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Independent’s Day

Independent's Day

I thought I was pretty good at pinball. Ditto on air hockey. Wasn’t too certain about ping pong. Regardless, I got myself schooled on all of the above, and that will remain one of my most vivid memories of this year’s 4th of July. I spent the biggest chunk of my Independence Day at Rick Linklater’s compound, which is something to behold, let me tell you. It’s an amazing piece of space, juxtaposing two very fun worlds: film buff and game enthusiast.

In between the cozy screening room and the wonderful – and wonderfully enormous – vintage movie posters, there were all kinds of arcade games. The posters are amazing, all kinds of stuff from all over the world. It’s no secret that Rick is something of a film historian for the whole globe (that’s one of the reasons the Austin Film Society was created), and these posters are just a cool way to decorate any home. We’re talking pieces of art here, like classic Bresson or Kubrick one-sheets.

The arcade games were primarily older stuff, staples like Galaga and Ms. Pac Man mixed with all kinds of pinball machines. On top of that, you had all of the aforementioned table games, as well as billiards and foosball. Oh, let me not forget to mention the swimming pool, the batting cage, the go-karts, and the basketball court. Yeah. In the middle of my current moving situation, more than a part of me was wondering “How much would he charge me for rent?” Needless to say, MTV needs to get Rick to host an episode of Cribs.

It was a fun party, with a good deal of the Austin Film Society’s faithful employees in attendance, including dedicated leader Rebecca Campbell. Also stopping by were Alamo Drafthouse owners Tim and Karrie League, Burnt Orange Productions chiefs Carolyn Pfeiffer and Tom Schatz, movie and TV actor Nicky Katt, casting director Beth Sepko, screenwriters Mike Jones and Brent Hanley and their wives, and plenty more.

I was primarily impressed because this was the same weekend Rick had his film Before Sunset opening nationwide. And if he was worried about that at all, you couldn’t tell. He was busy enjoying himself, which was both a testament to the film’s sure-fire success ahead, as well as Rick’s ability to just be a laid-back and friendly guy.

It was a nice way to spend the 4th. Maybe a few fireworks thrown in here and there. But the people and the places were definitely more entertaining. Now, if only I can make it into a theater to finally see Spider-Man 2… we shall see. After that happens, I guess that means I’ve had the all-American July 4th experience for 2004, for whatever that’s worth.

And that earlier part about me getting schooled on arcade games? Let’s just say there’s a first time for everything… and a last.

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