Austin News


The Ritz is Open and Awesome! Here’s a media roundup.

So last night the Ritz finally opened. I got there at 4pm, two hours before the doors opened and I couldn't believe that we could actually have it up and ready to go in time. The whole lobby was a mess of carpet scraps with workmen everywhere. I ran around trying to help clean up and haul china and silverware. The kitchen folks and servers were there, quietly and earnestly getting everything ready.

As a non-food service guy, I had that moment of wonderment when you look around at the people you regularly laugh and joke with and realize that they are badass, battle hardened PROS at what they do. And man oh man, what the kitchen folks and servers and line managers do is incredible. Watching them work with speed, precision and care made me really proud to work with them.

Ditto for the projection , technical and construction folks. As tight as the schedule was for getting everything together, they managed to put all the pieces together in the right order.

It was a gala night and I knew how much it meant to the folks who had spent the last six months of their lives breathing the construction dust and injuring themselves in dozens of tiny ways day after day. Daniel Osborne, who supervised construction was just leaning against the wall checking things out wearing his Rolling Roadshow shirt with a proud little smile on his face. Few people there could have known how much he put into the Ritz. He earned that little smile with his blood, sweat, loss of sleep, and surely loss of sanity at times. Somebody buy Daniel a drink.

MATANGO was a joyous experience, a very vivid print of the film and a matching mushroom feast prepared by the deceptively easygoing Trish Eichelberger. Trish has a way of creating complex dishes that shock you with their simplicity. There's not a riot of clashing flavors, more like an orchestration of tastes and textures. I had forgotten how much I love mushrooms. Now I'm getting hungry.

The second film was the Coens' NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. I saw it a couple of weeks ago and I thought I might sit it out this time but I got roped into it again. It's really really good. It's also a movie that must be seen in a theater. So much of what makes it go is tiny details, like the sound design, the details of the sets, the beautiful photography, and especially Tommy Lee Jones' performance. Everybody's very good in the film but without Jones' authenticity and gravity it wouldn't have half the impact.

Quentin Tarantino, an old friend of the theater, was our special guest for the evening. He was in peak form introducing the Terror Thursday screening. Quentin has a genius for getting the crowd super pumped up. When Quentin arrived at the beginning of the night I walked a half a block to greet him and in that half a block he was accosted by three seperate parties of autograph and picture seekers. He always handles the situation well. He's kind, patient and polite. I'd go berserk and break cameras if I had to deal with that stuff for three days. He's had like 13 years of it.

Anyway, great night. Good friends, good times. I'm thinking about tons of stuff I wish I had time to write about but I don't.

Here are some news stories:

KEYE did a story where they interviewed me and Zack. We mostly talk about how ridiculously irresponsible and impulsive we are. For some reason it makes us sound like psycho loose cannons. The fact that we look like horrible mutants under the lights doesn't help.

KXAN did a pretty straightforward story with a brief video interview of Quentin.

In addition to a straight story, the Statesman made us an A-list event. We are now socialites, apparently. It's hard being a socialite.

Last but not least is Marc Savlov's story in the Chronicle. It's a very informative and interesting story. There's also a baffling quote from my hair, which I hadn't realized was so candid. To all the shot-bars my hair seemingly denigrated in the story, I am deeply sorry.

Speaking of Marc Savlov, he had a tiny shock of hair at one point, as the picture at left proves. Savlov is the one in the middle, with the passive-aggressive left hand. This photo was taken at the Ritz in 1984. The most alarming thing about this photo is that Savlov looks EXACTLY the same now, only without the hair. There's something very strange going on with him, but I know enough not to ask too many questions.

News Categories: Austin


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