“Always give your best. Always remember others may hate you but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then… you destroy yourself.”
Richard Nixon, August 9, 1974 (final press conference)
Elevator (Me and You)
Oh yes, it was a good ride up.
This song, strangely, sums it all up. Consider it the soundtrack to the final post.
With great sadness we (me) here at On the Street must inform you that this will be the final post of OTS.
There’s no one to blame. Sometimes it just is. And if that wildly overrated movie The Matrix has taught us anything about the wonderful majesty of this thing called life it is that “everything that has a beginning must have an end.”
And what a great ride it’s been as we (you) look back over these 3 years . When we (I) took over On the Street it was just a mere afterthought. A few hundred words on the back pages, usually recapping a small event from the previous week…like a community theater puppet show or highlights from an aquatic aerobics class.
On the Street led the lonely local charge into the ether, which at that time was a wild frontier where print journalists either held their noses or what just flat out afraid to enter. And now what’s happened? Print journalism, as with the rest of the analog world, has continued to shift terrain (not so much becoming a distant memory, another artifact, like the 8 track tape, ham radio or back masking - though at times it feels like that’s the direction we (we) are heading.)
Each week daily newspapers shutter their windows as the “winds of change” blow across the nation. So with that in mind, shouldn’t On the Street continue in its valiant work showing people the way, like a lighthouse on the rock of Gibraltar? Over 4000 photos from OTS’ noble history would suggest “yes”.
The answer is unfortunately no. It seems our (my) work is done here. The shepherding into the post-print/digital age has now been fully realized. Perhaps when the world is ready for the post-digital age On the Street will be ready to soldier on into the cold, lonely night with time machine in hand, or whatever other futuristic tool of the trade that hasn’t been invented yet.
But for now, it’s time to say goodnight.
But before we do, let’s recap as if it’s just a normal San Antonio week. Just like the old days.
To the Letters!
And please, hold back the tears…
Last Letters (to the On the Street Ghetto Mid Century Modern Efficiency Apartment Down On Cedar)
OTS archivists reminded me that OTS (me) was a boom operator on this doc for a few days here and there during shooting…
I've been promising it for a long time but it's finally here...SXSW hosts the World Premiere of */ALONG CAME KINKY...Texas Jewboy for Governor/*. A feature length documentary chronicling the 2006 Texas Gubernatorial Race. Please join us:
*Thursday March 19th, 7:30 PM at the beautiful Paramount Theater in downtown Austin. *
Unfortunately, if you don't have a festival badge or film pass, there is no way to purchase a ticket in advance but the Paramount is large enough that we will almost surely be able to accommodate everyone interested in attending. Tickets are $10 at the door and I encourage you to come!
The link to our page on the SXSW website is: http://sxsw.com/film/screenings/schedule/?a=show&s=F15244
#2 Burger Bloggers
Who are these mysterious super heroes?
An OTS tourist sent this brief annoying message alerting us to this interesting blog…
Wendy and Lucy
Saw this film Wendy and Lucy at the Bijou, which was lucky because it’s only showing for the first screening of each day. I can’t imagine more than 60 people in town will end up seeing it before it blows through town.
10 years ago I saw a short film by this director (Kelly Reichhardt) that was shot all on super8 kodachrome. I hadn’t paid too much attention to Reichhardt but then she made Old Joy a few years ago starring Will Oldham. It made a few 10 Best lists and was called the indie Brokeback Mountain, which was such a strange, forced comparison. (Though it's interesting that Michelle Williams of Wendy and Lucy had a child with Heath Ledger, star of Brokeback Mountain.)
I had no idea I was walking into an “existential chick flick” but I think that’s what happened. A small, quiet, boring film that is also completely devastating. I can’t think of any other film that gets so much surprising drama out of so little.
With these last two films Reichardt seems to be like some sort of female Gus Van Sant in focusing on Portland-ey films.
A prediction: in the next five years Kelly Reichardt will be nominated for an Oscar. Whereas most indie films are a synonym for lame, quirky rom-com, her films contain a strange depth. Nothing really happens and then when it ends…the misery, mystery, and drama presents itself. Very unlikely. Wendy and Lucy will probably make some more 10 Best lists this year.
Oh, and what other film could get away with a Will Oldham “soundtrack” of him whistling for about 49 seconds.
Race the Tower
Saturday morning an amazing race benefit was held at the Tower of Americas. The event was to raise money to fight Cystic Fibrosis. The entry fee was high but given the cause and the large number of participants, the event was a huge success.
This is the event where people race up the steps, all 58 floors, to the top of the Tower.
The director of the event talks to local firefighters as they too were about to race up the steps.
Members of the 3rd Street Grackles team pose with the firefighters before they march up the steps in full gear.
Hundreds of people register for the event.
A view inside the steps. Perhaps the last time for cheap, low shutter techniques - an OTS signature.
Though OTS started in the back behind the firefighters as we walked up the steps, by the end OTS had made its way to the front, which was made easier by not carrying 80 pounds of gear.
And since the firefighers started 15 minutes before everyone else, is it not fair to ask if OTS was actually the first one to the top?
More uncertainty - as the real race progressed this runner from Lytle came in first. However, later I was told someone else actually had a faster time. Basically, someone waited for the race to almost end and then raced up to the top without having to compete with the large crowd.
To that I ask - does that still make it a race? Isn't racing against people and not just the clock, a crucial component?
But that's just quibbling - the benefit was the overall winner.
As people kept flying up the steps we took a walk over to the observation deck.
A fitting ending to OTS, looking out across the vast expanse of the city as the streets we once owned diverge into the distance.
"Is this all that I get?" A slow ascent to the top, and then a quick drop to the bottom. A fitting summation of On the Street experience.
I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum. - Claes Oldenburg
After taking that elevator ride down, it would be easy to think there was nothing left for the week. But then in doing a final lap down the Mission Trail, I discovered the Straw People, perhaps the most interesting public(?) art to hit San Antonio.
Where did they come from? Who put them there?
Playful, yet at work, toiling away.
A shot from the ruins. Like characters from a children's animatronic movie.
A comment on domesticity?
Hi, how are you?
While I write this with my window open, I kid you not, I hear the horrible wind swept sounds of 4 Non Blondes “What’s Going On?” wafting across the neighborhood. I’d always joked that two songs defined San Antonio – the stupid “rooster song” by Alice in Chains for the hard rock crowd, and “What’s Going On?” for the 90s alternative historical re-enactors who don’t know that The War is over, yet it seems to be true.
At this point I ask myself – have I with On the Street made San Antonio a better place? Yes, what is the legacy of OTS?
I thought I had left San Antonio a better place. We’ve shepherded print journalism into the digital age but other than that small achievement, sadly, I can’t point to other significant improvements. Unemployment is on the rise. Obama, against the best intentions of the voters, is defending lamentable legal maneuvers to avoid prosecution not only of the neo con jobbers but other similar future actions by his own administration.
The DOW JONES has plummeted under my watch and now the economy is headed toward an uncertain future.
Will this be the On the Street legacy? - “Jones was out riding his bike while Rome burned?” Is that what people will say? For an answer to that pressing question, it will be up to the imaginary On the Street historians to decide.
And what will become of the OTS shephard? Don't even worry about that for a second.
For all three of you who've made it this far, feel free to leave your final thoughts on what it was all about.
And in a final act of ridiculous, tongue in cheek posturing, here is this final youtube video that sums it all up. I can't imagine there will be a dry eye in the house.
And so went another week on the streets of San Antonio. Never again to be continued.