The Austin Chronicle

Eat, Drink, Laugh, and Learn With Kate MacMurray

By Wes Marshall, March 30, 2007, Food

Here's a classic good news/bad news story. The good news: This Saturday night, as part of the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival, the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar will be the site of a night filled with great food from Vespaio, Asti, Fino, and the Drafthouse itself. The delicious food promises to be the highlight in a night full of highlights. Besides the great food, Kate MacMurray of MacMurray Ranch vineyards in the Russian River Valley will be bringing a few of her Pinot Noirs and a Pinot Grigio.

The entertainment will be a showing of an acerbic skewering of the business world and its sexual politics, The Apartment. The 1960 film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and received five, including Best Picture and Best Director (Billy Wilder). The Apartment was the second film directed by Wilder with Kate's father Fred MacMurray (last year's festival feature Double Indemnity was the other). MacMurray, co-starring with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, plays a cad with a lascivious eye for MacLaine. Looking for a clandestine site to get some time alone with MacLaine, MacMurray asks one of his underlings, Lemmon, if he can borrow his apartment. MacMurray offers a promotion as a carrot to keep Lemmon quiet. But when Lemmon falls for MacLaine and then finds out she is spending quality time with MacMurray, everything begins to unravel. The Apartment is one of the best farces of the 20th century.

Kate will be sharing memories and answering questions about her father and about Billy Wilder, one of film's all-time great directors. In addition, Kate is a respected filmmaker in her own right, so she offers helpful insights to budding directors, actors, and screenwriters. I will also be speaking at the event.

The food comes from some of the best restaurants in Austin. Chef Emmett Fox is the owner of Asti and Fino, as well as being the ex-president of the festival. He will be joining chef Alan Lazarus, one of the owners of Vespaio, along with his chef de cuisine Ryan Samson. Chef John Bullington, formerly of Mars and now executive chef for the Alamo Drafthouse South, will join Emmett, Alan, and Ryan offering appetizers and desserts. All have designed foods expressly to match with MacMurray wines.

The bad news: Unfortunately, the show is sold out. Remember it for next year.

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