...because if you've got no plans, or even if you do, consider showing up at Artpace for a unique and deep day-long art event.
It starts with what they've billed as an "Artist Talk" with renowned installation artist Jim Hodges, whose large-scale works "Dont' Be Afraid" and "look and see" have expanded the contemporary-art notions of monuments and memorials.
It's not actually a talk, though; we're led to believe it's at east partially a video.
I went to Artpace this afternoon to talk to Hodges about the event, which is a participatory discussion and curation experience (I actually do not know what to call it) by Hodges of the work of his friend, the brilliant and controversial Felix Gonzales-Torres (November 26, 1957-January 9, 1996), whose statewide billboard installation is ongoing through December. (I wrote a little about it here.)
After the talk/video/discussion/performace, there will be a bus tour of the current flock of Gonzales-Torres billboards, which change both in location and in image every month. But don't take it from me...
Here's a sort of invitation by Jim Hodges, himself:
Hope to see y'all there!
Are you a filmmaker under the age of 21? Then your young, impressionable eyes probably shouldn't be looking at our site — we use swear words and question authority. But since you're here, why not read the rules for entering your film for consideration in the Josiah Festival. It's a chance for you to get citywide exposure and win valuable prizes. Check out the rules below and go to the Urban-15 site for more information. And don't tell your mom where you learned the word "poopballs."
Congratulations to D.W. March, who'll be receiving the Nuked edition of ICP's latest Bang Pow Boom for the essay reprinted, unedited, below.
When I Heard the Learn’d Juggalo
The Insane Clown Posse song “Miracles” can be seen as a modern interpretation of Walt Whitman’s classic poem “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”. Each can be seen on the surface as railing against intellect. However each can also be appreciated as something deeper, an appreciation for the natural beauty of our environment.
While Whitman may have been an edgy poet for his time, he does not use profanity to make his point. Instead, “[H]ow soon unaccountable I became tired and sick” represents his frustration at trying to examine nature from an intellectual standpoint. Shaggy 2 Dope of the Insane Clown Posse is much more succinct, claiming “Y'all motherfuckers lying, and getting me pissed.” It would seem that in Shaggy’s case, ignorance is not bliss. In any case, the sentiment is the same: trying to examine nature from a classroom point of view is boring to say the least.
What is most important to the authors of these verses is the raw beauty of nature, which can only be experienced directly. In this sense, aspects of nature that we take for granted can be viewed as miracles. As Shaggy says “Water, fire, air and dirt… Fucking magnets, how do they work?” These are prosaic elements that we don’t think twice about most days (excepting perhaps fire if in large quantity and/or in close proximity to anything we value) but seen individually each contains a multitude of wonders. Whitman describes the moist night air as being “mystical”, turning a soggy evening into a mystery of the imagination.
It is easy to mistake the sentiment of these verses for simple anti-intellectualism. Whitman was accused of such by no less than Isaac Asimov, who responded to the poem as it if was a personal attack. Asimov even used his essay Science and Beauty to counterattack as if there was something deeply wrong with Whitman’s desire to go outside and experience nature rather than learning about it in a classroom. As for the Insane Clown Posse, they will happily go out of their way to offend anyone, intellectuals being no exception. For example, in Assassins Shaggy describes terrorizing a teacher that gave him bad grades, concluding with “I knew she was a snitch so I cut out her tongue.” But it should be remembered in both cases that these verses are not intended to be an attack on science or intellect but rather an appreciation of the inexplicable, miraculous beauty of nature.
Among the cast of reasons people start puncturing their back yards with garden tools and laying out raised beds of manure to launch a garden, one of the most obvious yet overlooked is the supremacy of taste.
Sylvie Shurgot moved from Germany to San Antonio in 1996. A child of Belguim’s rich local markets, she was immediately stung by the lack of fresh produce to be had. “Living here was like a wasteland. It was like, ‘Is that a tomato?’” she said with a laugh.
A co-worker at St. Mary’s University turned the mathematics professor on to some of the local growers he frequented around the city’s fringe, but she had a heck of a time tracking down many of the other foodstuffs she sought. For that reason, she started cataloguing every grower she could find in a 40-mile radius, with 70-mile-distant Fredericksburg thrown in for those pungent peaches.
Today, tracking down a reliable source of greens, beans, and meats, is as simple as clicking on San Antonio Foodshed, the result of her labors.
But her work didn’t stop there. Shugart started gardening in her backyard and later joined a group of East Side residents in creating a community garden this year, funded in part by the seemingly suddenly ubiquitous Green Spaces Alliance.
Last week, she gave me a tour of that Dignowity Hill garden and spoke with me a bit about her reasons for joining the effort, which have come to include the social dynamic the garden facilitated.
“We really get to meet neighbors that we wouldn’t otherwise meet. We work together, plan together,” she said, before pretending to scan the yard for help with some physically taxing chore. “Who’s got big muscles over there?”
I’ll be looking this week and next at the range of reasons San Antonians are digging in the dirt. I hope you find it useful. Feel free to pass along any thoughts.
Draw Muhammad Day
2010! This idea was originally
started by Seattle artist Molly Norris after the censorship that has
been happened on South Park this year. Norris created a cartoon that
called for May 20th to be 'Everybody Draw Muhammad Day'. Norris has pulled the idea of Draw Muhammad Day,
but I wish to continue it on. At the time of this writing, I do not know
of any place to centrally collect images of Muhammad.
Consider this that place. I will pool all
the images and on the morning of May 20, 2010, will publish an image
gallery containing all appropriate images for the world to see. Take your time and think long and hard about how
you want to depict Muhammad. The best entries will be featured in a
separate gallery at the top of the page. There are some ground rules for
the depiction of Muhammad however. Keep
it clean. This is about proving that this is America and, in America,
we don't back down when threatned. Showing the
world that we're not afraid to depict Muhammad is the point, not use it
for your personal/political/religious message. Please
make sure your name/initials/signature is inscribed in the image. Since
these will be posted for anyone to freely view or keep, I think it's
important that we keep credit where credit is due. This is, however,
totally up to you. Just don't get mad if you didn't put your initials in
an image and you see it floating around the internet. Additionaly, when you submit your image for the
gallery, you're releasing the creator and maintainer of this site from
any legal or financial responsibility that arises from your submission
of an image to this
site. Unfortunately, this page is pretty
bare right now. I wanted to get it up and running. Over the next couple
of weeks, leading up to May 20th, I will be posting more information on
why this is an important cause to uptake, what's wrong with depictions
of Muhammad and other miscellaneous information. Until then, feel free to submit your photos to email@example.com
Speaking of satire and freedom of speech, don't forget about Political Art Month!
Unrelated note: I have no idea why those sentences are underlined.
Mohammad Face Appears On Tortillas
Related: Next they came for KFC.
That's Gene Elder, folks: Always on the job.
He also sent this idea:
May 20, 2010 is Everyone Draw Mohammed Day. Stand up for Freedom of Speech and offend some Islamofascists today!
Draw Muhammad Day 2010!
This idea was originally started by Seattle artist Molly Norris after the censorship that has been happened on South Park this year. Norris created a cartoon that called for May 20th to be 'Everybody Draw Muhammad Day'.
Norris has pulled the idea of Draw Muhammad Day, but I wish to continue it on. At the time of this writing, I do not know of any place to centrally collect images of Muhammad. Consider this that place.
I will pool all the images and on the morning of May 20, 2010, will publish an image gallery containing all appropriate images for the world to see.
Take your time and think long and hard about how you want to depict Muhammad. The best entries will be featured in a separate gallery at the top of the page. There are some ground rules for the depiction of Muhammad however.
Keep it clean. This is about proving that this is America and, in America, we don't back down when threatned. Showing the world that we're not afraid to depict Muhammad is the point, not use it for your personal/political/religious message.
Please make sure your name/initials/signature is inscribed in the image. Since these will be posted for anyone to freely view or keep, I think it's important that we keep credit where credit is due. This is, however, totally up to you. Just don't get mad if you didn't put your initials in an image and you see it floating around the internet.
Additionaly, when you submit your image for the gallery, you're releasing the creator and maintainer of this site from any legal or financial responsibility that arises from your submission of an image to this site.
Unfortunately, this page is pretty bare right now. I wanted to get it up and running. Over the next couple of weeks, leading up to May 20th, I will be posting more information on why this is an important cause to uptake, what's wrong with depictions of Muhammad and other miscellaneous information.
Until then, feel free to submit your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
So I caught one of the final curtains of Curtains this weekend at the San Pedro Playhouse; this murder-mystery musical is obviously B-list Kander and Ebb, with a genial, if undistinguished, score and an old-fashioned script by Rupert Holmes. On Broadway, the evening seemed to fly by, carried by the immense charm of David Hyde Pierce; at the Playhouse, however, Curtains clocked in at nearly three hours, including a few glacially-paced book scenes. As is so often the case with the SPP’s mainstage musicals, there were a few standout performances but also some real clunkers; kudos especially to Elise Lopez for taking a wisp of a tune —“Thinking of Him”— and transforming it into nearly into an art-song.
I’ve never understood why the SPP continues to produce huge, dance-driven shows: Such material is clearly not the SPP’s forte. (Members of the men’s chorus were still making missteps on closing weekend: not a good sign.) But Rose Kennedy and Laura Briseño knocked themselves out on the costumes — particularly for the women’s chorus — and Vernon Push’s cartoony set fit the concept of the evening well.
The Mainstage’s sole non-musical offering this year was to be the upcoming farce Boeing, Boeing; this has been replaced by Larry Shue’s The Nerd. Remember when the Mainstage used to do Tennessee Williams and Tony Kushner? ‘Tis curtains for them, it seems.
--Tom Jenkins, Current Theater Critic
Modeling of a worst-case meltdown and explosion at the South Texas Project nuclear complex in Matagorda County performed in 1982 suggested 18,000 area residents would die, followed by 4,000 additional cases of cancer within 30 years.
Strangely, when just such as accident occurred in 1986 in northern Ukraine, the United Nation’s World Health Organization, International Atomic Energy Agency, and dozens of other international agencies put the death toll at about 50. Thousands of others may ultimately be sickened and die from the fallout, the contingent allowed, but the numbers were far below what experts had been expecting.
As the UN's figures were coming out, regional doctors in the Ukraine were complaining of being “overwhelmed” by new cancers. Nikolai Omelyanets, deputy head of the Ukrainian National Commission for Radiation Protection, suggested a few years ago that 500,000 might have already died from the accident.
Now, a report published in the New York Academy of Sciences drawing on more than 5,000 studies — many of which had not been translated out of Russian until recently — suggests the number of deaths attributable to Chernobyl may have already approached a million.
“The conclusions reached by this report call into question the ability or the willingness of the WHO to undertake reliable health studies,” Cynthia Folkers, radiation and health specialist with Beyond Nuclear in a prepared release. “It points to the agency’s conflict of interest in its working relationship with the IAEA whose mandate is to expand nuclear energy use while the WHO objective is to promote and protect health. It is impossible to investigate health consequences from radiation with any integrity while at the same time promoting nuclear power.”
With the Chernobyl fallout so far from settled, it seems strange that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission would do anything to trouble public perception of risk at U.S. nuke plants. Yet the NRC is doing just that by fighting off requests for documents showing how the South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company would respond to a fire or explosion at the plant — even after being ordered to release a redacted version of those documents by its own Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.
The three groups pushing for the release of that information — the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition, Public Citizen and the South Texas Association for Responsible Energy — filed a legal brief with the NRC last month after the NRC appealed the judgment of the ASLB. The applicants (who could not be reached this morning) say the agency’s secrecy is at odds with President Barack Obama’s stated commitment to creating more transparency in government.
Meanwhile, Victor Dricks, spokesperson for the NRC, which has been fighting release of the document for six months, said that if the ASLB had ordered the document released it will be released. (We're waiting for a follow-up call explaining the apparent contradiction.*)
Why is all this important? Because sometime this summer $10 billion in federal funds are expected to flow to one of three competing projects. And STP's expansion hinges on receiving those loan guarantees, NRG Energy officials have said.
Last week, George Vanderheyden, CEO of UniStar Nuclear Energy, told Energy & Environment that what had been considered a three-way contest had boiled down to a two-way race between STP in Matagorda County and UniStar’s proposed plants at Calvert Cliffs, Maryland.
“It is really is down to the two of us,” Vanderheyden said. “These two plants are neck and neck.”
DOE spokesperson Ebony Meeks could not comment on which plants were racking up the most points in the competition and downplayed talk of a decision in a matter of weeks.
“We could easily run into months, from my understanding,” Meeks told the Current.
Shoot. By that time, we’re certain to have this whole 1,000,000-versus-50 death toll thing figured out, and the nuclear lions will be lying down with the disclosure-requiring Obama lambs. Or was that “lying to?”
It appears the planned expansion of the South Texas Project nuclear facility is close to getting the necessary federal loan guarantees that would put the two-reactor project back on track.
San Antonio hit the freeze button on payments into the project â€” and socked 50-50 partner NRG Energy with a $32 billion lawsuit â€” after it came to light that unofficial cost estimates from Toshiba had grown from $8.5 billion to $12.7 billion before financing costs for the project.
NRG CEO David Crane said other people's money, including limited federal loans, was the key to making STP happen.
As reported in Forbes late last year:
[Crane is] first seeking loan guarantees from the Department of Energy and the Japanese government (read: taxpayers) that would cover 80% of the project. That leaves $2 billion. Then there are a pair of partners -- the city of San Antonio, which will end up with 40% of the equity, and another partner to be named by the end of this year, which will take another 20%.
After the first nuclear loan guarantee went to Southern Company back in February, it appears the federal government's next payment may be on the way to South Texas.
E&E Publishing reported last week:
The competition for a second multibillion-dollar federal loan guarantee for nuclear projects has narrowed to two contenders, the Calvert Cliffs 3 reactor in southern Maryland and South Texas Project 3 and 4, southwest of Houston, said George Vanderheyden, CEO of UniStar Nuclear Energy, the U.S.-French venture that hopes to build the Maryland plant.
Vanderheyden confirmed speculation in the industry, saying, "it is really is down to the two of us. These two plants are neck and neck," as the projects' developers negotiate separately with the Energy Department over terms of a possible construction cost guarantee.
It is clear only one will win, he added. DOE's award of $8.3 billion in guarantees to Southern Co. and its partners in February for the construction of two new units at Southern's Vogtle plant in Georgia leaves about $10 billion remaining in the loan program approved by Congress in 2005. That's not enough for both Calvert Cliffs 3 and the Texas projects.
Nor would there be funds for a fourth contender, SCANA Corp.
and Santee Cooper, which have applied for a loan guarantee for the proposed
V.C. Summer 2 and 3 reactors in South Carolina. This bid reportedly trails the
other two in DOE's evaluation process.
There’s an old NBA playoff adage that says that a
post-season series doesn’t truly begin until a visiting team secures a victory
on their opponents home court. The San Antonio Spurs effectively arrived in the
playoffs in Game 2 of their first round series with a convincing win over the
The series continues tonight in
Aside from the rejuvenation of Spurs icon Manu Ginobili, the
continued emergence of sophomore guard George Hill was the silver lining to a
tenuous regular-season campaign. For his efforts, Hill tied with Oklahoma City
Thunder phenom Kevin Durant for second place in the bid to capture the NBA’s
Most Improved Player Award. Although
There are some restaurants you expect to hold wine dinners; it’s a class-distinction thing. And then there are others you might be forgiven for thinking whaaaa? about. Pam’s Patio Kitchen is one of those. But having attended such an event there a couple of years ago, I can attest to the fact that they do a very good job indeed. Food, wine, the pairing of the two….all that. Pam’s has just announced an upcoming dinner featuring the wines of Roar from The Franscionis, Gary and Rosella, also co-own Gary’s vineyard with Gary Pisoni of Pisoni Vineyard, and Texas-connected Adam and Dianna Lee of Siduri, known for their pinots, collaborate in the making of the Roar wines produced from that lot. (The name Roar comes from the sound of the relentless coastal winds that scour the highlands, as well as the more-than-babbling sound of mountain creeks that also contribute to the acoustic environment.) So far, Pam’s has announced that they will have the 2008 Roar Gary’s Vineyard, along with four other wines and five courses to match. The cost of the dinner will be $75. For information and reservations, call the restaurant at 492-1359.
There are some restaurants you expect to hold wine dinners; it’s a class-distinction thing. And then there are others you might be forgiven for thinking whaaaa? about. Pam’s Patio Kitchen is one of those. But having attended such an event there a couple of years ago, I can attest to the fact that they do a very good job indeed. Food, wine, the pairing of the two….all that.
Pam’s has just announced an upcoming dinner featuring the wines of Roar from
The Franscionis, Gary and Rosella, also co-own Gary’s vineyard with Gary Pisoni of Pisoni Vineyard, and Texas-connected Adam and Dianna Lee of Siduri, known for their pinots, collaborate in the making of the Roar wines produced from that lot. (The name Roar comes from the sound of the relentless coastal winds that scour the highlands, as well as the more-than-babbling sound of mountain creeks that also contribute to the acoustic environment.) So far, Pam’s has announced that they will have the 2008 Roar Gary’s Vineyard, along with four other wines and five courses to match.
The cost of the dinner will be $75. For information and reservations, call the restaurant at 492-1359.
Iceland is in the news these days—perhaps not in a way they might prefer, but any news is good news (to a degree) for a country that normally flies totally under the radar. Something air traffic hasn’t been able to do, of course.
It was coincidental, I swear, that a friend with Icelandic lineage happened to proffer a bottle of Icelandic vodka last week, right at the peak of the volcanic ash incident. Reyka claims volcanic rock filtration, so I thought I’d get, by extension, an indirect, and less toxic, feeling for the current crisis. Eau d’ash here we come.
Not so. There was a nice, clean minerality, and a little underlying citrus, but no fire and brimstone. Probably just as well, as sulfur doesn’t present itself as an especially appealing aromatic component. One review, instead, suggests that “a delightful nose of sweet rose and fresh-cut hay fills the senses with clarity.” Didn’t get that either. But given that the water used is tested to have zero impurities and that the distillery is powered by geothermal energy, Reyka (it means steam or smoke) is worth trying for its eco-imprint, or lack of it, alone.
There are also some totally funky videos (they remind me on Monty Python)to be found on the utterly odd website, www.reyka.com--where, curiously, there is no information on the vodka itself that I could unearth. You get a deadpan girl in “cool” Icelandic sweater, some cute stories on the various decorative capsules that cap the bottles, a recipe for a martini (six parts chilled vodka, period), and a sign to click to make a volcano erupt. Oops.
Do google (is it lower case when a verb?) Reyka and check out the product through other sources, however. And if you come across the grain-based product locally, why not give it a try? Pay attention to the capsule, too; it matters if you get a dragon, a puffin, a narwhal, a seal….
The tamal: it’s not just for the # 2 Dinner any more.
If proof were needed, the 3rd annual Tamalada Throw-Down, held at The Spire at Sunset Station last week, would surely supply it in spades. Eight chefs vied for honors in three categories: Traditional, Contemporary and Sweet. The competition was fierce. And the winner was, ta dah,
Yes, Lisa Wong and her chef Letty Canizales walked away with the top spot in each category with a tamal de chicharron en salsa verde, a tamal vegetariano de calabaza y queso, and a tamal dulce de piña y nueces. Let this be a battle cry to all the rest of you: a gauntlet—or at least a shuck--has been tossed for next year’s event.
And there are some likely contenders. Second place in traditional went to Chef Chuck Large at the RK group for his chicken mole rendition, and third was garnered by Chef/owner Mike Behrend of Green Vegetarian Cuisine--stepping out of his comfort zone with a chorizo version.
Behrend also tied for third in the contemporary category with an extremely pretty tamal verde wrapped in collard greens and sauced with a vibrant tomato sauce. It would have scored higher if the greens had been more tender, making for an easier-to-eat package. Second place here went to Chef Mario Perez of the San Antonio Food Bank Community Kitchen (this is encouraging for those who contribute—or should contribute—to the Food Bank) for a green-tinted tamal making use of Soyrizo, a chorizo substitute. Perez also had some student help, by the way. The other third-place tie was awarded to Chef Kris Martinez of Aldaco’s at Sunset Station.
Winners in the sweet category were the San Antonio Food Bank, again, and Chef Cindy Olivares of Flour Power Café for a candied jalapeño tamal. A tamal that didn’t win, but that bears mention, was the contemporary submission by Chef Mike Romano of Mike’s in the Village in Bulverde, a favorite haunt of some wine worthies of my acquaintance. Garnished with an imposing, whole crawfish, his tamal made use of the mud bug in many ways, and only a too-loose texture kept it from scoring higher.
Not only are tamales not just for combination plates any more, but they’re also moving out of the Mexican mainstream.
Adventures in Coverland - Vol. 2 was released yesterday.
So I caught BODY AWARENESS at the Hyde Park Theater this weekend in Austin, a recent play by oh-so-hot Annie Baker ("Circle Mirror Transformation"). I worried at first the premise seemed a bit cutesy: that a liberal college in New England declares an oh-so-politically-correct "Body Awareness Week" and various complications ensue. But BODY AWARENESS is more clever--and certainly more moving--than that, as a lesbian couple affiliated with the college attempts to raise a son afflicted with Asperger Syndrome. Thus the titular "body awareness" plays out in all sorts of senses, both in those hyper-sensitive to the language of the body (e.g. feminist professors) and those who are total oblivious (e.g. those afflicted with Asperger Syndrome). It's a difficult balancing act, but it works: Baker has an ear for awkwardness, and awkward encounters are the stuff of drama. Moreover, director Ken Webster has assembled an excellent cast of four, and has put every inch of Hyde Park's small stage to
good use. (A sort of bonus: given the close and cramped quarters of the audience's seating, trust me, you'll be aware of bodies all evening.)
Saturday night's performance was sold out, so if you're heading up to Austin, be sure to get tickets in advance.
Your man in the theatrical trenches,
Tom Jenkins, Current Theater Critic
Having grown up in gatherer/gardener mode, I’m more than ready to espouse the locavore creed—all the while scoffing just a tad at the come-lately creds of many of the movement’s movers and shakers. Nevertheless, I dutifully try to make it to the
Despite the rain—or, hoping for a reduced crowd, because of it—I managed to get there last Saturday. Many of the stands had been moved into the Full Goods dog-trot interior, but the produce vendors had been forced to tent it in the rain. In sympathy for both of us, I bought Poteet strawberries, some shelled (thank you, Jesus) English peas, a beautiful bunch of red spring onions and a generous handful of spinach. The spinach awaits consummation.
The strawberries, contrary to expectations, but understandably because of the cool and rainy weather, were an extreme disappointment; they tasted watery and wan. The Mexi-Cal versions, currently available at HEB for half the price, were twice as good. I hate to say this, but just did. The peas, on the other hand, were crisp and faultlessly fresh. Here’s what I did with them.
I took one of the large spring onion bulbs and roughly chopped it. Tossing a knob (a little more than a tablespoon) of butter into a pan, I briefly sautéed the onion, adding a little freshly ground (it goes without saying) black pepper, and, later, a healthy sprig of fresh oregano from a pot on my patio and a scattering of kosher salt. I next added the peas and about a half a cup of chicken stock I just happened to have hanging around in my freezer. On went a lid. A few minutes later (keep checking), the peas were ready, and they were fantastic. Another knob of butter might have been added for more richness, but I didn’t. Less is sometimes more, though you didn’t hear that from me.
One way to unleash your inner wine wonk is to take a class, and, as it happens, Gabriel’s Superstore in The Vineyard on the dreaded (but admittedly happening) Loop 1604 has just the deal for you: free. The wine education classes for April and May have been announced, and the schedule, running from April 21 to May 26, includes such topics as Old and New World riesling, regional shiraz, and dry rosés. All have been visited to one degree or another by Omniboire, but, hey, we always have more to learn. (Considering our On the Rocks column, you might even find us at the aperitifs class on May 12.) According to
Confronted with someone wearing well the wisdom of a Jedi master, it might have been easy to say to Clive Coates, Master of Wine and all wines French, “Help me, Obi-Wine Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” I didn’t, though, as Coates was holding court at Saglimbeni Fine Wines last Saturday
Instead, I girded my loins and asked this question: “What would you say to a person wanting to begin an exploration of the wines of
Now, go back and to said shop and ask this question: “I liked ‘y’; what do you have that’s similar?” It might help to know that 2005 and 2006 are considered especially good vintages in Bordeaux—though the vintage thing is taking on less importance these days with improved (let’s hope not tricked-out) winemaking. 2007, he said, is also good but lighter. All, though, should be ready for drinking—remembering that we’re not talking the Cheval Blancs here. “With hundreds of years of winemaking [under their belts], the French have got it right by now,” he added.
Though it may be harder to find wines priced at an introductory level (okay, cheap) in, say,
We received a review copy of the latest ICP repackaging, Bang Pow Boom: Nuclear Edition, featuring the original version of BPB, plus a seven-track bonus disc containing stuff that was clearly too awesome and non-irradiated for the single-disc, non-nuclear version, and a "Video DVD" containing the stirring documentary "A Family Underground," and the Bicycle Thief of clown-make-up wearing-fake-MC music videos, "Miracles" (see above). For real, this is one of the best things I've seen on the internet in a long time. That shit'll shock your eyelids. And all of this can be yours, you lucky-ass juggalo.
All you've got to do is write an essay comparing this verse from the ICP song:
I see miracles all around me
Stop and look around, it's all astounding
Water, fire, air and dirt
Fucking magnets, how do they work?
And I don't wanna talk to a scientist
Y'all motherfuckers lying, and getting me pissed
To this poem by Walt Whitman:
When I heard the learn'd astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much
applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.
Easy, right? Like discussing the symbolism of fish in a barrel. (Also a miracle! How'd those slippery fuckers get in there, yo?)
In the case of a tie, the bonus round will require you to explain how miracles can happen in the universe when this video clearly disproves the existence of a benevolent god.*
Send your essays to email@example.com, or post them in the comments below.
*Note: I'm not really kidding about that. Don't click that link if you want to continue having faith in humanity.
I had brunch on Sunday with Gene Elder, artist, activist, and Director of the HAPPY Foundation LGBT historical archives.
We talked about the first Political Art Month, this July, which Gene initially conceptualized when San Antonio's Contemporary Art Month was moved from July to March. Sprouting from idea to rumor to full-blown concept, PAM has attracted supporters such as guerrilla artists the Yes Men, San Antonio poet Naomi Shihab Nye, and photographer Ansen Seale.
It's less a series of events than a proposed framework for DIY events and artworks. If you're on Gene's email list (e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added), you've likely already read about it.
Here's Gene on PAM and the nature of political protest — he also addresses the dilemma of the arts vs Fred Phelps, nutjob minister.
What is political art?
What would he like to see happen with PAM?
And would PAM be just a San Antonio event?
Interested in participating?
Well, just do it. It's an idea. Run with it.
Here's a snippet from an e-mail from Gene Elder with a link to a site where you can add yourself to a PAM calendar, even:
|I get emails from Saks 5th Avenue.
I admire their hustle in contacting me
as often as they do, since they're unlikely
to see any money from it. Mostly I just ogle the shoes.
I did buy a sweater on sale there once.
But I just got an email that, given the state of the economy (etc),
I felt was important to share with you.
|Saks Fifth Avenue Store
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+Offer valid with purchase of $150 or more through Monday, April 12, 2010 at 11:59 PM (ET). To redeem, select Standard shipping and enter promotional code: SHIPFREE2. Limit of two promo codes per order. Offer valid for Standard shipping only. Offer valid at saks.com only. Gift card purchases, gift wrap, taxes, and shipping cannot be applied towards the qualifying amount. Offer may be used when shipping to multiple addresses. Valid on shipments to U.S. addresses only. Not valid on international shipments. Offer not valid on Rush, Overnight, or Saturday delivery orders. Not valid in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH stores. Not valid on purchases of Gift cards. This offer is non-transferable.
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Let me just say this before starting: the singular form of tamales is tamal, not tamale. I realize that this is a hopeless cause and promise never (or at least infrequently) to mention it again.
So, multiple tamales are the subject of the third-annual event known as the Tamalada Throw-Down! (The actual title uses the also-correct upside-down exclamation point at the beginning of the phrase but I don’t know how to do that on mu keyboard.) This year, eight chefs will be competing for prizes (to be awarded by a panel of, ahem, “distinguished judges”) in traditional, contemporary and sweet categories. Lisa Wong, one of last year’s winners, will be returning to defend her title, and there are some new faces as well—Chefs Flor Marie Pozo of Picante Grill, Mike Behrend of Green Vegetarian Cuisine (we assume no lard in his entries), and Michael Romano of Mike’s in the Village (Bulverde) among them. The event takes place from 5:30-8:30 on Friday, April 16 at The Spire at Sunset Station,
But that’s not all: dedicated tamal shuckers will have yet another opportunity to consume a favorite food at Saturday’s TamaleFest SA (no comment) to be held at the Lone Star Pavilion at Sunset Station from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. This $5 general admission event will feature tamal-eating contests, live music, activities for kids and other food and drink concessions. Sponsors are Delicious Tamales, Bolner’s Fiesta Products and the San Antonio Restaurant Association, and a portion of proceeds goes to culinary and college scholarships. For information on both events, go to www.tamalefestsa.com.
Julio and Amalia Palmaz came from their native
The winery, built upon the remains of a long-fallow property established in the late 1800s, has garnered as many glowing reviews for its facility as it has for the wines. The underground, gravity-flow operation, hewn from living rock, has been compared to Star Wars and James Bond films for its futuristic appeal—though the notion of gravity flow to treat the grapes and young wines as gently as possible seems to be a timeless one. (It’s worth a look at the winery’s website, www.palmazvineyards.com for a more complete picture of both wines and winery.)
Amalia Palmaz, the winery’s president, is returning to
Well, not really. If the 600-plus page book I have, grandly entitled “An Encyclopedia of the Wines and Domaines of France”, is any indication, simple is not a word that leaps readily to mind in this context. But if there were anyone to get the juices flowing and the process of appreciation going, that would be British wine writer Clive Coates MW (the MW stands for Master of Wine), the book’s author.
Mr. Coates, a gentleman of impressive bearing and physical presence, would be imposing enough without his, er, encyclopedic knowledge, but add to that his numerous other books on French wines, his Chevalier de la Ordre du Mérite Agricole award from the French government, the years of publication of his own wine magazine, and the gentleman can be almost intimidating. My approach, I have to confess, is to let all the ignorance hang out there.
We will both have the opportunity to do just that on Saturday, April 17 from 1-4 p.m. at Saglimbeni Fine Wines where Mr. Coats will be holding court—along with signing books and dispensing vintage-worthy wisdom. This is the chance to ask about those moldering bottles of
As an aside, since neither you nor I can now take advantage, he is also hosting a sold-out dinner at the Fig Tree during his
The small locomotive engine, Number 4, came clanking, stumbling down from Selston--with seven full waggons. It appeared round the corner with loud threats of speed, but the colt that it startled from among the gorse, which still flickered indistinctly in the raw afternoon, outdistanced it at a canter. A woman, walking up the railway line to Underwood, drew back into the hedge, held her basket aside, and watched the footplate of the engine advancing. The trucks thumped heavily past, one by one, with slow inevitable movement, as she stood insignificantly trapped between the jolting black waggons and the hedge; then they curved away towards the coppice where the withered oak leaves dropped noiselessly, while the birds, pulling at the scarlet hips beside the track, made off into the dusk that had already crept into the spinney. In the open, the smoke from the engine sank and cleaved to the rough grass. The fields were dreary and forsaken, and in the marshy strip that led to the whimsey, a reedy pit-pond, the fowls had already abandoned their run among the alders, to roost in the tarred fowl-house. The pit-bank loomed up beyond the pond, flames like red sores licking its ashy sides, in the afternoon's stagnant light. Just beyond rose the tapering chimneys and the clumsy black head-stocks of Brinsley Colliery. The two wheels were spinning fast up against the sky, and the winding-engine rapped out its little spasms. The miners were being turned up.
The engine whistled as it came into the wide bay of railway lines beside the colliery, where rows of trucks stood in harbour.
Miners, single, trailing and in groups, passed like shadows diverging home. At the edge of the ribbed level of sidings squat a low cottage, three steps down from the cinder track. A large bony vine clutched at the house, as if to claw down the tiled roof. Round the bricked yard grew a few wintry primroses. Beyond, the long garden sloped down to a bush-covered brook course. There were some twiggy apple trees, winter-crack trees, and ragged cabbages. Beside the path hung dishevelled pink chrysanthemums, like pink cloths hung on bushes. A woman came stooping out of the felt-covered fowl-house, half-way down the garden. She closed and padlocked the door, then drew herself erect, having brushed some bits from her white apron.
She was a tall woman of imperious mien, handsome, with definite black eyebrows. Her smooth black hair was parted exactly. For a few moments she stood steadily watching the miners as they passed along the railway: then she turned towards the brook course. Her face was calm and set, her mouth was closed with disillusionment. After a moment she called:
"John!" There was no answer. She waited, and then said distinctly:
"Where are you?"
"Here!" replied a child's sulky voice from among the bushes. The woman looked piercingly through the dusk.
"Are you at that brook?" she asked sternly.
For answer the child showed himself before the raspberry-canes that rose like whips. He was a small, sturdy boy of five. He stood quite still, defiantly.
"Oh!" said the mother, conciliated. "I thought you were down at that wet brook--and you remember what I told you--"
The boy did not move or answer.
"Come, come on in," she said more gently, "it's getting dark. There's your grandfather's engine coming down the line!"
The lad advanced slowly, with resentful, taciturn movement. He was dressed in trousers and waistcoat of cloth that was too thick and hard for the size of the garments. They were evidently cut down from a man's clothes.
As they went slowly towards the house he tore at the ragged wisps of chrysanthemums and dropped the petals in handfuls along the path.
"Don't do that--it does look nasty," said his mother. He refrained, and she, suddenly pitiful, broke off a twig with three or four wan flowers and held them against her face. When mother and son reached the yard her hand hesitated, and instead of laying the flower aside, she pushed it in her apron-band. The mother and son stood at the foot of the three steps looking across the bay of lines at the passing home of the miners. The trundle of the small train was imminent. Suddenly the engine loomed past the house and came to a stop opposite the gate.
The engine-driver, a short man with round grey beard, leaned out of the cab high above the woman.
"Have you got a cup of tea?" he said in a cheery, hearty fashion.
It was her father. She went in, saying she would mash. Directly, she returned.
"I didn't come to see you on Sunday," began the little grey-bearded man.
"I didn't expect you," said his daughter.
The engine-driver winced; then, reassuming his cheery, airy manner, he said:
"Oh, have you heard then? Well, and what do you think--?"
"I think it is soon enough," she replied.
At her brief censure the little man made an impatient gesture, and said coaxingly, yet with dangerous coldness:
"Well, what's a man to do? It's no sort of life for a man of my years, to sit at my own hearth like a stranger. And if I'm going to marry again it may as well be soon as late--what does it matter to anybody?"
The woman did not reply, but turned and went into the house. The man in the engine-cab stood assertive, till she returned with a cup of tea and a piece of bread and butter on a plate. She went up the steps and stood near the footplate of the hissing engine.
"You needn't 'a' brought me bread an' butter," said her father. "But a cup of tea"--he sipped appreciatively--"it's very nice." He sipped for a moment or two, then: "I hear as Walter's got another bout on," he said.
"When hasn't he?" said the woman bitterly.
"I heered tell of him in the 'Lord Nelson' braggin' as he was going to spend that b---- afore he went: half a sovereign that was."
"When?" asked the woman.
"A' Sat'day night--I know that's true."
"Very likely," she laughed bitterly. "He gives me twenty-three shillings."
"Aye, it's a nice thing, when a man can do nothing with his money but make a beast of himself!" said the grey-whiskered man. The woman turned her head away. Her father swallowed the last of his tea and handed her the cup.
"Aye," he sighed, wiping his mouth. "It's a settler, it is--"
He put his hand on the lever. The little engine strained and groaned, and the train rumbled towards the crossing. The woman again looked across the metals. Darkness was settling over the spaces of the railway and trucks: the miners, in grey sombre groups, were still passing home. The winding-engine pulsed hurriedly, with brief pauses. Elizabeth Bates looked at the dreary flow of men, then she went indoors. Her husband did not come.
The kitchen was small and full of firelight; red coals piled glowing up the chimney mouth. All the life of the room seemed in the white, warm hearth and the steel fender reflecting the red fire. The cloth was laid for tea; cups glinted in the shadows. At the back, where the lowest stairs protruded into the room, the boy sat struggling with a knife and a piece of whitewood. He was almost hidden in the shadow. It was half-past four. They had but to await the father's coming to begin tea. As the mother watched her son's sullen little struggle with the wood, she saw herself in his silence and pertinacity; she saw the father in her child's indifference to all but himself. She seemed to be occupied by her husband. He had probably gone past his home, slunk past his own door, to drink before he came in, while his dinner spoiled and wasted in waiting. She glanced at the clock, then took the potatoes to strain them in the yard. The garden and fields beyond the brook were closed in uncertain darkness. When she rose with the saucepan, leaving the drain steaming into the night behind her, she saw the yellow lamps were lit along the high road that went up the hill away beyond the space of the railway lines and the field.
Then again she watched the men trooping home, fewer now and fewer.
Indoors the fire was sinking and the room was dark red. The woman put her saucepan on the hob, and set a batter pudding near the mouth of the oven. Then she stood unmoving. Directly, gratefully, came quick young steps to the door. Someone hung on the latch a moment, then a little girl entered and began pulling off her outdoor things, dragging a mass of curls, just ripening from gold to brown, over her eyes with her hat.
Her mother chid her for coming late from school, and said she would have to keep her at home the dark winter days.
"Why, mother, it's hardly a bit dark yet. The lamp's not lighted, and my father's not home."
"No, he isn't. But it's a quarter to five! Did you see anything of him?"
The child became serious. She looked at her mother with large, wistful blue eyes.
"No, mother, I've never seen him. Why? Has he come up an' gone past, to Old Brinsley? He hasn't, mother, 'cos I never saw him."
"He'd watch that," said the mother bitterly, "he'd take care as you didn't see him. But you may depend upon it, he's seated in the 'Prince o' Wales'. He wouldn't be this late."
The girl looked at her mother piteously.
"Let's have our teas, mother, should we?" said she.
The mother called John to table. She opened the door once more and looked out across the darkness of the lines. All was deserted: she could not hear the winding-engines.
"Perhaps," she said to herself, "he's stopped to get some ripping done."
They sat down to tea. John, at the end of the table near the door, was almost lost in the darkness. Their faces were hidden from each other. The girl crouched against the fender slowly moving a thick piece of bread before the fire. The lad, his face a dusky mark on the shadow, sat watching her who was transfigured in the red glow.
"I do think it's beautiful to look in the fire," said the child.
"Do you?" said her mother. "Why?"
"It's so red, and full of little caves--and it feels so nice, and you can fair smell it."
"It'll want mending directly," replied her mother, "and then if your father comes he'll carry on and say there never is a fire when a man comes home sweating from the pit.--A public-house is always warm enough."
There was silence till the boy said complainingly: "Make haste, our Annie."
"Well, I am doing! I can't make the fire do it no faster, can I?"
"She keeps wafflin' it about so's to make 'er slow," grumbled the boy.
"Don't have such an evil imagination, child," replied the mother.
Soon the room was busy in the darkness with the crisp sound of crunching. The mother ate very little. She drank her tea determinedly, and sat thinking. When she rose her anger was evident in the stern unbending of her head. She looked at the pudding in the fender, and broke out:
"It is a scandalous thing as a man can't even come home to his dinner! If it's crozzled up to a cinder I don't see why I should care. Past his very door he goes to get to a public-house, and here I sit with his dinner waiting for him--"
She went out. As she dropped piece after piece of coal on the red fire, the shadows fell on the walls, till the room was almost in total darkness.
"I canna see," grumbled the invisible John. In spite of herself, the mother laughed.
"You know the way to your mouth," she said. She set the dustpan outside the door. When she came again like a shadow on the hearth, the lad repeated, complaining sulkily:
"I canna see."
"Good gracious!" cried the mother irritably, "you're as bad as your father if it's a bit dusk!"
Nevertheless she took a paper spill from a sheaf on the mantelpiece and proceeded to light the lamp that hung from the ceiling in the middle of the room. As she reached up, her figure displayed itself just rounding with maternity.
"Oh, mother--!" exclaimed the girl.
"What?" said the woman, suspended in the act of putting the lamp glass over the flame. The copper reflector shone handsomely on her, as she stood with uplifted arm, turning to face her daughter.
"You've got a flower in your apron!" said the child, in a little rapture at this unusual event.
"Goodness me!" exclaimed the woman, relieved. "One would think the house was afire." She replaced the glass and waited a moment before turning up the wick. A pale shadow was seen floating vaguely on the floor.
"Let me smell!" said the child, still rapturously, coming forward and putting her face to her mother's waist.
"Go along, silly!" said the mother, turning up the lamp. The light revealed their suspense so that the woman felt it almost unbearable. Annie was still bending at her waist. Irritably, the mother took the flowers out from her apron-band.
"Oh, mother--don't take them out!" Annie cried, catching her hand and trying to replace the sprig.
"Such nonsense!" said the mother, turning away. The child put the pale chrysanthemums to her lips, murmuring:
"Don't they smell beautiful!"
Her mother gave a short laugh.
"No," she said, "not to me. It was chrysanthemums when I married him, and chrysanthemums when you were born, and the first time they ever brought him home drunk, he'd got brown chrysanthemums in his button-hole."
She looked at the children. Their eyes and their parted lips were wondering. The mother sat rocking in silence for some time. Then she looked at the clock.
"Twenty minutes to six!" In a tone of fine bitter carelessness she continued: "Eh, he'll not come now till they bring him. There he'll stick! But he needn't come rolling in here in his pit-dirt, for I won't wash him. He can lie on the floor--Eh, what a fool I've been, what a fool! And this is what I came here for, to this dirty hole, rats and all, for him to slink past his very door. Twice last week--he's begun now-"
She silenced herself, and rose to clear the table.
While for an hour or more the children played, subduedly intent, fertile of imagination, united in fear of the mother's wrath, and in dread of their father's home-coming, Mrs Bates sat in her rocking-chair making a 'singlet' of thick cream-coloured flannel, which gave a dull wounded sound as she tore off the grey edge. She worked at her sewing with energy, listening to the children, and her anger wearied itself, lay down to rest, opening its eyes from time to time and steadily watching, its ears raised to listen. Sometimes even her anger quailed and shrank, and the mother suspended her sewing, tracing the footsteps that thudded along the sleepers outside; she would lift her head sharply to bid the children 'hush', but she recovered herself in time, and the footsteps went past the gate, and the children were not flung out of their playing world.
But at last Annie sighed, and gave in. She glanced at her waggon of slippers, and loathed the game. She turned plaintively to her mother.
"Mother!"--but she was inarticulate.
John crept out like a frog from under the sofa. His mother glanced up.
"Yes," she said, "just look at those shirt-sleeves!"
The boy held them out to survey them, saying nothing. Then somebody called in a hoarse voice away down the line, and suspense bristled in the room, till two people had gone by outside, talking.
"It is time for bed," said the mother.
"My father hasn't come," wailed Annie plaintively. But her mother was primed with courage.
"Never mind. They'll bring him when he does come--like a log." She meant there would be no scene. "And he may sleep on the floor till he wakes himself. I know he'll not go to work tomorrow after this!"
The children had their hands and faces wiped with a flannel. They were very quiet. When they had put on their nightdresses, they said their prayers, the boy mumbling. The mother looked down at them, at the brown silken bush of intertwining curls in the nape of the girl's neck, at the little black head of the lad, and her heart burst with anger at their father who caused all three such distress. The children hid their faces in her skirts for comfort.
When Mrs Bates came down, the room was strangely empty, with a tension of expectancy. She took up her sewing and stitched for some time without raising her head. Meantime her anger was tinged with fear.
The clock struck eight and she rose suddenly, dropping her sewing on her chair. She went to the stairfoot door, opened it, listening. Then she went out, locking the door behind her.
Something scuffled in the yard, and she started, though she knew it was only the rats with which the place was overrun. The night was very dark. In the great bay of railway lines, bulked with trucks, there was no trace of light, only away back she could see a few yellow lamps at the pit-top, and the red smear of the burning pit-bank on the night. She hurried along the edge of the track, then, crossing the converging lines, came to the stile by the white gates, whence she emerged on the road. Then the fear which had led her shrank. People were walking up to New Brinsley; she saw the lights in the houses; twenty yards further on were the broad windows of the 'Prince of Wales', very warm and bright, and the loud voices of men could be heard distinctly. What a fool she had been to imagine that anything had happened to him! He was merely drinking over there at the 'Prince of Wales'. She faltered. She had never yet been to fetch him, and she never would go. So she continued her walk towards the long straggling line of houses, standing blank on the highway. She entered a passage between the dwellings.
"Mr Rigley?--Yes! Did you want him? No, he's not in at this minute."
The raw-boned woman leaned forward from her dark scullery and peered at the other, upon whom fell a dim light through the blind of the kitchen window.
"Is it Mrs Bates?" she asked in a tone tinged with respect.
"Yes. I wondered if your Master was at home. Mine hasn't come yet."
"'Asn't 'e! Oh, Jack's been 'ome an 'ad 'is dinner an' gone out. E's just gone for 'alf an hour afore bedtime. Did you call at the 'Prince of Wales'?"
"No, you didn't like--! It's not very nice." The other woman was indulgent. There was an awkward pause. "Jack never said nothink about--about your Mester," she said.
"No!--I expect he's stuck in there!"
Elizabeth Bates said this bitterly, and with recklessness. She knew that the woman across the yard was standing at her door listening, but she did not care. As she turned:
"Stop a minute! I'll just go an' ask Jack if e' knows anythink," said Mrs Rigley.
"Oh, no--I wouldn't like to put--!"
"Yes, I will, if you'll just step inside an' see as th' childer doesn't come downstairs and set theirselves afire."
Elizabeth Bates, murmuring a remonstrance, stepped inside. The other woman apologized for the state of the room.
The kitchen needed apology. There were little frocks and trousers and childish undergarments on the squab and on the floor, and a litter of playthings everywhere. On the black American cloth of the table were pieces of bread and cake, crusts, slops, and a teapot with cold tea.
"Eh, ours is just as bad," said Elizabeth Bates, looking at the woman, not at the house. Mrs Rigley put a shawl over her head and hurried out, saying:
"I shanna be a minute."
The other sat, noting with faint disapproval the general untidiness of the room. Then she fell to counting the shoes of various sizes scattered over the floor. There were twelve. She sighed and said to herself, "No wonder!"--glancing at the litter. There came the scratching of two pairs of feet on the yard, and the Rigleys entered. Elizabeth Bates rose. Rigley was a big man, with very large bones. His head looked particularly bony. Across his temple was a blue scar, caused by a wound got in the pit, a wound in which the coal-dust remained blue like tattooing.
"Asna 'e come whoam yit?" asked the man, without any form of greeting, but with deference and sympathy. "I couldna say wheer he is--'e's non ower theer!"--he jerked his head to signify the 'Prince of Wales'.
"'E's 'appen gone up to th' 'Yew'," said Mrs Rigley.
There was another pause. Rigley had evidently something to get off his mind:
"Ah left 'im finishin' a stint," he began. "Loose-all 'ad bin gone about ten minutes when we com'n away, an' I shouted, 'Are ter comin', Walt?' an' 'e said, 'Go on, Ah shanna be but a'ef a minnit,' so we com'n ter th' bottom, me an' Bowers, thinkin' as 'e wor just behint, an' 'ud come up i' th' next bantle--"
He stood perplexed, as if answering a charge of deserting his mate. Elizabeth Bates, now again certain of disaster, hastened to reassure him:
"I expect 'e's gone up to th' 'Yew Tree', as you say. It's not the first time. I've fretted myself into a fever before now. He'll come home when they carry him."
"Ay, isn't it too bad!" deplored the other woman.
"I'll just step up to Dick's an' see if 'e is theer," offered the man, afraid of appearing alarmed, afraid of taking liberties.
"Oh, I wouldn't think of bothering you that far," said Elizabeth Bates, with emphasis, but he knew she was glad of his offer.
As they stumbled up the entry, Elizabeth Bates heard Rigley's wife run across the yard and open her neighbour's door. At this, suddenly all the blood in her body seemed to switch away from her heart.
"Mind!" warned Rigley. "Ah've said many a time as Ah'd fill up them ruts in this entry, sumb'dy 'll be breakin' their legs yit."
She recovered herself and walked quickly along with the miner.
"I don't like leaving the children in bed, and nobody in the house," she said.
"No, you dunna!" he replied courteously. They were soon at the gate of the cottage.
"Well, I shanna be many minnits. Dunna you be frettin' now, 'e'll be all right," said the butty.
"Thank you very much, Mr Rigley," she replied.
"You're welcome!" he stammered, moving away. "I shanna be many minnits."
The house was quiet. Elizabeth Bates took off her hat and shawl, and rolled back the rug. When she had finished, she sat down. It was a few minutes past nine. She was startled by the rapid chuff of the winding-engine at the pit, and the sharp whirr of the brakes on the rope as it descended. Again she felt the painful sweep of her blood, and she put her hand to her side, saying aloud, "Good gracious!--it's only the nine o'clock deputy going down," rebuking herself.
She sat still, listening. Half an hour of this, and she was wearied out.
"What am I working myself up like this for?" she said pitiably to herself, "I s'll only be doing myself some damage."
She took out her sewing again.
At a quarter to ten there were footsteps. One person! She watched for the door to open. It was an elderly woman, in a black bonnet and a black woollen shawl--his mother. She was about sixty years old, pale, with blue eyes, and her face all wrinkled and lamentable. She shut the door and turned to her daughter-in-law peevishly.
"Eh, Lizzie, whatever shall we do, whatever shall we do!" she cried.
Elizabeth drew back a little, sharply.
"What is it, mother?" she said.
The elder woman seated herself on the sofa.
"I don't know, child, I can't tell you!"--she shook her head slowly. Elizabeth sat watching her, anxious and vexed.
"I don't know," replied the grandmother, sighing very deeply. "There's no end to my troubles, there isn't. The things I've gone through, I'm sure it's enough--!" She wept without wiping her eyes, the tears running.
"But, mother," interrupted Elizabeth, "what do you mean? What is it?"
The grandmother slowly wiped her eyes. The fountains of her tears were stopped by Elizabeth's directness. She wiped her eyes slowly.
"Poor child! Eh, you poor thing!" she moaned. "I don't know what we're going to do, I don't--and you as you are--it's a thing, it is indeed!"
"Is he dead?" she asked, and at the words her heart swung violently, though she felt a slight flush of shame at the ultimate extravagance of the question. Her words sufficiently frightened the old lady, almost brought her to herself.
"Don't say so, Elizabeth! We'll hope it's not as bad as that; no, may the Lord spare us that, Elizabeth. Jack Rigley came just as I was sittin' down to a glass afore going to bed, an' 'e said, ''Appen you'll go down th' line, Mrs Bates. Walt's had an accident. 'Appen you'll go an' sit wi' 'er till we can get him home.' I hadn't time to ask him a word afore he was gone. An' I put my bonnet on an' come straight down, Lizzie. I thought to myself, 'Eh, that poor blessed child, if anybody should come an' tell her of a sudden, there's no knowin' what'll 'appen to 'er.' You mustn't let it upset you, Lizzie--or you know what to expect. How long is it, six months--or is it five, Lizzie? Ay!"--the old woman shook her head--"time slips on, it slips on! Ay!"
Elizabeth's thoughts were busy elsewhere. If he was killed--would she be able to manage on the little pension and what she could earn?--she counted up rapidly. If he was hurt--they wouldn't take him to the hospital--how tiresome he would be to nurse!--but perhaps she'd be able to get him away from the drink and his hateful ways. She would--while he was ill. The tears offered to come to her eyes at the picture. But what sentimental luxury was this she was beginning?--She turned to consider the children. At any rate she was absolutely necessary for them. They were her business.
"Ay!" repeated the old woman, "it seems but a week or two since he brought me his first wages. Ay--he was a good lad, Elizabeth, he was, in his way. I don't know why he got to be such a trouble, I don't. He was a happy lad at home, only full of spirits. But there's no mistake he's been a handful of trouble, he has! I hope the Lord'll spare him to mend his ways. I hope so, I hope so. You've had a sight o' trouble with him, Elizabeth, you have indeed. But he was a jolly enough lad wi' me, he was, I can assure you. I don't know how it is . . ."
The old woman continued to muse aloud, a monotonous irritating sound, while Elizabeth thought concentratedly, startled once, when she heard the winding-engine chuff quickly, and the brakes skirr with a shriek. Then she heard the engine more slowly, and the brakes made no sound. The old woman did not notice. Elizabeth waited in suspense. The mother-in-law talked, with lapses into silence.
"But he wasn't your son, Lizzie, an' it makes a difference. Whatever he was, I remember him when he was little, an' I learned to understand him and to make allowances. You've got to make allowances for them--"
It was half-past ten, and the old woman was saying: "But it's trouble from beginning to end; you're never too old for trouble, never too old for that--" when the gate banged back, and there were heavy feet on the steps.
"I'll go, Lizzie, let me go," cried the old woman, rising. But Elizabeth was at the door. It was a man in pit-clothes.
"They're bringin' 'im, Missis," he said. Elizabeth's heart halted a moment. Then it surged on again, almost suffocating her.
"Is he--is it bad?" she asked.
The man turned away, looking at the darkness:
"The doctor says 'e'd been dead hours. 'E saw 'im i' th' lamp-cabin."
The old woman, who stood just behind Elizabeth, dropped into a chair, and folded her hands, crying: "Oh, my boy, my boy!"
"Hush!" said Elizabeth, with a sharp twitch of a frown. "Be still, mother, don't waken th' children: I wouldn't have them down for anything!"
The old woman moaned softly, rocking herself. The man was drawing away. Elizabeth took a step forward.
"How was it?" she asked.
"Well, I couldn't say for sure," the man replied, very ill at ease. "'E wor finishin' a stint an' th' butties 'ad gone, an' a lot o' stuff come down atop 'n 'im."
"And crushed him?" cried the widow, with a shudder.
"No," said the man, "it fell at th' back of 'im. 'E wor under th' face, an' it niver touched 'im. It shut 'im in. It seems 'e wor smothered."
Elizabeth shrank back. She heard the old woman behind her cry:
"What?--what did 'e say it was?"
The man replied, more loudly: "'E wor smothered!"
Then the old woman wailed aloud, and this relieved Elizabeth.
"Oh, mother," she said, putting her hand on the old woman, "don't waken th' children, don't waken th' children."
She wept a little, unknowing, while the old mother rocked herself and moaned. Elizabeth remembered that they were bringing him home, and she must be ready. "They'll lay him in the parlour," she said to herself, standing a moment pale and perplexed.
Then she lighted a candle and went into the tiny room. The air was cold and damp, but she could not make a fire, there was no fireplace. She set down the candle and looked round. The candle-light glittered on the lustre-glasses, on the two vases that held some of the pink chrysanthemums, and on the dark mahogany. There was a cold, deathly smell of chrysanthemums in the room. Elizabeth stood looking at the flowers. She turned away, and calculated whether there would be room to lay him on the floor, between the couch and the chiffonier. She pushed the chairs aside. There would be room to lay him down and to step round him. Then she fetched the old red tablecloth, and another old cloth, spreading them down to save her bit of carpet. She shivered on leaving the parlour; so, from the dresser-drawer she took a clean shirt and put it at the fire to air. All the time her mother-in-law was rocking herself in the chair and moaning.
"You'll have to move from there, mother," said Elizabeth. "They'll be bringing him in. Come in the rocker."
The old mother rose mechanically, and seated herself by the fire, continuing to lament. Elizabeth went into the pantry for another candle, and there, in the little penthouse under the naked tiles, she heard them coming. She stood still in the pantry doorway, listening. She heard them pass the end of the house, and come awkwardly down the three steps, a jumble of shuffling footsteps and muttering voices. The old woman was silent. The men were in the yard.
Then Elizabeth heard Matthews, the manager of the pit, say: "You go in first, Jim. Mind!"
The door came open, and the two women saw a collier backing into the room, holding one end of a stretcher, on which they could see the nailed pit-boots of the dead man. The two carriers halted, the man at the head stooping to the lintel of the door.
"Wheer will you have him?" asked the manager, a short, white-bearded man.
Elizabeth roused herself and came from the pantry carrying the unlighted candle.
"In the parlour," she said.
"In there, Jim!" pointed the manager, and the carriers backed round into the tiny room. The coat with which they had covered the body fell off as they awkwardly turned through the two doorways, and the women saw their man, naked to the waist, lying stripped for work. The old woman began to moan in a low voice of horror.
"Lay th' stretcher at th' side," snapped the manager, "an' put 'im on th' cloths. Mind now, mind! Look you now--!"
One of the men had knocked off a vase of chrysanthemums. He stared awkwardly, then they set down the stretcher. Elizabeth did not look at her husband. As soon as she could get in the room, she went and picked up the broken vase and the flowers.
"Wait a minute!" she said.
The three men waited in silence while she mopped up the water with a duster.
"Eh, what a job, what a job, to be sure!" the manager was saying, rubbing his brow with trouble and perplexity. "Never knew such a thing in my life, never! He'd no business to ha' been left. I never knew such a thing in my life! Fell over him clean as a whistle, an' shut him in. Not four foot of space, there wasn't--yet it scarce bruised him."
He looked down at the dead man, lying prone, half naked, all grimed with coal-dust.
"''Sphyxiated,' the doctor said. It is the most terrible job I've ever known. Seems as if it was done o' purpose. Clean over him, an' shut 'im in, like a mouse-trap"--he made a sharp, descending gesture with his hand.
The colliers standing by jerked aside their heads in hopeless comment.
The horror of the thing bristled upon them all.
Then they heard the girl's voice upstairs calling shrilly: "Mother, mother--who is it? Mother, who is it?"
Elizabeth hurried to the foot of the stairs and opened the door:
"Go to sleep!" she commanded sharply. "What are you shouting about? Go to sleep at once--there's nothing--"
Then she began to mount the stairs. They could hear her on the boards, and on the plaster floor of the little bedroom. They could hear her distinctly:
"What's the matter now?--what's the matter with you, silly thing?"--her voice was much agitated, with an unreal gentleness.
"I thought it was some men come," said the plaintive voice of the child. "Has he come?"
"Yes, they've brought him. There's nothing to make a fuss about. Go to sleep now, like a good child."
They could hear her voice in the bedroom, they waited whilst she covered the children under the bedclothes.
"Is he drunk?" asked the girl, timidly, faintly.
"No! No--he's not! He--he's asleep."
"Is he asleep downstairs?"
"Yes--and don't make a noise."
There was silence for a moment, then the men heard the frightened child again:
"What's that noise?"
"It's nothing, I tell you, what are you bothering for?"
The noise was the grandmother moaning. She was oblivious of everything, sitting on her chair rocking and moaning. The manager put his hand on her arm and bade her "Sh--sh!!"
The old woman opened her eyes and looked at him. She was shocked by this interruption, and seemed to wonder.
"What time is it?"--the plaintive thin voice of the child, sinking back unhappily into sleep, asked this last question.
"Ten o'clock," answered the mother more softly. Then she must have bent down and kissed the children.
Matthews beckoned to the men to come away. They put on their caps and took up the stretcher. Stepping over the body, they tiptoed out of the house. None of them spoke till they were far from the wakeful children.
When Elizabeth came down she found her mother alone on the parlour floor, leaning over the dead man, the tears dropping on him.
"We must lay him out," the wife said. She put on the kettle, then returning knelt at the feet, and began to unfasten the knotted leather laces. The room was clammy and dim with only one candle, so that she had to bend her face almost to the floor. At last she got off the heavy boots and put them away.
"You must help me now," she whispered to the old woman. Together they stripped the man.
When they arose, saw him lying in the naïve dignity of death, the women stood arrested in fear and respect. For a few moments they remained still, looking down, the old mother whimpering. Elizabeth felt countermanded. She saw him, how utterly inviolable he lay in himself. She had nothing to do with him. She could not accept it. Stooping, she laid her hand on him, in claim. He was still warm, for the mine was hot where he had died. His mother had his face between her hands, and was murmuring incoherently. The old tears fell in succession as drops from wet leaves; the mother was not weeping, merely her tears flowed. Elizabeth embraced the body of her husband, with cheek and lips. She seemed to be listening, inquiring, trying to get some connection. But she could not. She was driven away. He was impregnable.
She rose, went into the kitchen, where she poured warm water into a bowl, brought soap and flannel and a soft towel.
"I must wash him," she said.
Then the old mother rose stiffly, and watched Elizabeth as she carefully washed his face, carefully brushing the big blond moustache from his mouth with the flannel. She was afraid with a bottomless fear, so she ministered to him. The old woman, jealous, said:
"Let me wipe him!"--and she kneeled on the other side drying slowly as Elizabeth washed, her big black bonnet sometimes brushing the dark head of her daughter. They worked thus in silence for a long time. They never forgot it was death, and the touch of the man's dead body gave them strange emotions, different in each of the women; a great dread possessed them both, the mother felt the lie was given to her womb, she was denied; the wife felt the utter isolation of the human soul, the child within her was a weight apart from her.
At last it was finished. He was a man of handsome body, and his face showed no traces of drink. He was blonde, full-fleshed, with fine limbs. But he was dead.
"Bless him," whispered his mother, looking always at his face, and speaking out of sheer terror. "Dear lad--bless him!" She spoke in a faint, sibilant ecstasy of fear and mother love.
Elizabeth sank down again to the floor, and put her face against his neck, and trembled and shuddered. But she had to draw away again. He was dead, and her living flesh had no place against his. A great dread and weariness held her: she was so unavailing. Her life was gone like this.
"White as milk he is, clear as a twelve-month baby, bless him, the darling!" the old mother murmured to herself. "Not a mark on him, clear and clean and white, beautiful as ever a child was made," she murmured with pride. Elizabeth kept her face hidden.
"He went peaceful, Lizzie--peaceful as sleep. Isn't he beautiful, the lamb? Ay--he must ha' made his peace, Lizzie. 'Appen he made it all right, Lizzie, shut in there. He'd have time. He wouldn't look like this if he hadn't made his peace. The lamb, the dear lamb. Eh, but he had a hearty laugh. I loved to hear it. He had the heartiest laugh, Lizzie, as a lad--"
Elizabeth looked up. The man's mouth was fallen back, slightly open under the cover of the moustache. The eyes, half shut, did not show glazed in the obscurity. Life with its smoky burning gone from him, had left him apart and utterly alien to her. And she knew what a stranger he was to her. In her womb was ice of fear, because of this separate stranger with whom she had been living as one flesh. Was this what it all meant--utter, intact separateness, obscured by heat of living? In dread she turned her face away. The fact was too deadly. There had been nothing between them, and yet they had come together, exchanging their nakedness repeatedly. Each time he had taken her, they had been two isolated beings, far apart as now. He was no more responsible than she. The child was like ice in her womb. For as she looked at the dead man, her mind, cold and detached, said clearly: "Who am I? What have I been doing? I have been fighting a husband who did not exist. He existed all the time. What wrong have I done? What was that I have been living with? There lies the reality, this man."--And her soul died in her for fear: she knew she had never seen him, he had never seen her, they had met in the dark and had fought in the dark, not knowing whom they met nor whom they fought. And now she saw, and turned silent in seeing. For she had been wrong. She had said he was something he was not; she had felt familiar with him. Whereas he was apart all the while, living as she never lived, feeling as she never felt.
In fear and shame she looked at his naked body, that she had known falsely. And he was the father of her children. Her soul was torn from her body and stood apart. She looked at his naked body and was ashamed, as if she had denied it. After all, it was itself. It seemed awful to her. She looked at his face, and she turned her own face to the wall. For his look was other than hers, his way was not her way. She had denied him what he was--she saw it now. She had refused him as himself.--And this had been her life, and his life.--She was grateful to death, which restored the truth. And she knew she was not dead.
And all the while her heart was bursting with grief and pity for him. What had he suffered? What stretch of horror for this helpless man! She was rigid with agony. She had not been able to help him. He had been cruelly injured, this naked man, this other being, and she could make no reparation. There were the children--but the children belonged to life. This dead man had nothing to do with them. He and she were only channels through which life had flowed to issue in the children. She was a mother--but how awful she knew it now to have been a wife. And he, dead now, how awful he must have felt it to be a husband. She felt that in the next world he would be a stranger to her. If they met there, in the beyond, they would only be ashamed of what had been before. The children had come, for some mysterious reason, out of both of them. But the children did not unite them. Now he was dead, she knew how eternally he was apart from her, how eternally he had nothing more to do with her. She saw this episode of her life closed. They had denied each other in life. Now he had withdrawn. An anguish came over her. It was finished then: it had become hopeless between them long before he died. Yet he had been her husband. But how little!--
"Have you got his shirt, 'Lizabeth?"
Elizabeth turned without answering, though she strove to weep and behave as her mother-in-law expected. But she could not, she was silenced. She went into the kitchen and returned with the garment.
"It is aired," she said, grasping the cotton shirt here and there to try. She was almost ashamed to handle him; what right had she or anyone to lay hands on him; but her touch was humble on his body. It was hard work to clothe him. He was so heavy and inert. A terrible dread gripped her all the while: that he could be so heavy and utterly inert, unresponsive, apart. The horror of the distance between them was almost too much for her--it was so infinite a gap she must look across.
At last it was finished. They covered him with a sheet and left him lying, with his face bound. And she fastened the door of the little parlour, lest the children should see what was lying there. Then, with peace sunk heavy on her heart, she went about making tidy the kitchen. She knew she submitted to life, which was her immediate master. But from death, her ultimate master, she winced with fear and shame.
Way to rock, filmmakers of SATX!
Read the Artifacts article here.
The finalists for the Neighborhood Film Project are as follows, with the winner from each category in boldface, and indication of whether he/she is a student.
***Note to all NFP filmmakers: if you send me a link to your film online, I'd be happy to put it on our website! Send links to email@example.com***
Way to go!
Julian Moreno-Peña, Echoes of
the Eastside (student)
Dora Peña, Eastside Express
Bryan Anthony Ramirez, Bugsy - Hometown
Isaac Rodriguez, Tales From the Eastside
Ruben Rodriguez, My Project: East of Downtown
Erick Cantu, Post Cards
David J. Diaz, The San Antonio North River
Frank Leal, River City Ride
Andrew N. Lu, North River Walk
Tyler McCardle, How to Spend a Day in San Antonio for Under $5
Ismael Leiva, Barbero
Gabriel Luna, Nuestro Legado
Evita Puente, Los Tres Reyes Cantan Al Westside
Alejandro Rodriguez, Mi
Ray Santisteban, West Side: Murals y Mas
Here are some comments by some of the awesome local auteurs:
Julian Moreno Pena, winner in the Student Category for Echoes of the Eastside Neighborhood, sent me the following information regarding his film:
“Echoes of the Eastside is inspired by growing up on the Eastside of town. I've lived here nearly my whole life and recognize the beauty many seem to miss. My film is a music video with original music production by myself and visuals that truly show the personality of this side of town. I'm really excited about being a finalist. I take a lot of pride in my film and its a great feeling to be recognized for it.”
Alejandro Rodriguez, winner in the Student Category for Westside Murals y Mas Neighborhood, sent me the following information regarding his film:
The film follows the main character "Jaime" a breakdancer on his journey through the westside. Jaime's destination is a local youth church where he will meet up with others who share the same passion for dance.
With the city spending money to renovate and
parts of the city, I felt like the Westside has been over seen. I
showcase murals that were done by everyday people, not necessarily
artist. My inspiration comes from the streets and the people
Everyone has a story, but you can't influence another if you don't share it.
I'm honored to be a finalist, so thank you very much for the opportunity to be a part of this competition.
Anthony Ramirez, winner in the Non-Student
Category for Echoes of the Eastside
My vision with Hometown was to show people what they often look at, but never really see. To share the impact that the East Side of San Antonio has on the individuals that call it home.
Hometown takes you into the lives of the individuals that love San Antonio. Too often people and places are taken for granted, overseen and often ignored. Hometown shines light on the pride and love that people have for their neighborhood, and brings the positive view that Bugsy raps about.
Hometown is an original record by local hip hop artist Bugsy. When he played it for me and informed me that he was looking to make a music video out of it, and wanted me to produce and direct it, I couldn’t be more excited. Bugsy and I took a trip to all the places he holds deep in his heart, even attending a Sunday afternoon cookout at his Grandma's house. The passion he has for the East Side, and his amazing music really made this video a great work of art.
I am not kidding. I would really like to travel there. I love chicken adobo, I was a fan of this clip back in the day, I think the traditional highly complex courtship process is fascinating and possibly useful, Corazon Aquino is in my roster of favorite women ever as is Lynda Barry, plus my supersmart friend (and Current contributor) Melissa Tarun's family came from the Philippines (about whom she says, " I am pretty sure that I have some tranny relatives back home too.") and now this.
Brought to my attention by my friend Chris Castillo , it apparently also appeared on The Soup last night. But in case you don't watch The Soup, are less than diligent in your scanning of YouTube for genius, or have no media-savvy gay friends
Here's something amazing.
Sadly, the bakery didn’t spin off bakers the way Bruce’s kitchens served as incubators for chefs—Mark Bliss among them. And though Guillermo Ardid at Handy Andy had earlier introduced us to croissants and other French, baked delicacies, it was Bruce who made
Among the dishes to be so highlighted are the cheeky “expensive “ mushrooms sizzled with garlic, the Shiner Bock onion rings that presented our first taste of habanero ketchup, and the duck confit (maybe our first taste of that, too) with potato rosti. Make Reservations, Not Excuses, and get on down to Biga for a salute to the team that has done so much to put us on the culinary map. The night of the Cavaliers River Parade, April 19th, marks the beginning of the fête.
You’ll have to hurry for this one. While
The featured brewery is
As I recall, attendance is limited to 60, and Pavil Executive Chef Scott Cohen says that the previous such event sold out. The cost, less than most wine dinners by the way, is $45 plus tax and gratuity, and reservations can be had—assuming there still are any to be had—by calling 210-479-5000.
I Brake for Bread
Crisis! Ovens crash!
The ovens at Whole Foods were out of order on Saturday, just when I was attempting to stock up on ficelles, that smaller sibling of the baguette that’s almost indispensible in my house for serving with cheese, spreads and other pre-meal palliatives designed to divert attention from the fact that dinner isn’t ready yet. (That, or the person to whom appetizers were assigned is late. You know who you are.)
Whole Foods ficelles are the only acceptable bread in town for this use—though if this post smokes out another, then it will have served its purpose. WF’s baguettes verge on acceptability, but they’re too large—in cross-sectional girth, that is. The baguettes at Central Market are just short of terrible. So are those seductive-looking rustic rounds, for that matter. So what’s a guy to do?
Bake his own, of course. For a couple of years now I’ve been using a no-knead recipe that first appeared in the New York Times, generating so much response that follow-up articles were required. (I had my own comments, one of which was adding more salt.) And now, the baker responsible, has come out with his own book. And not a moment too soon. Jim Layhey’s “My Bread, The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method” of course includes that original boule-shaped loaf, but it also introduces a no-knead small baguette. Where the original boule is baked in a pre-heated Dutch oven, or equivalent, the baguettes are simply (well, it’s not so simple actually) pulled into “stick shapes (they’e called stecca) and baked on a sheet.
These sticks can be baked plain, or they can be adorned with olives, garlic, halved cherry tomatoes…probably even rounds of salami or other meats. I have yet to achieve the perfect stretched shape the book illustrates, but apart from that the result is great—just a tad softer than I might like but with a good crust and nice, airy interior. There are also recipes for ciabatta, fennel-raisin bread, Irish brown bread and more—including pizza dough.
I plan to use the dough on Monday for a party that features Pyrometer Pizza made in a ceramic kiln. Stay tuned for a report that includes photos. Preliminary results were carbonaceous, but I think we’re beginning to get the hang of it.