Our Changing Texas Landscape,
today: Gilley’s Club.
Having relocated to Pasadena a couple weeks ago, thoughts turned, quite naturally, to Gilley’s Club, the honkey tonk “made famous” (was already famous) by the 1890 film Urban Cowboy. With the help of a local guide who had snuck into Gilley’s as a youth, we located the original site of the now-gone Gilley’s, and found a giant empty field with nothing left but the concrete footings of the sign.
I thought this would make a perfect site for another installment of my Trespass Cinema, where I screen films in environments particular to their content. One time it was the documentary Drive-In Blues, by Jan Krawitz, projected on 16mm onto the screen of the abandoned Gemini Drive-In, with electricity stolen from a billboard. The final scene of the documentary was shot right there at the Gemini, 15 years earlier. Trans Ams! Bruce Lee Webband Ruby le Rouge were at the show, they can back that up.
Anyway, so this empty pasture in Pasadena, that was once the site of 20 years of crazy Texas bar room legend stuff, would be the perfect place to clandestinely screen Urban Cowboy. The Gilley’s site is a short bike ride from my studio, so today I moesyed over there again to scope it out, and darn it, just one week later the place has been tore up by bulldozers and is getting developed.
Weel, that’s Our Texas Landscape, “It’s Always Changing” (getting worse).
Shit Creek, SF CA, 2000, Bill Daniel