Exhibits and Archives

Photo Flashback: Rodriguez Pop-Up Museum at SXSW 2015


One of the many interesting events to spring up around South by Southwest in recent years is the Robert Rodriguez Museum, a pop-up gallery first appearing in 2014 in which Rodriguez exhibits pieces from his collection and the Frazetta family collection, which he now curates. Most people know Rodriguez only as a director, but film is only one of his creative outlets, and the tours he conducted at SXSW this March provided an enlightening peek into his creative process.

HRC Brings Molly Haskell to Austin Tomorrow to Talk 'GWTW'


Gone with the Wind concept painting

Have you been to the "The Making of Gone with the Wind" exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center yet? Whatever your opinion of the film, it is truly amazing. I've been once and I feel like I caught about 60 percent of it before my feet gave out -- I need to go back again. The exhibit runs through Jan. 4, and admission is free (although parking near UT probably won't be), so take a long lunch break and check it out. Your mom's visiting for Christmas vacation? Bring her there for a treat.

Tomorrow night (Wednesday, Nov. 19) at 7 pm, head over to HRC to hear author and film critic Molly Haskell discuss her book Frankly, My Dear: Gone with the Wind Revisited. It focuses on both the novel and the movie. Haskell is probably best known for her book on women in film, From Reverence to Rape. I've heard her speak before and can't recommend it enough. If you can't make it to the HRC, a live webcast will be available.

I've read Frankly, My Dear and enjoyed it very much -- in fact, I bought the book at HRC after visiting the exhibit. I've read maybe a half-dozen books over the years about Gone with the Wind, because back in high school I was a huge raving fan of the novel. I'm less so now -- over the years the racism has bugged me more and more, and I've always felt Scarlett is essentially an overgrown teenager. But somewhere around here I believe I even have a book of producer David O. Selznick's infamous memos (he would have loooved social media and email), many of which concerned his great 1939 epic film. So I went into the exhibit, and Haskell's book, with plenty of background information.

Photos: Ken Taylor Mondo Gallery Show


Once again, avid collectors lined up last week to be among the first to see and purchase art from the latest Mondo gallery show. This show, running from May 30 to June 21, presents exclusively prints and original works from perennial favorite artist Ken Taylor.

SXSW 2014: Mondo Gallery Ansin/Tong Show


The Wizard of Oz 

A mere week after their tremendously successful Disney-themed gallery show, the folks at Mondo reset the gallery for a second SXSW exhibit -- this time, featuring works from two of their most popular artists, Martin Ansin and Kevin Tong. As usual, people were lined up around the block waiting their chance to purchase these beautiful limited-edition art prints.

Mondo Gallery Illustrates 'Tales From The Crypt'


Mondo Gallery's latest show, featuring art inspired by EC Comics and Tales From The Crypt, opened recently and will run through November 23. I was able to attend the opening-night preview and take some photos.

Works included pieces by artists Ken Taylor, Mike Budai, Francesco Francavilla, Ken Garduno, Alex R. Kirzhner, Jeff Lemire, Drew Millward, Gary Pullin, Ash Thorp, Warwick Johnson Cadwell, Jacob Bannon, Kraken, Jim Rugg, Michael Hacker, Luke Drozd, Bruce White, Jason Edmiston, Shawn K. Knight, Jack Davis, Brandon Holt, Florian Bertmer, Scarecrowoven, Eric Skillman, Paolo Rivera, Mark Todd, Chris Mooneyham, Angryblue, Neal Russler, Phantom City Creative, William Stout, James Flames, Shane Hillman, and Graham Erwin.

A Look Back at the History of Austin's Movie Houses


By Lishann Johnson

The reception held at the Austin History Center earlier this month for the exhibit "The First Picture Shows: Historic Austin Movie Houses" was wonderful.

The evening began as musician Tim Mueting performed and talked a bit about what this exhibit means to him. Mueting shared stories of growing up behind his parents' drive-in and having to get up in the morning to clean up from the night before. No, he didn't have to use his hands. My favorite memory that Mueting shared was about his mom and dad busting kids for sneaking into the drive-in in the trunks of cars and banging to be let out.

AHC was filled with items that would be interesting for seasoned film aficionados as well as more casual fans of the medium. The exhibit itself consisted of a rundown of all of Austin's old theaters, including information on when they opened and what they are now (if they haven't been torn down).

A few things that I saw that really stood out were the original blueprints of the Majestic Theater and a drive-in display that showed original speakers that used to be hung on car windows. One display was really enlightening, about the end of segregation for Austin theaters. Until I saw that display, I didn't understand how the end of segregation in Austin theaters came to pass, or the lengths that had to be taken to make it happen.

I have to say my favorite display was the "Movie House Memory," a station where you could share a memory that you have in one of the many movie theaters in Austin.

After enjoying the exhibit itself, the group was escorted by Austin History Museum manager Mike Miller to the State and Paramount theaters. Miller was quite knowledgeable about the theaters, and was extremely helpful in answering questions.

New Thomas Smith Collection Brings 'Raiders' and 'Empire' to Austin


ILM Book CoverHave you visited the Harry Ransom Center? This world-class museum on the grounds of The University of Texas at Austin is perhaps best known for housing one of only five complete copies in the U.S. of the Gutenberg Bible. Or you may have heard the collection includes the world's first photograph taken in 1826. The Ransom Center's collection doesn't just include old books, photos and paintings. It is also home to cultural materials including film, digital, and other media.

Film collections at the Ransom Center include those of producer David O. Selznick; actor, producer and director Robert De Niro; screenwriters Paul Schrader, Ernest Lehman and Jay Presson Allen; actress Gloria Swanson; and early special-effects creator Norman Dawn. The museum also has some of the original costumes from Gone with the Wind, which will be featured in an exhibit this fall.

Slackerwood received word this week that Thomas Smith, visual effects producer for such films as The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark -- and the first head of Industrial Light and Magic -- has donated his collection to the Ransom Center. 

Smith's extensive collection documents his professional work through the 1980s and 1990s. The 22 boxes contain special-effects storyboards, screenplay drafts, scripts, pre-production research, production materials, newspaper clippings, photographs and published materials such as fan magazines and cinematography periodicals. The papers also contain material relating to Smith's time at ILM and Lucasfilm.

The HRC plans to make the collection accessible, and hopefully will include some of it in an upcoming exhibition, once the cataloging is done. In the meantime, you can see Smith himself -- he'll be at UT on April 19 to talk about his career, as part of the Harry Ransom Lecture series.

The full press release from HRC is reprinted below.

Catch a Glimpse of Austin's Movie Theater Past


Paramount Theatre; Austin Texas

If you're a film lover in Austin, you've probably been to a renovated theater that has a long past of showing movies in town, like the Paramount or Alamo Drafthouse Ritz. Or perhaps you've driven by a business that was obviously a movie theater at some point in the past: the old Varsity at Guadalupe and 24th (now a bunch of chain fast-food joints) or the old Cinema West on South Congress, which has been turned into an office building. We won't even talk about the Arbor Theatre, which is now a Cheesecake Factory.

Austin History Center has a wealth of information about movie theaters in Austin through the ages, and they're going to share it with us, from now through this summer. "The First Picture Shows: Historic Austin Movie Houses" will run until August 19. The exhibit includes "hundreds of historic photographs, documents, and architectural drawings" that portray Austin theater history from the early days of nickelodeons to the current status of many of these buildings as other types of businesses.

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