Looking at my schedule on Thursday, I had a lot that I wanted to do that evening and on Friday, so I decided to take a vacation day and try and squeeze in as much as I could. After changing into bicycling clothes I left work and drove up to Beltline and 75 in Richardson, where the new Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is about to open and stashed my car in a quiet spot. I pulled my bicycle out of the hatch and rode west a few miles to the Big Shucks Oyster Bar on Coit.
The hard thing about using a bicycle for entertainment is the logistics. You have to haul stuff – phones and wallets and keys and locks and camera and extra clothes and emergency repair tools and this and that and the other. It’s too much thinking about what you have and how you can carry it and how you can keep it from getting stolen. I still haven’t figured out a good way to carry a folding chair on my road bike (my commuter bike with its plethora of racks is out of commission – I broke the seat tube the other day) so I left that in my car, where I could get to it later.
At Big Shucks, I locked my bike to the metal rail and settled in on the patio with a Mexican Shrimp Cocktail and a Negra Modelo. When you think of shrimp cocktail you probably think about a bland, slimy mixture of large limp shrimp floating in some insipid watery sauce. A Mexican Shrimp Cocktail is a different thing altogether. It’s spicy, made fresh with firm, tiny shrimp with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and avocados. It’s a great warm weather treat. Every place makes theirs a little different, but Big Shucks does them as well as anybody.
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail and Negra Modelo at Big Shucks.
After a while, some more bicyclists showed up and we all finished our food, saddled up and headed out. This ride was organized by the Richardson Urban Bicycle Club – the same group I had ridden to see Dazed and Confused with a couple of weeks ago. We were riding back to the same place again, this time to see a double feature of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.
The Alamo Drafthouse was having a soft opening and was showing the newest film from director Edgar Wright and actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, The World’s End inside. After that, they were going to show Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz outside on the inflatable screen. We didn’t have tickets for the new film, but were all excited about the other two.
I was a little worried about the crowd. Of course, there is room in a parking lot for a lot of people in folding chairs, but folks had been gathering since before noon. Some people had the brilliant idea of looking in the “free” section of Craigslist and grabbing couches. They had hauled a few over and set them up, relaxing for the afternoon. I worried for naught – there were a lot of people there (many dressed as zombies and a few as cops) but the place wasn’t overflowing and I was able to find a spot where the screen, though distant, was visible.
Going to this had been sort of a last-minute decision and I hadn’t thought much about what to do… but it was fun. There was a long string of food trucks and I had a Guacamole Pie from The Bomb Fried Pies. Then I went over to check out the breweries… and hit the jackpot.
If you’ve been reading here you know of my fondness for locally brewed craft beer. Dallas, as always, is getting into the craft brewery thing late… but also, Dallas, as always, is doing it in a big, serious, and very good way.
Tonight there were six local breweries set up, with two beers each. You bought a sample card, a small plastic cup, and a yellow wrist band… and had at it. Since the double feature couldn’t start until the festivities inside ended, and then there were two entire movies… there was plenty of time to try everything.
I have been to sampling tours at all of the breweries except 903, so I was familiar with most of what they had to offer. It was all good.
Tasting Card – six breweries, twelve beers
Roos Red Ale
Roasted Coconut Ale
Community Beer Company
Deep Ellum Brewing Company
Paletero Pale Ale
Block Party Porter
Lakewood Brewing Company
Rahr and Sons Brewing Comany
In particular, I enjoyed the 903 Roasted Coconut Ale and the Four Corner’s Block Party Porter… mostly because I had never tried those before.
Soon after sunset the theater let out, swelling the parking lot crowd, a pair of black limos coursed up front and discharged their contents onto the makeshift stage. Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright talked up the crowd for a while. I’m not sure what they think about Texas – they seemed shocked by the heat, though it didn’t seem too bad to any of us. There were a couple of contests – beating a zombie with a cricket bat and screaming while shooting a gun in the air. One burly Texan managed to break the cricket bat over the zombie’s head – which I didn’t think was possible.
Everybody settled down and the movies began. Shaun of the Dead is a hoot, of course – perfect fair for an outdoor showing on an inflatable screen.
The crowd in the parking lot
Shaun is having a bad day.
After Shaun of the Dead ended most folks gave it up and went home – it was getting pretty late for a Thursday. I started to get up but then decided, “What the Hell,” and settled back in for the second show. I was able to scoot my chair forward and get a better look at Hot Fuzz – which I hadn’t seen before. Another great genre-mixing explosion of hilarity and bloodshed, I enjoyed it thoroughly.
It was about two in the morning when everything ended. I was very glad to have my car nearby – I didn’t really feel like riding my bicycle any great distance. That sort of thing makes for a long day. I felt like a zombie.
Slideshow Photos: Zombies, movie stars take over Alamo Drafthouse for ‘Blood and Ice Cream’ trilogy