Cabaret, All That Jazz, Meet Me In St. Louis and Broadway Melody of 1940. (More info)

6/28 – Alamo South Lamar - Susan Tyrrell’s Rotten Memorial will feature a screening of Fat City followed by a bombardment of joyous memories, music, and more. (More info)

6/29 – Alamo South Lamar - For those of you who could not get tickets to the sold out Klown canoe trip, all is not lost. Drafthouse Films hosts a special sneak preview of Klown with Frank Hvam and Casper Christen in attendance for a Q&A. (More info)

6/29-6/30 – Alamo Ritz - The Late Show presents Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. (More info)


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