[This is a posting I should have uploaded several days ago. I wrote it Saturday night.]
It was pushing noon today, when I sat down at my computer and enjoyed my breakfast and coffee while watching, via the Expanded Cinema blog, a short documentary by Les Blank, Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe. (And thank you Emvergeoning for hipping me to this site). It seems Herzog had challenged Errol Morris to get off his ass and make his first film (Gates of Heaven) by promising that he (Herzog) would eat his shoes if Morris made his film. And eat shoe he did. This piece is so watchable because Herzog is always a wonderful subject for interviews and impromptu statements. Check it out. Les Blank later created a feature-length documentary about the making of Herzog's Fitzcarraldo. It's called the Burden of Dreams, and it's in my NetFlix queue.
Speaking of NetFlix, as I was watching the shoe-eating, the mail arrived. My new NetFlix delivery. A Zed and Two Naughts. This is a Peter Greenaway film from the period when he was most relevant — a film that for some reason has passed me by over the years.
Before I could decided whether or not I wanted to fire it up, Russ called. He was half-hankering to buy a sailboat. There was one for sale up at the sailing club at Canyon Lake he belongs to. He asked if I'd like to head up with him. Sure. I was game for a road trip.
It was a perfect winter day. Well, my kind of winter day. It might have got up to about 80. (Hell, right now it's 63 degrees at one a.m.) Out at the lake there seemed less activity than one would expect on such a beautiful Saturday. The boat owner wasn't there, but Russ had spoken to him. And he set up a ladder and climbed aboard the boat, which was parked on the yacht club's property, propped up high on a trailer so that the long keel wouldn't touch ground. But it seemed that the boat, though quite sound and very cheap, possessed a couple of bumps which had probably affected the structural integrity of the hull. Fixable, certainly, for a price. But Russ wasn't in the market for a fixer-upper.
We headed back to town. Russ had picked me up at my place, so we were heading to the Southtown area. We took the S. Alamo exit off I-35. We were on the access road waiting for the light to change so we could turn onto Alamo.
The sun was hitting us in our eyes, and we were trying to figure out what the truck in front of us was hauling. It was packed with what looked like a bunch of yellow paper. I could see pieces of the stuff falling off. But they fell too fast for paper. Corn husks from a tamale factory?
We got nearer. The truck was hauling tortilla chips. Not in bags or boxes. But heaped in there as though they'd been shoveled aboard. If they were bound for a restaurant, I want to know that place's name … so I can avoid it.
I had a flash. If only this truck could accidently broadside a delivery van of Pace picante sauce. What a horrific roadside snacking opportunity. A bit too tempting for the accident investigation officer who arrives at the scene as the ambulance crew and tow trucks are busy all around him. “Please, um, excuse me. But … mmmm … this is really excellent. I haven't had lunch yet.” “Pardon, Agent Fleming, but that's not a pool of salsa.” “Oh, my goodness. Not again. You mean entrails, don't you?” “Or worse.” “Oh, good lord, you don't mean to tell me–” “That's right, sir, a chorizo delivery truck was also involved.”
Alston dropped by around 6:30 and we walked over to the Jump-Start Theater. The place was packed for their annual anniversary party. I saw a few people there I knew, but not many. It was a treat to see Samantha. She's in town for a couple of weeks visiting her family. Pete was there. Rick. Mary and Jade.
The show was broken up into three acts with two intermissions. Each act had it's own pair of MC's. The entire show was about four hours. The theme was a nautical motif — we, the audience, were ostensibly on a cruise aboard a big boat.
I think I had a bit more fun last year. The good stuff was a bit sharper and more rewarding. But it was still a great time.
Some of the highlights were:
Company J. This was five or six women from the Jump Start repertory. They were doing a jazz age USO dance routine in cute nautical outfits, complete with sailor hats. Monessa Esquivel was one of the dancers — braided pigtails and cat-eye glasses suit her.
The Guadalupe Dance Company presented us a great flamenco performmance with three high-energy women.
La Colectiva gave us a playful short one-act piece. And I'm pretty sure that was Marisela playing the macho club singer with the goatee.
Urban-15 shook the place up with three numbers. At the beginning of the last bit, their dancers snaked about the audience dragging people to the dance floor. It always blows me away when I see them perform. Very visceral, primal, and joyous. I hung back from the dance floor to take a few photos (or, as Alston put it, “Hey, you bailed” — and she was right).
The third act was promised to be singularly raunchy. Those of a sensitive nature were invited to visit the placid waters of the lobby where they might avail themselves of passing a donation along to one of the volunteers at the box office.
The Methane Sisters were the MCs for the final third of the evening. They performed a sweetly spastic homily to the wondrous testes. The girls, May Joon and Ann July (as performed by Monessa Esquivel and Annele Spector), were backed up by their band, The Crip G Band (a punk-perfect passionless coked-up assault from a drum kit and an electric guitar). The “sisters” wore nurse outfits.
“On this cruise ship,” Ann said, adjusting her bra, “we're all supposed to do something other than just entertain — you know, have a day job.”
“We're working in the clinic,” May Joon clarified. She snugged the little nurse hat down on her wig.
“It puts us close to the drugs.”
“Yeah, the drugs.”
“And the, um, the ….”
“The appliances,” May Joon added.
They fed the audience constant reminders about the upcoming Methane Sisters show at the Jump-Start. Three weeks, starting this Friday, Jan. 11th. This year's show has new stuff. But even if it didn't, I'd go anyway. The Methane Sisters rule!
The highlights of the third act were:
A skit by Comedia A Go-Go involving sodomy, transvestism, a stripper club for handicapped patrons (Hot Wheels), and, of course, an in-depth examination of the immigration issue.
Buttercup performed a beautiful low-fi experimental rock duet which started languid, with one of the members wandering the audience providing the vocals through a bullhorn (I know that doesn't sound languid, but somehow it worked out that way), and eventually the piece segued into a more power-pop bit with drum kit and guitar.
The Peace Posse laid down a quick duel rap in slangy jangly Spanglish praising the two great human pursuits, la revolución y la mota.
The evening ended with at least a dozen Jump-Start stalwarts in cocktail attire politely dancing and eating fire to a recording of the sappy song The Morning After. It took me quite awhile to figure out the significance. It was, of course, the theme song to the movie The Poseidon Adventure. And, indeed, we were soon treated to the best part of the dreary film. The scene where the giant pleasure ship is flipped over by a huge wave was projected on a screen above the fire-eaters. And as the folks in the movie were being tossed around by the shifting ship, the fire-eaters begin to do the same. All were thrown to one side of the stage. And then, as the Poseidon rolls upside-down, the fire-eaters, one by one, went screaming and tumbling across the stage to the far side.