What up, G-money ho-dog peeps ? Tonight me and my bizznitch (that's slang for reporter's notebook, right?) will be scoping the mad skillz of O.G. Say Town rockers and hip-hop lingo appropriators Blowing Trees at Rebar (8134 Broadway). The Trizzees will be politicking with Rebar mainstays Henry and the Invisibles and the fo-sheezy Cartographers (still rolling off mad-ups in a recent Live & Local) in celebration of both Halloween and the Rebar's sixth anniversary. Doors open at 8 p.m. Bling-bling grillz are optional, but making it rain is mandatory.
If you see me at the show, you best holla back, but be sure to keep your dirt on the q.t., my beloved mofos and concubines, because the five-oh popo won't think twice about slapping the cuffs on anybody caught tree blowing, charging them with counts of public indecency and phytophilia. They have no idea what "blowing trees" means, of course, but they know you funny talkin' young'uns are up to no good.
Hot gossip at last night Arts & Eats party -- and the subject of an E-N post by political editor Scott Stroud and a story by journo Guillermo Garcia -- was the maybe-possibly mayoral candidacy of master marketer Trish DeBerry of Guerra, DeBerry, Coody. That'd be the DeBerry who helped Mayor H and Judge Nelson Wolff sell San Antonio on last spring's venue-tax extension, and is currently working on the campaign to extend term limits.
The first alone might give you pause, but it's the second that's a source of some considerable unhappiness behind the term-limit-campaign scenes. As for-sure mayoral hopeful Diane Cibrian pointed out in an early afternoon phone interview with the Current, a key component of selling the extension to voters was guaranteeing that current elected officials won't benefit from it. Now, a member of the inner circle has announced that she's thinking of running in 09 -- the first year that the new limits (four two-year terms) would apply. To blunt the fallout, DeBerry told the E-N that she would consider pledging to serve only two terms if elected. Noble, perhaps, but also problematic if the reason it's so important to extend term limits is that we're suffering from short-term leadership. One backer of the mayor's proposal worried that it could cost the campaign as much as five percentage points on the remaining day of early voting and at the polls.
What piques my curiosity, in any event, is the background: DeBerry has been part of the hunt to find a candidate for "the business community" -- whomever that might be code for. So far this has produced the short-lived candidacy of Fernando Reyes and a relatively long tease featuring former Bexar County Judge and State Senator Cyndi Krier. Why is it so hard for these captains of industry to find a worthy? What do they have against Julian and Diane? Would it be easier to find a taker if the job paid?
Regardless, DeBerry's move -- reportedly pushed into a premature spotlight by loose lips -- looks like an unsavvy move for a woman who in person and from afar seems to be one of the sharper minds at work in the South Texas political arena. The Current is speaking with Julian Castro, who'll be running against Cibrian and perhaps DeBerry this coming May, and has a call in to DeBerry as well. Look for more analysis in next week's issue.
A sweet antidote to the right-wing tricks flooding my inbox just ahead of election day ("Did Bill Ayers Ghostwrite Obama's First Book?" "Barack Obama, a Communist, is no Christian," "Obama, Same Sex & Child Sacrifice") from San Antonio artist Ansen Seale (whose work you may have admired most recently in Art at Our Doorstep). Enjoy! And if you've made a Barack O'Lantern, a Jack O'McCain or a Palin Pumpkin Patch, send it to: email@example.com.
Several interesting factoids from today's Bexar County Voter Rights Coalition/Field Investigator meeting hosted by the Neighborhoods First Alliance and MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund). The meeting was held at the Claude W. Black Community Center for the purpose of training volunteer field investigators for Tuesday's monumental election. About 25 people attended.
N.F.A. President T.C. Calvert reported that his organization is already getting many complaints from voters here in San Antonio and around the state of voter suppression and intimidation. Calvert also reported that voters in heavily Republican local precincts two and three have voted already at a 50 percent clip, while voters in Democratic leaning districts one and four are at less than 25 percent so far.
Calvert went on to say that the majority of local complaints in the 2004 election occurred right after the polls opened at 7 a.m., so early bird voters should be on guard. He also noted that because of heavy voter registration drives, some people's registration cards have not yet been processed through the system. Voters who get denied should be aware of their rights. See the Texas Voters' Bill of Rights at:
Attorney Louis Figueroa from MALDEF said that while early voting can take place at any voting center through tomorrow, voters need to get to their correct precincts on Election Day because "if you cast a provisional ballot in the wrong precinct, it's not going to get counted here in Texas."
Figueroa also mentioned an incident of voter intimidation where "we had an election judge tell an African-American gentleman to 'take that doo-rag off your head.'"
"In New Mexico, we filed a lawsuit just yesterday about a private investigator pretending to be a county official doing home visits, telling people they aren't eligible and could be deported if they vote," Figueroa continued.
Another point made was that every poll site in Texas MUST make Spanish language ballots available if requested.
The Bexar County Voter Rights Coalition will be holding another training meeting for volunteer field investigators on Saturday at the St. Mary's University law library at 10 a.m., open to any citizens interested in participating:
Community leaders will train interested citizens to become Field Investigators who can report VOTER SUPPRESSION, INTIMIDATION AND PERSONS BEING DENIED THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN THE UPCOMING ELECTION NOVEMBER 4TH, 2008
This second training will take place at:
Sarita Kenedy East
School of Law
St. Mary's University
One Camino Santa Maria
San Antonio, Texas 78228
ph: (210) 436-3435
For More Information, please contact T.C. Calvert 226.9041 or by email at neighborhoodsfirstalliance@
Voter Protection Hotline: 1-877-224-5476
Ace investigative journalist Greg Palast (who broke the story on how Florida was stolen in 2000) suggests that voting early is the best way to make sure your vote counts, so all are advised to get out and cast your vote on Halloween. Palast offers "7 Easy Steps to Steal Back Your Vote":
For those of you who mailed in your ballot, please tell me, what happened to it? You don’t know, do you? I can tell you that officially, three-fourths of a million absentee ballots were never counted last time, on the weakest of technical excuses. And you won’t even know it. Furthermore, tens of thousands of ballots are not mailed out to voters in time to return them - in which case you’re out of luck. Most states won’t let you vote in-precinct once you’ve applied to vote absentee. Every time I hear of a voter going “absentee” to avoid computer screens, I want to “go postal” myself.
But for gosh sakes—don’t throw out your ballot if you have a mail-in. Either mail it in, making sure to include ID if required (you first-time voters) or, better, WALK it into your county clerk’s office.
Every state now lets voters cast ballots in designated polling stations and at county offices in the weeks before Election Day. Do it. Don’t wait until Election Day to find out you have the wrong ID, your registration’s “inactive,” or you’re on a challenge list. By Election Day, there’s little to do but hold up the line.
Think you’re registered to vote? Think again. With all this purg’n going on, you could be x’d out and you won’t know it. Check online with your Secretary of State’s office or call your County Board of Elections. Then register your girlfriend, your wife, your mailman and your mommy. Contact the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the League of Women Voters, and your local party organization, and commit to a couple of days of door-to-door registration, especially in minority neighborhoods or at social service agency offices. And if you’ve served the time, you can sign: in almost every state, ex-cons can vote.
In 2008, they’ll be handing out provisional ballots like candy, especially to Hispanic voters. If your right to vote is challenged, don’t accept a provisional ballot that will likely not get counted no matter what the sweet little lady at the table tells you. She won’t decide; partisan sharks will. Demand adjudication from poll judges on the spot; demand a call to the supervisor of elections; or return with acceptable ID if possible. And be a champ: defend the rights of others.
If you’ve taken Step 1 above and voted early, you have Election Day free to be a poll watcher. Run into trouble—you’ve been caged or purged or challenged—call Election Protection at 1-(866) OUR-VOTE. Then challenge the challengers, the weird guys with Blackberrys containing lists of “suspect” voters. Be firm, but no biting.
The revolution will not be podcast. Let go of that mouse, get out of your PJs and take the resistance door-to-door—to register the vote, to canvass the voters, to get out the vote. Donate time to your union (if you’re not in a union, why not?) or to the troublemakers I’ve already listed here and on our site. This may seem a stupendously unoriginal suggestion, but I know of no other method more effective for confronting the armed and dangerous junta that has seized the White House.
Voting, like bowling and love, should never be done alone. As our sponsor, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, says, make a date to ‘Arrive with Five.’ And keep this comic book in your holster - with our 800 numbers and your photo ID in your hand. And Bobby, make sure your ID says, “Robert Kennedy JUNIOR” or your vote is toast.
I have this crazy fantasy in my head. In it, an election is stolen and the guy who’s wrongly declared the loser stands up in front of the White House and says three magic words: “Count the votes.” You can have all the paper ballots in the world, but if you don’t demand to look at them, publicly, in a recount, you might as well mark them with invisible ink. Democracy requires vigilance The Day After. That’s when you check in at www.stealbackyourvote.org one more time.
“Theater of Competition”
Letters (to the On the Street Penthouse Suite)
A bounty of letters for this week, with an appropriate nod towards the election. However, there are also inclusions of art, history, and the Spurs. It’s times like these I wonder if this is a blog or a newspaper within a newspaper. However, until the winds of public opinion shift, we’re still just the #2 blog in town.
(However the polling data on that study might be off - with a sample size of 5, not random, and probably a margin of error of +/- 95% - yeah, it might not be accurate. So, who is to say this isn’t the #1 blog in town? I’ll offer proof coming up, which if that breaks the Armistice of 2007 with Emvergeoning, then so be it. And for those who will point out this is merely a publicity stunt to get attention for both sides, then I ask “And what do you think the Republicans and Democrats do?” Yeah, how ‘bout “them apples”?)
Anyway, to the letters…
Fotographer Barry Stone writes in with the weekly fotograph, not that I actually receive it weekly, but it's cool.
Galaxy, Planetarian, Texas State Fair, Dallas, TX, 10.11.2008
can be seen at http://www.barrystone.com
#2 Obama-McCain Dance Off
Hey, its our old friend On the Street Domestic Correspondent from California Steve writing in (though technically just posting a video.)
(At first I thought the video might be offensive but ultimately it's, oddly, an embrace of dance.)
#3 Tim Duncan is Mechanical Gothic
OTS historians will recall the wedding I officiated several weeks back. Those same historians will also recall the singer at the wedding. It just so happens that he’s writing in with notice of the new book from the website Free Darko, as well as a song/anthem he wrote to inaugurate the book.
Free Darko is a website that celebrates basketball for people who probably never played basketball, written in the style that is somewhere between a fanzine that feels like a dissertation, and a dissertation that feels like a fanzine. (And Darko refers to a now obscure European player who was on the bench for the Detroit Pistons years ago and was never able to get playing time.)
Hello fellow bball nerds and Free Darko enthusiasts...
just wanted to send y'all a link to the just launched Free Darko Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac page that I think I have told each of you about. it's for their awesome/ridiculous/hilarious book that's finally coming out in a few weeks...the page is great and, as I again believe I told each of you about, if you click on the Media link it will take you to the music page where you can hear my Free Darko Anthem I was "commissioned" to write (of course though, the words are not mine, they are lifted from the Free Darko Manifesto that opens up the book...)
Anyway, you should all peruse the website and read some of the exerpts...the book is pretty awesome in my opinion.
And for a hilarious analysis of Tim Duncan as Mechanical Gothic try this:
#4 T.A.F.K.A.M. Discovers History and Makes History
The Artist Formerly Known as Mantecatron writes in with some discoveries from down “Mexico way”.
(Whereas Emvergeoning simply cuts and pastes external material off the web following Mantecatron’s sojourn, here at OTS we engage in original research, which if this were held to academic standards, well, we would fail, but not fail as poorly. I would go so far as to suggest we would skate by with a Gentlemen’s C.)
Of course T.A.F.K.A.M. might be amused at the web presence he’s creating through his absence. He’s probably thinking – "Why come back when I get more attention for going on semi-permanent vacation to walk the Earth?" This might be considered a positive feedback loop, for a while at least.
Anyway, an excerpt from the letter…
During the dictatorship of Portofiro Diaz, Francisco Madero rose up to challenge him in the supposedly fair elections. Of course, Diaz jailed him for treason or something. While Madero sat in jail, Daiz won the election. After the election, Madero fled. To Texas. To San Antonio. It was there, in San Antonio, in October of 1910 that Madero issued The Decree of San Luis Potosí. (Or something close to that. Right now I'm a little to lazy to look it up the exact name on the net.) In it, he named Nov. 20, 1910 to be the date that the revolution would begin. And it did.
I would also like to add that, while not confirmed yet, sources in San Miguel de Allende are telling me that T.A.F.K.A.M. (a red blooded San Antonian) may have set a drinking record for that city. There were rumors of 19 pints of Guiness in 3 hours. Hopefully my frienemies in Jalisco will help track down this rumor.
#5 Hilarious Duality
These videos have been getting some play recently, though how much I'm not sure. The first one is the Budweiser commercial which in long form feels more like a well done short film.
The second is...well, too good to describe. And yes, watch the first one first.
Watch the old one first.....
Spurs Season Opener (The Pain Subsides…)
The new season is here as the Phoenix Suns came through last night. But before I get into that, this is the only time to get some other business out of the way.
Recently, the Spurs cut Salim Stoudemire from their preseason roster, which was a solid move from a basketball perspective but doesn’t help me personally for a column I was hoping to write with Salim. Based on the success of Travels with Frenchie, I was hoping to also do a short series called Travels with Salim.
Here is an excerpt from a pitch I sent out to their marketing team:
I recently read that your agency will now be promoting the Spurs. Furthermore, I read there is a goal to appeal to new demographics. I have an idea for a short series of articles that may do just that.
A few days ago the Spurs signed a new player from the Atlanta Hawks, Salim Stoudamire. Salim is the only vegan in the NBA. Most of my writing for the Current is food criticism, however I also happen to be a religious Spurs fan since about 1985. I also once was a vegan. My idea is to do a series of 3 articles where I accompany Salim to review the vegan cuisine at various restaurants around town.
“Shockingly”, I didn’t get a response.
I was hoping to review vegan-esque restaurants with him as well as document his acculturation into San Antonio life (and by San Antonio it probably would have been the Dominion, and by culture it probably would have been video game stores to buy the latest Xbox, but why squabble now. It’s done.)
The pain of not interviewing Tim Duncan to settle once and for all the rumors and allegations that he plays Dungeons and Dragons has finally passed.
With the new season underway there is little time to worry about old news, even if I’m the only reporter in the country to have done the original research to find the genesis for all those rumors.
The game was set up nicely with pre-game drama provided by the Big Cactus, Shaq O’neal. Basically, he called the Spurs cowards for employing Hack-A-Shaq in the playoffs as a way to send him to the free throw line in the hopes he would brick shot after shot.
And so how did last night’s game begin?
For all the moments that Coach Pop looks like he’s too serious, you can tell from this clip that he has his priorities straight. The best part is when they later use this same technique for real later in the 2nd quarter. Head games. I love it.
Well, we did lose the game. Bonner looked good and bad, newbie Roger Mason Jr. looked very solid for a first game, Tony and Tim were dominant, and the frontline looked old and thin.
The team probably won’t win a title this year, but when is that ever a certainty. Fans will probably run away when a losses pile up before Manu returns but that would be a shame.
Shouting from the Rooftop
It seems that everyone and their mother from the Current staff was at the Artpace MTVesque Friday Nite Battle of the Bands with resident Richie Budd offering up pyrotechnics and smoke and mirrors. The great article in this weeks issue gives more background on all that, as well as 2 different reviews of the show.
To me it (the article on Budd) was an indirect embrace of art as smoke and mirrors, something that I admire. Even better, I learned that Budd sells perfume for his dayjob. What was that smoke machine but one mega perfume dispenser?
Here are a bunch of fotos I took from that event. The smoke and chaos likened the event to Vietnam. Or maybe observers meant something else when they called it “the shit”?
I incorrectly assumed that without Bill Murray on screen, and a pretty substantial dip in the temperatures, that almost no one would show up for Slab Cinema’s weekly screening. People were much more open to Hitchcock than I would have thought. I had tried to watch The Birds years ago but usually I find Hitchcock to be a bore. His films are so controlled they seem stifling to me. I had forgotten his “wicked” sense of humor. Furthermore, the film was outright apocalyptic, and seemed like a proto-John Carpenter film, minus Kurt Russel in the background flexing his guns and talking out of the side of his mouth.
Tonight is Nosferatu with live music beforehand.
Here a few underexposed moments from last week.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
Wired.com has a story urging Texas voters to avoid selecting a straight-party option on e-voting machines after numerous complaints that some of the machines have been flipping votes from Democratic choices to Republican ones. See:
Three of the most used voting machines companies have been cited - Election Systems & Software, Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold) and Hart InterCivic. The Wired article reports:
Because of the reports of problems, many election integrity groups are urging voters to forego the option.
"We're asking people to avoid the straight-party option entirely and if you want to vote for candidates who are all from the same party, mark them each individually in each race," said Ellen Thiessen, founder of VotersUnite.
Complaints so far have come in from at least seven Texas counties -- Collin, Dallas, El Paso, Galveston, Harris, Jefferson, and Palo Pinto.
The Dallas Morning News has reported another problem, where citizens have been receiving a suspicious email that further confuses the issue:
"For those who normally vote 'Straight Democratic', please pay close attention!!!!!" states the e-mail, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
"I was informed this weekend by a group of Obama volunteers that when voting for the presidential candidate this November, you have to make sure you punch Barack's name first, then proceed to punch 'Straight Democratic' or else the vote for the president won't count," the e-mail says.
Quite the opposite, says Texas Democratic Party spokesman Hector Nieto said.
With eSlate, punching the button for presidential candidate Obama after punching the straight-ticket button will actually cancel the straight-ticket vote, Nieto said.
State party officials have posted a warning message on their Web site and encourage straight-party voting as a way to ensure Obama — and other Democrats on the ballot — get a vote.
Harris County Democratic Chairman Gerry Birnberg sent out a warning e-mail of his own. Harris County uses eSlate equipment and includes Houston, the state's largest and generally Democratic city.
"THIS IS FALSE INFORMATION probably initiated by Republican dirty tricksters, but now being spread by well-meaning Barack Obama supporters," Birnberg's e-mail says.
A spokesman for the Texas Republican Party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Democratic Party doesn't know who originated the e-mail, but Nieto says it appears to be targeted to Obama supporters.
"The main purpose of this e-mail is to cause confusion and to affect the outcome of elections," he said. "It's important that this malicious e-mail be stopped."
Anecdotal evidence would seem to suggest that the safest way to make sure your voting choices are counted accurately is to take the time to individually select each race one at a time...
Recently, Herb Hornung of the Wooden Nickel Museum passed away. Only a few months ago we wrote an article about him and his museum.
I found the interview I did with him for the article. He shows his knowledge and enthusiasm on a variety of topics.
Now we have spelled out all the rights given to you by the brave advocates who pressed for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, there are some requirements you should know to help ensure against election fraud.
It basically breaks down like this:
The requirements to vote in Texas are the same as most states across the country. You must be a citizen of the United States, (naturalized citizens are acceptable, ain't that right Senator McCain). You must be a resident of the county in which you wish to vote, and must be 18 years old to vote.
Now there are some restrictions on those that have involuntarily vacationed at our lovely correctional facilities. Convicted felons must have completed their entire sentence (including probation and/or parole) and be able to provide the correct discharge papers from the appropriate institution.
Crazy people are welcome to vote so long as you are not declared legally insane by the state. After all, crazy people vote all the time, this is how we got a second term for Bush-O-nomics. Look where that got us.
The requirements for the state of Texas could be considered excessive, but it could be worse: Alabama requires that you swear an oath to the United States and the State of Alabama before voting. (So much for revolution)
If you meet all these requirements and find that poll workers, or anyone for that matter, are obstructing your ability to vote here are some numbers to call.
Bexar County Election 210-335-VOTE
MALDEF Voter Protection 1-877-224-5476
LULAC 1-866-OUR-VOTE (English) 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (Español)
Neighborhood First Alliance 210-226-9041
These numbers will also be able to help you find your precinct. Our suggestion is that you start with the Bexar county election and work your way down.
Empower yourself this election term and help the Untied States get back on track after this Administration’s train wreck & all its bullshit.
Electronic/groove/jamband music fans looking for something to do on Halloween should think about heading up to Stubb's Bar-B-Q in Austin where Sound Tribe Sector 9 will be treating Texas to the band's annual Halloween blowout.
In the jamband world, Halloween is the second biggest holiday of the year (trailing only New Year's Eve.) The California by way of Atlanta band has played three of its past four Halloween shows in San Francisco, so Austin is getting a special treat here. What surprises may be in store are unknown, but one can certainly expect a colorfully dressed crowd and one of the band's top performances of the year - the tradition of monumental Halloween shows past simply demands it. The outdoor show will also feature a $500 costume contest.
The band's new Peaceblaster album is their strongest studio release to date, as far as capturing the vibe of the band's energetic live shows. The band has also launched a Peaceblaster.com site where fans can get updates on a variety of socially conscious issues. STS9 is known as a band that not only wants to help people get their groove on, but also inspire its fanbase toward socially conscious thought and action.
"America is this beautiful, incredible place, but it has a dark underbelly," bassist David Murphy said upon the new album's release. "And even on Peaceblaster's most ethereal songs, there's a darkness that reflects what's going on in society-it ain't all bad, but it ain't all good."
"Music measures the temperature of the people," adds guitarist Hunter Brown. "Consumerism and the corporate media have taken us all down the path of cynicism, apathy, and nihilism. If the message on the new record is anything, it's to blast that shit."Like most jam-oriented bands, live and in person is the best way to experience STS9. Unlike most jambands however, the group's sound doesn't revolve around classic rock-oriented lead guitar, but rather around a collective groove sound where the band's five members come together to form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Those not familiar with the band's sound can check out some tracks from the new album at STS9's MySpace site.
Sound Tribe Sector 9
8pm Fri, Oct 31
801 Red River / Austin, TX 78701
Yes, let's "pay attention to his words." Risks of nuclear power? McCain's response is "blah, blah, blah."
Here's Nicholas Graham weighing in on HuffPost:
While McCain is targeting Obama's eloquence as empty words with his "blah, blah, blah" comment, it's curious why he would use safeguards for nuclear power as the vehicle for this attack. The line makes McCain seem not only callous but also dismissive of a very real concern regarding nuclear power. It recalls the moment during the third presidential debate when McCain used air quotes while discussing a woman's health as a factor in her having an abortion.Illinois-based Excelon, currently busy trying to gobble up NRG Energy and position itself as the lead utility on four new nuclear power plants proposed for South Texas, has a record that will turn your stomach when laid against McCain's remarks.
Last Friday, the art-rock band Druggist, along with Marcus Rubio and the Gospel Choir of Pillows, put on a free concert on the roof of ArtPace as part of artist Richie Budd's residency. (Be on the lookout for the Current's article on Budd and his amazing multi-media creations, which'll hit stands this Wednesday.) I regrettably did not BMOB, but the concert was sufficient enough to give me a healthy buzz (on second thought, that could have been from inhaling the smoke from the fog machine, I don't know).
To any ArtPace staff that might stumble upon this blog on their way to better, more frequently-updated blogs: When's the next show going to be? Seriously, The ArtPace roof has inserted itself near the top of my list of favorite music venues. The Witte does Second Sunday Jazz — what about ArtPace City Limits? ArtaPacelooza? (I'm buying those domain names, just in case I'm on to something.)
And what a pair of bands to showcase — Druggist and MRATGCOP both shun conventional rock formulas and aren't afraid to indulge their weirder impulses — but their quirks never overshadow their strong melodies and the complete sincerity each group offers to their audience.
Rubio's music is both sprawling and poppy, and has finally found some swagger with his new, paired-down Gospel Choir built around the top-notch rhythm section of Mason Macias on drums and Jackson Albrecht on bass. Rubio's new tunes seem to be a substantial leap in musical maturity from his last record, having internalized his more obvious touchstones (Wilco, Islands) to the point that the references don't announce themselves as much as they did before — instead, they gel into a larger sound that is more and more distinctly Rubio's. I didn't catch many song titles, but many of them were about whales or whale-related situations. It'll be huge, I promise.
Similarly, Druggist has morphed into a juggernaut that oozes rock-star power, and their set was lively, energetic, and tight, shifting from grungy anthems like "Hold On Son" to the guitar-pomp of "I Don't Believe You" with ease and conviction. While there may have been several line-up changes around the core duo of Blake Cormier and Zach Dunlap (who trade singing and writing duties), the current group (featuring Rubio and Macias again) sounds skilled enough to keep up with whatever ideas Cormier and Dunlap cook up. Druggist has a new album due in 2009, The Pile On, and they mentioned a CD release party at Limelight in January. It will also be huge. (Promise.)
Budd played the role of "man behind the curtain," controlling the strobe lights, bubble and fog machines, turning the roof of ArtPace into a magical, smoke-filled LSD-fantasy. It was just like when The Beatles performed on the roof of Apple Studios only with more bubbles and silly string.
More pictures after the jump. And stay tuned for the next installment of ArtPace-achella. (Hopefully.)
By Gilbert Garcia
Regardless of your political bent, the Ashley Todd story is too sad and pathetic to feel anything but depressed about.
Todd, a 20-year-old woman from College Station who was working in Pittsburgh as a John McCain campaign volunteer, told authorities that on Wednesday night a large African-American man attacked her at an ATM, stole her money, and then mercilessly beat her when he noticed the McCain sticker on her car. According to Todd, he carved the letter "B" on her face and told her: "You are going to be a Barack supporter."
This afternoon, Pittsburgh police officials announced that Todd made up the entire story, something which she apparently confessed to them under repeated questioning.
Todd is obviously a disturbed individual, and for that reason is deserving of some sympathy. But given the racial distrust that always bubbles under the surface in this society -- and particularly in this presidential campaign -- her exploitation of a racial stereotype she knew would be frightening to many white Americans, in a desperate bid to draw attention to herself (and, presumably, put a dent in the post-racial campaign marketing of Obama) is a crime that's bigger than simply pulling a hoax on overtaxed police officers.
When Susan Smith killed her two young sons in 1994 and tried to pin the murders on some mystery carjacker, her creation of an imaginary black villain pushed an abominable act into the realm of pure cynicism. Even in her warped mind-frame, she sensed that playing on cultural fears would make her more sympathetic to her community.
Much like Smith, Todd didn't fool people for long, but she kept the ruse going long enough to receive Thursday phone calls from McCain and Sarah Palin expressing their concern, and a statement of sympathy from the Obama campaign.
For my money, though, the weirdest part of this deeply weird story is the Thursday blog by Fox News Executive VP John Moody, who wrote that, if true, Todd's ordeal may cause some voters "to revisit their support for Senator Obama ... because they suddenly feel they do not know enough about the Democratic nominee."
Try wrapping your cranium around that piece of logic: "Now that some guy from Pittsburgh attacked a McCain volunteer, I realize that I don't know Barack Obama at all. Because of a random act of violence perpetrated by somebody who shares nothing with Obama but skin color, I just may have to change my vote!"
Moody went on to say that if Todd was making up the story -- as we now know that she did -- it would represent the end of McCain's chances, because he'd be "forever linked to race-baiting."
For the life of me, I can't see how this incident reflects on the candidacy of either man. It tells us a lot about Todd's psychological problems, but what does that have to do with McCain?
These candidates have sufficiently full plates answering for their own political transgressions. Let's not force them to answer for every mugger or hoax perpetrator in the country who plans to vote for them.
“Faces in the Crowd”
Letters (to the On the Street Penthouse Suite)
#1 Fashion + Bicycle Helmets?
Lady Vick writes in with this notice from the world of bike fashion (bike fashion!)
It’s a HAT over a helmet! (genius).
#2 San Antonio – A Fount for Socialism?
Through an angle that is too convoluted to recount, there has been some minor investigation on my part of a French Utopian Socialist who spent some of his late but formative years in San Antonio before and after the Civil War. That’s right, we’re talking about Victor Considerant, as if I had to even say it.
Before his arrival in Texas, Considerant was ‘tight’ with Karl Marx, so much so that Karl came close to visiting Victor, though it never materialized. After Considerant returned to Paris he seems to have been all up in those upheavals of the 1871 Paris Commune, which set the stage for other upheavals and some historical fantasies for those sipping on Molotov cocktails in the Spring of 1968 while watching Godard films.
Considerant, it also should be noted, was a proponent of economically self sufficient communities (aka Fourier Utopias), which with the recent downturns of the economy, scientists calling for a world pandemic to lower the population, and other invocations of the Apocalypse, in a sense, make Considerant almost relevant… but not really.
Anyway, here is an abridged (abridged!) version of an exchange I had with a professor at UC Santa Cruz who is a Considerant scholar (Considerant scholar!)
It's good to hear from you and to know that someone in San Antonio is on Considerant's trail…One thing that would be worth looking for is the site (and remains?) of the cabin that the Considerants' lived in during their later years at San Antonio (1860-1869). It was on the bank of the San Antonio River near the old Spanish Mission Concepcion.
San Antonio was a low point for Considerant. But he was there a long time--close to 15 years. And his years in Texas gave him a new identity. After his return to Paris in 1870, he signed official documents "Victor Considerant, citoyen américain, and he spent his last years wearing a sombrero and a serape--dressed in what he believed was the garb of a transplanted Texan or Mexican farmer.
The important detail to latch onto is that Considerant was representing San Antonio style when he was back in Paris and doing important things that most people don’t remember, but that doesn’t mean we can’t inflate them to ridiculous proportions.
The Spook Who Sat by the Door – that is the film (and novel) written by Sam Greenlee and directed by Ivan Dixon (“Kinch” from Hogan’s Heroes, the communications expert who often sent messages for Hogan to London submarines, somehow.)
Though lost in the vaults of blaxploitation, in reality, the film is an inversion of the genre. Whereas many blaxploitation films only touched upon legitimate issues superficially before then drifting into escapist but entertaining fantasy, this film, in contrast, is nothing but content.
Basically, the film is about a man who gets recruited into the CIA to be their first black agent, though in reality it’s just a publicity stunt to get a white Senator re-elected and regain his lost “Negro vote”. The would-be agent makes it through training but then is stuck in the mailroom for five years making copies. Nonetheless, he did learn valuable covert, revolutionary tactics from his training…
He quits the CIA and goes back home to Chicago to work at a community non-profit. Everyone at the CIA thinks of him as harmless and their friend. Little do they know he ends up organizing Chicago gangs and training them in the tactics he learned in the CIA so that they can begin their own revolutionary army.
The film is a depiction of this process and an embrace of the Black Power movement (though not specifically.) In that sense, The Spook Who Sat by the Door is a unique part of cinema history. Though it isn’t instructive in how to wage an insurgency in the way of the film Battle of Algiers, it does call for open revolution against America in a way that no other studio film probably ever has. Whereas a film like Fight Club involves morality and regret (and the Pixies?) to distance itself from it’s own message, TSWSBTD never for a moment questions its own agenda.
Not surprising, the film was pulled after only 3 days in release. It’s pretty much been a mystery ever since but after Tim Reid (aka DJ Venus Flytrap from WKRP in Cincinnati) released it on DVD it is available for screening.
I probably wouldn’t have come across if I hadn’t first stumbled across the film Coffy with Pam Grier (which, by the way, is an incredible revenge film, and without a doubt a major inspiration for the Kill Bills by Tarantino.)
Sam Greenlee also wrote a novel called Baghdad Blues. Perhaps Tarantino might someday adapt it? Or mangle it?
What Ales You
Ale fest seems to bring out two types of people: those who really like to drink and those who really like to drink but also like to complain about it throughout the process.
Okay, that’s basically a joke.
But the flipside is that if there weren’t lines and people everywhere then some would feel like it wasn’t really a party and they would complain about that. In all I would say the event was a huge success.
There were lots of people. So much so that even the singer from Spoon was seen walking around by the end (though I’m not sure if he was lost looking for the Alamo or something.)
From the vantage point of the t-shirt booth I was able to observe people via my zoom lens. Here are some of the random moments, none of which may be spectacular individually (or together for that point) but a sense of group identity is loosely formed.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
Sure The Wall is on the ropes in more ways than one here in Texas, and a lot rides on the presidential election now underway. However, the Homeland Security endeavor is far from dead.
So here’s your reminder to tune in for what is sure to be an interesting discussion on the topic tomorrow.
A collection of students and teachers up in Austin have been granted several hearings before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to voice their complaints in D.C.
From the press release:
I get into Bush's early pledge to invest in "clean" coal technology in my story for the Current, and I mention the mountain-top removal cataclysm that has since hit Appalachia, but I didn't have to space (or inclination?) to bring the story up to the minute after I stumbled a couple hours ago over this sick little gem from posted by Grist.
The Bush administration is about to ease restrictions on mountaintop-removal mining, making it easier -- and legal -- for companies to dump mine waste in streams. Since 1983, dumping mine waste within 100 feet of streams has been illegal, but many mining companies have done so anyway due to a combination of lax enforcement and varying interpretations of the law. The Bush admin's proposed rule change, which will become final after 30 days of public comment, would still require miners to observe the 100-foot stream-buffer rule unless, of course, they don't want to and can "show why avoidance is not possible." Some 2,000 miles of Appalachian streams have already been buried by massive amounts of mine waste from mountaintop removal in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Interior Department suggests the rule change will be "slightly positive" for the environment since it requires mining companies to minimize debris that's disposed of outside the mined area, but environmentalists derided the change. "Its only purpose is to expedite mining without regard to environmental damage," said Ed Hopkins of the Sierra Club.Already 500 names mountains have fallen, smothering creeks and streams below, and toxifying communities across Appalachia. Whichever candidate takes hold of the White House will have their job cut out for them cleaning this mess up.
Hey there, Jeremy Martin followers! Tonight I'll be kicking ass and taking notes at Limelight where I'll be reviewing the synth-fueled stylings of Hyperbubble. Normally this is where I'd normally describe the show, but the band does a better job than I could on their myspace page, so I'll quote:
Live electro-robo meltdown with girl-boy pop toy Hyperbubble and psychotronic mindwarps by Ill Prospekt, the Vultures, Saturday Night Sattelites and MIDI Fister … 21 and up … GIRLS!....BOYS!...DRINKS!...DANCING!...MUSIC!....LOVE!
I will not, however, let the and write the review, but I'll probably steal the line about "psychotronic mindwarps."
San Antonio's leading cat lady (and leading cake lady, at least at the Current, where she frequently delivers high-cal goodies) is endorsing Bexar County Commissioner candidate Chip Haass. Haass is in a tight race for the Precinct 3 seat against fellow ex-City Councilman (and Ex-News endorsee) Kevin Wolff, whose father, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, presides over the commission.
D'Ann Trethan, who shows her passion for saving Say-town's strays from the City's executioner not least through frequent hand-written faxes, sent the following letter to the Current yesterday (I'm just sorry there's no easy way to replicate her signature double-heart exclamation points):
October 16, 2008, Thursday
To: Elaine Wolff
From: D'Ann Trethan
(Is there any place in the Current for a letter? It's important. If not -- I'll understand.)
A Reminder to All the People that Care About Animals!
It was Chip Haass that helped to call Special Meetings to get Citizens & animal groups together -- in order to help & spare the lives of the animals (through no fault of their own) that are at our city animal pound!
Because of Chip Haass' efforts, we now have a nice, new & large animal care services, with lots of wonderful volunteers -- & No Gas Chamber!!
Let's say 'Thank you' to Chip Haass, for his help to animals, & for listening to the People! Let's vote for Chip Haass for County Commissioner, Precinct 3.
- D'Ann Trethan
By Greg Harman
Three steps to rethinking the federal
germlab/bioterror/agro-defense research compound known as the National
Bio- & Agro-Defense Facility...
1) Perry's last-minute effort to grease the machine fails.
Numbskull Perry, months after the approved deadline for greasing special deals with the Feds, tries to raise the state's share of tax breaks to lure the lab in. Feds say, 'Can we see you outside a minute?' Refuse deal as "unfair" to five other sites in the running.
Read Perry and thrust in this week's Queque for more info.
2) UK lab outbreak of foot-and-mouth (the reason U.S. lab has been offshore lo these many years) inspired farmers this week to sue for a share of Her Majesty's coffers.
The two laboratories at the centre of last year's foot-and-mouth outbreak and the government are to be sued for damages, the BBC has learned.
If the High Court case brought by 14 farmers is successful, the labs and the government could face further claims that could total more than £100m.
The outbreak occurred in Normandy in Surrey at the beginning of August 2007.
Both labs have consistently denied any failure in their duty of care, and the government has denied any negligence.
Apart from anticipated millions in expected damages and death of a potential outbreak, there is the legal course at fuck-up rainbow's end.
3) San Antonio's very own Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, whose long-operating, inscrutable presence here was used to help see Homeland Security on our pueblo for the gem of germwork is a security risk, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office.
From The Scientist (sub reqrd):
Two of the five US labs that conduct research on the world's most dangerous pathogens suffer from serious security shortfalls, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) today (October 16).
What's more, the labs were given the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) stamp of approval despite these shortcomings, the report states.
The two labs were not named in the report, but the Associated Press did identify the institutions that house the labs as the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio, Texas, and Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Only facilities capable of the highest level of biocontainment -- biosafety level 4 (BSL4) -- are allowed to work on a select group of deadly pathogens with no known cure, such as Ebola and smallpox. In addition to the two institutions noted above, the CDC's Atlanta facility, the Army's lab in Fort Detrick, and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston also have BSL4 labs.
The GAO checked the five labs for the presence of 15 security measures which would deter, detect, delay, and deny access to intruders. These features include a physical boundary around the building's perimeter, a manned checkpoint to screen incoming vehicles, and video camera monitoring.
Three of the labs had between 13 and 15 of the measures in place. But the two inadequate labs used just three or four of the security measures, lacking features such as good live camera monitoring and a centralized security point. In one lab (Georgia State, according to the AP), a pedestrian entered the building through an unguarded loading dock during the GAO inspection.
According to legislation passed in 2002, the CDC is required to register all labs that work with a select group of pathogens that are deemed especially contagious or dangerous, or that could potentially be used as bioterror agents. The agency does not proscribe security measures for all intuitions to follow, instead asking each lab to develop a security plan based on a site-specific risk assessment. That policy, the GAO report recommended, should be changed.
Now, check out the lab's response, courtesy of the SA Express: They promise to update security IF the Texas Legislature and Centers for Disease Control tells them to.
Okay, Jean. Do we REALLY need the Texas Legislature to approve a federal investigation to get you to buy surveillance cameras, or is that just wounded pride talking. How about just doing whatever is right for the community. In my humble opinion and expression of extended understatement: What is right is better safe than sorry.
“If the Legislature accepts the report and they tell CDC to implement it ... we will meet whatever new requirements there are,” said Jean Patterson, the foundation's director of virology who oversees the lab.
By Gilbert Garcia
During their second televised debate, you could tell that John Cornyn and Rick Noriega were serious about solving our nation's energy problems -- because they both spent the entire hour conserving their energy.
To be fair, the two Texas candidates for the U.S. Senate fired plenty of catty insults at each other, but they did it with all the enthusiasm of a soon-to-be-retired DMV attendant. Cornyn is snow-topped and granite-jawed, while Noriega is dome-pated and round-faced, and they make up in stern relentlessness what they lack in electricity and inspiration.
Right off the bat, when both were asked to name an area of weakness where they would need help from their advisers, they showed a Palin-like ability to pivot themselves into a different question. Cornyn bragged about his knowledge of criminal justice and the judiciary (Presumably, his weakness is that he's too brilliant, too insightful.) Noriega gushed about his ability to bring people together (as long as none of those people are named Cornyn) and somehow found an opportunity to attack his rival: "Voting with the administration 95 percent of the time, that's not leadership, that's a herd mentality."
Not to be outdone, Cornyn went after Noriega over the state rep's participation in a 2003 Democratic walkout to Ardmore, Oklahoma to fight a GOP-led redistricting bill: "I'm shocked to hear Representative Noriega say he showed leadership by cutting and running by going to Oklahoma."
Noriega blasted the recently passed $700-billion federal bailout of crippled financial institutions, while Cornyn defended it with a pronouncement we'll probably never again hear from the Republican senator, or any elected official in this country: "Good for Barack Obama, good for John McCain!"
A common argument from Cornyn is that Noriega will talk you deaf about all the proposals that he hates, but never offers viable plans of his own. "What I'm hearing Representative Noriega say is that he would have done nothing [about the financial crisis]."
Things got especially testy (remember, I said testy, not exciting) when Noriega dinged Cornyn for taking $4 million in campaign contributions from "your buddies on Wall Street." When he suggested that Cornyn was a lobbyist's dream, Cornyn shot back that Noriega certainly knew a lot about lobbying "because it was his chosen profession." (Noriega lobbied in Austin for a public utilities firm before becoming a legislator himself.)
From there, they traded the usual talking points about energy, higher education, and health insurance, but the question-and-answer section of the debate ended on a weird note when moderator Shelly Kofler asked a hypothetical question about immigration: If a contractor hires undocumented immigrants to do some work on your home, and you know they're undocumented, would you report them?
This is one of those uncomfortable, no-win questions, like the one Bernard Shaw threw at Michael Dukakis in 1988 about whether Kitty Dukakis getting raped would affect his opposition to the death penalty. Noriega tried to squirm out of it, and when Kofler pressed him, he wanly asked, "How would I know [they're undocumented]?" "They told you," Kofler shot back. Clearly stuck, Noriega near-mumbled, "Then, of course, I'd report them." But he quickly rejected the hypothetical, calling it "unfair."
Their closing statements were glorified soundbites, but Noriega's probably made the more pertinent point. While Cornyn vaguely stated, "I want to make Washington more like Texas," Noriega stole a page from Ronald Reagan's 1980 playbook, with this evergreen argument against incumbency: "Are we better off today than we were six years ago?"
Few Texans would say we are, but this election will be decided on who they blame for the mess.
Letters (to the On the Street Penthouse Suite)
#1 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Bike Show
From reader Carlos comes this link to a hilarious post from the Bike Snob…
I've long suspected that New York City's seemingly endless supply of overpriced "vintage" bicycles comes from vast crappy bike reserves in the Midwest, and it's somehow vindicating to see this confirmed in print. I only hope that this supply is being mined responsibly, since should the junky bike fields of the heartland run dry it would be a shame to have to go to war with Canada or something in order to keep the urban cultural elite rolling in squeaky, rusty, steel-rimmed, environmentally friendly style.
image: from Bike Snob NYC
#2 Palin as President
The no message emails continue with this link to a hilarious artist's depiction of Palin chillaxin’ in the Oval Office.
The artist formerly known as Mantecatron sent us a message from his journey through Mexico as he’s given it all away “to walk the Earth.”
“Who needs Chalk It Up" he writes, jokingly, of course.
With No Dungeon Master to Save Me…
With no dungeon master to save me, it’s been a tough week living in the shadow of a lost opportunity for greatness. Of course what I’m referring to is my decision not to ask Tim Duncan (when I saw him at Jamba Juice) whether or not he actually plays Dungeon & Dragons and frequents renaissance festivals.
image from flickr user: strange botwin
What I haven’t mentioned until now is that through my research I’ve discovered who started this rumor and helped propel it into an international myth, so much now a part of the zeitgeist that when I say Tim Duncan an 11 year old trenchcoat mafioso in Kansas thinks – “you mean, that tall guy in San Antonio who plays Dungeons & Dragons. Oh, and I think he plays basketball too, or something. Not sure about that.”
The upside to all this is that juice is healthy and has improved my outlook on all other things not related to the Pulitzer Prize winning article that I haven’t been able to write. As I mentioned, the bioflavonoids of juice mixed with the beta carotene and phytochemicals will pull me through this. No need to resort to mysticism, 7-sided dies, cloaks of invincibility, or other traps. If I have to wait this out, then so be it. Pulitzer prizes don’t really come into play in the medical or film world anyway.
Wow, what luck. Just as OPEC realizes that America has less money to pay for oil this coming year, the prices start falling. I suppose this fits nicely with Supply & Demand x-y graphs but it still seems phony to me.
As the 1970s inflated gas prices forced automakers to make more efficient cars in the 1980s (can anyone say Honda CRX HF, a car that in 1987 could get 50mpg on the highway. That was almost 20 years ago!), OPEC responded by lowering gas prices to get us back on the dinosaur bandwagon. This ability to raise and lower gas prices on whim (and keep in mind the theorists who claim Saudi Arabia lowered prices in the 80s as a way to kill off the Soviet Union and help introduce capitalism back into Eastern Europe) makes the gas market seem less like a true market and more a puppet show, or a monopoly.
image from flickr user: jessxr
Bizarrely, in the coming months, as food prices continue to rise we very well may see gas prices continue to go lower. Whereas food is a proven commodity, if Americans can’t afford to drive as much, the only relief we may see could actually be at the pump, which reinforces that it is very much a demand market. The flipside is this scenario is almost like a free stimulus package to the wealthy, because it is because of the poor majority that gas prices will fall yet they will be below an optimal threshold to receive that benefit. In that sense, the gulf widens.
We’ll see how this develops in the coming weeks and months…
Love and A 12 Guage
On Saturday, when I perhaps should have been supporting the Current at SMARTfair, instead I was across town at a birthday party at a city park known as the San Antonio Gun Club. In short, it’s a place for lovers. There were high school sweethearts there one upping each other in a competitive game of trap shooting, as well as older couples in jorts (not that there’s anything wrong with jean shorts, my brother wears jean shorts) trying a more competitive game of skeet.
It’s true we were there for ironic gunplay but I think most everyone walked away with a deeper appreciation for the skill in shooting trap. In fact, I guarantee that I will return.
Ann Arbor Comes to San Antonio
On Thursday I made it to UTSA downtown to see Professor Raymond screen films from this year’s Ann Arbor Film Festival. There was a heavy tilt towards animation and experimental, though within that there was a feeling that this year’s work was more commercial than in year’s past. By commercial, I think the feeling was that several of the filmmakers would have successful design careers ahead of them.
For example, here one of the films which I had somehow already seen earlier in the year.
Chalk It Up
For some reason I remember going to Chalk It Up and Marfa Open House last year. Yet, for 2008 the two events coincided on the same weekend. The rumors coming out from the Chisos suggested that the Open House was somewhat closed this year, with no free Sonic Youth-esque concert for the masses nor a free dinner on Main Street.
No OTS Insiders have given me results from Marfa so we’ll hold thought on that until later time or we completely forget about it.
This year Chalk It Up was quite similar to last year with a few differences. More of the focus, such as the DJs, was moved a few blocks east on Houston Street compared to last year. What that meant was that the middle section was a little bit empty, except for the snow cone stands, which in their defense deserve respect, just like the Turkey Leg guy.
I’m probably the only one who over analyzes the effects of social spacial relationships, except of course when I’m driving through Walmart parking lots screaming “Space is Destiny!”
One artist (off the record) told me he thought the work this year was better than in year’s past. Personally, I liked last year better but that is a small point. Anyway, to the fotos…
The best part this year was the work the kids did on the middle of Houston street. There just seemed to be more of it this year.
It's interesting how the kid makes the shot but also obscures it.
For some reason this was my favorite of the featured artists' work.
This was a very cool performance. The woman on the right may be the "Mia Hamm" of hula hoops.
DJ JJ Lopez provided music for the electric boogaloo.
The only way to be?
Here are more images of what happened that day on Houston Street and that week on the streets of San Antonio.
As always, to be continued...
Artifacts being a pithy-type column, we had no choice this week but to give very short shrift to the very talented artist / activist / philosopher Laura Salazar, and we didn’t even print a photo of the damn Obama art car we were talking about.
THEN, after spending an hour and a half writing an expanded blog post about our new fandom of all things Laura Salazar (with photos!), our blogging program ate it somehow.
…It’s like Laura Salazar’s some mega-awesome underground secret superstar who is somehow impervious to all media! (Also maybe we should’ve composed the post in Word.)
YET WE ARE UNDETERRED!
Some very interesting things about Laura Salazar that didn’t make it into this week’s print version of Artifacts:
* Laura dropped out of the tenth grade after reading Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education by Grace Llewellyn, who is, among other things, a former belly dancer (“that’s sort of beside the point, though,” laughs Laura.) So while her school friends were “complaining about their math tests,” Laura was teaching herself art history, anatomy, sewing, and how to run a small business, in addition to the guerrilla-resurrectionist rose gardening techniques mentioned in the print article. “I was never into regular teenager stuff, anyway,” she reflects.
* Laura’s biggest concern as an arts educator in Texas is the current practice of “teaching to the [standardized] test,” she says. In the art workshops she teaches, Laura often encounters kids made physically ill by test anxiety. “They’re so nervous about messing up on the exam, they’re throwing up,” Laura says. She also worries about the lack of hands-on art practice in the public school curriculum. One of the advantages of creative arts as an educational tool, she asserts, is that they teach students how to deal with “making mistakes, learning from them, and adapting!”
* Laura didn’t learn to drive a car until well into her twenties, partially out of her devotion to bike-riding...and book-reading (she cites a lottery winner who refused to buy a car with his winnings because he likes to read on the bus as “a hero”), but also because she harbored misgivings about car culture, in general. However, Laura’s love of visiting out-of-the-way state parks in search of swimming holes, where she endeavored to shed her fear of the water after a near-drowning years ago, convinced her to obtain a driver’s license, and the 2000 Nissan Sentra you see pictured here. “I didn’t want my daughter to be afraid of anything because of my example,” she says.
* Due to Laura’s idiosyncratic diction, her friend, fellow artist and now ex-husband Jacinto Guevara, upon meeting her, believed she may have originated “from some faraway, exotic country.” Perhaps, he jokes, “somewhere in Asia.”
Laura contends they said the same thing about in her in Houston.
* Jacinto Guevara, is from the exotic, far-off land of California. His family came from Mexico by way of Chile, though, near Valparaiso, which is not far from the Pampas region of Argentina, and he may be related to Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
* Laura, Jacinto and Joaquina are staunch advocates of handcrafting and prefer making gifts and re-purposing materials rather than consuming, whenever and wherever possible. Recently 8-year-old Joaquina handmade a doll as a gift for a friend’s birthday.
“The [birthday} girl was mesmerized,” Jacinto says.
“That’s so much better than a BRATZ doll,” we remark.
“I like BRATZ dolls!” Jacinto protests.
“That’s why I divorced you,” Laura says, dryly.
(Laughter on tape.)
* The Obama-rama Nissan Sentra was painted once before, as the grand finale to an art-themed birthday party for Joaquina, but had no political theme the first time. The paint job lasted “about 8 months,” Laura says.
* The Obama art car has received the most positive reactions in Austin, and in downtown San Antonio “where there are a lot of out-of-towners,” Laura says. The place where it’s met with the most hostility? Westside San Anto. When asked why working people of color would be so resistant to Obama, Jacinto muses that “it has nothing to do with political philosophy or policy. It’s about wanting to pick a winner, like it’s a sporting event. They don’t believe Obama could win, and they don’t wanna feel stupid.”
“They’re hedging their bets?” we ask.
“Right,” he agrees.
Laura says that she tends not to react when somebody yells something at her. “Back when I was riding a bike everywhere, I was more confrontational. When a guy would yell ‘hey, baby,’ or something like that, I would stop pedaling. I would turn around to them and say, ’I don’t like that.’ I’m a big girl, and I can take care of myself. Now, with a car, I feel like talking back to them would be too aggressive, too intimidating. It backs the guy into a corner, he might get violent, or take the car.”
(Note: Laura stands about six feet tall.)
*Another place the Obama car gets a warm reception in on the Eastside where, Laura tells me, “African-American prostitutes spot it and say “yeah, baby. That’s my car!’”
*A couple of years back, Laura made individualized doll portraits of several Eastside street sex workers for an art show.
*In addition to teaching, parenting, and art-car-making, Laura’s the president of the Alamo City Craft Union, “a group of independent artisans who have united to support the entrepreneurial spirit of crafting. We strive to cultivate a stronger arts and crafts movement in San Antonio, Texas, through education and outreach.
JOIN THE REVOLUTION! Buy Local…Buy Handmade!”
And check out their myspace page at:
artcar by Laura Salazar, et. al.
Double portrait of Obama/Biden by Jacinto Guevara
photos by Gilbert Garcia
Finally, the slide show (via a downloadable pdf) the Queque promised: a sweet tribute to a tree whose rough trimming coincided with the appearance of a new digital billboard just up the road. This was created by Ted Trakas of Vance Jackson Neighorhood, Inc (vjni.org), who has been an ardent and research-ready opponent of the digital billboard pilot program.
By Gilbert Garcia
Politicians are often advised to personalize their message, to tell stories about real people that illustrate the impact of a policy choice. But the final debate between John McCain and Barack Obama proved that you can go berserk with this personalization stuff.
Like the guy who figures that if one fish-oil pill is good for your heart, he might as well down a whole bottle of 'em in one sitting, McCain dedicated most of the night to "Joe the Plumber," an Ohio man who had questioned Obama about his tax ideas earlier this week. Obama felt compelled to join in the fun, and after a while it started to feel that the entire debate was being held for the personal gratification and edification of Joe the Plumber. The same way Al Franken once jokingly asked us to enter the 1980s by thinking less about what we could do for ourselves and more about what we could do for him, the two major-party candidates for president seemed determined to win the love of one burly man from Toledo. Things got so strange, I half-expected McCain to gleefully wave a toilet seat around during his closing statement, or lower his slacks just enough to reveal some solidarity plumber's butt.
While we heard plenty of tired catch phrases -- "scalpels, not hatchets" on the budget (Obama) vs. "scalpels AND hatchets" on the budget (McCain): Are we shaping domestic policy or recounting the Lizzie Borden trial? -- moderator Bob Schieffer forced them into some fresh exchanges. For the first time in a debate, they had to discuss their standards for Supreme Court nominees, their feelings about abortion, their perspectives on school vouchers, and the overall negativity of the campaign.
Social issues have carried the day for Republicans in the past, but Obama turned the always divisive issue of abortion into an opportunity to look like a statesman. He showed respect and understanding for opponents of choice, never appeared defensive, and suggested common ground (even if his suggestion -- working to reduce unwanted pregnancies -- is a familiar one, it indicated that he just might be what another man once called "a uniter, not a divider").
Six months ago, in a debate with Hillary Clinton, when Obama had to deal with his connection to former Weather Underground radical Bill Ayers, he seemed irritated and flustered. This time, you could sense that he welcomed the Ayers attack from McCain because it enabled him to, once and for all, innoculate himself on the issue. By presenting Ayers as a respected college professor who sat on a board with Republicans, a man whose terrorist past Obama openly condemned, he made their relationship understandable in a way he had previously failed to do.
Best line from McCain: "I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run again President Bush, you should have run four years ago." (This zinger would have been even more effective coming from McCain in August.)
Best line from Obama: "The fact that this [Ayers, etc.] has become such an important part of your campaign, Senator McCain, says more about your campaign than it says about me."
Though invisible in today’s tirade of talking points, the issue of creating “green-collar” jobs was once a mainstay of the Democratic Primary debates. Clinton, Edwards, and Obama were high on the notion of championing the Next New Deal for America and establishing the new energy economy.
In response to Al Gore’s call for rapidly moving the country off carbon-emitting energy sources, those innovators in the Googleplex have released their own national energy plan that takes the nation off petroleum and coal by 2030 while cutting greenhouse releases in half.
The company cites the U.S. Department of Energy on wind jobs, a burst of 292 GW representing 476,000 jobs. It’s a benefit Texas will be reaping the benefits of in the near future, as our already strong wind presence increases with a recently approved $4 billion transmission-line expansion for renewable development in West Texas.
Kicking solar up to 28 gigawatts by 2016 — another aspect of Google’s 2030 plan — would lead to an additional 440,000 jobs, a private contractor found.
But there’s potentially a major crimp in the hose of plenty. And it looms in the higher energy prices waiting to meet us as we cross the energy divide.
After a new president is sworn in on January 20, one of the first issues they will certainly tackle is the national energy policy. Both candidates are supporting cap-and-trade legislation for reducing carbon emissions by American industry. However, neither showed for the pivotal Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act vote this summer.
Despite problems in the bill — hundreds of millions to the coal industry and indirect benefits to nuclear power — it represented the most significant stab at necessary carbon reduction to date.
There are serious differences between an Obama or McCain presidency on cap-and-trade’s fine print. The Obama camp’s energy policy would require carbon credits to be auctioned off from the get go (pdf). A portion of those earnings to be used to help pay for biofuel and clean-energy development research.
McCain wants to give away, or greatly discount, that first round of pollution credits, allowing the “lowest-cost” compliance options, according to his website.Neither has the poor firmly in mind when it comes to this massively important shift in energy policy.
One thing their handlers should be doing is digging deep into the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ take on this last climate bill — specifically cap-and-trade’s needed low-income assistance.
Virtually any path forward from here, with tightening global demand on petroleum and the double-edged nature of our oil addition becoming clearer, will see energy rates rise for Americans. Even the DOE says increased domestic drilling will not drop our pump prices until 2030 — and then it will be minimal, if at all.
So, how will we help the poorest among us cross this sure-to-be-turbulent energy divide? One way is to factor it into cap-and-trade, says the CBPP.
Our analysis, using an approach developed by the Congressional Budget Office, finds that even a modest 15 percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions would cost the poorest fifth of Americans an average of $750 a year per household.The group estimates that 14 percent of cap-and-trade’s earnings will offset the spike in energy rates. A good amount more will be needed if we are going to assist those whose incomes are in the more middling range.
These households have average annual incomes of only about $13,000.The $750 figure is the cost before any action is taken to mitigate these effects and is a measure of what would happen if low-income households were left on their own to cope with the effects of higher energy prices. (It is not an estimate of the impact of any particular legislation.)
Some opponents of cap and trade legislation have claimed that such legislation is inherently harmful to low-income consumers. That claim is false. But to avoid that outcome, a significant share of the allowance value must be set aside for low-income consumers and delivered through effective mechanisms.
Houston Street was transformed into a larger than life canvas as street painters, seasoned artist, children, regular Joes and graffiti artists got down and dirty with water-based paint and chalk to create everything from 5 foot murals of famed art a la Van Gogh to freestyle renditions of The Fab Four as part of Artpace’s 4th Annual Chalk It Up…
Saturday, we're headed to the appropriately named Retox (1031 Patricia) to watch Sons of Sancho perform. Cover is $3 and the show begins at 10 p.m. Joining them will be Corpus Christi's Sun Salutation for a some red hot Son on Sun action. Oh, Retox, you know exactly what I like.
I'd also like it if you guys gave me some recommendations for upcoming shows to review by commenting below or e-mailing me.
Nominate your friends so they'll get the credit they deserve, nominate your enemies so their suck-ass bands will get their comeuppance. Hell, nominate yourself for all I care.
Otherwise, I'll run out of ideas and be forced to replace the weekly Live & Local with naked pictures of John McCain.
(Made you look.)
“Pardon me, but do you really play D&D?” (A question I didn’t ask Tim Duncan as I was sitting next to him at Jamba Juice)
Letter(s) (to the On the Street Penthouse Suite)
Don’t Come Back to the Five and Dime
While I was out of town for a reunion for my High School intramural team (true story, though not the full story, and we were undefeated), I somehow didn’t realize that the POTUS was coming to town for a few hours.
image by flickr user: ghostschool
Why George Bush would zip through Olmos Park is a mystery to me. I can only imagine there was a wealthy donor in the neighborhood he wanted to briefly visit on the way to…somewhere…wherever he’s going…what does he do again?
The last four years have been completely eventful, though perhaps not when seen from the perspective of the presidency. It’s like he has the casual approach to work of Eisenhower, the disinterest of Ford, but without the (seemingly) even-hand of either of those administrations. Ford’s ‘do no harm’ approach, of course, is much different than doing nothing while Rome burns. But to turn this twisted argument around, perhaps the TARP 700 billion bailout was his most impressive accomplishment. He actually got all the democrats on their own, without much bloviating, to sign off on this free check to Wall Street. Of course it didn’t hurt that Obama was leading the charge.
(Also, for an at times brilliant but random and circuitous blog that addresses the apocalypse and is NOT afraid to relate it UFO sightings in Africa, then read this.)
Anyway, the letter from Sky -
Our beloved milk-shakery, defiled...
Rolling the 7-Sided Die
A friend had worked at the corporate Jamba Juice office in San Francisco. I’d heard stories of how well they treat their employees. Every year at a conference the best branch manager of the year gets their dream car as a gift. That seemed out of the ordinary. And, the idea of juice is healthy and people are generally trying to be healthy and stuff. Yet, somehow, the stock has fallen extremely low. I can’t see this as a positive for the company, and yet, at the last moment we finally get a Jamba Juice in San Antonio, or at least I finally noticed one.
So, to help Jamba Juice’s stock price I thought I’d go in for a glass. Perhaps, my three dollar purchase would send the stock price up ever so slightly and help my intramural friends improve their portfolio and help pay for their kids college? Given how low it is, the thought wasn’t completely a joke, just sort of a joke. The stock is at around 60 cents a share. Google - probably around $500 a share. I'm just saying.
On the way back from Brady/Green Hospital I stopped in at the Jamba Juice on Broadway by Hildebrand. And who do I see sitting in there but Tim Duncan.
Immediately the thought shifted from getting the Jamba Juice stock up to 62 cents a share to the Spurs. I was in the process of walking in to set my bag down on the counter by the window so I could order and then read the Current. It was a glance out of the corner of my eye as I walked in and I could tell it was him. The rest of the Spurs are either 6'2" or in wheelchairs so it had to be him.
Everyone else there was buzzing in his presence with one person gawking at him and eventually got his autograph on a napkin. I was happy to ignore him and let him be. In fact, as I was reading the paper I noticed him look over at me. I think I was still wearing my sunglasses and for a moment it seemed that I was doing a better job than he of trying to be left alone (of course that’s easier done when no one cares who you are.)
It was clear to me immediately that this was my one chance to interview a Spur, for the paper or otherwise. Despite a few attempts at their media department and marketing firm, I knew this was it.
And the question going through my mind – “do you or do you not play Dungeons and Dragons?”
foto by flickr user strange botwin
Over the last few years there has been a growing unchallenged consensus that Tim Duncan plays Dungeon & Dragons and goes to Rennaisance Festivals. It’s become a badge of honor that perhaps he doesn’t even know about.
I let him be. And though on one hand I have new impetus to try and interview him, I think I played it best. Yes, he could have revealed the shocking truth that he does in fact play Dungeons & Dragons. But if he had said the opposite? It would have been confirmation that the world is now less interesting. And who wants to be the one to deliver that news?
image from flickr user: strange botwin
On the Street goes 'On the Street'
Here, downtown by the Greyhound station there seems to be a harmonic convergence for homelessness, street photography, grafitti art, and 4 star French cuisine. I'll focus on photography for a moment. This building has been a lightning rod of sorts for occasional bombing. Its appearance evolves, telling us something, an answer which we don't know.
The prior trace has been all but removed.
A few random moments persist. But the absence looms larger. Is this somehow connected to why San Antonio has the 2nd most resilient economy in the country?
Probably not, but any explanation would be helpful.
That Oklahoma City leads the list tells me nothing. Having stayed there for a week about 2 1/2 years ago, I was quietly shocked at the poverty. There must be a law of Newton's physics in here somewhere. I guess when you never go up it's hard to go down.
After riding through downtown, and seeing Augie of Augie's BBQ on downtown St. Mary's Street in the middle of all the construction talking to a construction contractor/foreman looking guy, I began to wonder - is he opening a new restaurant? Perhaps other food writers around town already know about this - I'm just relaying what I saw with my own two eyes.
After that I ended up at Bluestar, looking for Jimmy the Bike Mechanic, whom I never found.
In full telescopic mode, the moon comes better in focus. Half-waning, half-waxing.
Inside Bluestar I got pulled into a wine tasting moment. It seems the wine distributor was there with new options for the staff to choose from. They were all Texas wines. We'll see if they end up on the menu.
And though we were drinking wine, I actually learned a lot more about beer. I had read and then forgotten about the hops crisis going on right now in the beer industry. Almost all of the hops in the US comes from around the Portland/Seattle area. It seems a lot of growers have switched to corn to get in on that boondoggle. (Corn! I know...) What this means is that less people are growing corn, there was a mysterious hops fire at some big warehouse (is this possible?) and the end result is that hops are now exponentially more expensive. Beer prices will go up but the profit margin is probably down.
A rise in gas prices is more painful for most people but a $8 pint of beer - that could be much more painful to some people.
Heading back on St. Mary's, as usual, I went by Central Catholic and the tv station. I thought I had taken all the angles I could of this tower but here may have been a new one.
Repetition, repetition, change. That was a formula described to me by a drama teacher in college. In San Antonio we know all about repetition. Change is something we either lack or overlook.
This place was something that I had consistently overlooked. On St. Mary's just south of Josephine is this small store. Were early Pixies playing on the stereo when I went in? Affirmative. Is there a more reliable litmus test?
Granted, I didn't find a seersucker blazer but I'll get back to that search later.
Further up McCullough I noticed this new store. Lily's Cookies is, I believe, the name on the window. It's next door to the coffee shop The Foundry that no one I know has yet to go into.
And finally, futbol mixed with football. Not too much more needs to be said here.
Passage of time...
On Wednesday I went along in a bike caravan to a meeting at the VIA office on San Pedro. A panel listened to suggestions and grievances for improvements in the bicycle scene. More than a few issues were raised by people who live on the NW side. If the nation was ever to produce a white collar Critical Mass bike ride, it would probably happen in San Antonio by people who live out by Helotes.
I'm about as useful at these meetings like a fish with a bicycle, or something...
Outside, a small group of us snuck out early and chased down the sun. Isn't that what life is about anyway?
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
Since 1986, when it began as a volunteer-run hospice in the back room of a bar owned by Robert "Papa Bear" Edwards, the San Antonio AIDS Foundation has offered a lifeline for those suffering from HIV/AIDS. SAAF operates a residential hospice, offers a hot meal program (42,000 meals annually served in the SAAF House dining room!), administers a case management system which helps coordinate housing, emergency food and medical care assistance, provides HIV testing, and perhaps most importantly, educates San Antonio about HIV/AIDS prevention.
On September 27, SAAF in conjunction with gold sponsor Citibank held its annual Stomp Out AIDS Walk at Woodlawn Park. It was a huge success, raising approximately $70,000 and boasting 850 walkers, up from last years' 375!
"It's so encouraging, especially given the current economy," Executive Director David Ewell told me. "It was our biggest walk ever."
Our fantastic intern Ryan Johnston, who wrote the story "Bathhouse babe in the woods" in this week's Out in San Antonio issue, walked in the event.
"I'd never been to a SAAF event before, and it was really fun," he enthused. "I even saw a couple I knew from work, and people brought their dogs, their kids. David Ewell spoke about prevention, and they had HIV testing for the first time this year. It felt good to do something social to support my community, although AIDS doesn't just affect the gay community, and this event was definitely for everyone."
You may have missed the Walk, but SAAF runs all year. They need support and volunteers now!
You can find photos of the event and a nifty write-up here:
And you can learn more about SAAF's services, volunteer, and make a donation here:
By Gilbert Garcia
If you throw out John McCain's surprise mortgage-buyout plan, last night's presidential debate was the exact same debate we saw two weeks ago, albeit with candidates pacing the stage and staring into the grills of their Nashville questioners.
I'll say this: McCain's grimacing snark-attack routine may not be pretty, but it sure spices up an otherwise hum-drum talking-points parade. Has there ever been a presidential candidate who detested his opponent as much as McCain hates Barack Obama? I mean, Dukakis and Daddy Bush were practically beer buddies by comparison. Some say it was rude of McCain to avoid looking at Obama in their first debate, but I think it was a hothead's version of courtesy: McCain knew if he looked at Obama for more than a few seconds, he'd boil over with Hanoi-Hilton-flashback rage, feel compelled to lunge at Obama, and wind up stabbing him repeatedly in the neck with his pen. Obama should be thankful that McCain averted his eyes so often.
Last night, McCain wasted no more than 10 seconds before landing the first stealth jab. "Senator Obama, it's good to be with you at a Town Hall meeting." (Translation: "At long last I got you here, after you wussed out on the series of Town Halls I suggested we do this summer.")
McCain scored early by arguing that he took an early public stand on subprime lending abuses at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while Obama stood on the sidelines, and he effectively described himself as someone who'd done more than talk about bipartisanship.
As the debate wore on, however, Obama seemed to hit his stride and McCain started to look deflated. His odd attempts at humor -- telling moderator Tom Brokaw he wouldn't be a candidate for treasury secretary, or calling Obama "that one," were perfectly in keeping with the man's chronic weakness for tin-eared levity.
When McCain infamously sang "Bomb Iran," no one in his right mind thought it was a reflection of the Arizona senator's political philosophy. And when he mockingly called Chelsea Clinton "ugly," it didn't necessarily mean that the guy gets off on saying cruel things about kids. But both comments, as well as his missteps last night, suggest a weird lack of taste, a Nixonian inability to suppress his uglier impulses. They also make him look out of touch, like Milton Berle wondering why he's bombing with a college crowd.
When a candidate telegraphs their big line from one debate to the next, they can expect their opponent to be ready the next time, and, sure enough, Obama's most memorable moment came when McCain once again said that Obama "doesn't understand" the complexities of foreign policy. Obama responded by saying it was true that he didn't understand how the United States -- with the full support of McCain -- could invade a country [Iraq] that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, and drain so many of its resources there.
One final thought: Whoever convinced McCain that making fun of esoteric earmarks is the way to get Obama's goat -- or swing the campaign in his favor -- should be flogged with one of those $4-million licorice whips somebody surely snuck into a Pentagon appropriations bill. McCain twice ridiculed Obama for backing an earmark that funded an overhead projector for a Chicago planetarium. Sorry Mac, but with mortgages in shambles, retirement plans going up in smoke, and American forces consumed with two wars, overhead projectors at planetariums are a bit low on our collective outrage list.
The ad is scare-your-pants-off serious. I don’t know what the budget for the campaign sits at or where this sucker ran, but it certainly was on par — or approaching parity with — those fullpage “filthy coal” ads that preceded the Guv Perry ass-kicking protests that shot down coal-plant fast-tracking in the state. Will we ever see the same come from the anti-nuking efforts of a rapidly coalescing assortment of regional critics?
A variety of groups hammered on San Antonio’s publicly owned utility CPS Energy after it announced it was pursuing a partnership with NRG Energy to construct two new nuclear plants at the South Texas Nuclear Plant outside Bay City.
Then other applicants started falling into place. Texans for a Sound Energy Policy, brains behind the above ad, have been whippin’ up on isotope-polluting Excelon’s plans for dual nukes near Victoria.
Now there is activity at Comanche Peak and even a Panhandle proposal. What had been a single-front skirmish a year ago has become an exhausting, extended Whack-A-Mole session. Still, I’m counting anti-nuke web presence running about 6-1 contra the single industry-backed Nuclear Energy for Texans.
Tomorrow, a new anti-atomic power coalition will be welcomed into the world by a handful of reporters at a press conference in Austin.
ALTURA, the Alliance of Texans for Uranium Research & Action, will merge a coalition of groups including Kingsville’s South Texas Opposes Pollution; Uranium Information at Goliad; and the Coastal Bend Sierra Club chapter.
When the coal fight was burning from white to blue, a takeover of TXU led to the elimination of almost a dozen proposed new coal plants. Will Texas respond similarly to nukes? A lot will depend on the accessibility of reliable information about the technology — from the in-situ uranium mines, a state happy to allow for across-the-board ruination of groundwater, heavy plant water-use requirements, realities of proliferation fears, and ultimate disposal non-answers.
In an interesting upping of the pace of events, crowds will be gathering the next night for a talk by sustainable-energy guru Arjun Makhijani down in Victoria.
If you are in car-pooling range, this would be a talk to hear. Makhijani not only understands the many risks of nuclear power production, but has been advocating an alternative policy based on energy efficiency (and wind, solar, biofuels, and natural gas) since the '70s.
When: Thursday, October 9th 2008, 7 - 9 PM
Where:Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts, 214 N. Main St. Victoria, TX 77901
More Info: 361-576-6277
Maybe it's the Vespa paraphernalia plastered all over the city or owning a pair of goggles that never get used, but scooters may just be the next mode of easy-to-manuveour-cheap-on-gas-neat-o-looking ride of the future if this economic crises continues. After all, what's not to love about the wind in your hair, cheapER gas, and tons of comradeship? Plus, scooter groups take you in like you are one of their own, as I found out at this year's 4th Annual 3rd Coast Rally.
Got a scooter yet? When it comes to buying new or vintage, get the 411 from scooter lovers about town (look for sunburned noses and helmet's in tow) or pop in to Alamo Vespa or The Motorcycle Shop, some sponsors of this year's event.
LIVE TO RIDE, RIDE TO LIVE
This much I did learn:
If this is your first scooter, get an automatic.
Take a safety course.
Parking is MUCH easier.
Take a safety course.
Gas is MUCH cheaper.
Take a safety course.
A 150cc is perfect for city riding.
Oh, did I mention taking the safety course?
This Wednesday, the Current's annual LGBT issue (or is it GLBT?) hits the stands and the 'Net, and I couldn't be happier... except that I ain't in it. Not that I'm gay, come to think of it (a girl can't have everything), but the GLBT community is one I love and respect. Like most people, I have GLBT family members, GLBT friends...and iTunes Genius seems to think I have certain...tendencies.
Plus! I was raring to go with a story about the legendary GLBT Historical Archives, a treasure trove of personal effects, art and media dating from the 1960s til today, and maintained by artist/raconteur/activist Gene Elder. Elder's the creator of the Wedding Cake Liberation Front, founder of the MUD Underground, and director of the HAPPY Foundation, named for the late visionary Arthur "Hap" Veltman. Hap Veltman pioneered the Bonham and Blue Star and many other great things for his hometown, and he passed away from complications of AIDS in 1988. In the words of his friend Debbie Maltz, "he was hysterical, he was brilliant, he was fun, he was edgy, and I miss him all the time."
I was particularly interested to tell this story since GLBT life isn't all pageants, parties and Bravo...the local GLBT community has a his(n' her-)story as long and complex as San Anto herself. Unfortunately, schedule complications didn't permit me to get in to scour the GLBT Archive on time for this week's issue... Editor Elaine Wolff and I even attempted to stalk Gene Elder, skulking around outside his apartment and outside the Bonham, where the archives are kept. (Note to cops: we did not break in anywhere.)
Gene got back to us, though, and has graciously allowed me to take a good look at the Archives soon, and to interview him. His, and the Archives' story is an important one, and the Current has both postponed and expanded this story--it'll be a cover feature at the end of November, closer to the 20th anniversary of Hap Veltman's passing.
So, San Anto, GLBT and otherwise...did you know Hap Veltman? Do you have fond memories of the Bonham or its predecesor, "The San Antonio Country"? Have you any experience with the GLBT Archives? If you do, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you.
I'm coming to count on UTSA Satellite Space as a reliable source for terrific, challenging, brainy art-looking experiences. (Way brainier than, say, the phrase "art-looking experiences.")
Recent shows like "Figure and Illusion," "Media Lab," "Welcome to the Monkey House, " and the current exhibition, "Sana Sana Colita de Rana" have impressed me with their diversity, depth and humor. If this space in the back-alley of Blue Star isn't on your First Friday radar, it should be. And while I haven't cottoned to every individual piece of art I've seen there, I always stagger out of there, towards the marimba-sounding windchimes on somebody's nearby condo-porch, lost in a bewildered, meditative haze.
"Sana Sana Colita de Rana" translates roughly( and weirdly) as "heal, heal, little tail of the frog," and it's the first line in a Spanish kids' rhyme:
colita de rana,
little tail of the frog,
Si no sanas hoy,
If you don't heal today,
you'll heal tomorrow.
In politics as in professional wrestling, much of the important stuff is preordained.
For instance, in the hours leading up to Sarah Palin's acceptance speech at last month's Republican Convention, you just knew that the bowling pins were being lined up for a major triumph. Young, untested Alaska governor endures cruel media attacks on her family and introduces herself to the nation in front of an adoring GOP crowd that despises the news media and desperately seeks a new face for American conservatism. That story wrote itself. How could she fail?
Last night's VP debate had some of the same written-in-advance quality about it. Palin had been dogged so intensely about her interview disasters, and her own party's reps had lowered expectations so far below sea level, any hint of a pulse, any demonstration of a functioning mind, would be spun as a brilliant return to form.
So this morning we're hearing that Palin was feisty, confident, playful, in command, and charming. Pat Buchanan went on MSNBC and gushed that she was "sensational," adding that she "wiped the floor" with Joe Biden. Various Fox and CNN talking heads said that Palin had reminded Americans why they fell in love with her in the first place (it says a lot about the dizzying pace of our current news cycles that you can attempt a comeback only a month after people first heard of you).
Maybe I'm a stone-hearted outlier, but I thought Palin was simply awful last night. Not awful in the easy-to-soundbite (and easy-to-parody) way she was in her Katie Couric interviews, but in a deeper, more troubling way. For the most part, she came off like an eager student-council candidate, determined to prove she's a serious adult, but unable to spew out anything beyond talking-points gibberish.
She avoided questions at every turn, brazenly turning the subject back to Alaska's oil reserves. She filled time with inanities along the lines of "I"m so encouraged to know that we both love Israel," and "John McCain is a maverick; he's known as a maverick." She attacked Barack Obama's voting record on taxes and funding American troops, but when Biden attempted to critique McCain's mistakes on Iraq, she abruptly decided that Americans don't want to dwell on the past and "play the blame game."
It was highly revealing that on global warming she not only continued the same illogical train of thought she introduced with Katie Couric -- that whatever the cause of global warming, it's here and we need to do something about it (doesn't the cause determine what our solution needs to be?) -- she even repeated the same mangled phrase she used then: "I'm not one to attribute every activity of man to the changes in the climate." Obviously, she meant the reverse, that she doesn't attribute every change in climate to the activities of man, but she's so tightly scripted, she can't even fix her own malapropisms from one setting to the next.
Her vaunted folksiness seemed cartoonish and hammy, with multiple winks and eye pops, repeated use of phrases such as "darn right" and "doggone it," and cluelessly incongruous grins (the oddest one came after Biden's emotional reference to the auto accident that killed his first wife and daughter, and left his two sons in critical condition).
Biden was efficient and restrained, avoiding what must have been an overwhelming temptation to smirk. It says a lot about Palin's substance deficit that Biden refrained from correcting her when she twice called Afghanistan commanding general David McKiernan "McClellan," but she found it necessary to inform him that the correct chant of oil-exploration enthusiasts is "Drill, baby, drill."
It's nice to know that she's focusing on the important details.
Stalker alert: This Saturday at 8 p.m., I'll be at Music Town (4714 Broadway St.) to watch and review a free in-store performance by poppy punkers Altus. Local noisemakers Feed (featuring vocalist Tyler Lutz, also frontman for hardcore act Lie & Wait, reviewed by me a little over a month ago here.)
Come see what I see, then critique my review when it runs next Wednesday. Or just use the information of my future whereabouts to kidnap me then attempt to hold me for ransom at the Current's expense. That should at least give my editor a good laugh.
And help our continued effort to expand our local music coverage by nominating future Live and Local candidates in the comments section below, or by emailing me.
He’s sort of a co-traveler on my morning commute. That’s as close as we get.
I’m heading into downtown on Broadway; he’s moving away. I’m combusting exhaust into the spray; he’s pushing pedals and working those pipes. It’s been a bad week for it — for both my soot-exhaling Kia and his gasping aureoles. San Antonio is just coming out of a week of risky ground-level ozone, more familiarly known as smog. Which would certainly explain the respiratory mask my fellow traveler wears.
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s official smogman say: Keep your respirator handy through Friday. Come Saturday, all this nasty air that has been blowing down from the Middle West will reverse and that cleansing Gulf Breeze will reestablish dominance. But here’s the bad news, this solid five days of high ozone (pictured here) have knocked much of the state out of compliance with running three-year federal mandates.
Warm days combined with the dusty farmland air formed this lung-constructing ground-level ozone (Love ya, High Pressure Ridge). Generous boosts of soot, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxides from area coal plants took this already-dirty air and bumped the read by about 20 parts per billion — says smogman Bryan Lambeth — putting San Antonio at and over the EPA’s recently lowered threshold of 76 parts per billion at two locations, including (“God Save the Dream”) Camp Bullis.
So a question: Strip OUR highway dollars? Why should we suffer for bad Middle West air? Let Ohio be damned. Kansas rapped. Oklahoma dehorned. And when we ship out our smog-forming components with the turning wind direction? Well, we’ll just blame Mexico.
Reminds me of that old book-pimping crank Thomas Friedman being interviewed on Living on Earth last night. He explains global population as based on the newly coined unit of measurement (which also happens to be both a human-engineered radioactive element and a killer mixed drink) the “Americum.” Each Americum represents 300 people “living like Americans.” You know, with the cable TV, two cars, and whatnot. He explained how the world had only 3 Americums (Americi?) last century, but has bloomed to 9-A with the wealth/population explosions occurring in China, India, and elsewhere.
The crush of bad air, climate disruption, toxic milk is an obvious signal. “The Good Lord did not create the earth for that many Americans,” quips Friedman. Could it be time for our civic pride and patriotic fervor to transcend state and federal boundaries as our lifestyles long have? Watch the ripple of unhealthy air split the nation (and San Antonio) and ask yourself, what part you play?
EPA’s Dallas-based explainer say: They’ll sort out the punishments/compliance issues after their quality control folks (“atmospheric scientists” and “meteorologists”) can manipulate the numbers in early ’09. So don’t you write off those federal highway funds just yet. (Though that could help... )