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Beyond the Screen: Afternoon Immersion at Rodeo Cinema

As the cooling atmosphere of the Oklahoma stockyards began to excitedly heat my waning stamina, I left my overheating car to traverse the western clothes stores and nouveau saloon of the Stockyards, and head right down to Rodeo Cinema, 2221 Exchange Ave. for an afternoon with Killers of the Flower Moon. Again.

I had to step away from Rodeo over the past few years thanks to a global pandemic and my occasional bleeding brain, but, thanks to modern medicine and even better Native wisdom, I've been using it as an excuse to bounce back to the world of the semi-living, most recently stopping by to meet the star of The Last Dragon and watch the movie with him.

This time around, when I entered the theatre, I noticed just how pristine the set-up was. It was even more grand than I ever remembered! As I desperately took in the clean and cool air, and let it caress my toasty torso that was freshly baked in the hot Autumn sun, I marveled at the theater's spotless stature, and how it lacked the stagnating funk that clings to the air and walls of most places nowadays. Here's looking at you, Tinseltown!

Like many theaters in the area, the tickets to the show were about $10.00 each, but the selection of candy was more than impressive—Cracker Jacks, please! The popcorn looked fresh, and there was a wide selection of both sodas and adult beverages to wallow with.

With the Diet Dr. Pepper—with extra refills, if you like—and the candy, it was only around $10 as well. Bargain!

While the next show was about to begin, I went to the affable lobby waiting room where patrons can relax and take part in reading, eating, or conversing with a veritable movie buff. And though I hadn’t done that with this film, I had done it multiple times on multiple levels.

As I took my seat, knowing the amount of matter in my bladder—a three-hour and thirty-minute movie is about to start—I took time to acquaint myself with the bathroom. You thought the lobby was incredible, the restroom is damn-near immaculate!

With lush seating—both off and on—and rare movie memorabilia on the walls, it was a pleasure to walk through the hallowed halls, with the cinema’s history dowsing itself with the cool water as I dried my hands. Refreshing!

As I made my way to the auditorium, I once again marveled at the Rodeo and my own time of employment with the movie theaters two decades ago, and how theaters then never reached the highs that they do now.

Sitting with one or two people waiting for the movie to start, I felt like I was reliving a time when picture houses were the epicenter of culture and art in the city. At Rodeo Cinema, they try to make that every day for the masses.

As the lights went down and the projector rolled, and realized I am truly in a better world, and have a small theatre in the Stockyards to thank.


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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