Suave Hipsters of the Pleistocene

Last night I was over at Mad Hatters meeting with Veronica, Sandra, and Victor. We were meeting ostensibly to talk about the local chapter of NALIP. But people kept checking their phones, laptops, and assorted mobile devices to see where Hillary and Obama were at any given moment. We'd all already casted our votes, but, because of the meeting, we weren't involved in the caucuses. I understand that some of them didn't get out until almost midnight.

After some talk about NALIP, Victor and Sandra told us where they are in the development of the upcoming Cine Festival at the Guadalupe Cultural Center. This will be the 30th anniversary of one of the first (if not in fact THE first) Chicano film festivals in America.

Rene (and I wish I could remember his last name) did a solid job running the festival back in 2006. But something happened last year, and there was no festival. This year, with Victor and Sandra brought in at the eleventh hour, I'm very hopeful. They are no strangers to running these sorts of events and getting things done. They have some amazing ideas. This will be an event that everyone should start saving for so they can all get full festival passes. And, really, it's not going to be that expensive. There will be great guests and great programing. And Victor and Sandra need volunteers — one of the best way to afford film festivals. Contact them through the website:

www.cinefestivalsa.org

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Today was our second and final day of shooting for our Luminaria film project, “The Prometheus Thesis.” Me and Russ were running things. Tinkering with lights, looking for compositions, and trying to get the best out of our actors.

The three scenarios involved the same man and the same woman through various moments in history.

Citizens of the Pleistocene.

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Suave hipsters of the Jazz Age.

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And scientific researchers in the 22nd Century … as envisioned by pulp magazines of the 1950s.

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The male lead is Hector — and damn if I can't recall his last name. He's been involved in the arts community in this city since the seventies. Mostly now he crews large performance events in the grip and electric departments. He also helps out at Urban-15 doing crucial grunt work.

The female lead is Alicia Shaddeau — and, hell, Alicia, why didn't you give me one of your new business cards so I don't have to check the internet for the spelling of your name? Anyway, those of you who have seen Bryan Ortiz's Zombie feature film, that was Alicia playing Mary Jane, the virginal cheerleader.

I knew that Hector had done some acting before. Never saw it. And apparently he hasn't done it in years. But I have always liked the guy's look and style. Even after three hours worming around on his belly in the crawl-space beneath the balcony of the old Aztec Theater where he was running two hundred feet of optical fiber cable for the holiday laser show … well, when he finally emerged, exhausted and filthy, he still radiated this charismatic jauntiness and he treated us all to his wry deadpan insights he had gleaned while inching through that dark hellhole.

As an actor, he gave us charm and gravity. First off, he looks great. But he was truly hamming it up as the cave man. He was grunting and frothing and trying his damnedest to get that fire back up fierce and warm, before the savage man-eaters out in the dark moved in and gobbled up both him and his adorable cave-mate.

And as toothsome cave women go, you can't ask for more than Alicia. For this primitive scenario, she teased out her hair to massive volume. She gathered up leaves that had fallen from the big live oaks out in the courtyard, and she had stuck them in her hair. She asked if she should dirty up her face. I said it didn't really matter to me. Having her as a perfectly made-up savage might be funny. But she wanted to add to what she had started with the leaves. I pointed to the tiki torches. I said that the underplate of the flame guard was where all the soot collected. As I was setting up lights, she began making her face filthy. “How's this?” she asked. It was a good start, but too symmetrical. Well, she didn't have a mirror. I rubbed off some tiki soot and wiped more on her face. It came out pretty good.

It all turned out great. I think me and Russ got some great footage. And I couldn't have asked for better actors.

Especially Alicia. She's beautiful, talented, consistent, playful, on time, professional, and just a joy to work with. I can't wait to start editing the footage to see some of the great stuff she was giving us that I'm sure I over-looked at the time.

What a fun night. Russ got some beautiful shots. We will start editing the piece into shape over the weekend. And I trust that Russ will construct the perfect soundtrack.

It's going to be too fucking good for Luminaria.

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