Luminaria — Until the Battery Runs Low

I’ve said it so often, it has become my mantra.

I hate technology. Or more specific, I hate home-burned DVDS. Or even more specific, those home-burned DVDs I create.

I just got back from the Instituto de Mexico, where I was testing the Luminaria films on their equipment. I was afraid that many wouldn’t work. I had trouble with several on my home DVD. But, no worry. They all worked just fine save one … and the two I had burned earlier in the day. Two DVDs I’d spent hours tinkering with the hideously counterintuitive menus of DVD Studio Pro. I found three tutorials on-line. Each somewhat different. The third seemed to work like a charm. That was, until I placed them inside the machine at the Instituto.

Here’s the most irritating thing of all. I can play my own short piece on my damn iPhone, but not a DVD. When we’ve finally walked away from physical media (with the exception of the handback book, of course) I’ll dance on it’s collective grave.

If it were just my piece, it wouldn’t be so bad. But I also was trying to burn a DVD which will loop the short arty films by two accomplished artists. A DVD which needs to play all night long on it’s own projector and screen.

I’ll be heading over to Pete’s tomorrow and use a dependable computer and DVD authorizing program.

On an upbeat note, I was pleasantly surprised to see all this stuff in one sitting. I was afraid the crap quotient would be somewhat higher. Not the case here. Some very fine work!

“Death Rattle.” AJ Garces has a killer piece which I’m sure he’ll be pushing into all the right festivals. It is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen to come out of the local movie community.

“No Soliciting.” Wes Barlow has also out-done himself. I’m still cringing from the piece he screened at the last SAL Film Festival. But Barlow’s back in fighting form. This one is smart, clever, and slick. It’s beautifully shot. Impeccably edited.

“El Ride.” Veronica Rodriguez submitted an older piece. But I don’t think many people in San Antonio have seen it. It’s a great comedy with a tight pace.

“The Tower.” Pete Barnstrom pulled a fast one out of his ass. His helicopter shot fell through, so he kept it simple. It’s only a couple of minutes, but very compelling. It has this odd downbeat warm claustrophobia I usually associate with Guy Madden. And the “music” score fits just right.

There are over 20 filmmakers represented. All wonderful work. Well, more or less. Add to that a block of student films which will begin at 6:30 inside the Instituto. We’re still getting submissions in, but there will be 60 – 90 minutes of some of the best new work by San Antonio high school filmmakers. We’ll show work from the Harlandale animation department, NESA, Jefferson’s Maverick Cinema, Communications Arts Magnet, and St. Mary’s Hall; also represented will be two after school art programs: Say Si and San Anto. All these kids are doing great stuff.

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When I found myself roped into this Luminaria gig, I was flattered. Little did I know that this unpaid gig would be more work than similar paid gigs.

I’m beat, and there are still two more days. It occurred to me recently that I’m not really sure what I’m getting out of this. Yeah, it might look nice on a resume. But the truth is, I do not want a job in arts administration or events planning. In fact, you, my gentle readers, have written permission to hunt me down and plant a bullet in my head if I ever seriously get a full-time job doing this sort of work.

I’m serious. You’d being doing me a favor.

One of the perks is that I do like the gossip. San Antonio runs on a high octane admixture of chisme and all that unspeakable fumbling that goes on beneath the sheets and in the dark between strange bedfellows. There is a cast of bizarre and misshapen characters in the arts and cultural world in this town unlike anything … well, anything outside of a D&D Monster Guide.

It’s kinda addictive. Like salted pistachios.

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The weather. That’s what’s making us all so snappish. We who are on the steering committee. And we who are artists. Yeah, that’s me, pulling double duty.

It’s been fucking freezing the last couple of days. And the rain’s been pissing down like we’re in Ireland, which, and correct me if I’m wrong, has been referred to as God’s Urinal — ’cause it looks so good on a matchbook or a hand-painted shot glass.

The weather reports are promising much the same until Sunday. But those of us who are optimistic, are making book on an overcast and slightly chilly Saturday afternoon and evening, but no precipitation. I’m laying down bets on a dry Luminaria. But still kind of unpleasant — you know, chilly and humid.

So, please, I implore you all. Come out. Cheer us up. Keep us warm. Who knows, we might even buy you a turkey leg or a vegetarian gordita.

But most of all, come out to see my brilliant short film, “Awaiting the Equinox.” I’ll be screening it on my iPhone … until the battery runs low.

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