The Pioneertown Palace Premiere’s At SXSW


The Pioneertown Palace Documentary on the Pappy and Harriet’s roadhouse in the California desert premiere’s at the SXSW film festival

By Kim Grant

The film festival portion of SXSW has kicked off this year with the first screening of The Pioneertown Palace, a short documentary that follows the story of Pappy and Harriet’s, a dusty desert roadhouse that has become a one-of-a-kind destination spot for live music.

PHIn the Mojave desert about two and half hours East of Los Angeles, nestled in the San BernardinoMountains resides Pioneertown. Originally built as a movie set, Pioneertown resembles an 1870’s frontier town with facades for stables, jails and saloons. More than 50 films and several television shows were filmed in Pioneertown throughout the 1940’s an 1950’s. The ‘cantina’ façade is where Pappy and Harriet’s stands today.

Director Andrew McAllister and Producer Kerry Ware have set out to capture the unique history of the roadhouse. As well as a movie set, it has been a biker bar, a family restaurant and now a restaurant/music venue where present owners Robyn Celia and Linda Krantz have turned it into a popular musical haven. Bands as varied as local artists Gram Rabbit and Ted Quinn to large venue acts such as Lucinda Williams, Ryan Bingham, Franz Ferdinand and Robert Plant have graced the intimate stage.

The duo chose to feature Victoria Williams in the film, a local resident and renowned musician–as well as a soundtrack that embodies the feeling of Pappy and Harriet’s. Los Angeles bands I See Hawks in LA, Whispering Pines and Dave Gleason are highlighted, as well as desert locals, Shadow Mountain Band.

Ware has been a producer on various television shows throughout her career, always with a focus on music. Most recently she produced for NBC’s Last Call with Carson Daly and is currently a producer at Revolt, a new music cable network from Sean Combs. McAllister is no stranger to music either, creating and fronting the Los Angeles musical project, Vanish Valley. A film producer and editor by day, he has worked on the Peabody award-winning documentary series Vanguard, NBC’s Last Call With Carson Daly, and ESPN Films’ 30 For 30. He recently directed the documentary They Call Me The Wolfman, winner of Best Documentary at Rumschpringe International Film Festival.

The official showcase for the film is Sunday, March 9th 11am at The Rollins Theatre in Austin, Texas with 3 other Austin Dates; Tuesday, March 11th 4:30 pm and Thursday, March 13th 2:00 pm at Satellite Marchesa and Saturday, March 15th 2:00 pm at Rollins Theatre at the Long Center. Ware and McAllister plan on California screenings, in Los Angeles and Pioneertown, dates are TBA.

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Kim Grant is a music publicist and Americana music enthusiast who created the Los Angeles live show, The Grand Ole Echo. You can find her at

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