Count Orlok Wears a Funny Hat

Damn, it’s freezing. The Oracle of the iPhone tells me it’s currently 57 degrees. And that’s too cold for me. It doesn’t help that’s it’s been coming down with rain most all today. I’m doing my best being proactive. I’ve turned the oven up to broil with the door open. And I’ve lit a full metric chingos of votive candles to give the illusion of heat.

I guess it’s been something of a productive day. This morning I met up with Ramon and Deborah at our favorite taqueria on Fredericksburg Road. The three of us hadn’t gotten together in more than two months. We caught up on one another’s projects. We shared crucial chisme from the art world. And we talked about our future ideas and potential collaborations. Just like old times.

Next, I headed to C4 to do some work. Well, not real work. I set my computer up at my desk and decided to write a short story. This was “Final Monday,” which means that the monthly free writer group would be meeting tonight at Gemini Ink, San Antonio’s premier literary organization, conveniently located about a block away from my office at C4. The problem was, I hadn’t managed to motivate myself over the weekend to write something new. That HAD been the plan. But it fizzled. So, I hunkered down this afternoon, and in about three hours came up with a concept and hammered out a little 1,200 word short story.

Here it is:

It was originally titled “Ghost Tracks,” but I realized, as I was posting it to my blog, that that was kinda lame. “Little Altars Out the Passenger Window,” seemed a bit more poetic. It’s loosely based on my work making a little video altar of roadside memorials last year titled “In Memoria / Wind.” I’d link to online video, but it looks like I never posted the piece. Anyway, I was shooting a little shrine beside the railroad tracks near Brackenridge High School when a woman, driving by, stopped to talk to me. The shrine was for her sister, who died on those tracks. I decided to move the action to the Ghost Tracks to open up the metaphor a bit. Maybe this story is worth some further polish.

When I read my piece at Gemini Ink, I found myself hitting that wall that always seems to be there. When I finish reading, there’s a bit of lingering silence, followed by generic comments (some which are even occasionally helpful). But no real statements to make me think I’m going down the right path. Sometimes I wonder how useful this process is. The truth is, I keep doing it because it forces me to produce. Also, there are often writers who read wonderful stuff. Actually, tonight was a good session. Enough people showed so that we were broken into two groups. All of the four other writers in my group delivered very strong work…and I’d like to think that my work was up to their caliber. I’m glad I was able to add my voice to a night of solid, impressive prose work.


While I was printing up copies of my story at C4, Drew Mayer-Oakes dropped by. He said that the San Antonio Film Commission had been approached by someone who wanted to know if there was any office space in town to rent for post production work. I knew Drew had visited C4 before, but things at C4 are always in flux. I showed him the current configuration of the space and encouraged him to talk to Todd or at least send film editors in the direction of C4. Even if things seem, at first glance, not to be a good fit, I would like people to know that C4 Workspace is mutable, malleable, and as accommodating as a community space can be.

One of the things Drew said as I was showing him around was: “Back when I freelanced, I would have loved a place like this.” Something like that. And, truly, that’s why I’m renting space at C4. It’s a great place for freelancers, free-agents, and creative types who can work out of an office that fits in a rucksack.

Check it out, man:

Speaking of Drew and the San Antonio Film Commission, I hope to see a packed room at the downtown library for the October Film Forum. It’s tomorrow (Tuesday) night. It’s free and the topic is screenwriting. Drop by at 6:30 to network. The program officially begins at 7pm.


We just had a nice weekend for film events in this portion of Texas. The Austin Film Festival as well as the Sequin Film Festival. Both are excellent. But, as I was broke, I couldn’t even justify the gas to either event. Instead, Saturday, I rode my bike downtown for an al fresco screening of Murnau’s silent classic, “Nosferatu.” It was put on by Rick and Angela of Slab Cinema fame. Other than their Thursday night screenings in HemisFair Park, they have also been working with Marisela Barrera and the Main Plaza Conservancy to present the CineMundo monthly series of foreign films at Main Plaza. The music which accompanied Saturday’s screening was provided by Mombassa Code, and they gave us a free-jazzy score with occasional sound effects. The weather played in our favor. Cool, but not yet too chilly. A few mosquitoes, but that only added to the blood-sucking theme. In fact, there was a line I don’t recall from previous viewings. Hutter, our protagonist, wakes up after his first night at Count Orlok’s castle and he writes a letter to his wife back home. “I awoke this morning to two mosquito bites on my neck, strangely very close together.” Ha! How naive!


It seems late in the season, but I swear I saw two bats flit by overhead. How fitting.

“Trick or Tweet,” the 2007 48 Hour Film Project short from the iChingao! team screened before “Nosferatu.” Director Jessica Torres was in the audience with her parents. Pocha and Payan were also there. A nice cheap night in downtown San Antonio, surrounded by wonderful people.


For those who’ve seen my short film, “Operation Hitman,” you’ve seen part of my neighborhood. The two houses shown in the opening scene belong to my next-door neighbors and the family who live across the street from them. Not only are they all excellent people and perfect neighbors, but they also kick ass during Halloween, often working with similar themes.

I woke up Sunday morning (well, maybe it was the afternoon), and as I was filling my coffee press pot with boiling water I glanced out my kitchen window. An enormous tipi had been constructed in front of the house where I’d shot “Operation Hitman.” Well, I had to take a picture. Sure, I could have shot it through my window or off my porch, but I needed to do something else. So, I put on a pair of pants, grabbed my camera, and walked outside. As I approached, Jerry greeted me. “How’s it going Erik!”

I lined up my camera for a good shot and replied in a loud voice:


“It looks like someone  tipi’ed your house last night.”

Yes, my stupid and inane pun went over well. I don’t often let fly with puns, maybe because my father used them so often. But I do like a good pun. I might not laugh, but I’ll almost always smile.

I understand that Dina and Bradley, across the steeet from Jerry, will be working on a cowboy motief. We’ll just have to wait and see.


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