"Once you've lived through one of our performances, survival takes on a whole new meaning," says Mark Pauline, founder/director of Survival Research Laboratories. Billed as "art for the wired world," SRL's mission is like any good parent (or Dr. Frankenstein for that matter), to "let their robot creations play in the world they're about to take over." I've never been to a show myself, but after reading somewhere that I might expect to see "intelligent steam shovels clawing apart dead cows," I consulted Deb, our resident cyberchick who, space allowing or not, would surely push her way through to the front row. (Live) animal lover that she is, Deb did confirm that along with ritualized actions involving giant robots, machines, and special effects devices, a SRL show does sometimes include the mechanical animation of beasts dearly departed --an explosive id-boost, pure and simple. Since 1979, SRL has staged over 45 robot performances here and in Europe where humans are present only as audience or operators. This October, Pauline hopes to bring SLR's showcase of socio-political satire to Austin. In preparation and with hopes of securing a venue (no small feat considering fire codes and the weight of the giant robots), he will be appearing at Emo's on Friday, August 9 at 7pm. Pauline will be presenting the latest SRL video and lecturing about the group and the upcoming show. There will be a modest admission -- probably around $2. SRL has quite a following here, Austin is also home to the Robot Group, a local gathering of artists striving to integrate advanced technology into the arts. Their annual event, Robofest 7, will take place next month. Anyone who is interested in getting involved with the October production of SLR should attend Pauline's presentation; the group can use volunteers for all aspects of the show. For more information on SRL, visit their Website at, or check out one of the two SRL videos available for rent at Vulcan... As a benefit for the Austin Film Society and the Texas Filmmakers Production Fund, Quentin Tarantino has been enthusiastically sharing his favorite films all week with audiences at the Dobie. For all the remaining evening screenings, individual tickets ($10) will go on sale to the general public once all the series pass holders have been seated (around 7:20pm) -- and intriguing double bills still remain. Tonight's (Thurs. 8) theme is Epic Adventures; Fri. (8/9) it's Good ol' Boy movies; Sat. (8/10) Spaghetti Westerns and Sun. (8/11) Quentin's Miscellaneous Faves. And two more single admission (series passes not honored) Midnight Screenings will be shown on Friday and Saturday (12am, $10 -- titles TBA). On top of these, Tarantino (who's really just a big kid himself) is offering two more single admission Kiddie Matinees (titles TBA; adults pay $10 but can bring two children under 12 in for free) on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2:30pm, again at the Dobie. In fact, this Saturday is perfect for an all-kid movie marathon; the regular AFS Children's Film Series at the Paramount is presenting the 1940 Arabian Nights fantasy-adventure The Thief of Baghdad at noon ($3), and there'll be plenty of time to get to the kid portion of the Tarantino Filmfest directly following... It's hard to believe it has been a whole year, but AFS' Tenth Anniversary Retrospective Celebration -- the series of free screenings at the Union Theatre on Tuesday nights -- is about to come to a close. The series, which began at the end of last summer with a temperamental showing of Robert Frank's Pull My Daisy, continued weekly through over 50 rarely seen films from past AFS programs, and will end on Tuesday, August 13 with a special surprise screening. As always, the film starts at 8pm and admission is free. Come out and show appreciation for the wonderful films AFS has shared with us over the past year, and to see what final celluloid delicacy they'll be threading through the projector... August 15 is the last day to submit a film to the Austin Heart of Film Festival, which runs in conjunction with their Screenwriters Conference, October 10-13. Local film collective in*situ has been invited to curate an additional category in the competition: Super-8, Hi-8, and 8mm. All subject matters and lengths will be considered, but the films must be "narrative driven." Although no cash prize will be awarded the winning film in this new category, the filmmaker will receive air fare, accommodations, a festival pass and, of course, the work will be screened during the festival. Entries must be postmarked by the aforementioned date, and accompanied by an entry fee of $30. This year's Screenwriter's Conference is boasting confirmed guests including Wes Craven, Emilio Estevez, Michael Moore (Roger & Me), Mary Stuart Masterson, and Peter Masterson (A Trip to Bountiful). For information on film submissions or the conference in general, call 800/310-FEST... Good news outside the city! subUrbia (see feature articles starting above), a Richard Linklater film based on the Eric Bogosian play of the same name (Bogosian in fact, wrote the script), has been selected for exhibition at this fall's New York Film Festival.

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More Short Cuts
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The Conrans will 'Captain' 'Princess of Mars'; plus, Linklater headed for 'Bad News'

Marc Savlov, Sept. 17, 2004

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Invest in the fests!

Marc Savlov, Sept. 3, 2004

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