Back on February 23rd I attended the Olvidate del Alamo show at the Bilh Haus art space. The show is an annual recontextualizing of the time-worn admonition to always Remember the Alamo, but seen through a Chicano/a lens. The show opened on the anniversary of the siege of the Alamo. And tonight, 13 days after the opening, the show closed. Of course, as all Texans are taught, the siege lasted 13 days.
Tonight was a weekday, so the attendance was quite a bit smaller than the opening night. Maybe 60 people as opposed to the couple hundred crammed into the small space back on the 23rd. This time I decided to bring along my video camera. Maybe in the next couple of days I'll get around to posting a new video blog. I did, however, take some photos. My camera takes very nice video images, but the still shots it takes often come out too dark. I tried my best to pump them up on my computer.
Above we have my friend Ramon Vasquez y Sanchez. He started this Forget the Alamo show four years ago. And it looks like it's well on the way to becoming a tradition in San Antonio. He's standing in front of one his paintings. It sold on the opening day.
This is Javier Vasquez, Ramon's youngest son. Above him is a recent painting which he did just for the show. In fact, Ramon said it's Javier's first piece of art. I think it's quite well done. For those who can't make out the iconography from my bad photo, you're looking at William B. Travis playing a fiddle while the Alamo burns.
My good friend Deborah Keller-Rihn (who is the curator at the Bilh Haus) was there with half a dozen of her students. I hardly see her anymore since she started teaching. I'm not even sure where she is. But I think she's out at Northwest Vista, which is part of the Alamo Community College District.
When the final poet had finished, and the people were milling about (the sandwiches and wine had not yet been exhausted), I sat down in a folding chair on the front row and removed my camera from the mono-pod. The door opened and I saw, from the corner of my eye, a swirl of color sweep in. As I was looking down, concentrating on disassembling my camera equipment, the first thing I saw clearly were snake skin cowboy boots with silver toe caps peeking out from a silk robe in garish colorful arabesque patterns. I followed upward and saw the handsome face of a man with a tight-trimmed beard and a twirled
Daliesque mustache. He wore magenta sweeps of eye makeup under and out from his brows. And he sported, perched on his head like a hat, a lucha libre wrestling mask in gold and silver.
I've lived in San Antonio for three god damn years and I've just now had my first David Zamora Casas sighting. If not the most famous local painter, he's clearly the most infamous. I know so many people who know him, it's bizarre we've never before crossed paths. Deborah's photographed him. Alex's sub-leased a space to him. Jimmy Fletcher (AKA the Moocher) has been offended by him. Nicole parties with him. Cat (AKA, Mistress Cat — who I haven't heard from for over six months) used to frequent gay bars with him. Everyone seems to have a David Casas story. Both he and Sandra Cisneros are our local luminaries whose reputation (good and otherwise) proceeds them. And as a gay chicano artist/activist with a penchant for the flamboyant, all sorts of outrageous David Casas stories have made the rounds. I can only hope that they are all true. And me …? The only thing I could think to say to him after he exchanged a couple of words with Deborah and began to move on, was: “Love the boots.” To which he paused, blinked, and said: “Thanks.”
If that exchange wasn't lame enough, I have to confess that I didn't even take a picture of him. Or his boots.