Fact: The Brontosaurus Never Ate Grapes

Sunday morning Jorge stopped by to treat me to a birthday breakfast. We headed to Pepe's Cafe, and had a very pleasant hour or so of talking about this and that. Thanks so much, Jorge!

But I had to get back to the house because Carlos was stopping by to shoot some scenes from his trilogy of short films collectively titled Chort/Shorts. Armando showed up. He's one of Carlos' regular actors. I consider Armando to be one of the finer non-actors acting in town. He has no training that I know of, but his intuition is usually correct. Also, we had Christopher on set as an actor. He's the son of Annette Romo Schaefer — Annette's an actor herself, but she also run's Rome Talent Agency. Chris is still in high school, but he has a very strong presence. He's professional, focused, and damn quick if improv is needed.

There was also Carlos' little girl, Rockie. It fell upon me to do more in the line of childcare than helping Carlos in a crew capacity. The best bit was when Rockie wanted to go for a walk. About two blocks down Guenther we came upon a little girl with what I at first thought was a lemonade stand. As we got closer I read the sign.

“Cookies or Grapes, 50 cents.”

The little girl might have been even younger than Rockie. But her mom was there. I asked for two orders of grapes. The girl filled a sandwich bag with grapes, and she handed it to Rockie. She began filling up another bag, and I noticed an elderly gentleman from the neighborhood as he walked up behind us, smiling.

“Hurry, honey,” the little girl's mother said, giggling at the whole absurd thing. “We've got a line.”

As the kid was putting grapes in my bag I turned to the mother.

“I feel I should ask, but has she washed her hands?”

“Oh yes.” And then she smiled. “She also washed the grapes.”

I was waiting for the kid to pipe up irrepressibly with the phrase, “with laundry soap,” but she was all business.

I took my bag of grapes. Paid my dollar. And as me and Rockie walked away, I mentioned something to Rockie about how that little girl had just made a dollar, thinking this might be a learning experience. “Yes,” Rockie acknowledged. But then, of course, she began talking about dinosaurs. Apparently dinosaurs don't eat grapes.

“Not even the Apatosaurus?” I asked.

“No.”

That seemed like quite a broad statement to make. I'm sure there's not a single Brontosaurus (what old fucks like myself call the Apatosaurus) who would turn nose up at a succulent cluster of grapes drooping upon the vine. And then I remembered that grapes, and all flowering plants (the angiosperms), didn't begin even their most rudimentary evolution until many of the dinosaurs were well into extinction.

Chalk one up to the girl with the grapes.

@@@@@

Monday afternoon I took the trolly downtown to attend an artist orientation meeting for the upcoming Luminaria fest.

The meeting was being run by people from something called CE. A quick snoop on the internet, and I'm assuming these folks were from the marketing and public relations firm, the CE Group (Communications and Events). They have offices in both San Antonio and Austin.

I'm curious as to when they were brought aboard. The main woman hustling so much of the hot air from up at the podium had her boosterism dial cranked up to 11, just a hair clockward of the “Amphetamine Weather Girl” setting.

When some guy in the audience wondered aloud — during the Q&A session — “why had it been decided to have this arts event during the week of SXSW, the biggest arts festival in the state, and on the VERY DAY of a downtown San Antonio St. Patrick's parade?” The CE woman did her job nobly, and fell on a sword of someone else's responsibility by simpering effusively. She apologized for a scheduling decision that most likely came out of the mayor's office … or some other city organization.

In the world of public relations, you get what you pay for. And, man, CE was delivering the goods.

I was, however, heartened to hear George Cisneros' name mentioned several times as the man who came up with the name of the festival. It's a great name and he should get the credit.

I saw representatives from several theater companies (Blue Frog, Majik Children's Theatre, Jump-Start, La Collectiva), a dance company (Urban-15), cultural organizations (Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, American Indians in Texas), film (NALIP), printing (Stone Metal Press) … but I only saw one person who I knew that was planning to create a work as an individual artist. True there were obviously individual artists in attendance, but just none I knew. Most of the painters and sculptures of my acquaintance who I'd spoken with in the last months about this first annual arts festival had been curious, but after they looked at the information on the web site realized there was no place for the sort of work they did.

I hope this unforgivable oversight into basic community outreach is remedied for next year.

When the cheerleading and the question and answer period ended, we were all broken up into groups. Dora Pena had been selected to oversee the film people. An excellent choice. And as we — the folks in her group — gathered to one side of the room, I noticed that poor Dora had made the mistake of backing herself into a corner. Literally. I stood back, looking on bemused, knowing Dora could handle herself. But, as I scanned the faces, I wondered just who the fuck were these people? I didn't know them from the art community. I didn't know them from the film world. Just a bunch of humorless, earnest twats (in fact I believe one indeed introduced himself as Ernest Twat … or am I thinking of the guy who played bass on the final Circle Jerks tour?). They sure were making a lot of demands for their 200 buck artist honorariums. Bottled artesian water and exotic Bosnian chocolates just aren't in the budget. Two hundred clams are all you get, guys, 'cause the flack-catchers from the CE Group don't come cheap.

Bitchery aside, I am looking forward to Wednesday. Dora has set aside some time in the afternoon when our group can go check out the film screening space. It will be in the ground floor of the old Kress Building. I love poking around in old buildings.

Maybe Ana de Portela will show up to join us. She was mentioned as one of the artists providing work for the film/video part of Luminaria, but I didn't see her at the meeting. I haven't seen Anna in a few years. And actually, I believe I've only met her twice. She's one of Alston's friends. Most of her art I know from her web site and reviews in local papers. I'm still not sure if I really care for her work, but she amazed me with the incredible charge of her personality. I was also glad she decided to pose for one of Deborah's Tara series. I only wish I had a bigger scan to poach and post.

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I'm hoping Anna will help shake things up in the Kress building mid March.

Oh, yeah. There's also my piece. I guess I'd better start working on it. I believe the first step is to write a script. You see, if I want my 200 dollar honorarium, I gotta produce.

So, watch this space. I'll have more information about my short experimental video to be titled “The Prometheus Thesis.” It will be screened March 15, downtown San Antonio. More info concerning time(s) and location when I know more. Also, I'll stick it up on the web for my out-of-town fan-base. (Make no mistake, I'm very popular in Asheville, North Carolina — go Bulldogs!)

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