The Great AFF Escape

*Note: The name of the film we were at the venue to see is not important and it will be not be named to avoid any sort of negative feelings towards it based on this unrelated event. Also, it is important to note that never was anyone involved (the producer of the film nor the AFF staff) rude to us. It was more of an uncomfortable, chaotic situation with no malice involved.

3:00: After watching the incredible ECSTASY OF ORDER: THE TETRIS MASTERS with my buddy JC, we wander into Mekong river to grab a bite to eat. During the meal I text Carolee (@leiabox) to see if she wants to join me for a 5:00 movie at the Alamo Ritz.

3:30: Carolee confirms she will attend and I head over to the Ritz. I am 5th in line.

3:50: Carolee arrives. We chit chat and wait to be seated.

4:35: Badges are let in. We immediately go for the one of two couches (the bigger one that can sometimes fit three FRIENDS comfortable, but would be weird for strangers to share). A young man of about 18 comes up and takes the other couch.

4:40: An AFF volunteer informs the boy on the other couch that someone on crutches will be coming up the elevator and will take that seat as it’s the only handicap accessible part of the auditorum.

4:40-4:50: More and more people pile into the theater. Many make their way for the other couch and we inform them of it’s “reserved” status. At one point a volunteer (looked to be a coordinator) asks us what is going on with that couch and if it is available. We relay the information given to us by the other volunteer regarding the “reserved” status.

4:50: The young man on crutches and his girlfriend arrive and take their couch. We order food and settle in for a movie.

4:52: Things get weird when one of the Alamo staff (at the request of the AFF volunteers and The Producer, I’m sure) ask us to get up and move the couch forward a foot. They then line up chairs behind us. We immediately get worried about the cramped situation, there was going to be no tables for these individuals on which to eat and the servers and food runners would have a hard time accessing them without reaching over us.

4:55: The seats are now full with (having listened to their conversations) what seemed to be friends of some people involved in the film. The AFF volunteer tries to put more chairs on the stairs, they are told that this is a fire code violation. Not to mention this is the route for all servers and runners in the auditorium.

4:56: We meet The Producer. A very nice young man comes up to us and says “Hey guys. Would you mind moving so we can seat the filmmakers here? I’ll buy you anything you want off the menu.” My response: “Well, we waited 90 minutes in line to get good seats and there’s no other seats in here, it’s packed.” The producer then states he will FIND seats. This is an odd proposition as the whole reason he needs our seats is because THERE ARE NO MORE AVAILABLE SEATS. I eventually say “It looks like the only options are we sit here or we will have to leave.” He says there’s no need for us to leave, thanks us for our time then goes off to pull some office furniture out of the Alamo office and puts some rolly chairs at the very front of the theater right under the screen.

4:58: The Producer returns. He still wants to buy us something off the menu. We say there’s no need. We just want to watch the movie. I’m happy with my tea, I don’t need anything else, etc. etc. He tells us to enjoy the movie. This is about the time the server is trying to take the orders of the people put in chairs behind us. And in the other couch which has been rendered inaccessible to anyone. I make the suggestion that it’s just a little too hectic in there and will continue to be with the food service having to go across and around us the whole film. Carolee agrees.

4:59: We ask for our check. Our server indicates that’s a good idea. The Producer can be spotted trying to cram more chairs in negative space throughout the theater. I suggest that we exit the backdoor to avoid him.

5:00: We pay and exit through the server room. We tell another server we are escaping. She looks very sad and says, “I wish I could”. We bump into the manager, Chance, on the stairs. He’s a bit disheveled from all the commotion and apologizes for the situation. It was certainly not his fault, we tell him so and go through the Ritz kitchen into the lobby. The Producer is spotted at the bottom of the stairs in the middle of the lobby. Fortunately he is talking to someone. We quickly (but without causing a scene) scurry through the lobby, out the doors and down the street and hide around the corner of the Iron Cactus.

5:02: We are tweeting, laughing about the situation, gathering our senses (everything happened so fast!). I jokingly start saying “I wouldn’t put it past this producer guy to come out to look for us” as I look around the corner and SEE THE PRODUCER IN FRONT OF THE RITZ TALKING ON HIS PHONE WALKING IN OUR GENERAL DIRECTION! I scream “He’s here! He’s coming!” as we start to run to the alley behind the Iron Cactus/Ritz.

5:04: We catch our breath, tweet some more. Laugh excessively and go on our merry ways filled with new AFF memories.


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