Live From SXSW's Screening Room

Richard Linklater (r) and Speed Levitch, director and star of the celebrated short, Live From Shiva's Dancefloor
Richard Linklater (r) and Speed Levitch, director and star of the celebrated short, "Live From Shiva's Dancefloor" (Photo By John Anderson)

IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO LEARN TO PLOW BY READING BOOKS AND 'LIVE FROM SHIVA'S DANCEFLOOR'

With Richard Linklater and Speed Levitch

Sunday, March 9, 4pm @ Paramount Theatre "It's cool that we're screening this here at the Paramount," said native son Linklater, "because now all of my films have been shown here." Linklater's little-seen first feature, the Super-8-shot It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books belies it's small-gauge origins. With an obvious debt to the spare directorial style of Monte Hellman (who introduced his friend Linklater's film) as well as Stranger Than Paradise-era Jim Jarmusch, the little film with the preposterously unwieldy title seems a blueprint for the Slacker-to-be, with the director himself cast as a taciturn wanderer who appears to do not much at all. Don't be fooled: This is about the nothings in between the somethings that make up a life, and for a feature film with less dialogue than most shorts, the Paramount audience was obviously engrossed. It was the director's new 20-minute short, though -- "Live From Shiva's Dancefloor" -- that was the discovery. New York City, post-9/11, as memorialized and commemorated by the profound and eloquent Timothy "Speed" Levitch (Waking Life), who wanders around the city spouting unique philosophical constructs like other people sprout nose hairs. Linklater and Levitch's proposal for ground zero, as an open-air grazing ground for a herd of North American bison, is less outrageous than it may at first seem, and Levitch, who knows the wounded Apple far better than most, says, "A general tour of the city of New York, right now, makes me salivate so much, makes me feel so impassioned, because I am a great aficionado of denial -- and there's nowhere more in tune with denial right now than New York City."

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