(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...