Page Two

Looking forward and backward on the eve of the Chronicle's 20th anniversary; a farewell to influential local filmmaker and friend David Boone, who died unexpectedly last week

Page Two
The summer used to be so sweetly slow. We literally and metaphorically sweated those months, lost in the stupor of Austin heat and dire poverty. Sleep was the easy and almost constant answer, except during the marathon work sessions when we put out the paper. In some remarkable way, we are about a month away from celebrating our 20th anniversary. This really spooks me. The summer used to be slow because we couldn't sell ads, and our issues were tissue-thin. Now, in the summer, we sell fewer ads and our issues are the smallest of the year, but they're still not very small.

This summer is crazy. We are working on the anniversary issue, we are working on our anniversary events, and we are redesigning the Chronicle. Combine this with how much of the staff is on vacation at any given time, and the work load seems almost at a peak (though admittedly nothing like December or during South by Southwest). And it's not just that. It's that we're looking backward. There is this weird sensation of hurtling forward into the unknown, the economy more uncertain than it has been in more than a decade, with eyes fixed firmly on our past. It's probably the only way to go.

In the meantime, we put out the same information- and opinion-crammed issues we usually do. We're putting out these new issues -- there are stacks of them around, as there have always been -- while scouring bound volumes of old issues. The context becomes paper. Fortunately, our offices are a bit too crowded to let that happen.

David Boone, among the most influential of an earlier generation of Austin filmmakers, died last Saturday of a heart attack. He leaves a wife and two children. He was 47. David's Super-8mm masterpiece Invasion of the Aluminum People defined a period of Austin films, along with the late Brian Hansen's Speed of Light (co-written by Paul Cullum, who just helped Harry Knowles write his book, due out next March), Neil Ruttenberg's Mask of Sarnath, and Tom Huckabee's Death of Jim Morrison (which starred the late Jeff Whittington). Invasion was shot in Dallas, but that's another story. David worked on many other films and projects, as well as becoming an access personality. More important, David ran with a gang of filmmakers that included, at one time or another, Hansen, Kirk Hunter, Kevin West, and Marcus Van Bavel, among others, who were always up to one inspired, seriously whacked adventure or another. David was a very large Peter Pan to as unlikely a group of Lost Boys as might be assembled. At least some of this was owed to his wife, Sandy, a remarkably composed, good-natured, and rational force in the midst of much madness.

But Invasion's inspired influence will forever be the first thing attributed to David. Jonathan Demme sponsored a showing of Austin shorts in New York City inspired by it and used a clip in Something Wild. Invasion was that unexpected and imaginative, suggesting that independent filmmaking shouldn't respect insipid boundaries. David was an old friend whom I ran into only occasionally. The last time, he seemed in an especially good mood, back working on Midnight Taco, a new movie with Hunter. We talked briefly, comic books and movies ... family. I didn't realize it would be our last meeting. The Chronicle staff and family offer our love and heartfelt condolences.

For information on the wake, see Marc Savlov's column ("Short Cuts," p.45). end story

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The Austin Chronicle 20th anniversary, David Boone, Invasion of the Aluminum People, Brian Hansen, Speed of Light, Paul Cullum, Harry Knowles Neil Ruttenberg, Mask of Sarnath, Tom Huckabee, Death of Jim Morrison, Kirk Hunter, Kevin West, Marcus Van Bavel, Sandy Boone

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