Anyone who has caught a movie at an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema knows about the theater's anti-talking and -texting PSAs. The chain is as celebrated for its super-strict etiquette protocols as it is for its buckets of cold beer. Strike up a conversation or light up a touchscreen while a movie is in progress and you'll be out on your ass, and the Alamo makes sure you know it.
Since 1997, the cinema's many franchises have shown offbeat public service announcements regarding the rules before every film it screens, cobbled together both from classic (and "classic") film footage as well as pointed warnings by famous folks from Will Ferrell to Ann Richards.
Now, your favorite rapper's favorite rapper has filmed an Alamo clip of his own. A new "Don't Talk" PSA shot by none other than local underground legend Devin the Dude will premiere on Thursday at the Alamo's Vintage Park location. Mr. Copeland himself will be on hand to greet fans before the premiere and stick around to catch a special screening of his favorite movie, the '80s hip-hop classic Beat Street.
Now, the Dude being the Dude, you can bet that the herb-obsessed rapper felt the need to get high while rolling tape. What you might not have guessed is that the altitude came courtesy of the MC's favorite toy -- and it ain't a vaporizer.
"It was filmed in downtown Houston at a skate park using a GoPro camera with a Blade 350 QX quad-copter that I kind of put together myself," Devin says. "And I'm so nervous about it because I haven't seen the edit, and I just wonder, how does it look?"
If the Dude still hasn't watched the final cut, it's probably because he's busy enjoying his large and growing collection of radio-controlled vehicles. He's amassed quite a fleet of small-scale helicopters and cars over the past few years, and can often be found testing them out in hotel and nightclub parking lots from coast to coast while he's on tour.
Now, most local rappers aspire to collect cars of the candy-painted, stitched-and-tucked variety. What made Devin gravitate toward the itty-bitty ones? We'll let him tell that tale:
Actually, what got me into it was an interview. A young lady was interviewing me, and she asked me, 'Devin, what do you do in your spare time besides what you do for income?' I said, 'Well, I just like to chill and listen to music and chill out with my friends,' and she said, 'No, not music, because that's what you do for a living.'
So I said, 'Well, you know, I like to smoke and drink, and you know, just have fun and party.' She said, 'No, nothing like partying and smoking; what do you like to do?' And I'm like, [sobbing] 'I don't know, bitch! I don't know what I like to do! I don't do shit!'
I was mad at her, but I should have been mad at myself. I was mad at myself, so I decided to do something! So I decided to make a helicopter bring me a cigar from one side of the room to the other without moving. The helicopter was pretty cool, and eventually it brought a whole box across the room.
I started going to the hobby shop a lot for the helicopters, and eventually I got me an electric R/C car. After that car, I went to more cars and cars and cars. I think I got, like, 44 cars now. Every car I drive is different. It's a wonderful thing, man, it's very fun when you start learning how to fix 'em. You paint 'em, add wheels and just make them your own.
While Devin's Alamo PSA highlights his latest hobby, his choice of films is an old-school celebration of one of his first. Before the Dude started rapping -- before he even moved to Texas -- he was breaking bad.
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"I was in the third grade in St. Petersburg, Florida, and we lived in a place that was right in front of, like, the only radio station in St. Petersburg: WRXB," he says. "They used to throw scratched records away every Wednesday, and I used to always go in the trash and get them. Jackson 5 was my favorite. I had four brothers, and I always though we were the Jackson 5 and I was Michael.
"'Dancing Machine' was one of my favorite songs, and he was popping and doing the robot," Devin continues. "It was the robot all the way till they started waving and kickin' and poppin' and just started breakdancin,' and I was into it."
The Dude maintains that "Beat Street" features the finest breaking ever seen on the silver screen -- Electric Boogaloos be damned. It must have arrived at a very impressionable age for the hip-hop prodigy, seeing as how he went on to become not only a breakdancer and MC but also the star of a cult film himself: the 2012 stoner comedy Highway.
These days, Devin is more likely to be found on the small screen, where he hosts his own online talk show, the aptly titled Devin the Dude Show. On Thursday, though, he'll be just another face in a crowded theater. Do him a favor and shut the fuck up during the movie, because he hasn't seen his favorite flick on the big screen since 1984.
"We got high and drunk some 40 ounces at the tender age of whatever and snuck into the theater," the Dude recalls. "This will be the second time I see it in the big theater, but the first time I haven't had to sneak in."
Devin the Dude hosts the premiere of his PSA and a special screening of Beat Street on Thursday at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Vintage Park, 114 Vintage Park Boulevard. Devin will greet fans at 7 p.m.; the movie starts at 8. The theater has created a special $4.20 menu: a "coughee" brownie and a legal version of that H-Town favorite, "purple drank."
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