The West Oaks Alamo Drafthouse is a cool place with a lot of great screenings, festivals, and events constantly going on, and it's a good thing, because its location is terrible.
Not only is it a good 45 minutes from anywhere, but the theater itself is tucked around in the back of the West Oaks Mall, so that when you arrive via Highway 6 (pretty much the only way to get there), you won't see it. You have to circle the mall, looking for its comparatively small sign and hoping you haven't missed it and are pointlessly orbiting the shopping center. It is, in short, a giant pain in the ass to get to, so when you go, whatever's there to see had better be really, really worth it.
Director Kevin Smith and his longtime friend and producer Scott Mosier were doing a live taping of their popular podcast, Smodcast, on Thursday evening. When we arrived, we discovered our photographer had been turned away, as Kevin Smith apparently did not want any press photographs at the event. We went back to the car for our own shitty digital camera and snapped a few pictures of the paintings in the lobby, then went inside.
Smith and Mosier came out after a brief introduction from some Alamo personnel, and were greeted warmly. The guys were very personable and relaxed, slipping easily into their conversational Smodcast roles.
The subject matter began with Houston, as Smith mused "There's a lot of civic pride here tonight. I had twenty minutes of mean jokes about Houston I'm gonna throw out here and replace with some 'Fuck Dallas' material."
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Smith and Mosier recalled their first visit to Houston in 1994, when they had attended HoustonFest in support of Clerks, then related the first time either of them had even heard of Houston: during the poorly-received Bad News Bears sequel which has been virtually forgotten over the years (but oh, it existed).
The conversation turned to Smith's experience finding out his brother was gay, and the myriad questions he posed upon discovering this fact. This was the most interesting portion of the podcast, as Smith has been (unjustly) accused of homophobia before, and hearing about this very personal experience provided some very real insight into his true feelings on the matter ("I love gay people. I consider myself only one dick in the mouth away from being gay myself, so...").
From there, the subject went to a sex act which Mosier dubbed "The Ball-ocaust," drawing good-natured moans from the crowd and laughter from Smith. That was probably the best thing about the experience: the Smodcast is really just an excuse for a couple of smart, funny guys to try and crack each other up, and the laughter is very infectious. The crowd interaction was nice, as well, particularly during a segment where Smith read news stories he felt reflected the feel of Houston, including one we covered here at the Press: the story of the plus-sized inmate who smuggled a 9mm pistol into jail beneath his folds of fat. One of the audience members knew the inmate, and provided some insight into the matter ("The guy's a turd.").
After Smith and Mosier wrapped up, sister podcast Tell 'Em, Steve-Dave began, featuring Smith comrades Bryan Johnson, Walt Flannigan, and Brian Quinn. Their discussion was more low-key than Smodcast, and featured a lot of grousing about what had been going on inside their tour bus. It was funny enough, and most of the audience stayed and seemed to be enjoying themselves, but we left after about twenty minutes, because we had a long drive back to civilization ahead of us.