Page Two

Page Two
There is a quiet this week, an eager anticipation of time off that has everyone concentrating on getting their work done, on getting the issue out. Walking through the office you can hear the hum but it is steady and focused and not as abrupt, explosive, stuttering, and chaotic as usual. Driving to work through a light fog enhanced this sense of the float, the slow, steady roll toward a few days off. I meditated on the extraordinary traffic around me and remembered when we used to joke that a traffic jam in Austin was three cars at the same stoplight. It isn't that way anymore. But all these cars carry new people diversifying the city, changing it, growing it.

We're easing into this Thanksgiving holiday at a sustained rate. Years ago, this was an oasis in the struggle, now it is a four-day weekend around a holiday. A time to get with family and friends and just relax. Eat too much, drink too much, talk too much, nap too much is the motto. A little TV, a little reading, some rolling and moaning, "too full, too full, why did I eat so much...?"

The Austin Chronicle offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 27 and 28. We will reopen on Monday, December 1. To all, a very happy Thanksgiving.

Sam Fuller, as has been acknowledged in this publication many times, was a great American filmmaker. In the wake of his death, to honor his life, the Austin Film Society is taking the opportunity to screen some of his films and have a party on Wednesday, December 3 at the Alamo Drafthouse. The bill features a rare theatrical showing of Shock Corridor with a beautiful black-and-white Cinemascope print of Forty Guns. Whether you love him, hate him, or are oblivious to who he is, you won't get any deeper into the head of Sam Fuller than these two films. Shock Corridor is about a reporter who goes inside a mental hospital to solve a murder. He gets himself committed by having his girlfriend pretend to be his sister and claim that he has sexually attacked her. That is the easy part; when he gets trapped in the ward of nymphomaniacs it becomes more difficult. In Forty Guns, Barbara Stanwyck rules the West as she leads 40 male riders, redefining archetypes as she goes. These are two remarkable movies, as Fuller races ahead with the vision of an investigative reporter and the soul of a pulp storyteller, dragging audiences behind him.

Historically, Fuller is one of the worst-attended of the great American original directors while his peers Don Siegel, Phil Karlson, and Nick Ray all had big commercial and critical hits (Dirty Harry, Walking Tall, Rebel Without a Cause, respectively). Richard Linklater and I reminisced recently about how no matter what you did to promote a Fuller film, 20 people showed up. Recent Austin Film Society screenings have been very well-attended, but they've been free.

Linklater (whose new film Newton Boys is generating excellent word-of-mouth from its very preliminary screenings), Harry Knowles (recently noted by Entertainment Weekly as the 101st of the 101 most powerful people in Hollywood, coming in ahead of the Spice Girls who were at number 1011/2), Chronicle film editor Marjorie Baumgarten, and I will offer toasts during this special tribute to the great director. The Alamo Drafthouse serves food and beverages, doors open at 6:15pm; admission is $3.50 for one or $5 for both films (Austin Film Society members admitted free). Forty Guns begins at 7pm with Shock Corridor at 9:30pm. The event is co-sponsored by The Austin Chronicle and SXSW Film, with free cigars courtesy of Ruta Maya Coffee House. Please join us for this Toast to Fuller.

On another film-related note, there will be a special benefit to support the University Film Society's attempts to stop the Texas Union Film Program from being canceled. In a very unique screening, they will show Jean Cocteau's Blood of a Poet and Man Ray's Emak Bakia, with original scores written and performed live by Quintet Lumiere. There will be two performances at the Texas Union Theater, Thursday, December 4 at 7pm, and Saturday, December 6 at 5pm.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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