Playing Catch-Up…With a Dozen Pages

My apologizes in advance to the three-dozen or so readers of my blog, but, feel free to skim. I’ll not judge. I’ve written rather a lot during the last week or so, but never got around to posting this.

I will try and trim down some of the fat.

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Feb. 11.

The truth is I have only a marginal and minuscule skill-set. I’m shockingly unemployable for a fairly well educated man in his forties. But still I struggle along, occasionally even checking out the job listings on, um, Craig’s List. Don’t laugh. I’ve come out ahead, financially, from following up on a couple of postings. But, mostly, its a wasteland of shallow and uninspired projects slated for a grand YouTube premiere at some unspecified future date. That, or else the ever hopeful pornographers of tomorrow.

But sometimes I find a posting that’s just so sweet, so precious, I’m loath NOT to share. Here’s my current fave:

Movie Script/Writer/Insider (San Antonio)

If selected you must be willing to sign a confidentiality waiver. Meaning you are not to disclose details about this project to anyone unless you want to be sued.

A solid Hollywood Script can generate in excess of $300,000.00.

This is a non-paid job unless our script gets picked up (otherwise this is for 45% of the earnings from the script)

I have 3 awesome movie script ideas, but im not so great a writer. I am looking for someone not averse to hard work for get these projects done and I will break you off 45% of what we sell the scripts for.

This job could generate in excess of $900,000.00 if my scripts are picked up

James
email me 1st
then I will give you my phone number.

Now someone needs to clue James into the great (and dare I say, “insider”) secret. You know. You don’t need to be a “great” writer to write screenplays. In fact, most likely, it’ll work against you. I suspect that this “James” is a leg up on most Hollywood screenwriters in that he’s learned to log into Craig’s List. And, just looky here–he’s already generated in excess of 110 words! He’s already halfway there!

Ah, sweet Craig’s List! It’s where you go to find people to work for you for free.

I shouldn’t be so harsh. I met with Ranferi Salguero yesterday. He’s gearing up to produce a feature this May. And, yes, he’s placed a posting on Craig’s List looking for actors. What makes Ranferi different is that he’s already shown he can deliver the goods. In 2007 he wrote and directed the excellent short film, “Roses and Graves.”

If you’ve not seen it, take a look:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfvhUKLtxUQ

The film played the festival circuit. It secured Ranferi his IMDB listing. The script he’s currently planning to produce and direct is one he’s been working on for several years.

When he emailed me a copy, I was happy to give it a read. His script for “Roses and Graves” was simple, spare, and quite effective. I was hoping for more of the same. This script, “Embracing Karma,” is more layered and nuanced. I always have a hard time giving good feedback to a screenplay because they’re not written to be good. They’re written to facilitate the making of a good movie. In fact, if you can prove yourself as a good “reader” in Hollywood, you can make a nice, secure living. Good screenwriters are as common as free kittens with ringworm. But good script readers are hard to find. They’re the gatekeepers that novice writers have to prove themselves to, not producers. A screenplay’s not a novel. It’s more akin to a libretto, or a series of choreographic phrases. In short, it’s a template which a group of trained and talented individuals build into a fluid and coherent work.

I feel I understand screenwriting and film making well enough to see the movie waiting within Ranferi’s script. It’s interesting that Ranferi is also a sculptor (I believe he works in stone). It was either Michelangelo, or perhaps Irving Stone writing about Michelangelo, where the finished statue was described as having already existed within the block of stone before the artist came and knocked away all the extraneous material and succeeded in freeing the form within. The fact is, I’ve read hundreds of scripts, many of them are shooting scripts of films I love. And, as literature, all of them are awful. Well, with the exception of Dennis Potter–he managed, for some reason, to elevate screenwriting to a level of high literature (check out the script to “The Singing Detective”). I feel I have a good sense of seeing the movie within a script. Add to that the fact that I know Ranferi’s work, and I’m looking forward to seeing his first feature. He’s a serious, sensitive, and above all an honest artist.

If anyone sees postings from him asking for assistance, his sparse budget might not allow for much in the way of compensation, but be aware that he knows what he’s doing. He’s committed to creating work that he, and all those involved, can be proud of bringing to the screen.

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I had to take advantage of the sunny sky and semi-warmth. Sixty degrees is too damn frigid for me–hitting my moderate 12 miles per hour cycling speed does increase that wind-chill a bit–but I sucked it up and hit the Mission Trail.

(I should point out that there’s this guy whose blog I read–Durango Texas (he keeps me up to date with my previous home of Fort Worth, Texas)–and this dude swims in an outdoor pool just about every day–including today, when it was 33 degrees in Ft. Worth with at least half a foot of snow on the ground. I think he’s nuts. But, really, I shouldn’t talk. I still haven’t fixed my water heater. I guess, it’s all a matter of perspective, eh? Check him out at: http://durangotexas.blogspot.com/ )

I made it home in time to cook up a huge mess of carnitas, drenched in a sauce of mango nectar, lime juice, and pureed red anaheim chili peppers, mixed with chili pequin, dried anchos, annatto seeds, and sesame seeds all powdered in a coffee grinder I keep just for spices. I ladled it all into a big plastic portable container. Also, in another container, I put a huge amount of steamed jasmine rice.

This was my offering to the potluck component of the annual Martian Madri Gras Party at URBAN-15. This is when George and Catherine Cisneros invite their dance and drum ensemble members, their families, and other folks who are friends of URBAN-15. The idea is to get together and watch a live broadcast of the Carnaval parade from Sao Paulo, Brazil. URBAN-15 does a wide range of dance, music, film, laser, etc. performances, along with their educational outreach. But they are mostly known for Carnaval San Anto, their drum and dance performances along the lines of the Brazilian Carnaval Parades: this is how hundreds of thousands of people know them who attend the Fiesta events here in San Antonio; and this is how the tens of millions of people know them who have seen them perform for at least two presidential inaugural parades, the most recent being for Obama. So it should come as no surprise that the URBAN-15 dancers and drummers are keen to see what the most lavished and heavily financed dancers of this genera are doing. The “Martian” part is because…well, let me quote from the invitation: “When the Martians look down at Earth on Saturday, February 13th, they will see the entire Earth in elaborate celebration…preparing for Ash Wednesday / Lent. That is why we call it ‘The Martian Madri Gras.'”

Last year the party was down in the basement space. Tonight, it was up in the larger space which George and Catherine refer to as the Sanctuary, which, back when the building was a church, is precisely what the space was used for.

However, because Carnaval is giddy in its embracing of the more lascivious and base of human impulses, well, I wonder what the good people who once worshiped in this space would have thought if they were to have visited and seen the televised images of women who, for all practical purposes, are dancing nude atop huge, ornate, sumptuous floats–bloated, ambulatory Golden Calves? We may never know.

And, as regards those nekkid Brazilian babes (fem, him, or trans-gen), I find myself wondering what’s really going on in that country if the acme of femininity is a vivacious, young, healthy person who resembles a beautiful young man who has spent half a million dollars to look like a beautiful young woman who has spent a hundred thousand dollars to look like an air brushed Playboy centerfold? This is a freak show. But, what do I know. I think that Catherine Keener, a woman older than me (and I’m fucking old) is one of the sexiest things around. I guess I’ve just out-grown my appreciation of kitsch and camp.

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Feb. 17.

A strong day. I almost might say I was productive. I finally deposited a couple of checks which had been sitting around for weeks. Now that my previous bank has been swallowed up by a larger financial entity, I have much more convenient options. It used to be that the closest branch was about a twenty minute drive away. Now I just motor to that weird little bit of the east side which has oodles of charm. There’s a stretch of South Hackberry between Florida and Steves that has a funky, retro personality all it’s own.

I stopped by El Sol Bakery on S. Presa for a couple of empanadas. For a Mexican bakery they’re a bit pricey, but they push the healthy whole wheat fare. This isn’t really my thing, but it’s a nice family run place. And the food’s damn good.

Because I had a bit of a late start on things, this was my noon-time lunch. I headed to C4 to get some work done. I caught up on some paperwork, email, and had a nice phone conversation with Veronica.

My next stop was Havel Camera Repair. They came highly recommended from people who should know, like my friend Alston Cox, and my Luminaria Film Committee co-chair, Adam Rocha. I’d stopped by back on Monday to get a quote to reattach one of the strap anchors which had fallen off. I could hear the back fastener rattling around inside the body. The folks at Havel quoted what seemed a pretty high price, but then explained that the design of the Panasonic Lumix was such that when the case was cracked open, some of the tiny circuit boards also have to be delicately removed. I was cautioned not to use the camera while that piece of metal was rattling around inside, as it might cause a short. I hadn’t thought of that, but I had noticed that when peering into the little raw wound, that tiny exposed hole, I could see coppery metal circuitry leads. I assume that the camera is still under warranty, but I’ve been down that road. It’s just not worth the aggravation to ship a camera off to the manufacturer and not know when you’ll see it again. Havel will get it back to me in at least five days. Send it off to Panasonic, I’ll be lucky to see it in six weeks.

I’d scheduled by camera drop-off in the West Basse region because I was meeting Seme Jatib for, as she said, a cafecito. I’d suggested the Olmos Perk, as it was in her neighborhood, and close to Havel’s.

Seme has returned from a two week gig running a modern dance workshop in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil. I only wish my life could be so exotic. I was hoping she’d tell me all about the work she’d done with the kids in Ecuador, but the conversation veered into that realm of commiseration in which people who work in the arts in San Antonio so often find themselves. I’d made some hints about this to Seme when we’d first met. I’m talking about how poorly we in San Antonio treat our artists. My fear was that Seme would be turned off by this backwater little town. I could go so far as to say the San Antonio is indicative of how little regard this entire country has for the arts. We’re so provincial in this country. We believe the puffed-up propaganda that USA is the best. And we sneer at other countries. Especially Mexico. But anyone who’s spent time in Mexico knows that the arts enjoy a much higher degree of respect and importance. There is not the same problems in finding audiences there.

Here in San Antonio, those people involved in the arts–not just the artists themselves, but those involved in education as well as the administrative side of art and cultural institutions–have taken as gospel that there is no money in the arts. And so, artists have become charity cases. They are expected to provide their services for free, or, if they’re lucky, small honoraria.

The fact is, the economics of this situation is pretty fucked up. San Antonio used to be a solid blue collar city, with several factories providing jobs. Not so, these days. We’re now chiefly a service-related economy (much like the rest of America…a country which no longer seems to make anything). Service? Mostly these services are connected to tourism. And why do people come to San Antonio? For the culture. And every time we allow some fucking Rain Forest Cafe to open up shop on the San Antonio River Walk, we loose that distinctive local flavor. Every time we allow the Clear Channels and the Time Warner Cable companies to muscle into the local information and entertainment markets, crushing the local media, we loose more of what makes this city appealing for these tourists. And when the city of San Antonio scrambles to bring the latest abortion created by Andrew Lloyd Webber to grace the stages of our premier venues, but does nothing to facilitate the staging of original local productions, well, all is lost. No one comes to San Antonio to see Andrew Lloyd Webber (well, at least I hope not–personally I hope no one goes to NYC to see that shit).

Now I understand that funding is tight. And there are only so many warm bodies in this city who can be enticed to buy tickets. But, let’s get back to the basics. Let’s remember that the artist, those creative folks–writers, actors, musicians, dancers, poets, painters, filmmakers, sculptors, et al.–they are the reason people put their asses in those seats. Not the administrators, nor the marketers; not the PR flacks, event staff, reviewers, critics, social media finaglers, or even word-of-mouth. Nope. All those people are antecedent to the work, the reality created by the artists, the performers, or, as George Cisneros often simplifies it–the makers.

Seme and I came to an agreement. We both often follow our hearts and put enormous amounts of our time into creative work for little return. For instance, when we collaborated on our piece for the January W-I-P, we had our own agendas. Seme wanted to reach out to the dance community in San Antonio, her new home. What I got from the piece was the chance to work with a serious artist, whose work, vision, and integrity I found positively inspiring. And I like people who inspire me.

I had not known that the W-I-P paid an honorarium. They do. Not much, but something. Seme shared the stipend with me. (I should point out that W-I-P is a collaboration between Jump-Start and the San Antonio Dance Umbrella, and I’m not sure who pushed for this honorarium. However, Jump-Start, for whom I provided a video which screened at the annual performance party, contacted me for a mailing address so that they could send me a complementary ticket for a Jump-Start show. This seems small. But it’s a crucial gesture. It’s what, as Seme and I were talking about, comes down to a simple matter of respect.

We, here in San Antonio, need to remember that these arts events wouldn’t happen without the artists. I think it’s time that every local arts and cultural organization needs to reexamine their mission statement.

I know there has been some sniping and bickering concerning Luminaria in San Antonio. It’s become overly politicized. I mean, shit, even David Rubin, curator of contemporary art at SAMA, recently responded to a FaceBook call for audiences for Luminaria by making a statement that he’d rather not partake of the evening. Honestly, I don’t know what he meant. Surly he’s not boycotting the event, right? I mean I loved the curatorial job he did back when with the show on Time at Blue Star. And I’m certainly going to attend his Psychedelic show he’s putting together at SAMA. Perhaps I misunderstood his FaceBook comment.

Anyway, I brought up Luminaria because there is a honorarium of $200 (or is it $250?) for accepted artists. This is significant for individuals artists…not so much for ensembles or group collaborations. But, again, this is an honorarium. It’s about respecting the artistic process and the makers.

W-I-P and Luminaria might be scraping by with the most minor of real and material respect and regard for the artists, but let’s applaud them for adhering to a tangible baseline. And from here we can build up.

Maybe one day we, in this country, will learn how to reward our artists for the work they do so well, and stop forcing them to do those things which it is not in their nature to do–you know, marketing, public relations, building audiences. Because, you know, there’s some wonderful professional folks right here in town who do great work along those lines.

But I digress.

It was great to see Seme after two weeks! We made some basic plans for our next collaboration. It’ll be pretty good. Yep. Because we both agreed that our piece back in January kicked major ass. We’re on the same page there.

After meeting with Seme I needed attend a Luminaria steering committee meeting. I had about half an hour of down time, so I drove home. I was rewarded by finding my latest B&H purchases sitting on my front porch.

This desire to begin playing around with VJ software has made me cognizant of these USB MIDI devices. I’d ordered a couple of cheap pieces of hardware. The software I’m working with lends itself to two basic devices. A keyboard for selecting a video clip. And a mix board to define which clip is being viewed.

First off, I should say what VJ software I’m working with. It’s called GrandVJ, created by a company called ArKaos. The interface is geared towards two pieces of hardware–keyboard and mixer. I found that Korg made small devices to fit the bill. However, as I looked at the comments for these things on Amazon, I decided that the mixer (the Korg Nano Kontroler) is great, but the Korg keyboard sucks. And so I took the suggestion from the comment-crowd and spent an extra 15 or so bucks for the AKAI LPK25.

I wasn’t able to play with my new toys. I had to rush to a meeting.

Things went pretty well. It looks like Luminaria is striding forward smoothly and intelligently. The financial report was encouraging. It seems that a couple of the major corporate donations what were unconfirmed have given us the green light. This is fucking great! The problem is, they’ll take their time in making the funds available. Not quite so good. We have vendors who don’t like to wait.

This isn’t my problem. So, I’ll cluck my tongue and head out the back door,

I made it to C4 around 6:30. A jazz band was practicing there–think playfully hip Sinatra. I was back in my corner at my desk digging the music. I began to play around with my new toys. The Akai keyboard worked perfectly. But the Korg Nano Kontrol device needed software downloaded. I was expected to program its parameters. Well, it took me about an hour to figure out all that programing stuff. It’s okay, but really it should be better. Eventually I headed out. I wanted to plug all this stuff (hardware and software) into my computer and my projector at home and iron out the kinks.

I had a lot of fun.

And after an hour or two, I decided to take a break. I kept the AKAI USB keyboard plugged in and opened GarageBand.

Yeah. This is damn cool–playing, badly, along with music off Pandora.com.

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Feb. 16.

There’s this meme that’s been floating around our fair town for a few years (at least). I suspect if I were to ask around some I could discover who started it, but the mystery is rather pleasant. If you’re lived here, you’ve seen the bumper stickers. “Keep San Antonio Lame.” This is our response to the slogan for that city to the north: “Keep Austin Weird.” Fort Worth has their own, in the “Keep Fort Worth Funky” campaign.

Now I’ve seem two basic reactions in San Antonio to this heady affirmation of lameness. One is that this is essentially ironical–a playful, admonishing finger which challenges us, San Antonians, to fucking get it together, already! And I can respect that position. Hell, yeah, we need to stop sucking so much. However, the more nuanced interpretation is sweeter. And by that I mean a less accusatory delivery. We really are expected to keep on being lame. You see, there are some wonderful things going on in this town, but we need to keep it on the down-low, you know, under wraps, because if people, and by that I mean outsiders, realized what a great place this is, we’ll turn into Austin. And for those who live out of state, the bastardization of Austin, Texas is the greatest cautionary tale told across this state, whether in smoky bars, around campfires, or pediatric waiting rooms. “What the fuck happened to Austin? It’s unlivable. I used to love going to 6th Street and Hippy Hollow. But now you gotta fight the assholes!”

But I digress. I’m writing about San Antonio. The lameness keeps us small. The community is small–well, the community I belong to: the art and cultural scene. My father ran a nationally respected antiquarian bookstore in Dallas for four decades. He belonged to a small community. And, how did he put it once? “Not a sparrow falls in bookdom that we all don’t hear it hit the ground.” And so one would expect that the San Antonio art and cultural community would be aware of the Monday morning press conference to promote the 2010 Luminaria Arts Night in San Antonio. Okay, last I looked, there were around a thousand Luminaria 2010 artists (I’m talking folks involved in music, dance, fine arts, literature, film/video, and theater). So, I’m wondering why, when I ambled over to the entrance arch to HemisFair Park in downtown San Antonio for this press conference, all I saw were fellow Luminaria steering committee members, people from the CE Group (the marketing firm helping to promote the event), the press, and folks from the city bureaucracies associated with Luminaria (Downtown Operations, the mayor’s office, the Office of Cultural Affairs, etc.). Sure, there were about twenty people who were brought in to perform for the TV news crews (a group of musicians, folkloric dancers, and some actors from a local theater company). But, other than that, how many artist who are involved with Luminaria decided to show up? Well, some of the folks sitting on various committees are also Luminaria artists, so they were already there. But, other than that? I saw one. And he was interviewed by at least two of the TV stations who showed up. Is this because we’re lame?

The fact is, I only knew to show up because I was at an event Saturday night and encountered one of the Luminaria co-chairs. As I was leaving I shouted out: “There’s a press conference Monday, right?” “Yep. Nine am.” And so, come Monday morning (no reminder email) I drove to C4 Workspace to have a cup of coffee before walking downtown. I vaguely recalled that the press conference was to be held under the HemisFair entrance arch. I would have enjoyed confirmation from an email, but that didn’t happen. You might think that the information about something as important as a press conference involving the mayor would be plastered all over the Luminaria website or even the Luminaria FaceBook page. Nope. Nada, So, where is this lameness coming from? It’s coming from EVERYWHERE! Careful…that warm breath you feel? Don’t move too quickly. I’m pretty sure it’s there, breathing on your neck. That San Antonio lameness. It’s you and me and it’s everyone and it’s everywhere. Check it out. There were maybe a hundred individuals who showed up at the Luminaria Artist meeting back on Feb. 9th–they were artists as well as individuals representing dance troupes, theater companies, and so on. They were all told about the press conference, and all were invited to attend.

Maybe they’re all as bad at taking notes as myself. That seems a stretch, though. Maybe they were busy? But wait, many of those Luminaria artists teach. And as today was Presidents Day, I do believe they had an opening in their schedules.

Actually, it was a very pleasant press conference. Kudos to the CE Group and all who helped make this happen. Here are a couple of photos. Our boyish and wonderfully articular mayor, and a lovely folkloric dancer.

Luminari 2010 Press Conference

Luminaria 2010 Press Conference

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I wasn’t aware just how much I hate Valentines Day. But this year it really sucked. Maybe the problem was it was on the weekend. People often call me up on the weekend because, even though I’m often free on the weekdays, other people aren’t. But people involved in relationships don’t often socialize beyond their significance others on this day of love. I mean, well, really, the bottom line if you don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression–you know what I mean–you just don’t contact other people on St. Valentine’s Day.

My phone records at quite instructive. Eleven incoming calls on Saturday. Seven in-coming calls on Monday. People are always needing this or that from me, and I’m generally okay with that. But, Sunday? Radio silence.

St. Valentines Day…it needs to be repealed.

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Feb. 20.

I’ve got the basics of my VJ setup pulled together. Today my copy of GrandVJ arrived. This is the software I’ve settled on. I’ve been playing around with it for about three weeks in a free demo version. Earlier in the week my little AKAI LPK25 micro keyboard arrived. This is used as a switched to select video clips or effects. It’s a USB MIDI device which is also pretty groovy to run through GarageBand and pretend I’m some preposterous prog rock blowhard. Also, on the same day, my Korg Nano Kontrol USB MIDI mixer arrived. This allows me to select from two channels and eight layers of video sources, allowing for cross fades and fast manipulation of levels of opacity of individual outputs. I have my NEC 3000 lumen projector. And, well, a bunch of stuff which I already own. I’m set.

At the moment I’m running my little white plastic MacBook with the ArKaos GrandVJ in the 1.2 Beta version (it supports the Korg). I’m feeding my external monitor cable into my projector; the projector’s VGA out-put goes into my ancient and bulky Gateway monitor. My cheapo USB hub is working overtime. Off of it I’m running the keyboard, the mixer, and my wireless mouse. The other USB line into my laptop is being used by a one terabyte external drive. The mini audio out from my laptop goes straight to a pair of old Labtec computer speakers (which came with, I believe, my very first computer)–they’re blasting out music from the browser window playing semi-random music off Pandora via my wifi network. And, finally, my dependable Panasonic DVX camcorder is recording a table, flickering with candles, and its live video feed, coming into my MacBook via the FireWire port (I believe my model was the last MacBook to be shipped with FireWire)–GrandVJ is happy to allow this live video feed to be shunted into any of these video source layers (I can also activate my computer’s web cam as another live video source choice).

I love my little computer. It’s happy (so far) chugging along with all this happing within its innards. The only ports I’m not using are the hardwire ethernet input and the mini audio input–hey, that’s what I could do–plug in a microphone…ah, but all my audio equipment’s at C4. But, really, this is enough for, you know, dicking around.

A/V Nerd Alert

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I got a call early this afternoon from Havel. Havel? Now I know why everyone in town sings their praise. I got my camera back in two days. And it’s doing just fine. Thanks for asking.

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I found myself floundering about a bit today, trying to make sense of a couple of upcoming events I’m involved in. Luminaria and the Josiah Youth Media Festival. Really, I hate promoting events –even ones which I care about. I tell people, quite explicitly, that I’m not suited for this sort of work. People–yeah, they just don’t fucking listen. (Really, this is getting out of hand. I mean, there are people who think I’m simply tremendous, if for no other reason than I believe it’s important to listen to people. I was raised that when you’re listening to someone, you give him or her your undivided attention. Sure, this person might be an asshole, but when you’re listening, your job is to listen. Don’t starting fucking around with that smart phone. Don’t let your eyes drift over to that pretty shiny object in the background. Jeeze, what’s happened to people?)

Mostly I was looking forward to meeting with Deborah. We’re working on a collaborative project, and as for all that bullshit that comes falling down on some projects, it’s never stressful or irritating with Deborah. Why the hell can’t everyone be as reasonable as the both of us are with one another?

We met up at the location where we’ll be shooting next week. It’s an exterior night shoot. And even though we’ll be bringing in our own lights, we wanted to check out the place once the sun had set. The fact is, Deborah had done a photo shoot at this location maybe three years back. I was there to shoot some video. I was using a small DC/AC car inverter Carlos had loaned me. So, we have something of an understanding of the place. And this time around we have an artist friend who lives in a house about 150 feet away. That’s no problem with some extension cords (however, I’ve got to crunch the numbers, you know, how much wattage will we need for lights, because if it’s over the amperage of the line we’ll be using, we’ll need to make sure to divide between two breakers).

I was hoping that we’d be able to see the Blue Star silos in the background, but it looks like they’ll be lost in the dark distance. The eye can see them fine. But the camera? Not so well. But that’s okay. There’s plenty of wonderful things to illuminate.

Silos at Night

Deborah mentioned she was hungry. I said that Cafe Cinema was happening over at the Radius, and there should be some food there. But she said she was in the mood for salad or soup or something wholesome. I was fine with that. She mentioned Green Cafe or Big Kahuna. Green Cafe is the local vegan restaurant. The food is wonderful. It’s not crazy expensive, but still a bit rich for me.

I wanted to try Big Kahuna. Deborah had been there before, and she had described it vaguely as “this sort of Asian place with healthy food and really nice people.”

Big Kahuna is at 741 W. Ashby Place, just across from the San Pedro Playhouse. The name is a carry-over from a previous restaurant. The cuisine is, for the most part, Vietnamese. The menu is small. And when our host recognized Deborah (everyone of cultural or artistic importance in San Antonio knows her), he began pushing off menu items.

If you ever visit this place, and the waiter or the owner recommends something, jump on it.

Great food, great service, wonderful ambiance. Bottom line, it’s inexpensive, tasty, wholesome, honest food.

The place has a nice vibe. They have had workshops and events on meditation, yoga, gardening, and they have film screenings.

http://bigkahunasa.com/

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The other day I was watching on, of all things, YouTube, a feature-length movie, “Synth Britannia.” This is a documentary about the rise of New Wave synth bands in England during the tail end of the 70s and the into the 80s.

Most of this stuff I never got too deep into. Mostly Euro Disco crap that dominated the MTV realm. However, it’s a well-structured historical documentary The reason I kept watching was that they gave a bit of time to some of the more interesting artists and groups using synthesizers. Wendy/Walter Carlos, Chris and Cozy (of Throbbing Gristle fame), Cabaret Voltaire, Gary Newman (who’s tragically under-rated), and John Foxx (who’s tragically unknown). I quite enjoyed the film, even though it’s mostly aimed at those folks who feel that Yazoo is the shit (and that ain’t me).

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