Living on Cat Food and Crack

I've been making myself crazy with an old video assignment. I promised the client I'd get the deliverables (what a word!) to FedEx today (Saturday). But I kept finding glitches in the video files. I spent this morning going back in and pulling out one frame here, two frames there, and occasionally patching a bit of b-roll over some particularly egregious bits. This involves rendering and re-rendering the sequences (all 22 of them) and then exporting them as “uncompressed” DV QuickTime files. There was a point in the early afternoon when I did some quick calculations. As one of the stipulations of the assignment was to ship the segments as media files on DVDs, and as this would entail four DVDs, I figured that it takes maybe fifteen minutes on my computer to transfer circa three gigs of information to a DVD, and a further 45 minutes (give or take) to burn the disk … times 4 … and, fuck me Aunt Fritzi, the laws of physics just wouldn't allow me to make it to the lone FedEx in town that is open on Saturday, seeing as it shuts down at 5pm.

So what was a lad to do? It was a lovely day out — the first such in weeks — so I said screw it and treated myself to a bike ride.

I guess I'll get back to work tomorrow. I mean, I can't ship the stuff until Monday, right?

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Last night I went to see the Methane Sisters in “As Filthy as it Gets” with my friend Alston. This is the second year that Annele Spector and Monessa Esquivel have put on this bile-filled punk rock musical that they have written and in which they star … brilliantly, I might add.

I had hoped that their characters of May Joon and Ann July would be involved in different situations, but for the most part the piece was the same as last year. That's not a problem, because I love the show. But I guess I was hoping for more of a continuation in the characters' lives. True, there were some small changes. One being a new Sam Lerma music video of the duo in compromising situations with their studly groupies. There might have been a new song or two (but Alston reminded me that they didn't incorporate the song Annele and Monessa performed for the Jump Start anniversary show earlier in the month: “Oh Your Balls”).

I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Fictional they my be, and with tongues firmly placed in cheeks (if you know what I mean), but dammit they do capture the flailing playful train-wreck of punk in its prime — in short, they play back the best memories of my youth. Ann and May, on vocals, are backed by the skeleton two-piece band of Squidley Royale (Marc Montoya) on drums, and Terrible Paulsy (Paul Mata) on Guitar. “Back on Crack” could have been Bratmobile in their younger years. One of the new songs — and I can't recall the title — was their menstruation song. I don't know who was laughing harder, me or Alston, when May Joon leaned down to shout at Ann July's crotch: “Plug up that hole!” It's definitely one of those you-had-to-be-there moments … but trust me.

One of my favorite titles from a Charles Bukowski book is: “Shakespeare Never Did This.” He was both acknowledging the greatness of the Bard while at the same time distancing himself from the “master” so that each everyman and everywoman would know that this Bukowski chap might be expounding upon topics such as drinkin, smokin, & screwin. And Annele and Monessa, as practitioners of the living theater, are doubling up on old Buk. Because, with the Methane Sisters, you can say with low-brow certainty: “Shakespeare sure as shit never did this.”

Carry on girls! I'm betting on “As Filthy As It Gets, The Movie.”

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Tonight Pete had a one night only one-man-show at the Cadillac Lofts downtown. The postcard invite kept it fairly vague. “Pete Barnstrom, New Work.”

Pete was a 2007 recipient of the Chez Bernard Award from the Lifshutz Foundation, via the Artist Foundation of San Antonio. This event was an opportunity for viewing the work he did under the grant.

The space was maybe 1200 square feet. An alcove had a video piece projected on the rear wall. Two flatscreen monitors displayed related video work on the other two walls. This was a work in keeping with those Sesame Street short segue films (although I'm at a loss to recall that filmmaker's name).

And then there was another piece projected on a hanging translucent screen (allowing for viewing from both sides). This was some distorted cut-up montages of beauty show footage with occasional flashes of the number 72. Lisa told me that it was in reference to the “72 virgins” promised in the afterlife to certain fellows. She explained that the sound track would have explained it, but the incidental chatter of the people in the space effectively drowned out the audio. That's the problem with so many industrial spaces. They look super cool, but cement floors, plaster ceiling, and rows and rows of huge windows makes for an acoustical nightmare.

There was also a reel of Pete's film work playing on a loop catty-corner to the free food and drink station.

And in the corner, where the windowed walls met, was a larger than life voodoo doll in Pete's image. It was hanging over a little bucket of large needles — an interactive work.

Michelle LaHomme was sitting on a window ledge near the effigy. Pete commissioned her to build the doll for him. It came out quite nicely. I talked some with Michelle and Paul Scofield (local actor, writer, and artist) — they're getting married this summer. Congratulations Michelle and Paul!

As for the voodoo doll, I can only assume that it serves as Pete's foil against potential detractors of this, his maiden voyage into the world of art (as opposed to entertainment) — you know: “Didn't care for my stuff, you say? Well, I had a big voodoo doll on site with pins to stick into my eyes and vitals. Wasn't that enough?”

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

But, Pete, really, you didn't need that self-deprecative device. Everyone seemed to be having a blast. However, whenever one has a chance to throw work Michelle's way, it is always rewarding — she never fails to create something wonderful (who can forget a little someone named Ms. Dee O. Durant?).

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Oh, Christ, I just realized it's only two weeks until my birthday. My plan had been to head off to the Big Bend or maybe central New Mexico so I might toss a bedroll on the floor of the Lincoln National Forest for a few days. But unless my truck magically begins to get a thousand miles per gallon, highway, it ain't gonna happen. Besides, I have to be on hand to walk my neighbor's dog that week because he's off to try and track down his errant daughter (23, going on 13), who was last seen in Tennessee. For all I know, she's living on cat food and crack and incubating baby number three (wow! that came out like a couplet straight from a Methane Sister song — I tell you, that kind of stuff writes itself (Monessa, Annele, if you're reading this, let's do lunch, I think you need a third writer!)).

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