Alamo Drafthouse, Austin

Sigh, still thinking about Austin. One of my fonder memories of the town is that although there was more than enough attitude to go around, as in most large college towns, Austinites usually accompanied any infusion of attitude with a heaping helping of funny.

Back in 1991, I was at the main (perhaps only) espresso café, Captain Quackenbush’s, at the time still across the street from the University. I had my eye on one of their specials, the Leo’s Crowbar (four shots of espresso with a bit of milk foam). But since it was 9pm, I asked for decaf. The barista looked at me for a long moment, then said: “You just don’t get it, do you?” So I looked him in the eye, and volleyed back: “Okay, then make it REGULAR!” I reflected on that exchange until about 4am, when I finally fell asleep.

The Alamo Drafthouse is one of the many cool places in Austin I never managed to visit, kind of strange given how much I enjoy movies. Talk about capital-A attitude! They have a policy of kicking people out for using their cell phones in the theater (I approve!). And they run a PSA film clip before the movies to that effect. One simply plays a voicemail from an angry customer who tested this policy and found out it was real. Here’s the censored version, and here the uncensored. The one with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy is pretty good, too.

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