Spaced Out

“When I was a kid in the ’60s and ’70s, popular culture focused on the future,” remembers filmmaker Cory McAbee. “We had just landed on the moon. David Bowie and Elton John dressed like future people and sang about space. Star Trek and 2001: A Space Odyssey were new and exciting. The future was a common topic, and it was fun.”

Fun is definitely a priority in Stingray Sam, the campy science-fiction cowboy film that McAbee wrote, directed and starred in. But it's also irreverent and subversively absurd — not that it makes the fantastic elements any less eye-popping or giddy. “When I wrote Stingray Sam,” McAbee says, “we had just come through seven years of Bush, and the future was looking bleak. I wanted to write a story that embraced American culture, criticized it and featured a character who, through the worst of circumstances, remained youthfully optimistic.” Sounds like there might be a bit of McAbee in his own creation.

McAbee will present and discuss his film tonight at 7 p.m. at Muenzinger Auditorium on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus, and on Saturday at Starz FilmCenter on the Auraria campus. Admission is $5 to $6 at CU — where Stingray Sam will screen — and $13 to $15 at Starz, where Sam will be joined by McAbee's prior space Western, The American Astronaut. For tickets and info, visit and
Fri., Sept. 18, 7 p.m., 2009

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