Proud Voyeurs of the Solstice Hoist Their Digital Cameras

I don't know if the drought is continuing in Asheville, but here in San Antonio, it's like living in a terrarium … with intermittent thunderstorms. It's about time to run another load of laundry, and I blanch at the thought of the squadrons of mosquitoes at their ready the next time I sashay out to the laundry line clutching my bag of clothespins.

This morning I was setting up for a photo shoot on the second floor performance space at Urban-15. Catherine didn't care for the photos I had taken previously for the Josiah film festival. And I guess I wasn't too thrilled with them either.

So at ten a.m. I laid out the props and planned out the two shots I wanted. Russ showed up with an Omni Pro light kit. By that time, I was pouring with sweat. Damn weather! I turned on a fan, but it wasn't helping. As Russ set up the lights, Hector wandered in. He's like the building manager, you know, the guy with the tool-belt … the man who knows more than he'll admit about what goes on. “You guys want the AC on?” In lieu of a verbal response I just began closing the windows. He fired the cool on high. And by that I mean, low. Bliss.

Amanda showed up. She was our model. She helped with the lights and I went down to the courtyard and grabbed a ladder. I knew I needed to get up high for the shot.

With all this production of three lights, a ladder, a beautiful girl, and ninety-something DVDs spread out on the floor, there I was clutching my little point-and-shoot Nikon Coolpix. Perhaps I've come down a few pegs from my teens and twenties when I'd prowl about with my Nikon FE SLR; but this is the 21 century, and if you can't use a 150 buck digital camera to generate photos for the antiquated print media (as well as, well, blogs), than you have no business around any flavor of camera, whether it be humble, or highfaluting. But try explaining that to someone who sees you unpacking a 1200 dollar light kit followed by a $150 camera. “Soooo, that's what you're using? Huh.”

Russ also had brought along his new point-and-shoot pocket camera. One of those incredibly slim-lined Canon Elphs. That son of a bitch went from being envious of my little camera, to becoming one who is envied by his cooler little camera.  Damn.

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The shoot went well. It's always a joy to work with Amanda.

As we were packing up, Catherine flounced into the room wearing this puffy white costume with a tight white cap — it made me think of Busby Berkeley productions. The room we were shooting in was where the Urban-15 dance troupe practiced (and occasionally performed) — therefore several of the walls were covered with mirrors. Catherine approached one of those walls and began dancing, watching her reflection.

“Nice, um, costume,” I suggested.

“I'm dancing the solstice,” she said, watching herself with a critical eye.

“Oh. And, um, is that today?”

She shot me a glance over her shoulder with just enough pity for it to convey that I was a silly boy.

As she moved slowly, dancing with her reflection, she explained that her husband (George) had been something of a collaborator on an art project which had been installed some years ago atop the parking garage at the San Antonio airport. I gathered there are, like, stain-glass panels that only come to life during the solstice.

“Like Stonehenge?” I hazarded.

“Six minutes after one o'clock this afternoon — that's the solstice. We always dance there for the summer solstice.” She stopped dancing, and turned to the windows on the far side of the room. “But I'm afraid it might rain.”

“Yeah,” I said, collapsing a light stand. “The clouds would mess up the sun.”

“What? No, the rain. We'd get all wet.” She puffed out her skirts. And giving one last look at the mirror — approval — she headed downstairs.

Me and Russ exchanged glances. The unspoken thought was: we both have cameras, yet neither of us took a photo of a beautiful woman in a bizarre costume dancing with herself in a mirror. If I were indeed a man of honor, I would tear up my Nikon Voyeur Membership Card. But, I hardly need to point out that men with such credentials are rarely honorable.


I'm still in the preliminary stage of viewing the DVDs of the Josiah student film fest. I've watched just over forty of them. They run the gamut of painful to excellent. Like, of course, any film festival. It's the excellent that intrigues me. There are some really strong pieces here. Quite a few, actually. It's going to be a good three nights of screening.


For those interested, I have created a MySpace page for the Josiah Youth Media Festival. It can be found at:


Tomorrow night I'll be at the San Antonio Underground Film Festival. Adam Rocha has taken his festival to a whole new level. Three days, two venues, loads of great films!

I wish I had the cash and the time to see it all. But I think I'll go to the “Program II” (7 – 11) Friday night at the Aztec. They will be screening the entirety of Brant Bumpers music videos for the band Boxcar Satan. I own the DVD.  Brant is one of my favorite directors. Do yourself a favor. Show up to see these great works. Also, in this block of film/video is Ya’Ke Smith's award winning short, “The Second Coming.” The San Antonio Current put him on the cover last week. As well they should. His work needs to be seen.

Great job, Adam! If I knew the festival was going to be so swanky, I'd have budgeted a full pass. Hell, I might have even cleaned up an edit of one of my shorts and submitted it — crossed my fingers with hopes of inclusion.


If you're not hanging out at the San Antonio Underground Film Festival this Sunday, 5 – 7:30 p.m., join me at La Luna.

Here's my MySpace bulletin pitch:

Best Poetry in Town — This Sunday

Come join me this Sunday afternoon for some of the best poetry in San Antonio.

It's at the ultra-cool jazz club, La Luna (on San Pedro, near Camera Exchange).

Only a $5 donation — and that'd be cheap if only Jesse Cardona was reading (and he fucking rocks). But there are nine kick-ass poets. Be there or be square. Are you square? I didn't think so.

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