I try and not take for granted the beautiful neighborhood I live in. Actually, so much of this city has, hidden throughout it, exquisite marvels, some of which come up on you quite unexpectedly (like the Kiddy Park on Broadway, the cock-eyed Liberty Bar (San Antonio's version of the leaning tower in Pisa), the old city cemeteries on E. Commerce, and the breathtaking Olmos Dam). I was reminded of the beauties of San Antonio while watching some of the student films submitted to this youth film fest I'm helping to run. The works submitted by the kids at the after school arts center, Say Si, are mostly top notch. But what they most had going for them were the locations. Most were shot around the Say Si classrooms, in this wonderful, older neighborhood. When you shoot in King William and downtown San Antonio, you've given yourself an aesthetic edge that the kids on the north side just can't match.
Of the twelve short films I've shot during the four years I've lived here, ten were shot, at least partially, in my neighborhood. A few, exclusively. And I know that the admittedly amateurish work I do (okay, occasionally amateurish) has been solidly mitigated by beautiful locations (not to mention beautiful actors and actresses).
It's always nice when large Hollywood productions come here to take advantage of the local color. In fact the recent passing of House Bill 374 (a film appropriation measure) provides incentives for large productions to work in the state. Personally, I'm not terribly moved. I'm more interested in Texan filmmakers working their way up in a grassroots manner.
Russ came by Saturday morning at 9:45. He had switched Saturday and Sunday. This weekend we visited the dance rehearsals Christy is having for the film project we're helping her produce. Saturday — 6 p.m.; Sunday — 10 a.m.
Well, as I had no other plans for the day, I hopped in Russ' truck, and he took me to look at the house he is renting. Finally he found a place in San Antonio. It's in Terrell Hills. He can't move in until the end of the month. But it's a nice bungalow. I got a sense he was slipping into the funk of renter's remorse. I tried to convince him that it's a nice neighborhood.
“You're halfway between Pete and Nikki. They're good people who wouldn't consider missing your housewarming barbecue.”
He's still grumbling a bit.
We headed back to my neighborhood to find a good cup of coffee. I suggested we try the Southtown Cafe. It's close to me, yet I've never been there. I felt I should support it. But when we arrived, it was closed. Seemed strange. Saturday. 11:30 am. Oh, well. Forgetting the coffee angle, and thinking more along the lines of lunch, Russ asked if La Tuna would be open. Well … it should be. Right? I mean, Saturday lunch is a big deal. But I've found La Tuna closed more often than open. (I've brought this up to my next-door neighbor's, co-owners of the place — they seem perplexed and say they're always open.) Well, the fact is, La Tuna ain't open for Saturday lunch.
So we went to Cascabels. They have kick ass cafe de olla. And the food is very good.
Afterwards, we wandered the riverwalk downtown. It's still monstrously hot and humid. But I had fun sitting at the outdoor theater in La Villita and watching the people. It's high tourist season — the tour boats passed down on the river about once every four minutes. And they were packed. We stayed awhile, but I never saw Bob or Cara, the two tour boat pilots I know. They're probably working the second shifts.
Eventually we headed over to Woodlawn Lake to watch Christy rehearse with Kristen. They were on a grassy area on the south-east shore.
Me and Russ watched them go through the choreography. It will start out on the ground, and end up in a tree.
I'd watched Christy work with Kristen a couple of weeks back during the auditions. And now I understand why she chose the woman. Kristen is very focuses and talented. She's long-limbed but still very graceful. They work well together.
For those who've never visited Woodlawn Lake, you're missing a wonderful area in San Antonio. The whole park has a very WPA look to it. A great utilization of a public space. And the people of the neighborhood use this park. People walk, jog, skate, cycle, fish, picnic, and all that stuff. I was a bit taken aback that so few people paused to watch the action — I mean two beautiful women in skin-tight outfits were working through a dance routine. Maybe they were scared off by the two middle-aged men with digital cameras circling around these women, crouching down, leaning in, and generally appearing (to the uninitiated) as grade-A perverts — but, I hasten to add, our resumes are posted on-line; I mean, goddammit, we're artists!
Sunday, we returned to Woodlawn Lake to watch Christy rehearse with Andrew. Christy was wearing a wig that her character will have on for the sequences she will perform with Andrew. She insisted that the wig would look much better for Monday's shoot after it received some TLC from a brush and some styling compounds.
I certainly hoped so, because Sunday morning, that wig just wasn't doing the girl any justice. It wasn't quite the Joan Jett look I was hoping for.
(Actually, I'm posting this Monday night. We've already shot our first day of the piece. I'll add some pictures soon. But the wig-work turned out just fine.)