I was standing in front of the beer section of the La Fiesta grocery store on S. Flores trying to talk myself into a six pack of Bohemia when a guy politely reached in front of me. He snagged a 24 ounce bottle of Dos Equis. “To start off,” he said with a quiet smile in that sort of guy speak that men use with other men they haven’t yet sized up. He then pulled down two 24 ounce cans of Lone Star. “To finish with.” And he spun away, in a cloud of denim, and was gone, taking with him that buoyant wisdom of blue collar pragmatism.
“Hey, guy, don’t rush off,” I could have said. But it was too late. I grabbed some beer of my own, and scuttled away.
Sunday I helped Veronica video-tape a recital put on by the Ballet Conservatory of South Texas. I’d seen a performance a few months back at the Carver which was quite impressive. This time the venue was the auditorium at the Alamo Heights High School. Great space. And we got to see all of their dancers. Not just the good ones. All of them. Some who were very young. Not only had some of these kids not yet taken up smoking (the ballet vice, or so I’ve heard), but I’m not convinced that they were all at the point of eating solid food. Stick these little girls in foam rubber suits sculpted in shapes of pea pods and rhubarb stalks, and, well, we’d have been at an Anne Geddes photo shoot. What am I saying? It was really sweet. And, you know, a quite receptive audience … of giddy parents and grandparents.
I was glad to see Amber there. As an important member of this city’s dance community, it seemed natural enough. But she explained that her interest in the Ballet Conservatory of South Texas was a bit more personal. First, she was one of the teachers. And, second, her son was one of the male dance students … one of a very small number. I was also surprised to see Angela Martinez (of Slab Cinema fame). Her and Rick’s adorable little girl is one of the dance students with the Ballet Conservatory of South Texas.
The arts and cultural scene in San Antonio seems small because it’s so interconnected.
Later that night I headed over to Victor and Sandra’s place for a party to welcome them back from their recent trip to Europe. Also, Sandra’s mother was in town. And, also, do Sandra and Victor (AKA Pocha y Payan) really need a reason to have a house party?
It was actually a small gathering. Heavy on couples with kids. Dora and Manuel Pena were there with two of their kids. Dora’s firming up a date for the premier for her feature. We’re all looking forward to this! Late summer, early fall. Keep your ears to the ground. And there was Guillermina “Gisha” Zabala and her husband Enrique Lopetegui. It seems Gisha has been pregnant for months, but has only recently begun to show. The truth’s out now! They are both very happy, and hope to learn if they will have a boy or a girl this week. Veronica and Rick were there with their two daughters, Emily and Mia. Sandra Torres was there with her husband and their daughter Jessica.
Sandra loaded up a slide show on a computer, and we all pulled chairs in and watched, drinking, and eating desserts. With computers and digital technology, the old entertainment form of the slide show is returning. It’s suffered a bad rap. But I’ve always liked personal slide shows. There’s usually enough of an idiosyncratic edge to give the whole experience the feel of outsider performance art.
Pocha ran the show, with supplemental comments by Payan. The best part of the evening is when Pocha gave us a playful dissection on the sexual interpretation of the six huge Cluny Tapestries. I don’t think I’ve heard the word “engorged” so many times in one night (and perhaps that speaks more about me than anything else — perhaps something I need to rectify).
It was a wonderful time. I was surrounded by people I care about. And we also all got to catch up on the chisme of the San Antonio arts world. It is currently in the slightly-bland to juicy phase.
Today I surfed over to Phil Plait’s blog, Bad Astronomy. He posted a video link which is incredible. It’s taken outside of Fort Davis in the Davis Mountains of Trans-Pecos Texas. This is where the McDonald Observatory is located. And on the night of the Texas Star Party, this guy shoots a time-lapse sequence of the sky. It’s a very short clip. You see the Milk Way rising over the horizon. It comes up bright and clear. This is us, looking at the heart of our own galaxy, and it is so cool!
Now as I was waching this video, I was also playing (on my new laptop) the current archived radio show of Ben Judson. This radio station link may only last for a week. Check it out. And if you miss it, you have to listen to Ben’s weekly show, Free Jazz Hour, Mondays at ten pm. Where? Go to KRTU, 91.7, the great radio station at Trinity University. Anyway, play this video (which has no audio), and give it the soundtrack from the Free Jazz Hour. If the current show (May 18, 2009) is no longer available from the archive, no matter. Any of the music Ben programs will add greatly to the experience. His show is a must.
Scroll down Monday to 9pm. Merge the two. Video and audio. Go for it. It rocked me.
This blog seems not to have lent itself to a photo opportunity. And here, in a desire to add visuals, is a photo I took here in my neighborhood. I quite like it.