In the past we've sometimes carried sections devoted to an even wider range of potential gifts, but much of our staff's inherent anti-consumerism reared its charming head, making some of the pieces more bitter and hostile than actually helpful. As purging as this was for writers and editors, the entertainment value just wasn't what it could be.
Lately, we stuck to the areas we're comfortable in and that we explore all year. Thus, this issue offers up an abundance of reviews appropriate to this holiday season.
Years ago we used to have a regular Sunday afternoon pick-up baseball game in a field near our offices. Miles Zuniga often showed up. After the game, there would be a barbeque at the Chronicle. Zuniga was always there, always first or second in line, and though he rarely contributed food (though, come to think of it, neither did I), he would heap his plate with food. He's been through a lot of bands since then and we're proud to have him on our cover this week as a member of Fastball.
Went to visit a friend on Cape Cod this summer; he had Fastball on the CD player in the car. I figured it was his teenage daughter's CD, but it turned out to be his. I didn't even bother to tell him the story. He's a reporter, and after the Gulf War, Haiti, four or five Olympics, any number of plane crashes, and following O.J.'s sports utility vehicle down the California highway, I didn't think he'd care about a band.
The Faculty is the new Robert Rodriguez-directed, Elizabeth Avellán-produced movie, eagerly awaited and slated for release on Christmas Day. The Austin Film Society is presenting a special screening of The Faculty, introduced by Robert Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellán at the Paramount Theatre, on Wednesday, December 16. Tickets are currently available for Film Society members but remaining ones will go on sale to the general public December 12 (for information, call 322-0145).
All tickets are good for The Faculty screening and the after-party hosted by Beavis and Butt-head creator Mike Judge, director Richard Linklater, actor Matthew McConaughey, cybergossip king Harry Knowles, and director Guillermo Del Toro (though who will actually be at the party, given their busy schedules and that the date changed several times, is still up in the air). If you make a $100 donation to the Film Society's Texas Filmmakers Production Fund, you earn not only the affection of Texas filmmakers but an invitation to the pre-party as well as the screening and post-party. The sponsors of this screening of The Faculty are Origin, Liberty Bank, Austin Film Society, The Austin Chronicle, and Dimension Films.
Another worthy film event takes place Tuesday, December 15 at the Paramount when the Texas Freedom Network sponsors a screening of R.S. Bindler's Hands on a Hard Body. The fun begins at 5:30 pm at Miguel's La Bodega with a silent auction; the movie will be shown at the Paramount afterward. The Texas Freedom Network, which stands up to the misinformation spread by the religious right, is a cause worth supporting. For more information, call 322-0545.