After a Fashion
The rumors of Stephen's debilitating automobile accident have been greatly exaggerated, but train wreck? That's another story altogether.
START YOUR ENGINES All right, so there will be no Thomas Haden Church at this Friday's Texas Film Hall of Fame, as I recently announced, but we will have the charming Luke Wilson instead. And I forgot to mention that ZZ Top will be honored. With celebs like Debra Winger, Morgan Fairchild, Dan Rather, Tess Harper, Mike Judge, and others, this year's event promises to be très fabuloso. Rumor has it that there may still be some single tickets available ($500), so see the lineup at www.austinfilm.org, and contact Shannon Moody at 322-0145 x222.
HEY, SAILOR, NEED A LIFT? I'm so pleased that the film Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry (www.horismokumovie.com) will premiere at South by Southwest. Sailor Jerry (Norman Keith Collins) was considered by many to be the foremost tattoo artist of all time and the father of modern-day tattooing, whose uncompromising lifestyle and larger-than-life persona made him an American legend. Who would have imagined that this World War II-era veteran with his deep love and knowledge of the art would have defined the look of the tattoo explosion that is predominant now? My late brother-in-law, Rollo Banks (aka Michael Malone), another legendary tattoo artist, was mentored by Sailor Jerry, and Rollo not only imagined that explosion but predicted it as far back as the early Eighties. Rollo, who is interviewed in the film before his death last year, and fellow Sailor Jerry protégé Don Ed Hardy (www.donedhardy.com), also interviewed, inherited most of Sailor Jerry's legacy when he passed (Rollo kept Sailor Jerry's shop in Honolulu on Hotel Street, where I received my second tattoo from Rollo). Mr. Hardy kept his batch of Sailor Jerry's work carefully labeled and archived, and Rollo kept his batch of Sailor Jerry's work in paper bags or laid out on the floor. Both loved and revered the man who had taught them so much. But this film premiere is not Sailor Jerry's first appearance in Austin. He arrived via Rollo in 1984, with dazzling flash and an inimitable style. This was the same trip where Rollo swept my sister, Margaret, off her feet and married her in no time flat. And that's how Sailor Jerry came into my life. In the last few years of his life, Rollo took on an apprentice, passing on lore, techniques, and designs to this younger man named Keith Underwood, who lives in Austin now. Keith and his wife named their baby in honor of Rollo: Rooster Malone Underwood. Rooster Malone turned 2 last week; he'll carry a lot of mojo with that name. And Rollo's death will have its first anniversary in April. It all seems to be coming home to roost, as it were, and that's why this film is important to me. See it at Dobie, Wednesday, March 12, 6:30pm; Thursday, March 13, 11am; and Friday, March 14, 1:30pm.
LUV LETTERS FROM A CAR WRECK Omigod, I can't believe I received an e-mail from someone who actually thought I did not know the difference between Dianetics and diuretics, as I pretended to be confused about it in last week's column. With a flair for the obvious, the writer pointed out (after addressing me as "dumbass" and "putz") that "Dianetics is the bible for Scientology." That statement was followed by an even more fascinating one: "Just for the record I am A Lutherine." Okay, I really do know that the book Dianetics is the bible of the $cientologists, but just for the record, what exactly is "A Lutherine"? It sounds like a cross between a Lutheran and a tangerine [... or perhaps a reformed mouthwash? – ed.]. Now, I know many hardworking, God-fearing, salt-of-the-earth Lutherans, but evidently, Lutherines must be a renegade branch that prefers name-calling and hostility to prayer and devotion. I felt compelled to inform the writer that what I had written was a joke. Ever the diplomat but surely a deeply embarrassed one, the writer replied, "NOBODY GOT IT DIP SHIT." I was mesmerized by the writer's grasp of the English language. Nobody? I beg to differ. But doing some cursory research of my files of hate mail (I mean love letters), I discovered the astounding fact that nine out of 10 hostile e-mails I receive are from Lutherines. What is it? Some kind of covenant that says, "Thou shalt not have any sense of humor"? Lutherans are lovely people; I just wish the Lutherines would try to be more like them.