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Ransom Center members receive discounted membership for Austin Film Society

By Christine Lee

Austin Film Society Discount

Membership to the Ransom Center just became more valuable! We are pleased to announce that Ransom Center members can now receive a $10 discount on a membership to the Austin Film Society (AFS). AFS promotes the appreciation of film and supports creative media production.  Combine a Ransom Center membership with a membership to AFS, and you’ll enjoy year-round access to film-related activities and events.

Become a member of the Ransom Center.

If you are already a member and want to receive a discounted membership to AFS, download and mail a membership form along with your payment or credit card information to AFS, 1901 E 51st, Austin, TX, 78723. Please write “Harry Ransom Center Member” at the top of the form and enclose a photocopy of your Ransom Center membership card. Alternatively, you can email a scanned copy or image of your Ransom Center membership card to membership@austinfilm.org. If you prefer to speak with someone about becoming a member of the Austin Film Society, please call 512-322-0145.

Cover of "Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Special Effects" by Tom Smith.
Cover of "Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Special Effects" by Tom Smith.

Upcoming Ransom Center Film Lecture

Join us on Thursday, April 19 at 7 p.m. for a lecture with special effects pioneer Tom Smith, who recently donated his archive to the Ransom Center. Smith discusses his work on films including Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T. (1982), Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982), and Return of the Jedi (1983).

Members of the Ransom Center receive complimentary parking and priority entry at this Harry Ransom Lecture. Doors open at 6:20 p.m. for members and at 6:30 p.m. for the general public. Members must present their membership cards for priority entrance; one seat per membership card. Members arriving after 6:30 p.m. will join the general queue. Complimentary parking for members is available at the University Co-op garage at 23rd and San Antonio streets.

The event takes place in KLRU’s Studio 6A in Communication Center B.

Thanks to “Kings & Creators” sponsors

By Christine Lee

The Harry Ransom Center extends a thank you to the many generous sponsors who are helping us turn Friday’s opening party, “Kings & Creators,” into an event of biblical proportions.

Tickets are still avilable for this opening celebration. Join online or purchase a membership and tickets at the door.

Enjoy wine provided by the Austin Wine Merchant and Vineyard Brands Inc., a signature “Merrymaker” cocktail courtesy of Dripping Springs Texas Vodka, and screenings of biblically inspired clips, from Pulp Fiction to Jesus Christ Superstar to Bob Marley’s “Exodus,” curated by local filmmaker Tommy Swenson of The Alamo Drafthouse.

Guests will also have the opportunity to create a custom bookmark or notecard with the calligraphers of Capitol City Scribes.

All royal guests will receive gift bags compliments of the Ransom Center, Austin Sugarworks, Dr. Kracker Texas Whole Grain Specialists, Kirkus Reviews, Texas Rain, and TOMMY’S! Foods.*

One lucky guest will also win a “King for a Day” prize. At the event, enter to win a stay at the Four Seasons, Austin; a five-course chef’s tasting dinner for two at Wink; gift certificate for movies and refreshments at Violet Crown ($50); four tickets to a Chanticleer choral performance from Texas Performing Arts; four tickets to Sherwood Forest Faire, and a downtown horse-drawn carriage ride compliments of Angeli Carriages

*While supplies last.

Thanks to "Uncensored" sponsors

By Christine Lee

The Harry Ransom Center extends a thank you to the many generous sponsors who are helping us turn Friday’s opening party, “Uncensored,” into a memorable event. Enjoy a Greenwich Village-inspired specialty cocktail from Treaty Oaks Platinum Rum, “Censored” copper ale courtesy of Lagunitas Brewing Co., and “Objectionable Films” curated by Tommy Swenson. Guests will also receive gift bags compliments of the Ransom Center, Austin Film Festival, Austin Sugarworks, Better Bites of Austin, Dr. Kracker Texas Whole Grain Specialists, Richard’s Rainwater, Texas Olive Ranch, Tommy’s Salsa, and Tribeza Magazine.*

One lucky guest will also win an “Uncensored Prize.” Guests at the opening may enter to win a two-night stay at the W Hotel, Austin; two producer’s passes to the Austin Film Festival, which admits you to all films, panels, and parties; rum-runner cocktail party ingredients with The Very Best of Cole Porter CD and a bottle of Treaty Oak Platinum Rum; and The Wild Party, by Joseph Moncure March with illustrations by Art Spiegelman

*While supplies last.

In the Galleries: "Love and Relationships"

By Christine Lee

Photo by Anthony Maddaloni.
Photo by Anthony Maddaloni.

In one of Tennessee Williams’s early writings in which he interviews himself, he identifies his audience as “the wild at heart kept in cages.” He also notes that the play Battle of Angels is a prayer for “more tolerance and respect for the wild and lyric impulses that the human heart feels and so often is forced to repress in order to avoid social censure and worse.”

The human heart and its freedom becomes a theme in both of the current exhibitions, whether about the personal life and work of Tennessee Williams, as seen in Becoming Tennessee Williams, or in the characters and novels featured in Culture Unbound: Collecting in the Twenty-First Century.

Williams’s draft of The Glass Menagerie, when it was still titled The Gentleman Caller, represents Williams’s personal and professional life. You see him working through what will become his iconic play, but you also see doodles and a dedication to his grandma Rose, who “perforated the lid of my own particular cubicle, thus preventing suffocation and allowing me to continue certain activities inside.” Another important Rose in his life was his sister, whose correspondence to her brother demonstrates their close bond. She writes: “The memory of your gentle, sleepy, sick body and face are such a comfort to me… if I die you will know that I miss you 24 hours a day.”

A more tempestuous relationship is brought to a close in an elegantly written letter from Williams to former lover Pancho Rodriguez. Williams writes: “One thing for which I don’t pity myself is the two years we spent together… You were you, wild, wonderful, a poem.” He caringly instructs Rodriguez to “keep faith with all the beautiful things in your heart… Walk tall, walk proud through this world.”

The exhibition demonstrates how film adaptations modified relationships in Williams’s written work. In Sweet Bird of Youth, the ending was changed to achieve a happy Hollywood resolution, and in A Streetcar Named Desire, the dialog about Blanche’s first love was heavily revised to appease the censors.

Culture Unbound: Collecting in the Twenty-First Century reiterates the topic of love and relationships, specifically in writings by Tim O’Brien, Don DeLillo, and James Salter. In Tim O’Brien’s typescript from The Things They Carried for the chapter “Stockings,” love supersedes borders and war zones. Henry Dobbins uses his girlfriend’s pantyhose as a talisman, and we see O’Brien crafting the passage, crossing through lines and adding a large handwritten section of notes. The story ends with the girlfriend breaking up with Henry, but the power of the remembered love keeps him, and his fellow soldiers, going.

A strong marriage bond connects Jack Gladney and his current wife Babette in Don DeLillo’s White Noise. Gladney muses: “Sometimes I think our love is inexperienced. The question of dying becomes a wise reminder. It cures us of our innocence of the future. Simple things are doomed, or is that a superstition?” He continues: “Babette and I tell each other everything… turned our lives for each other’s thoughtful regard, turned them in the moonlight in our pale hands, spoken deep into the night… In these night recitations we create a space between things as we felt them at the time and as we speak them now.” DeLillo’s handwritten notes for the novel are featured in the exhibition.

James Salter’s novel The Light Years charts the trajectory of another marriage. At the start, the husband, Viri, “wants to enter the aura surrounding her [his wife], to be accepted… [but] soon after they were married, perhaps an hour after… the desperate, unbearable affection vanished, and in its place was a young woman of twenty condemned to live with him… the mistake she knew she would have to make was made at last… She had accepted the limitations of her life.” Later in the novel Nedra explains how impossible it is to live with her husband and summarizes it as “what turns you to powder, being ground between what you can’t do and what you must do. You just turn to dust.” The novel portrays what happens when one’s heart’s passion is not pursued, as Williams seems to warn against in his “prayer for the wild at heart kept in cages.”

The exhibitions are rich with original materials that give glimpses into human emotion, fictional and personal. Becoming Tennessee Williams and Culture Unbound: Collecting in the Twenty-First Century are on view through July 31, 2011.

View photos from "Wild at Heart" event

By Christine Lee

Actors from Different Stages Theater Company perform scenes from 'Night of the Iguana' by Tennessee Williams at the 'Wild at Heart' exhibition opening.
Actors from Different Stages Theater Company perform scenes from 'Night of the Iguana' by Tennessee Williams at the 'Wild at Heart' exhibition opening.

The Harry Ransom Center celebrated the opening of its exhibitions, Becoming Tennessee Williams and Culture Unbound: Collecting in the Twenty-First Century, with the “Wild at Heart” event on Friday, February 11. Guests enjoyed informal tours of the exhibition, readings of “Night of the Iguana” by Different Stages Theater Company, cocktails courtesy of Balcones Distilling, hors d’oeuvres, and more.

Pam Berry was the lucky winner of the “Wild at Heart” Prize. Congrats, Pam!

View photos in front of the streetcar.

View photos from the reception.

Become a member to receive complimentary admission and valet parking at exhibition opening parties. Members of the Harry Ransom Center receive advance notice and invitations to lectures, programs, exhibition previews, and other exclusive members-only events throughout the year, including opportunities for behind-the-scenes glimpses into the Center and its holdings.  Join or learn more.

Attendee Pam Berry won the 'Wild at Heart' Prize.
Attendee Pam Berry won the 'Wild at Heart' Prize.

Thank you to "Wild at Heart" sponsors

By Christine Lee

The Harry Ransom Center extends a thank you to the many generous sponsors who are helping us turn Friday evening’s opening party, “Wild at Heart,” into a memorable event.

Guests will enjoy a New Orleans-inspired specialty cocktail created by Balcones Distilling and readings of Williams’s “Night of the Iguana” performed by Different Stages Theater Company.

Guests will receive gift bags compliments of Casa Brasil Coffees; Dr. Kracker Texas Whole Grain Specialists; Grove/Atlantic; Little, Brown and Company; Harper Perennial; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Picador; Random House Publishing Group; Roman Candle Company; Simon & Schuster; and Sweet Leaf Tea.*

One lucky guest will also win a “Wild at Heart Prize.” Guests at the opening may enter to win a two-night stay at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, a panel pass to the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, four tickets to Different Stage Theater Company’s performance of Night of the Iguana, and a set of magnets inspired by the Becoming Tennessee Williams exhibition.

*While supplies last.

Upcoming member events offer greater access to Ransom Center treasures

By Christine Lee

“Wild at Heart,” the opening party for the spring exhibitions, is just one of the many exciting events that the Ransom Center has planned for members. View full calendar featuring a curator tour, mixology class, Magnum Photos presentation, and more. We invite you to join, upgrade, or renew today to experience all that the Ransom Center has to offer. Below, view the new membership video, featuring members speaking about what they enjoy most about their involvement with the Harry Ransom Center.