Statler And Krulik In The Balcony

Video auteur and underground docs

Statler (left) and Krulik: Yup, these guys helped redefine music videos and underground documentaries
Statler (left) and Krulik: Yup, these guys helped redefine music videos and underground documentaries (Photo by Richard Whittaker)

To look at Chuck Statler and Jeff Krulik, you'd never think that they're underground icons. But the kinda nebbish-looking film-making friends, who are spending a long weekend in Austin as guests of the Alamo Drafthouse, have helped define and chronicle American pop culture through the magical medium of VHS.

Statler was the director of choice for many new wave bands, including Devo, Nick Lowe, and Elvis Costello. He'll be presenting a selection of his work (check out his video for The Suicide Commandos' Burn It Down, complete with real arson, below) at the Alamo Ritz tonight (July 19) as part of Music Monday at 9.45pm.


However, on Sunday night the stage was reserved for Krulik, the former Discovery Channel producer who has spent the last three decades creating micro-documentaries covering the weird, the bizarre, and Ernest Borgnine. Seriously.

With over a hundred films completed, Krulik is putting the finishing touches to his latest piece (Heavy Metal Picnic) and plans to complete his long-delayed doc about a hunting an urban myth called Led Zeppelin Played Here. While they have undeniable cult cachet, they aren't exactly multiplex-fillers, so the obvious question was asked: How does he make a living at this?

Aside from supplementing his income by doing archival research, Krulik really makes a living as an independent producer. The trick for any aspiring film maker, he explained, is all about priorities. "For some people," he said, "living is money in the bank, and for others it's surviving. I get by." He added, jovially, "It's freelance work, and it's hard, but it's doable."

He's also seen the market for his films change dramatically since he started as a cable access producer in the 1970s. When he first started making docs, it was tape trading or nothing: Then there were underground film festivals (for example, the aptly-named I Quit My Day Job For This Film and Video Festival), and now, Krulik said, "The Internet has made it a whole different ball game."

Many of Krulik's videos can be found on his YouTube channel: But if you've got ten minutes right now, watch the charming genius that is Heavy Metal Parking Lot.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 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.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Alamo Ritz
Drafthouse <i>Wonder Woman</i> Screenings Bring Out the Trolls
Drafthouse Wonder Woman Screenings Bring Out the Trolls
All-female screenings to expand nationwide

Richard Whittaker, May 25, 2017

<i>Night Flight</i> Flies Again
Night Flight Flies Again
Stuart Shapiro resurrects his Eighties underground variety show

Richard Whittaker, April 10, 2016

More by Richard Whittaker
AFI Review: <i>The Boy Behind the Door</i>
AFI Review: The Boy Behind the Door
Child abduction horror leaves the kids fending for themselves

Oct. 21, 2020

AFI Review: <i>Sound of Metal</i>
AFI Review: Sound of Metal
The musician's nightmare becomes a catalyst for change

Oct. 21, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Alamo Ritz, Jeff Krulik, Chuck Statler, Heavy Metal Parking Lot, Ernest Borgnine, Neil Diamond Parking Lot, Heavy Metal Picnic

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle