Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Here's my official SXSW wrap-up, which resembles what I already posted here, except with slightly gooder writing.

And here's the follow-up column on Hick Flicks from the Smokey Mountain News.

Soon I will catch up on past bars and books. I keep saying that. One of these days it will be true.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Hat is High

Our long national nightmare is finally over! Issue Five of The High Hat is here! Of course, I direct you immediately to my latest Bottom Shelf, this one on the biggest bottom of them all, but I'm sure it's full of good stuff I haven't read yet. The only question now is: what will arrive first - Issue Six of the Hat or Season Six of The Sopranos?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Up and Down

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

And yet another, this one from the Fort Worth Weekly. Here's a quote to treasure: "Von Doviak's work may not rank with Roger Ebert's frame-by-frame analysis of Citizen Kane or Leonard Maltin's lectures at USC on Truffaut, but that's a good thing."

More Hick Flicks accolades, this time from the Smoky Mountain News. In fact, this guy apparently loved it so much, he's doing another column on it next week. He's gone hillbilly nuts!


Monday, March 21, 2005

If you find yourself killing time at your local newsstand in the near future, take a gander at the April issue of Reason, specifically the article on page 64 called “The Hippie and the Redneck Can Be Friends.” It contains some kind words about your favorite author. Or you can just read the relevant excerpt below (sadly, it’s not available online for free):

“Meanwhile, other hands kept turning out those exploitation movies. In the new book Hick Flicks: The Rise and Fall of Redneck Cinema (McFarland), Scott Von Doviak gives us an entertaining and illuminating look at their world. ‘While blaxploitation pictures ruled the urban grindhouses, providing heroes and myths for those trapped in the inner cities,’ he writes, ‘hick flicks dominated the drive-in circuit, bringing their own set of archetypal figures to flyover country.’ Von Doviak, who covers film for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, has cast a wide net; he ends up discussing everything from early B movies to 21st-century fare, from backwoods creature features to art-house documentaries. But the heart of his book is the 1970s, and the soul is movies about outlaws driving cars or trucks, ideally with a load of illicit spirits.

“I can’t endorse every opinion Von Doviak espouses. Notably, he fails to appreciate the peculiar charms of Sam Peckinpah’s Convoy, surely the only film that is simultaneously a Christian allegory, a vaguely anarchist political fable, and a feature-length adaptation of a novelty song about CB radios. (It isn’t a good movie, but it’s much better than any picture starring Kris Kristofferson and Ali McGraw has a right to be.) But Von Doviak is a witty and astute student of these films, entertainments that could simultaneously reflect the values of both the American counterculture and its alleged opposite.”

Or, if you’re assembling the pull-quote:

“Entertaining and illuminating! Witty and astute!”

Somehow the daily SXSW updates just never materialized, did they? Shocking, I know. I’ll try and reconstruct events as best I can:

Monday: Mr. Osbloon attempted to purchase a SXSW film pass, that we might successfully attend a screening at the Alamo Drafthouse. An obnoxious woman who reeked of film industry smarmitude was quite emphatic that no such passes remained available to the public. However, a helpful SXSW volunteer was able to track down a small supply of passes which were delivered within minutes from a remote location. Pass purchased! However, it was too late to get into the film, which brings us to Bar #6, Casino El Camino. Beer was consumed, pool was shot, but none of this qualified as official SXSW-ing. This day also brought our first Real World: Austin sighting – or at least, that’s the assumption when you see good-looking young people with a camera crew in tow.

Tuesday was pretty much a washout, because I had to go see Ice Princess.

Wednesday the real fun began. We kicked off the day with a program of animated shorts at the Drafthouse. For the most part, they were surprisingly depressing. Depressing doesn’t even begin to sum up the next feature, You’re Gonna Miss Me, a documentary on the life of troubled Austin musician Roky Erickson. You’ve seen the movie Crumb? Well, the Ericksons make the Crumb family look like the Cleavers. After this, it was time for a pick-me-up, so we headed over to meet some friends at Bar #7, Emo’s. The free entertainment consisted of very loud music, which is no surprise, since this was Emo’s and that’s what they do. I believe Shearwater is the band we heard the most from. Afterward we made a detour to swing by the Real World: Austin house, which is really inconspicuous. Surrounded by run-down warehouses, it’s the only freshly painted building on the block and has lots of “No Trespassing” signs, as well as big letters spelling out “AUSTIN” on the roof. There was some talk of urinating on the edifice, but cooler heads prevailed.

Thursday brought the South by Southeast neighborhood party, which is a recent but welcome addition to the traditional festivities. This is what you want to do if you have the money. You get some kegs, some BBQ, you have the Gourds playing music on your front lawn, and everyone’s invited. Good times! We followed up this event with a screening ofThe Devil and Daniel Johnston, a documentary on the life of troubled Austin musician Daniel Johnston. (Are you sensing a pattern here?) This was very well done and, since we’d already seen the Roky Erickson one, didn’t seem nearly as depressing. From there it was off to Auditorium Shores for more free musical entertainment. Which turned out to be…the Gourds again. This is the magic of SXSW. In the afternoon you’re playing in some guy’s yard, and in the evening you’re on the biggest outdoor stage in town.

Oh and the best part: free iPods! Well, this was deal: we’re walking down the street and a cowgirl representing Lincoln trucks presses a free mystery gift card into our sweaty palms. The idea is, you go up to the Lincoln booth, they scan the card and then give you a mystery gift. And the mystery gifts turned out to be iPod Shuffles, which are, I guess, the 120-song mini-version of the full-fledged iPod. I haven’t tried it yet and I’m still half-convinced this is some sort of scam, like it self-destructs after one use or something.

Anyway, it got a little chilly that evening, so we retreated to the safety of the Paramount theater for Reeker, a peculiar little indie horror movie with some genuinely disturbing moments that deteriorate into silliness and a bad twist ending.

Friday: Another gorgeous sunny day made for free music and beer. This time the setting was the Merge Records party at Poke-E-Jo’s BBQ joint. I’m tellin’ ya, they were shoving bottles of Red Stripe into your hand before you could even reach the counter. Until they ran out, and the long lines for keg beer began. But still, it’s hard to complain. If you get a chance to see the Rosebuds live, go for it. Their keyboardist is a genuine special effect.

Saturday: We capped off the film festival with Childstar, a Canadian comedy that had its moments (most of them involving Dave Foley). Then yet more outdoor music, this time at the Dog and Duck Pub. The Gripweeds and Amy Rigby (who did a couple of punk covers with her young daughter at the end of her mini-set) were the featured attractions. Things got drizzly, so we met up with some compadres and took shelter inside. Then it was off to a party in South Austin to cap off the week.

Sunday brought Mr. Osbloon’s flight back to the east, and a semi-comatose state for me that continues to this very minute. Ah, SXSW.

Monday, March 14, 2005

South by So Far

Not much to report yet as far as official SXSW happenings. The kickoff party on Friday night at Buffalo Billards (Bar #5, although I haven’t actually blogged about #4 yet) was highlighted by free beer and roller derby girls. The lone film I’ve seen so far was a fake Wes Anderson movie called Max and Grace. The out-of-town representative from the Ol’ Bait Shop arrived Saturday night. Sunday was rodeo day! Alas, we didn’t get to see the high-diving pig or the cowboy monkey, but the cattle-herding dogs were in fine form. I think I’m going to enter Maury in next year’s competition. This could be his calling.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Passion Recut

Friday, March 11, 2005

O blog. Poor neglected blog. I have no one to blame but myself. Well, SXSW, film portion, gets underway tonight, with music to follow next week. I'll try to make regular updates here. Really.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Two accessories for every well-dressed man:

The Jacket

The Pacifier

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Film Threat reviews Hick Flicks. Yeah, the reviewer's a friend of mine. What of it? Are you calling him a liar??! HUH??!!!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I'm swamped at the moment, but meanwhile, here's something to ponder: