Owner of Austin’s Sekrit Theater selling out, moving on

Community gathering place caves to pressure


Highlights

Beau Reichert is selling the property he’s owned for a decade, where he’s hosted community events.

Reichert is moving to New Mexico in the coming months to start a new art project.

Beau Reichert’s estate sale Saturday and Sunday boasted all manner of knickknacks collected over the years, some of them used as props in the famous themed celebrations he held in his backyard, like the “End of the World” zombie apocalypse party in December 2012.

Many of the neighbors showed up at the sale to shake Reichert’s hand and to take home a piece of the Sekrit Theater before its creator packs up and leaves town. The property is up for sale for $3.5 million.

The Sekrit Theater in east Austin was Reichert’s gift to Austin — a gathering place to watch movies, listen to music and socialize.

“All of the films every Saturday night for the last eight years have been free movies,” Reichert said. “I never vended anything; there were no alcohol sales, no food sales — purely, I just opened my backyard up, and it became such an amazing community place for people to meet.

“The carnivals were the best. Ten houses would get together and we would build an entire secret carnival for Halloween. We’d open everything up — we made homemade games, and every kid would get a free stuffed animal.”

Reichert is clearing the place out before he leaves in a few months, having given up his battle with the city of Austin’s code department and with a few neighbors who repeatedly complained, he said. Reichert said he’s spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment to keep down the noise, but the hassle finally took the fun out of it.

“This is what Austin should be,” longtime Sekrit Theater volunteer and neighbor Jonathan Boecher said. “It’s sad there aren’t more places like this left — it’s sad this may be gone. It’s hard to put into words the way that makes you feel, after the blood, sweat and tears you put in. There’s no place like this.”

Reichert said he plans to move to just outside Santa Fe, N.M., for his next project. He doesn’t want to give all the details away but said he hopes to create a sort of artists’ retreat. He said he needs to raise $5 million to get started, a big chunk of which will come from the sale of his property.

“I’m going to take everything I learned here and build it into an international version of this — a big, huge community place for immersive (art) and experiences,” he said. “An experiential retreat center is kind of what I’m building, with multiple cinema locations and stage locations.

“I’m really excited about it; it’s definitely my calling, and it accidentally formed in my backyard. I’m not sad; I’m just — it’s different to make a change. The community is so involved here, and a lot of people feel like I’m abandoning them, but I’m not. I can’t financially support this place.”



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