Wrestling With Shifting Priorities

I’m more than a bit chagrined that I didn’t make it to any screenings at this year’s CineFestival. Perhaps I’m miffed that this is the first time in four years (five?) I wasn’t invited to help as a judge. I’d gotten used to swanning in with my VIP pass. Though, earlier in the week, I had the best of intentions–I was planning to visit Saturday and Sunday. In fact, Thursday I drove over to the Guadalupe for the San Antonio’s Film Commission’s CineFestival Party, but when I showed up (early, I’ll admit) there were only three people there, and the one person I knew (a San Antonio cultural luminary) was studiously ignoring my presence. I decided to decamp. Friday I was busy preparing for my screening of a video piece at the Keller-Rihn Studio over at the Blue Star art complex for First Friday. As for Saturday, I took a long bike ride–and later inexplicably feel into a dark funk. And as for Sunday, the day I really should have gone, I found myself with the opportunity to spend the day with a pretty girl I’m very fond of…so, well, yeah, of course I went with that. And now CineFestival’s over. And so I guess I’m a heel. Dammit….


One of San Antonio’s more talented young filmmakers is planning to shoot a feature film here in May. He contacted me, wanting to know if I’d be willing to help. Sure, I said. He sent me the script. I’m about halfway through. It’s a bit formulaic for my tastes, but that probably means it’s actually marketable. So far I’m impressed. The script has a solid structure, and it’s clear he knows what he’s doing. When this filmmaker followed up with a phone call, he mentioned that he wanted me to play one of the parts. This took me by surprise. I’d assumed he wanted some help on crew. And maybe he wants that as well. But acting? Other than some short film Pete did which I still haven’t seen, I’ve only ever “acted” in my own pieces. If you put aside some embarrassing instructional videos I shot of myself talking about collecting rare books, and if you ignore a few of my video blogs where I turn the camera on myself, I’ve only ever appeared on camera in cameo performances, usually without dialogue. Well, okay, there was my mockumentary titled “Incident at the River.” I was “acting” all over that piece. But it was just me, improvising…and the only time I was performing with another actor, it was with Carlos Pina, and he’s so talented and natural that he can make anyone look good. (I’d add a link to the piece, but it looks like my videos posted on my old mac.com site don’t work with all browsers–Firefox doesn’t work, but Safari, of all things, does).

Ah, hell–here it is. If this link doesn’t give you picture, try another browser. If that doesn’t work, I have no answer. Try it out:


My point? I’m no actor.

But I said yes. When this filmmaker is ready to hold auditions, I’ll give it a shot. He told me he was thinking of me when he was writing the part. Maybe he was being honest–the character is pretty verbose and even has a little pontificatory scene. That could be me, as I can be something of a gasbag. But in the script this character is defined as “a man in his 60s.” My questions is, just how old does this guy think I am? I’m having a birthday this Tuesday. I’d have to find my driver’s license to narrow it down to a specific year, because I can never keep track of numbers, but I do know that I’m somewhere between 45 and 50. Tragically old as that may be, it sure ain’t putting me in the category of “a man in his ’60s.” Maybe the plan is to age me with makeup. But if I were expected to sound like an old man, it’ll all come out like a bad Jimmy Stewart impression.

In summation, I’ll be another year older Tuesday. I could look up my age, you know, right now; but the truth is I’m embracing this state of vaguery and confusion to buffer these subconscious intrusive titterings of mortality. If I know only one thing, it’s that in comparison to “a man in his 60s,” I’m just a fresh-faced punk kid. Yeah!


First Friday was a blast. I set up my projector in Deborah’s place at Blue Star: the Keller-Rihn Studio. Late last year (November, I believe), a beautiful young woman, came knocking on the door of Deborah’s studio. She was a model, looking for a photographer. Deborah was quite taken by her pleasant manner, her beauty, and the fact that she had the lower six chakras tattooed along her spine. This last bit was quite a plus. Deborah has been fascinated by Eastern philosophy for most of her life. She has incorporated this fascination into her art more often than not. I’m a bit too much of a cynic, a skeptic, to bandy about a word like “kismet,” but, man, this was a perfect intersection of two creative personalities. During a very fruitful photo session, Deborah chose four of the strongest images from the shoot. She printed these photos on large pieces of canvas (about two by three feet) and tinted and embellished them with oil paint. They kick ass! I wish I could afford to buy art.

When this model told Deborah that she was a fire dancer, another photo shoot was lined up. I was invited to come take part. I said yes to the invite because, um, you can’t say no to watching a beautiful girl dancing with fire. (Well, perhaps I’m speaking only of myself–but, could you say no?)

I video-taped the girl. I made a quick edit and screened the piece at Jump-Start for their annual performance party.

And so, as Deborah was hoping to sell one of her new painted photos, I brought my projector and played my film on a wall of Deborah’s studio. This seemed to me a smart marketing move.

Sadly, she didn’t sell any of her art. Fucking San Antonio philistines!

But, ultimately, it was a great time. Many people I know and love came blundering in to Deborah’s studio during their First Friday night’s artsy, and for the most part, inebriated peregrinations.


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