Film Festivals and Hoop-Dancing in a Pit

Sometimes I have to look back at my blog and see what I have actually posted. Often I begin a blog entry, and before I can get around to editing it, it’s become too stale to post. And, with a bit of truncated recap, I move ahead.

For the last two weeks or so I’m been officing at the C4 Workspace on King William. The idea is that if left to my own devices at home, I’d just fritter away my time with inane distractions. Having an environment where I go to work is starting to pay off a bit. I have done a lot more work than I’d have done were I cooped up at home. However, I should point out that I’m writing a blog entry while at “work.” Oh, well. This is still a form of productivity. I’ll call it an extended coffee break. And why not? I’ve just brewed up an ultra strong pot of Cafe Bustelo. Toss in some honey and Mexican chocolate, and it’s a meal to itself.

Check out the C4 website and learn a bit about coworking. And if you would like to try it out, I have several day passes (a perk of membership) I’d be happy to make available. You get access to wi-fi, electricity, a desk to use, a color copier, coffee, refrigerator privileges (there’s usually a variety of sandwich fixins to chose from), and people of various backgrounds working around you to bounce ideas off and network with. Also, it’s located in the beautiful King William neighborhood.

Come by and check it out.

http://www.c4workspace.com/

And a short Wikipedia article on coworking:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coworking

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Tonight we begin judging for the Josiah Youth Media Festival. We hope we can get it all done in two nights. There’s a mountain of strong entries this year, so it might mean a couple of late nights work.

Unfortunately this means I’ll miss tonight’s screenings at the San Antonio Film Festival. Once again forces beyond my control will have kept me from seeing Sam Lerma’s Trash Day.

I’m afraid I’ll also be unable to attend the afternoon screenings of the SAFF tomorrow. I have to pitch my OCA project proposal to the CAB (Cultural Arts Board). I’m hoping they’ll fund my short film, A River Quartet. Afterwards (if I’m not too dejected) I’ll head over to the Instituto de Mexico in HemisFair Park to check out the Saturday evening screenings at SAFF.

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Over the weekend I attended the final performance of The Case of the Neon Twins, a multimedia futuristic noir play staged at the Jump-Start Theater. Billy Muñoz and Daniel Jackson produced the piece. It starred Joel Settles, S. T. Shimi, and Monessa Esquivel. There were also about five other actors whose performances were previously video-taped. In some instances the three principle actors were interacting with the video performances. And this is where the piece lost me. It’s hard to act against a prerecorded performance and make it seem natural. And to give Joel credit, he did a pretty damn good job. But a half-second delay very effectively pulls you out of the moment. The other technical problem was the audio in the prerecorded pieces. I’ve made a hash out of enough bad audio myself that I can recognize an unsuccessful attempt to strip out unwanted background — usually the compressor on a refrigerator or the drone of an HVAC unit. The audio was so flat and compressed that I had a hard time hearing all the dialogue in the video pieces.

Tech problems aside, the concepts were great. Given more resources the piece would have been impressive. When the interplay between real and virtual performer worked, it was very effective. I hope both Billy and Daniel continue to polish this multimedia technique. I love this sort of stuff.

And bravo to all the actors! I already know to expect solid work from Joel, Monessa, and Shimi. But it was also a treat to see Kim Corbin and Sandy Dunn doing some wonderfully weird performances as the “Ladies in the Sky” (two women in some sort of secret government spy blimp hovering over San Antonio in the year 2068).

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Wednesday was the final W-I-P (Works In Progress) for this season at Jump-Start. I think they’ll start back up in September.

This was the site-specific night. Well, I say night, but 7pm in June it’s still pretty bright.

We started off with Marquez Rhyne. He gave use a performance piece incorporating song, dance, and spoken word. It was a poignant meditation on the loss of a brother from whom he’d been estranged. I’m not sure if he plans on expanding the piece or not. I hope so. The performance was staged on the raised platform in front of Jump-Start.

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Next, we headed over to the new high-rise in the Blue Star complex where the Lazarus coffee shop used to be. S. T. Shimi performed a dance piece with a hula-hoop down in sort of a pit, with we the audience looking down. I don’t know what I liked more, the dance, or the location.

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Finally, the Robin Getter School of Rhythms & Dance did a west African dance piece accompanied by drummers. Their location was near the parking-lot overlooking the river. Very energetic and colorful.

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