The Open Room, a new community space located at 117 Central Avenue in Elgin, will host its inaugural event this weekend during the Elgin Art Studio Tour on May 17 through 19.
In this weekend’s screening series, we’ll hear from some local filmmakers and editors who can provide that behind-the-scenes look into the making of film. They can also connect with the audience on the craft and serve as mentors.
Richard Linklater has been invited to join editor Nevie Owens in a group discussion on his biography, Dream is Destiny, on Sunday morning. This should be a lively discussion on the art of biography on film and what it is like to be a subject.
The release of the Doug Sahm film has been held up in copyright negotiations for years, so this free to the public. Producer Dawn Johnson will lead us through the hilarious long and winding road that is this rare music documentary experience.
Sydney Yeager, a local artist whose paintings will also be displayed at The Open Room, will talk about her experience at the Georgia O’Keefe museum and house in New Mexico. The 1977 documentary film on Georgia O’Keefe is one of the classics of American documentary cinema.
Last, but not at all least, the Academy Award-nominated editor for Richard Linklater’s films, Sandra Adair, will come to introduce and discuss her recent masterpiece on collage artist Lance Letscher.
Friday, May 17th
6:30 p.m.: Slow to Show. This short documentary is directed by Ben Steinbauer and edited by new Elginite, Ben Ellis. It showcases the low-rider hot-rod culture in Texas and premiered on the New York Times' Op-Docs series. Both the filmmaker and the editor will be in attendance to answer questions.
7 p.m.: Lou Reed - Rock and Roll Heart. Lou Reed was always at the forefront of American avant-garde music, beginning with creation of the Velvet Underground in 1965. Gritty and realistic, the brutal honesty in Reed’s lyrics and sound made him a cultural icon of the disenfranchised throughout the ’60s and ’70s. From punk rock to grunge, he has had an unparalleled influence on the American music scene. The screening will feature a discussion with producer Karen Bernstein and a local musician.
Saturday, May 18th
10 a.m.: Children of Giant. In the summer of 1955, Hollywood descended on the dusty West Texas town of Marfa as production began on the highly anticipated movie Giant. Based on Edna Ferber’s controversial novel, the film was a different kind of western and one of the first to explore the racial divide between Anglos and Mexican Americans in the Southwest. The screening will feature a discussion with producer/director Hector Galån and producer Evy Galån.
1 p.m.: Ella Fitzgerald - Something To Live For. Her first dream was to become a dancer. Growing up in New York, she was inspired by "Snake Hips" Tucker, practicing dancing each night, while in and out of shelters for the homeless. Then, one fateful night at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, the Edwards Sisters brought down the house with their headline dance act. Amateur Hour started right after, and 16-year old Ella Fitzgerald stepped on stage but was too intimidated to dance. Instead she sang "Judy" to an awestruck house, and the rest is music history. She won first prize in that Amateur Hour contest but went on to win 13 Grammy Awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The screening will feature a discussion with producer Karen Bernstein and a local singer.
6 p.m.: Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove. This film tells the story of Doug Sahm, the wild man musicians' musician and unsung hero of Texas music. A country music child prodigy and teenage rhythm & blues dynamo who caused a riot at his San Antonio high school, Sahm emerged as an international rock star leading the Sir Douglas Quintet. He landed in San Francisco just in time for the Summer of Love in 1967. He returned to Texas as the cowboy hippie rocker who built a burgeoning music scene in Austin in before forming the Tex-Mex super-group The Texas Tornados. A kinetic, quirky character with a solid sense of place as well as an innate wanderlust, Doug Sahm's story is the story of Texas music. This screening will feature a discussion with producer Dawn Johnson.
Sunday, May 19
10 a.m.: Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny. Bastrop neighbor. Slacker. Indie filmmaker. Oscar nominee. Writer, director, producer, actor Richard Linklater is all these things and more, a poster boy for the fiercely independent style of filmmaking that emerged out of Austin in the late 1980s and 1990s. This screening will feature a discussion with editor Nevie Owens.
1 p.m.: Georgia O'Keeffe. A film portrait of Georgia O'Keeffe on the occasion of the artist's ninetieth birthday, the program shows the painter at her home in New Mexico, and at a retrospective of her art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Featured are rare home movies of the artist and her late husband, celebrated photographer Alfred Stieglitz. The film was initially aired on PBS in November 1987 as part of a series devoted to American women artists. This screening will feature a discussion with artist Sydney Yeager, whose work is also displayed at The Open Room.
4 p.m.: The Secret Life of Lance Letscher. The Secret Life of Lance Letscher is a deeply personal and psychological portrait of Austin-based collage artist Lance Letscher. Told through memories of traumas and triumphs, this film provides an insight in to Letscher's profound insights into the creative process, the subconscious, work ethic and spirituality.