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RIVER RE-DEVELOPMENT ROUNDUP PART 5: NEVER THE SAME RIVER TWICE

Actually, this might be RR-DR Part 6, if you count this review Elaine and I wrote to be part of this crazy series. Or this Q and A with Kim Abernethy, the River Foundation Executive Director.

Well, anyways.

The Museum Reach of the River Re-Development project has FINALLY opened, and I am not disappointed in the least. It’s amazing down there. It’s got to be the best place for walking around south of...I don’t even know where. Canada, maybe?  And it was so much goddamn fun, after watching the art plans develop and researching the river’s history and going to media previews and whatnot, to actually see live San Antonians wandering around enjoying themselves, and to see the artwork all lit up.

On Friday night, I went to the opening party for the San Antonio Museum of Art River Landing and for the associated show, “Waterflow,” in the Focus gallery. You can read Dan Goddard’s review of “Waterflow” here.

The SAMA landing is beautiful. Even on a hot, humid night, it was very pleasant to sit on the terrace under the ceiling fans and stare across el rio at that amazing bunker encampment of quonset hut, trailer and Winnebago. I have many fantasies built up in my head about the people who live there.
As is tradition by now, here are some really awful phone photos.


Quonset hut and trailer view. Note beautiful trees and well-kept plantings (not just the River Redevlopment ones—there are signs of gardening in them thar yard). Man, I hope that when this lot is sold (I hear varying reports about the status of this), the Quonset hut is kept there, intact.


Trailer home-Winnebago view. I kept wishing the occupant of this little homestead would come out and wave. He or she has an incredible view.

Which, in case you've forgotten, looks like this:




I did note one dead fish floating by (the tiny white thing in this photo):

Perhaps (s)he swam all the way up back to her ancestral homeland here in San Anto, against the current, from the Gulf of Mexico, then waited til they put the water back in, and spawned the new crop of whatever kind of fish (s)he is. This fish may have passed on, but leaves a legacy. Goodnight, fish.


Artist Kelly O’Connor remained chipper, loving the landing party despite somewhat noticeable overrepresentation of sexy seniors, and resulting paucity of hors d’ouevres by about 7 pm. Wine pours were minimal, too. But whaddayagonnado. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Greatest Generation and restricted wine and food intake on a Friday night.


Seriously, though, this is a beautiful place. Mil kudos to SAMA for opening itself so beautifully to the public in this way.

OH! And by the way, SAMA'S holding a Flickr photo contest of photos of the museum reach! Go find out about it here!

So then, on Saturday afternoon, I attended a roundtable discussion by all the artists who made public art for the Reach, which was great, and also at SAMA. Tomorrow I shall blog about that, and about the party at the VFW.

Posted by sarah fisch on 6/1/2009 5:08:44 PM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

Live & Local: Piñata Protest




Get your picket signs and baseball bats, cause tonight, we're heading to Salute International to check out Piñata Protest. The 21 & up show begins at 10pm, and admission is $3. The Protest will be joined by Rings of Saturn, recent Live & Local reviewees Viet Ruse,and obvious Clockwork Orange fans No Time for the Old In Out. Check out the Protest above, and just because I like you, I've included a bonus performance of La Cucaracha at this year's SXSW. There will be moshing.


Posted by snuff_film on 5/29/2009 5:02:32 PM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

Chaléwood No. 10: Guilherme Jacinto

Guilherme Jacinto (animator) – Up

 

By Kiko Martinez

San Antonio Current contributing writer

paperboy5456@yahoo.com

 

As a young, aspiring animator, Guilherme Jacinto moved from his home country of Brazil to San Francisco to study at the Academy of Art University in 2003. With zero credits to his name, he hoped he could break into the very competitive animation industry on talent alone. You could say he started his career on the right foot when his very first professional job came to him by way of Pixar Animation Studios. His assignment: to work on a little film called WALL-E.

 

 

Now, Jacinto, 23, is ready to show off his second animated film also from Pixar. In Up, Jacinto works in the animation department and helps create a number of characters in the film including Carl Fredricksen, a retired 78-year-old balloon salesman who journeys to South America via floating house, and Russell, an 8-year-old Boy Scout who becomes a stowaway for the aerial adventure.

 

Was animation something you were always interested in?

 

I always liked drawing comic books and stuff like that. When I saw Toy Story [in 1995 when he was only 10 years old] I got interested in animation. I really didn’t know how the process worked, but later I wanted to study it and ended up coming to San Francisco to do that.

 

When you were younger, where would you draw inspiration from for your work? Where do you draw it from now?

 

I used to read a lot of comic books like Spider-Man and watched a lot of cartoons and movies, but nothing specific. As I got older, I drew from my own experiences. Now, instead of referencing movies and other things I always draw from life and whatever feels natural. I always base my ideas on people that I know.

 

How did you connect with Pixar?

 

During my third year of school I got an internship. I submitted my reel and they accepted me. I had to go back to school for a year to finish. When I graduated, they called me and offered me a job.

 

You were an animator fresh out of college and you landed a job with Pixar. That had to have been surreal for you.

 

Yeah, pretty much. (Laughs)

 

What exactly did you do on WALL-E?

 

I did the same thing on WALL-E that I did on Up, which was basically working on a little bit of all the characters. At Pixar we’re not character specific. We get to work on different characters and different sequences.

 

 

What would you credit as the reason Pixar is always leading the pack with their animated films?

 

We work on the stories for so long and try to make them original. We try to makes them really special and so different than everything else that is out there. Everything just feels very authentic. It never feels like we are referencing anything else. We’re not trying to copy anyone else.

 

How was working on Up different from your previous experience with Pixar?

 

I felt it was very challenging because the style of animation was different than what I had done before. It was way more stylized. I worked on a lot of different characters that I had never done before. We had to do a lot of research to get everything looking right.

 

I think the worst thing in an animated film is when a voice doesn’t match a character. Is that a priority for you as an animator?

 

Yeah, I think that one of the most important parts of our job. We want to make it feel like the character’s really saying what he’s saying. For example, we would watch tapes of Ed Asner doing his voice work and study everything – how he stands, how he talks, all the subtle things, just to get a better sense of how we wanted to make the character. We don’t necessarily want to copy the actor, but we always try to find a good balance.

Posted by kiko martinez on 5/29/2009 3:23:36 AM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

LI’L KIM (ABERNETHY) Q&A with san Antonio River Foundation Executive Director

San Antonio River Foundation Executive Director Kim Abernethy builds community, shops at Costco

SARAH FISCH
sfisch@sacurrent.com


photo from the San Antonio River Foundation website

Kim Abernethy is a secret radical. Sure, she may come across as a no-nonsense executive who hobnobs effortlessly with powerful board members and city leaders (to wit, her poised and polished interview with Tanji Patton for KLRN’s “Conversations” series). But on the DL, this Piney Woods native has wrangled City ordinances, organized sensitive artists, managed crazy expectations, and has quietly and constantly pushed for greener and more sustainable choices in our River Re-Development. Kim’s got eco-cred, smarts, and isn’t afraid to ger her hands dirty. I caught up with Ms. Abernethy by phone on Friday.


Kim Abernethy: (Laughing) I’ve got my PR person here with me so if I say anything wrong, she can slap me.

San Antonio Current: Karen [Adams] is with you? What are y’all doing?

KA: We’re shopping together at Costco. We’ve got all the artists coming in [for the opening next week], and we’ve got a bank of rooms at the Trop[icana], and we’re gonna put some snacks in there, stuff like that.

SAC: You don’t have, say, interns to do that?

KA: No! Well, we do, but we like to come to Costco. It’s serious Executive Director stuff (laughs).

SAC: Now that we’re in countdown mode, with the opening just days away, what’s been the biggest surprise to you?

KA: ….How all the art mixes in with the water. We’ve been looking at this channel with no water in it, the artists have been looking at this channel with no water in it, but then when we put the water back in last week, I saw that all their art has just changed for the better with the water, I didn’t realize how much they were all getting it! It’s fabulous to see the interplay between the water, the architecture, the design, and the art. That’s been a real surprise.

SAC: What do you think this is going to mean for the city—art-wise, socially?

KA: I think it’s gonna be huge. We got an inkling of that Wednesday night when we lit the [Donald Lipski fish installation under I-35], we had about 150 people there just by word of mouth, it was unbelievable. It’s really gonna jump-start the whole city of San Antonio thinking about public art.

Lipski's F.I.S.H.

SAC: Now has this jump-started you into being excited about the Misison Reach? What’s happening next, for you, after this opening?

KA: The Mission Reach, we’re working on it already. I think what we’re doing with the Museum Reach will help us raise funds for the Mission Reach. The Museum reach is 1.4 miles, but we have 8 more miles to go, in the Misison Reach! The possibilities are just endless. We’re already working with the county and with the city in developing parkland, already working on the public art.

SAC: What’s your educational background? I’m curious.

KA: My degree’s in Social Work, and I’ve done that. Been in non-profits for years. I was involved with the Cibolo Nature Center for seven years, that’s where my environmentalism comes in. But until now, I’ve never been immersed in the art world. That has just been fabulous. San Antonio’s art community is wonderful, the people are so warm, and that’s been a wonderful surprise.

SAC: What would you like people to know about the River Re-Development that you think they might not know?

KA: Well, dealing with these 8 artists, there could have been a lot of drama, a lot of competition, a lot of ego, and there just wasn’t. The artists really like and respect each other, and everybody working on this project have developed close relationships. That’s not something that people would know, but I think it comes through in how all the art works together. And the artists are each so great and committed to the projeect; we have a fundraising event on the 30th, and [each artist] wanted to donate a piece to raise funds. We meet people all the time who want to get involved in the project, I’ve been surprised by how excited people are.

SAC: Okay, final question. Is Mike’s hair real?(Author’s note: Mike Addkison, the Architecture and Art Program Director for the SanAntonio River Foundation, has nearly waist-length dreadlocks).

KA: (laughing) Yes! Yes, it’s real. He’s been growing it since he was 18 or 19 years old. When Mike came in to interview with me, I told him, ‘I want you to come back and meet with some board members, but’ —you know how he wears that bandanna on his head?—I said, ‘you can’t wear that rag on your head to meet the board!’ And he said, ‘You know what? I already cut three inches off of my hair for this interview!’ (Laughs.) But yeah, it’s real. I’ve seen him without the kerchief on!

Posted by sarah fisch on 5/27/2009 12:26:06 PM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

Live Review: Queensryche @ Sunken Garden Theater - May 23

Story and photos by Greg M. Schwartz
gschwartz@sacurrent.com

One of San Antonio’s hidden gems received a rare chance to shine this past weekend when the Sunken Garden Theater in Brackenridge Park hosted the two-day South Texas Rock Fest. With the stage’s Greco-Roman architecture and pastoral park setting, the venue brings to mind classic West coast venues like the Berkeley Greek Theater and Los Angeles Greek Theater. The mind boggles at why the Randy Travis show on July 3 is apparently the only remaining show scheduled at the venue this summer (according to the listings at Pollstar.com.)

Most of the bands in the festival’s two-day lineup were considered second-tier metal bands even in their original mid-to-late ‘80s heyday, but Saturday night headliner Queensryche were a notable exception. The Seattle-based group was making waves out of the Pacific Northwest well before Soundgarden and Nirvana came along, and have long been known as the thinking man’s metal/hard rock band.

After spending the middle part of this decade touring behind a triumphant theatrical presentation of 1988’s masterpiece concept album Operation: Mindcrime and its 2006 sequel, the band is now putting on a show that features three suites from 1986’s Rage for Order, 2009’s American Soldier and 1990’s Empire. This made for an interesting show as the set started with tunes from the band’s early days, then jumped ahead to the new material and then back to the best-selling album of their career.

The band hit the stage just as it was getting dark and proceeded to deliver a two-hour set filled with highlights. “I Dream in Infrared” built the energy early with its dark and brooding sound, but it was the electrifying “Walk in the Shadows” that really brought the mostly Gen-X crowd alive. Any band that’s been around for over two decades is going to have certain signature songs that will spark a show at anytime and this is such a tune.

The song set the template for the tight prog-metal grooves that the band would explore further on Mindcrime and Empire, while also solidifying vocalist Geoff Tate's soaring and borderline operatic style that have made him one of the greatest singers in rock. Guitarist Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield seemed like they hadn’t aged a day with the energy and precision that was brought forth here.

The segueway into the American Soldier suite began with someone dressed like a soldier marching out on stage and saluting the crowd before the band reappeared for “Sliver,” the album opener and one of its best tracks in the way Michael Wilton’s riffs harken back to the classic Queensryche sound. “This shit’s for real, there’s nowhere to hide,” sang Tate about the buyer’s regret of joining the military. The soldier chimed in singing “What you doing here? Welcome to the show!”

Tate said he interviewed hundreds of soldiers for the project, which presents a variety of soldiers' stories, ranging from World War II to the current conflict in Iraq. He pulled out an electric horn of some kind to add some Eastern melodies on “Middle of Hell,” a bluesy song whose beat and vibe recalled U2’s “Bullet the Blue Sky.”

A relatively unique moment occurred when Tate’s 10-year-old daughter Emily came out in a purple dress to reprise her role from the album, where she duets with her dad on “Home Again.” The song is about the emotional pain of long distance separation between soldiers and their families, and Emily Tate’s verses dramatized the poignancy of the topic, earning her a strong round of applause.

The best was still to come though as the show headed into the homestretch with the last suite from 1990’s triple-platinum Empire. The suite kicked off with album opener “Best I Can,” which brought the show back up toward the earlier level of “Walk in the Shadows,” as heads banged and fists once again pumped into the air. Wilton ripped a molten lava wah-wah solo that electrified the crowd, which clearly reveled in the trip through time back to the early ‘90s.

 “The Thin Line” took on a new flavor with a sax solo from Tate, which sounded great under the night sky. Wilton started off on a nylon string guitar for the intro to the chart-topping “Silent Lucidity,” a tune that stole brilliantly from Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” for one of the era’s most memorable hits. The band’s psychedelic sound was huge, providing another peak moment. The energy kept climbing on “Jet City Woman,” a harder rocking yet still melodic song that was a minor radio hit of its own.

The band may have saved the best for last though when they encored with the title track, one of the album’s heaviest numbers, both musically and lyrically. The song’s power was a force to behold, with Tate throwing in some ad-libbed spoken word about the failure of the war on drugs and how it’s time to try something new. This gave way to the scintillating solo section where Wilton brought the house down one more time. Holding the song back for the encore ended the show with a dynamic conclusion that made a powerful statement.

Queensryche was preceded onstage by Keel, a pop-metal band that had two moderately successful albums in the mid-‘80s and has recently reformed. The band’s tunes don’t have the staying power of Queensryche’s repertoire, but there was a redeeming nostalgic value at seeing Ron Keel and company knock out their semi-hits of yore like their cover of Patti Smith’s “Because the Night,” and their own signature song, “The Right to Rock.” Wayne’s World fans also had a chance to recognize guitarist Marc Ferrari, who played in Tia Carrere’s band in the classic 1992 film, and seems to have retained more of his youthful vitality then the other band members.

Nikita Productions staged a good time with a a variety of food, vending, a Miller Lite RV that had a big flat screen TV for basketball fans to check out the Lakers-Nuggets Western Conference Finals game and a second stage for local acts. But someone needs to get the word out to local promoters about this criminally under-used venue. It would be quite a shame if this show was both the first and last rock show at the Sunken Garden Theater in 2009.

[Someone also needs to get the word out to venue management that a band photo pass is supposed to get a person into the photo pit, whereas ushers were also requiring some sort of wristband, hence the intrepid reporter’s inability to take quality pictures.]

Posted by Gschwartz on 5/25/2009 11:52:47 PM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

Live & Local: Articles of Separation

Tonight, Live & Local will be heading out to watch Articles of Separation perform at the Ten Eleven , the club formerly known as the Warhol. The Articles will be opening for Kill Rocks Stars artists the Shaky Hands and the Thermals (read our reviews of both these bands here). The Articles claim to play something called the "Crying Machine," (which, incidentally is what I call my cell's empty voice mailbox)  so that alone should be worth checking out. Tickets are $10, and the doors open at 8 p.m. All ages are welcome. See you kids there.

Posted by snuff_film on 5/23/2009 1:48:01 PM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

Chaléwood No. 9: Zulay Henao

Zulay Henao – Fighting

 

By Kiko Martinez

San Antonio Current contributing writer

paperboy5456@yahoo.com

 

Don’t let Colombian actress Zulay Henao’s innocent look fool you. Although she didn’t get to show off her skills in her new film Fighting, she does have some combat training under her belt from the four years she served in the U.S. Army.

 

 

In Fighting, however, Henao is more of a lover than a fighter. In the film she plays Zulay Valez, a sexy cocktail waitress who becomes the love interest of Channing Tatum’s bare-knuckle brawler character Shawn MacArthur, a streetwise hustler who fights to pay the bills.

 

During an interview with me, Henao talk about why she joined the Army straight out of high school and why she likes seeing her movies on the big screen.

 

Whose idea was it to use your real name as your character’s name?

 

It was the director’s idea, actually [Dito Montiel, who also directed A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints]. He really loved my name. He said it was genius and it fit really well with the character. Of course, I agreed.

 

There’s a part in the film where you explain that your name sounds like “July” so people can pronounce it correctly. Is that a trick you use in real life?

 

Actually, that came up because one day I was trying to help someone pronounce my name and this person just instinctively said, “Oh, like July!” I was like, “Yeah, that makes sense!” Ever since then, I’ve used that. I even used it in the audition room when I first met Channing [Tatum]. The director liked the line so he put it in the movie.

 

You should have demanded screenwriting credit.

 

You know, I didn’t even think about that. Maybe that’s something for me to do in the future.

 

So, what does your name mean?

 

I didn’t know what it meant until recently when I was doing press for Fighting. Somebody in production told me that it meant “brilliant.” I kind of like the meaning. You can’t go wrong with brilliant. I would like to think that I am brilliant.

 

 

Are you a lover or a fighter?

 

I’m definitely a lover. I’ve never been a fighter and probably never will be. I think the title and the whole premise of the movie goes beyond the physical aspect of fighting. It’s really about picking yourself up when you fall down. I do believe in fighting for the things you want and the things you believe in. So, I guess I’m a fighter in those instances, but not physically.

 

Some people say you don’t know what you’re made of until you get into a fight. Do you agree or disagree?

 

I definitely agree. I don’t think we know how capable we are of something until that happens. It’s a scary thing and a beautiful thing because we really don’t know our own strength and how intense we really are.

 

I’m sure you learned a lot about yourself during your four years in the Army. Why did you make that decision?

 

College was definitely one of the things that attracted me to it. Also, I wanted to grow up and travel and gain some experience on my own. It was a combination of different feelings. The Army is a lifestyle, not a job. You find out very soon after you join whether you’re going to be in it for the long haul or not. I knew immediately that it was something I was going to give my best to and learn from it but eventually I was going to get out.

 

Are you into combat sports like boxing and Mixed Martial Arts?

 

I was never really into it before the movie, but I just started getting into it recently. My brother is also a boxer at school. I do like it. I think it’s fun, but I also think it’s crazy. I can’t believe people get in the ring and put themselves out there like that.

 

Fighting is your third movie that's had a wide studio release. You've also done some smaller films, too. Is it more satisfying to see your work on the big screen or is it all the same for you as an actress?

 

It is a big deal and very important. I think it gives you a different platform and helps you grow in the industry and gives you access to different directors and other actors. I’m very happy that was the case for Fighting. Hopefully, I can continue to grow and evolve and work with people I can learn from.

Posted by kiko martinez on 5/22/2009 1:30:57 AM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

River Re-Development Roundup Part 4: Museum Reach Preview

Next week, (coming out 5/27), the Current brings you a mega-special feature on the May 30th opening of the San Antonio River’s “Museum Reach” re-development: what we like, what we’re dubious about, and what we think it means for the city and the arts. Many images, interviews, history, hopefully some maps, and some recommendations. So look for that.

Here’s some backstory, if you want:

“Quickie guide” to Museum reach public art (written in December)
Photo-heavy blog post about the San Antonio Museum of Art River Landing (also written in December)
A blog post about a the recent Rivert-tini fundraiser, in case you want to play the drinking game version with Blanca Aldaco’s winning Cucumber Martini, written a couple of weeks ago.


Elaine Wolff and I took a tour of the museum reach today, with various members of the San Anto press, and San Antonio River Foundation board members, staff, and partners. We’ll go more into detail next week about it all, but I wanted to give y’all a sneak peek (and a blind item! Read on!).

As always, I apologize for the bad photo quality. We will have better images in the paper.


San Antonio’s own Brooklyn Bridge, seen from the new (and very cool) dam and lock system which regulates flooding while letting boats through. Note presence of actual H2O in river — this just happened last week. It’s back! Nice to see. It was sort of disconcerting as a ditch.


Press peeps on lock bridge platform. Note hardhats. Serious business y’all.


Elaine Wolff and Mike Addkison, Art & Architecture Project Manager for the San Antonio River Foundation, who has about the coolest job in the world.


Feet of people who do the footwork. Respect.


Here’s the back of VFW Post 76, the oldest Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Texas! VFW 76 is the best place to drink cold tallboys by the river, whether you’re a veteran or not. I highly recommend their patio and their “dressed” Dos Equis.

Here’s a photo of the front, taken by me in January from inside a car:






This is some verbiage about the dam they unearthed just between the VFW and SAMA.


Donald Lipski's amazing Fish installation  from a distance!


closer!


…these are more interesting and fun than I expected, and they light up at night!


This bad photo gives one a better sense of scale than the others. Each fish measures seven feet in length. Remember this for later.


SAMA’s river landing. SO EXTREMELY COOL.


More SAMA river landing.


By the way, the irrigation for all the new plants, as well as the river itself, currently, are all re-used water. The purple pipes/hoses/fixtures denote water that is “reused.” Nice!



BUT LOOKY HERE! Not even open yet, and already somebody’s thrown their Styrofoam cups into this water feature. BOOO, SAN ANTO. See, this is why we can’t have nice things.
I’m kidding, of course.
But don’t be litterbugs, c’mon.

Allright, and now for the promised “Blind Item,” which I’m going to do in dialogue form, because I’m in a phase. This Blind Item concerns a member of the SATX media (a.k.a “Press Person”) member of the River Foundation gang (a.k.a. “River Person”), and the awesome Donald Lipski fish installation.
Based on audio recording.

SCENE 1
River Person has just given a little presentation wherein (s)he explained that Donald Lipski initially planned to install goldfish, but that the Long-eared Sunfish was used instead, as it’s native to our river. Lipski worked with the “3-time champion taxidermist” from Florida to recreate  25  7-foot sunfish.

Press Person (in a well-projected, loud, “getting-to-the-bottom-of-this” voice): So these fish are from this river?

River Person: That’s right!

Press Person: And the artist was originally going to do goldfish?

River Person: That’s right, but the long-eared sunfish is native, so—

Press Person: Do these fish live ONLY in THIS river?

River Person: No, no, they live all over the South, in streams and rivers, from here to Florida.

Press Person (pointing to river): Are they in there RIGHT NOW?

River Person (a little baffled): …The sunfish?

Press Person: Right.

River Person (slightly apologetically): Um, no. We only just put the water back in last week, so the fish aren’t here quite yet.

Press Person: Are you going to stock the river with these sunfish?

River Person: No…the fish, they swim both up and downstream, and they’ll make it up here themselves.

Press Person (seemingly slightly exasperated): Are you going to stock it with ANYTHING?

River Person (polite, but a little puzzled): No….

Press Person (changing line of questioning in very investigative way): So this taxidermist, he made models of these fish?

River Person: Yes, he’s the champion taxidermist in North America!

Press Person (in the throes of an "a-ha!" moment): But you had to increase the size, right?!

(Note to reader, just to remind you: actual long eared sunfish are 6 to 8 inches long. Lipski’s sunfish are SEVEN FEET LONG.)

River Person (very patiently): Yes.

Another River Person (chiming in): A seven-foot fish filet would be awesome, though.

FIN

Posted by sarah fisch on 5/21/2009 7:37:52 PM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

210SA: Imitation is the sincerest form of hackery

blog_210ripoff

We haven't picked on 210SA in a while (publicly, anyway — every issue you guys put out contains at least one unintentionally hilarious item that makes for great inter-office riffing), but the cover of this week's not-alt mag had us experiencing déjá vu. Under all that tasteful type treatment, we'd recognize the distinctive swirls and circles of local artist Nemo anywhere — especially since Nemo drew our 2008 Holiday Gift Guide cover. [November 19, 2008.]

Nice one, guys. Feel free to borrow any of our cover ideas and use them six months later, (COUGH-Annele-Spector-COUGH) but don't forget to give us a shout-out when you do, it makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Posted by Chuck Kerr on 5/20/2009 12:47:49 PM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

OPERATION ALL TALK, NO-ACTION ACTION

There are some aspects of the Underground economy I wanted to cover in this story, like barter and trade among artists, and places and people who send money to Mexico, which will appear in later stories. I did 17 interviews (over two and a half hours audio footage) over several weeks and a ton of research, and we thought it best to limit the story to those vignettes.

I’d still like to talk to a female sex worker, though. If you are one, e-mail me at sfisch@sacurrent.com

I’ll be posting outtakes from the cover feature over the next week.

Anyway, here’s the full story of my fruitless attempt to interview a female sex worker, which didn’t make it into the print version of the Underground story.
It co-stars Beto Gonzales (as mentioned in the article), who is also the co-author of the “Outsider Stylist” vignette title. The night we went out looking for prostitutes, I’d been explaining to him about Señora Blanca, and he remarked that “Outsider Artist” is a thing…why not “Outsider Graphic Artist”; i.e., a “like a secretary who does incredible Power Point presentations,” or “Outsider Plumber.”

*****************************************************************

OPERATION ALL TALK, NO-ACTION ACTION


{As regards placing ads on Craig's List asking sex workers to contact me}

... My Craig’s List ads got me no confessional sex-worker e-mails, but they did elicit, bizarrely, a couple of come-ons from potential customers (and I didn’t even include a pic!) Based on the e-mails received, it seems the people trolling Craig’s List for sex are, as a rule, spelling challenged and fond of writing obscenities in jaunty, forceful all-caps.

One hopeful query read:

“WERE U WORK AT? U COME OVER U GOT BIG TITTYS?”

Ah, the irony; the interviewer had become the interviewee.

And as it turns out, I am a crappy interview subject: I failed to respond at all. In this way, I am no better than the “life-size TS Barbie” who I did reach through Craig’s List, and with whom I made a date, but who stood me up. I sat in a downtown Starbucks for over half an hour last Thursday morning, heartbroken. Rejection sucks, no matter who you are.

I had tried to find lady sex workers on my own, too: I'd driven to the storied Cherry /Hackberry area one evening, and had espied a corner upon which several ladies and ladylike persons were gathered. They took some notice when I stopped the car, even. But when I popped my head out of the car to say hello, they turned and moseyed away quicklike, one and all, my cries of “hello? Ma’am!?” unheeded. Whoever I might be —some species of unusually bewildered, VW-driving cop, or possibly worse, a social worker— they wanted no part of me.

But back to my travels with Beto. Beto and I were both greatly desirous of and somewhat terrified by the prospect of finding a real, live, lady sex worker. We did see two different women, each walking alone on Roosevelt at about ten-thirty, and each of whom stopped to watch the car go by. We circled the area, girding our respective loins, hapless Wednesday night stalkers. Beto was driving, because I feared that with my VW’s right blinker out, we might get stopped by the po-po, and then the prospect of my even trying to explain that I was just a law-abiding writer trying to find sex workers to talk to would cause my brain to explode.

Beto met this reasoning with a hearty scoff, but finally agreed to drive because his car has air conditioning. So we watched American Idol, then set off, full of bravado.

The audio recording of our wanderings, when I listened to it the next day, struck me as sounding less like an episode of investigative reporting than it does a particularly lame coming-of-age movie about precocious fourteen-year-old boys. Here's a short screenplay based entirely on the transcript.

SCENE ONE
Exterior, dark and lonesome Roosevelt Avenue. Beto and Sarah in car, listening to classic country radio, nervously trolling street.

Me: if you took [the sex worker] to Whataburger as part of the deal, would you want it to be before...or after?

Beto: Uggh, not before! (imitating irate customer): 'What the hell! My dick smells like Whataburger!'

Me: There’s [a sex worker], maybe. At the bus stop.

Beto: Maybe, let’s slow down…

(We draw closer, slowing down as we drive up behind her. A lady in her forties with elaborate makeup turns and scowls at us.)

Beto (suddenly accelerating): I can’t do it!

(We pass her)

Me: Oooh! She looked mean!

(Gales of nervous laughter, some classic country coming from the radio, then silence).

Beto: Here’s where, in a bad movie, there’d be voice-over narration.

SCENE TWO
(After we’ve seen the same woman respond to our drive-by a couple of times, we decide to pull into an empty parking lot to wait and see if she approached us.)

Me (needlessly stage-whispering): Here she comes, here she comes!

Possible Sex Worker: Hey, what’s up? (Scans us through the rolled-down window, notices that there are two of us, and that I'm a girl. Looks slightly quizzical).

Beto (calmly): Hey. Nothin’…

Me (on the verge of hysteria): HI!!!

Possible Sex Worker: Do you have a lighter?

Me: Ummm, yeah, I think so!

(After fumbling, I produce one and hand it to her.)

Possible Sex Worker: Thanks. So, what are you up to?

(Author’s note: Beto and I had discussed what we were actually going to say, and had tentatively decided on “Hey, wanna party?” as an opener.)

Me: Uhhh, well. Let me just tell you…what I’m doing…is… I’m a journalist working on a story. I wrote for the San Antonio Current. ...Do you ever look at the Current?

Possible Sex Worker: Yeah, sometimes.

Me: Well, I’m writing about people who earn money in ways that aren’t measured by most, uh, by the government, who do work that isn’t monitored by most (inaudible) for example, sex workers, and I wondered whether you knew of anyone who—

Possible Sex Worker: (polite, but suspicious) Well, I don’t do that.

Me: Okay. What I was wanting to ask anybody who maybe did do sex work, and with no judgment, and without divulging their name or anything, is whether or not they feel safe, and if they’re having a harder time now with the economy in the shitter, and how much they get in trouble with the police, that kind of—

Possible Sex Worker: Uh huh. I mean, I don’t do that, but I’ve got a friend, this girl down here might be able to say—(she gestures down the street towards the bus stop, and the “mean-looking” lady who’d scared us.) You could ask her.

Me: Okay, um.

Possible Sex Worker (Handing me back the lighter): Y’all have a good night. Like I said, my friend might know. Thanks for the light! (Walks away from the car).

Me: You’re welcome! Have a nice night, you, too!

(Beto drives out of the parking lot. Silence for about twenty seconds)
Me: Well, I think she might’ve been—

Beto: Yeah, I think so. And she outed her friend!

Me: Man, I was so scared. Were you?

Beto: No!

Me: (Sort of not believeing him); She was nice, but she wasn’t gonna tell me anything. (Pause) Damn!

Beto: What?

Me: I should have given her my card!

Beto (in a serious, I'm-just-levelling-with-you voice): Dude. She wasn’t going to call you.


We drove past the aforementioned friend, who was still posted at the bus stop, now accompanied by a rather agitated and furtive-looking young man on a bicycle we imagined was her pimp. We did not stop.

Later, at a local ice house, we met a woman named Gloria who wanted to sell us Xanax, readily told us she has HIV/AIDS, that she’s had a gun to her head twice, and gave me eyebrow-shaping tips, but when gently prodded, also declined to describe herself as a sex worker.
     “What would you have done, if we’d actually managed to pick somebody up?” Beto asked later.
     “Well, after she’d got into the car,” I began, “I’d just interview her.”
     Beto was incredulous. “In my car?” he said. “ABSOLUTELY NOT!”

Posted by sarah fisch on 5/20/2009 11:50:10 AM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

Gonna be in Austin tomorrow? Wanna hear me cuss immoderately?

Well, come on up and scissor-kick me in the junk while I'm eating, then.

(Ha.)

Yeah, not really, though.

Hey -- so, let's get this much out of the way: This is a plug. All right? I'm sorry. These things happen. I've accepted it. Give it a moment; you might find that you can, too. If so, please proceed.

Got it? Top shelf. Let's move forth.

So, I've got a filmmaker buddy, see, and that filmmaker buddy is finishing up the filmmaking track at UT, and, recently, while in that filmmaking track, he made a film. A short one. A fun one, I think, though I haven't seen it yet. About a meek, comic-book-loving valet who gets a shot at being a hero. By going after a heavy who steals some foul-mouthed jerkface's car.

See this? Well, the fairer-haired fella in it -- the one with the black shirt -- he's the valet. He's a nice guy. (The actor is.) (Well, and so's the valet.) So, yeah, I know the director. Yeah, I know the writer. And, to top it off, I'm the jerkface. Because, perhaps against his better judgment, dude put me in his movie.

So, see? That's a plug-and-a-half. Not that I particularly intend for anyone reading this to come watch me ham it up and make an ass of myself -- you can cover your eyes during those portions -- but if you're bored in Austin and fancy some student films, then, by all means.  

Film's called Wrong Ticket, and it's part of the UT student-film showcase.

Sunday, May 17, 11am-1pm
Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar
13729 N Highway 183
Austin, TX 78750


End plug.

-- Brian Villalobos

Posted by brian on 5/16/2009 12:03:35 PM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

Chaléwood No. 8: Carlos Cuarón

By Kiko Martinez

San Antonio Current contributing writer

paperboy5456@yahoo.com

 

Carlos Cuarón - Rudo y Cursi

 

Five years passed after screenwriter Carlos Cuarón was nominated for an Academy Award for his 2001 film Y tu mama tambien before he began writing his next feature script. The rough idea he had for his movie was about "a soccer player from a humble background." When he shared some of his thoughts with actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, he didn’t expect their response: they both wanted the part.

 

 

Instead of making a choice between the actors, Carlos, who is the younger brother of Y tu mama tambien director Alfonso Cuarón, decided to rework his story and write it about two brothers. The film, Rudo y Cursi, tells the story of Tato (Bernal) and Beto (Diego), siblings who are recruited onto rival professional soccer teams.

 

During an interview with me, Cuarón, 42, who along with penning Rudo y Cursi makes his directorial feature debut, talked about his personal passion for soccer and whether or not he used his own relationship with his brother to create his main characters.

 

Did you use your relationship with Alfonso in any part of the script?

 

The only thing that is sort of the same between Rudo and Cursi and Alfonso and me is that we are all sometimes a bunch of dumbasses. The story is more about my observation of other sibling relationships.

 

Was there ever any sibling rivalry between you and Alfonso since you both work in the same industry?

 

I guess there was some sibling rivalry, but the way we work together is more of a partnership. I would write scripts with him of projects that I liked and I would say no to the ones I didn't like. I didn’t think it was necessary to have to show off my relationship with my brother in this film.

 

Because of the success of Y tu mama tambien back in 2001 do you find it easier or more challenging to write today? Is there more or less pressure?

 

Well, this script was really difficult for me. It really took a lot of time. I wrote and rewrote for two whole years before I felt it was ready to shoot. This project is different from Y tu mama tambien because I was finding the story and the characters as I was writing. In other projects, I know more about the story and the characters before I start writing.

 

Were you already familiar with the world of soccer before you started to write?

I am a soccer freak. I love soccer, so I knew a lot. But I also did research. I have a few friends that used to play soccer professionally. I would go have lunch with them and talk. I would talk to players and referees. I also went to some soccer training and went to games and to dressing rooms during halftime to see how everything operated.

 

Did you ever worry about choosing to highlight soccer in this film? I mean, the sport isn't very popular in the U.S.

 

Yeah, I was very worried about this, but not only in the states. The truth is all soccer movies that have come out have all flopped. They have been box-office disasters historically. I was worried about that but at the same time I felt like I wasn't making a sporting movie or a soccer movie. I wanted to make a movie about brotherhood. That is the reason why we don’t see much soccer. Much of it is off camera. There is a reason I didn’t show much of the game. At the end of the day the only thing I really wanted to dramatize on the field was the only thing you can really dramatize in soccer, which is the penalty kick. It’s like a duel; two men facing each other and in front of them is destiny or death.

 

Is there anything else in the sports world you would say is the equivalent to the drama of the penalty kick?

 

I think it’s exciting when a pitcher is pitching to a batter with two outs, two strikes, and three balls with the game tied and the bases loaded. I think every sport has their own “penalty kick.”

 

But not every sport has the type of fans that come out to soccer games. We see a bit of that in the film where a fan can be your best friend if you’re playing well and wants to kill you if you are not. Does it ever surprise you how intense and sometimes dangerous these fans can become?

 

Yeah, I’m really surprised every time something like that happens especially in Mexico. In Mexico soccer is still a family sport so you go to the stadium with your family. Families can’t go to the games anymore in Brazil or Argentina or other parts of South America because the fans are really violent. I don’t understand it. I think people should understand that soccer is just a game.

 

 

Have you ever experienced what Gael’s character Tato is going through in the film where he is passionate about something, but just really isn’t good at it despite his sincere efforts?

 

Well, I hope not with directing. (Laughs). I have a passion for soccer, but I’m an average player. I know I’m never going to play professionally. I knew that all my life. I never even thought of it when I was a kid.

 

Do you think someone can truly be happy doing something they’re good at but don’t necessarily like?

 

No, I don’t think so. I do what I like to do. I understand Tato in that sense. He’s good at soccer but he wants to sing even though he’s a lousy singer. I think you have to be very intelligent and go with your passion but at the same time have enough self-criticism to see your talent is in another place.

 

Why did you choose Cheap Trick’s song “I Want You to Want Me” to be the film’s theme song and why did you decide to translate it into Spanish?

 

One day I was driving my kid to school and I was listening to this CD and suddenly the song started to play. I started to sing along with it, but I sang it in Spanish. It’s very stupid and I felt stupid but I discovered that was the song the character needed. Someone that sings, “I want you to want me,” needs attention and has a problem. I knew for the music video I wanted it to be something between a homage and a spoof of the Norteño videos we have in Mexico. To me it was a very basic concept. I hired a choreographer. We shot it against a green screen. People kept asking me what I was going to do with the green screen. I told them I wanted it for kitschy backgrounds.

 

You touch on the idea of celebrity in the film when Tato becomes famous and starts doing things he wouldn’t normally do. Are there any differences between the idea of celebrity in Mexico and the U.S.?

 

I think it’s the same, not only in Mexico and the U.S. but worldwide. You are a reporter and I am a filmmaker so if we meet a star it’s normal to us. But normal people get star-struck. I’ve experienced that with Diego and Gael everywhere both in Mexico, the states, in Spain, in South America. I’ve also experienced it with other actors in L.A. like Clive Owen.

 

What did it mean to you to get your brother and directors Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel) and Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) to step in as producers for your first feature film?

To me it was a privilege to have them produce my movie. What was great is they produced this movie the way they would want to be produce. They gave me complete creative freedom and weren’t demanding. They very rarely went to the set. Alejandro went one day. Guillermo never went because he was shooting Hellboy 2. Our communication was mostly through internet and phone calls. These guys are three of the best filmmakers in the world so all of their feedback was always appreciated.

Posted by kiko martinez on 5/15/2009 1:16:17 AM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

Live Review: Jane's Addiction, NIN/JA Tour - Austin - May 12

Story and photos by Greg M. Schwartz
gschwartz@sacurrent.com


Anticipation was high at Austin’s Frank Erwin Center Tuesday Night as two of the architects of alternative rock  joined forces once again to give fans a fine taste of that late 20th century flavor. Jane’s Addiction and Nine Inch Nails first teamed up on the original Lollapalooza tour in 1991 for a groundbreaking tour. With most of their peers from the era having disbanded, it made seeing two such acts together again on the aptly dubbed “NIN/JA” tour a rare treat for fans of that still highly influential era.

This reporter was never a huge NIN fan, as their industrial sound just isn’t quite my cup of tea. But there’s no denying that tunes such as “Head Like a Hole” and “The Hand That Feeds” rocked with an impressive power. Aside from the diehards up front though, most of the crowd didn’t really seem that into the set — fans in the upper levels were sitting down. NIN frontman Trent Reznor acknowledged the atmosphere after the show.

“Not one of our better shows. Despite our efforts we seemed unable to win over the crowd. Texas ends with a whisper,” twittered Reznor after his band’s 90 minute set.

Perhaps it was because the majority of attendees were actually there to see Jane’s Addiction. NIN have certainly been far busier as far as albums and tours over the years, but I dare say that Jane’s Nothing Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual albums are packed with far more classics than NIN have achieved in their entire catalogue.

Reznor gets props for recognizing Jane’s classic status though, which is why he is plenty content to play first and then enjoy getting to watch one of his favorite bands. He’s even tried to referee the internal battles that continue to plague his tempestuous tour mates.

Jane’s hit the stage with their mesmerizing epic “Three Days” and instantly commanded the arena. Perry Farrell looked none the worse for wear from a torn calf muscle he’d suffered in Atlanta and seemed his normally energetic self. Seeing the rhythm section of drummer Stephen Perkins and bassist Eric Avery back in action (Avery left the band in the early ‘90s and didn’t play on tours in 2002 and 2003) provided a stellar flashback, with Avery not missing a beat. But it’s guitarist Dave Navarro who really makes the band’s sound so addictive to alt-rock junkies.

Navarro was in fine form from the start, ripping off melting hot leads in nearly every tune. The man just has a presence about him, not to mention his skill at channeling rock gods like Page and Hendrix while mixing such classic influences with his own psychedelic bag of funky tricks.

“Pigs in Zen” was another early highlight that kept the energy ascending, but it was “Coming Down the Mountain” that really set the house on fire. Avery’s signature bass line clued in the crowd, which exploded when Farrell and the rest of the band kicked into the tune. The band was firing on all cylinders here, while the ever-charismatic Farrell reveled in his quasi-shamanic ringleader role.

The group’s seminal ability to merge classic rock psychedelia with harder edged punk and funk influences is the source of their immense influence on the music world. With peers like Billy Corgan, Slash and Flea all testifying to the band’s majesty in the liner notes of their new box set Cabinet of Curiosities, the immense reach of that influence is clear.

“Been Caught Stealing” was pure party time with its funky groove and Farrell’s most amusing lyrics, a combo that made the song the band’s biggest hit. Farrell was clearly having a blast, with a contagious effect on the crowd. “Nothing Shocking,” on the other hand, brought back the band’s mesmerizing side, entrancing the audience as bizarre images played on the curtain screen that was partially unrolled, while the band spun their dark and moody tale.

The set kept building until it reached the cathartic climax of “Ocean Size,” a tune whose musical power does indeed match that of the oceanic metaphor for which it’s named. It was moments like this where the surroundings started to evaporate and it almost did feel like 1991. The ability to bend the space-time continuum in such a way is no small feat.

The sensational encore trio was almost like a mini-set of its own. “Summertime Rolls” set the stage with an ambient and melodic sound that just seemed to wash over the soul. Yet another ripping solo by Navarro hit the mark again.

“Stop” kicked the groove party back into motion with one of the most high energy songs of the evening, with Navarro and company giving it their all and the crowd responding in kind. The song had a hard rocking jam reminiscent of Phish’s “Carini,” although it was probably Jane’s that influenced Phish more than vice versa (the jamrock kings have been known to cover “Been Caught Stealing.”)

“Jane Says” ended the show in triumphant fashion, as the band opened the song with another ambient, yet groovy jam that built like a wave before crashing into the opening chords of what’s become a campfire sing-along classic about a girl and her addiction.
Whether the band can make their peace to stay together and move forward remains to be seen. But it would be a shame if they can’t, because the mojo is still there.






Posted by Gschwartz on 5/14/2009 10:50:40 AM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

Live Review: Nine Inch Nails, NIN/JA Tour, Frank Irwin Center - Tuesday, May 12


Photo by Greg Schwartz

Judging from last night’s performance in Austin, the conversation between Trent Reznor and Perry Farrell before Nine Inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction teamed up for the NIN/JA tour probably went something like this:

Perry Farrell (in a helium-induced voice): Say Trent, how’s life?

 

Trent Reznor (in a brooding, dark tone): Not bad. A little tired. I’ve been traveling the world with my live band the past year or so, doing the Lights In The Sky tour.


[Trent yawns with fatigue]

 

Farrell: Oh yeah. I remember what touring was like. Remember when both of our bands did the first Lollapalooza way back in 92 (CHECK)? That was awesome. Except for Jane’s Addiction breaking up in a blizzard of drugs, booze and egos.

 

Reznor: Those were good times. But a lot has changed since then. I’ve cleaned up, I’m sober now, I recently gave a giant middle finger to the music industry by copying Radiohead’s “pay what you can for my music” marketing idea, and I’m engaged to a hot Playboy Playmate.  Life is pretty sweet. I think this is what mortals call “being happy.” In fact, I think I’m going to take some time off to actually allow myself some personal time. I’ve told people that I’m planning on retiring, sorta like Eminem and Jay-Z.

 

Farrell: Er, yeah. Well, things could be a little better for me. I haven’t put out a record that matters in well over a decade and if it wasn’t for the theme song of Entourage and the return of Lollopalooza, no one would know who I am.

 

Reznor: Geez, Perry. That sucks. Wait, now. Don’t start crying…

 

[Reznor offers Farrell a tissue…]

 

Reznor: Is there anything I can do to help you?

 

Farrell: Well, there is one thing… I’ve been talking to the guys in Jane’s and they say they’d be willing to do a tour. Even Stephen Perkins, our old bassist, who said he’d never have anything to do with us again because Dave Navarro and I are ego-maniacs. But, we’re sort of hard up for the cash and Dave needs a new coffin to sleep in. We just need a band that will put fans in the seats to tour with us.

 

Reznor: Hmmm…I’m kinda beat from the last tour. I mean, we had a crazy light show, an artsy acoustic-orchestral breakdown during the show. Robin Finck, my guitarist, even played the pan-flute!

 

Farrell: You know I'm down with the pan-flute. But seriously, that’s OK if you’re tired. I was thinking all you have to do is play a so-so opening set and we’ll take care of the rest. Your fans will be happy enough and might stick around to check us out.

 

Reznor: Hmmm…I suppose I can do one last go around before I settle down. Let’s do it.


Photo by Greg Schwartz

That brings us to the cheekily named NIN/JA tour that hit the Frank Irwin Center in Austin on Tuesday night. While Nine Inch Nails fans would forgive the band for resting after the extensive (and awesome) Lights In The Sky world tour that came to San Antonio last October, Jane’s Addiction needed this run of shows badly – the first in 17 years as the original lineup - to re-establish its name as a influential force in alternative music.

I will leave fellow Current writer Greg Schwartz to tell you about the Jane’s performance (hint: not too shabby). As for Trent and company, they were as tight as ever despite of opening band status, leaving much of the arty posturing and heavy technology of the previous tour behind for a harder, leaner set.

Nine Inch Nails high-water mark The Downward Spiral figured heavily into the setlist with “I Do Not Want This,” “Heresy,” “The Becoming,” “Hey Pig” getting fierce makeovers. Diehards were treated to several songs not normally played live, such as “The Fragile” from the double-album of the same name, “Gave Up,” from the Broken EP and recently released via the NIN website, “Not So Pretty Now”.

No doubt, this was NIN stripped down raw, with a smaller stage, a lot less gear, but a lot more guitar power. The best numbers were the straight-ahead rockers, on which Reznor sounded fantastic, his vocals pinpoint throughout the 90-minute set.


Photo by Greg Schwartz

There were similarities to the previous NIN tour with a few slow-jam breakdowns featuring multiple instruments. While this created atmosphere with the corresponding visual spectacular during the Lights In The Sky spectacle, the stripped down lighting rig for the NIN/JA tour failed to create the same ambiance, testing the crowd’s collective patience and leaving everyone anxious for something more aggressive. Blame it on his impending marriage to musician/model Mariqueen Maandig, but the days of Reznor seething anger and rage might be over, leading him to the more expressive, down-tempo side evident on the sprawling instrumental album Ghosts I-IV.

SIDE NOTE: One of the coolest things all night was watching the sign-language interpreters working extra-hard to communicate the show to a section of hearing-impaired individuals. There were two, maybe three women who would take turns on songs, interpreting lyrics for the entire show. They were into it too, dancing along to each piece while they signed, looking like improvisational dancers. They even had their own spotlight. It must be awkward to say “I wanna f*** you like an animal” in sign language.

The show ended with the killer trifecta of Joy Division’s “Dead Souls” (covered by NIN for The Crow soundtrack), the still great “Head Like A Hole” from the 1989 release Pretty Hate Machine, and the latest radio hit “Hand That Feeds”. The only disappointment, expressed by the goth kid who called Reznor’s mother a douche, came after the show when the band choose not to play an encore.


Photo by Greg Schwartz

It remains to be seen why Nine Inch Nails was opening for a band that hasn’t been relevant in years – regardless of how much Jane's Addiction redeemed themselves on Tuesday night. It was obvious most people in attendance were there for Reznor’s project, with the dark clothes, midnight nail polish and eyeliner out in full force, gender be damned. One thing Nine Inch Nails has always been is mysterious, a tone set throughout a catalogue dating two decades. The fact this might be the last time Nine Inch Nails plays live for some time left fans scratching their heads.

If this was truly the final tour Reznor has alluded to in the press and through his website, wouldn’t he want to go out on top instead of playing second fiddle to a band whose only claim to fame in the new millennium is the theme song to a middling TV show? With the NIN/JA tour, fans were left with a bittersweet aftertaste following what should have been one last hurrah; a glorious black celebration of alt-rock’s prince of gloom.

Posted by Johnston Farrow on 5/13/2009 9:47:32 PM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

River Re-Development Roundup Part 3: Eeny meeny River-tini

Quick! Set your DVR for “Conversations” on KLRN2 (channel 92 on digital cable) at 7 pm and/or 12:30 pm tonight.


NOW!!!

I’ll wait.

Alright.

On that episode of “Conversations,” (which also aired this past Wednesday night), San Antonio River Foundation  Executive Director Kim Abernethy gives an excellent and interview about the Museum Reach portion of the river development, which opens on May 30.

Here’s my article from last December, which gives some info about the participating artists, and here’s a blog post I did about it, also.

But the “Conversations” program has tons more info, and video of the works in progress and on-site, rendering me EVEN MORE PSYCHED about this fantastic San Anto public-art-and-space development than I already was.

THE MUSEUM REACH IS GOING TO BE FANTASTIC.

You know what else thrills me? Judging cocktail competitions that raise money for more public space and art along our river. I didn’t know this about myself until Saturday, when I was the decidedly least-famous of four “celebrity” judges at the (hopefully first annual) San Antonio River Foundation “River-Tini” Martini Pour Off.


That’s Richard Perez, President of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Ernie Zuniga, co-host of FOX News First on KABB , me, and David Martin Davies, News Director for Texas Public Radio.



These are the rivertinis we sampled, each of which involved vodka. I think two different ones had lemongrass. One, the red one there, involved rhubarb. The bright green one was festive-looking, and #6 had limoncello in it, I believe. The judges weren’t actually allowed to know what restaurant they were from of what was in them. You can find a list of the restaurants involved here.
 


The judges took our duties pretty seriously. We had to judge the beverages based on taste, presentation and creativity. Ernie did the tabulating.



Here’s Richard Perez, holding the winning ‘tini, both by official judgment. It’s Blanca Aldaco of Aldaco’s www.aldacos-stoneoak.com superb “Cucumber Martini,” and here’s the recipe, which is hopefully legible:



And here’s Blanca, giving a really charming acceptance speech (one of two), proclaiming her gratitude, her happiness, and her love for the Riverwalk and her city:



The party loosened up quite a bit post-libations, as you can imagine.


Cassie Hager and Janet Holiday, both with CE Group, event planning specialists. Janet enjoyed the rhubarb ‘tini best, and advised that if I were to be the “Paula Abdul” judge of next year’s Rivertini Pour Off, I’d “better start poppin’ pills now.”


Dave Davies, post-judging, in possession of a t-shirt. Richard Perez to the left.


River Foundation Board President Edward “Sonny” Collins, giving the event a thumbs-up!

Stay tuned for more river-related stories. I’m getting into countdown mode.

Posted by sarah fisch on 5/11/2009 7:57:21 PM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

WATCH THE CURRENT'S LIVE ELECTION COVERAGE NOW! 5-10 PM

Watch it on your computer!

Watch it on your iPhone!

Posted by Chuck Kerr on 5/9/2009 5:44:17 PM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

Robb's Metal Works to close up shop



Local metal show host Robb Chavez announced that he'll be retiring from Robbs Metal Works, which he's been hosting and producing since 1997. The show's final episode, featuring interviews with local acts Brotherhood and Nothing More, is scheduled to air June 21st on Stuff TV (Time Warner Channel 50). 

Excerpted from Chavez's announcement:

          "To say our contributions via RMW have been fulfilling would be a gross understatement.  The Crew and I have always taken great pride in our efforts and always walked away from every show with enormous gratification knowing that our work was impacting fan’s lives.  More so, that gratification was pure, because RMW has never been about money or politicizing our personal preferences. …

          As I sit here in 2009, I can say with confidence that RMW stands at the helm of the metal video medium, not only here in San Antonio, but in ALL of Texas.  We are standing strong at the ‘top of our game’ with the flexibility to pursue a variety of artists at a variety of different locations and junctures.  It’s truly a great place to be and is a small reminder that our endeavors were respected and applauded both by the industry and artists alike.  Thus, it is with a proud heart that I announce my retirement from Robb’s MetalWorks.

          Those in my inner circles have responded with mixed emotions.  It is feedback I can understand, but please know that this decision did not come lightly.  In fact, it weighted heavily on me for months last year and its outcome ultimately became a culmination of several important factors.  First, after 12 years I simply feel like ‘I’ve done my part’ in supporting metal music here in San Antonio.  It’s a ‘changing of the guard’ and my hope is that some young upstart out there will take the torch and run with it faster than I ever did.  That’s the way it should be.  The bar has been set.  Second, its time for me to give back whole heartedly to my immediate family and friends whose time was so often sacrificed in lieu of RMW commitments.  I want to re-focus on growing those relationships because they are ultimately the most important.  Lastly, I have made the decision to continue my education once again.  In August I will begin a doctoral program at Our Lady of the Lake University.  It will be the final step towards the future I see for myself and my family.

          Technically, there are many questions still to answer.  I will do my best to address all facets of how we will proceed in the coming months.  Our final episode will air on June 21, 2009 and it will end, just like it began, supporting San Antonio metal, this time with BROTHERHOOD and NOTHING MORE.  Of course, we will also have a May episode as well, which plans to be killer as we celebrate Bay Area Thrash with DEATH ANGEL and TESTAMENT.  That episode will air on May 17th.  (Visit our myspace for the official flyer)

          Speaking of our myspace (www.myspace.com/metalshows) it will also see its final day on Sunday, June 21st.  I do not see the purpose in maintaining the myspace any longer, as it was primarily used for marketing and networking the program.  The good news is that we will continue to maintain WWW.ROBBSMETALWORKS.COM and the plan is to showcase archival episodes monthly from our STUF-TV era.  So, if you ever need a quick fix, just head on over!  My webmaster, Paul Alderete, and I also plan to develop the dot.com to include exclusive photo galleries from our history, as well as create an avenue for die-hard RMW fans to acquire DVD episodes.

          Our Youtube page at WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/ROBBSMETALWORKS will also stay alive and well.  In fact, in the coming year I plan to periodically upload a variety of different video work; some of it interviews, some of it live material.  …
             As I think about the future, I look forward to being a better husband and father, an outstanding student and just a regular metal fan.  Many of you will still see me at shows from time to time - headbanging near the stage, drinking dark beer and supporting bands by purchasing their music and merch.  And as the years progress, I can’t say what new endeavors may come to fruition, but my sincere hope is that fans will always remember Robbs MetalWorks as a genuine, class act that made its own unique stamp on San Antonio metal!"

Posted by snuff_film on 5/8/2009 12:05:59 PM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

Chaléwood No. 7: Clifton Collins Jr.

Clifton Collins Jr. – Star Trek

 

By Kiko Martinez

San Antonio Current contributing writer

paperboy5456@yahoo.com

 

Line up the characters that actor Clifton Collins Jr. has portrayed during his nearly 20-year career and it’s no wonder people might not recognize him once he’s off the set.

 

 

In Star Trek, Collins Jr. (second from the right at the L.A. premiere), who is the grandson of the late comedic actor Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez (Rio Bravo), plays Ayel, the right-hand Romulan henchman of Nero (Eric Bana). The Romulans are the alien race who threatens the crew of the Starship Enterprise.

 

During an interview with me, Collins Jr., 38, talked about what it’s been like playing a variety of roles over the years and why he thinks we’ll soon be living in a world full of Trekkies.

 

The last time I interviewed you was for your amazing work in Capote. How has your life changed since that breakout role?

 

I’ve just been branching out. I’m even directing music videos. I’m diversifying my talent and doing different things across the board. And then I still go after these [acting] roles. I still have the same work ethic. I love acting. I love pounding the pavement and getting in the room and doing the dance. For Star Trek, J.J. [Abrams] offered me the role. I think everything else I’ve ever been in I had to audition for.

 

In the span of two months I’ve seen you in Star Trek, Sunshine Cleaning, and Crank: High Voltage. Do you ever worry about a Clifton Collins overload?

 

Not yet. I don’t really look like Clifton Collins in most of my films. I think I’m pretty safe right now. I think if I was one of those actors that always wanted to play himself then I would definitely be afraid of that. I do think that I’m starting to run out of disguises though. (Laughs)

 

 

Is that something your conscious of when preparing for your next role?

 

Totally. I try to find ways to make characters original and different and interesting. Doing this brings me growth as an actor. That’s been one of the joys of acting – playing all these different types of people.

 

Is that something you learned from your grandfather since some people might say he wasn’t as lucky in terms of landing diverse roles?

 

I’d have to disagree with that. A Mexican American Tejano who couldn’t read or write and who became a contract player for John Wayne I think would be considered incredibly lucky. It’s hard enough to get work in this town. Also, the roles that he took, I don’t see anything wrong with playing the common man. It’s like Johnny Cash singing about the issues of the common man, the middle class, the lower class. He played to people he grew up with. [My grandfather] wasn’t Ricardo Montalban. He wasn’t José Ferrer. He was not privileged and didn’t live in Beverly Hills. He was very poor. To be able to be the hit that he was and be the only person to one-up Groucho Marx, who at the time was the greatest comedian living, is pretty sensational.

 

Is it safe to say that you were not a Trekkie before landing this role?

 

I’m not the kind of guy that’s going to watch all the episodes of Star Trek and become a Trekkie overnight. But this movie is an amazing ride. Whether you’re a Trekkie or not it’s a great film. It would actually make a great Western.

 

I’m sure you know there is a stereotype associated with people who like Star Trek. A Trekkie wouldn’t be considered the coolest guy to know. Do you think this film is going to change that?

 

Let’s just throw that out the window right now because that idea is goooone! If to be a fan of this film is to be a Trekkie then I think the whole world is going to Trekkies. (Laughs)

 

 

Does it worry you at all that this film already comes with a huge fan base, some of whom may examine this new movie with a fine-tooth comb?

 

I don’t really think that way. I think doing a job that people will microscopically dissect is not really exciting for me. What’s exciting for me is knowing if people enjoyed the piece. I want to know if they get lost in it. If people want to be meticulous, I think it’s more of a personal thing for me.

 

What role in the early part of your career would you tell someone to revisit if they want to know more about who you are as an actor?

 

They’re all crazy and different. I don’t think I could choose. I’m an actor. You tell me what kind of movie you want to see and I’ll tell you which movie to watch.

Posted by kiko martinez on 5/8/2009 3:42:38 AM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

“BUTTER WOMAN” SPEAKS!

Some of you might remember this blog post I did last week, about Fiesta: King William parade, stuff left at my house, etc. It amazes me when there’s evidence that people have read these posts. And it thrills me beyond what’s appropriate, really, when readers respond.

And this…well, it’s just unprecedented. I am beside myself with joy and gratitude.

QUICK BACKSTORY:

About this photo in aforementioned blog post:

I had this to say: “I dig her, but I don’t understand her. If anybody knows why this lady was dressed as a stick of butter, do let me know.”

And here she is again:

And I remarked: “This float is a tribute to Burma Shave ad campaigns of yore, and I get that, but I don’t get the big silver parachute or whatever up top. Again, speak up if you know what’s going on here. “Pie are round?” Is that a thing? Is it a political slogan? Whatever’s going on, Butter Woman’s interested.”

By the way, here’s some explanation  of the whole Burma Shave phenomenon…and here are some examples of slogans.

OK, so now you’re up-to-date.
So, guess who read the post, then got in touch.

YES! BUTTER WOMAN!

Her real name is Carol Sowa, and she sent me an awesomely charming e-mail explaining her unique and delicious brand of parade-related performance art.
Here it is:

*******************************************************************
FROM THE BUTTER’S MOUTH:

 “I dig her, but I don't understand her.” Yes, Butter Woman seems to bring on that response a lot! Easier to answer is: “Why is this lady dressed as a stick of butter?”  Well here’s the story, straight from the Butter’s mouth!

It all came about as a fluke. Back in 2000, I was working as a writer for a tourist magazine based in the King William neighborhood and decided to get us into the parade while doing a story on it. (I had been relatively normal up to this point, mind you.)

Contemplating the company van, I could see it as a giant toaster in the parade, with bread slices popping out of the top and a corny banner offering “a toast to King William.” In the process of turning the van into said toaster, I happened to notice a box in my garage that was the right shape for a king-size butter stick -- and things took off from there.

My original plan was to attach the butter box to the van, but when that didn’t work out, I decided to cut a few strategic holes so someone on the staff could wear it. Somehow that turned out to be me. Unexpectedly, I had so much fun interacting with parade watchers as the Butter Stick (I like your name “Butter Woman” so much better I'm calling myself that from now on, by the way!), I became addicted and managed to work the character into my themes for the magazine’s parade entries the next three years.

Just as unexpectedly then, I found myself having to find a new employer after my fourth year in the parade, but just couldn't let the Butter die. (In addition to being just pure, silly fun, you might say Butter Woman is sort of a crazy symbol of refusing to give up no matter what life lobs at you.)

So I set out to find a new parade “home” and acquired one the next year with a flatbed of parade drummers known as the Rhythm Section. Taking in strays seemed to be their specialty, as they had already taken a group of belly dancers under their wing before adopting the orphan Butter. I would later recruit a companion Bread Slice along the way and had been looking into bringing in a Pot of Jam as well. (Always thought adding a Tortilla would be nice too!)

I've been part of The Rhythm Section’s entry in the parade for 6 rollicking years now -- making the Butter a 10-year King William Parade veteran -- and for the past two years was also the float’s theme designer/head decorator and parade rep. (This year we were “Col. Pratt’s Traveling Medicine Show,” to tie in with the parade’s live theatre theme, with the Bread and I as walking advertisements for the Col.’s “Amazing Bread & Butter Elixir!”)

The guy who started The Rhythm Section and sponsored it for 11 parades is a contractor and constructed the funky green architectural columns etc. on the trailer for this year’s entry. That silver cloth rolled up on top was a tarp he rigged to protect the drums in case of rain and the “Pie are round” is, well, just a little weird math/engineering-related humor of his. (Everyone involved in our entry is uniquely weird – except for the dogs who were with us a few years back. They were pretty normal.)

 The Burma-Shave signs were there because he'd always thought they'd be neat for the parade and I promised him last year (Butter Woman is big on keeping promises) that no matter what theme the parade folks came up with for this year, I would do Burma-Shave signs and work them in.  (Actually, I said something along the lines of: “Even if next year’s theme is the French Revolution, I swear I will work in Burma-Shave signs!” -- which I was exceedingly happy the King William folks did not choose for a parade theme.)  

 Sadly, however, the leader of our pack is bowing out as sponsor after this year, taking with him the trailer, truck and parade existence of the drum buddies, bevy of belly dancers and once-again-orphan dairy product. So if anybody out there is interested in keeping the Rhythm Section alive and drummin’ down the streets of King William, Butter Woman – who is now addicted to drums too – is all ears!

(But no more Burma-Shave signs!)

 Carol Sowa
aka: “Butter Woman”
********************************************************************

I feel I understand Butter Woman, and the King William parade, and triumphing despite adversity, and planning for rain, and just, well, many things better now. Things only Butter Woman could explain. She was so smart not to create a “margarine woman” character, by the way. Butter Woman is tenacious, practical, and takes the long view. I hope she keeps us posted about future appearances.

I'm not ashamed to say it: I am now fully and devotedly on Team Butter Woman. And, please, if you are involved at all in the King William Fair, do consider incorporating Butter Woman into your float with her friends, the drummers and belly dancers. She already has a costume, you guys.

Spread the word about Butter Woman and her quest!
If you want to get in touch with Butter Woman, e-mail me and I’ll hook you up.
(Serious inquiries only: I’m not trying to get Butter Woman stalked.)

By the way, I totally think she’d fit in with a French revolution theme, don’t y’all?
“Femme de Beurre.”

And will her quest to find a tortilla friend go unheeded!?!?
C’mon, readers!
Show the love! Keep the Butter Woman Spirit alive!

Posted by sarah fisch on 5/6/2009 2:14:01 PM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

Freeze Tag: Style Wars, Gallery Bound, and Vincent Valdez

I found this story in our current issue and the reader comments it inspired both interesting and important. Also, since the story mentions the Gallery Bound art program for at-risk kids, it gives me an opportunity to post a couple of photos here from the Gallery Bound opening:



which I attended, and found inspiring and fun. There was some really promising work, and the artists and their families were having a great time. A lot of grinning artists and proud parents. I got the opportunity to speak to several of the young artists about their work, and what the Gallery Bound program had meant to them.

Here’s a photo the kids in question (it amazed me how young some of them were—I think a couple of them are eleven):
 


The Gallery Bound artists and the names of their paintings are as follows:

1. John Rico "Grin"
2. Quentan Bell "Harley"
3. Sergio Juarez "The Grim Shredder"
4. Michael Vogel "Street Racer"
5. Gabriel Valdez "A Trip"
6. Jose Gonzalez "Bird, Snake, Rat"
7. Patricia Arias "La Nina Bonita"
8. Katherine Arias "La Muneca"
9. Quentin Moreno "Headphones"
10. Jeremy Hernandez "Kick 'n' Push"
11. Zoe Kimura "Lucky Cat"
12. Daniel Escoto "Lost"
13. Ramond Rosales "Space"
14. Ruben Hernandez "Question"

Unfortunately, I don’t have images of all the artists or their paintings, but I thought posting the photo of the kids, and the list of their names and artworks might make them seem less anonymous, less of an abstraction.

Here’s Jon Rico and “Grin”:


And here’s Quentan Bell, with “Harley”:


I talked with Quentan for quite a while. He told me about how working with the Gallery Bound mentors had changed his approach to artwork, and expanded his techniques. Far from just tagging on canvas, the Gallery Bound program’s empowered Quentan to experiment with and adapt to completely new ways of handling paint—stippling using a brush, for example, or doing a pencil underdrawing, even embracing an entirely new perspective on the picture plane and planning out how much space to accord to each compositional element. Quentan used aspects of landscape and portraiture here that he’d never tried before, he said, beaming all the while. That’s his dog, Harley, a pit bull who’s “totally hyper” but who Quentan loves. And that’s the skyline of Quentan’s hometown, San Antonio, in the background.

I also spoke to Sergio Juarez about his painting “The Grim Shredder” (Sergio’s the boy standing to the right of Quentan in the group photo), and he said, also, that the Gallery Bound program nudged him past tagging and towards using new techniques and painting in new ways.

The kids in Blue Star’s MOSAIC program, who studied under Kim Bishop and Alex Rubio, and who I wrote about here, also benefited tremendously from avoluntary, pioneering arts program.

This all seems pretty significant to me. It reminds me that art education and creative opportunities can and have changes lives and advanced the careers of some very accomplished local artists, many of whom have to chosen to become mentors.

Shek mentions in the “Style Wars” story having done an East Side mural with Cruz Ortiz, and how transformational that was for him. I’ve spoken to Shek before about the graffiti art conundrum and written about it, as in this blog post from January (scroll down to second half), and he’s passionate very thoughtful on the matter of creative alternatives for young people. Though he used to tag ilegally he in no way condones it, and actively seeks ways to channel talented, restless kids into making art that doesn’t deface property and doesn’t incur such potentially dire legal or health consequences. Let me re-state that: Shek, along with many, many other artists who emerged from the graffiti subculture, do not endorse defacing or destroying property.

Shek gets gallery shows and commissions now. It’s worth mentioning, too, that Vincent Valdez received invaluable art instruction as a Southside kid by studying in mural programs with David Rubio (whom he’s subsequently immortalized in several of his works). I got to see Vincent in his SAMA talk with David Rubin, here’s a bad phone photo, as is customary with me:



Vincent spoke about how, as a youngster, his high school (Burbank High, by the way, which is in danger of closure) reached agreement with him wherein if he more or less behaved himself, he was given wall space to create murals. And create he did--a whole series of murals documenting the history of Rock and Roll.

His school’s creative approach to this gifted kid, as well as his study with Alex Rubio, launched the career of a significant artist. His work ”El Chavez Ravine” is up at SAMA right now, by the way—go see it.

Incidentally, Alex Rubio took all the students in his MOSAIC class to hear Vincent speak, and to meet him and see his work, and when I spoke to those kids, they talked about how important both Alex and Vincent are to them as instructors, inspirations, and examples.

OK, so, to sum up: I am not endorsing tagging or defacing public or private property. I empathize with the very understandable frustration of San Antonians like commenter Manny from the comments forum on the  “Style Wars” story, who’ve had to spend sometimes thousands of dollars of their own resources in covering over tags. Tagging isn’t harmless—as Manny rightfully points out, the paint fumes are dangerous to the kids as well.

And, for the record, I think the City policy of requiring business- and home-owners to incur the costs of covering tags themselves to be CRAZYPANTS; not only does it punish the victims of crime, the policy exacerbates tensions between business-and homeowners, and the kids who tag…and kids who are even suspected of tagging. It leads to the kind of three-tags-you’re-out policy that can lead to an otherwise nonviolent kid becoming dangerously institutionalized in prison.

But look what a little community involvement, a little creative outlet, a little re-direction of energy can do! I applaud artists like Alex Rubio, Vincent Valdez, Cruz Ortiz, Aaron Moreno, Marcus Ramos, Shek, and Wendi Kimura for encouraging and mentoring younger artists, and I appreciate District 6 City Councilwoman Delicia Herrera and Sean FitzGibbons for spearheading the Gallery Bound program. And I hope (and believe!) that out of programs like Gallery Bound and Blue Star’s MOSAIC, more Vincent Valdezes and Wendi Kimuras and Alex Rubios might come.

Posted by sarah fisch on 5/5/2009 2:56:59 PM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

Pearl veggies, music, honey!

Greg Harman
gharman@sacurrent.com

Pearl Brewery, that “emerging culinary and cultural destination” of our beloved San Anto is aiming to be the spot where local, sustainable agriculture gets interesting, gains traction, and gets locals growing again.

We could construct an insidious and pedantic PowerPoint detailing all the reasons locally grown foods are good for us. Or we could flash you some pics from our weekend peddle-through with grating veggie orchestrations. Rhetorically, now: Which will it be?

Just remember to help turn this humble “emergence” into “establishment” by putting the Pearl’s Farmers Market fare on your weekly shopping list.



All right. Next time, then.

Grand Opening is March 16, though Saturday's are already cookin' behind the Full Goods building.

Posted by gharman on 5/4/2009 1:15:13 PM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

Live & Local preview: Viet Ruse




Tonight we're heading out to Vintage House to see local reggae-infused rock act Viet Ruse. Check them out in the video above. This free show begins at 9pm, and Pinata Protest and DJ ESPR are also on the bill. BYOB with a valid ID. The flyer also promises a pinata filled with Vintage House coupons, breath mints, and condoms, so tonight may very well be the first time in history a pinata helped someone get laid.

Posted by snuff_film on 5/1/2009 5:42:43 PM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

Chaléwood No. 6: Cristián de la Fuente

 

 

Cristián de la Fuente – TV’s In Plain Sight

 

By Kiko Martinez

San Antonio Current contributing writer

paperboy5456@yahoo.com

 

Hollywood is still a pretty tough town for Latino actors says Chilean heartthrob Cristián de la Fuente. While roles aren’t as stereotypical as they have been in the past, de la Fuente says they are still scarce. That’s why he feels so lucky to be a part of a TV series like “In Plain Sight” on the USA Network.

 

On the show, which follows a U.S. Marshal working for the witness protection program, de la Fuente, 35, plays Rafael Ramirez, the baseball-playing “on-again, off-again boyfriend” of Mary McCormack’s character Mary Shannon (above with de la Fuente).

 

During our interview with de la Fuente, who became a household name when he and Cheryl Burke placed third during the sixth season of Dancing with the Stars, the actor/model/Chilean Air Force Reserve pilot talked about how Latinos roles have changed over the years and whether or not he think he’d be able to handle living under an alias.

 

“In Plain Sight” began its second season April 19. It airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. on USA.

 

With so many shows getting the ax during or after their premiere season, how did you feel when you got word that “In Plain Sight” was picked up for a second season on USA?

 

I was really happy. We’re used to working in a business where a show can be cancelled after two or three airings. To be able to have a second season is great. At first, the show was renewed but only with Mary [McCormack]. So, I had to wait a couple of weeks to know that my character was also coming back. In this business they can do anything. That’s why you always have to be grateful for what you have.

 

You’ve been on a few of shows that were cancelled after one season like “The Class” and “Threat Matrix.” Is it really fair to cancel a show that quickly?

 

You know, shows usually take more than one season to develop. In one season it’s really hard to make a great show. When you have two or three or four seasons to develop them, that’s when shows become really popular and successful.

 

 

The USA Network’s catchphrase is “Characters Wanted,” so what makes Rafael Ramirez an interesting character to play?

 

The good thing about Rafael is that he’s not the typical Latino character. Many times in TV and film it’s easier to play the Latino as a stereotype. He’s not a drug dealer or a bad guy or a Latin lover having affairs with everybody. It’s easy to go to that place, but in this case Raf is a very down-to-earth guy that’s in love with his girlfriend.

 

Has Hollywood transcended the stereotypical Latino role?

 

It’s getting better. There was a time many years ago where if a movie needed a Latino he was going to be the drug lord from Colombia, the guy kidnapping people, or the guy that was killed in the first 10 minutes. We live in a different country now. We live in a country where Latinos are the biggest minority. We live in a country where Latinos can decide an election.

 

I know you’ve worked with Eva Longoria for the ALMA Awards. What did you think when she took her name out of contention for an award so other Latino actors could get recognized?

I think it’s important that everybody does what’s in their power to try to help each other. Being Latino you’re always going to have more obstacles. We’re a lot of actors and there are not a lot of roles for us. What Eva is doing, not only by taking her name out of consideration for the ALMA, but by bring the awards to another standard, is great. I remember I was nominated for an ALMA Award about nine years ago and it was a small show that was broadcast on a small network. Now, with Eva as the executive producer, it’s on ABC in primetime. She has made it a great show that all Latinos should be proud of.

 

 

Back to the show, do you think you could personally handle a situation where you were at the wrong place at the wrong time and forced to enter the witness protection program?

 

It would be tough. If that ever happened, God forbid, I would do it to protect my wife and my daughter. If I had to run to the end of the world and change my identity to be able to keep them safe then I would do it. I would start all over again just as long as we could be together.

 

There is a character named Natasha in Season 1 that asks for breast implants in exchange for her testimony. What would you ask for?

 

Just the safety of my family, really. I don’t think I would look good with breasts.

 

 

Who do you think is going to win Dancing with the Stars this season? Your former partner Cheryl Burke and [actor] Gilles Marini are in the final five.

 

They are looking good. Hopefully they make it to the finals. But I would also like to see Tony Dovolani [partnered with The Bachelor’s Melissa Rycroft] win because he’s doing really well and he’s never won. Cheryl has two trophies. I think it’s nice if someone new gets the trophy. Tony is a really nice guy. We became good friends during the show. I wish both of them luck.

Posted by kiko martinez on 5/1/2009 2:17:25 AM Permalink | Comments Bookmark and Share

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