Kvetching Sotto Voce From the Sidelines

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010.

I’ve had at least two people today ask me how old I am. The best response I could stomach was “somewhere between 45 and 50.” This is the truth, though watered-down. And this is quite a bit older than I want to be. To be honest, I really don’t know. I could certainly whip out my drivers licenses and clear up the confusion, but denial suits my mood today.

I began the day catching up on my RSS feeds (I’m glad I shifted over to Google Reader, and linked all my exported feeds through Feedly: clean, cool interface).

Around 10:30 I drove to Eddie’s drive-thru for some breakfast tacos and enjoyed a late and leisurely birthday breakfast with a pot of Cafe Bustelo, con leche. I was watching, via NetFlix online, a Terry Pratchett adaptation made for British TV. It wasn’t until about 1:30 that I decided to check my email.

Shit! A fast and hectic cluster of Luminaria-related emails were demanding where a certain mountain of paperwork was. Seems I was supposed to get all this stuff to the staff of one of the co-chairs weeks ago. I guess I missed that meeting. I made some phone calls, sent some placating emails, and then I jumped in the shower. My original plan for the day was entirely low-impact. I’d lounge about, and perhaps accept a invitation to a free birthday lunch from amongst my legions of fans, and eventually make it to a Luminaria steering committee meeting at 4:45…followed by the grand Luminaria Artists Meeting at 6pm. But now, I had to fix a fuck-up. (No problem, really. It seems none of my rabid fan-base ever pulled it together and tracked me down to treat me to a birthday lunch this year. Aw.)

I drove to C4 Workspace and began abusing the little copier machine by forcing it to cough out about sixty copies in it’s halting, palsy fashion. Don’t get me wrong. This printer/fax/scanner/copier is great for the occasional use, but it ain’t no industrial machine. However, I was able to deliver all the paper work to the Southwest School of Art and Craft by the deadline. And because when I visit the Southwest School, I always park in the downtown library parking lot, it also gave me an excuse to return a book that was about to become over-due.

I was able to return to C4 and print out some forms I needed for the Luminaria meetings and then head off to the meetings at the Pearl Stables, making it there just in time.

I grabbed a seat at the far end of the joined tables. Soon I found myself sitting next to Susanne Cooper, co-chair of the dance committee. I’d met Susanne from working on Luminaria 2009. But finally I was able to have a one-on-one with her. We bounded over lunch a couple weeks back. I like her a lot. We can now–if the situation calls for it–bitch and kvetch sotto voce from the sidelines. Warm and solid friendships have been build on less.

By a quarter to six we walked down from the mezzanine level of the Pearl Stables and joined the artists who had been slowly wandering in and randomly taking their seats at the large round tables in the main space. The idea was that after some introductory remarks by the Luminaria Co-Chairs, Paula Owen and George Cisneros, the roomful of artists would be told to cluster, by discipline, in regions of the room where the discipline co-chairs were seated.

I was sitting stage left with my film co-chair, Adam Rocha. A few of the film folks had found us already. But by the time we moved to the breakout session, those other film folks came to join us. I’m a bit perplexed why two artists who were accepted into the film category who I swear I saw walk into the room never bothered to come and join the rest of us. What happened, Pete? Michele? I distinctly remembered popping an Altoid. And as for my “I Fucked Jessica Tandy” t-shirt, I haven’t worn that in ages. Was there some other manner in which I offended?

While Adam and I were talking to the filmmakers–explaining the venues and asking for questions and feedback–George Cisneros walked up on stage and leaned into the microphone.

“If I could have your attention, please. One of our steering committee members has a birthday today. Erik Bosse, co-chair of the film committee is, um, thirty-one years old today.”

There were some titters from the obvious lie. And there was also more applause than I warranted. Yes, a majority of the filmmakers knew me personally…and maybe another thirty people in the room. But when the singing of Happy Birthday began, it seemed like most of the 100 or more people in the room were joining in.

Twenty years ago I would have been mortified. But, really, it was sweet. In fact, this is what George had been talking about earlier in the evening when he had stressed that if any artist felt that he or she had not been treated with respect, please, let us know…because, well, this community is too small to allow such discord to exist.

The truth is, as wonderful as this was, I’ve become a bit jaded. I blame Nikki Young. Damn, it was she who sang happy birthday to me back in 2008 at the Ruta Maya coffee house. I adore Nikki. Sadly I spend too little time in her company. (She’s smart, funny, playful, and, of course, quite lovely–and these qualities are guaranteed to break a strong man’s heart at a hundred paces.) Maybe my wish for 2010 is to spend more time in Nikki’s company. Hmm, that sounds wise….

So, thank you so much Nikki! The fact is, she managed to get George up on stage (though he’s rather hammy, so it was probably fairly easy) and get this little sweet surprise into gear.

There are times when I want to leave this city. But things like this–Nikki, George, and a whole room of artists–well, these freaky events continue to hold me captive. There is no other city like San Antonio.

After the meeting Victor and Sandra asked if they could take me out to dinner. Carlos was asking the same question. We settled upon Sam’s Burger Joint, as it was within walking distance.

It was a wonderful night. Yep. I spent it with: Victor Payan and Sandra Sarmiento (aka Payan y Pocha); Carlos Pina (of Haunted House Studio fame); Sandra Torres and her daughter Jessica Torres (the preeminent San Antonio teen filmmaker).

We chatted and we schemed…and we caught up on the chisme of San Antonio arts and artists. This is always an eye-opener. The art scene in San Antonio is damn small. We found even more nodes of interconnectedness. Forget literal blood-ties–take a peek at the other forms of connectedness. The fact is, we’re all family.

It was a very wonderful night with dear friends and more love than I deserve.



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