Cue the Mariachis

I was sorry to learn yesterday that Molly Ivins passed away.  I'd been reading scattered comments the last couple of weeks that made it sound like things were coming to a close with her.  Of all the contemporary professional Texans our state has foisted on a wary world, she was the one who never tempted me to mutter, “Yeah, I'm from Oklahoma.”

On today's Democracy Now, they showed some of an interview from last year where Amy Goodman was speaking with Molly, who was looking a bit shaky, but still came off as vibrant, witty, and wise (not just wise of ass).

She said something that almost had me choking on my morning latte.

It had to do with the intellectual limitations of her favorite Shrub, George W.; in this instance, the ten Guv's self-professed fluency in Spanish.  (And here I paraphrase from memory.)

“On his campaign tours in the [Rio Grande] Valley, he'd always speak the same two sentences in espanol, and quickly someone would cue the mariachis.”

She belittled those in positions of power, but somehow managed never to be mean.  She'll be missed.

Shit.  Now I'm feeling really sad.

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Yesterday my friend Jorge came by to take me out to lunch.  A sort of early birthday present.  We went to Cascabels.  A good choice, I thought when we'd taken a table.  Not only is the food excellent — interior Mexican cuisine at humble prices — but it's the place where me, Deborah, and Ramon met for one of our early meetings that eventually lead to our trip to San Miguel de Allende to make our Dia de los Locos video.  Cascabels allows their patrons to write on the walls with Sharpies.  We three had defined ourselves as “los tres locos” and signed our names on the wall.  And months later we found ourselves in a little place that specialized in pozole off the town square in San Miguel where they also allowed patrons to write on the wall — we did so, for the second time.  Los Tres Locos.  It is only fitting that I found myself having lunch at Cascabels with Jorge Lopez Ramirez, the fourth loco, the man who helped me with the translation of the documentary.  I guess I should have had a Sharpie with me.

Jorge has done some music videos for his nephew's rock en espanol band, Freqüencia.  One of them that he's working on incorporates footage from my second Short Ends film, “Awakened by an R.”  Watching the edit he brought to show me, made me realize how static my shooting style is.  I'm wondering if it lends itself to the music video style.  We'll see.

Perhaps my favorite bit in Awakened is the two opening shots.  The first set-up is some weird flood-gate management station near my neighborhood.  In retrospect, I should have given the camera a tiny bit of motion.  A very slight dolly in would have kicked ass.  I love the color I got out of the sky in post.  And the second shot — a jib tracking shot of Carlos walking — is perfect … for about seven seconds.  I should have cut much sooner.  But I think what makes these first seconds so sweet is how the music — Freqüencia — conveys a potent sense of the elegiac, that beautiful pain of loss.  The first 20 seconds of “Awakened by an R” may be the best thing I've done in the film/video world.

Jorge has some time on his hands, and is making the most of it.  Editing projects. And he even shot a short with the help of Roland, Kareem, and Amanda, which he is also editing.  He seriously wants to learn the craft, and is learning by doing.  Isn't that the motto of the 4-H Club?  “Learn to do by doing.”  Words to live by.

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I've been waylaid by a cold.  But I rallied for my weekly walk with Dar.  We met at McAllister Park.  A beautiful day.  Sunlight.  Warm enough for shorts.  And nothing could have better illustrated my being out of sorts (“feeling puny,” my father would have said) than my sudden realization that I was wearing my workout shorts inside out.  I was so close to getting back in my truck and taking them off to turn them around, but it hit me that McAllister Park has a certain, um, reputation, and getting busted for taking off your pants in McAllister Park — well, it's just the sort of thing that could give folks the wrong idea.

Dar told me that Andy officially starts work at Time Warner Cable on Monday.  (Congrats, Andy!)  Tomorrow is his final day of orientation.  I think Dar is expecting him to return home loaded down with all the equipment that will allow them complete access to every TV channel know — the stuff of the gods!

I guess I'll never see Dar again.  She'll be too busy with her “stories.”

Nice knowing you, babe.

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