Thursday was my last full day in Austin, Texas. It was as wonderful as all my other days. It began with me waking up early and trekking to the Bullock Museum, which is near University of Texas. There is an IMAX movie theater at the museum and that was my destination. I’ve never seen a movie in IMAX before, so I was pretty excited.
I had two choices for what I was going to see in IMAX. Star Wars or Dark Universe. Both involve space. You might be wondering, “What the heck is Dark Universe? Sounds cheesy and lame.” It’s a documentary about space, narrated by Neil Degrasse Tyson. And that’s what I ended up choosing. I have already seen Star Wars twice, and had an amazing time with that, so it was time for something new. I figured that Neil’s soothing voice along with great visuals of outer space would be a great introduction to IMAX.
I had a weird experience when I arrived at the theater. I got my ticket and went to the front doors of the theater room, and there were those poles set up, with ribbon connecting them (see photo), to indicate where the line would be to get inside the theater. But there was no one in the line. There was only a man wearing an eyepatch standing in front of the door. I thought, “Everyone else must be inside—the movie does start in just a couple minutes, I barely even made it in time.” There was a formidable sign on the door that said “NO LATE ENTRY” and it made me nervous.
But when I told the eyepatch-man I was there for the movie, you know, the movie that was about to start in about 2 minutes, he said, “Wait here, I have to prepare the room.” Then he walked on the other side of the door and closed it. I could still see him just standing there, through the crack in the doorframe. In a few minutes, he opened the doors and let me in.
The theater was empty. I took what was clearly the best seat in the room. In a couple minutes, another dude came in. I was amazed: I wasn’t going to be the only person in this theater. He sat about five seats from me and was very friendly and polite. He said, “Hope I’m not sitting too close to you! These are the best seats.” He asked me if I was into the mathematics and science scene, and I fear that I broke his heart because I said, “Nope! I’ve just never seen an IMAX movie before and I figured a space documentary would be a good place to start.”
The documentary was good. Twenty minutes after it started, the title appeared on the screen and some epic space music played. And some credits rolled. I thought, “Wow, it took a long time for them to get to the title card of the movie! I guess they had a lot of basic science stuff they needed to explain first.” And all of it was basic up to that point, so even I was able to understand it.
But here’s the kicker: that wasn’t the title card and opening credits. It was the end of the movie! It was only 20 minutes long! My new friend 5 seats away probably had his broken heart smashed into little pieces by now, but he still had a good attitude. “I was expecting that to be more scholarly,” he said. “That was more like a pamphlet.” He and I then parted ways.
Then, because the theater was attached to a museum, I decided to walk around and learn some Texas history. It was cool. Eventually I was approached by a very friendly staffer who asked me for my pass. I said, “I don’t have one. Am I not allowed?”
She was very nice in telling me that I needed to have a pass with me in order to walk around, and that I could get one at the entrance. It’s funny they require that, because it was extremely easy for me to just walk in and look around. I wonder how many people have stolen a glimpse at the museum like I did?
Afterwards, I walked all over University of Texas at Austin, which was a gigantic and beautiful campus filled with statues of hardcore punk-rockers:
And this thing: