Drive-in movies were once a memory reserved for sharing the back seat of a 1950s wing-tipped Cadillac with their sweetheart on a Saturday night. Luckily, nostalgia found its way back to Austin through a local couple and their innovative interpretation with the Driftin' Drive-In.
The idea of awakening the dusty outdoor big-screen has been with Charlie Hurtin since he was a child. Unlike the stationary drive-ins of the past, though, he wanted one that could travel. With his wife Rachael he established Wild Street Drive-In in 1999, an inflatable movie screen named for the Austin street where they showed free films on their front lawn.
I love movies, Hurtin said. It gives me an excuse to throw [the screen] up and watch a movie let other people enjoy it besides in our back yard.
After a few minor setbacks, the two returned to their day jobs (Charlie created Pyrite Records for his bands Charlie Hurtin and the Hecklers and The Strollers) to save up for a future film company collaboration. Together they founded Driftin' Drive-In complete with portable projectors, sound system, generator and 20-by-10-foot inflatable movie screen.
For the month of October, Driftin' will be playing horror cult classics at Austin Brevita, beginning with Little Shop of Horrors on Thursday. Brevita is a tiny, yellow hut that serves piping hot coffee creations and appropriately shares its large gravel lot with donut trailer Gourdough's. Tiffany and Duane Youngren opened Brevita in June and hope to inspire interest in the South Austin community.
It's another opportunity for the general public to come in and get to know the different businesses, Tiffany said.
Hurtin said he enjoys the like-minded, burgeoning вЂmom-n'-pop-type places' like Brevita and, in an effort to help their businesses and gain exposure for his own company, he screens most of the films free of charge.
His biggest inspiration, though, is his childhood love of the silver screen.
The novelty the idea that just being able to go out and sneak into a Drive-In. You know, like the old вЂ60s and вЂ50s, the kids, what would you do on a weekend night? You would go to the drive-in movie theater, Hurtin said. Sitting at home watching your TV is boring. To come out and watch a nice classic horror film with neighbors is the Austin way to do things.