The Original Paramount Blade was removed in 1964 and had not been seen since – until last night – when the new, historically accurate blade and its 1,386 bulbs lit up the Avenue for the first time in 52 years. It was constructed to be an exact replica of the original blade, but is energy efficient and powered by a single 110 volt plug.
(The Paramount Blade, moments after being illuminated for the first time in over 50 years)
Executive Director Jim Ritts hosted the blade lighting and centennial ceremony in front of the Paramount. Ritts delivered an inspired and sincere speech chronicling the Paramount’s thrill-ride of a history, leaving no stone unrecognized. Speeches were also delivered by Senator Kirk Watson and Mayor Pro Tempore Kathie Tovo. KUTX’s John Aielli and his legendary show Eklektikos with John Aielli were among those honored during the ceremony. Aielli was honored for using his long-running show as a platform for connecting the arts community to the Austin community at large since the Paramount’s inception.
(John Aielli enjoys the view from The Contemporary Austin’s rooftop party)
In addition to Patty Griffin’s Servant of Love CD release show (with an opening set by John Moreland), the Paramount celebrated with six different private parties with prime views of the Paramount blade lighting ceremony, including a street party on Congress Avenue. Hundreds turned out to celebrate the preservation of this 100-year-old building, which has become a cornerstone of Austin’s cultural history.
For more photos check out the KUT Flickr coverage of the Paramount Blade Lighting and Centennial Celebration.
– Taylor Wallace & Jack Anderson