It's No Conspiracy as Dallas's Official Archivist, John Slate, Reprises His Slacker Role

John Slate in Richard Linklater's original Slacker, released in 1991, and 20 years later
Most Friends of Unfair Park know John Slate as Dallas's Official City Archivist working out of the City Secretary's Office in City Hall. The man's a treasure. But, of course, he's a movie star too, by which I mean he starred in one movie: Richard Linklater's Slacker, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Slate has one of the more memorable roles as the Kennedy conspiracy theorist wandering the old Guadalupe Street Half Price Books' stacks. We covered this five years ago. But for those who haven't seen the movie in a while, the original scene's after the jump.

Actually, make that two movies Slate appears in ... sort of. Those in attendance at the Texas Theatre last night for the screening of the Austin Film Society's Slacker 2011, which helped kick off the Dallas Video Festival, saw Slate reprise his role in a scene shot by local director Ryan Hartsell, a UTA film grad and a longtime friend of Slate's. Keep in mind, this wasn't officially part of the so-called "re-imagining" of Linklater's debut, which debuted in Austin at the end of August. This was something separate, which doesn't make it any less special, as you'll see after the jump. No JFK this time. Nope. But ... Jim Henson. Really. Just jump.

"When I heard about what the Austin Film Society was doing, I started talking to John and said, 'It'd be cool to reprise your role,'" Hartsell tells Unfair Park this afternoon. (Alas, Slate's out of pocket till the beginning of October.) "We were meeting, and I thought it would be funny to do a unique conspiracy with him involving Jim Henson, so he and I wrote it together. We weren't able to do it with the Austin people since we're in Dallas, so the Dallas Video Association got permission from the Austin Film Society to do it for the festival, and we got rolling."

In the end, Hartsell was among four local filmmakers to add their contributions, which screened before the official film last night. "And it got a really good roar out of the crowd last night," says Hartsell, whose most recent film, The Other Side of Paradise, done with Justin Hilliard, just became available on iTunes. "So I was happy with that."

He posted it to Vimeo today in the hopes that it would live on after the fest. Best-case scenario: "If all went according to my expectations or dreams, I'd think it'd be cool if it ended up as a bonus feature on 2011 if they ever do one," he says. "I'd just like it to get seen by as many people as possible."

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Jack Ries
Jack Ries

priceless. the scene is so faithful to the original and so creepy, funny and interesting all at once

Mark Blankenship
Mark Blankenship

Outstanding!  Johnny is an old friend of mine and this is so exactly him :)

p.s.  I also really think this scene in the Slacker 2011 was a great tribute to the original.


Disgusting. Why do so many people in Dallas allow themselves to get fat?

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