Exotic Harvest of Pancreatic Hormones

Last Saturday was a great day for art in San Antonio. There were two events in my part of town that caught me unawares. The first was the King William Garage Sale. (True, of little art-importance.) This is a neighborhood-wide opportunity for folks around here to tote their crap out onto the lawns and porches and flog it to the masses. I was wondering what all the racket was that woke me up at the ungodly hour of nine am. I peeked out the window and saw a yard sale across the street at Chip and Becky’s place. But it wasn’t until I was checking up on my Twitter feeds that I saw that Todd O’Neil was busy over at C4, opened for a half day to get some soundproofing done and also to provide something of an open house for the swarms of bargain-hunting pedestrians out for the King William garage sale. I guess I should read those neighborhood newsletters instead of just using them to wrap my coffee grounds.

Another event was Chalk It Up, an annual art show put on by ArtPace where artists create work on downtown sidewalks in chalk. I always miss this. I suppose I could have headed out when I learned about it, but I didn’t have it in me. How did I learn about it? Twitter. So all you Twitter haters, my recommendation is to choose who you follow. Sam Lerma clued me in about Chalk It Up whilst he was out shooting video for whatever TV station he works for. (Does anyone even own a TV anymore?) In another plug for Social Media, I was able to see a few images from Chalk It Up via the Facebook page of my neighbor, Marlys Dietrick. She’s a kick-ass artist who took part for the first time this year in Chalk It Up. Cool stuff.

My initial goal for the day was to head out to the Alamo Drafthouse for the matinee screenings of the SAL Film Festival. After pausing in the drive-through at Eddie’s Taco House, I drove out to the Alamo Drafthouse. I’m glad to see that Liz Burt is still managing the place. Every event I’ve been to while she’s headed the place has run smoothly and all the employees seem enthusiastic to be working there. Liz greeted me and mentioned that she hadn’t seen me in quite a while. She’s right. They need to move that theater closer to downtown, closer to the pulse of San Antonio art and culture. And am I crazy in thinking that those “W” logos all over the place are new. Yes, I know the theater is in the Westlake Shopping Center. But those capital dubyas are clearly the George W. Bush font. This, of course, reinforces my paranoid suspicion that the sweet juicy pulp of urban San Antonio is surrounded by a desiccated rind populated by soulless reactionaries, who may well be shape-shifting reptiles from Epsilon Eridani IV here to harvest our pancreatic hormones … but, again, that’s just speculation.

My favorite piece from SAL was “Journey of the Opportunist” by Angela Guerra and Mark Walley (AKA, the Prime Eights). It’s a beautiful and moving work of art. It has retro sensibilities right out of the early seventies, yet the work is still fresh and contemporary. It’s a wonderful achievement.

Other stand-outs were, of course, Sam Lerma’s perfect “Trash Day,” and AJ Garces’ lush “Death Rattle.” My only complaint with “Death Rattle” is that the script needed to have been seriously work-shopped. There are a couple of lines from the young protagonist that ring false. Those I suppose I could have lived with, but it’s the voice-over narration which is most problematic. And if AJ wants to put some more work into the piece, I’d suggest he get an older actor to provide this important information. This device worked wonderfully in the film adaption of Jean Shepherd’s “A Christmas Story,” where the author, himself, narrates the point of view of little Ralphie Parker from years in the future. All that aside, AJ has created, with “Death Rattle,” the strongest work to have come out of San Antonio from a filmmaker who makes this city his home. Well, in my opinion. But it’s the one that really counts, right?

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Here’s a picture of filmamker AJ Garces (top prize winner of SAL) with Dar and Andy Miller, of the SAL Film Festival.

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Hey, speaking of local film-making, I just found this ad on Craig’s List under the San Antonio tv/video/radio jobs section:

“I need a producer for a documentary that was shot 12 years ago. I basically followed two homeless vets around Austin for a year while in film school there. Here are the requirements—-I need a REAL producer…that means you have the $$$ to have the post-production done (with the music of my choice) and the distribution. This is a rewarding opportunity I guarantee you. If anything comes out of this…I promise you will reap the benefits. San Antonio Hacks, rich kids whose mommy and daddy bought them video equipment, and 21 year olds who think they know it all because they’ve seen Pulp Fiction 100 times need NOT apply. This is a serious project about a serious subject matter. Also….it would help if you are politically conservative because I usually don’t get along with lefties. If interested…let me know.”

I’d planned on writing something snide and snarky about Alfonso Emiliano and his recent histrionics, but the above is much sweeter clover for me to roll around in.

I do believe I know this gent above who is seeking a producer. His name is James, as I recall. Nice enough fellow, for a rightie. Some years back he spoke to me about this project. Seems he made a huge mistake. He cut his short documentary to the music of a Merle Haggard song, and those bastards at the record company wanted thousands, maybe tens of thousands of dollars to give him rights. All I can say is, dude, 12 years later and you can’t cut your original footage to different music? Wow! Here’s my recommendation, in three words: Create New Work!

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After SAL I drove home and caught up on some work. As 6pm approached, I headed to the west-side, to the Guadalupe Avenida. La Gloria had finally arrived.

El Noche de la Gloria, the brain child of CALO (headed by Gabriel Velasquez) was created to be something of the west-side’s answer to Luminaria.

La Gloria, year one, kicked ass! I dearly hope this becomes an established annual event.

It was a west-side arts block party, and the most fun I’ve had in months!

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It was quite an event.

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Drumming and dancing by URBAN-15.

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There was the Pop Yo Trunk area where artists could display and sell their stuff out of the backs of lowriders, SUVs, and even a couple of ice cream trucks.

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Pop Yo Trunk, that’s where you could hang out with Monessa Esquivel and Annele Spector. They were handing out postcards for an upcoming Methane Sisters show, June 2010. I’m marking my calendar. (I like Monessa’s PoP Yo Trunk shirt–the cutest grease monkey on Guadalupe Street.)

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There was an insanly popular fashion show.

jat & friend

Celebrities of tomorrow.

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Celebrity vinyl venders

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Performance art.

Music, poetry, and on and on.

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Tuesday night I walked over to the Blue Star Contemporary Arts Center to attend The Colloquium. This was the third iteration of the artist forum presented by Leslie Raymond and Jason Stevens (the couple who are also known as Potter-Belmar Labs). The idea is to invite a brace of artists–each speaks (with visual presentation) for 13 minutes. At the end, there is a seven minute session for audience Q&A. It struck me as similar to the TED Talks.

For this, Colloquium III, we had Marilyn Lanfear, Rex Hausmann, Stuart Allen, Franklin Bryson Brooks & Sarah Jones, and Beto Gonzalez. It was a wonderful series of presentations. I only knew two of the presenting artists (Marilyn and Rex), but the entirety of the work was so diverse and the artists all so genuine and articulate that I was happy to have the opportunity to learn about new artist whose works I will gladly follow.

I hope Leslie and Jason keep this program going. It’s a wonderful environment to get to know local artists.

Hell, it made me aware of Stuart Allen. He’s way cool. And if you love or hate or are indifferent to internet porn, then each and every one of you need to be check out: http://pixlporn.com/index.html

And for those who roll their eyes at work so conceptually fomented (meaning pixlporn), check out the quasi folk art of Marilyn Lanfear. I think she’s a fucking genius. http://marilynlanfear.com/

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