Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Texas Theater

The Texas Theater sells t-shirts. They're right there in the glass cases along with all the boxes of candy. And if you wore one, you might mean to celebrate the current Texas Theaterits local film festival and its swank retro bar in the lobby and its showing of Animal House next month followed by a real live toga party. It's certainly a place worth celebrating. It's a big old theater with hard little seats and a balcony, even if the public isn't allowed up there. The inside is white stucco and giant paintings of old movie posters high on the foyer walls. A projector in the lobby flickers away, flanked on the floor by red velvet couches low to the ground, the projector screening bits of a film you didn't come to see on the white stucco walls left blank. The whole thing is marvelous: old and a bit glamorous, stocked with a Ms. Pacman table game and the Robocop arcade game to keep you busy, you who remember when they were new.

I especially like the Robocop arcade game. I like the little pixelated super cop stomping around a city that was meant to be Detroit in the film but was actually shot in Dallas. I like that the reason I can drop in on a Monday night to see the new Star Trek movie is because half a dozen preservation efforts brought it back it turn from infamy and bankruptcy and fire and abandonment. But I can't make sense of the t-shirts, of what it means to wear the iconic marquee on your chest, to advertise that beautiful sign like it looks now, like it looked when it opened in 1931, like it looked fifty years ago on that Friday afternoon when Lee Harvey Oswald slipped inside without ever buying a ticket.

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