The Austin Chronicle

Short Cuts

By Marc Savlov, December 31, 1999, Screens

It seems like just yesterday the Lumiere Brothers, Georges Méliés, and old Tom Edison were filming trains arriving in their stations and hooligans shooting rockets into the man in the moon's tearful eyes, but here we are already on the verge of the second millennium to feature silver-nitrate wonders and popcorn magic. How time flies when you're having fun. Speaking of filmic transitions, Holden Payne, manager at Landmark's Dobie Theatre, has sent word that after three calendar years, 80 weeks, and more than 50,000 paying customers (and you know how small those theatres are), S.E. Bindler's brilliant documentary Hands on a Hard Body is finally, regretfully, coming to a close on Thu., Jan. 13. The film, which garnered plenty of accolades both in and outside the Lone Star state (despite a title that left a lot of people wondering if the film had something to do with Muscle Beach, USA, or perhaps the adult film industry), racked up somewhere in the neighborhood of $250,000 at the Dobie alone, says Payne, a phenomenon unlike any he's seen before or since. (Excluding, of course, The Blair Witch Project, which grossed $158,604.50 and an attendance of 28,766 during its exclusive 14-day run at the Dobie. That's a whopping 2,055 people a day, many of whom, it should be noted, were unable to make it to the Dobie rest rooms when the film's spastic cinematography played havoc with their tummies.) As a send-off, the Dobie will screen Hands on a Hard Body on a full daily schedule (as opposed to its current midnight-only slot) beginning Thu., Jan. 7. If you're one of the two or three people in Austin who have yet to see Bindler's paean to the lengths a group of Texans will go to for a free pickup truck, this may be your last theatrical chance to do so... Tim League over at the Alamo Drafthouse has announced that due to the overwhelming success of last week's Andy Kaufman Tribute night, a second date has been added this Wed., Jan. 5, at 7pm for all those who couldn't get to the sold-out first one. As before, clips of Andy on David Letterman's show, the famed Louis Malle parody My Breakfast With [former pro-wrestler Fred] Blassie, and a wealth of other arcane Kaufmania will be shown... The Conduit2K alternative media film festival has announced a call for entries for this year's lineup of digital, CGI, and non-traditional films. The deadline is Feb. 15, 2000, and they're looking for "shorts, features, gaming, cinematic, engine-cut scenes, or quake re-cams," among other, um, things. Conduit has gained a stellar reputation for discovering some of the brightest talents working in non-traditional filmmaking (Blair Witch's reputed rival The Last Broadcast got its start there), so if you've got a Sony and some free time, here's your chance. Find out more at http://www.conduitfest/call.html... Finally, ending the millennium on a somewhat lighter note (with beer and pork rinds, I should think), the Alamo Drafthouse will be screening Hal Needham's classic tale of love, trucks, and one badass moustache -- Smokey and the Bandit -- at midnight, Jan 6-8. "So what?" I hear you cry. Where else can you begin the next 1,000 years meeting the official Coors Girls live and in person? Only at the Alamo, folks, only at the Alamo. See you next century.

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