Tattoo Me With Drawings of Radiolarian Fossils

I know I really should be straightening up around here for the shoot tomorrow morning. Leftovers: Day 5 will be shot here in my place. It's about 11pm. I probably shouldn't be writing.

I've rearranged my enormous closet (the hidden corridor running the length of this house) and have shoved three bookcases in there, along with all the books. Man I'm exhausted. How to people get this sort of stuff done AND hold down a job?

After shifting around some boxes and furniture this morning, I took a break to check out the final day of Marlys Dietrick's art show. She's my next door neighbor. The Flight Gallery is in the 1906 space on South Flores. The front of the building is Andy Benavides' framing shop. And as I walked to the counter to ask directions to the gallery, I noticed Laura Varela. She's one of the more promising local filmmakers, who has at least two documentary projects in the works that I know about. She explained that she had an office in the building. She led me back to the Flight Gallery.

I really like Marlys' work. It's a series of pencil drawings of nonexistent life forms. The title of the show is “Survivors: Those Who Continue, or Live After.” I'm assuming the theme is the continuation of life, independent on the existence of humankind. It was here before, it'll be here afterwards. The detail of the work brought to mind the work of Victorian naturalists. I love that stuff. In fact, were I ever to get a tattoo, it'd probably be something like one of Ernst Haeckel's drawings of a radiolarian fossil.

I then spoke with the owner of the building to see if I could arrange to use it for a location for my up-coming Short Ends Project short film. He showed me a workroom that would be perfect. We'd have access at night and could use the loading dock. This will be the first time I've ever paid for a location. But it had everything we need to sell the scene.

Then I rushed to the deep southside to pay on my internet service before they shut me down. The line was long, and it moved at a crawl. My cell rang. It was Carlos.

“Hey Erik, do you have some electric clippers?”

“What? You mean for hair? Yeah, I do.”

“You going to be home in about thirty minutes?”

I judged the line.

“Yes,” I said, with a modicum of authority.

“Great! I'm coming back from Luling with Adrian. If it's okay with you, I'd like to shave his head.”

“Sure thing.”

“You see, I'm thinking of doing this mockumentary where–”

“Look, if I didn't ask what you were doing in Luling, I'm not going to pry about the head shaving.”

“What? Um, I'm getting a bad signal. I'll see you soon.”

Back home, as I'm cramming more stuff into my hidden room, I hear Carlos banging on the door.

He's holding his video camera. Adrian is leaning on my porch railing. It seems that they were checking out property. Carlos and Shelly have been looking for a nice home in the country, with enough land for at least one horse and a small recording studio. Carlos showed me some still images on his camera's monitor, while he and Adrian provided commentary concerning the pros and cons of the two places, one near San Marcos, the other, in Lulling.

“Alright,” Carlos suddenly said, clapping his hands together. “Let's shave this bastard's head.”

I went inside and opened up the case that holds my clippers.

“He lose some grudge match?” I asked.

“What? No. Didn't I tell you?” Carlos dragged an extension cord out to the porch. I followed. “I'm doing a mockumentary of Adrian. Something to submit to the San Antonio Underground Film Festival. I'm just going to follow him around, taping him. It's pure exploitation. Isn't that right, Adrian?”

Adrian held up his hand. He was talking on a cell phone. Carlos dragged one of my chairs out on to the porch. Adrian handed the phone to Carlos, who put it in his pocket.

“Who were you talking to? On my phone?”

“Hog Wild,” Adrian said. Hog Wild Records is a local indie music store. “My special order came in.”

“What?” asked Carlos, taken aback.

“The other day, remember? I wanted something they didn't have. They said they'd get it in for me.”

Carlos shook his head and looked up at me.

“What am I supposed to do? The guy just got out of the Dallas County jail last week. I'm helping him out, but….” He wheeled on Adrian. “How are you paying for that?”

“They said it'd be about two weeks. How was I supposed to think they'd be so efficient? I don't have to get it today. Besides, I can wash your van. It's looking like it needs it.”

“Just take off your shirt,” said Carlos. He handed me the camera. I handed him a plastic smock that I never use that came with my clippers.

Carlos fastened the smock around Adrian, and turned on the clippers. I started the camera and moved around, recording the whole thing. I'm not sure what the whole thing represented. Adrian wanted a haircut. He's currently in the skinhead phase of his life. So I'm curious who's exploiting whom. From my vantage point, Adrian was coming out ahead.

Actually, Adrian is an interesting character. And Carlos has a good idea. I think he needs to see American King, a video blog series by Chris Weagel (of Human Dog fame), where he follows around a hard drinking, free-spirited, misbehaving friend of his.

Adrian put his shirt back on. And that's when it occurred to me that we should have dragged my medical examining table out onto the porch, and shaved Adrian while he sat there. I think I still have a paper gown. My neighbors would have been cool with that. And, fuck, I'm thinking about moving away from a street where two valley vatos could shave each others heads on my front porch wearing nothing but white paper tie-from-behind gowns while I film them and shout, encouragingly, “Boys, you are magnificent!”???? I need to rethink my plans … right?

Carlos and Adrian headed off to pick up Shelly. I returned to moving books.


Jennifer, in her blog the other day, explained that tonight's full lunar eclipse would not be visible to us here in Texas. Ah, I was so looking forward to it. But I hope the clouds opened for you Jennifer — and I hope you found a good point of vantage!


Alston had some of her paintings up for First Friday at Venus' studio at the Blue Star Art Complex.

I walked over there sevenish. Venus wasn't in attendance. She's moving tonight. From New Braunfels to Alamo Heights (which is a neighborhood in San Antonio where the sophisticated mofos live, right Nikki?).

Alston had five or six canvases on display. She was slouched comfortably in one of her folding camp chairs. I cautiously perched my bulk on one of Venus' spindly folding chairs. As me and Alston chatted, the crowds wandered in and out. Most were drawn to the two paintings just to the left when they entered. Actually all the paintings were different studies of the same building. Some detailed, some wide in scope. I started off kidding Alston that her email and MySpace bulletin weren't pulling in her people. But then it began to happen. Family, friends, Landmark associates, and MySpace fans. She even sold a canvas. My favorite. In fact, it was most everyone's favorite. The guy who bought it, Daniel, got a great deal and a great piece of art.

When she decided to call it a night, I walked with Alston down the hallway to Deborah's space. I couldn't believe that Alston didn't know Deborah. I knew for a fact that they had met, at least once before. And Deborah is an important local photographer, digital artist, curator, art event organizer, and all around terrific person. “Besides,” I told Alston, “in her studio she has a portrait she made of Ana.”


“Yeah. Your friend. What is it, um, Ana de Portela.”

It's strange, bringing ones friends together — especially two people who should have known one another for a long time, at least as long as you've known them both.

So, congratulations Alston, for selling a painting. And congratulations, Debby, for reclaiming your studio for Women's History Month (your finished Taras, now hand-painted, are awesome).


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