By Louis Black, Fri., May 19, 2000
John Sayles faxed us a story detailing his visit to East Timor. He sent the same story to another friend, Michael Hollett at NOW, Toronto's alternative weekly. The piece made total sense to us because we had been offering ongoing coverage of Indonesia, mostly by Robert Bryce, because of Freeport-McMoRan's ventures there. If you're wondering how the cover story came about, that's how. Sayles is a novelist, short-story writer, filmmaker, and ferocious basketball competitor. I still think that Passion Fish was shot in Louisiana at least somewhat because on the scouting trip, the mayor had a pick-up basketball game waiting for John. Anyway, we're hoping that John gets inspired and sends us more.
We saw The Music Man the other night, presented by the Austin Musical Theatre at Palmer Auditorium. I was struck by its terrific performances as well as what a great town we live in to produce theatre like this. I'm not just talking about the talented people who produced and performed the play but also the ongoing contribution to the community from stars like Larry Gatlin (and Willie Nelson, Rick Linklater, Molly Ivins, Ray Benson, and on and on). Certainly, considering how much time and energy he must have put into this show, Gatlin could have made a small fortune from a two-week run in Branson, Missouri. Instead he chose to become Dr. Henry Hill and let a local production shine.
The Chronicle's short story contest is off and running with an ad elsewhere in this issue. Now is the time for anyone who has ever thought of trying their hand at fiction to take a shot.
On a personal note, Ted Whatley, a dear friend, has retired from the school board after valiant service. Having no agenda except what was best for the students and the usefulness and health of the school system, Ted was the best kind of public servant. His knowledge and commitment should be honored. The school board and school children of Austin will miss his contributions.