Slacker 2011: Alamo's Daniel Metz Revisits the Continental Club


Still by Peter Simonite

In celebration of Slacker's 20th anniversary, local filmmakers are re-creating scenes from the Richard Linklater movie for Slacker 2011, a fundraising project benefitting the Texas Filmmakers Production Fund. As we await the August 31 premiere, we're chatting with some of the Austinites participating in one or more of the short films that will comprise the project.

Today's interview is with Alamo Drafthouse film programmer Daniel Metz, who programs Alamo Cinema Club and other series. Metz is the producer for the Alamo Drafthouse segment of Slacker 2011.

Slackerwood: Which scene from the film are you reshooting?

Daniel Metz: We're filming the "anti-artist" scene that takes place in the Continental Club. Originally the scene features the iconic Austin band Ed Hall playing in the background, and local personality Wammo plays the bartender. Instead of trying to re-unite Ed Hall, we decided to try to find a band that is to Austin now what Ed Hall was to the city then; after a bit of soul searching, we came up with the Invincible Czars.

As we talked to them about it, it turns out that Josh Robins, the founder of the band, said his favorite Austin band of all time was Ed Hall. We also added in our own lanky celeb, Lars Nilsen, to play the role of the bartender.

Why are you looking forward (or are you?) to re-creating this particular scene?

We like this scene because, unlike most of the scenes in the film, it features a location that still exists. While this project is going to highlight the ways that Austin has changed, our segment will show that some institutions live on forever ... except, that's the whole big trick, because the Continental Club now is so different than it was in '91. In fact, the place was remodeled to look like an old place. We think it's so fabulous that the Club has been retrofitted.

It's also great that in the movie it shows a handful of twenty-somethings meandering around, and now the place is hopping with people in their fifties and sixties reliving the honky-tonk days. So we're just happy to try to capture this strange part of Austin history.

What do you think your challenges are/have been in re-visiting this scene?

We all face the same basic challenges: how far should we go in making it our scene while still paying tribute to the original -- how much is suitable updating -- should we use the original locations or find a new space that represents the old ones, etc.

We also have a scene where two people ride one bicycle; that was logistically difficult.

Do you have any connections or memories related to the original Slacker?

Well, our offices are in a location from the original film; the old Foodland grocery is now the Alamo South Lamar. And Lars said seeing the film back in North Carolina when it came out was one of the first sparks that got him to move down here.

I'm sure there's plenty more, too; this whole film community was built on it.

[Photo credit: Peter Simonite]

See the SLACKER 2011 Trailer at SLACKER

I saw the trailer for the new film yesterday, which includes The Alamo scene, so this post reminded me - come by the SLACKER screening at Austin Studios tomorrow night for the first peek!