Where's My Plane Ticket to Equatorial Africa?

Yesterday was the final day of the laser show. It was a bit hectic, but because we had fewer kids per show, nothing got too much out of hand. Also, we had plenty of volunteers, thanks to Victor and Danny. The problems were some of the schools. There was one school which had requested 50 tickets for the 9:30 show, and an additional 50 tickets for the 12:30 show. But because they were using the same bus, it became clear that they wouldn't be able to return to campus, empty the bus, and load back up in time to make the 12:30 show. And then we had another school which was to bring 170 kids. Also for the 12:30 show. I gave the school a call ten minutes before show time to see if maybe they had problems with the bus. An administrative underling told me that they had canceled the field trip. I was told that the individuals who might know the reason why this happened were all in a meeting. How very convenient. If patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, meetings are the perennial sanctuaries of the cowards. It would have been nice if they'd let us know. And the third piece of confusion was a school who showed up late because their bus driver inexplicably took them to the Institute of Texan Cultures. I guess that the detailed map I emailed was considered a mere suggestion to the bus driver. “You know, the kids might really like the Institute of Texan Cultures.”

Also, the handicapped elevator crapped out. This sweet little third grader in a wheelchair was trapped in the lift for about ten minutes while the Aztec Theater staff tried all sorts of configurations of opening and closing the inner accordion doors. They sent the lift back up and down to all three levels. Finally, it opened, and the very patient girl was rolled out to her waiting bus.

The Aztec disability elevator is a lawsuit just waiting to be settled out of court. I'm guessing, once the legal fees had been siphoned off the top, it's worth something between a giant flat screen TV and a domestic sports car.

Once the venue remedies that damn elevator, figures out a plan so that the fucking police don't hassle school bus drivers who are only trying to unload kids quickly and safely, and implements some sort of online ticket purchasing system … once these issues are resolved, it might be the perfect place to hold these sorts of school events. The kids absolutely love the Aztec. And why not? Everyone who enters the space is simply blown away by the high cool factor — it's stratospheric.

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The Film Commission's Holiday Party last night was a great success. It always is. Drew and Janet do a wonderful job of finding the perfect venue, providing entertainment, great food, and stuffing the place with a comprehensive collection of local film folks, running the gamut from the production company pros, to the struggling little fish, like me.

I saw loads of familiar faces, as well as lots of people I didn't know. I tried to work my way around the room, but there were so many great people I wanted to catch up with, that I missed talking to so many people.

After hitting the sign-up table (and thank you so much, Janet, for handing me my name tag over the heads of the teaming hoi polloi — you made me feel like someone special!), I turned around and there was Lee Hurtado. I praised his piece on actress Danielle King in the newest issue of SWAG magazine. I was hardly surprised. I've been reading Lee's blogs for, I believe, as long as he's been blogging on MySpace. He's a damn fine writer. And when he learned I had read the magazine from the on-line pdf version, he quickly handed me a hard copy.

I was very impressed with SWAG on-line, but to see it in the flesh, so to speak, was much more rewarding. I'm amazed with what Mary Robinson is doing. No only is she a talented actress, probably the most beautiful woman in this city, but she is also a good writer and is doing an impressive job as editor of the fledgling magazine, SWAG (which stands for Southwest Actors Guild).

Great job, Mary!

It was nice to have a chance to talk with Adam Rocha, of the San Antonio Underground Film Festival. I've been kicking around the San Antonio film scene for four years or more, and I always seem to keep missing him. His film festival was a bit shaky the last two years, but 2007 it came back with a bang. I'm so glad he's going to keep it going. Adam also teaches video production at Jefferson High School. He promised to get some great work from his students into the second annual Josiah Youth Media Festival. I can't wait to see what they have to offer.

And then Bill Colangelo and his wife walked up. Bill teaches video production at Northwest Vista College. He's close with my dear friend Deborah. And when he started to talk to me about the Todd Haynes film, “I'm Not There,” I soon realized that he reads my blog. It's such a strange thing to discover that someone who you barely know keeps up with your personal journal writing. And then there is the other side of the situation — those people you suspect read your blog. I often catch myself before saying certain things because I've already gone over that stuff the other night in my blog, and I don't want to sound like some redundant self-quoting blowhard. When writers aren't allowed to quote themselves, their pyschies get all backed up and additional abrasive neurosis begin to develop. Well, that's my excuse.

But I digress.

It was nice to see the aforementioned folk, as well as: Nikki, Joey, Annie, Pete, Cooper, Bryan, Amanda, Manny, Christophe, Andy, Dar, Brant, AJ, Yollette, Laura, John, Vanessa, Paul, Michelle, Druck, Raven, Michael, Janet, Dago, Rosalinda, Travis, Carlos, Shelly, Rockie, and some smug ass from Austin. If I've forgotten you, I apologize. Assuage your bile with the thought that at the very least you aren't that ass from Austin.

Or are you???

Here are some photos. First we have John Montoya (AKA, Johnny the Hottie), with Mary Robinson and Raven Kaylor.

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Amanda Ramirez talks with Rick Carrillo.

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Brant Bumpers and Nikki Young, and I think I need to make a film where they are a couple. They're really quite cute together.

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The Lone Bannana table. They won second place in the San Antonio 48 Hour Film Experience contest with a wonderfully playful mockumentary on a Nessie type monster who lives in Woodlawn Lake (and for those not from San Antonio, Woodlawn Lake is 30 acres). That's Joey Carrillo sucking back the beer. Way to go Joey! I really loved the film.

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Here we have Laura Evans and Dar Miller. Laura — stunning as always — had decided to place her nametag on her handbag. And Dar, no doubt anticipating the flash off my little camera, has blinked, thus appearing as though the outrageously over-priced glass of cabernet was not her first drink of the evening, but number fuck-it-I'm-gonna-call-in-sick-tomorrow. I was there, and Dar was sober and articulte. And I'm pretty sure she went to work the next morning.

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Wednesday, now. Late. A fairly unproductive day. I dropped by Urban-15 to close out the Holiday Laser Show project. Mailed out a few thank you letters and organized all the paperwork into manila folders and filed them away for next year.

Two of the schools have already sent in thank you cards from their students. The best ones were, of course, those with illustrations. I'm now intrigued with the thought of putting together a coffee table book: “Third Graders from Texas Draw Reindeer!” (I think the exclamation point is crucial because, well, you know, the title kinda sucks. But, dammit, the concept is pure gold!)

And that was pretty much my day. Well, a trip to the grocery store (for disposable razors, votive candles, cilantro, peanut butter, and flour tortillas — you know, the basic staples of life). Sad, I know. But it's a cold, overcast, drizzly day. Winter is a miserable time of year. But at least, here in Texas, we can expect a week of warmth and sunshine counter-pointed with a week of cold grey drizzle. But right now I just wish I had a plane ticket to equatorial Africa. I'd be warm, and also I'd be free from this Christmas and New Years bullshit. My ill-informed guess is that they don't push that stuff much in Tanzania.

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