Iron Giant Movie

March ’19 Studio Update

This month I started in on a website redesign, thought through some new logos and designs, finished setting up my studios and woodshop, but then got a call for help from some old friends from Austin. They weren’t quite getting the band back together, but it was close. And the mission took all of us to Omaha, Nebraska.

Yes, my old friends at Blue Genie Art down in Austin, Texas called me up. They needed an extra hand helping to install a fifteen foot tall Iron Giant sculpture at the new Alamo Drafthouse in Omaha.

I took an overnight bus, spent some time walking around the zoo, then met up with the skeleton crew of Blue Genies to go over the next day’s installation. We arrived at the theater early, unloaded the box truck of all its heavy and delicate cargo, and started our work.

Once we set the anchors into the floor of this gigantic complex, we wasted no time in building up! The legs and torso went in with ease, the structural elements inside fit together without needing so much as a wiggle to make them fit.

And here’s the finished Iron Giant, in all of his glory at Omaha’s Midtown Alamo Drafthouse:

Before we get back to some more serious studio work in next month’s studio update, here’s a song of haunting beauty that I’ve loved for over a dozen years now:

One other thing…

Still here? After all of that?
After seeing the huge environment the Midtown Omaha theater occupies, along with many experiences with most of the Alamos (current and past), it made me think of how sad the Kansas City Alamo really is. Sure, the building is magnificent and the AMC renovation made it into a viable theater, but those front windows with the faded Han Solo cutout in the window? It’s so… mailed in.

KC Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet

One of the prime reasons to go to the Alamo Drafthouse is the experience – that’s why theaters have Death Stars, Little Shop of Horror Plants, Iron Giant, etc. throughout the lobbies and buildings. The visual aspect is never downplayed. It also compliments the pre-movie on-screen entertainment and the menu and overall outlook of the theater.

That’s what makes the absolute blandness – interior and exterior – of Kansas City so appalling. The theater was build in 1921. It housed vaudeville acts, complete with elephants! There was even had a tunnel to the neighboring President Hotel that was used by bootleggers during Prohibition. The theater’s lobby feels complete. The floor is nicely finished and lined with Hollywood phrases. That leaves the entrance and the Chesterfield, why not do something exciting?

A note to the Alamo Drafthouse Kansas City

My idea – turn the Chesterfield into Rick’s Café Américain. It wouldn’t take much to turn that space into something that has, well, a little charm. Swing dances could still happen and now be period appropriate. They’ll echo the glamour of Old Hollywood, which would be reinforced by the glamour of the marble floor with all the famous Hollywood quotes and 40’s vibe of the design carried throughout the theater. Stick the bartenders in a white tuxedo and pay some UMKC kids to play the piano every few days or on big opening nights. Is that really such a hard concept to grasp?

The pictures didn’t get small, the Kansas City Alamo’s Imagination did.