Off-Centered Film Fest Day 1: What Have We Learned?

Day 1 of the Off-Centered Film Fest

Ahem. Last night's kickoff of the Alamo Drafthouse's Off-Centered Film Fest was the first "Rolling Roadshow" in Republic Square Park that we've been to in some time. We've missed the regular Roadshows, and it was good to be back.

Especially with Mel Gibson Brooks and Gene Wilder up on that big inflatable screen in the greatest of all flatulatory anti-racist comedies Blazing Saddles.

An estimated "shit ton of people" showed up for the quote-a-long, all of them kitted out with complimentary cap pistols, which led to an amusing intro as the Alamo's Henri Mazza explained to the crowd (and the condo dwellers overlooking the park) that the "N" word was going to be used and used frequently and vocally.

Scanning the crowd, the fabulously attired Mazza noted (and we're paraphrasing his actual statement), "I see about two black people here, and while the Alamo doesn't normally condone using the "N" word, this is Blazing Saddles so you're going to hear a lot of it. Relax, because it's all in good Mel Brooksian fun..."

And it was. With somewhere between 15-20 craft brews and beans, beans, beans on hand for imbibing and ingesting, the general mood was one of tipsy, farty hilarity. (Kudos to Dogfish Head Craft Brewery for co-sponsoring the Fest.) Admission bought you beer tickets, natch, but more importantly were those freebie cap pistols handed out to attendees. At times the park sounded more like the battle for Haditha than downtown Austin, and that's cool with us.

So...what lessons did we take away from last night's glorious chaos?

1) People like outdoor raunchy outdoor quote-a-longs and the Alamo should do more of them.

2) Even in smaller-than-usual plastic cups, micro brewed craft brews can get you loopy freaking quick.

3) Alamo owner Tim League is apparently incapable of manifesting a massive beer gut like most normal people.

4) Hearing thousands of fake firearms going off at once is kickass. (And loud!)

5) Gene Wilder is god.

6) Slim Pickens and Jack Starrett are demigods.

7) Austinites (and new arrivals) absolutely love to get smashed in the park while wielding little plastic six-shooters.

8) Mel Brooks needs to get back to making more movies as soon as possible.

9) People love shouting "Up yours, nigger!" but only in the context of an anti-racist, Western movie spoof shot in 1974.

10) Our liver is not what it used to be, but fuck it, "My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives," as poet/sage Hedley Lamarr once put it.

The Fest continues tonight at the Alamo South Lamar with a screening of guns down the single greatest Western ever made: Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West. If you've never seen Leone's masterpiece on the big screen, here's your chance. Miss this one at your peril. We might just send Harmonica to waste your ass. Or Dogfish Head to get your ass wasted. One or the other.

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Off-Centered Film Festival, Alamo Drafthouse, Blazing Saddles, Tim League

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