Walk through Platform 9 3/4!
Okay, so I got on the Hogwart's Express to Harry Potter fandom a bit late. It wasn't until I happened to be at the Book 7 release party in Harvard Square while hanging out with friends from the Coolidge Corner Theater in Boston that I thought to myself, "Hm. These people seem to love this a LOT. Maybe I should give it a shot..."
[caption align="aligncenter" width="608" caption="Harvard Square on the eve of Deathly Hallows\' release"][/caption]
So while everyone else in the world was reading through book 7, I picked up a copy of The Sorcerer's Stone and dug in. From that moment on, of course, I was hooked, and so I devoured the books, I caught up on the movies, and now I'm super excited to finally be part of the insanity when the new movie opens this week. Because you guys - I've never had our Butter Beer before. I've never had any Bertie Bott's. And, most importantly, I've never had the pleasure of entering our theater through the magical doorway of Platform 9 3/4.
[caption align="aligncenter" width="608" caption="One of the Alamo\'s many Harry Potter parties that I foolishly skipped out on"][/caption]
To most of you, of course, these kinds of extras are old hat by now. We've had Butter Beer for years. We had a Platform 9 3/4 for the first movie. But this time... This time we've got soooo much more of a Platform 9 3/4, thanks to an unsolicited email offer from Marco Noyola, an Alamo regular since the old days at Colorado Street and a prop, scenery, and costume designer who's been working in the Austin theater and indie film scene for over a decade. Marco came to us out of the blue and asked if there was anything we could think of that would be cool for him to make. Tim and I immediately thought of the same thing - we could use a real Platform 9 3/4.
At this point, we didn't know what to expect, but Marco immediately wrote us back and asked, "Do you want one like in the movie, or like the place the tourists get their pictures taken at in London?" And he provided images of both...
The "real" platform has that nifty sign, but in the books part of the point is that there is no sign, and Harry can't figure out where he's supposed to go. Besides, we're a movie theater, not a tourist attraction in London, so shouldn't we try for an accurate archway that audience members can run through on their way into the film?
That's what Marco thought, too. Then he sent us this awesome CGI graphic to illustrate what he was going to be attempting:
After seeing that, I was sold. Those CGI people are totally walking through an arch! And three of them are cool guys with skateboards! But could he recreate that in our lobby? Would it be done in time?
This afternoon as I was heading out to my moped in the parking lot, I saw this:
There it is! In real life! And while it was still being constructed as of 6pm Monday afternoon, I just got back upstairs from helping to move the finished pieces from the backside of the parking lot and over towards the lobby doors, so as I've been writing this, Marco and his team have been hard at work putting everything in place to make the CGI graphic magically come to life in the lobby of the Alamo South Lamar.
Even if you aren't yet a Potter fan, don't miss your chance to check out this installation while you can. Once you finally get around to reading the books, you'll be sorry if you missed all these parties completely.