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On the Street











Before I get into discussing the Artist Foundation fundraising show organized by Potter-Belmar, I want to take a moment and ponder the incredible lack of depth of field in this foto.  What follows contains a similar  lack of depth, so read at your own risk, especially Ethan Hawke fans.




Leslie, 1/2 of Potter-Belmar, works the wine bar.  Potter-Belmar were the energy behind this show coming together.  Exquisite Corpse was the name of the show, borrowing from the old Surrealist bag of wonderful tricks.



The event was to raise money for the Artist Foundation.  This tip jar helped out, hopefully.



Prices per piece were at $200, with a few exceptions.  And now, the work, or at least some of it.  Someone named Stevens had his hand in more than a few.



Each drawing was done by three different artists.  The pieces were folded so that each artist could only see the 1/3rd they were working on, basically.  However, that probably wasn't the case.  Or, there was some serious peaking going on.



Individual styles co-existed.  The totality was diverse.



Some chose figures, some not so much.



Some, a combination of the two.



This one stands out for its distinction.  We're not in Kansas anymore.



There's Stevens again, exhausted after all the doodling.



Potter-Belmar were knighted for their hard work for the foundation.



Here, they open a surprise gift from Bettie Ward.


The Shocking Truth Behind Hummus



Once when I soaked garbanzo beans overnight I had to deal with the outer shell of the bean floating around in the water.  Next when I was dealing with a can of garbanzos I made an effort to look for more of these shells.  Sadly, every bean in the can is ensconced in a nefarious outer shell.  This what my sink looked like after "de-shelling" a single can.  



Amazingly, hummus has never been better.  I was always curious how people in other cities got their hummus to be just right.  I think it has something to do with those shells.  That, and perhaps this brand of tahini.  Of course I've been using it since the Mezozoic era, but I was happy to hear that its *the* brand to use.  Its clearly better than the Arrow Mills "organic" brand, and other American labels I've run across.  

The graphic design is reason enough.

A Journey Down the Mayan Route



Saturday night I took some fotos at Ruta Maya for a show with Druggist and Big Soy.  Here, Druggist rocks out with tasteful guitar pyrotechnics.



The end of the Big Soy show became a free for all.  Shoes went missing.  The crowd on stage outnumbered the band by at least 2:1.



At the end, girls swooning and rock histrionics.  I would have felt cheated if it was any other way.

Profanity in Sports

This was emailed to the OTS penthouse office a few days ago by a reader named Michael in Austin.  This letter/announcement is being debated as well as auctioned off, somewhere out there in the ether.  

Its full of profanity so enjoy it immensely.  Times sure have changed?



Here is the link for more information.

For more indulgement in baseball disgrace joy and wonderment, listen to this incredible interview with legendary baseball manager Earl Weaver.








Ace in the Hole

For reasons that will be made clear in January, I almost watched the movie Joyride last night.  Instead, I checked out a different film from the video store, the newly 'Criterionized' Ace in the Hole by the legendary Billy Wilder.  This is the film he made after the scandalous Sunset Boulevard that outraged the Hollywood community for its depiction of the sad decline of fame, not to mention for using former Hollywood legends from the silent era in the role of the hysterical  lead and a beaten butler.

Ace in the Hole was able to be made on the basis of the huge success of Sunset Boulevard.  Having (psycho)analyzed Hollywood's fascination with fame in Sunset Boulevard, he then analyzed America's obsession with spectacle in Ace in the Hole.  The wonderful over the top Kirk Douglas stars as a washed up newspaperman.  In watching the film I for some reason started drawing a line between the over acting of James Cagney to Kirk Douglas and then to Tom Cruise.  

Anyway, in the film Kirk stumbles across an incident involving a man trapped in a cave on an Indian Reservation in New Mexico.  Kirk works in cahoots with the local dirty sheriff so that they both can get as much fame and attention from the incident to further their careers.

The film isn't great by Billy Wilder standards, but the level of distrust and cynicism in the film is breathtaking.  Critical cynicism such as this is almost always a good thing, of course there are times when it isn't interesting or useful...


...which brings me to another film, one I just saw in the theater a few days ago.

Before the Devil Knows Your Dead

Its interesting how a story is formed.  The consensus surrounding this film is that its a masterpiece by the 83 year old left for dead nearly forgotten Sidney Lumet.  Lumet made some of the best films of the mid-70s to the early 80s, so when I heard of his ressurection I was more than intrigued, even if it starred Ethan Hawke. Not to get ahead of myself, but I was correct in being suspicious of how Hawke's involvement would coincide with being in a "great film", the "best film I saw in the last two years" as a friend, a doctor no less, informed me, or at least how it was relayed to me, but whatever.

This film is full of dark cynicism.  And to a degree its a tragedy in that bad things happen to the main characters.  However, this could be the only film I've seen where the characters are so uniformally loathed.  Its hard to have a tragedy when you can't stand the characters.  Then is almost becomes a revenge film yet as the viewer you've done nothing wrong.  This movie should have veered more towards Network-like over the top lunacy, but its difficult when the characters are so under the top.

Which brings me to another point.  This film could be one of the worst looking films I've ever seen.  I've seen better lighting in an average USC graduate film.  I continued that thought and realized I've even made short films that had better cinematography than this movie.  

So, the film has cruddy characters and horrible production design and cinematography.  What's left?  Luckily, the acting is at a high, high level so that gives the film depth.  The flash back story structure feels a little late.  It seems as if Lumet just now saw Reservoir Dogs and wanted to get in on this thing while it was still hot.  In his defense the Babel guy is all over this sort of fractured time structure approach, but I wonder if even he will move on to another bag of tricks.

In the end, the film seems like it should be great but isn't.  However, it did make me want to go do something more worthwhile like yoga or clean my room or...something.

However, at least Ethan Hawke was finally properly cast, so I'll admit that.


And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio.  As always, to be continued...

Posted by Mark Jones on 12/7/2007
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