Quarterback Connor Brewer transfers to Arizona

Former Longhorn quarterback Connor Brewer announced via Twitter Monday night that he had committed to the University of Arizona. Brewer elected to transfer from Texas earlier this month. 

"I have committed to the University of Arizona! So excited to play for Coach Rodriguez," Brewer tweeted Monday night. "More great things to come for this program soon."

According to NCAA transfer rules, Brewer will be required to sit out the 2013 season and will be eligible to play at Arizona starting in 2014. Brewer came to Texas in 2012 from Chaparral High School in Arizona as one of the nation's top quarterbacks. He was a redshirt freshman for Texas and did not play in 2012. 

Texas head coach Mack Brown granted Brewer an unconditional release from his scholarship to allow Brewer to look at possible schools. The unconditional transfer policy at Texas is one of the more permissive policies in college football. Check out last week's story, Transferring unrestricted for horns, for more on the transfer policy at Texas in comparison to other programs in the NCAA.

Lorenza “Lori” Rodriguez, the first Hispanic editor-in-chief of The Daily Texan, was found dead in her home last week. She was 62.

Rodriguez was editor-in-chief from 1971-72, an era when the newspaper was under pressure from the UT Board of Regents. During her tenure, the Texas Students Publications’ 50-year contract neared expiration, and the Board of Regents attempted to push a new contract that would give the them more control of the editorial board. In 1971, the Board of Regents also reduced funding for the Texan.

Despite the obstacles she faced, many who knew her said she dealt with the controversies calmly.

After serving for one year as editor-in-chief of the Texan, Rodriguez went on to work as a columnist and reporter for the Houston Chronicle in 1976. She was one of the first Hispanics on city staff at the Chronicle and retired in 2008 after 32 years of service.

“There was a great deal of uncertainty about the future of the student newspaper and the extent to which students would continue to have a free hand in covering the news and commenting on the news,” said David Powell, who was an assistant editor to Rodriguez in 1971 and succeeded Rodriguez as editor-in-chief the following year. “There was a lot of concern that the regents were trying to stifle the paper from covering the news and commenting on it.”

Although she was outspoken about issues on campus, Powell said Rodriguez was a wonderful person to be around and had a great laugh.

Griff Singer, a senior lecturer at the UT School of Journalism, said when Rodriguez was a student, she asked for advice about how to cover certain issues, not whether they should or shouldn’t be covered.

“I do not recall Lori ever coming to me to bounce a question about editorial or coverage policy,” Singer said. “That was just Lori, and I understood and respected that. She was an outspoken person. You knew what she believed in, and she sought to carry out those beliefs.”

On June 10, 1971, the Texan editorial board wrote under Rodriguez’s leadership in favor of a rule that would prohibit the regents from changing the Texan’s editorial board. In the editoral, the board stated the Texan will resist the regents’ attempts to take Texas Student Publications’ assets.

“The Texan reiterates that we are not going anywhere if it can be prevented,” the editorial said. “If the Texan were to be forced off-campus, it would have to be just that — forced.”

In an editorial later in the summer, the editorial board promised to fight for its rights as an independent newspaper.

“We are not the Athletic Council,” the editorial said. “We are not the Texas Student Union. We are a student newspaper. We are a free and independent press which always has been and still is under the direct management of Texas Student Publications, Inc. And the Daily Texan will fight to remain so.”

Tony Pederson, a former managing editor of the Houston Chronicle, said Rodriguez was a stylist and a storyteller with words.

“She proved to be an invaluable asset in creating a bridge between a mainstream city newspaper and the rapidly growing Hispanic community,” Pederson said. “She wrote stories that no other reporter could get or write and always handled them with sensitivity, taste and style.”

Pederson said his favorite memory of working with Rodriguez was a conversation he had with her in the late 1980s.

“She was incredibly passionate in explaining to me that, in her view, being a writer was the highest calling one could have,” Pederson said. “And she viewed it in the artistic sense of being able to craft a story of meaning and relevance and with a stylistic approach that would please readers.”

Pederson said answering this calling gave Rodriguez personal satisfaction.

“Young journalists should take her passion to heart,” Pederson said. “Even in the digital age, if we forget style and writing, shame on us. Lori would tell us that it’s still storytelling that matters.”

"Sleepwalk With Me"
Directed by Mike Birbiglia

I’m not too familiar with Mike Birbiglia’s work as a standup comedian, but “Sleepwalk With Me,” based on Birbiglia’s autobiographical one-man show, is an unflinchingly honest, funny film and an impressive directorial debut for Birbiglia. Birbiglia plays himself in the film, which deals with the beginnings of his career as a standup comedian and his relationship with longtime girlfriend Abby (Lauren Ambrose), and his story is told in a straightforward, often self-deprecating fashion that makes it pretty hard not to like Birbiglia.

The world of standup comedy has always made for interesting films, and watching Birbiglia go from a fumbling, awkward comic who is used to make others look better to a sharp-witted, confident comedian is inspiring, and the conflict that arises from his new success never feels anything less than organic. The potentially dangerous sleepwalking condition that affects Birbiglia throughout the film gives him a few chances to infuse interesting visuals into the films, and the dream sequences are colorful, striking, and memorable.

Birbiglia is one of four credited screenwriters on “Sleepwalk With Me,” yet the film feels starkly personal. Even so, the dialogue usually manages to find the poetry in a lot of pretty standard scenes, and Birbiglia’s performance never grates, even when he’s sleepwalking and his dialogue shifts into the manic, dopey delivery characteristic of John C. Reilly. “Sleepwalk With Me” is a memorably personal film, and worth keeping in mind for when it hits theaters and (presumably) VOD later this year.

"Searching for Sugar Man"
Directed by Malik Bendjelloul

“Searching for Sugar Man” is the feature debut of director Malik Bendjelloul, and it’s an undeniably crowd-pleasing, uplifting documentary that’s unfortunately derailed by uneven direction. “Sugar Man” tells the story of 70s rock star Rodriguez, who never took off in the US but gained a massive following in Cape Town, and Bendjelloul captures some magnificent natural imagery, impressively juxtaposing the beauty he captures in the cliffs of South Africa and the architecture of Detroit, where Rodriguez got his start.

The film is structured as a mystery, tracking down the facts behind Rodriguez, who is believed dead, and Bendjelloul is at his most inept in these early moments. Bendjelloul makes his presence too pronounced in interviews, and comes across as too pushy too often, most notably in an interview with a record producer that takes a semi-confrontational tone.

Even so, “Sugar Man” overcomes its director in its back half, and a quick Google search can reveal that Rodriguez is not, in fact, dead, but alive and well. Once Bendejelloul unearths this, the film shifts into another mode, and the joy that springs up in Rodriguez at discovering this massive fanbase he never knew he had is the most effective image Bendejelloul captures., culminating in an unabashedly emotional concert scene.

“Searching for Sugar Man” should already be on the radar of any documentary fan, but the film has a kindness and humanity to It that should draw in a much bigger audience. It’s a film with a story so inspiring and uplifting that even amateurish filmmaking can’t weigh it down. “Searching for Sugar Man” will be released in theaters sometime this year.

"The Aggression Scale"
Directed by Steven C. Miller

Lots of comparisons have been made between “The Aggression Scale” and “Home Alone,” and for pretty good reason. It’s easy to see shades of Chris Columbus in “The Aggression Scale,” which focuses on Owen (Ryan Hartwig), a silent, incredibly dangerous young boy who’s moving into a new home with his father (Boyd Kestner) and step mother (Lisa Rotondi). His step sister, Lauren (Fabianne Therese), is none too eager about the new living situation, a feeling that intensifies when a gang of thugs led by Lloyd (Dana Ashbrook) invades their home looking for money belonging to mob boss Bellavance (Ray Wise).

“The Aggression Scale” starts with a series of brutal murders, and launches into a colorful, propulsive scored credits sequence, then immediately diving into its story. Before too long, Owen and Lauren have escaped into the woods, and Owen immediately begins weaving elaborate traps for their pursuers, often hilariously convoluted, improbable, and satisfying traps that spill copious amounts of blood. Director Steven C. Miller has a lot of fun building up the suspense in these moments, but most of his best moments are earlier in the film as he sets up the characters in a series of long, busy, visually dynamic shots.

There are a few problems with “The Aggression Scale,” most notably one-note, painfully oblivious parent characters and Miller’s icky sexualization of Fabianne Therese, who’s playing a character clearly stated to be underage. The film’s kills can often veer towards the ridiculous and its hero towards the comically nefarious, but “The Aggression Scale” moves at such a brisk pace that most of these problems are either made irrelevant early on or are easy to brush off. “The Aggression Scale” is a worthy update of “Home Alone,” an ultraviolent twist on an established formula, and an imperfect but worthy part of SXSW’s midnight movies program.