Standing in the Cockpit, Dickin’ Around

I’m littering my day with chores of procrastination.  It’s eleven pm and I’m writing a blog.  Things must be desperate.  What I’m supposed to be doing is working on my Artist Foundation grant proposal.  Oh, and preparing film proposal submission guidelines for the 2009 Luminaria Arts Night.  But, nope.  I’ve rearranged my living room.  I hesitate to say that I’ve cleaned it.  And I really should clean up this shithole I quaintly call home.  In fact, I had to turn away a fellow filmmaker yesterday.  All he wanted to do was use my place to prep his actors — wardrobe & make-up — but the truth is, I’m sick of seeing the raised eyebrows when people take a glimpse at this midden pit.  So, I’ve shifted the gyno examination table under the air-conditioner (and, as the charm of this playfully exotic piece of furniture has clearly diminished, I think I might contact the owner of our local annual haunted house — I’m sure he can put it to good use).  I then placed my sectional sofa with its back flush against the fireplace.  I won’t be using that anytime soon (actually, it’s a faux fireplace, and good, because the birds like nesting up there).  I moved my stereo from my breakfast nook (where my desk and computer are stationed — I had been running my amp and speakers into my computer for video editing, but because I not longer have a dependable video deck (or camera to use as a deck) the sound equipment had been going to waste).  It’s been  ages since I have felt inclined to play my hundreds of CDs.  Usually I connect, on-line, to a distant hipster radio station, or else I run the paltry collection of CDs I’ve bothered to rip to iTunes.  But this is nice.  I’ve fed into my five disc changer “White Light From The Mouth of Infinity,” by the Swans; “Tanglewood Numbers,” by Silver Jews; “Laser Guided Melodies,” by Spiritualized; “Waiting For the Love Bus,” by the Jazz Butcher Conspiracy; and “Terror Twilight,” by Pavement.  Put the lot on random rotation and there you go.  “Punks in the Beerlight” following by “Rosemary Davis World of Sound” and I think we’re onto something.  I’ve also pulled two of my bookcases out of my gigantic walk-in closet (which is actually the 3′ x 20′ central hallway down the middle of the house that I appropriated back when the other two apartments were untenanted).  I crammed all my books and bookcases in there over a year ago when I was shooting a scene for a movie.  Shit!  That was during the filming of the ill-fated (and poorly titled) “Leftovers.”  Man, that was the spring of ’07, I believe.  I am indeed a lazy bastard  Anyway, these four bookcases were made by Dallas artist Buddy Mitchell for the defunct Chelsea Books.  They were made to sit atop six foot tall  bookcases to take advantage of high ceilings.  There was a rolling ladder to get to these high books.  But by themselves, sitting on the floor, these cases come up to my sternum.  I usually stack them two high, but presently I have two of the cases pulled from my closet, and they are back to back, an island in the middle of this room.  I’ve always wanted a standing desk.  I placed my little ASUS notebook on the surface.  Plugged in the AC power cord.  Plugged in the mouse.  Plugged in the snazzy portable folding keyboard.  And then — what the fuck — I lugged in the chunky VGA monitor that came with the Gateway Computer I took away after the demise of the Aldredge Book Store.

And here I stand, typing away, serenaded by the dreadful poignancy of the Swans.  I’ve a brace of red votive candles illuminating the keyboard.  I’m leaning here at this ecclesiastic station fiddling with these empty rituals of typing and waiting and waiting for a deep inspiration worthy of this jury-rigged cockpit of this spaceship running far into midnight galaxies.  The fuel, or course, is a heady mixture of procrastination and mixed metaphor.

There was another ill-fated feature film I worked on, this one during the tail  end of summer 2006.  Two years ago this week, I do believe.  Now, as it was back then, we have hoards of butterflies flitting about Bexar County.  They are to Monarchs as Border Collies are to Lassie — drab miniatures.  I believe they’re called snoot-nosed butterflies.  They formed denser clouds back in ’06, but I’ve been finding wonderful pockets of them on bike rides out around the southern missions — Mission San Juan and Mission Espada.  There’s a spur of the bike trail that runs between Mission Park and Rancho Charro.  The mesquite and pecan trees make a shaded tunnel, and when you roll across the asphalt with the free-wheel bearings making their speedy metallic purr — tickticktick — the snoot-nosed butterflies, startled, lift off from the links of the wire hurricane fence where they were drowsing and they become jubilant confetti that refuses to settle.  And, I swear, there was one of the little fellas about a mile further south that raced with me — keeping pace, and I was going fast —  and he and I ran nose and nose for a hundred feet, easy.

One of the problems typing at this station is that I have no internet.  This notebook is enabled with wi-fi, but none of my neighbors are caring enough to provide me with an open wireless connection off which I might mooch.  I am learning how dependent I’ve become of Google, to function for me as a dictionary, style book, arbiter of idiomatic usage, and an all-around idea-generator.  It’s back to the basics.  Hell, I might have to poke around this place.  Where the hell is my dictionary?  As I recall, it’s red.


For those film fans in San Antonio who have been wondering when will a film come from here which we can be proud of, I have only to draw your attention to the Bijou theater.  Crossroads Mall.  You know, one of those Santikos joints where you can eat bad pizza, drink over-priced beer, and watch a movie.  The dates? September 19, 20, 21.  The film?  “August Evening.”

I still haven’t seen the film, but I know it’s the local-boy-done-good story of the last decade or two or three.

When was the last film of importance to have come out of San Antonio?  Maybe Pablo Veliz’s first two movies, back when he was relevant.  Yeah, that was back before he started making action films which one would assume were being ginned under the Ponderous Productions banner.

I have been keeping track of the feature films to come out of this city for the six or seven years I’ve lived here.  They’ve run the gamut of marginal to execrable.  Most, in the later.  Hell, I’ve crewed on some of those.

Perhaps it’s problematic to ask who will be the next Robert Rodriguez.  He’s an independent filmmaker, and we love him.  But sure as shit he ain’t no John Sayles.  What happened to you, Bobby?

But we have a hero, it seems, in young Chris Eska.  He’s from some small town a bit east of here.  And even though no one in the San Antonio film community seems to really know him, he’s done something so many of us want to do.  He created a feature narrative film embracing the quirky and beautiful essence San Antonio.  In short, an unabashedly regional movie.

And so, for those film fans in this town who want more than Double Daggers, The Innocence Saga, or the newest “intentionally bad” zombie or flick, plant your ass in a padded seat at the Bijou this coming weekend.

“August Evening,” I suspect that’s where it’s at, man.  That’s where it’s at.


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