Remember those long-ago summer nights at the drive-in movie? There was something fresh and pure about being outdoors watching the big screen. This summer, the nostalgia and weirdness of drive-in viewing return when the cross-country Rolling Roadshow cinematic tour stops in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California.
The traveling series, which screens film favorites in outdoor settings in the area where they were filmed ("Repo Man" in Los Angeles and "Sideways" in California wine country, exact location to be announced), is guerrilla-gypsy drive-in set against iconic American West landscapes.
How? With a high-tech inflatable screen and state-of-the-art sound and projection equipment.
The series, which runs Aug. 19 through Sept. 7, is organized by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema of Austin, Texas, known in its home state for innovative screenings, oddball film festivals and high-profile director's lectures. The caravan starts in Texas, kicking off with an Archer City screening of "The Last Picture Show" on Aug. 19; then heads west through Roswell, N.M., for "It Came From Outer Space" on Aug. 21; Monument Valley, Ariz., for "Once Upon a Time in the West," Aug. 23; and Lake Powell, Utah, with "Planet of the Apes," Aug. 24.
Los Angeles is special, of course. There's a pre-screening road rally "repo" event before the "Repo Man" showing Aug. 26. "It's a full day," said Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse owner and Rolling Roadshow creator. "We're staging a road rally, where challengers will drive around Los Angeles finding clues that will eventually lead to the screening place -- which will be kept secret" from road rally participants. (The public can order tickets and learn the location online after the rally has begun that day.) The site will be a junkyard location in L.A., League added, because "Repo Man" is set around a junkyard.
From L.A., the series cruises up the California coast, showing "Sideways" on Aug. 27, "North by Northwest" in Bakersfield on Aug. 28 and "Bullitt" on Aug. 30 in San Francisco. Then it travels to Astoria, Ore., for "The Goonies" on Sept. 1, followed by Devil's Tower in Wyoming for "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" on Sept. 3. The caravan veers south, with "Cat Ballou" in Telluride, Colo., on Sept. 5, and wraps up in Claude, Texas, with a showing of "Hud" on Sept. 7.
The film series' criteria were simple: "To make it on the route, it had to make use of the landscape, and it had to be a movie that we personally like," League said.
Admission: $10 to $12 for screenings; $15 to $20 for road rally participants. Info: (512) 474-1510 or www.originalalamo.com/downtown/frames.asp.