I received an email from Gemini Ink. I was turned down for the novel writing class. Wasn't there something similar I was grousing about in the past on the blog? You know — the grand ignominy where they don't even want your money. That's rejection with teeth. “Screw you, your writing, and your money!”
Pardon me while I go crawl back beneath the rock from whence I emerged.
Tuesday I left work a bit early to gather up all that I would need for the Brauchle Art Walk. It's the second time I've been conscripted into this annual event. My next door neighbor, Dina Toland, teaches at Brauchle Elementary (which I just recently learned is pronounced just like the veggie). I was to represent the video arts, I assume. Last year I was stuck in the media room. Which was okay. There was a video projector and some speakers. But because I kept the lights low, the curious kids and their parents were few — scared off, I assume, by the creepy guy in the darkened room. The woman doing the macaroni arts demonstrations in the (very well lit hall) was getting mobbed. Mobbed! Maybe if I were more of the carney barker type, I could have coaxed the crowds inside. I'm not. This year I found I was in the same room. Actually I was prepared to have a little table in the hall or maybe in the cafetorium. But, nope. I was back in the media room.
Last time I ran a couple of movies of mine off my camcorder and patched the video signal into the projector and the audio signal into some speakers. And after half an hour of low attendance, I snaked an auxiliary video line into my field monitor and set it closer to the door so it could be seen from the hall. That helped a bit. But this time around, I found myself with a new set of speakers. There seemed no way I could get the audio out line from the DVD deck I had brought to fit into the speakers. If I could just unlock the computer that the projector was plugged into, it'd be fine. But it was a no-go. I pawed through the audio equipment case I'd brought. There seemed to be no arrangement of cables which could …. But wait! Using my wireless lavaliere microphone's transmitter and receiver boxes and the mini to RCA cable (which I use to patch my iPod into my stereo), I cannily MacGyvered a robust audio signal into the media room's speaker system. As long as my stale 9 volt batteries had a trickle of juice, I'd be sitting pretty.
And then it occurred to me that, other than the computer connected to the video projector, all the other computers in the room seemed to be unlocked. Seeing as I had five different movies on DVDs, I allowed one to play on the projector, and I loaded a row of four computers with the other movies — they all played the DVDs just fine. These computers were on an island in the middle of the room, and they faced the door. Why stop there? Against the far wall was a line of ten computers. I discovered that they all had access to the internet. I began opening browsers. The two machines on the ends and the one in the middle I set to my website (which I really should update). With the other seven computers, I surfed over to seven different short films I have posted online, and I set them to play.
And that's pretty much how I spent the two hours. Greeting the few kids and parents who ventured in, and restarting any one of my 12 shorts when it ended.
I did take a few breaks to check things out. I was very impressed by a pencil vending machine in the cafetorium. Twenty-five cents seemed a bit excessive, but I couldn't help myself. I had to have one.
Dina had roped in not just her neighbor Erik, but also two other artists on our block. Marlys Dietrick, who's been getting so much attention this year with her art work, was set up beside another neighbor, Carlos Cortez. Carlos' Faux Bois creations are a major element to San Antonio's cultural identity.
I snapped a shot of Marlys talking to some art fans.
When she saw me, she told me that she had discovered my blog. I suggested that maybe, just maybe, she had been Googling herself. She saw no shame there and freely admitted to it.
Carlos' wife, Hope Cortez, seemed intrigued. I admitted that I blog about all the people on my block. In fact I'd no doubt blogged about her. She gave that some thought, I could tell she wasn't sure it was a good thing.
I made a point to snap her picture. And a few minutes later, her husband, Carlos.
And then I took some random shots of the artists and such.
As I headed back to the media room, Hope followed with her two teen kids. Hope sat down and started my short “I Do Adore Cream Corn” on one of the computers. She put on the headphones. Her daughter sat down and did the same for the “Treasure of the Perro Diablo.” Her son sat down and started “Figments,” the last film I'd suggest for a boy of his age. It's not strictly “for mature audiences,” but it is about a business man's existential dilemma.
As they were plugged in, one of the teachers who was helping out with the event came by and gave me a little swag bag with a Brauchle Cougars Frisbee, a thank-you card, some event-specific note cards, a little bag with a pencil and a cookie and some candy, and all this was in a mini tote bag that appears to be hand-embellished with a spray-painted cougar. Also, I was given a bottle of water and a plastic cup filled with little pretzels, those melba toast chips, and candy corn. Who would have thought candy corn would marry so well with the salty, starchy snacks?
Even if I didn't get big crowds in my room, this doesn't mean the general attendance was low. There were hundreds of people.
It was a very nice experience. And if last year is any indication, I can expect a 50 dollar check in a couple of weeks.
And now, as I sit here writing this, I referred to the “event map” to make sure I'm spelling my neighbors' names correctly, my eye wanders over to the upper right corner. What's this!? Over on the other side of the building — perhaps outside — I see this. “Drama with Joel Settles.” Damn! I've become I big fan of Joel, mainly through his work with Comedia A Go-Go. Wish I had know. I'd have stopped by to see him do his thing.