The Barren and Bland Tundra of This Starchy Entrée

It seems I fallen behind on my blog entries. It's almost midnight and I have to get up fairly early tomorrow, so I'll give a quick run down of Saturday, the day of the Dada Diner Party.

I started off the day with Teko and Coetzee for a few scenes for the documentary. First we headed over to UTSA (the north campus), where Teko plays in a soccer team. Many of his teammates are also foreign students.

Once the (very friendly and laid back) game began, Coetzee set up on tripod and I held back with the boom pole to get some ambient sound. After awhile Coetzee started getting antsy. “Let's go out onto the field and follow Teko around until they chase us off.”

They never did chase us off, though I'm afraid we cost one team an easy point because we were standing in front of the goal. But it seemed more a chance to socialize and get in some exercise.

Next we went to a polling station near Teko's American home. It was in a small elementary school on the northside. He was volunteering with a group getting the word out for a five-part bond package concerning basic infrastructure work: libraries, parks, roads, etc. It was mid-afternoon, and not many people were showing up. We shot a few encounters of Teko talking to the voters. One of the reasons we were there was that Mayor Hardberger was expected to drop by. I don't know why, but Nancy (Teko's American “mom”) knew he'd be there sometime between two and four.

At three o'clock, Coetzee looked up — he had been rooting around in his camera case — and he nodded to an approaching SUV. A big one. Black with tinted windows. “It's the mayor,” he said. And he was right.

There were no babies to kiss (thank god, because I've seen Phil Hardberger do that before). But we got some nice footage of Teko talking to the Mayor of San Antonio.

After that, I wriggled free from the shoot and headed south to prepare for the Dada Diner Party.

I'll allow a few pictures to sum it up. But, in brief, it was a great deal of fun. Just what I needed. Christy did a wonderful job pulling it together. I stumbled over some of the Japanese names in my reading (I DID have four parts). And we had a bit of rain which had us scrambling to move the diner table. The rain quickly passed, and we proceeded. Pete showed up with Lisa and Cooper. He was one of the few audience members (of which there were maybe a dozen) who had the foresight to wear a funny hat … embracing the spirit of us performers in OUR funny hats. Pete ran some footage with Russ' camera. Other than Pete's clan, the only other person in attendance who I invited was my neighbor Jerry. Our block is just a few minutes walk from the Blue Star Arts Complex, so he sauntered over, giving him an excuse to walk his dog, Sooty.

The food was … hmmm? Well, after we cleaned up the performance area, many of us headed to Tito's Tacos to get something to eat. Sam Lerma showed up, and he asked about the dada diner spread. After a few seconds of nothing, I decided to break the awkward silent.

“The first course of popsicles eaten with knives and forks was as simple in concept as it was in flavor. A study in pure minimalism. The second course, a single, succulent radish taco — the radishes sauteed in a beguiling bbq sauce — was served stuffed into chinese take-away cartons, the opening of which presented the diners with certain challenges as they pondered how to snag the tortilla-wrapped goodness with their large salad tongs. Next arrived the warm grits and sweet peas. They were ladled out into pasteboard Dora the Explorer bowls. The diners were presented with ungainly slotted serving spoons and invited to make quick work of the duotone mush. (It could have benefited from the addition of a bit of salt.) And finally the main course arrived to much fanfare. The diners lifted high their black plastic sporks in anticipation of an intimate encounter with the Kasimir Malevich White on White Seven Layer Casserole. A shinning slab of rice, topped with potatoes, a scattering of pine-nuts, a pavement of fried tofu slices, sautéed onions, a layer of ricotta cheese, and topped with white bread crumbs. The garnish of marshmallows only added to the emptiness of the barren and bland tundra of this starchy entree. The arrival of the final course, apricots stuffed with crunchy peanut-butter, clearly lifted the diners spirits. Once the they mastered the proffered eating utensils (beaded wire drink skirts), they were clearly overjoyed to place something into their mouths which didn't have them surreptitiously glancing about for the nearest bucket.”

Salud! Here's to the next Dada event — a picnic, I believe.

I know I'll be there. You?


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