Alefest at Hemisfair Park brought out several, several hundred people. This might be the only angle I've seen yet where the new hotel in the background adds order to the San Antonio skyline. Build it and they will come. How many times have we heard that line in regards to some San Antonio mega-building going up? Not trying to get all Roddy Stinson, but you know...
The atmosphere was one of shared purpose. I only saw one goofball go crazy, and even that was minor. Something about a zombie getting injured. But aren't zombies already dead? More on them in a moment.
Oompah loompahers set a regal tone for the occasion. Between song chatter was picked up on the microphones or humorous effect on occasion.
And as people were leaving the event, there was this truck parked outside on Alamo Street. Rumors of a living dead convention began to spread. I walked over to where I thought they would be. It was then that I ran into these dudes celebrating life at Lila Cockrell Park.
Extreme walking or freestyle running? Or something else completely. The film District B-13 has a lot of this sort of loc'd out action.
They took turns doing amazing flips, propelling themselves off that piece of wood thing.
I feel like all this has a lot to do with what this guy is doing in this eastern Europe wasteland.
And finally, the zombies walking. I came up just in time to find the lead procession on its way out to terrorize the city.
My eyes went first to this lady. But who is that in the background?
Michael Jackson in his Thriller daze.
The zombie walk stretched on and on. I escaped over to the Alamo in search of protection from the law.
On the way over I stumbled across the Menger bar. And I was walking out of the bathroom I walked into this oddly appropriate quote from the old moose T.R. Somehow it put the zombie metaphor into greater context.
The Alamo at rest. Tourist mingling. On occasion a ranger is asked to take a group photo for some conventioneers in town from Nebraska.
Overhead in a crow's nest, work continues on the new hotel. And then as I looked down...
The dark side pulls me closer.
It felt like my own personal Blair Witch moment - shaky camera, out of focus, loss of control. Or has that become normal?
I thought of this movie for some reason as the zombies moved along -
And later that night..
I came across this taco truck on Main street.
More on this in the next week's print edition...
Into the Wild
This Sean Penn movie is very much a surprise. The last film I remember him directing might have been one of the worst directing efforts I can remember. I had almost driven it out of my mind out of respect for Penn, because I think he's actually kind of cool. Yes, he attaches himself too often to films packed with too many Meisner crying moments, yet he's always in the news going to some disaster area because he can and generally seems interested in helping people. That he is perceived as a fool in the right wing media for being an out of touch idealist is a crucial point to remember.
Making a film is often a therapeutic act, which is paradoxical because the process of making a film adds dysfunction to one's life. I suppose the therapy is for previous events. For Penn to choose this story to tell can't be an accident. The similarities between Penn and the lead real life character in Into the Wild share many similar issues. Both are free spirits who seem to jump right into the middle of crazy experiences.
The acting in Into the Wild is real without having the sort of deep actorly moments that Penn seems drawn to as an actor. The cinematography is epic. The editing channels a long sprawling story into as focused a narrative as could be expected. The music by Eddy Vedder is loose and downplayed.
Because we all know how the film is going to end, each episodic interaction along the way has an added gravity.
I can't imagine this film doing well at all at the box office, and the soundtrack for sale at Starbucks will probably make more money. Still, this has to be considered one of the better movies of the year so far. It doesn't scream Oscar bait like many films that will begin to debut as we get closer to the new year. But who knows, perhaps it will get an award or two. If so, it would add some random integrity to the Academy. I'm not sure if it would see it again, but I would listen to the soundtrack.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
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