Woulda been a wall there. Presidio County Commissioner points to where a wall almost stood. Instead they got massive flooding on both sides of the Rio. Other areas south of Falcon Dam have since been canceled. Are recent Obama appointments reason to cheer the demise of the Wall?
The blanket authorities granted Homeland Security by the 2006 Congress that have allowed border wall construction to move forward unhampered by any “antagonistic” contrary federal laws, laws such as the Native American Graves Protection Act or our cherished Clean Water and Air acts, thanks to language in The Real ID Act, are about to expire.
At least, that appears to be the message emanating from President Elect Obama’s rollout of a powerful cadre of border-region lawmakers named to his cabinet and advisory teams in the past two weeks.
While the dubious choice of Hillary “Sniper Fire” Clinton to lead the State Department has marinated in editorial ink for more than a week, the collection of Southern Tier officials from New Mex Governor Bill Richardson, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano (of “Show me a 50-foot wall and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder” fame), and experienced Homeland resister University of Texas at Brownsville President Juliet V. Garcia have given wall opponents reason for optimism.
A rumor circulating that Real ID opponent, U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona, is on the short-list for the Secretary of Interior slot is feeding that excitement.
Grijalva, who had been scheduled to speak at a summit on Border Wall resistance this week, cancelled his appearance there. His press secretary in Tucson said that several cancellations have been made as Grijalva prepares to return to Washington for the upcoming session, but confirmed they are hearing the same rumors everyone else is.
“He has not been contacted by Obama’s transition team,” Natalie Luna said. “But we have heard he is one of the names out there.”
In Texas, thousands of endangered acres maintained by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Audubon Society, and The Nature Conservancy, would be sealed off from the public under current construction plans. Anne Brown, VP of National Audubon Society, has fought hard to gain insight or information from Homeland about the wall that would likely force her group to close their 130-acre sanctuary to the thousands of area schoolchildren who enjoy the verdant reaches of towering sabal palms. She hasn’t gotten much cooperation.
With the new leadership taking place, however, the chances of the Real ID Act being overturned are increasingly likely. “I would hope that they would [do that],” Brown said. “Because I know what that would mean.” However, the final outcome “remains to be seen,” she said.
Duran Duran have been forced to cancel tonight’s show (Monday, December 1) in San Antonio, scheduled to take place at the Majestic Theatre, because the band’s keyboard player, Nick Rhodes, is still suffering from a very serious inner ear infection and doctors have told him that he is not allowed to fly.
The four band members have been on the road in Latin America since the start of November, and tonight’s show would have been their first North American date on the final leg of their year-long Red Carpet Massacre World Tour. The band expressed extreme disappointment in tonight’s cancellation, and will attempt to make up the date in the near future.
Tickets for tonight’s show will be fully refundable from the point of purchase.
"No Longer Older Than Dirt"
Letters (to the On the Street Penthouse Suite)
#1 Bob the Gardener and the Cave of Parrots
Bob the Gardener (the behind the scenes Svengali) writes in...
does the Current have a weekend getaways writer? can I deliver this scoop to you?
planning to spend a lost weekend in Xilitla, leaving tomorrow afternoon, to scope out the weird surrealist ruin that is Las Pozas, links below. there is also a cave full of parrots. It occurs to me, late in the game yes, that this is sort of right up your alley?
I will take pictures in hopes of being able to construct something that could be sold for 30 dollars to your editors.
I think it’s an excellent idea. How about 25 dollars?
#2 The Artist Formerly Known As Mantecatron Responds From Mexico Re: Gardener Bob and the Cave of Parrots
So, Brad (Bob) is entering the high stakes world of rare bird smuggling...
I did read about that place. I don't care for Europeans in Mexico. Or rich eccentrics. Or surrealism.
Maybe during my third or fourth pass at Mexico....
How long us Brad going to stay?
#3 OTS Insider Jack the Elder Writes from Costa Rica
Mark, I´m in Costa Rica until mid- Dec. Hope the swap goes (or went) well. Lots of bikes on the roads here, and about a fatality per week on average. Later, Jack
#4 Sad Sack
Friend of OTS Michael from Austin writes in again:
I refuse to feel bad for the man. But damn!
I don’t know why I kept my California cell phone number. I suppose it’s easy to remember. Also, it's out of state so perhaps less people will call me. Those two things seem to be contradictory but it works for me.
I occasionally get calls from people in LA always looking for someone else, though usually it’s incomprehensible mumbling. Case in point, someone calls yesterday and asks for the office fax number. I decided to play along and try to get more information from the caller. It sounded like she wanted the fax number for “bone deep”. That sounded like it had to be a porn film. I told the woman that I was really busy in the office right now and that she should quit calling me and hung up.
Moments later, I googled “bone deep” and it seems it might actually be an A- list movie being shot in downtown LA. Something about bank robbers and being produced by Grand Hustle Entertainment, or something like that.
Not sure where this is going yet but I’m on the look out for more calls coming in. I’ll probably just start collecting phone numbers and taking messages for the Production Coordinator.
I’ve been told my number is a few digits off from the Fox Studios number. Anyway, we’ll see where this goes.
Smoke, Mirrors, and Beaujolais Noveau
On Friday I stopped by Unit B for an opening for some interesting new work. Being the 3rd Thursday of November (or was it Friday?) I remember that it was time for Beaujolais Noveau, so I bought a plastic (plastic!) bottle I found at Whole Foods and went on down.
It was a two person show yet the different works seemed to flow so well together it was difficult to discern where one began and the other ended.
And yes, perhaps that was the point.
I'm not saying it was freezing but it wasn't hot either. A fire in the palacial side yard kept people occupied. Fireside chatting included: "yeah, what about that benefit with Snowbyrd up in some weird banquet hall up by the airport", "ha, that's a plastic bottle you're drinking out of", a few people giggling at a local artist for having his fly down.
Spurs Move Uphill
A few weeks ago the season was in jeopardy of being left for dead. First, new player Roger Mason Jr. strung together a stretch of impressive games and held the team together while Manu and Tony Parker were out with injuries. The team began playing impressive slowdown, make it ugly defense and the team allowed itself to stay in just about every game.
More recently, Spurs rookie (rookie!) George Hill began to get more minutes, and basically, has brought an even greater excitement back to the team.
(Yeah, those highlights are pretty horrible. Jump to the 2:00 mark for a way too brief mention of Hill. Basically, there's not a lot of video out there to work with. My hands are tied.)
Almost everyone is playing well. Manu Ginobili is back and performing his indescribable sorcery. The team that was “older than dirt” now has a new lease on legitimacy.
Sure, if I had a Spurs press pass I’d be giving you more details but let’s not go crazy. I’ll watch from random televisions across the city, continue to take the pulse of the city, make notes and chart team improvement. If I’m at the game there are all those free buffets that writers gorge themselves on, overloading their system with carbohydrates, which is nothing but begging for crashing and bad writing, which is something I’m already threatening as it is.
So yes, I’ll stick to Bar America, Texas T, and other VFW Halls across the city biding my time.
A lot of my energy has gone into organizing this event...
...at the last second I secured a 10 year old Beatles cover band called The Weetles (who will play at around 1:45). And in the process got their father and his emo/indie rock band Worm to also play (at about 2:45/3:00.)
Blue Means Go will also perform a now rare acoustic show to close things out at 4pm.
Bike Swaps are so gone.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
The night before Thanksgiving is huge on the nightlife circuit — no work, Wednesday drink specials, and all you’ve got to do the next day is laze around and eat. In fact, I can’t remember a Thanksgiving (after I was in high school) that I’ve woken up without a hangover. But spending the entirety of Thanksgiving inside with The Parentals, your cousin’s bratty kids, and extended relatives that want to argue about your political views warrants another night out, so here’s our picks.
I’ll personally be starting my weekend off at Scout Bar tonight (after baking pecan pies) to see local up-and-comers Cult to Follow. The band is led by Bryan Scott of Union Underground fame, and features Todd Connally on guitar, Troy Doebbler on bass, and Jason “Shakes” West behind the kit. Though three-fourths of the band is from San Antonio, it’s not fair to pigeonhole them simply as a “local band” — the Texas scene has already been buzzing about their regional touring and big plans await the foursome in the new year. They headed to the studio this September to finish up their forthcoming, and still untitled, full-length album, which will debut early 2009. Spinning Chain and Ghandis Gun open up for CTF, and the show serves as the official Staind, Seether, and Papa Roach after party. $10 21+ only, no cover with a Staind ticket stub, 8 p.m. doors.
A Thanksgiving night best-bet is the annual show by local rockers Sun*Day — the band rocked out to a full house at Royal Palace Ballroom during their first Thanksgiving show in ’91 without knowing it would become a 17-year tradition. The Next Day, Ledaswan, and One Last Shot share the White Rabbit stage. $5 all ages, 8 p.m. doors.
Other Thanksgiving hotspots will be The Mix, Limelight, and Scout Bar. The Mix caters to its drinking crowd with Thursday night regulars The Undercovers providing the tunes — $3.25 Crown and $2.25 Kamikazis, Kickstarters, and Kathlicpussys behind the bar. Limelight’s resident DJ troupe Fuck Yeah! won’t be taking Thanksgiving night off either. The popular quartet will be heating up the joint with electro, indie-rock, and ’80s tunes, so expect the dance floor to be packed ‘n’ sweaty. Perfect way to work off that turkey. Scout Bar’s Big Ass Beer Night will also be in full effect — it’s $3 for a 23-ounce souvenir glass, $2 domestic refills, $3 import refills, and $2.50 wells. No cover and Jar of Flies onstage.
CPS Energy held their quarterly board meeting yesterday, amidst much glad-handing and fanfare. (Do all Texas companies have a group prayer and a pledge of allegiance to the flag before their board meetings?) Yet beneath all the gloss, a potentially disturbing truth emerged. While ultimately delaying the decision for another year, CPS clearly laid the groundwork for making expansive use of nuclear power in South Texas.
Of course, the company didn’t come right out and open up the meeting with such a pronouncement. The nuclear option was deceptively camouflaged by preceding it with lots of happy talk about “aggressive” action to help reduce consumer energy usage and costs. But in the end, it was all building up toward a nuclear-power pitch that failed to include environment health concerns as one of its “risk factors” and which wouldn’t save residential consumers any money for at least 34 years.
On the plus side, CPS is moving forward with a $685-million energy efficiency plan that aims to curb San Antonio’s power usage enough over the next 12 years to avoid building a new power plant. But they’re trying to greenwash the nuclear option by juxtaposing it with plans to get a solar power plant going by 2010 or 2011. If a nuclear disaster or major contamination occurs in South Texas some day, it will likely be traced back to this moment.
The beating around the nuclear bush began with an extensive report on the company’s energy-efficiency study by Nexant, a San Francisco-based energy consulting company that was spun off from a technology consultant group of multinational corporate titan Bechtel in January 2000. Readers of John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit Man will recall Bechtel being described as one of the world’s most powerful engineering and construction companies, “a prime example of the cozy relationship between private companies and the U.S. government,” with an executive staff populated by Reagan-Bush cronies. Perkins places Bechtel near the center of his expose about a “corporatocracy” that exploits resources and people around the world. One example includes Bechtel receiving the first major contract in the reconstruction plan for Iraq in 2003.
Terry Fry, Nexant’s Senior Vice President of Energy and Carbon Management, reported on the “Demand Side Management Potential Study” for CPS, in which he cheerily revealed that CPS could cut 569 megawatts by 2020 with “energy-efficiency technology,” resulting in “a good-sized power plant that could be avoided.” One of the CPS folks then declared that the company will “aggressively pursue” the megawatt reduction potential offered by the Nexant study. Specifics were not discussed, but it was hinted that the plan is likely to include programs to help customers retrofit their homes and businesses to be more energy efficient. This could include things like insulating older homes and changing out windows.
After some more glad-handing and a short break, CPS’s Paul Barham – Senior Director for Generation Research & Planning – then stepped in to lower the nuclear boom in his report on the company’s “Strategic Energy Plan” update for FY 2009-10. The update began with talk of a plan to “increase renewable energy supply” and “maintain environmental commitment.” It then moved into discussion of power-generation options – natural gas, coal and expansion of the STP (South Texas Project) nuclear plant.
Barham touted the company’s goal of reducing carbon-dioxide emissions as part of its environmental commitment and then revealed that the STP expansion would help the company cut 127 million tons of C02 emissions by 2033, as opposed to only 32 million tons through renewables or 49 million tons through the Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan (STEP). The expansion of STP would involve building two new nuclear plants in Bay City.
Barham then presented a “Risk Summary” comparison of nuclear power with that of natural gas and coal. The four risk factors considered in the spiffy graph were capital, technology, carbon, and fuel cost. This understandably left some in the audience scratching their heads. There had been some nebulous talk earlier about a “fifth fuel,” but there was no fifth column for environmental risks? Nuclear only got a red light for capital, with yellow for technology and green for carbon and fuel cost, while natural gas received green for capital and technology but yellow for carbon and red for fuel cost. Coal got two reds and two yellows.
“Nuclear is the only one of these options that has no CO2 emissions,” said Barham. He also noted that “solar and wind don’t look very cost-effective … but we do have a big place in our plan for renewables.”
The report continued through analysis of capacities and fuel-price volatility, before reaching Jerry Maguire’s “show me the money” moment with a projected monthly residential electric bill chart. While nuclear would cost consumers a little more than gas or coal for the first 19 years, Barham noted how it would become cheaper than coal after 24 years and cheaper than natural gas after 29. This calculation excludes the 8-10 years that it would take to get the nuclear option up and running in the first place. So CPS apparently plans to sell consumers on the nuclear plan by saying that it will save us some money on our electric bills sometime in the 2040s - woo!
The summary concludes that expansion of STP should remain an option for future energy generation due to this “most affordable long term cost,” the lack of carbon emissions and how it presents mainly a “construction cost risk” versus natural gas’s “fuel cost risk.” (Still no mention of the environmental and health risks from the toxic radioactive waste that can take millions of years to decay.)
San Antonio will have a full year to debate the matter however, as Barham recommended that final Board and Council decisions be delayed until fall 2009 for further analysis. This will include factors such as public input and “community involvement,” financial market uncertainty, a new presidential administration with new energy priorities, additional clarity on federal incentives (potentially the most critical factor from CPS’s perspective), updated information on carbon policy, Congressional action on natural gas supply, and ongoing developments with project partners NRG Energy and Exelon.
There was no further detail on the latter, but Cindy Weehler of the Consumers’ Energy Coalition was on hand to point out that it may have to do with how Exelon is currently being sued by the state of Illinois for taking over nine years to inform a local community about leakage of millions of gallons of radioactive water from its Braidwood nuclear plant into groundwater, drinking wells, and a forest preserve. The continuing lack of a definitive plan for properly disposing of the nuclear waste already created over the past few decades is another factor that never seems to enter the discussion when the big power companies and John McCains of the world pontificate on the subject.
“All of that is code for nuclear,” said Weehler of Barham’s report. Stay tuned, as the Current will be following this story every step of the way…
From the Romenesko forum at poynter.org comes cold comfort in the form of another Express-News memo: fewer jobs here, but, hey, Houston might be looking for copy editors and page designers. This note elaborates on news that the paper will shed 50 full-time workers (perhaps as many as 20 from the newsroom, according to one source) before the end of the year through buyouts and/or layoffs.
Topic: Memos Sent to Romenesko
Date/Time: 11/25/2008 9:05:48 AM
Title: Express-News to outsource more work
Posted By: Jim Romenesko
Memo to San Antonio Express-News employees
From: Rivard, Robert
Sent: Friday, November 21, 2008 11:40 AM
To: SAEN Editorial
Cc: Stephenson, Tom
Brett tells me there are newsroom rumors of layoffs today. Not so. The
big in-house headline probably will be the winners of the chili cook-off. We've promised to share information with you as soon as we can, and there is not much to actually share beyond what we had to say last week to the editorial leadership.
I am returning from NY after a meeting with other editors at the Hearst Tower at which we discussed the state of our industry and various cost-cutting measures, including the coming consolidation project and our staff reductions. Today is, I believe, the last official day for opting in to the voluntary buyout program at the Express-News. Nothing on that front is actually happening today. I will meet with Tom Stephenson and others in the leadership next week to review the tally of requested buyouts, and assess the difference between the number of requested buyouts and Tom's stated goal of a companywide 50 FTE reduction. I also will schedule meetings with newsroom staff that will be affected by the consolidation project.
Right now we are producing Travel in Houston and we will produce Taste
there by late December or early January. We expect to produce at least
one of our seven daily SA Life sections in Houston by midyear. That
date, of course, could change, but you can see from the projected pace
of this project that nothing much is imminent here. There will be some
new job openings for copy editors and page designers in Houston at
some point, we believe, but I can't project when those job postings
Thank you for all your good work and dedication through these most
B.B. King entertained a large crowd at the Majestic Theater on Thursday night with a well-received performance of nearly two-hours. Some may have felt the show was a bit light on actual guitar playing and a bit heavy on King's joking around while his band vamped out behind him, but at age 83 the blues legend impresses just by still being on the road at all.
King acknowledged thoughts of retirement but said thoughts of going fishing, swimming and drinking beer don't really appeal since he doesn't drink anymore and "I ain't no Johnny Weissmuller... and you can look at me and tell I ain't no Michael Phelps."
King doesn't spend as much time on his guitar as say Buddy Guy (who's still only a spry 72), but he had the crowd in the palm of his hand whether he was playing, singing or laughing. The classic "Key to the Highway" was a highlight where King's smooth tone and liquid playing stood out while the humor was a highlight on "One More Favor" as he pleaded "please see my grave is kept clean."
Some of today's rock stars could certainly still learn a thing or two from the octogenarian bluesman. After "One More Favor," a fan came right up to the front of the stage to snap a photo of King, who smiled and posed for the shot (as opposed to jumping into the crowd to assault the photo taker as Guns 'n' Roses singer Axl Rose infamously once did at a St. Louis concert in 1991.)
King still has a way with the women too, many of whom clearly remain smitten with him despite his now grandfatherly appearance. At one point he remarked how he doesn't like "the way the rappers and hip-hoppers been talking about the ladies," before dedicating a love song to all the ladies in the house. When you compare King's longevity with the flash-in-the-pan careers of many of those rappers, it looks like he's got a point worth considering.
The “Ordinance Governing
the Role and Oversight of the City Auditor and the City Internal Audit
Department” that sailed through Council this week doesn’t fix the
problem, says District 2 Councilwoman Sheila McNeil, one of two lonely
nay votes. “It just brings more people into the problem.”
Citizens, specifically. The new law adds two citizens to the three council members who oversee the City auditor — a nebbishy position that mushroomed into a dark cloud of unexpected fury and destruction last spring, when former auditor Pete Gonzales was shown the door shortly after he started poking around the City’s playground inspection and maintenance records. An Express-News investigation uncovered a cover-up of sorts, and the casualties of le petit scandale included former Parks & Rec Director Malcolm Matthews -- and now, the old audit system.
District 10 Councilman John Clamp, still chair of the newly expanded audit committee, and the other “no” vote, shares McNeil’s concern that citizens will be asked to serve as voting members on a committee that makes decisions without having to seek the approval of the full council. Citizens can only serve in an advisory capacity, argues Clamp, and he thinks adding them to the committee may mean that any changes to the City’s audit plan -- which governs what the auditor can investigate -- would have to be brought to the full council.
Clamp and McNeil also profess concern that those citizens would be on the hook both for internally unpopular audits, and any public screw-ups. When SA’s citizens voted in 2001 to create the City auditor position, says McNeil, they asked council to do the job. “To put citizens on the committee gives that job back to the people,” she said.
They also question the wisdom of having all five committee members, council reps and laypeople, appointed by the mayor (and by the language of the ordinance, it appears the full council may get to advise, but not consent to the mayor’s choices).
The Current also humbly suggests that if the City really meant to put some teeth into the office -- which is filled and vacated at the Council's pleasure -- they would have taken a cue from the U.S. Government Accountability Office and created a fixed term for the auditor. As it is, an independent-minded auditor [see: Pat Major, Pete Gonzales] can still be booted at any time with a simple majority.
Read a draft of the ordinance council passed here; we're told the final is identical, but the Clerk's office won't give it up until they have the signed version in hand.
The bad news for people who like female singers: There's no chick named Sarah to be found here. The even worse news for cepholopod enthusiasts: There isn't even an actual octopus. The rest of us should be able to enjoy Sarah & Octopus's show at the Warhol Friday free from bitter disappointment. Percussionist Mason "Octopus" Macias would definitely benefit from a few extra arms, but the guest work I've seen him do for Druggist, Marcus Rubio, andIll Prospekt has been pretty damn impressive anyway. I've yet to see the band live, but the word of mouth on guitarist/keyboardist Mark Anthony Esquivel and bassist Ian McIntosh is that they're equally freakishly talented. Their MySpace page claims they sound like "taking a bite out of a [Little Debbie] Star Crunch," but I find that hard to believe. Nothing against the Octopus, but I wouldn't compare Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band to those gooey, delicious crisp rice treats. Tickets are $7 for minors, $5 for legal drinkers. See you there.
It does not surprise me to hear of another budget modification to the San Antonio Independent School District to "improve" the quality of education for their 55,000-plus students.
SAISD has announced numerous school closures to historical campuses, including the 130-year-old Fox Tech Campus and the 107-year-old Bowie Elementary School. Recently the school district announced they would once again cut back on school lunches.
School Lunches? Yes school lunches.
As of January 2009 students of the ailing district will go from nine choices for an entree to two choices. Damn. As if cafeteria food is not bad enough now students get the choice of steaming crappy food or warm crappy food. (Sounds like our political system, this election excluded.)
They will also cut back on breakfast menu to a grab-n-go/bagged breakfast to ensure all students participate in the federal meal program in hopes of boosting revenue. Their announcement goes on to say that eliminating the amount of choices cooks have to prepare will allow more time for them to focus on improving the taste of the two choices.
Has this economic crisis pushed our own schools over the edge so much that they have to cut back on crappy cafeteria chow? How about a bailout for our public school system? Perhaps we should just blame W.
Although blaming Mr. Blockhead Bush would be justified, it still does not provide solutions to the problems with our public school system. Perhaps if Dr. Robert Duron (superintendent) had not given $1,000 bonus to all employees, last year’s students could get their chef salad and fresh fruit (as if kids need fruits & vegetables).
I am sure those bonuses helped some struggling employees but those who really need the help are the children of our community.
How is it that we have a lottery gaming system that provides 27-percent of its total earnings to the Texas Education Fund and school-age children are only allowed two choices of food? Yet food is the minor issue. How is that we spend more locally on law enforcement than provide for the education system of our community?
I know that those making budget increases for law enforcement know that when people are educated the less likely they are to commit crime. Budget allocations such as these beg the question: Is their more revenue in law enforcement than investing in the education of the children of our community?
I guess a bulletproof vest is a better investment than one backpack full of school supplies; Oh wait, it's not?
“Leaves Turn Inside You”
Letters (to the On the Street Penthouse Suite)
#1 Smoke and Mirrors
From the fine folks at Unit B Gallery…
Please join us!
November 21, 2008 - January 3, 2009
Smoke and Mirrors
Alex Rubio (San Antonio, TX)
David Vega (San Antonio, TX)
In this collaboration, artists Alex Rubio and David Vega create intricate individual depictions of a personal vice, then break up the two harsh images into innocuous fragments, diffusing and intermixing the ambiguous pieces and collectively forming an amorphous cloud of their indulgences. The looming juxtaposition of the vices effectively transforms the artists' negative habits into a mysterious illusion of monochromatic flourishes and embellishments, altering the viewer's consciousness and influencing the viewer's perception of the harsh reality of the work and into a false sense of subtlety and beauty.
#2 The Greatest of All Time?
What do you have when you combine Pele, Michael Jordan, Muhammed Ali, Edwin Moses, Joe Montana, Wayne Gretsky, etc?
The Greatest of all-time.....Some things never change. Been my favorite since pre-puberty days.....
And she's freakin' 54!
#3 Stop Motion Tamales
Came in by the mysterious and magnanimous hand of the OTS Insider named “Topps”…
Sent by a coworker in response to bucket full of their tamales being delivered to our office. I think it's worth a restaurant review. They're great.
Then after some elementary googling I came across this other youtube video which seems to be the work of a random citizen, though for some reason my 6th sense tell me "inside job." Of course that's not possible so I must be crazy.
Off the Street
The following is what happens when OTS gets pulled off the streets. It's like the movie Trading Places but without hopeful Darwinism.
For some reason I'm staring at my feet when I could be trying $2500 brandy. But a closer examination of footwear tells a deeper story.
It was as black tie as black tie gets. My trophy wife was still in Eastern Europe and couldn't make it over in time. My hands were tied.
And while it's true I did dabble in the fine cuisine and awkward company, I wasn't there as long as others.
For a paradigm shift, the kind one can only experience with On the Street, I went across the street to Hemisfair Park for Slab Cinema and a fiery display.
A Strange Nexus
Before the wonderful Slab Cinema events there has been a variety of entertainment. Like First Friday, at a certain point, successful events in San Antonio transcend their original seed of inspiration and find appeal across a wide strata. This is not to say that all the elements average together but instead it seems to be a cultural detente where seemingly opposing views can co-exist in a common space.
How else to explain this?
(Does that not spell "60"?)
There is skill in this, to be sure. However, I'm not going to act like it's my thing. I know fire juggling is the wrong term but I don't want to remember the correct one. Fire Dancing? (That sounds like a Cult song.)
When I see "fire juggling" I think of a strange nexus of homelessness, punks, yoga, and hippies. Perhaps gutter-punk meets yoga-hippie is easier to consider, but not anymore accurate.
(Notice the fire juggling in the background with the streaks of light going all willy-nilly.)
Its like a confoundment (fake word for the week) of these elements. I'm not sure if any one group will claim the fire juggling as their own but then neither can any of these groups completely divorce themselves from it either.
There was a movie afterwards but I think I split to watch a Spurs game. (A vast majority of their games have come down to a last second shot, especially against horrible teams. More on them next week.)
(Eerily close to the symbol "&", or even better, something used on sheet music)
Sunday Sounds returned to The Compound with a larger than life band from Seattle coming through on tour.
One half of The In and Outlaws, who were actually quite good. There was a country theme for the late afternoon show that actually translated very well from one band to the next.
This kick-ass pickup truck I saw in the parking lot across the street fit in perfectly.
The hula-hooping was somehow a perfect accompaniment to the music.
A member of the Rodeo band from Seattle (more on them in a bit) commented on the inclusive near commune-like atmosphere of the backyard. Kids, hula hoops, guys with black hats (like bit actors from the James Garner tv show Maverick) all co-existing, adding further 'proof' to the OTS San Antonio Thesis.
A stripped down though not uncommon version of Fear Snakeface played next. It didn't feel as if the songs were unplugged so much as the full band electrifies them.
Here the mysterious men in black get set up for their set. Rodeo played a large part of their concept. (Okay, I'm digging up the flyer now so I can remember the name of the band. Passage of time...)
Brent Amaker & the Rodeo. That's the name.
One of the singers had a very deep voice. I kept thinking of the guy from the Oak Ridge Boys, but I guess that's not cool to say?
They headed off to Arkansas for their next show, telling stories of this strange place called San Antonio.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
New resource for those tracking environmental news in Texas: Check out Texas Climate News, "reporting on climate change and sustainability issues," a project by Bill Dawson and funded through the Houston Advanced Research Center and the Houston Endowment.
Some of you may remember my attempt at something similar after leaving the Houston Press years back. This project looks to have, through a more sober business model, that sticking power that would suggest bookmarking is in order.
Dawson, a former enviro writer at the Houston Chronicle, has been writing about climate change and related issues since the '80s.
His thoughts on Ike are required reading:
Will Ike, other storms spur new thinking?Besides their dramatic, immediate impacts – the harm to people and property and nature – environmental disasters can exert a profound influence on attitudes and actions, including the policies that governments and businesses adopt.
Think of the toxic waste at Love Canal in New York State. The nuclear plant accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. The runaway chemical reaction that killed thousands at Bhopal, India. The mammoth oil spill from the Exxon Valdez in Alaska. Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans and coastal Mississippi. All prompted far-reaching study, debate and policy changes.
Hattiesburg scoops the germ-lab watchers this week with an article about Homeland Security's push-back on final site selection for the National Agro- & Bio-Defense Facility.
Being hotly pursued by area boosters, your own Expressive News (see "viral marketing"), and politico tophats in Kansas (though not so much in New York/Jersey or North Carolina, where spineless, unpatriots roost), N-BAF will land sometime around the time Obama is putting on his new suit as El Presidente official come January.
From the Hattiesburg American c/o the Butner Blogspot:
A decision on locating the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility was expected in December, but Department of Homeland Security spokesman John Verrico said the agency might delay the decision until next year.
Mississippi Development Authority spokeswoman Melissa Medley said DHS’ delay concerns state supporters of the lab.
“We’re aware that if it’s pushed out, it can mean changes,” Medley said, including increases in the cost to build the laboratory.
Verrico said a final environmental impact statement - which would recommend one of the six sites in contention - would likely be released the first or second week of December and a final decision made 30 days later.
That means the decision on the biolab’s location could be made just days before President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in.
But it’s more likely the decision will be made after Obama is inaugurated, said Lanier Avant, chief of staff to Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-2nd District.However, while our $500 Million Jackpot Disease Center N-BAF languishes, other Bush agendas are spinning madly out the rapidly closing door ... Foul oil shale extraction in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, as well a slew of outright badnesses.
Up to ninety proposed regulations could be finalized by the
outgoing administration, many of which would weaken government rules
aimed at protecting consumers and the environment. According to the Washington Post,
the new rules would be among the most controversial deregulatory steps
of the Bush era. They include rules that could weaken workplace safety
protections, allow local police to spy in the so-called “war on terror”
and make it easier for federal agencies to ignore the Endangered
By Gilbert Garcia
When it comes to Julian Castro's mayoral ambitions, the question hasn't been "if" but "when," as in "When will he make it official?"
The former councilman, who lost a hotly contested mayoral contest to Phil Hardberger in 2005, looks to be a clear front-runner in next year's race to succeed Hardberger. He'll officially declare his candidacy on Sunday, December 7, at San Pedro Park (1315 San Pedro) at 1:30 p.m. Castro announced the event by sending out invitations to 390 Facebook friends, and so far 47 of his pals have confirmed that they'll be there. But don't look for Diane Cibrian in the front row.
R.G. Griffing, editor of the San Antonio Lightning, confirmed persistent rumors today that our local Hearst-owned daily would be cutting jobs again this year to compensate for declining revenues. Read the leaked memo to Express-News employees here. Griffing told the Current he confirmed the document's authenticity with E-N publisher Tom Stephenson -- the first time Stephenson's taken his call, he says. (The Current has a call in to Stephenson, too.) In the meantime, we're pleased to have correctly decoded Editor Bob Rivard's self-congratulatory Sunday editorial as damage control.
All needling aside, it's not good news to hear that our daily's newsroom may be suffering more cuts -- absent signs that the blogosphere is taking up original reporting en masse, we still need our ground scribes, here and across the way.
The footchase is over, disentangling into beery memory. A catalog of stupid comments I likely made or thought as I struggled to come to grips with the orchestrated chaos of AGUA’s Third Annual Tinfoil Hat Party are likewise being pushbroomed into obsolescence. And it’s sad.
Had I to do it all over again I would have brought each of these champion’s of aquifer protection a token of my appreciation: A TVP Swedish meatball or origami whistling duck. Thankfully, it’s never too late to reach within, into the tinfoil of our souls, and extend a grateful “attaboy/girl.”
You too can get to know the AGUA-bots and bring them your special, individually aportioned sentiments any day of the year. Tinfoil is not required, just darn sexy.
See for yourself:
To paraphrase the Beastie Boys: My name's Jeremy Martin, I've got a license to kill (a press pass anyway), I think you know what time it is — it's time to get ill. As in Ill Prospekt, the keyboard driven noise-rockers we'll be reviewing for this week's Live & Local feature. The band plays Saturday, November 15 at GIG (2803 N. St. Mary's) Tickets are $3 for all ages, and the doors open at 10 p.m. Come on out, and take your own notes right along with me. After all, you can't bitch about my coverage of the concert if you weren't there. (OK, you can, and quite often do, but isn't it more fun when you can cite real-life examples of how I've screwed up?) Can't wait to see you there!
by Gilbert Garcia and Jeremy Martin
Looking to throw up at a rock concert for a reason not related to alcohol? Look no further than the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon which places bands sporadically throughout a 26-plus mile course. The marathon’s sold out, but for those of you running, we’d like to offer a short list of bands you won’t want to run past quite so quickly. Leave your iPod charging and jog to the beat of live music for a change. You can also rest easy knowing that if and when your heart explodes, several local and regional musicians will be on hand to see it happen. If you’re really lucky, Current videographer Jeff Turner will catch it on tape and you’ll live on in the hearts and minds of YouTubers everywhere in 15 minutes of posthumous fame. Rock ‘n’ roll baby!
Los #3 Dinners: Butthole Surfers singer Gibby Haynes doesn’t have a lot of good things to say about the early ‘80s San Antonio music scene that provided his band its earliest gigs, but he fondly remembers Los #2 Dinners. More than 25 years later, they’ve evolved into Los #3 Dinners, but they remain the quintessential SA rock band, with their tales of aimless late nights cruising the streets and seeking out drive-thru liquor stores. They’ll provide a perfect, late-stage (18.8 miles) adrenaline rush for runners when they pass by Mission Road and Espada Dam.
The Krayolas: Dave Marsh, Ben Fong-Torres, Alejandro Escovedo, and Steve Van Zandt can’t all be wrong. They’re all united in their appreciation for the Krayolas, power-pop teen heroes of the ‘70s who’ve re-emerged as mature, melodic, middle-aged rockers of the aughts. They’ll bring their chiming guitars and brotherly harmonies to the marathon finish line at the Alamodome’s Lot C.
Texas Renegades: You don’t win the 2008 Texas Music Award for Live Band of the Year without a pretty impressive live show, probably. To be honest I’m not entirely sure what the Texas Music Awards are, but it sounds pretty impressive, right? Texas Renegades also sound impressive, providing just the sort of frat-daddy county/western swing vibe you demand to two-step to after a brisk 12.6-mile jog. Listen for them at the corner of Bowie Street and Market, assuming you can hear anything above all that wheezing you’ll be doing.
Sons of Sancho: This inventive pop-rock foursome boasts a large catalog of quick, catchy, instantly accessible songs full of handclaps and hooks. Their diet punk-rock with a drop of reggae practically promises an enjoyable show, even after you’ve been running for 13 damn miles. Just remember that when you reach the intersection at Mission Road and Sayers you’re almost halfway done, and try to let the soothing sounds of the Sons distract you from the fact that we’re all slumped on the couch watching football and drinking beer.
You must have clean energy.
Whether you get it from 'myco-diesel'-excreting mushrooms, or sun spot-blemished solar, or micro-turbines, is your choice.
But it goes like this: The International Energy Administration issued one scary forecast this week that we need four more Saudi Arabia's to protect us against a global energy supply crunch. That's crunch with a capital C-O-L-L-A-P-S-E. Not having such extra Saudi Arabias handy, we're forced away from oil.
Coal? Now, the Supremes last year ruled carbon dioxide must be governed as a pollutant. Your dear old EPA has coyly resisted that verdict.
Meanwhile, the bailout bill (little-known fact alert!) actually put a price on carbon ($20 per ton) that will help kickstart the impossible-sounding (and possibily truly impossible) cleaning of coal.
As you may have noticed, I gave up bitching about faux-alt 210sa's "Wardrobe Warrior" feature almost a year ago. I thought I'd use my nonexistent free time more productively -- e.g. train my super-smart mini-dachshund to ring a little bell when he needs to take a whiz.
And as it happens, the occasion of today's rant is not the Wardrobe Warrior (which continues to accost perfectly lovely but average-looking people at the mall to ask them about their sunglasses or their sparkly flip-flops) but a severe case of what I have to assume is sheer obtuseness.
1. Last month, the Express-News, which is owned by Hearst, endorsed John McCain for president. Shortly thereafter, Editor Bob Rivard penned an apologia of sorts in which he essentially said, look, R.G. Griffing's right, we are liberals (contextually) and we would have endorsed Barack Obama -- using our thoughtful, thorough, deeply ethical endorsement process -- but at the E-N the publisher gets to anoint the presidential endorsee -- using ... who knows? -- a spinner from a first-edition version of the game of Life? Honestly, I might have respected Rivard more if he'd just kept a stiff upper lip about the whole sordid thing.
2. Barack Obama won the presidency by a respectable margin in the popular vote and by a landslide in the electoral college.
3. The Express-News published a commemorative election issue featuring a poster-size image of Obama looking (natch) presidential but also sexy (I mean, did you think that front-page NYT pic a while back showing him in a Daniel Craig/James Bond-style leather jacket was an accident? But I digress). Atonment, Atonement-style.
4. 210sa, which is also owned by Hearst and printed on the same presses as the McCain-endorsing Express-News, comes out with an Obama cover this week, that includes their logo, and -- hear Abbie Hoffman tossing in his grave -- is available as a T-shirt. For $10. (They also printed a generic Associated Press article about how meaningful this election was for young first-time voters.) They promise that if you buy a shirt they "won't use the money for Starbucks!" but they also don't specify any charity the proceeds might go to -- which means that if you buy a 210sa Obama T-shirt, you'll be putting money into the pockets of the paper that endorsed John McCain.
Irony isn't dead. It's shacked up with someone who gets it.
“Winning and Losing”
Letters (to the On the Street Penthouse Suite)
Last week was a torrent of communication. As usual, the flow died off in the week after. A few drops did push through…
#1 Chiapas Spurs Roundtable
From the travels and travails of local artist, The Once and Future Mantecatron, comes this excerpt.
“I'm going to form a Chiapas Spurs Roundtable with me, a dreadlocked blonde kid, an earnest, politically active local university student, an older Indian that sells braided belts and an aging hippy with a balding ponytail and a fanny pack. Transcript to follow.
Parker out two weeks. Ouch.”
More on the Spurs a bit later…
#2 - …
Nothing else much that’s fit to reprint. There was one letter describing a premonition that I had fathered a child with someone from film school, which is NOT true. It’s a difficult task when living in a different state.
The exchanges seemed to be more about the author than me the recipient, though in the exchanges I did unwantingly learn about “bris” which is some sort of Jewish circumcision ritual.
I too am trying to learn from this but it’s best to wash one’s hands and walk away.
Thursday night Artpace unveiled new work by three of it’s latest round of residents: local Richie Budd, Taryn Simon from NYC, and Lu Chunsheng from Shanghai.
The conversations were held downstairs due to the upstairs room being already in use. The space was tight, and though I thought we wouldn’t be able to find a way in, a friend showed me a back entrance from the patio, which just happened to be next to the booth for free drinks. Well played all around.
Overall, the conversations were more like an interview. In the past, questions seemed to be thrown around randomly to each artist without order, which had its pros and cons. This setup allowed each artist equal time, but somewhat restricted the flow of discussion and prohibited artists talking to each other. Obviously, no system is perfect.
I’ve noticed that the more conceptual artist residents often talk the most, and the most eloquently. I suppose the flipside to this is that without being able to describe their ideas they wouldn’t as easily have a career. There is no fault with this scenario. Art as an intellectual pursuit is fully legitimate in my mind.
Then there are the residents, often local, who build things, often huge in scope. These artists seem to talk less as the work more often speaks for itself.
In the conversation Budd kept his answers somewhat terse, which I thought was a good thing. His sculptures defy description to some degree, and though the curator wanted to pull out of him some sort of connection to behavioral science (or something close to that) I thought the less that was said the better. Science was already brought in earlier in the discussion, and though there is nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from outside influences (how could there be?) at a certain point if the influence dominates the work, then I feel it becomes less interesting.
Lu Chunsheng's work was the most difficult to pierce, but in some ways the easiest. The conversation with him was filled with language barriers and translation barriers. However, he did admit to not being able to talk to anyone and spending most of his time in his room by himself drawing. In that sense he felt the full San Antonio experience of loneliness though without enough time wasn't able to break through the city's initial rough outer edge.
Lu made a feature film that had no dialogue (that I noticed) which made the film more universal in a certain sense. However, art as a feature film is something I find slightly problematic because a feature film brings with it certain rigid expectations and parameters, most of which deals with narrative and time frames. As a feature the video felt slightly empty, but it was very impressive to see such a time consuming undertaking embraced. The videography was impressive, as was the overall vision. The end result seemed somewhere between the world of art and filmmaking. Video art often captivates people (perhaps too much at times) and so it is inevitable that the worlds would overlap.
It isn’t usual for a three-day stretch to include a residents opening at Artpace on a Thursday, a First Friday the next day, and a Second Saturday the day after that, but like a blue moon, that’s what happened.
I arrived late, as I had to first say goodbye to a couple of Spaniards who I had been showing around for the week as they filmed a documentary about Utopia and politics and something in between. The election figured into it somehow.
Meeting them at La Tuna, and seeing the genormous crowd reminded me that First Friday has gone beyond an event purely for art. In some ways the event mirrors the sprawl of the city, with Bluestar representing the artistic core of downtown, and then all the ancillary activities existing around its edge, in some ways, almost like it’s own suburbanization and sprawl.
Bluestar proper had lots of interesting artwork to observe. The crowds were thick, which slowed down the process. I went by Joan Grona, knowing that the gallery might be closing soon. The front room had safe but visually satisfying work to see.
The second room had provocative but less visually satisfying work to see. The two rooms were wholly different as far as I could tell. I would have appreciated the political pieces in the second room more if it didn’t feel like it was playing to the crowd. Like the Oliver Stone movie “W”, taking jabs at the current administration is still worthwhile but lacking any punch at this point. One is less likely to actually see Bush on television, as they are to see Josh Brolin in a trailer portraying Bush.
It feels wrong to criticize political art but to openly espouse only a single perspective, no matter what it may be, does seem to limit it. The emotion behind the work is completely legitimate, and is something that is felt by untold millions.
I didn’t have time to see the UTSA Space but the rest I saw that night at other galleries seemed fairly below average for those galleries and not worth writing about.
More Time For Rapping
With Ginobili already injured, Tony Parker’s recent ankle twist couldn’t have happened at a worst time. The Spurs struggled and looked to be without an identity. It was bad. Though newly acquired players George Hill and Roger Mason Jr. looked better than expected, the team as a whole looked dreadful.
After a lucky break in scheduling the team had a few days off and the coaching staff was able to adapt to the new reality and get the team back in character. So far the results have been one win and one loss but at least the team is playing defense. The offense is still stagnant. So, in that sense, maybe things are where they normally are?
As lone headband wearer and torchbearer to the spirit of Stephen Jackson, Desmond Farmer has only played a few minutes here and there in the last few games. Untested 12th men are archetypes for fans to project all sorts of hopes and frustrations. It seems odd that wearing a headband would seem to be a radical fashion statement but for the current team, this seems to be the case. However, in fairness, nice guy George Hill’s triceps tattoos have created little concern. We all know that tricep tattoos are a gateway to neck tattoos. I’m just saying.
Living in the Limelight
Saturday night Buttercup played at Limelight, and as has been more and more the case, Current employees have been attending musical events en masse. Soon, we might even carpool. Who knows?
There’s not too much to add about Buttercup because they’re already successful and well documented. I don’t think it’s possible for them to be any more comfortable performing on stage. Performance seems effortless. I think they could check their email between songs and still maintain a commanding presence.
A couple of On the Street readers demanded to have their foto taken. One of them claims to have written the original On the Street print edition years back but there could be some leg pulling.
Giving the people what they want.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued…
So I went to Wal-Mart to buy the latest issue of Vanity Fair,
which has Kate Winslet gracing the cover in nothing but a white coat
and stilettos. Not only is she the best actress to come out of the past
twenty years…she is an amazing classic beauty.
And yes, I am extremely excited for Kate’s reunion with Leo DiCaprio in the flick Revolutionary Road (and no, I don’t care how gay that makes me). She’s fucking amazing!
To my dismay, I soon found out that our friends at Wal-Mart disapprove of nudity, and thus aren’t selling the current Vanity Fair. ..even though Winslet’s nude persona on the cover isn’t nearly as sexual as last month’s Amy Adams flashback to the ’50s pin-up girl. Which led me to Borders to find this particular ‘zine, one that this generation truly should be reading…you know, instead of scanning “how to arouse your boyfriend’s five erogenous zones.” (Not that this particular topic isn’t something I read about, because I most certainly do.)
So, Wal-Mart, I just have to ask, who the fuck is a better role model for the ‘tween generation…Kate or Cosmo’s cover girl Jessica Simpson, who is currently shelved at your store? Seriously, you prefer to celebrate one who thinks tuna is chicken, that buffalos have wings, and submits that perfume can be edible and diminish those cravings during those long hours of servitude?
Is Jessica Simpson really preferable to a five-time Academy Award nominated actress who believes in speaking your mind and talks openly about her problems with weight and the media?
Fuck! I wish that answer were obvious (it is to me), but apparently the Walton family was a bigger fan of The Newlyweds on MTV than Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Maybe the Waltons should stick to retail sales and leave freedom of speech to the media. You know, last time I checked, it wasn’t Wal-Mart’s responsibility to censor music and mags-- it’s the parents who should be monitoring their children. No one asked you to help, you small-business-killing conglomerate!
Charles Bartlett, the District 3 rep on the Linear Creekway Parks Advisory Board looked beatific as he departed this morning's Park Segment Subcommittee meeting. Minutes earlier, the group -- which had been charged with the politically difficult task of recommending hike and bike trails between Josephine Street and Hildebrand Avenue for the ongoing San Antonio River Improvements project -- had agreed to support a plan that does not include the hotly contested leg known informally as the Avenue A route.
The proposal recommends developing the Avenue B route, which runs along the eastern edge of Brackenridge Golf Course and the Catalpa-Pershing drainage channel, as a hike-and-bike trail. The Park Segment's compromise also recommends preserving Avenue A as a dead-end trail, closing it to public automobile traffic and restoring the riparian habitat where it has been damaged by cars and illegal dumping. Also included is a pedestrian-only sidewalk on the south side of Mulberry between Red Oak and Avenue B, several new and improved trails in Brackenridge Park, and a suggestion that the City pursue long-term funding to restore Catalpa-Pershing to a natural stream bed.
The proposal represents at least a temporary victory for many residents of the adjacent River Road neighborhood and avid birders, who had objected loudly and repeatedly at public meetings and in emails and petitions to the Avenue A trail, which would channel foot traffic between the golf course and Highway 281 for a significant stretch before cutting along Craig Street on the edge of the River Road 'hood, across the San Antonio River, and up Avenue A to Mulberry.
Subcommittee member Richard Reed, who represents the River Road neighborhood, pressed the group to specifically reject routes 3 and 6, the legs that would follow Highway 281 and Craig Avenue, but Chair Marise McDermott headed him off at the pass. Speaking with the Current after the meeting, McDermott said that she doesn't consider the Avenue A route off the table forever. Subcommittee member and former Mayor Howard Peak, who has consistently championed the Avenue A route as crucial to creating a linked trail loop along both sides of the river, wasn't at this morning's meeting. (The meeting was sparsely attended in general, perhaps because it was held on a weekday morning, or perhaps because of a last-minute venue change from the Witte to the San Antonio River Authority.) But Bartlett is optimistic: he believes key people heard and understood the subcommittee's intention to leave Avenue A as a bird sanctuary disconnected from the main trail system.
Avenue A is currently a secluded, little-traveled, paved cul-de-sac that is nationally known as an urban oasis for migratory birds. Peak had championed the route because his vision for the completed 13-mile linear park from Hildebrand to Mission Espada is that it would hug the river itself as much as possible. But development of the Park Reach has been complicated by Brackenridge Golf Course, which occupies much of the territory between Josephine and Mulberry streets, and the River Road neighborhood, which is nestled between Woodlawn and Mulberry on the river's western bank. Peak had tried to entice opponents to the Avenue A route with promises to restrict automobile traffic on the cul-de-sac and restore the banks, which have been beaten down in areas by fishermen who drive up to the river's edge. But fears that the City's prediction of 150,000 users annually would be accurate, if not conservative, turned off birders and neighbors, and the Municipal Golf Association, which operates the course, insisted that a fence would need to be installed the entire length of the trail where it abutted the links -- which critics fear would be unsafe and unattractive. For the moment, anyhow, opponents to that plan were able to gain some amenities for Avenue A without making it part of the linked trail system.
At a public meeting last week, many people expressed frustration that the Avenue A route continued to be discussed even though the opposition seemed to outweigh its advocates, and Bartlett conceded that he was pleasantly surprised by today's resolution. "They talk about 'trust the process,'" he said. "But sometimes it's hard."
With the Museum Reach Subcommittee's agreement, the Park Segment's recommendations will be presented to the River Oversight Committee at its November 17 meeting. If the ROC signs off on it, it will proceed to architects Ford Powell & Carson for a feasibility study.
I am aware of the gap between my Day One post and my Day Two post, and I apologize to anybody who follows this blog for the delay. You see, on the Monday following Fun Fun Fun Fest I got caught up in another big event: Work Work Work Fest. But now that WWWF is over, I have the time to post some more photos and comments about last Sunday's lineup, which included Islands (above), St. Vincent, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and others. Honestly, Day Two was a much weaker lineup than Day One in my opinion. But here come some more photos (with commentary!) anyway — hope you enjoy.
Never heard The Annuals before this, and I kinda showed up toward the end of their set (mistaking them for Spinto Band, at first). But I liked what little I saw, and they definitely were playing to my interests with their multiple percussionists (two drumsets, with other members on tom-tom duty) and a cute, red-headed hipster-girl keyboardist. All they need to be my favorite band would be some really amazing songwriting.
I really liked Islands' newest disc, Arm's Way, and was looking forward to their mid-day slot. Honestly, I've got to say I was underwhelmed by the group in person, and I can't quite figure out why. Musically, they were fine — although "fine" isn't really much of an endorsement — but it's almost like Islands had no idea what to do in a festival setting, and some of the more esoteric stuff just came off as timid and unsure. Even the "rock" portions were a little blah, with the exception of "Creeper" and "Jaime Vous Voire Quitter" (although they really started dragging during the latter song's calypso section — it was teeth-gritting).
I guess I needed more from their live act then a bunch of barely-tolerable affectations and sounding more or less like their record. This is the second show were singer Nicholas Thorburn hasn't impressed — the first time involved The Unicorns, a club in London, and Karen O. But that's a story for another blog ...
Well, we can safely add Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, to my Indie-Rock Crush Hall of Fame* and we have none other than John Lennon to thank for it. Clark, a former member of both The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens's group, produces some ornate, pretty, and pleasingly vague pop music, but it was her cover of "Dig a Pony" that won me over. Lennon dismissed the tune as "garbage," and while I won't go that far, I will say that "Dig a Pony," as well as much of Let it Be, isn't the best stuff The Beatles put out. But Clark had fun with the weird, non-sequitur lyrics and really nailed the "all I want is you" chorus — displaying some pretty solid guitar chops as well. I also give points for not covering an obvious Fab Four tune. And, as if that wasn't enough, her album Marry Me is a reference to Arrested Development. (Swoons.)
MINUS THE BEAR
Here's another group that I have a gap in knowledge about. Minus the Bear just never made it onto my radar in a significant way, and "Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse" is the only song of their that I can ever remember hearing. Whether you want to chalk that up to a bad memory or the fact that their songs aren't very memorable is up to you. To me they sound a little too much like Incubus, with less DJ-ing. I know they're well-respected, and they're pretty tight onstage, but they just don't do much for me. Although, frontman Jake Snider looks just like Alan Moore. So they can't be all bad.
CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was the festival closer (on Stage 1, anyway), but by the end of the weekend it was hard to get that excited about them. I was never a huge fan, although I like some of their songs, particularly "Is This Love," "Satan Said Dance," and "Some Loud Thunder." Singer Alec Ounsworth is indeed as nasal-sounding as he is on record, but it didn't grate as much as I thought it might. If this portion of the report sounds rather dull, I have to chalk it up to me having to recall the emotions I felt at the show; in this case, it was mild indifference. Fun Fun Fun Fest was pretty fun, overall — despite the dust (and there ended being a lot, not unlike ACL's dastardly dust plague), crowds, and an OK, occasionally brilliant lineup. They've got the market cornered on smallish, cool-weather festivals, and they should keep it from getting to ACL-level proportions, if only so music-loving photographers like myself can stay in the photo pit even after the band's third song.
*IRCHoF includes Joanna Newsom, Regina Spektor, Leslie Feist, Jenny Lewis, Emily Haines ... um, the violinist from Arcade Fire ... I should probably stop now. Oh, wait — and Beck's guitarist!
Queque was so busy this week drawing a comparison between the proposed sale of Healy-Murphy Park (in which the City is drafting an RFP -- a request for offers to buy the park -- then holding a community meeting, and then issuing the RFP no matter what happens at the public meeting, just, you know, to see what comes in) and the Avenue A/B hike-and-bike trail debate (in which what appears to be a clear majority of concerned citizens has protested against the Avenue A route loudly and often since the beginning, but the City keeps developing the proposal anyway) -- and don't even get us started on the Main Plaza makeover, in which attendees at public meetings objected to the redo based on historical and traffic concerns, but the City ... well, you know what the City did.
Where were we? Right: Queque was so busy mulling over this potentially disturbing pattern of municipal behavior, s/he forgot to mention that the Park Segment Subcommittee will be meeting at 8:30am Thursday morning (aka tomorrow) at the Witte Museum. It'll be one of the last meetings before the subcommittee concludes its business in early December.
If you're anything like me, you're a trifle worried about Madonna's love life.
Also, it's possible that you mull her lovelife over in an effort to avoid fretting about your own.
LET'S MOVE ON.
And, you know, much as I've noticed (admiringly, mind you) la Ciccone's...shall we say, pronounced-tendoniness of recent years, I still felt it was tacky of her soon-to-be-ex...you know, what's-his-butt, with the limey caper films and the...um...whatever, to compare their marital relations (ew) to: “cuddling up to a piece of gristle."
To be fair, Madonna retorted with “there are lots of things about England that I love, but my husband isn’t one of them.”
It's so classy how they're protecting the kids, y'all!
Anywhoo, I was at a smallish party Saturday night, and among the topics of convo were:
* 9/11-era on-board-plane blowjobs
* the feasability/desirability of doing an entire issue of a certain alt weekly entirely on-location from Dubai (!) and
* who Madge should date next.
I have the perfect candidate, I think.
SHARON MOTHERFUCKING STONE, THAT'S WHO.
Think on it, San Anto!
(And by San Anto, I mean "those who are still reading this blog post," by whom I mean, me, my sister, a coupla show folk, our intern Ryan, *possibly* one other Current staffer and, claro, MADONNA.)
Some bullet points:
* they're roughly the same age
* both are blond by CHOICE
* they both enjoy adopting people, working out, and kissing ladies while being photographed
* they could act as, like, mentors to LiLo and Sam Ronson
* Madonna is apparently getting into directing films, and honey, SharSto could use the work
* other stuff, as needed.
Now, when I brought this up on Saturday, I casually let slip as to how SharSto's creepy, Komodo Dragon-bit newspaper-editor ex is suing her for custody, because she's trying to get one of their sons to get some kind of anti-sweat Foot Botox. I was gently rebuked by somebody who may or may not be a (non-creepy, non-Komodo dragon-bit) newspaper editor, who opined (like they do) that the ex SHOULD get custody, because subjecting a child to "botox, foot or otherwise" is plain crazy.
I mean, surely they'd put him to sleep, first.
At any rate: MADONNA plus SHARON STONE= tru luv 4eva.
Who's with me?
By Greg Harman
Alex Chilton once crooned, “High in the hills of the Him-a-layas; There lives a cool cat they call the Dalai Lama.” ‘Course long before as he first penned this oddity, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was living in neighboring India, long since forced from his country by invading Chinese bullets and batons.
In an at-times profound and moving performance Saturday, traveling Tibetan monks performed a variety of chants, debates, and dances, reminding a small group of us clustered in a stark Mennonite church on South St. Mary’s that the struggle for human rights continues.
An hour of chanting, tonal singing, and dance fell into hilarity as the Dance of the Snow Lion began unexpectedly at the back of church and raised the room to its feet in surprise. With much ear-twitching and jaw-bouncing, the revered representation of the snow lion blessed the audience with a distended blue ribbon reading simply “World Peace.”
With the Chinese-hosted Olympics now passed, the world’s attention has drifted from the struggle in Tibet. But with Obama’s presidential victory, there is also renewed optimism in the Tibetan community that the United States may at last put Tibet high on its foreign policy “to-do” list.
For information about Obama’s positive Tibet track-record and find out how you can lend your voice to the push for positive action in this remarkable land, visit Students for a Free Tibet.
And enjoy the dance.
Fun Fun Fun Fest is ACL's upstart little brother — and it should always stay that way, no matter how big the acts playing their stages get. And this year, they brought some pretty big acts. The National, Deerhoof, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Bad Brains, Dead Milkmen, Atmosphere, Octopus Project, Bishop Allen ... this year's lineup has eclipsed previous years by a mile.
As a venue, Waterloo Park is a smaller, more rustic version of Zilker, and the organizers have come up with an ingenious way to minimize the wait between sets: Split one big stage into two stages, and have the next band set up during the current band's performance. Less wait, less walking, and more music? You had me at "Fun Fun Fun."
I had never heard of Bishop Allen before seeing them live — I even thought that Bishop Allen was the name of the singer (it's not, it's Justin Rice — but it's still confusing, like people who call think Darius Rucker's name is "Hootie"). I haven't seen Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist yet, despite my affection for Kat Dennings (and Michael Cera ... sigh), but apparently Bishop Allen features on the film's soundtrack and even makes an appearance in the film. Listening to their set, I can see why: with xylophones, ukuleles, and twee, afro-pop influenced rhythms, they'd be the perfect accompaniment to a whimsical journey through New York.
THE OCTOPUS PROJECT
The Octopus Project is an Austin-based instrumental crew, and the hometown band definitely got some love from the hometown audience. They specialize in vocal-less, spacey grooves that aren't straight up electronica, too weird to be pop, and to square to be hip-hop. If anything, they sound like indie-quirkiness incarnate, down to the matching ties, onstage dancing "ghosts," and Yvonne Lambert's haircut. I'm not a big fan of repetitive, occasionally hook-less pop music, but there's plenty to distract from the occasional lack of melody, and the group obviously knows how to play their instruments and twiddle knobs furiously. They're blowing up on a national stage, and hopefully the attention gives them a chance to focus their abilities into a sharp, quirky point.
... AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD
I've never been a huge Trail of Dead fan, and I wasn't really sold on them after seeing them live, so I don't really have a whole lot to say about these guys other than I find them wholly uninteresting. But they drew a big crowd, and everybody else seemed to be feeling it, so I must conclude that the problem is me. But somehow, I'm totally OK with that.
Deerhoof really should have been the headliners, because they completely, utterly destroyed the competition. It wasn't even close. After a brief soundcheck, phenomenal drummer Greg Saunier (playing an unusual kit made up of a snare drum, large crash with rivets, short bass drum, and enormous, obviously self-created 20-inch hi-hats) kicked off the poppy "Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back" from their newest, Offend Maggie. On the record, that song is kind of annoying. But seeing singer Satomi Matsuzaki dancing around with a huge tiger-head mask kind of makes the whole thing work somehow.
As a group, Deerhoof is unparalleled in their ability to react to one another — all four members are side-by-side at the front of the stage, including Saunier on drums, reinforcing the idea that they are musical equals. Interestingly, both John Dieterich and Ed Rodriguez play the exact same guitar, and the way their lines twist and loop, it's sometimes tough to tell who is playing what. The music sounded like it came from a huge, electric entity (with a tiny, tiny voice).
I was completely stunned at how good they were, and I need to see them again. I chatted with Rodriguez backstage, and he said they were playing in El Paso the next night. I told him they should come to San Antonio, and he replied that he had some family here. So get on it, music promoters. Deerhoof in 2009!
Nothing was going right for The National at Fun Fun Fun Fest. Atmosphere ran a little long, and their soundcheck ended up going even longer (you know things are dire when you hear stage managers shouting "Do your job!" to sound guys). But the time-crunch didn't seem to phaze Matt Berninger and his group — they've been doing extensive touring in support of their sublime 2007 album, Boxer, and last night was their final show for a while. So they went a little bit nuts.
Ripping through their set (which included "All the Wine," one of my favorite songs off Alligator!), the band which I'd been describing as being more a "slow burn" live surprised me — they were more like a fuse slowly burning down until the dynamite exploded. By the end of the set, Berninger had thrown 2 drum sticks, 2 timpani mallets, and a mic stand rod at the audience (he faked us out by pretending to launch a guitar as well). As the last show in a long, grueling string of shows, The National earned a little catharsis.
Hey! You got a concert preview in my forced, unfunny joke! You got a labored reference to an old Reese's candy commercial in my concert preview! Look for me at Limelight Saturday night, where I'll be reviewing the show by local scene stalwart's Buttercup. This power-pop quartet is, much like myself, an SA fan favorite despite a rumored tendency to build you up just to let you down and consistent refusal to call when they say they will. Locals the Cartographers and Blowing Trees will also perform — three great acts that will most likely taste great together (metaphorically speaking, anyway). You can read those bands' Live & Local reviews here and here, respectively, BTW. Tickets are $5, and I promise not to make any peanut-butter-cup jokes at the show.
I am proud to work for the San Antonio Current, not least of which because we provide la gente with the kind of intellectually-rigorous, investigative and/or politically-charged journalism that an intelligent and socially-conscious readership deserves--nay, requires.
Could we lighten it up a little, bitches? Or, more to the point, may I? We can't all be about nucular shenanigans, candidate-analysis and earnest, serious-type shit.
Sometimes I like to talk about waxing, bad TV, sex toys, and gettin' drunk. Also, I hate the fucking didgeridoo with an unbridled passion and care not who knows it. I currently find myself in the grips of a hairdo-transitional-decision-phase of Kafkaesque proportions. Furthermore, I think the new king of Bhutan is foxy.
None of this matters much, but I'm planning to address all these issues and more in the coming...you know, years, or whatever.
An observation of little import what I"ve made here recently:
San Antonio is a heavily military town. You may already be aware of this. We got an army base called Fort Sam Houston , and, what, three Air Force bases--Lackland, Brooks, and Randolph. This means we have lots of soldiers and airmen about the place. These gentlemen tend to be youthful, very buff, and sport very short hair-dos. They are also neatly dressed and groomed, though sometimes they have tattoos.
There is a similar-looking coterie of menfolk in New York City, the city I recently left to come home, here. Specifically, you find these similarly buff and short-haired fellows in Chelsea. Usually these are not airmen or soldiers, but cute gay dudes.
This is confusing to me! Not in a deep existential way, you understand, but in a fast, first-glance-at-somebody-in-the-post-office kind of way. My brain undergoes a quick either-or.
Who'm I lookin' at here: Gym-Queen Top, or Staff Sergeant?
Who's with me?
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is not welcome in South Texas. In fact, there will be celebrations when he leaves office with his Boss Bush.
Still, Southwest Workers' Union border coordinator Ruben Solis predicts it may still be difficult to work with institutional Democrats in Congress to stop the Border Wall now under construction.
That means people need to keep pushing.
"The new administration is a transfer of the national agenda. So our point today is to begin to mold that national agenda as it refers to the border, border militarization, and immigrant rights," Solis said during a small protest outside the U.S. Federal Building in San Antonio today.
"So we want to send a clear message to Washington: We didn’t just go and ... give (our vote) away. We own that vote. We have a responsibility to that vote and to the people we elected.
"Just because you voted, doesn’t mean you go home and sit down and wait for somebody to do it for you.”
As the electoral votes start rolling down and Texas lilts towardMcCain while the nation veers (207-89) Obama's way, the chips and salsa is being dished to hundreds of looselyassembled UTSA students out in northwest Bexar County are engaging inlap-sitting and celery-stalk munching.
So what is Derek Trimm, chair of UTSA’s political action committee onstudent government did go with the one-percenters and vote LibertarianBob Barr, the students gathered for free food and raucous electionupdates are solid for Obama.
At least the vocal ones are. There’s a few shy squeaky kids pumpingMcCain in a decidedly understated way.
Education. Change. Future.
While it's might tempting to dig a big shovel into the latest pile of angry, accusatory, gettin-personal emails over the Park Reach Hike & Bike Trail, I'm going to force myself to stick to the comparatively dry facts here (read: you'll find the dish in next week's Queque).
As the Queque reported a couple of months ago, a Park Reach subcommittee was appointed to the task of reconciling the contrary claims of birders, River Road residents, and Brackenridge Golf Course stewards over the trail's route, which will connect Brackenridge Park's spruced-up environs with the rest of the San Antonio River improvements to the south.
A nigh-legendary coalition of River Road residents has objected to what's known as the Avenue A route -- which would skirt the western edge of the golf course before cutting across the southern boundary of their neighborhood, crossing the river and heading up Avenue to Mulberry and the park -- in no small part because they don't want outsiders traipsing into their quirky, sheltered enclave. Avid birders, who note that Avenue, small and neglected though it is, is a nationally recognized layover for befeathered migratory species, are united in their concern that trail construction and heavier foot traffic could ruin the avian habitat. The Municipal Golf Association, which operates the recently remade golf course, says it doesn't care which path or paths is/are approved as long as they don't cross the course.
Months of negotiations, and now the subcommittee meetings, have forged a proposed compromise that will be presented at a public meeting Monday, November 10: A "primitive" crushed-granite foot path along the Avenue A route, and a paved bike trail up Avenue B, which runs along the Eastern edge of the course. The proposal includes some items that have long been desired by area residents, including a sidewalk along the south side of Mulberry between Red Oak and Avenue B, and street crossings on Mulberry, a narrow, busy road that can be unexpectedly treacherous to navigate on foot or bike.
But many River Road denizens are still unhappy with the details that have trickled out. Resident Bill Sibley sent a copy of a petition this week with 40-odd signatures opposing the Avenue A route to City Manager Sheryl Sculley. They remain concerned that a trail along the golf-course's western back nine, paralleling Highway 281 and partially within the highway's right-of-way, will be unattractive and dangerous -- and since MGA's insistence that the trail be bounded by a fence on the golf-course side hasn't been resolved, hikers could be trapped between two fences in that stretch.
MGA head Reid Meyers has already compromised on the trail's placement, which he originally insisted would have to fall outside the golf-course property (it will now mostly follow the fence line, half on the course, half off), but in a conversation yesterday with the Current, he was holding firm on the fence.
His influential fellow subcommittee members -- Witte President Marise McDermott and former Mayor and Father of the Linear River Park Howard Peak -- sound positively uninterested in a second fence for the golf course, however, and in the end it may come down to money. This portion of the river improvements is funded with approximately $12 million in funds from this past spring's visitor-tax extension. Following Monday's meeting and public-input session, the plans go to the reality stage, said McDermott, where architects figure out what's feasible and how much it will cost.
The Park Segment Subcommittee of the Museum Reach presents its recommendations for a trail system from Josephine Street through Brackenridge to Hildebrand Ave.
6pm Mon, Nov 10
More info: Jim Doersam, SA River Authority: (210) 302-3618
“The Paper Within the Paper Though Technically Without the Actual Paper”
Letters (to the On the Street Penthouse Suite)
#1 Change I Can Believe In
Election night brought a flurry of ecstatic (drunken?) text messages signaling the changing of the guard.
To recount (I know…):
From Jessica aka Lady G: “OBAMANOS!”
From former Current scribe/rabble rouser Keli: “Just+Like+That! Boom! President Obama!”
From Potter Belmar Jason: “Woo Hoo!!!”
From Dr. Duy Tran (aka Saigon Pimp): “Yes we did!”
From someone I don’t know in the 716: “Obamanos!”
From Lady Tiana: “Fuck Yeah.” (Without an exclamation point it should be noted. Bold. Assured. Almost as she’s been here before.)
I need to get on some sort of text message plan because my bill keeps adding up. Those texts right there, that’s $1.20 in measly U.S. change. Can you believe it? I’m just saying…
#2 Manifesto a La Nacion
From the Artist Formerly Known as Mantecatron:
“Notice "San Luis Potosí, Octubre 5 de 1910" at the lower right corner. I'm curious as to where this was printed. San Antonio? ¿Quien sabe?”
#3 Flushing Him Out
An excerpt from an extended exchange between myself and friend of OTS Rain about flushing out the thief who stole his bike and perhaps has revealed himself on Craigslist…
“I know some people out on that side of town. I'm going to call around about him tomorrow. I don't think he thinks very much. He's a tweeker for sure.”
That could be a great opening line from a Dashiel Hammet novel.
#4 I Make Love to Pressure
A great t-shirt design for former Spur, sharp shooting myth and legend, Stephen Jackson.
Which prompted friend of OTS Menudo T. Williams to write:
“That's a great shirt, but what's with the bucked teeth. Doesn't Nathaniel (of Free Darko) know he got his grille redone over the offseason?”
It seems Stephen Jackson had major dental surgery over the off-season to repair the damage done from his famous altercation outside an Indiannapolis strip club a few years back when got run over by a car and shot a few rounds into the air and, so it seems, got his mouth all jacked up.
#5 Wasilla Hillbillies Looting Neiman Marcus from Coast to Coast
Michael in Austin sends in interesting election related gems.
“One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.....”
As well as:
“Africa is a country?”
And I can't get over the reporter criticizing Palin's intelligence by questioning her "knowledgeability". When did that become a word. I thought the noun form of the word knowledge was...knowledge.
Downtown Highlife (Rides Again)
Somehow I have no access to fotos from the ride (which is probably a good thing for various reasons.
T-shirts were silk screened in the parking lot at Bluestar before hand. The line was constant. Carlos the Carpenter and I worked non-stop like we were fry cooks at a late night diner and the bars just got out. Luckily, Justin from Fl!ght later gave us some tips which sped up the process. Basically – use more ink.
Updates to follow if any images surface but I’m not counting on it.
55 (Spurs Micro-Management: Read at Your Own Risk)
The Spurs have had a rough start. In some ways it’s been a triumph of youth over age, which on the Spurs team isn’t actually a good thing as we’re still “old as dirt.”
In the off-season the Front Office re-signed 35 year old Michael Finley and similarly aged power forward Kurt Thomas, both to contracts for two years that pay them at least two million a year. Yikes.
Perhaps while RC Buford was an assistant at the University of Kansas back in the 80s he discovered forgotten secrets from the Kansas Ponce de Leon, the goat gland doctor, Dr. Brinkley. (hyper link)
But let’s go with the assumption that is not the case. After a few games it seems like “what were they thinking.” Finley has been generally bad for a while now so bringing him back at all was highly questionable. Kurt Thomas was brought in at the end of last season and it was assumed he just needed time to learn the System and get familiar with people. Yes, he did miss too much of pre-season with an injury (not a great beginning) but his play has been very slow, inefficient and earth-bound.
Who has been playing well? In addition to Tim Duncan (possible D&D player…and it didn’t even hurt to write that), our best players have been the most athletic – Tony Parker, Roger Mason, and Walter Hill. If I recall, in addition to Tim, they have the highest PER on the team (PER being a nerd stat used to determine a player’s overall contribution per the minutes they play.)
Assuming this theory is pointing in the right direction, I have hopes that our young French center named Ian, once he returns, can make a substantial contribution, or at least something, especially on defense. If he does pick up the slack that does alter the identity of the team considerably: an athletic Center, an MVP Power Forward, mediocre Small Forwards (a weak spot), a very effective Shooting Guard (Roger Mason) and a superstar PG (Parker). That still makes us very thin but if our new sharp shooting power forward named Tolliver can at least make shots, and new young gunner named Farmer can get playing time over Finley and hit a good % of his shots, we should at least be a competitive .500 team until Manu returns. We'll see.
Tony Parker's 55 point outburst the other night was at least a good sign.
Oil and Vinegar
First the “Oil” (whatever that means)…
What an impressive showing to see Obama succeed. While many feared some sort of shenanigans from one of the states in contention (and isn’t is odd that in years past the discrepancies with exit polls have been in highly contested states, and not say Delaware or Idaho or some other random state people generally don’t think of except when discussing grape soda or potatoes. Let’s be honest.)
For those who thought America could never elect a black President, this was a moment of vindication. Even Jesse Jackson, perhaps not a personal fan of Obama, was seen getting choked up from the emotion of the moment.
It was a crushing victory that emotionally sends the GOP running to the center of the country geographically and to the far right politically. Moderate republicans (which were almost extinct circa 2001-2005) have tried to slip towards Obama or have been thrown out of office. The hard liners seem to be minority and the GOP is in disarray. And the flap over the Wasilia Hillbillie seems to indicate an internal battle within the GOP over the future of the party. I can only imagine some want to cut all ties with Palin right now and let the slate be wiped clean. Others, possibly see Palin as the folksy female Reagan that can help lead the GOP back to the White House.
Back to the “oil”…
Even McCain’s farewell speech was actually pretty good. Without even focusing on the words he spoke, it was a paradox to see him not resemble a zombie for the first time in months and to actually speak and act like a normal human being.
I can only guess without cheap drama coaches around him telling him how to talk and stand, he was back to his normal self. (It should be noted, Al Gore seemed to have the same lame coaches for the 2000 election. Could he have been any more stiff back then, while at the same time trying not to act stiff? What a disaster that was.) Anyway, it was odd to see McCain seem the most compelling in the darkest moment of his defeat. No longer was he crumpled over like someone’s annoying grandfather, made worse by trying to act way too nice and genuine and safe, and anything but ANGRY. One would think being genuine is the first step towards being genuine, but evidently not in the political process.
Now the “Vinegar”…
Though it was a crushing defeat, I have to discount that notion because of the electoral college. The electoral college remains an impediment to true representation and in good faith it would be wrong to bemoan it in one scenario and then look the other way when it helps serve my purpose.
The last I looked Obama had 49 million votes to McCain’s 47 million votes. To me that doesn’t seem like a crushing defeat. So, what does that tell us?
Racism is neither dead nor getting stronger. It’s basically where it was a few weeks ago. Nothing changed overnight, and if we can somehow remember as far back as 3 weeks ago, we will recall the hateful language that was reported being used by McCain supporters at various rallies.
Also, more vinegar…
…though the voters want change, the changes they want aren’t clearly defined. For some, it’s everything. For others, it’s more efficiency. Obama was never really tested from the Left at all during the campaign. He was tested from the Right, but that only seemed to pull him further to the right to assuage them.
The accusations against Obama from the Right are silly, but if they were even halfway true I think it would bode well for actual change to occur. In other words, Obama doesn’t associate with radicals, he isn’t a black nationalist, he isn’t a socialist. But the hint is there and as odd as it sounds, it is these moments that give him some unpredictability, and in my opinion, hope.
Predictability is not what we need for the next four years. More of the same is not going to inspire the huge swell of support (fanbase?) that has developed over this campaign.
Also, I can only hope that the Left holds Obama to the fire over specific issues and doesn’t let him slide on everything in the same way the Right did for Bush, even when it was against their best interests (not to mention the obvious interests of the majority of the population.)
I more and more wonder if politics is nothing but pure melodrama which allows us to project all our dislikes on a villain and project all our desires onto the hero. Yeah, that pretty much sounds like politics. What I’m hoping for is the ambiguous grey tones of 70s era cinema, in which issues weren’t forced into simple polar opposites. In other words again, if liberals take too much joy in seeing the Right fail, they’ll be blind to what is, or more importantly, ISN’T going on in government that actually should be happening.
I’m sure conservatives had no greater joy than in seeing liberals complain about Bush without any recourse over the last 8 years, and especially during the low (high?) points of 2001-2005.
Anyway, to mix it all together, things are moving in a good direction emotionally even as institutions are falling down all around us. Hopefully, we’ll be able to replace them with something new and appropriate. Okay, gotta go and buy some stock in windtricity.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued…
“The greatest danger facing us is ourselves and our irrational fear of the unknown. But there is no such thing as the unknown. There are only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood.” – Capt. James T. Kirk
This quote from the Star Trek poster in the cafeteria at Brackenridge High served as a symbolic reminder of the questions in the air during the public meeting held by EPA Region 6 last night in order to explain their cleanup plan for the controversial asbestos contamination at the Big Tex Grain site. While much about the extent of the contamination is now known, it's the looming specter of what might remain hidden that continues to concern citizens who live near the contaminated area.
The EPA’s Eric Delgado met with the public to explain what he said was EPA’s final cleanup plan to rid the Big Tex site of its asbestos contamination. Delgado, the on-scene coordinator, said the EPA’s investigation of the site had revealed contamination at 26 soil sampling grids, two buildings and seven of eleven “activity based sampling” locations.
“My mandate to the removal team is we’re going to have zero visible dust,” said Delgado of the digging and removal process set to begin on November 10. The grids adjacent to those slated for removal will also be tested during the removal, said Delgado, which could result in upwards of 63 grids being potentially contaminated. Buildings 21 and 23 will undergo Indoor Clearance Sampling once they have been specially washed.
While the EPA’s plan sounds comprehensive, a number of citizens who live near the affected area remain concerned.
“W.R. Grace covered up their tracks real well,” said Santiago Escobedo of the notorious company responsible for bringing in the asbestos from their Libby, Montana facility. “What else went on there that we don’t know about?”
Delgado tried to reassure folks, saying “You guys gotta remember vermiculite was a commodity. They didn’t want to waste it, they wanted to sell it.” Delgado said the best- case cleanup scenario would involve just the 26 identified grids, 1100 cubic yards of soil and completion before Thanksgiving. A worst-case scenario would involve all 63 grids, 2,750 cubic yards and a mid-December finish.
“We’ll be working seven days a week, sun up to sun down,” said Delgado. While Big Tex is not technically a Superfund site, Delgado said EPA is cleaning it up with “Superfund authority”. He estimated the cleanup costs at roughly half a million dollars and said that EPA is footing the tab while the legal system continues to try and sort out who the PRP is (Party Responsible for Polluting). A community relations trailer will be located at the EPA command post at Blue Star to answer any questions that may arise.
For more info, see:
A deeply felt blog post from current Current intern Xavier Perez:
My president is a minority. My president came from a single-parent home. My president worked hard and sacrificed for his education. My president looks like the America I really know. For the first time I am proud to be American, proud of my country, and proud of my president.
Some would criticize me, that as a veteran I should have always been proud of my country. Well I am not only a soldier but I am also a minority who came from poverty and a single-parent home. I do not describe these conditions as obstacles but rather as a result of past generations and the institutional structure of our nation. Realizing these truths at a young age created bitterness and resentment toward my country that had allowed discriminations against cultures to be cultivated. Resentment was clearly aimed at the status quo but also toward my parent's generation, who, in my opinion, gave up the fight for equality and settled for middle-class jobs, or any job for that matter. Today I understand that my parent's fight set the stage for yesterday's victory of President Elect Barack Obama.
I laid to a rest a big portion of my resentment last night as I watched the WORLD erupt with the election of the first minority to the American Presidency. Watching old civil-rights leaders cry, I couldn't help but whisper "thank you". Without those civil-rights leaders, I would not be able to sit here at this moment and spell out these words for all to read. Without leaders like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin L. King; Barack Obama would not have had the opportunity to inspire the world to change and believe again. I finally believe that our country and our people are changing in ways I thought impossible 24 hours ago. While many are trying to hold on to that America of the 20th century, there is an even greater generation on the rise that is going to build this country for the next century. Last night I saw the beginnings of that new century and the end of the regimes that have ruled our country for the past 28 years. (Reagans, Bushes, Clintons) I can only hope this is the last time I hear those last names with president elect attached. I would love to see the last name Bush next to the word "jailed," but only one dream at a time.
Proud to be American!
-- Xavier Perez
In my search to find a good place to watch history unfold, I visited Congressman Charlie Gonzalez's election party at Good Time Charlie's on Broadway.
The choice of venue was particularly apt, as Gonzalez and his supporters (as well as most Democrats everywhere) were indeed having a very good time. Gonzalez trounced Republican opponent Robert Litoff with a whopping 72-percent of the vote (Litoff managed 25-percent) and remains our District 20 Rep.
Gonzalez was a gracious host — only occasionally stepping out to make appearances at other Dem parties — but the event rolled on in his absence as supporters shook hands, took pictures, and consumed copious amounts of beer, nachos, and fried mushrooms. As KSAT 12 announced the results, a loud clanging could periodically be heard over the packed house: A supporter excitedly rang a bell each time Obama picked up a state, proving the old adage true: Every time a bell rings, a transformative candidate adds more electoral votes to his tally. Thanks for the good time, Charlie.
By Gilbert Garcia
Here's a chronological recap of my election night:
6:42 p.m. -- I arrive at Sunset Station for the Term Limits Extension party. Things are a bit dreary. Only 11 people are here, but among them is former Councilwoman Bonnie Conner, who chats with friends. Elisa Chan, already campaigning for the District 9 council seat, talks about her eagerness to bring more international business to SA, and expresses guarded optimism about the term-limits initiative: "I think we've got a chance," she says. "People on the North Side are pretty conservative and I'm hearing people there say they support it."
7:25 p.m. -- I make my way to the Obama party at El Tropicano Riverwalk. CNN shows Obama clinging to a 52% to 48% lead over McCain in Florida. An elderly man near the food line blurts out: "We need that! I don't give a shit about Kentucky!"
7:39 p.m. -- CNN calls Pennsylvania for Obama, an announcement that's met with the first shrieks of pure joy I've heard tonight.
7:49 p.m. The Show Band kicks off their first set with "We Are Family." Meanwhile, David Gergen pontificates on the two big screens that flank the stage. The place is starting to fill up.
8:01 p.m. -- CNN calls New York, Minnesota, and Wisconsin for Obama. When they show McCain taking Wyoming and North Dakota, the announcement is greeted with a chorus of boos, but they're almost boos of pity, nothing like the boos of anger/vengeance heard so often at Texas Democrats' parties.
8:15 p.m. -- The Show Band, like Obama, tries to put a dent in the Solid South. They unleash "The Boot Scoot Boogie," and a line-dancing Rainbow Coalition fills the ballroom floor.
8:30 p.m. -- Doug Bineham, local attorney and impassioned Obama supporter, tells me he spent the day doing "voter-protection work" for Alamobama. He was encouraged by the fact that very few irregularities were reported. Two small concerns: Universal City took down campaign signs outside a voting center, and the town of Buda briefly did the same.
8:34 p.m. -- CNN calls Ohio for Obama, the first big red-to-blue swipe of the night. The crowd roars while the band cranks out Little Richard's "Lucille."
8:35 p.m. -- Gretchen Lewis is giddy. Lewis, an Alamobama mainstay, spent the last few days helping to organize campaign trips to swing states. She devoted her election day to making phone calls to voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Missouri. She says the reactions she received made her optimistic about the first two states, but she thinks McCain will take Missouri. Lewis gets emotional talking about her 83-year-old mother in Pennsylvania, who worked on her first-ever campaign, making calls on behalf of Obama. She says when Pennsylvania went to Obama, she called her mother and said, "Thanks Mom!"
8:56 p.m. -- State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer leads the crowd in a chant of "Yes We Can!" He announces that Obama is running slightly ahead of McCain in SA; that Ciro Rodriguez is winning his Congressional race; and that the Dems are doing well on a county-wide basis.
9:21 p.m. -- Texas falls into the McCain column. The loudest boos of the night, so far.
9:45 p.m. -- CNN's Anderson Cooper is interviewing a hologram of will.i.am, and it looks profoundly strange, but we don't know whether they're exchanging recipes or breaking down the Electoral College, because The Show Band is loudly rocking "Brick House."
10 p.m. -- CNN calls California for Obama. He's now the President-Elect. The ballroom now feels like a mini-Grant Park. It's just like New Year's Eve, particularly the part where tipsy strangers start hugging each other and humming old disco tunes.
10:10 p.m. -- Council colleagues Phil Cortez and Delicia Herrera sport big grins as they clap along with "Celebration." Cortez says, "We're watching the American Dream." Herrera tells me that the term-limits initiative passed and they suggest that all the Council's collective work paid off in the voting booth.
10:19 p.m. -- McCain concedes with surprising grace, considering that only a few weeks ago he called Obama "that one." The Obama crowd loves the speech until McCain mentions Sarah Palin, which sends a thunderous round of boos at the TV screen.
10:58 p.m. -- Obama, accompanied by his wife Michelle and their two young daughters, takes the stage at Chicago's Grant Park, and announces that he'll accept this presidency thing.
His speech rivals his 2004 convention speech (still his finest political hour) for eloquence, inspiration, and bi-partisan high-mindedness. WIthout ever directly mentioning his race, he alludes to the election's historic nature in a variety of ways. He invokes MLK's final speech with this promise: "We as a people will get there." He connects himself to Lincoln, the emancipator from Obama's state of Illinois, with this olive branch to his foes: "Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection."
Most artfully, he tells the story of the last century as seen by Ann Nixon Cooper, a 106-year-old African-American woman from Atlanta, who cast her ballot today. He uses her story to illustrate how much this historic night means, and then strikes a classic Reagan chord by asking, if his own daughters are blessed to live as long as Cooper, what changes will they see: "This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time."
Given the magnitude of his triumph, Obama looks fairly somber as he waves to the crowd. It could be weariness, thoughts about his grandmother (who died Monday) or, most likely, that these times are too difficult for him to get caught up in wild celebrating. Also, he might generate some good will with the GOP if he doesn't appear to be rubbing their defeated noses in the dirt.
11:25 p.m. -- As Obama backers file out of the ballroom, you can hear car horns honking up and down Lexington Avenue. If you didn't know better, you'd think the Spurs had just won another title.
You've got your RSS feeds streaming in news from Kentucky and Vermont and Twitter action piping from polling locations you're never heard of.
Monster fears and bad conjecture creep with every click of the remote. The screens start to mist over. Or are those tears of anxiety piling up?
We'll be popping out and about, checking up with area who-dos, but you can kick back and enjoy a musical slideshow from Dia de los Muertos Celebration WAY BACK on Saturday.
It's a little rough and a little late, but I wanted to put it out there for you who enjoyed ithe event and (more so) for those who missed this amazing evening at Galeria Tonantzin/Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.
For what it's worth... Thanks to all those that made it possible!
A slow voter turnout on Election Day, is that possible? Well I guess if you factor in high early-voter turnout, plus my tour of polling sites went from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Could explain the low volume of voters at the polls I visited. (I am going back at 5 p.m.)
Although critics predicted the highest voter turnout rate in the nation's history, San Antonio voter turnout on Election Day so far has been below par. Lanier High School at 12:30 p.m. was pacing itself with one new voter every couple of minutes but no lines as many predicted. Perhaps low turnout is due to the awesome campaign by Bexar County Elections and (don't mind if we toot our own horn) local media’s notifying the public of early voting and voter registration requirements.
Many people took advantage of early voting because of previous election-cycle disasters in which people were found waiting in line well past closing time. Others polling sites like those voting at Memorial Public Library (arrival time 3:15 p.m.) failed to see long lines as well. Even a security guard, who wished not to be mentioned by name, said that since he arrived at noon had been shocked to see the slow but steady voter turnout.
Whatever the reason for the turtle pace, I believe the true reason is many people are still at work during the daytime hours. So why don't we have a day off to vote? Perhaps this is how many people of the working class fail to have their voice heard.
Come on, Saytown has a day off for the BATTLE OF FLOWERS PARADE and we can't give people the day off to vote for THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNTIED STATES? I wonder why this is? Employers should at least provide people the opportunity to work half the day to ensure they vote. People do indeed take some time off on Election Day; often times giving up wages or vacation time to cast their vote. (Poll TAX??)
Now as I return to my polling tour, I wonder how many of those standing in line to vote have just been released from work. Yet the irony is that Americans have the right to demand that our elected officials require by law that employers provide paid time for their employees to vote. Just like we have the right to demand a secure and more efficient way to vote.
Lets get real here if I can bank online, trade stocks online, and order pizza online I should be able to vote online. (Just a suggestion)
Whether it's voting online or requiring an Election Holiday, America is in desperate need of some fundamental changes to the way we do business. Well it’s back to business and monitoring these polls to see if working people will be waiting in long lines to cast their vote for change.
Ba-Rock the Vote!
By Gilbert Garcia
Fred Barnes is either a genius or a delusional homer for the Republican cause. Having observed Barnes, the editor of the Weekly Standard, in action for the last several years, I've got my own hunch, but we'll let voters make the call.
Today's Huffington Post features a list of 27 political pundits, offering their predictions on today's election. Twenty-six of them (including conservative stalwarts such as Karl Rove and Alex Castellanos) predict a Barack Obama victory, with most of them guessing that the Illinois senator will wind up with well over 300 electoral votes.
Barnes is the lone exception, predicting that John McCain will win by a 286-252 final count. Interestingly, Barnes does not go on a comparable limb for Congressional Republicans, with his prognostication pointing toward big Democratic majorities in both houses.
Over the last two months, Barnes has been unabashed in his adoration for Sarah Palin, in the face of mounting objections over her qualifications. He may be living in a state of denial or his own private Idaho, but if he's right, Barnes will look like the lonely sportswriter who picked the Jets to beat the Colts back in Super Bowl III.
As crazy as it sounds, ESPN and other sports outlets have been reporting that tonight's Monday Night Football game between the Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers could determine the outcome of tomorrow's election.
Since the 1940 Presidential Election, if the Redskins win their last game before the election, the party that won the popular vote last election wins the current one. If the Redskins lose, then the party that lost the popular vote wins the election.
Tonight the Redskins (6-2) host the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2). In the 2004 Election, the Republican Incumbent George W. Bush won the popular vote. Therefore, McCain Supporters will be cheering for the Redskins and Obama Supporters the Steelers.
The Redskins are 10-8 in those games, but have lost three of the last four. The last time the Redskins won was in 1996, with a 31-16 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Bill Clinton was reelected president.
For the conspiracy minded, this might cause one to recall a classic episode of The X-Files television series entitled "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man". Aired during the series' fourth season, the secret government villain known as the Cigarette-Smoking Man is revealed to hold a Christmas Eve 1991 meeting during which such topics as which team would win the Super Bowl are to be decided:
LYDON: I'm working on next month's Oscar nominations. Any preference?
CIGARETTE-SMOKING MAN: I couldn't care less. What I don't want to see is the Bills winning the Super Bowl. As long as I'm alive, that doesn't happen.
JONES: That'll be tough, sir. Buffalo wants it bad.
CIGARETTE-SMOKING MAN: So did the Soviets in '80.
JONES: What're you saying? You rigged the Olympic hockey game?
CIGARETTE-SMOKING MAN: What's the matter? Don't you believe in miracles?
LYDON: The boss gave the Russian goaltender a pre-game good luck pat on the back... unseen novocaine needle on a bogus wedding ring. Goalie's a little slow on the stick side... four-three, home team.
It all sounds quite far-fetched of course until one considers this streak involving Redskins games in election years (cue X-Files theme music.)
ESPN is also scheduled to air interviews with both John McCain and Barack Obama at halftime of the game, conducted by ESPN's Chris Berman...
Republicans are welcome to submit their own Top 5, but for now here's MoveOn.org's "Top 5 Reasons to Vote in Texas":
Click here for information about where to vote, what to bring, and when polls close:
OurVoteLive.org is a site developed by the good folks at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco that tracks reports of voter complaints all across the country and is sortable by state and county.
As of 11:30 a.m. today, Texas had 214 complaints. 103 of them had to do with registration problems. For the complete list and county map, see:
Bexar County had 58 inquiries and 15 problems, see:
Voters experiencing problems of any kind are encouraged not to leave their polling station and to immediately report those problems to the site's toll free voter assistance hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE. The hotline is staffed by legal experts that can help people determine their voting rights.