Monday, May 11, 2009

Remembering Bud Shrake

Writer Edwin "Bud" Shrake passed away this last Friday at the age of 77. Bud was a long time supporter and board member of the Austin Film Festival. From the early days of the Festival, Bud was there - as a panelist, moderator and fan.

Bud Shrake (right) with two of his old friends, writer Bill Wittliff and musician Willie Nelson at a screening of Barbarosa during the 1999 Austin Film Festival

The Austin American-Stateman's Patrick Beach wrote an article about Bud - chronicling his epic life from early days as a sports writer to his most recent play, "The Friend of Carlos Monzon." That piece can be found here.

This was followed the next day with an article about Bud's days as a sports writer and can be found here.

Moderating the 1998 AFF screening of Blood Simple with Joel Coen.

In 1997, Bud and lead actor Dennis Hopper presented a screening of the film Kid Blue at the Austin Film Festival. The film, which never had a formal release in the US, will soon be released on DVD. Fortunately, Bud was able to record a commentary track before he passed.

Some other highlights of his screenwriting career include Tom Horn starring Steve McQueen and Songwriter starring Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson. Songwriter was the first film in AFF's recent Made in Texas films series on April 8th at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Bud appeared at the screening, holding a Q&A after the film with Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson.

Bud Shrake with Ray Benson during the Songerwriter Q&A last month

A clip from his introduction for Songwriter can be found here.

In countless ways, Bud Shrake personified the "writer." He was part of a generation of maverick writers, but somehow Bud stood at the center of them all.

Here is a clip of Bud on an AFF panel with Bill Wittliff and Buck Henry, discussing his "million dollar hotdog."

In addition to being a sports writer, playwright and screenwriter, Bud may be best know as a novelist. Some essential reading includes Blessed McGill, Strange Peaches, Billy Boy and 2007's Custer's Brother's Horse. Many of his articles and famous pieces were recently complied in The Land of the Permenant Wave : An Edwin 'Bud' Shrake Reader.

He starting writing at a young age and his entire collection of work now resides at the Wittliff Collection at Texas State University.

I was lucky enough to be around Bud a few times and the thing that I was always impressed by was that he always had a story for every topic. I would sit and listen, far too intimidated to chime in - the quiet guy who knew how incredibly fortunate he was to even be at the same table (thanks Barb). While I thought I never made a lasting impression, Bud always remembered my name.

From fans to friends, Bud Shrake will no doubt be missed.

No comments: