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Mac Davis, Robert Rodriguez rock Texas Film Awards

Joe Gross
jgross@statesman.com

As the gentlemen sitting to my left at the Texas Film Awards put it, “Mac Davis…what a legend.”

Indeed.

Davis’ clip reel (did anyone have more fun in the 1970s than that guy?), his speech (responding to a clip of him singing “Lay Lady Lay” among a whole bunch of brass beds on his short-lived TV variety show, the songwriter noted: “I don’t remember doing all that stuff. I certainly don’t remember writing that Bob Dylan song”) and performance (he and the and played “Texas in My Rear View”) made him far and away the star of the Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards Thursday night.

After a red carpet that included Johnny Depp and his fiancée (and honoree) Amber Heard and a rather lengthy auction session (which made $575 thousand by evening’s end), Luke Wilson (and his outstanding mustache) hosted the festivities.

Danny McBride presented to honoree David Gordon Green, a long-time collaborator since their days at the North Carolina School of the Arts. McBride said he was once acting for Green in a student film and was nervous about being able to cry on cue. Green told him not to worry and stuck him in a truck with a six-pack and Britney Spears’ “Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” which he told McBride to play on repeat for an hour. Thus “tortured and drunk,” McBride said, crying was not a problem at all.

Green’s speech shouted out Richard Linklater, whom he called an inspiration before saying he had always kept an article in the Dallas Morning News about “Slacker” way back in 1991 which featured Linklater wearing “jean shorts,” which, come on, are always funny.

(Linklater responded later when feting AFS godfather Louis Black: “David, I got your jean shorts right here.”

Relativity media CEO Ryan Kavanaugh presented to Amber Heard for Rising Star, while Priscilla Presley, who told a story about trying to visit her old neighborhood at Bergstrom after it was well on its way to becoming an airport, presented to Mac Davis.

Linklater and a Variety editor Steven Gaydos (who said the whole evening was exciting for him because “I’m a guy who wanted to BE Mac Davis”) presented a lifetime achievement award to Louis Black, who became emotional when he recalled the friendship and mentoring from the late Ed Lowry, a founding editor of the Austin Chronicle who died of AIDS in 1985.

Robert Rodriguez talked a bit about “From Dusk Till Dawn,” the Star of Texas award winner, noting that most of it was actually shot in Los Angeles, but that it was both very much a Texas film and his ultimate inspiration to build Troublemaker Studios. “I am a Texas filmmaker,” he said, badge-of-honor style.

Rodriguez then picked up a guitar and joined the band and singer Tito Larriva for a loud rund through “After Dark,” the gnarly hunk of blues-rock Larriva performs in “From Dusk Till Dawn.”

Perfect.