October 20, 1999

New House Drama

So, I closed on the house on Monday, and got the keys. 'Twas pouring with rain, so I didn't attempt entry Monday. Went over last night, and took a few boxes with me. The seller's real estate agent, Lazan, had said that when she went over to clear out the last of the old mail and stuff, she found a man sleeping in the back bedroom, and was so startled, she began screaming and couldn't stop, except finally to tell him to clear out and never come back. He was just as scared as she, and took off in a hurry. So, last night, I found all this stuff that he had apparently left behind: towels, a bag of food, a cushion and some mats, a few books, and curiously enough, paint, and a roller tray—at least I guess it was his. I feel really bad that he didn't get to take all his stuff; I certainly can't use any of it, but I'm sure it was valuable to him. I think I'll try to put some signs up on the Drag so I can give it back. Lazan said she usually makes a charitable donation after every closing, and because of that experience, was going to donate to HOBO, or one of the other homeless organizations, which makes me feel a little better.

Anyway, there is much to be done in the way of little repairs and such, besides the big painting/ leveling jobs, so I'm trying to line up some people to come out and take care of it. My mom volunteered to come tomorrow or Friday to be there and supervise.

October 11, 1999

Heart of Texas Festival

It's Austin Heart of Texas Film Festival week again here in warm, sunny Austin, and we have a whole raft of film notables in town to promote or retrospect their work. (Is that a word? Well, it is now!) I saw a beautiful print of "Nashville" on Saturday--with Robert Altman and Karen Black in attendance to introduce and do a Q&A. Altman has a pretty biting sense of humor--just what you'd expect. Ms. Black is a pretty wacky gal, but despite being 54, doesn't look much over 34! She told the story of her audition for the movie, and sang a few bars of the song she wrote. Great voice! She's in town to promote "Charades," a movie she co-wrote and acts in. Lyle Lovett, Rick Linklater, and Steven Soderbergh were also at the screening. Soderbergh is here for the Austin premiere of his new film, "The Limey," and James L. Brooks is here for a retrospective of his work. Other actors and writers skulking about are Matthew McConaughey, Rachel Hunter, Buck Henry ("The Graduate"), Callie Khouri ("Thelma & Louise"), Larry Karaszewski ("The People v. Larry Flynt") Joe Stefano ("Psycho" 1960), Scott Frank ("Out of Sight"), and Ted Tally ("Silence of the Lambs"). I've got a pass for the whole week, so I'm going to try to see as many films as I can. "Winding Roads," which I saw last night, was OK--former model (and Rod Stewart spouse) Rachel Hunter stars, and does a decent job. Afterwards, I started watching a movie called "Junked," which was an incomprehensible, violent, derivative piece of junk about lost L.A. junkies, hustlers, and punks. It was so abysmally bad I walked out. Somehow the writer/director (if you could call him that) forgot that violence and profanity alone do not make a film into the next Pulp Fiction.