My neighbors are out on their porches tonight in party mode. Tomorrow morning the King William Parade will pass down this street as it snakes through the neighborhood. So tonight’s when friends and relatives come to visit and sleep over (well, not here, but throughout the neighborhood). Wise move. The streets will be barricaded off in the early hours. Cops and parade officials will be walking the route alerting everyone to get their cars off the street and into the driveways. And then we will truly be in the block party phase with no easing up until after midnight Saturday.
The folks in the big house across the street are putting up ribbons on wooden stakes to keep people from bringing their folding chairs and grabbing some seats on that strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street. How rude. That’s the antithesis of community spirit.
The neighbors next door are entertaining all the cousins on their porch. I decided to retreat from my porch after I realized that the Best Hits of Elvis Costello had begun to play again. I was never a huge Elvis fan (don’t care for either of them), but I did try and like Costello. The Buddy Holly with angst shtick appealed to my sense of the ironic. And, yes, he wrote some great songs. But now his stuff just seems so dated, like Ric Ocasek or Warren fucking Zevon.
The chief two religions in San Antonio are the Spurs and Fiesta. The former is one of our sports teams. The latter, some sort of drifting celebration whose sacraments are Shiner Bock and Sausage on a Stick. Oh, yeah. There’s also Catholicism, running a close third.
Early on during my tenure here in San Antonio I realized that this city marks its calendar with festivals and parades. We love to celebrate outside — in our backyards, on our porches, or in the streets. Celebrate what? It doesn’t matter. Fiesta. Luminaria. Dia de los Muertos. Final Four. César Chávez March. Jazz Fest. MLK March. Contemporary Art Month. First Friday (a monthly arts event). The Thanksgiving Day Parade along the San Antonio River. The pushcart races at Dignowity Park. And in the spring when the San Antonio River Authority drains that portion of the river which flows through downtown (the Riverwalk) we have our annual Mud Festival. We make a party out of anything, even mud. Even I had a hand in creating a parade. Deborah, Ramon, and I brought the Artista Parade to the Deco District. Well, Deborah did most of the work. Sadly, it never took. We thought it might become an annual event. It didn’t.
Let this be a lesson to those wanting to begin an annual event. Let’s say your passion is for Italian Mannerist painting. You’re just an average working Joe trying to bring attention to you pet organization, the Alamo City Pontormo Appreciation Society. The city agencies from whom you’re seeking funding just don’t seem interested. Try this: “Well, I’ll make this PowerPoint presentation quick and to the point. As you can see, the Pontormo Parade will terminate here, in front of the Alamo. With fireworks. Of course. The gordita stands will be stationed here and here. The region highlighted in yellow represents the bank of margarita machines. And Shiner Beer, our main sponsor, will be set up in front of the Menger Hotel.” The response might surprise you. “Crikey, but you make a good argument for a greater respect among the people of South Texas for Florentine pre-Baroque masters. Let’s put you down for four million. Good fireworks don’t come cheap.”
Who don’t love a parade?
This afternoon I headed out to Northwest Vista, one of the campus in San Antonio’s Alamo Community College District. My plan was to drop some flyers and submissions forms for the Josiah Youth Media Festival at the media department. Northwest Vista is up in that blighted region of strip malls and cul-de-sacs. It sits in the shadow of Sea World. In short, not the sort of place I normally travel to. Hell, it’s a 20 minute drive out beyond Kelly Air Force Base and even Lackland Air Force Base.
But I forgot about Fiesta. It seems that the Friday before the end of Fiesta is a holiday for most people in San Antonio. The whole god damn campus was shut down. I couldn’t even get into any of the buildings to leave off my manila envelope. It was like some post-apocalyptic movie. A large campus with nothing but empty parking lots. All it needed was Chuck Heston machine-gunning zombies.
Here in San Antonio, Fiesta fucks up the social order worse than Christmas.
George and Catherine’s son, Antonio Cisneros, is in town shooting a short film. He’s DP on this project. They’re using the Red. Here’s a quick shot of Antonio on set today.
They had a big-ass grip truck as well as a generator trailer from Raging Bull Grip and Lighting. It reminded me how much I love being on set. And how long it’s been since I’ve made a film or worked on someone else’s project.
Gotta get outta this slump.