I didn’t go to the final screening at the El Rey tonight, but I was drawn to the theater when I saw a police car, fire engine and an ambulance parked in front of the theater with their lights on.
Quickly (and safely) pulling into an open parking spot, I spring to action and ask a woman about to head out from under the sundered theater’s marquee with her camera clutched in her hand. According to her, one gentleman apparently decided to celebrate the theater’s closing in high style by drinking. While the emergency vehicles pulled away, she pointed to a young man in a black T-shirt being helped across Second Street by a similarly young woman.
She said he was fine at first, laughing along with the rest of the audience, but then he got obnoxious. Then he got quiet. When the lights went up at the end of “Sideways,” people snapped their final photos of the house and noticed the man passed out in his seat. Apparently, he had a bottle of alcohol in a paper sack that he was sipping from during the movie.
I desperately wanted him to be drinking pinot noir to coincide with the wine tour depicted in the film, but she didn’t know what he was drinking. Although the woman wanted tighter screening so people can smuggle booze in, she said it didn’t detract from the last lighting of the El Rey.
As the woman is about to head across the street, she said the closing of the theater was a sad occasion. I relented from my inquisition as she walks across the street and away from the theater one last time.
The theater will be renovated into an office/retail location and renamed The Majestic, one of its former incarnations.