Carrot and Wine
(On Stieren Street)
The free wine and carrot sticks investigation continues. Get used to it.
I began at Unit B. The obvious question - "how was the food and drink?" I wasn't in the mood for carrots and cucumbers, and the gallery must have been on the same wavelength. For refreshments, I noticed a sink full of ice and Lonestar Lite. Understated. Well played.
Then, I noticed a couple of people with matching styrofoam cups with the letters "LT". I never got an answer on its origins. Before long I had one of those same mysterious cups filled with vodka and tonic, and possibly a mickey finn? Soon, I was all woozy and coarse. Or maybe I forgot to eat dinner. What follows is shaky underexposed camera work. As always, read at one's own risk.
In addition to the lonestar in the sink, there was artwork on the walls.
In the front room, fotos by Chuck Ramirez. Almost the same image as before.
In the kitchen, fotos by Adam Blumberg from Philadelphia.
One of the fotos shared my middle name but I'm not sure which one (the foto that is.)
This foto prompted a discussion of Gibby Haynes from the Butthole Surfers, and to a larger degree, the ideological/territorial adoption kidnapping of San Antonio musicians by Austin. I'm thinking of San Antonio musicians such as Doug Sahm, and yes, the Butthole Surfers. (More would come to mind had the mickey not dulled my senses. However, it's the same colonial attitude towards Elgin and Lockhart bbq restaurants as Austin reimagines them as one of their own, or back to musicians, Roky Erickson and Townes Van Zandt being 'Austin' musicians.)
The conversation drifted to an erstwhile gentleman's club den of voluptuous horror on (ironically) Austin Highway called Dirty Sally's and whether or not the Butthole Surfers performed there in the 80s. I recall a conversation in 1988 that claimed they did. The answer...is blowing in the wind (I know, here we go...)
I stumbled down the street thinking that Monterrey's favorite son, percussionist Emilio Tamez, was going to be performing at Sala Diaz. That wasn't the case. I initially assumed this was another Ben Judson promotion (which is true) but with the mickey and the sala/salon confusion, I should have known better as to where it was being held. I instead ended up here. Nothing wrong with that.
The door was open but no one was home. In the mindset of my own private b-movie, I opened the creaky door and went in and took a few fotos.
These, I would assume, are for a Sala Diaz bowling benefit coming up soon, though word is that the benefit has been pushed back.
Given the delay in the benefit, I'm curious about how long these works will stay up.
Pixelated versus pixilated. In the best sense perhaps both terms are appropriate here.
The latter term I first heard in some 30s screwball comedy, most likely a Frank Capra film, possibly It Happened One Night.
Journeys and Distractions
(To the River's Edge)
Some days life in S.A. can feel like being hit by a blunt hammer. Friend and punching bag "Congressman Al" threw in the white towel and took off to Colorado. He mentioned something about a negative energy power drain. Perhaps a lost law of thermodynamics, or more likely, something about the energy one puts in is not returned. Though a solar panel on the county grid may act in the same way, in these instances, the effect is less friendly.
This sort of feeling, for some, can define life in the river city. Any honest person has to admit to as much. But how to deal with it? Colorado is not an option. In a desperate act of tragic-heroism (after listening to too much mid-70s Phil Spector inspired Bruce Springsteen), I tried to ground myself and head towards the river.
Along the way at Travis Park I came across a jazz fest. (I think it was Travis Park, the one downtown by St. Anthony's. All the downtown parks seem to be named after guys who died in the Alamo so it's easy to get them confused - Milam, Maverick, Crocket, Travis...)
When I arrived one band was finishing and another was getting set up. It is amazing how a typically empty park can come to life and then diffuse again.
On the street by St. Mark's Church was a row of street food. One would think I would be in elation over the options. Right? Right? Sadly, wrong.
Embracing street food at a festival is like a late nite booty call except in the vulgarity of the midday sun. This is the result of several things. Alcohol is involved, there is no heartfelt connection, and there are no other options to turn. It isn't sincere. Put another way, where are these people (and in a grander other sense, these food stands) on Saturday night at 10:45? Show yourself.
This has some connection to a man named Omar. More on this later, but probably not.
After the diversion at the park, I headed south and stopped at this familiar but forgettable spot. In a hilarious act of civil spirit, this little Hoover Dam looking place is also a park. It's actually the exit of the river tunnel but on the platform by the the big drum there are benches to relax and soak up the water, trains, concrete, lack of people, reminiscences of the film Logan's Run, and a general sense of alienation.
Token reflection shot.
A possible location for for the film Hostel III, if it isn't already too late. This seems very eastern European to me.
Along the Mission Trail as I turned left to descend to the river's edge I noticed this structure across the way. The building looks old yet the fence looks new.
In the bizarre universe of the Mission Trail, nefarious conquistadores on horseback drink sixpacks of lonestar and terrorize the population, but not in this park. Never again.
Several miles later I made it past Stinson municipal airport to Mission Espada.
I called this the edge of the trail. The last "frontier" of San Antonio. The water continues but concrete does not.
This would be about 11 miles south of downtown. Recall last week the invocation of the silly Turner thesis, which assumed that the dangers of the frontier defined the American character through a Peckinpah-esque regeneration through violence. I thought about this occasionally as the week wore on. It could just as easily be the opposite - American character was defined by someone else doing the heavy lifting so that "we" could move in and begin to chillax....
Behind me the ghost tracks and madness. Ahead of me - San Antonio. Already I longed for convenient stores. Isn't that in itself a rejection of the Turner thesis?
I was ready to return home to the safe life inside the bosom of the loop. Just ahead of me - the southern cleavage of Loop 410.
And also at the frontier's edge, horses. Horses? Perhaps it was headed towards that park.
And then this lonely structure all by itself.
Miles later I rolled past Hemisfair Park to find this amazing classic rock festival going on. A Led Zeppelin tribute band called Swansong was about to go on. By the excitement of the crowd I would have thought that Zeppelin themselves were about to perform. As Swansong moved in their gear, the PA blasted Tom Sawyer by Rush. Full disclosure: Moving Pictures may have been the first tape I bought in 1982. The song has been played so much over the years, at first I couldn't think of anything more stale. Yet somehow in the presence of this crowd, the song felt strange, exotic, appealing, mystical. The mathematical time changes weren't the villains of a musical crime, but a new horizon for something greater to come.
Was a new frontier met? From Turner at the 1893 Exposition in Chicago to Rush at Hemisfair Park in San Antonio something dramatically changed. But what?
I'm not sure what to write about last night's Flaming Lips show. I foolishly (or cynically) assumed that Camel controlled the whole concert so that the free ticket I got previously would actually get me into the concert. When that looked like it wouldn't work, I tried my press pass. At two points in the four days preceding the show I did try to get on some sort of list but never heard back and assumed that it wouldn't work. When it looked like the camel tickets were worthless, I went to the press pass, and to my surprise it worked. And then it didn't. A yellowshirt let me in, but then someone in a redshirt kicked me out. Outside someone in a blackshirt thought he would allow me to go in, but then that was squashed also. Evidently, as 'media' I wasn't allowed in, especially with my camera. But as an average fan, I was eventually (barely) let in with my camel ticket, and with my camera. The conclusion: I'm not actually a journalist. While that momentarilly stung, soon it was a blessing that I embraced. In other words, if I offend someone don't blame me. I don't know what I'm doing. Blame Camel.
The corporate stranglehold of the event by Camel and Ticketmaster was in sharp contrast to the energy and freedom exhibited by the Flaming Lips. How these elements were able to rub uglies against each other is a mystery to me. Eggs may have been broken, but an omlette was made.
I got in, the show was incredible, in the end, as a fan, that's all that's important.
Confetti, perhaps from the millions of extra Camel tickets that were printed for the show.
A clarion call to end the war in Iraq.
Adult fairy tales set to Zeppelin rock beats. The Flaming Lips in all their joyous wonder. Behold.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
Goodbye Joe Blue's. Hello SoHo. Marc Arevalos, the artist in the middle
of the "Too Gay for Joe Blue's" controversy, is set to have two
openings this week beginning Thursday, September 27 at SoHo Wine and
Martini Bar, located on 214 W. Crockett. His second show is set for
First Friday at Armon Art Studio (the old Say Si locale). Arevalos
works caused a MySpace war of words concerning the subject matter of
his photographs, although tastefully done and executed Arevalos works
"captures the essence of lust and power of the young Victorian era
aristocrats, " according to an email from Arevalos boyfriend (and model
in Arevalos featured works) Ryan Whittington. For those wanting to
catch a glimpse of the original four photographs that were to be shown
at Joe Blue's you can check them out at the First Friday exhibit. Also
be sure to check out the latest issue of the Current where Arevalos
work "Abyss of Time" is featured in Last Words.
On a (very lenghty) side note, local thespians unite on September 30 for the 17th annual Alamo Theatre Arts Council (ATAC) Globe Awards held at San Antonio College's McAllister Auditorium. ATAC treasurer Diane Malone stated that this year has established itself as a record year for the Globe Awards that had a total of 85 shows judged. "It was an amazing job for the judges this year," says Malone. Awards will be presented in 26 categories ranging from acting to lighting, sound, and scene design. There will also be five performances during the program, which includes scenes from Master Class, Victor,Victoria, Fat Pig, Have Some Faith, and Urinetown. The awards gala will also feature "Remembrances," an homage to local theatre members who have passed away this past year, including Sterling Houston and Micah Eckman. For more information, visit ATAC's website.
officially over, it's a good time to reflect on the strangest live show
to hit the San Antonio club scene over the last three months.
That title easily goes to David Allan Coe's unlikely July 11 stop at rock mecca White Rabbit.
"Country DJs know that I'm an outlaw/ they'd never come to see me in this dive," Coe offered during his song "Longhaired Redneck." The lines may as well have applied to his performance. Country DJs probably weren't in attendance, but an audience mixed with frat boys, over-the-hill cowboys, and even a few hard rockers was on hand to watch the 66-year-old Coe demonstrate why he's part of a dying breed.
Coe started the show off hard with his homage to Hank Williams in "The Ride," and never completed a single song in his 20-song medley, with the exception of his self-described favorite greatest hit: "Please Come to Boston."
One of the stranger moments of the night came when Coe pointed at a fan wearing a GG Allin t-shirt and solemnly stated, "Allin was a good friend," before proceeding with "If That Ain't Country."
He also performed a few of his raunchier tunes, including "Linda Lovelace," with this tender chorus: "Well, I've fucked 'em all from coast to coast, cause honey, that's my bag/ I'm the only guy in the world who can make Linda Lovelace gag."
With a second half plagued by sound problems (and Coe's unbearably loud guitar), he abruptly ended things without an encore.
"I think I'm dying," he ominously announced to the audience. We know how he felt.
The recent release
of "Little Fox," Augie Meyers's Tex-Mex collaboration with the
Krayolas, sent us back to Augie's original recording to do a little
compare and contrast.
The new version of "Little Fox" has a syncopated swing, and Augie's archetypal eighth-note organ stabs, but its overall sound falls very much into the Krayolas' power-pop realm. By comparison, Augie's original recording (featured in Kevin Kosub's 1982 local compilation, Rare Tracks Vol. 1) had a much more pronounced border flavor, with a fast conjunto beat and some wild mariachi horns. Kosub recalls that Meyers brought the track to him, and it was part of a vinyl collection that also included contributions from Neal Walden, Sheilah Guy, Frank Rodarte, and Kosub.
Listen here for an mp3 of this little-heard recording, which reminds me of the Sir Douglas Quintet's "Michoacan."
On Friday night at Galleria
Ortiz in Olmos Park (on the border with Almost Park) new photographic work
was on display by Rolando Briseno and Beto Gonzales.
Full Frontal Disclosure: I met Rolando while researching an article about the Old Spanish Trail. From that I learned he would be in this show.
The crowd seemed like a lot of Olmos Park regulars but what do I know.
A consistent motif was established.
Semi-Frontal Disclosure: Beto did the cover art for the Old Spanish Trail story. I've also known him from way back in the day, so to speak. I suppose I could have instead gone out of my way to see work by people I didn't know at all but that wasn't to be (at least initially.)
Also, I'm not an art critic. I'm a free wine and carrot sticks critic.
These photos were all found at thrift stores and then blown up for the show.
This image is completely California. The warm light breaking through the blinds, all that. I think these were from San Bernardino to be specific.
The baby crib in the background suggest responsibility, or is this about hiding from responsibility? (Ninjas=invisibility)
While many of the images were breezy and humorous, this one actually struck a note of sincerity.
This was a close-up on my part of a larger, wider image.
Humor and sincerity are in perfect harmony in this found diary entry. The first sentence is a classic hook. I was going to quote from it but I felt a strain of modesty. Old age creeping in?
From the Ortiz show we caught word of this show over on the (upper) Old Spanish Trail at the intersection of Zarzamora and Fredericksburg Road. I just happened to being wearing a NASA shirt, which was incidental.
I once had a tequila sunrise with tang instead of orange juice. In an act of self destruction wikipedia refers to this version as an "astronaut sunrise" instead of the more obvious and crowd-pleasing, "tang-quila sunrise."
It can get crowded in outer space.
We left the MASA show and ended up across the street at a restaurant that hinted at much promise and intrigue - a huge menu, lots of tortas, fotos of futbol players everywhere, a fairly un-Tex-Mex menu, and the food? Oh man, what a letdown. Crestfallen. Are some kitchens driven to ineffectiveness by parliamentary factions? It pains me to realize that perhaps benevolent dictatorship is the answer. This affords too much credit to one person, and falls in with the bottom-down view of the 'great men of history'. (However, if this was film it would be the auteur theory which somehow would be acceptable.)
To finally get to the point, why is it that some restaurants can maintain control and others can not? It all might be because most owners are not also the ones who are cooking. Soon it isn't long before the passion and originality are replaced with company slogans, such as "give them a wow experience everytime" or "strive for five." And haven't we all been down that road before? Watching training videos about teamwork and fish mongers in Seattle throwing fish around...I can't continue, it's too painful...
On the way to Garcia's for Saturday tacos the Beacon Hill/Alta Vista train border was in full lockdown. And this brings a(n) boring interesting consideration - while freeways are known for re-creating neighborhoods, in what ways do trains semi-permanently do the same. Beacon Hill's borders to the east and west are two different train lines...the semi-permeable membrane, aka the fluid mosaic model. Freedom and entrapment in oscillation. Welcome to San Antonio.
On the way downtown to UTSA. This was well into the digital zoom end of the camera but looked much better than what my screen suggested initially.
A longer lens would have given some amazing high contrast images. Riding into the sunset seems heroic until some you realize some half-blind grandpa behind you probably can't see anything as he inches near your rear wheel.
In the Durango Building at UTSA downtown, Leslie Raymond was showing a variety of short films and videos for a class, which was open to the public. Here, in the background, a young, lively, intellectual 26 year old Orson Welles tries to act old, rich, and beaten down.
Here, a leathery, old, rich, and beaten down Donald Trump tries to act young, intellectual, and lively. Though his blinking eyes were the initial distraction in this interview, really, it was the rug that seemed to have reanimated into a life of its own.
This short Trump clip was from a documentary by Errol Morris. I don't recall this film debuting yet, but it could have already come out and I wouldn't have noticed. Why? Morris has been on auto-pilot since Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control. His aesthetic is so codified now it almost is ready for parody. That is a bit of a stretch I realize but when one compares his early work, for example, the documentary about pet cemetaries, there was much more freedom and unpredictability. Now, its Phillip Glass all the time. And, after a clever manipulation of teleprompter technology he has his subjects talk straight into a camera/teleprompter. What Trump is looking at as he looks at the teleprompter/camera is an image of Morris as he interviews him. This mediated form of interaction, I suppose, makes it easier for Morris because he doesn't have to sit in the same room with his subject, and it allows the subject to look straight in the camera which of course breaks rule #3 of film school, but other than this I don't see how that form of interaction benefits the film. All his films now seem to go with this style, and I don't know, it seems like Morris is settling on an approach and is getting lazy. That's not to say the films aren't still better than most, but there is a an element of predictability creaping in. Also, on a psychological level, Morris seems to be on a roll of interviewing known but respected clowns and then through the glamorizing process of filmmaking, actually suggest a level of credibility. Dr. Death, McNamara, Trump...
The best film of the night was by Deborah Stratman called In Order Not to Be Here. Though many of these sort of images had been done before (probably completely by at least 1997 when the suburban frontier was probably fully documented and conquered?/a new Turner thesis?) and it did seem like Jem Cohen light, the execution was impeccable.
I had to pass on dinner and road home via bike. Of course I got a flat tire, which I privately blamed on a bike mechanic who over-inflated my tires. This inspired me to bring a flat kit with me from now on, but wouldn't that take away the exciting element of disaster? (An antidote to the late Summer doldrums oppressing the city, or is it just me?) Some say repeating past mistakes is a definition of insanity. I thought it was a sign of one's humanity. These and other issues to be debated later...
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
I hope you didn’t have anything to ask of the manager of the
Bio- & Agro-Defense Facility. Because, for shame, you
weren’t there to ask it.
If you hadabeen, you likely would have fallen over massaging a madly inflamed indignation.
The sales event Sept. 11 was intended to be an informative session about the federal germ lab Homeland may want to dock in SA, however it was too soon usurped and transformed into a politico San Antonio infomercial.
“I know our state agencies are ready and willing to do anything to make this a reality,” Secretary of State Phil Wilson this week.
Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones, commenting that the Sept. 11 meeting date was an “auspicious date … for us to be talking about this” and promised to use all her political connections to make it happen.
Ciro Rodriguez wanted all to know that barracks to biowarfare is a “natural progression” for San Antonio “to keep us free from harm.”
Still, the parade of politicians rattled on about the greatness of San Anto and the great state of Tejas.
Our star of the hour, however, was Mr. Sen. Jeff Wentworth, who offered the state’s entire folio of domestic and wild animals up for national security’s sake.
“With the exception of camels, just about every animal that is susceptible to diseases that the N-BAF will research lives in Texas. Cattle, swine, deer, sheep, goats, buffalo, birds, snakes and bats all abound in Texas, and I’m sure we can even scare up a camel or two.”
As elected state and federal leaders were offering your children and “hogs, dogs, and frogs” to that bio-warfare wet dream, a single, sole, solitary child rose from the pew to ask the only truly significant question of the evening.
Memorial High School student Angela Orosco asked why nine other sites had been dropped from consideration. She got bureaucratic fudge in return.
We think it appropriate to offer her a more complete answer here:
Lack of fiscal incentives offered in Missouri killed that state’s chances; close proximity to an “urban center” (read: D.C.) was the reason Maryland officials received for the cut; and public protests in Wisconsin didn’t help matters up there.
Why would anyone protest what San Antonio’s leaders treat like the Holy Grail and capstone of a burgeoning bio-economy?
Beyond all the potential bio risks we’ve already raised elsewhere (check out Sunshine Project for recent Texas lab debacles), is 100,000 gallons of water per day worth at least talking about? None of the city or state conservation-minded thought so. And neither did your elected reps.
Now, here’s a fun game, think of your favorite lobbyist/polit burro and see if you can find them on this complete scoping meeting Roster of Boosters, as provided by U.S. Homeland Security. Happy hunting!
1. Bryan Alsip
2. Elizabeth Ames Jones
3. Jeff Barker
4. John Bruno
5. Jay Campion
6. Shannon Cantrell
7. David Casteel
8. Ramiro Cavazos
9. Mike Charlton
10. Henry Cisneros
11. Peter Conner
12. Henry Cuellar (presented by Sean Caporaletti as Representative Cuellar got called away from the meeting)
13. Thomas Cropper
14. Ed Davis
15. Eugene Dawson, Jr.
16. Melissa de la Garza
17. Allen Dehnert
18. Cheryl DiCarlo
19. Guy Dietrich
20. Jim Dublin
21. York Duncan
22. Jay Fraser
23. Jane Fritz
24. Robert Gracy
25. Neal Guentzel
26. Fernando Guerra
27. Howard Ham
28. Cyndy Hanson
29. Brian Herman
30. Mario Hernandez
31. Bob Hillman
32. Jonathan Huhn
33. George Irving
34. Tony Jaso
35. Marcel Johnson
36. Jeffrey Kantor
37. Melina Kinsey
38. Karl Klose
39. Thomas Kowalski
40. Ron Lehman
41. Linda Loomis
42. Lawson Magruder, III
43. Margaret Martin
44. David Marquez
45. David Maserang
46. William Miller
47. Mary Pat Moyer
48. Jean Patterson
49. Marcel Perret-Gentil
50. David Prichard
51. James Reed
52. Rick Rhodes
53. Ciro Rodriguez
54. Kenneth Shine
55. Robert Siddall
56. Clay Smith
57. Gary Stamp
58. Ann Stevens
59. Gregor Weber
60. Bill Welsh
61. Jeff Wentworth
62. Phil Wilson
63. Nelson Wolff
64. Xhavit Zogaj
(Disclaimer: The relationship between what follows and truth is
tangential. Read at your own risk.)
A friend invited me to a showing of Anastacia Uriega's photographs at the downtown SoHo lounge. We showed up late due to a deadline at work but there were plenty of people still around swimming in the free lemon drop martinis. I stuck to the XX lager.
Photos were everywhere along a hallway between the front bar and the smaller bar in the back.
I was told the title of the show is "Curios." In some ways a documentation of disparate objects; in others, the small photos themselves became their own curios.
In another way the lounge setting wasn't the best venue to observe the work. Then again, the easy access to alcohol brought a festive atmosphere, and to be honest, does anyone really strive to observe art in a laboratory setting?
But then in another way once more time, the placement of the curio objects behind a sheet of glass from the display case did suggest a macroscopic slide. And the art partrons cooly observing in a hipster detached, scientific manner.
Some have called it a "soft opening." Others, a "night for the artists."
Full disclosure: Bryan is the brother of "Congressman" Al, a longtime associate/occasional punching bag of On the Street. I've known Bryan for years but never have seen a show of his work, until Thursday. I was particularly touched by one of the images he used, one I had seen throughout the years of his mother Marilyn, an amazing woman - a former tennis pro, math genius and patron saint to stray dogs and cats. But on to the show...
The precise layout of the images deserves its own praise.
Though the fotos spanned ten years, a consistency of vision was maintained. There was a certain 'I don't know what' quality throughout.
A love for animals was felt.
I find it interesting to note how the presentation of the images creates part of the story. The density of the images in such a small space helps suggest its own continuity.
The fotos of Dante Busquets also caught my eye.
Though some people call San Antonio a small town I often view it as the opposite. The sprawl combined with the swamp-like heat and the general feeling of apathy keeps most people's electrons from interacting. Yet, somehow, Dante showed up as a guest of a friend for a Sunday dinner club I am a part of. By dinner club I'm not referring to Hal Holbrook performing Mark Twain monologues over pasta primavera. No, instead I'm referring to an experiment I started with friends in trying to cook for as many people as possible for as little money as possible. The results have been surprisingly good.
Back on track - I didn't take fotos of any other artist that night at Bluestar so meeting the artist was slightly surreal. I'm not sure if this makes San Antonio seem more like a small town or not. I think it just depends on one's situation and I imagine every local scene says the same thing. I can easily see local plumbers or bounty hunters sitting around complaining about how everybody knows everybody. People in Los Angeles said the same thing. I don't know where I'm going with this so...
Many of the fotos made me think they were from the year 1979 for some reason.
This one too.
Also at Bluestar. I overheard people saying this was a representation of the city Shanghai, the "Paris of the East." but that description seems dated now.
This was from the UTSA Satellite space.
Ana Egge performed in the starry dreamworld known as San Antonio. In her intersong banter she made reference to the film Being There with Peter Sellers, which is always a good thing, yet she thought Terry Gilliam wrote the screenplay which is an interesting inclination. I couldn't hear the end of the story because I was in the middle of a beer transaction. Terry Gilliam didn't write the script, it was Jerzy Kosinski who led a quite interesting life. As an academic toiling away in a soviet satellite state, he somehow snuck out by creating paperwork for fake conferences for him to attend. Through this, he ended up in NYC and found menial work as a parking lot attendant and a sandwich maker. He amazingly fell in with a millionaire's crowd and befriended rogue filmmaker Roman Polanski. He was going to fly to LA one night to hang out with Roman and Sharon Tate but Charles Manson had other plans. By dumb luck, Kosinski missed being part of this disaster. He was often considered a fake and a habitual liar, which is maybe why I respect him so.How much of his story is true is debatable, much like this.
But he did die, and his suicide note did read "I am going to put myself to sleep now for a bit longer than usual. Call the time Eternity."
More cheap camera tricks on my part. More of that to come later. The attendance was fairly low. This didn't help Ana Egge, but made the performance more personal for an audience member. Some young guns hopped up on "blues" followed next and I took off. Egge seems to have an Austin/NYC duality going, bouncing from each city to the next in rapid succession.
I went in to Bluestar and left quickly, mainly because some of the smaller galleries weren't open the night before.
I recall my friend Carlos the Bricoleur having studied painting under Sutherland years back at UT Austin but that may not be true either.
Next to Sala Diaz, Buttercup performed. Except, it wasn't the full Buttercup. The lead singer wasn't there.
They then performed another set with the same people except in drag. It got even better. The bass player was allowed to step forward from the shadows that haunt most bass players. His rendition of "On the Road Again" sung as "On the Whore Again" got the danceyard moving.
The cheap gimmick I referred to earlier.
(Beer Hall Putsch Pooch)
Brain cells withered and waist lines expanded at another glorious night at the Beethoven, which brought an end to First Friday's bacchanal, as always. The noble manager/caretaker Gordon performed in a band earlier that evening but I missed it.
This show was not curated by Ben Judson. The effect? It seemed to free Judson's hands from all the art stuff so he could focus on other aspects of the show. I imagine having to deal with all aspects of putting a show together can lead to unlikely skills - working the phones, browbeating postcard printers, haggling for free beer, art handling, and in this case, food preparation. Judson's roasted poblano hummus was probably my favorite thing of the whole night. Though some people felt duped by a bait and switch for what they thought was guacamole, I found the poblano to be a revelation. It was that good.
I thought only of the film Poltergeist when observing this photograph. On the other side of the room there were backyard style wrestling images, but having grown up watching the Von Erich's, Abdullah the Butcher, the Missing Link (from parts unknown) and Kabuki (from the Seven Pools of Singapore), it's hard for me to embrace the true gore of the backyard extreme style. Part of the lure of wrestling, at least when considered in retrospect, was the simple-minded geo-political games being fought by proxy. The early 80s gave us the evil Iron Sheik, an Iranian wrestler created in the wake of the Iran Hostage crisis. Backyard wrestling gives us what...I'm not sure. I suppose its the difference between New York vaudeville and Youtube sketch comedy.
And speaking of vaudeville, I've been having a one-sided conversation with people for years in trying to pinpoint the demise of American vaudeville. One thought - the movie Cannonball Run. Not immediately likely, however it was filled with various Rat Pack old timer types who could all sing, dance, write, direct, produce, tell jokes, and that sort of thing. Another theory is that the Carol Burnett show was the last gasp. I remember her having a variety show on Saturday night up until the late 80s, if not even 1990. Mexico still embraces the vaudeville-esque variety show every Saturday night but in the U.S....a distant memory.
Back to the photo, but not really. Poltergeist was directed by Austin's born Tobe Hooper, who was better known for being a supposed capitalist critique sandbagging as a horror film. Of course I'm referring to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Marxist film criticism can too easily imply unwanted intent. (Deregulated competition = dismemberment and death?) However, in the defense of unlikely critiques, Starship Troopers was one of the great films of the 1990s, but that's another topic as well
I suppose I'm talking in circles. I couldn't really get past the "weird guacamole dip."
This quote makes the room.
The technical photshop skill was impressive in these images but the overall effect wasn't up my alley.
Community Garden "Weakly" Update
Things are moving along nicely. Just in time for Winter...
Geography of an Accident
I ran across this near South Saint Mary's. There was a firetruck to camera right. What transpired on the rooftop is a mystery. It looked as if Fire Department paramedics were on top of the roof, doing something. That little seemed to be happening made me think the worst. Then again, having been around hospitals I understand the depersonalization of death. Hopefully everything was somehow alright.
(I ran across this in Alta Vista. The building in the background looks to be a retirement home, which furthers the triangulation. There is no connection to the previous photograph, but while looking through the shots of the week, some sort of indirect connection began to form.)
OTS Final Thought
The film Mr. Woodcock comes out this week. This is the very last film I worked on while in LA. I remember being at a carnival for a few weeks setting up blowup dolls and moving them from joyride to joyride. I also remember Billy Bob being a very down to earth guy. I remember a documentary crew that was hanging around him for some sort of DVD extras kind of thing. Being at a carnival, there were all the obvious goofy carnival games to play. At one point, Billy held the boom mic for the audio guy so he could shoot hoops in a bet with another crew member. I don't know why but that amused me. That, and Billy cracking jokes with toothless extras in the catering tent while a chocolate fountain flowed in the background. I also remember calling friends back in SA to get the score to the Spurs playoff game that night. This was in 2005, game 5? against Seattle. The one where Manu took over on the last play and dished to Duncan at the last second for a game winning layup.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
Big, I Am
A few Saturdays back there was a Camel sponsored event at the Limelight. Big Soy, Jester, and Sound Team performed. I previously wrote about Sound Team and their place in the tradition of famous Alamo Heights bands, with Christopher Cross being the obvious early example. There may have been a few words about his integral role to Yacht Rock, so there's no reason to bring that all up again.
(UPDATE: One of my instructors at school knew Cross in High School. Whereas I thought Cross was hanging out on Lake Austin humming 'Sailin' and enjoying being popular in Japan from afar, according to my instructor he's in California racing cars. Another bombshell: Cross was in a band with a known local car dealer. More to come later, though probably not at all. And why not one last nugget that no one cares about - Led Zeppelin's first concert in San Antonio was opening for Mott the Hoople, the same Matt referenced by Daniel Johnston in this song.)
Two lights. Two musicians. There's really no connection here between the lights and Big Soy. I'm just in wonder that I found space where Camel wasn't advertising. (See below)
Somewhere in this haze is the singer to Big Soy. And what does the name of the band refer to?
Even in this subtle cranny, Camel dominates the market.
Here is what the Big Soy looks like. The drummer also plays keyboards at the same time which is ingenious. A beer was spilled on the guitar amp at some point in the evening which resulted in an unintended feedback. I don't think anyone really noticed or minded.
In this blur one can almost discern Jester on the right moving hither and thither.
And outside on the patio a Camel photographer was there to take festive group shots. Turning the tables didn't seem like a great idea based on the reaction on his face. As one can tell the fences were covered. I think this was a gamble. The band wasn't playing on the patio so nothing of real interest was really being hidden. However, they probably have much more experience with these sort of events than me so I'll defer to their judgement, I guess.
Camel's sponsorship of the night did yield interesting results for those who traded their demographic vitals (the goods, the 'Glengary Leads' of event marketing.) I scored two tickets to Eddy Money the upcoming Flaming Lips show, which is also a Camel sponsored event. This arrangement suggests a perpetual motion machine of rock and cigarettes. How long will this marriage last?
Along the Old Spanish Trail
One of the very few 'zero milestone' markers for the Old Spanish Trail. For more info see the September 5th print copy. But to summarize, the Old Spanish Trail was a tourist friendly proto-highway between St. Augustine, FLA and classy San Diego. In the middle? San Antonio in general and this rock and plaque in particular.
Here is a wider shot. And now you know what's on that big ass rock on the lawn of the courthouse.
Up Fredericksburg Road at Vance Jackson is this commemorative bench. Its view is almost completely hidden from the road. Also, the "Spanish nature" of the Trail seems less at this point, so I'm curious what that part of the street was like when the bench was conceived. A random workshirt adds a distinctive modern touch.
OST = Old Spanish Trail
The letters seem very handmade. Perhaps a little too handmade.
Here's a copy of some forgotten newspaper with some info about the former Uptown Theater. (From the Archives of Rolando Briseno and Angel Rodriguez-Diaz.) The idea that the Uptown was a million dollar theater is fairly laughable but that was the claim.
On a side note notice the name "Kokernot" on the bottom left. Any relation to Peggy Kokernot?, the co-host of the infamous local PM Magazine television show. The other host? Our own Mex in Manhattan, Mario Bosquez.
From the aforementioned archive. Here in this photo, one can more clearly see the Mayan Order sign in the background. There was some confusion regarding how the sign was removed. One historian thought it might have been taken down YEARS ago. But Briseno mentioned it being removed in the last ten years because of road construction when the street was widened. Sadly, it was never returned to its former perch.
Uptown Theater? Or Victor Torres (supposedly the owner of the theater) as some at St. Ann's Parish believe? According to the article above, it most likely represents Victor's Theater, as in Joe Victor, the owner of the Uptown and a few other "million dollar" theaters.
This is the grave of Rose Dawn, the star girl astrologer, at Mission Burial Park.
Koran the mentalist and also a Methodist. But never a Muslim.
Inside at Angie's Patio.
Pronounced "fire child".
A corset on display inside.
On the wall at Garcia's.
As is this...
...and this. I like how they're posing in front of another photograph of themselves.
At Martinez Barbacoa and Tamales.
The "vegan" tamale.
Community Garden "Weekly" Update
The blue tarp is gone. Life seems to be forming in the planters. A dude in the neighborhood talked to me while I took the photo. He said the gardeners were good neighbors. The first seed of a new community forming? (I know...)
Empty Parking Lots
This image reminds me of Oklahoma a bit too much.
The top floor.
Santa Rosa Hospital is seen in the background.
The top two floors of this building were empty, though it isn't obvious in this image.
Artpace is seen below.
This is beginning to feel very French to me.
The top floor. Incredible cinematic possibilities.
I'm beginning to think that Summer is somehow not the season in San Antonio for fruiterias and shaved ice. The fruiteria on the OST was also closed all Summer. Madness.
A street named Water in front of a fire station. Good stuff.
The walls were saved but the screens were not. Was this an aesthetic choice, or did they realize there would be better contrast against the black screens?
A Watts like tower, at least to me when I'm not wearing my glasses.
My favorite building near downtown. This is on Avenue B near AT&T, as one can see in the background. There aren't many office buildings this small in downtown so perhaps that's why it caught my eye. Or maybe I thought - I could live in a building that size...
This is underneath I-35 and 281. Here, Downtown Highlife hoped to collaborate with Slab Cinema to screen a new film, a documentary about bicycle gangs, drug abuse, middle-class posing, and bike jousting. The police I talked to didn't seem to care about us screening the film here, nor did the owner of a surrounding business. However, the fear of litigation from distracting traffic and causing a wreck was sadly the deal breaker. What about that tort reform?
Rick from Slab had arranged a new venue to project. But because of Friday's rain, the screening was canceled. The ride was about to be canceled as well but at 8:00, an hour before the ride, I got a call from Nice Guy Tim who proclaimed the rain had ended. The ride went on under stormy clouds. We ended up at the Mission Drive-In which was supposed to be screening films on the weekend to guage interest for provisionally re-opening the theater. No one was there. We politely loitered and then headed back. Everyone assumed the rain would get us but things worked out. Unexpectedly, the weather that night was probably the best we've seen all year.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. To be contined, as always...