Steer Clear of Mr. Bosse’s Little Black Book of Karma and Comeuppance

Okay, so I was out at the La Fiesta grocery store over on S. Flores. As usual, I avoid grabbing a rolling cart. That’s just too much of a commitment to my shopping experience. You see, I’m just buying for myself. A hand basket is enough for me. But even a little basket can add up. The truth is I had too many items for the express lane. So I got in line behind a family with a rolling cart. I wasn’t that overloaded, but, man, I got a shitload of plastic grocery bags. In fact, I just did the math. 22 items in … wait for it … 11 bags. Shit! That’s it, man. I’m taking my huge Central Market canvas bag from here on out. I mean, my can of Cafe Bustelo was in its own bag. Anything could have been stuffed in with that can of coffee, expect, perhaps, a canister of enriched Uranium — and I’m pretty sure La Fiesta doesn’t carry such a product.

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Josiah Youth Media Festival news.

It’s seven days after our postmark deadline. And, the Josiah Youth Media Festival received a batch from our friends in Minnesota at the In Progress youth program. Great multicultural stuff. We’ve had Asian and Mexican immigrant pieces, as well as some outstanding Native American films from the reservations throughout the region. We also got the DVD from our first international submission. A school in Taiwan. I watched a couple of minutes while processing the paperwork. It promises to be a strong piece.

We are at 92. This is great!

Tomorrow I’m heading to Allied Advertising to reserve a place for our street banner. I hope it isn’t too late to get a nice location.

And some more good news about the Josiah fest. Even though we only received a portion of requested funds from Humanities Texas (don’t get me wrong — we are thrilled to have them on-board this year!), it was wonderful news when Drew over at the San Antonio Film Commission graciously offered us some much needed additional funding!

One of the cool things about working with URBAN-15 is checking from year to year (or even project to project) to see what organizations, governmental bodies, corporate entities, and individuals can be listed on all the promotional work as funding partners. Fund-raising is hard hard work. I’m not good at it, and I don’t enjoy it. But, damn, it is so necessary for so many non-profit arts and cultural organizations. There are amazing people in this city who have been scrambling for funding for their excellent programing for decades. For the life of me, I don’t know how they keep their sanity.

Thank you so much Humanities Texas! And thanks, and thanks again, San Antonio Film Commission. Both Drew and Janet from the Film Commission have gladly donated their time in the past to help the Josiah Youth Media Festival fulfill it’s mission in promoting and recognizing the tremendous talent of young media makers in Texas and beyond!

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I finally made the leap.

I signed up for a table at C4 Workspace. Paid my month in advance. Got my key. I’m good to go.

Filmmaker Alejandro Rodriguez sent me a query. Just what is C4, he wanted to know? The problem is, Alejandro asked me via Twitter, and although I might have his email around somewhere, I just responded, again, via Twitter. It’s hard to explain co-working in 140 characters or less.

C4 Workspace is the brainchild of Todd O’Neill. And I put this to you, Todd: please compose a 140 character definition of co-working.

Here’s a nice quickie from Wikipedia:

“Coworking is an emerging trend for a new pattern for working. Typically work-at-home professionals or independent contractors or people who travel frequently end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is the social gathering of a group of people, who are still working independently, but who share values and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with talented people in the same space. Some coworking spaces were developed by nomadic internet entrepreneurs seeking an alternative to working in coffeeshops and cafes, or to isolation in independent or home offices.”

Different people want different things from these sorts of environments.

Personally, I’d rather be working in a co-op type environment along the lines of Michael Albert’s participatory economics. I don’t expect to find this in San Antonio. So, I’ll give this environment some of my time and energy. Todd’s interested in creating a collaborative synergistic environment — I’ll see what I can add to it.

My own reason for renting desk space is two-fold. I’m intrigued by the concept of co-working (I just wish those who I hear talking about this weren’t these social media mavens who are just so deadly boring — guys, go jump out of an airplane or taxidermy a squirrel or whatever it takes to extract head from ass and give yourselves some interesting real world experiences!). But also I have come to realize I do almost no work in my home. Sure I occasionally go through a couple of weeks of blog-writing Renaissance (like right now) — but this is only because I’m procrastinating. Therefore, if I have to shell out some money to rent out office space so that I can get some serious work done, well, maybe that’s what it’ll take. I remember reading an interview with Martin Amis many years ago. The journalist who wrote the piece was impressed that Amis kept an office near his home. Amis, the novelist, dressed for business, and went to work. He wanted to approach the work professionally, and not just write at some home office in his underwear. Well, lord knows, I write all the time at home in my underwear. In full disclosure, I’m doing it right now. But, I have to ask myself, where has it gotten me? On a good month a dozen blogs written for a readership of maybe 150 people. Where are my short stories? My novels and screenplays? Where are my films?

This is an experiment. Will I produce more now that I’m renting a work space? I don’t know. Let’s wait and see.

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I’ve helped to run this local student film festival for three years now. One of the things I’ve learned that continues to frustrate me is how many of these robust and active high school programs which turn out some amazing work by talented kids, seem to have no streamlined apparatus to get the student work into festivals. There are short films being produced by young people in this city that can go up against the work of anyone. Age irrelevant. So, why am I getting submissions by well-respected and well-funded youth media programs where they turn in group submissions with several works on a single DVD?

Dammit. I spent about three hours the other day burning redundant copies of DVDs so that each entry had its own disc. And then there was the multiple entry from a youth program out of town with no paperwork. This organization submitted a single DVD with several quicktime files I’m going to have to turn into playable DVDs. Actually, I can’t bitch about this. The set of rules just says DVD, it doesn’t specify file format. But, guys, if you run a film program, and you want to submit the work of your media-makers, it should stand to reason that the festival in question will want to consider the submissions on a filmmaker by filmmaker basis.

So, let’s all repeat after me. Each festival submission has it own paperwork and it’s own physical media — in this case, as indicated in the submission guidelines, a DVD. Seven entries? I’m looking for seven sets of paperwork and seven DVDs.

I know it sounds like I’m being all pissy. But this is where I’m coming from as a filmmaker myself. I often find myself submitting my own work to festivals. And it seems I’m constantly submitting grant proposals as well. And in all candor, when I send this stuff off, I have to tell you my sphincter’s snapping like castanets. I’m in a neurotic meltdown, second-guessing everything. Did I send off enough copies of the support material? Did I remember to staple instead of paperclip? Did my work sample fit the runtime? Was it provided in the correct format? So I’m sweating over all this bullshit every time I reach out to the big, wide world for recognition and funding.

Don’t be so damn blasé! Please read those guidelines and follow them!

Oh, well. It’ll all work out. I’m fairly good about accommodating people. But individuals like me are a minority. The rule of thumb in these situations — when the submissions numbers get really large — is to look for reasons to thin out the slush pile.

…just sayin’….

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I’m not really sure what the San Antonio Writers’ Guild is. I thought once about joining, but their membership fee (though not too high) is date-based. And if you don’t sign up on August first, you’re screwed — it’s not pro-rated out. What’s up with that? The other organizations I’ve paid to join (from NALIP to the Hill Country Bicycle Club) have no problems giving you a membership card, good for one year, which begins with the date you join. SAWG, dude, what up?

Also, back during National Novel Writing Month (that’s November for the curious and clueless), I was checking out the San Antonio activity on the national NaNoWriMo website — the SAWG folks all seemed like a batch of creepy middle-aged genera-writing socially-maladaptive habitués of Renaissance Fairies. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (I cringe in realizing that I fall dangerously close to that demographic myself).

So, it was with some trepidation that I headed out one night last week to check out their monthly meeting. I’d read that Sandford Allen (of Boxcar Satan fame — one of San Antonio’s premiere post punk bands) would be there to talk about Flash Fiction. Sandford is also known as Sandford Nowlin, and he’s moving into writing fiction, leaning toward horror stories. He is also, I believe, president of SAWG.

The meeting was held in a church. This helped give the whole evening a sort of AA vibe. Even new-comers, such as myself, were asked to introduce themselves. And then the members were given a change to talk about their recent successes and failures.

Eventually Sandford gave his talk. And it was good. He’s a smart and thoughtful guy. And, from what I’ve read, a strong writer. (But as a Boxcar Satan fan, I’m a bit biased.)

Once they move into the new membership phase (August) I might sign up. But truth be told, I was a bit unsettled by the fact that out of the 28 people in the room, I counted only 3 people of color (and here I’m including those who I might recognize as Latino (1) along with Asian (1) and Black (1)). When I attend the free writer workshops at Gemini Ink, the ethnic demographic is closer to that of this city. And the fact is, I’m much more comfortable in diverse groups than in mono-cultures.

However, I will certainly return a couple more times. See if there are any powerful writers. I keep looking for talented creative people to help inspire me to start creating more work of my own.

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Late Friday afternoon I walked to the C4 Workspace to attend their grand opening party. As it was First Friday, I put on my headphones and thumbed my iPhone over to the Pandora App, and clicked on my Ariel Pink “channel.” This helped to give me some sort of buffer as I passed the First Friday vermin setting up their fucking tables to hawk their wares. Whether it be doggy sweaters, wind-chimes made from flattened pewter spoons, barbecued turkey legs, or patchouli amaretto nougat scented candles, I can agree that’s it is an amusing carny world, but it sure ain’t art. And correct me if I’m wrong, First Friday is a monthly open house day for art galleries and artist studios. And this they do. But you just have to side-step the human excrement littering the pavement selling their dream catchers and whirlygigs.

If I might be so politically incorrect to quote Travis Bickel (a fictional character from Taxi Driver, we should keep in mind): “All the animals come out at night — whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.” Or, to cook it down to the essential, a quote from one of my favorite songs by that great post punk Australian psychobilly band, the Scientists. The song “If It’s the Last Thing I Do,” starts off with: “Sometimes I feel like Travis Bickle / Just wanna shoot up all the bad lurking in this town”. Either statement, when spoken aloud, will get you nervous stares at a Jim’s restaurant after midnight. Use sparingly.

Where was I? Oh, yeah.

C4 looks great. It needs more work, but the transformation since I first looked at the space back on May 16th is impressive. Back on Friday Todd was working the crowd. Debbie was back at the bar / kitchen window laying out snacks and drinks. A camera man from Univision was there. I arrived just a few minutes too late to see Perla being interviewed. She’s fluent in Spanish, and, amongst other gigs, works as a professional translator. Drew Mayer-Oakes, of the San Antonio Film Commission, had been by earlier, but I understand he left to attend an event at Say Si. And after I left I later learned that Andy and Dar Miller dropped by for a visit. Loads of other cool people showed up. I saw Susan Price and Jennifer Navarrete.

I left fairly early. Maybe 6:30. Todd has a wide outreach. And I’m sure the space got pretty packed later in the night. Hell, he had a keg of beer on ice.

I decided to wander down to the Blue Star complex. I’d phoned Deborah and she told me she had her studio open.

As I was walking down S. Alamo, just before Tito’s, I noticed a huge monster truck. Tthere were young bosomy women way up there in the bed of the truck handing down free cans of Monster energy drink. It was hot. Damn it was fucking humid. And, yes, I drink energy drinks, but not when I’m thirsty. They aren’t so refreshing as they are, well, energizing. I looked over and saw, not one, but three San Antonio police officers clutching sweaty cans of free Monster and talking excitedly to one another. I wondered how long it’d take before the first hopped up cop shot some stoned and confused wind chime vendor.

Up in Deborah’s studio she was allowing a friend and former student, Donna, to show her paintings and photographs. Nice work. While I was hanging out in Deborah’s space, some guy who looked very familiar walked in. Deborah welcomes everyone who walks into her studio. After introducing herself and Donna, she pointed to me and said: “I don’t know if you know Erik Bosse.” The guy smiled and nodded at me. “Oh, yes, we know each other.” I said something like “how you been?” A couple of minutes later, I finally realized it was Ranferi Salguero, one of the truly gifted young San Antonio filmmakers. He’d done a killer short, “Roses and Graves,” two years ago. I hadn’t recognized him at first, because he used to wear a signature hat. And tonight he was hatless. He introduced me to his wife. They are expecting their first child, a son, pretty damn soon from the looks of her. He said he was looking for a good local granite supplier. It seems that he’s also a sculptor.

Estevan Arredondo, who has his studio two doors down from Deborah, stopped by to say hello. I love Estavan’s work. It’s very flat, very minimal. But there is a playfulness which reminds me of some of Paul Klee’s drawings. It’s feel-good abstract art I can get behind. So I was thrilled to learn that Estevan is part of the Artists Looking at Art program at the McNay. Wow! Thursday, June 11th. 6pm. Unless I have some event I absolutely must attend, I’ll be there.

After an hour or so, I said goodnight to Deborah and Donna. I went downstairs to check out two small but crucial galleries. Three Walls. And Cactus Bra. Great shows at each.

I walked outside and headed up the alleyway by the Jump-Start theater. I tried to make eye contact with a local artist who was walking towards me. She either didn’t see me, or she decided to ignore me. This is someone who was in last year’s Creative Capital weekend retreat with me. And lord knows I show up at her openings. But she never acknowledges me. I mean, it’s not like I’m selling macrame cell phone holsters or salt water taffy. What’s up, girl?

My favorite character in Dickens’s Great Expectations is Trabb’s Boy. This is a little guttersnipe of a character who knew the protagonist, Phillip “Pip” Pirrup, as a poor boy. Because of a strange reversal of fortune, Pip is allowed to head off to the big city, where he becomes an educated gentleman with a good profession. When Pip returns to his home town, he’s embarrassed by Trabb’s Boy (older, but still a guttersnipe), so he ignores the young man. Trabb’s Boy will have none of this bullshit. And there’s this classic scene where, as I recall, Trabb’s Boy follows Pip through town, pretending to be a puffed up gentleman himself. “‘Don’t know ya, don’t know ya; ‘pon my soul, don’t know ya.”

Excuse me for a second while I make a quick notation in my Little Black Book of Karma and Comeuppance.

Seconds later, I saw people who would never ignore me. Andy and Dar. They were standing near the entrance to the new location of the Blue Star bike shop. This is when I learned that they had been at C4 earlier. Andy was out celebrating having finished a screen writing course. He now has two feature scripts in early draft stages. He plans to polish them during the summer. That’s pretty cool.

Congratulations, Andy!!

As I was talking to the Millers, I saw Ray Palmer of Mombasa Code fame. I shouted out his name a couple of times. But there was a band playing nearby, and I guess he never heard me. Dar was looking at me inquisitively. “That son of a bitch stole an extension cord from me during Luminaria,” I said. “Um, well, him or the folks with Slab Cinema. Oh forget it,” I suddenly said, returning my little black book of Karma and Comeuppance to my back pocket. “I think the cord in question is one I inadvertently stole from Dago Patlan. What comes around goes around. Life’s rich cycle of gettin’ screwed and then making a doofus outta yourself.

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