Jette Kernion's blog

Annnnd We're Back!


If you thought Slackerwood might have vanished into the night, never to return, fear no more. We're back up and ready to share Austin film news. It was an odd combination of circumstances -- I went on a belated honeymoon to Vancouver at the end of August, and I was way too busy enjoying the lovely weather and the sights to care much about Austin film. However, email service has been restored and so have the glories of Slackerwood (and my other websites). I still can't send email from my usual addresses, but that should be fixed this weekend. Many thanks to Chip for putting in a lot of work on the new server.

This website backup is about two weeks old so if you posted a comment in that time, you might want to post it again. (Mostly I think I lost a lot of spam comments, which was a nice silver lining.) The only other thing I lost was an entry in progress (as in, I'd written a single paragraph before realizing I seriously needed to pack suitcases instead) called "Movies This Week: DIY Movies This Week" where I intended to list a bunch of resources you can use to figure out what's playing in Austin in a given week, if you were looking for Movies This Week while I was in Canada. Maybe I'll try that again before the next big trip.

I know Chris has at least one article he's ready to post, so let's get started again. Welcome back!

Quick Snaps: Gary Kent at Weird Wednesday


Gary Kent: photo by Anne Heller

I missed the Weird Wednesday screening of The Girls from Thunder Strip last week that featured actor/stuntman/filmmaker Gary Kent in attendance (I am too wimpy for weeknight midnight movies, sadly). Fortunately, Anne Heller, who wrote about Kent's film The Pyramid for Slackerwood, was at Alamo on South Lamar that night. She sent me the above photo of Kent, taken by Alamo programmer Lars Nilsen during the Q&A session after the 1966 film, in which Kent plays a rapist named "Teach."

Anne also videotaped the introduction to the film by Lars and Gary Kent. Kent has some delightful stories to tell, especially about Spawn Ranch, where The Girls from Thunder Strip was shot ... and where the mechanic was some guy named Charles Manson. Thanks to Anne and to YouTube, we can all enjoy Kent's stories. (The video is embedded after the jump.)

Movies This Week: Heavyweights, Truffaut, and Redneck Zombies

School is about to start, so the free summer movies for kids are winding down -- most programs have stopped except for Alamo, I believe. However, there are still some good free movies and other interesting events this week around Austin.

  • If you're reading this on Tuesday, there may still be time to head down to Hampton Library on Convict Hill Road for a free screening of Muppet Treasure Island at 6 pm. Tim Curry as Long John Silver rivals Johnny Depp as Captain Jack, I promise you.
  • Alamo Summer Movie Camp is showing Heavyweights this week, and you can still catch the movie on Wed. and Thurs. at 11 am at the South Lamar location. One of the writers on this summer-camp film was Judd Apatow, who wrote and directed Knocked Up. (More films after the jump.)

Sunday is Home Movie Day


Screenshot of a home movie

Austin is celebrating Home Movie Day this Sunday, August 12, at the Carver Museum's Boyd Vance Theater. From 2 to 6 pm, you can watch other people's home movies, which sounds like a wonderfully voyeuristic experience. You can also bring your own home movies -- which must be on film, not video -- and if the film is in good condition, everyone could be watching what happened that Easter on your grandmother's birthday when you secretly taped a piece of paper with her age onto the back of her blouse. Not that anyone I know would have ever behaved like that. In addition, film experts will be around to offer advice on caring for home movies on film. Admission to the event is free.

I have two shoeboxes full of Super 8 film from my parents and grandparents (luckily, I borrowed my grandparents' film shortly before the post-Katrina floods swamped their house). I had it all transferred to DV, but I've always wanted to watch some of the movies on a projector again. It's not quite the same on TV as it was when we were kids, trying to keep the flimsy screen from falling, and learning the great responsibility of running the projector. The above photo is a screenshot taken from a family home movie at Christmas, I think in 1973, at my aforementioned grandparents' house. At least the groovy outfits are interesting.

If you're interested in learning more about Home Movie Day, News 8 Austin has posted an interview with the event's founder, Snowden Becker.

Movies This Week: Renoir, Office Space, and a Garage Sale

I've been out of town for a long weekend in the New Orleans area, where they really could use more indie/arthouse theaters, although that's not exactly a priority post-Katrina. Still, my youngest brother is terribly envious of the diversity of film choices we have in Austin, which is why I hope he doesn't see the following list. He's not going to be in a good mood until he gets to see Superbad, and that doesn't reach theaters for another 10 days. If he were here, these are the movies and film-related events I'd be telling him about:

  • The Paramount is showing Rules of the Game tonight and Wednesday, and I would love to see this Jean Renoir movie again, especially since it's a restored print. I can't go (I actually have to see Daddy Day Camp tomorrow) but you should all go for me and tell me how wonderful it is. Other Paramount movies in the Summer Classic series this week include a David Lean double-bill of Brief Encounter and Summertime on Thurs. and Sunday, Fellini's La Strada on Sunday, and Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast on Monday.
  • The "Sing-Along" version of Hairspray will be showing for the rest of the week at Barton Creek Cinemark (the one that's not in the mall). I still need to see the non-sing-along version myself, although I am wary after what happened with The Producers. (more films after the jump)

Mmmm ... Simpsons Feast ...

At the Alamo Kwik-E-Mart

We're big fans of The Simpsons TV show around here, or at least the earlier seasons. Somewhere around Season 7 or 8 the episodes became less interesting to us, and we have a horror of "New Simpsons." So we approached The Simpsons Movie with trepidation, and decided the best way to ensure our enjoyment was to splurge on Alamo Drafthouse's multi-course Simpsons Feast. Afrer all, even if the movie turned out to suck, at least we'd be enjoying bacon-wrapped pork chops. My husband and I have never tried one of the full-fledged feasts at Alamo, although I've enjoyed some of the smaller movie-and-food events. It would be a challenge for us; the event didn't start until after 8:30, and we tend to be early diners, so we had snacks after work and tried to stay strong until the event. After all, there was that Ultimate Donut dessert to look forward to, even if it did sound a bit scary.

Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar was decorated beautifully for The Simpsons Movie. We didn't see a lot of it on our way into the theater, because the lobby was so crowded. Even on a Wednesday night, Alamo on South Lamar is very popular. But to set the mood, I'll show you the photos we took in the lobby after the movie. The counter where you can buy drinks, etc. was set up to look like a Kwik-E-Mart. Since Austin didn't get one of the Kwik-E-Marts transformed from 7-Eleven, we were happy to see an appromixation in the lobby (photo after the jump):

Stop What You're Doing ...


Go read this blog entry from Tim League about the Stand by Me screening in Brownsville, Oregon during the Rolling Roadshow's national tour. The events surrounding the screening included a hands-free blueberry pie-eating contest, in which Tim participated as "The Glory Chomper." This is the funniest thing I've read all week. I'd include one of the many photos, but I need to check with Alamo before I go grabbing their images. Fortunately, they have an entire Flickr photo set devoted to the Stand by Me events.

In other Alamo food-related news, I am still recuperating from the Simpsons feast last night. It was truly amazing and I could barely move afterwards. I felt like Homer. I kind of still do. I tried to take some photos, which I hope to share with you all soon. Right now I don't think I could look at the photos, though. I suspect that "casserole of a thousand donuts" expanded to full size after I ate it.

Movies This Week: Early Works, Troma, and SF at the Paramount

Let's see what Austin has to offer in terms of special screenings and free movies this week. If I missed something, please let me know in the comments section.

  • Thursday night, Austin Film Festival is hosting "Very Early Works," a collection of short films from local filmmakers who have gone on to bigger and better things. The evening includes short films from Steve Collins (Gretchen), Scott Rice (Perils in Nude Modeling and those funny, funny Script Cops shorts that served as AFF in-house trailers last year), the Zellner brothers (Redemptitude), Mike Akel (Chalk), Jeffrey Travis (Flatland). Plus there are shorts from filmmakers who aren't yet quite so well-known, like Toddy Burton and John Merriman. Some of the filmmakers will be around to discuss their shorts. "Very Early Works" is being held at Alamo Lake Creek, and you can buy tickets at the door.

    If you don't live in Austin, check out the "Eat My Shorts" posting on Cinematical Indie a while ago where I found early shorts online from some of these filmmakers as well as others from the "Mumblecore" movement (I also explain what I think that means). Read the entry and see those shorts for free.

  • Alamo Lake Creek is starting a new weekly film series called Tromatic Thursdays, in which the theater brings us films from the prestigious Troma studios. This week's classic offering is Tromeo and Juliet, a timeless love story. The movie screens at 10 pm and admission is free. (More events after the jump.)

A Quick Tour of Austin Film Coverage


I wish I had a magical special effect that, when I said "Elsewhere on the web..." would generate a wonderful transition image and noise, perhaps something groovy out of the old Batman TV series. You will have to imagine your own as I share this list of links to visit.

  • If you want to see more photos than I could provide of the Alamo Downtown sign moving to Alamo on South Lamar, Blake at Cinema is Dope has a whole slideshow available. Alamo Drafthouse Blog also has a photo of the sign that includes Lars (as part of an entry about the migration of Weird Wednesday and Master Pancake to non-downtown Alamos).
  • The Femme Film Texas Festival takes place on Saturday night at The Hideout, and Austinist has the details.
  • Thanks to Sarah Lindner at Austin Movie Blog for the following tip: You can now buy t-shirts online for the Paramount Summer Classic Movies series. As someone who buys t-shirts online from the Brattle Theater in Boston just because they're cool (both the theater and the shirts, that is), I always wondered why The Paramount didn't do the same thing. You also can buy Flix-Tix and a few posters online; I'm hoping the whole merchandise line expands over time. Hint to Paramount: You can't go wrong with a Princess Bride quote on your shirt. (More news/links after the jump.)

Fantastic Fest Update: Trailer Contest, Latest Titles


You know how much I love Fantastic Fest -- I bought a VIP badge earlier this year so I wouldn't be dependent on press creds to attend, and so I won't miss a single film I want to see during the festival this September (although really the only one I couldn't get into last year with a non-VIP badge was Apocalypto, and in retrospect that was no great loss). Also, I wanted priority access to tickets for events like Hot Fuzztival. Anyway, you know that no matter where else I am writing about Fantastic Fest this year, Slackerwood will have lots of coverage, just like last year.

And why not start now with some news? First of all, Fantastic Fest is holding a trailer contest, to see who can provide the best in-house trailer for the festival. Unlike aGLIFF's trailer contest, however, it's open only to young people -- age 16 and under. I can't find the details on the Fantastic Fest website itself right now, but you can read more about the contest at Austinist. (More news after the jump.)

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