The Austin Chronicle

Kickstart Your Weekend: Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In

By Richard Whittaker, July 18, 2014, 9:30am, Picture in Picture

Nothing says American cinemagoing like the drive-in. While it looked like the megaplex would kill the allure of watching movies in the open air, they're coming back. Austin's own outdoor revivalists/innovators, the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In, has plans to make the screen shine a little brighter.

Founder Josh Frank turned on the Starlite in East Austin, with homes on Cesar Chavez and East Sixth. In short order he established a loyal following, with classic double bills like his tributes to Godzilla, and special guests, like a screening of Clerks with Brian O'Halloran, and a live score for The Golem by Frank Black of the Pixies.

Last year, Frank relocated his screen to Austin Studios, taking up space on the back lot behind the old National Guard Armory.

Since then, he's steadily been renovating the facilities, adding more amenities, for a better experience for the audience. Now he's looking to crowdfunding to help him get there a little faster.

Frank's offering a little more in the way of incentives than a whispered thank you. Instead, donors will get anything from four walk-in tickets (with popcorn and candy included), to retro-commercials for your business, and even a special screening for you and a drive-in's worth of friends.

He has also laid out what he'll be able to afford for the Starlite as each fundraising level is reached (think of them less as stretch goals, and more tickets sold to a more spectacular drive-in experience.)

• If he raises $3,000, then he can afford a new projection package
• $5,000: A larger screen and design/lighting improvements
• $7,500: New open air seating using classic car bench seating, with tarp covers for wet weather (warning, no promises that you will be serenaded by a broken-hearted Danny Zuko.
• $12,000: A new concessions stand, including ice cream, slushies, snow cones and more. After all, what could be more perfect for a long night under the Texas summer sky?

You can donate via their page, and find out more about spending a night under the Blue Starlite at

And, of course, you can still drive right in, all through the summer, with upcoming double bills of The Princess Bride and Labyrinth, supernatural police shockers Dead Heat and Samurai Cop, and a special screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey to help wrap up their summer season, before the fall schedule kicks in on August 29. Plus, this weekend sees a special event, with Beerland booker/Inspie Pro Wrestling promoter Max Dropout and his Savage Gold series co-creator, Austin Film Society booker Lars Nilsen, teaming up with Nilsen's old Alamo buddy Zack Carlson to present a very special night of mad '80s programming and a pot luck dinner. Dates and tickets for all screenings on the Blue Starlite's online box office.

Kickstart Your Weekend is a series intended to showcase Texas film and tech projects that are crowdfunding their way to a goal, be it distribution, a prototype, or production costs. If you have a project that we should know about, email us at

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