The Monofilaments of My Desire are Anchored in Blue Star

I'd begun a blog about Saturday night's NALIP screening. But it was rancor-heavy. I screened the first ten minutes of Heartcore. And I'll leave it at that.

Actually, the most memorable thing about the evening was when Adrian (Carlos' 32 year-old perennial punk rocker friend from the Valley — he who is known by his alternate moniker, “Vile Bastard”) was introduced to the woman who owns the gallery in which the films were screened. She offered her hand. But instead of shaking the woman's hand, Adrian brought it to his lips and kissed her hand. Long and lingering and wet. The mature sophisticated lady was charmed and repulsed at the same time. I damn well should have snapped a photo. Oh well. It is at least etched, indelibly, into my memory.

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I'll cram in some photos of the NALIP CAM Slam:

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Here are two cool artsy works in the Blue Star parking lot — installations for CAM (Contemporary Arts Month). The weird fake tree is prettiest. But the real tree, tethered with monofilaments, is my favorite.

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Again, my hats off to George and Cat Cisneros for the espresso machine. Today I had the first home-made cappuccino I've had in months. And I make damn fine cappuccinos, second only to Ruby Jo Madrid of El Polvo, Texas.

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I have been through the fires of the NALIP Meet-the-Makers film screening. A frightful ordeal, which, for the attendees (whose lack of x-ray vision missed the sight of acidic gastric fluids burning through my stomach's lining), was a rousing success. I did managed to screen a film I love, wrangle a road trip to my favorite region of the world, and collect a curator fee. However, I have mixed feelings about the whole thing.

And then there was the Josiah Youth Media Festival. That monkey's finally off my back. I should state that (like the Meet-the-Maker series) I believe in this festival, and wanted it to be the best it could be. But I did find myself stressing out for different reasons along the way. Ultimately, it turned out pretty good. The films submitted amazed me — there are so many talented kids out there. But because Josiah overlapped with the difficulties of MTM as well as the 48 Hour gig, I found myself scrambling and trying to figure out how to prioritize my time.

Now that the first year of Josiah has ended, I'm still pissed off about the attendance. We should have had all those seats filled for all three nights. The schools in this city with film programs (and there are quite a few) should have snapped to attention — every last one of them — back in the spring when I tried to inform their instructors and their students about the festival. The level of apathy still burns. And those schools (and non-school youth programs) from whence we had submissions…. Well, many seemed disinclined to notify the kids. True it's summer — but I'd like to think that schools and teachers are in the business to be advocates of kids. I mean, dammit, I'm lucky if, in any given year, I make over 11,000 bucks. And here I am running myself ragged, trying to contact these kids, who I don't even know, that they have films in the Josiah festival. Clearly, I'm not doing it for the money.

And what about the film teachers who failed to show up to support their kids? I'm at an absolute loss.

I used to think that the biggest problem in public education was this whole teaching to the test. Now I know that the apathy of the teachers runs a close, cramped second place.

My desire for a full house on all three nights of the Josiah festival was not just to help justify my project-management stipend, but on a broader level, I became enamored with the idea that we were creating an arena where kids from all over the region could get together and network. Maybe they could begin working on projects on their own, independent of their schools or the arts programs where they did their work. Because, as Wikipedia has it: “San Antonio and Bexar County are served by 15 separate independent school districts.” That's madness. But the idea of getting kids from all the districts interacting seemed laudable, and there was a point where I was really stoked.

I guess that's a harder nut to crack than I'd thought it'd be. We'll see what next year brings.

But the screenings were great. The kids and adults who showed up were great. And the Saturday workshops were a blast. So I think we have a solid foundation for the years to come.

More outreach is clearly needed. And, personally, I guess I should stop all this bitching, and just do what it takes to make these sorts of things work.

And now, I'm drifting into the belly of the 48 Hour Film Project.

This is my third film event I'm organizing this summer. All this sort of stuff is better handled by my friends Nikki or Deborah. But for various reasons they have fallen upon me. And I do need the money (I mean, really, the alternative would be to find a job — and, as I've whined before, I don't know how to do one of those).

I thought this would be a breeze. I know scads of filmmakers (yep, I do). I really don't need to bust my ass with too many press releases, postings, and email blasts. Just concentrate on my people.

Easy, in theory. But “my people” are just like me. They work at their own rhythm. If they're interested in signing up for the 48 Hour Film Project, they'll take their sweet time. Actually, this is the San Antonio way. No hurry. No rush.

But the problem is that the national honchos are getting antsy. They saw that I had only a measly 5 teams signed up. I was given fives days to turn that five teams into ten. In a panic (my stomach positively frothing as the gastric acid laid waste to the mucus membrane on the midnight side of my tummy), I began a phone campaign. I tried everyone I know who had claimed interest. Some promised to sign up by my personal deadline. Some said they had to wait until a particular date (the teams have to pay $125, so I can understand the reluctance, or the waiting on a paycheck).

And so, by late this afternoon, my number ten came in. Great! Now I can worry about other matters. Like sponsors and promotion … and, well, signing up more teams. But we seem to be in a stable stage.

But pass the word. Even though I have a verbal agreement from eight other potential team leaders, we can easily accommodate 25 teams. So, don't hold back.

And again, tomorrow night (Tuesday), we will be having a Meet-and-Greet at Ruta Maya coffee house, downtown San Antonio. 6 – 9 pm.

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I stopped by Deborah's space over at Blue Star. She's moved her computer back to her studio. I think this is an excellent idea. It means she's only blocks away from me. And I can pop in on my dear friend whenever I see her car in the parking-lot. And I did just that today. It was like old times. She showed me some of the images she's working on for her next show. Color photos which she plans to print on canvas in black and white and then hand paint them.

The pieces are great. And I look forward to the show.

But basically we spent a couple of hours bitching to one another about what things are pissing us off; and then gushing about those things going right in our lives.

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Two hours of Deborah, and I feel almost sane.

I went home and oiled the chain on my bike and headed out for an hour ride down the Mission Trail.

We have sunshine again here in San Antonio.

Maybe the summer will come to me.

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