Archive for May, 2006

These boots are made for fun

Three things to love about Kinky Boots are (1) the industry-on-parade sequences showing the process of making men’s shoes, including welting, (2) the terrific cabaret scenes, including dancing, costumes, and humorous torch-singing, and (3) Mr. Big Stuff, which was employed to very good effect in Crooklyn also. This low-key feel-good movie had the sizable matinee audience laughing out loud. The three reasons listed above are just my three; anybody else seeing this show can find at least three and probably many more.

What The ?!?! K-EYE Headlines in the last 24 Hrs.

It doesn’t appear to be a full moon. Is it the heat? These are some of the headlines in the last 24 hours from KEYE:

We’re currently gym shopping for the family and 24 Hour Fitness was one of the places we were considering. After their reaction to that last story, not so much.

P.S. Did K-EYE decide to just start doing a direct feed of the police blotter or what?


trainb.jpgWhen GPS revealed that the UP special steam train was near Kyle, we rushed to the OfficeMax parking lot and ran to the open ground near the old power plant. The train was early. We could hear the steam whistle way down the way.

People who had chased the train from San Antonio in their vehicles were just arriving. Some of them had tried to catch the Special at grade crossings in South Austin, but police were barring access.

The windows were full of people waving. The engineers waved. The bell in front of the cab rang. It was about 10:25. Most people remained to see the regular Amtrak passenger train come through soon afterwards. All of the living-quarters near the station had crowded balconies. Nearby construction came to a halt as the two trains rolled into the station. traina.jpg

This special train will remain at the Amtrak station until Monday morning. I’m thinking about taking the time to be there to see it leave at about 8 o’clock on Monday and I’ll be sure to visit it at least a couple of times more while it’s here in Austin. Astonishingly, apart from the whistle and the bell, scarcely any noise came from the train, because everything is in tip-top working order. What a beautiful sight in motion! And it’s well worth seeing at rest. There’s plenty of parking near the station. How Not To Interview

Thanks to the anonymous intrepid reader who sent in the link to this hilarious clip on “How Not To Interview” from It was a good laugh to start my morning. Since the contributor did not leave a name, I shall dub him Bingelbert Slaptyback. Thanks for the link, Binglebert!

Rick Link Nation

It’s been fashionable to trash the studios for their pandering output of crap since the edgy 70’s segued into the John Hughes 80’s. But, with Poseidon sinking fast and The DaVinci Code getting panned at Cannes, you have to wonder if Hollywood can’t even get the brainless blockbusters right anymore. Hell, if it weren’t for the Alamo Drafthouse and the Paramount Summer series, I’m not sure why I’d go to the movies anymore.

Fortunately, local indie king Richard Linklater may be poised to save the industry from itself. Since our man scored studio cred by making actual money with School of Rock, he’s been positioned to reach a wider audience with larger profile studio offerings. Although his follow-up to SoR was a crappy re-make of the Bad News Bears, it didn’t besmirch his reputation so much as whet our appetite for his “real” work, the upcoming releases of A Scanner Darkly and Fast Food Nation.

Scanner will likely be a love-it-or-hate-it affair similar to Waking Life, with some folks turned on by the gimmicky rotoscoping and dime-store philosophy and others dismissing it as self-indulgent crap. I’d like to be in the first camp, although some early postings from the SXSW have me nervous.

But the film I’m really waiting for is his dramatic adaptation of Fast Food Nation. I loved the book, especially for its attention to the abuses in the meat-handling industry and the realities of corporate farming, but never considered it a candidate for a film treatment. Linklater has bundled the myriad socio-economic elements into interweaving dramatic storylines, and I’m excited to see how it turns out. The best Linklater films tend to be those without a traditional story arc (Before Sunset being a personal favorite), and Fast Food Nation could play right into that strength when it’s released this Fall.

You can now check out the trailer for FFN on YouTube. [Link originally found at CHUD]

Big iron

Rail buffs, rejoice! Union Pacific locomotive 844 is scheduled to be at the Amtrak station from about 10:45 Saturday until about 8 am Monday. This makes a great photo op. See what the Age of Steam was all about. Marvel at the size of the driving wheels. Service cars will be part of the train, including a boiler car and tender. I don’t find that there will be any photo run-bys for video and sound enthusiasts, so to capture the train in motion it may be necessary to be there for arrival or departure. Whether people will be permitted to view the interior of the locomotive cab doesn’t appear in on-line information. It looks as though locomotive 844 has smoke deflectors or elephant ears, similar to those depicted here.

Cinematic escape on a grand scale

armor.jpgThe Promise shows just twice more at the Arbor (this evening at 7:35 and 9:55). This movie is spectacular and panoramic and elemental and fantastic and epic and transcendant and romantic in every meaning of those words. It was worth an afternoon off to catch this. It is made for the big screen. In this enchanted tale for adults (not that there’s anything X-y about it), the hundreds of live people, the other-worldly costumes, the grandeur of the scenery, the elaboration of the sets, and, yes, the quality of the acting make this a movie along Cecile B. deMille lines. Wait; that’s not fair to the acting, which is excellent. This isn’t for those who don’t like subtitles, don’t like fantasy, don’t like choreographed fights in the Asian style. But for those who do and for those who’d like to find out whether they do, this is a movie we’re fortunate to be able to see. I liked the moving screens with crows on them, the feathered cloak, and the two-fan weapon set especially.

Phone service out 53rd St. – I-35 Area


K-Eye is reporting that 1-2,000 people may be without phone service until Saturday in an area north/northeast of downtown. The more amusing part is the mistake in the headline. For a minute, I thought Austin Energy had missed a section of the city after those big storms a week or so ago and some people were still without power.

ACL 2006 – Lineup leaked, offical release tomorrow

Austinst pointed to a leaked lineup for this year’s ACL Fest this morning and News8Austin just posted a list themselves. The official list is supposed to be released tomorrow. I don’t see anything there now and I haven’t seen anything from ACL Fest’s crappy e-mail notification system. Mike and Jason of 101X will be discussing the lineup on their show tomorrow morning as will many other local radio stations, I’m guessing.

Nothing on the lists that I’ve seen makes me regret my decision to skip the festival this year.

New on the air

The Austin Neighborhoods Council has a new show on KO-OP radio 91.7-FM, called A Neighborly Conversation, with its own website. (By the way, where the website mentions “Barton Creek,” “Blunn Creek” should be substituted.) In thirty minutes there’s time for substantial information and discussion. Today’s three segments were Austin Inside-Out, on Austin watersheds; A Sidewalk Conversation, on mandated tree-trimming; and Jack Attack, with a short recorded segment by Jeff Jack on neighborhood planning, the main topic for the next program. The format shows promise, allotting the greatest portion of time to some spontaneous and free-form discussion, while adhering to the set topics for the day. Today’s cast of characters was large, with representatives from South Austin, City government, permaculture circles, and bond-recommendation committees. There seemed to be nobody from east of IH-35. A Neighborly Conversation is scheduled for broadcast every Wednesday from 12:30 to 1 pm.

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