A Pic-N-Pull Wednesday Followed by a Secular Film Festival

I've been on a constant run these last few days. The Josiah Youth Media Festival begins tomorrow evening. We've been dropping, on occasion, the “youth” part in some of the promotional material. The idea of a student film festival puts some people off. This is sad. We've got some damn fine short videos to screen. This isn't three evenings of works just to be viewed by kids. I've personally found many of the pieces inspiring. Makes me wanna … oh, I don't know — maybe stop promoting film events and get back to making the stuff. Yeah, that's it.


This afternoon George Cisneros was over at Radio Shack getting some sort of video adaptor plug to use on one of his video switchers (so we can cue up each DVD like a DJ with two turntables, for a flowing, seamless show). When he mentioned the Josiah Festival to the man waiting on him, the guy said he'd heard of the event. But when George asked if he would be attending, the shackman said he wasn't all that keen on religious films. George had to explain that the festival had nothing to do with religion — it's just named after a young man whose very distinctive name happened to make more than a few appearances in the Old Testament.

So, to clear up confusion: The Josiah Youth Media Festival is not specifically religious. That's not to say it's irreligious. But wait a minute — now that I think about it, there is no nudity, foul language, drug references, or adult situations (though I'll admit to not really knowing what that means). We may well have a G rated event. Hmmm…. How did that happen? What's wrong with the kids today? But, wait! Now that I think about it, there's a piece that implies suicide. And another one where rape plays an important (off-camera) part. Let's call this PG-13.

Yeah, baby, yeah. It's practically filthy!

But I digress.

We had maybe 12 volunteers show up today to help prepare the place. Urban-15 is a rambling, labyrinthine space. It used to be a church, with an adjacent building that housed dormitories and a kitchen. At some point the two buildings became connected. It has about 45 rooms, spread out over three semi-attached buildings.

We needed to make about ten of those rooms presentable to the public. We still have loads of work to do tomorrow (anyone want to volunteer in the morning or early afternoon, call me at 210.482.0273).

Two filmmakers from the San Antonio Film School (the magnet school at Harlandale High School) were there to help out. Raul Flores and Frank Romo. Both have works which will screen.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Around noon Pete came by and helped Hector (recently returned from some sort of Native American vision-quest retreat in Arizona) — they swept and mopped the sanctuary, where we will be having the screenings. And the place looks great!

And around three in the afternoon, I found myself wondering what to do with about half a ton of scaffolding sitting on the second story landing. The high-school volunteers were certainly enthusiastic, but, well, they lacked that brute strength needed. Pete had already headed out. So I thought of who else I knew strapping enough to help out on this task. Russ was a possibility, but I think I might have rubbed him the wrong way earlier in the day when, over the phone, I muttered some dismissive opinions about an idea he had concerning intellectual property — opinions that weren't mine to make. (Russ, if you do it, man, get the cash up front … at least enough for that new light kit you want). But, of course! Carlos. His daughter is visiting the grandparents down in the Valley this week. He's usually flexible with his time. And he's strong, competent, and dependable. I pulled out my cell phone. When Carlos answered, he explained that he was in a Pic-N-Pull on the southside. For those gentle souls reading this blog, a Pic-N-Pull (and, yes, there are variant spellings) is basically a car junk yard. You pick the part you need, and you pull it out. Sometimes the employees do it for you, sometimes you have to do it yourself.

I thought Carlos was getting the starter he need for his Camaro. But he explained that he'd already replaced the starter. Nope. He was there just for the hell of it.

“It's just something I do to unwind,” he explained.

I understood.

But could be help out some, I asked. He said he could.

An hour later he showed up at Urban-15. He and Hector made short work of the scaffolding.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Herman and George were working hard in the sanctuary trying to get all the kinks worked out of the video switcher. The tech demands are a bit dicey. The sanctuary isn't wheelchair accessible. So we need to send video and audio signals over to a room in the dormitory wing. And maybe we'll also provide a third line down to the basement for a third screening room. The signal-splitting is one challenge. The video switching between two different DVD players is another challenge. But we should be able to rise above this. George and Herman created the Somos video mural for the Alameda Museo by adapting a cutting-edge innovative software to run in a hardware environment which the software developers had never considered. And the video mural works just dandy. I know these fellows will get the equipment to do what is needed.

I'm exhausted. It's midnight. I have to get up tomorrow and make this event happen. I'm going to sleep now.

And, really, everyone, come see the films. You'll be glad you did.

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