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Keepin' Expo Weird With Free Austin-Based Indie Double Feature

CentralTrak keeps doing its damndest to educate you chillun, and tonight is the fifth of six Thursday night Texas film screenings in "the Cage" at 800 Exposition Ave. They're offering popcorn, cult celluloid and some serious nerdery -- in addition to a Q&A with John Slate, who portrayed a Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorist in Slacker, only to eventually move to Dallas ... to work as the city's archivist, handling the Kennedy files in real life. That's weirdly interesting enough on its own -- check out the two films that make this a date in indie heaven.

Starting at 8 p.m., Slacker, was a Grand Jury Prize nominee at Sundance in 1991, and was, according to Kevin Smith, inspiration for Clerks. Don't expect a plot. Don't expect Jay and/or Silent Bob, either. Slacker is a voyeuristic and a seemingly directionless look into the lives of young Austinites in the early '90s. Don't be deceived, screenwriter/director Richard Linklater (aka, the guy who brought you Dazed and Confused) brings you a cultural manifesto, an ethnographic monograph revealing the quasi-intellectual Generation X burnout in its natural habitat: the modern Haight-Ashbury that is Austin, Texas. Be warned: Low-budget and unconventional, Slacker faithfully keeps Austin weird, and that ain't for everybody. Keep an eye out for Louis Black, Abra Moore, and a scene-stealing performance by Butthole Surfers drummer Teresa Taylor.

Then, at 10, CentralTrak will be screening another Austin joint, The Whole Shootin' Match. Shot on 16 mm in 1978, the negatives and prints were lost, before a triumphant rediscovery and restoration in 2006 by Watchmaker Films. The second independent film shot in Texas -- following The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - the film follows a couple of country ne'er-do-wells -- slacker prototypes, if you will -- whose series of tragicomic get-rich-quick schemes leave them as hopelessly hapless as they started. Produced with virtually no budget, The Whole Shootin' Match received a special second prize from the jury at the U.S. Film Festival in Salt Lake City and was part of Robert Redford's inspiration in starting Sundance.

The first screening begins tonight at 8 p.m. at 800 Exposition Ave. And don't forget -- Saturday is the fifth and final installation of HARAKIRI: To Die for Performances. Rituala Kino (ритуала кино): A collaborative performance from Andrew Blanton, Danielle Georgiou (DGDG), Michael Morris, Amanda Preston, and Cody Ross of ABLE YOUTH starts at 8:00 p.m.

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Brentney Hamilton