When the USA Film Festival's officials elected to cut off the Dallas Observer staff--or "naysayers," as The Dallas Morning News likes to refer to some of us--from covering the fest's recent rehash of the Dallas Video Festival ("Buzz," April 8, and just about every issue since then), they weren't hurting us. They were doing us a favor, brutha. No, the people who were hurt by the cold shoulder that Alonso Duralde and his minions turned toward us were filmmakers such as Scott Reeder, writer-director of the locally produced black comedy Boondoggle and the prop buyer for Walker, Texas Ranger. In fact, most of the crew members that worked on the film were moonlighting from their steady gigs on Walker, including producer Mike Wilks and co-writer Jeff Woodrell, both refugees from Walker's art department. Even the cast was culled from Walker's credits: Reeder's boss in the prop department, Mike Parsons, stars as a deceitful crime boss, and set electrician Billy Adamson makes his onscreen debut. Reeder's mother, Rosalie Reeder, turns up on camera as well, adding to the friends-and-family nature of the production. It's the kind of film we wish we could have written about when it was at the USA Film Festival. Not that we're bitching or anything. The Lakewood Theatre, 1825 Abrams Parkway, hosts a free encore screening of Boondoggle on Thursday at 8 p.m. Doors opens at 7 p.m. Call (214) 827-LAKE.
Only Denton's Good/Bad Art Collective could come up with a live-action representation of addiction that includes a large projection of Richard Simmons' Sweatin' to the Oldies in slow-motion, natives in sweat pants and large animals ceremoniously exercising along with the tape, and a room filled with the sounds of jungle beasts, tribal drumming, and incomprehensible safari-tour information. All of the above is part of the collective's latest one-night-only extravaganza, Quaalude Safari, featuring an installation created by members Aaron Graves and Bryan Campbell. The set-up is this: Visitors enter the gallery and walk through an "introductory drug museum" (a room full of miniature, mutated white animals under black lights) and continues into a middle hall, where the addiction phase begins, starting with being accosted by a cheetah wearing a trench coat. The next step is the Sweatin' to the Oldies room, followed by "rehab," led by a small cowboy mouse riding a pig on stilts. Seriously. Well, as seriously as you can take the G/BAC. And think about it: If it sounds weird on paper, imagine what it'll be like to witness in person. We already feel doped-up. Quaalude Safari happens Friday at 8 p.m. at the Good/Bad Art Collective, 120 S. Exposition in Denton. Call (940) 591-1725.
The Dallas Museum of Art's Arts & Letters Live series concludes its stellar eighth season this weekend with two performances. On Saturday, Arts & Letters Live offshoot Texas Bound presents its first reading for children, featuring always-entertaining character actor Barry Corbin. Corbin--best known for his recurring roles on Northern Exposure and The Drew Carey Show, as well as his performances in Urban Cowboy and Wargames--will read from stories by William Joyce. The reading happens on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Barnes & Noble store at Lincoln Park, 7700 W. Northwest Highway. Then, on Sunday, Arts & Letters Live stages the unfortunately titled Canaday! Eh?, a daylong salute to Canadian fiction writers. The program includes readings by Robert MacNeil (former host of PBS' NewsHour), Mordecai Richler, and Jane Urquhart, as well as a documentary on Jack Kerouac, a selection of animated shorts from the Film Board of Canada, and Canadian music. Sounds great, but we could probably do without the Canadian music part. No one wants to hear Barenaked Ladies into Bryan Adams into Snow into Alanis Morissette into, well, any other Canadian musician (Rush? Triumph?). That is, unless they're planning on poking their ears out. Canaday! Eh?--it's a struggle just to type the name--happens from 2 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium, 1717 N. Harwood. Tickets range from $4 to $15. Call (214) 922-1220.
Being the owner of an automobile that tastes a lot like lemon, we've never understood some people's obsession with their cars. Ostensibly, a car should be nothing more than a way to get from point A to point B, possibly including a cool cup holder and a good stereo. Try telling that to the gearheads at the 10th Annual Lone Star Corvette Classic Show and The Lowrider Bajito Tour '99, both happening this weekend. The crowds may differ at the respective shows--fat white guys in sweat suits hovering around the Corvettes, hip-hop kids at the lowrider show--but they have at least one thing in common: Their cars are more important to them than anything else; it's a second girlfriend, one they actually pay attention to. The only thing they like almost as much as the cars themselves is showing them off. For example, the Lone Star Corvette Classic Show includes, among other things, a burnout contest to decide which owner has the biggest...engine. And The Lowrider Bajito Tour brings with it a car-hop competition, in which the owners work their cars' hydraulic systems trying to out-jump one another. All that's missing is a pissing contest. Hey, there's always next year. The Lowrider Bajito Tour '99 comes to the Dallas Convention Center, 650 S. Griffin, on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features performances by Rappin 4-Tay, Nasty Boy Klick, and L.A.D. Tickets are $18. The 10th Annual Lone Star Corvette Classic Show happens on Saturday and Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway and is free. Call (972) 780-3825.
If you don't think there is anything you can do to help the victims of the devastating tornado that recently swept though Oklahoma, come by Borders Books and Music in Fort Worth. The store is accepting donations of canned, non-perishable food, baby supplies, water, and clothes for the next few weeks. The donations will be forwarded to the chain's Oklahoma City store, where the Red Cross will distribute them to the victims. We know we have a reputation for being cynical (understatement?), but seriously, this is the best kind of cause. Drop donations by the Fort Worth Borders location, 4613 S. Hulen, or call (817) 370-9473.
The topic of discussion for the latest meeting of Women in Film-Dallas doesn't leave much room for error: "We Can Make You a Star." Guess that's better than "We Will Make You a Star." If the organization is so confident about its claim, it may be worth checking out. On hand will be several Hollywood casting directors, including Kevin Howard, Shannon Pinkston Metcalf, Lynn Ambrose, Carla James, and Mike Daniel. Come out on Tuesday and call the group's bluff. The meeting happens at the Stoneleigh Hotel, 2927 Maple, and begins at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails and networking, continuing at 7 p.m. with a panel discussion. Admission is free for Women in Film members, $5 for non-members. Call (214) 954-4488.
Why fight it? Star Wars: The Phantom Menace opens today at various locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including the UA Galaxy in Garland, located at I-635 and Jupiter Road. Call (972) 444-FILM for a theater near you. If you get in line as soon as you read this, you might have a shot at seeing it on opening day. By the way, we already saw it.