Letters (to the On the Street Penthouse Suite)
Remember, I just publish what people send in. If at times it seems not "San Antonio" enough, then don't blame me, at least directly. It's not my fault On the Street is HUGE in Japan.
#1 Diamond in the...
Diamond, Burnet Road, Austin, TX, 6.5.2008
can now be seen at http://www.barrystone.com/
Diamond is on view in The Fifth of July, a two person show with Anna Krachey, at Okay Mountain Gallery in Austin, Texas until August 9th.
If in Houston, please stop by Apama Mackey Gallery, I have work in a three person show there entitled, Treat, also up through August 9th.
#2 Valley Boy
Native south Texas actor Raul Castillo writes about good news on a film that will hopefully screen in Texas.
My People...Mi Gente
I'd like to share some Good News!!!
Amexicano, the feature film I worked on which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival 2007, will have it's theatrical and video release this fall, courtesies of Xenon Pictures/Lion's Gate. For those of you in New York, the film will be playing at the Quad cinema starting the weekend of September 19th. The producers also hope for LA and Houston screenings (I will follow up as the time nears). I am incredibly proud of this film and would love to share it with all of you. To kick it off, the producers have released an online trailer. Please help me to support this amazing film by going to youtube and checking it out:
The trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkYiObnnaEQ
It wasn't the first time I'd stopped by Naegelin's Bakery in New Braunfels on the way somewhere else. Going north on Old San Antonio Road one enters New Braunfels from the south and comes to the old world circular drive about thing, at which point a quick turn at the first right takes one to Naegelin's.
The art of the "hand pie" or "American empanada" is not common anymore, but at Naegelin's one can find one for less than a dollar.
The time it took for this "American empanada" gave a moment to explore this epic mural - a brief but large biography of Ferdinad Jacob Lindheimer - newspaperman, anticleric, "medicine man to the Indians" (really?), and...
...the father of Texas botany.
This closeup suggests a troubled Zeuss.
"Lindheimer is credited with the discovery of several hundred plant species, among them a milkweed, a loco weed, a mimosa, a prickly pear, and a rock daisy."
And I thought that was just an expression. It actually exists?
What Would Cabeza De Vaca Do?
Though Sunday once was all about kickball at San Pedro Springs Park, now it was actually the springs themselves.
For some reason I expected no one to be there but the place was a madhouse of people. The only drawback is the fence around the whole place, which is odd because the pool is free. But then the fence allows an interesting game trying to chase down the paletta guy as he does laps around the outside.
K-Ice Monoplex Part I
On Saturday at the Potter Belmar Laboratory there was a rooftop screening brought to us by Minnesota's K-Ice Monoplex. The setting was informal. The videos were engaging. CAM, overall, hasn't had quite the same energy from the past two years, in fact it's been slipping since that point, but this event restored some faith at least.
The program ran about 2 hours, and then afterwards it was Lone Star and pasta, but I rolled on at around that point.
Newport v 2.0
On Friday night, downtown at the headwaters of Broadway at Zubiate Gallery, the band Fear Snakeface played an impressive set in the alley next door, though there was art to be admired, observed and bought. Here, from the alley, one can see the potential partrons reaching for the checkbook.
There were two sets by Fear Snakeface. I arrived for page two. I remembered there had been a similar Zubiate/Fear Snake Face partnership back in December. Tonight was different in approach, but equally successful.
This was early in the second set. The alley was a perfect wind tunnel. A wall of amps delivered the sounds straight this way, all the way to the dive, homeless bars across the street. Slowly, it became a mixed crowd of artists and homeless in perfect symbiosis.
Fear Snakeface had a new bass player and a missing guitar player and a different attitude from what I remember from previous shows. Sid now played an electric guitar and the folk/acoustic songs felt reinvented, via electricity. The approach was straightforward in the best way possible.
Many bands stake their claim in some 80s or 90s interpretation using ironic distance, ironically, as the way to stumble towards innovation. Fear Snakeface seems timeless and yet completely contemporary through the absence of any facade. One thinks only of their music and not any device. Hopefully we'll get to see them play live again and again as they move forward.
K-Ice and Fire
The second performance was in situ (is that the right word?) under the Josephine Street bridge. Hidden from cars, the location was perfect.
A 40 minute program showed a variety of video pieces, varying in length and focus. There were about 30 people in attendance, which was a good crowd for a Sunday night at 10pm under a bridge.
The screening was followed by a participatory performance. Stephen Rife had murked through the river and set up a few structures to facilitate some pyrotechnics.
As bags of flower were thrown against the wall, the particulates would cascade down into the burning shopping cart.
Here, Stephen Rife finishes the job and pours the remaining flour into the conflagration. Luckily, he's a trained professional.
No More Heroes
"Some men just want to watch the world burn," said Batman's bored, tight upper lipped butler, played by the noble Sir Michael Caine in the 9,873rd role of his career.
I suppose one's reaction to the Dark Night depends on what sort of film they thought they were going to see: a) a good film, or b) an impressive spectacle. I was expecting "b", however I walked away thinking "a", so to speak.
The general praise has been nothing but exclamatory (not that a few bad reviews would have kept the hordes away from the opening gate.) Then, I stumbled across a review of the Dark Night on ReverseShot (a generally well written film quarterly) that allowed me to rethink the praise. But it's criticism is self-fueled. Arguments are based on references to previous Batman expositions and graphic novels, which requires an investment many fans could care less about. It didn't to the 92 year old guy who chose to sit next to me. As I watched him make his slow ascent up the steps, I knew he would sit next to me, which he did, and after a moment or two, he introduced himself with a handshake. A timewarp is what he was. Anyway...and, the author wonders why the film is so 'dark'. I don't think anyone wants to return to Tim Burton's 80s vision, including, probably Tim Burton, if Sweeney Todd is any indication.
Films specifically about the Iraq War have failed. Dark Night jumps into the 9/11 malaise in less direct ways. The Joker is the terrorist who brings the city to its knees in fear (and in this film universe, I never get a sense there are other cities beyond Gotham.) Less than honorable methods are employed to chase down the Joker. Allusions to the Patriot Act and Abu Ghraib are used in subtle or unsubtle ways, depending on your sonar. The film is a moral quandary. Critics have suggested various theories as to what it all means.
I never saw there to be one theory or answer. It seemed as if the filmmaker wanted to simply reflect (or refract) a sense of our troubling times, and more specifically, question how to act within it. At one point Batman wants to hang up the cape and pointy ears (and raspy voice) and let the wonderboy DA take the task. Typically, the reluctant hero of a film isn't a superhero but that's the dilemma of this film. Batman employs dirty tricks across the board to catch the Joker - forced interrogations, wiretapping - and by the end, the only heroic option left for Batman is to play the role of the villain. In the end, a sense of order is returned but it's blemished. And with Batman banished to the dark side, it makes sense that the next villain will arrive under a smokescreen of smiles and sunshine...
However, the film I really want to see if Man on Wire, which seemed to be the best film from Sundance, but the chances of that might be low.
And so goes another week on and above the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...