Bogus Bois d’Arc, I Do Adore

Saturday I received a call from Mr. X (not his real name … not even correct initial … and perhaps, just perhaps, not even “his” real gender). Mr. X will most likely be our new local producer of the San Antonio 48 Hour Film Project. He’s still thinking it over before he gets back with the fine folks at the national offices. I told X to go for it. He’d love the experience and I knew he’d do a fabulous job. I’m confident he’ll take the position. And when it’s confirmed, I announce it on this blog. But for all you who have been wondering if there will be a third year of the San Antonio 48 Hour Film Project, the answer almost certainly is yes.

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Because she’s family, I don’t feel too horrible having my mother do my taxes for me. She’s spent decades doing bookkeeping for various individuals, businesses, and organizations. And to pick up some spare income, she’s been working for H&R Block (by the way, they pay their people shockingly low wages). So, yes, she knows what she’s doing. And, yes, I should learn to do my own taxes. But numbers make my head hurt. I still don’t know my own phone number or social security number. Anything over five digits, I’m lost.

Anyway, I’ve spent Sunday afternoon going over my receipts and bank account activity. I’ve also been browsing my way through my blog. One of the reasons I keep a blog is to remind myself what production gigs I worked throughout the year. An impromptu excursion into my relatively recent past is bitter sweet exercise in that I rather like that chap, Erik, version 08.0, but it seems he never really achieves anything of importance or substance.

I was also reminded that my blogging has declined in frequency and quality.

The past is a weird country, and I never seem to be able to handle the culture shock when I make these visits.

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The wind was kicking up something fierce Sunday. I was sprawled on my couch reading Red Mars on my iPhone (’cause I’m too lazy to go to the library). The windows were open. A warm and constant breeze had the skinny slat blinds swaying.

And when I finally got on to the Mission Trail on my bike, I was just inching along, fighting the headwind from the south.

The parks along the river were packed with families out barbecuing, picnicking, fishing, flying kites, and walking and biking along the paved trail. True, I have an overwhelming appreciation for solitude, but there’s something wonderful about seeing people and families out enjoying city parks. Cities and neighborhoods with empty parks make me nervous. These green public commons are meant to be used and enjoyed.

I took a breather on one of Carlos Cortez’s faux bois benches overlooking the low water crossing adjacent to Mission Espada. Carlos lives across the street from me. His studio is a few blocks away on S. Saint Mary. His family have been making these structures (benches, furniture, bridges, bus stops, etc.) for decades. Faux bois, because of the technique to make concrete look like tree limbs, complete with bark…. Get it? Bois d’arc? For those not so far south, this is a small tree, known for it’s deeply furrowed bark, hard wood, and weird fruit. (I grew up hearing this inedible fruit called horse apples — Wikipedia has it that the fruit is referred to as an Osage-orange. That’s news to me.)

Anyway, this bench on the southside is placed next to a piece of public art, a sculpture by Michael Davis. It’s a collaborative work. Carlos Cortez provided the fake tree trunk base.

I like this piece a lot. It has free-swinging metal panels cut in the manner of papel picado. The wind in from Mexico was heaving these metal panels about, and for some reason, I found the metal on metal squeaking more soothing than grating.

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I received an email from the Sweaty Robots. They were responding to a blog I wrote about seeing their wonderful low-budget feature narrative “Happy Birthday Harry Malden.”

They provided a link to a very affordable DVD of the film.

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=4151302

Five bucks. I say, go for it. You’ll be glad you did. This is a film you’ll watch many times. Especially if you’re a filmmaker. You’ll be replaying that scene, or freezing on that camera set-up, all the while asking yourself: “Could I do something like this for $50,000?”

Also, head over to see their video blogs:

http://vimeo.com/3427726

They were shooting and editing little vignettes of their recent trip to Texas. Scenes of their room at the wonderfully retro El Montan Motel on San Pedro. And don’t forget to see them riding in a limo with NESA Cinema high honcha, Konise Millender. I also recall seeing some info in one of these video blogs how you can download an even cheaper version of the film from iTunes — two or three bucks.

Guys, here’s my pull-quote you can feel free to use on the DVD box:

“These Sweaty Robots have created a wonderful and sweet film. You will be a happier and better person after you watch ‘Happy Birthday Harry Malden.’ Cheaper and more effective than St. John’s Wort, acupuncture, or a pedicure at Mr. Sebastian’s Hair and More in Leon Valley. I stake my reputation on it.”

–R. Erik Bosse.

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