Let’s All Embrace the Rasquachismo of Fiesta

Sunday I frittered the day away reading, watching movies on NetFlix, and walking the neighbor’s god damn dog. Finally, around four in the afternoon, I grabbed my camera and walked down to the bus station on S. Alamo. I’d been mailed a couple of freebie tickets to the Southwest School of Art & Craft’s Fiesta Arts Fair. As I’m incapable of finding a date to save my life, I tossed one of the tickets aside and headed out solo. The trolly took me two blocks from the SW School. I handed the woman at the gate my ticket and walked into a surging sea of humanity. One thing I’ve learned about Fiesta, if there’s a Fiesta sanctioned event, people flock like mad.

I was hoping to see some good art. I mean, the Southwest School mounts some serious shows throughout the year. I’ve seen some incredible stuff in their galleries, some from students, and other shows which are traveling through town.

But this “arts” fair is something else altogether. It’s basically a craft show, with folks who make hat racks out of driftwood, bedside lamps fashioned from Sri Lankan geodes, and earrings from toucan feathers and piranha vertebra. True there was some work by a few decent photographers. And I saw a couple of artists who could make some lovely cover art to fantasy novels. But, for the most part, I had to listen to the voice in my head wailing, “my goodness, this is all so awful!” But, really, the crowds loved everything. The art, the craft, the food & drink booths, the music, and the kids activities. Who am I to judge? I’m sure that the Southwest School looks at this as a serious fundraiser. So, fucking good for them! If this helps them to keep providing all those excellent art shows as well as all their great classes, then I can’t piss on this huge and insanely popular event.

Having said this, I have to admit I left after about twenty minutes. This means my trolly transfer was definitely still valid.

Back home, I was contemplating a nap when Catherine called. She was reminding me that URBAN-15 would be running through a dress rehearsal of their Fiesta parade performance in a couple of hours at a north-side parking lot. It sounded like fun. So I did manage a little nap, and then I drove north. I took my camera along.

When I arrived, there were people from the neighborhood out, sitting in lawn chairs, watching the show. I had brought my Lumix with my fast Nikon lens. I decided to shoot chiefly video. But here’s a still image of some of the women in their costumes.


And here’s a bit of video of what went down.

Afterward I left, and dropped by Deborah’s place for some peppermint tea and a late night snack. Yes, I always have a wonderful time with Deborah! After a couple of hours, I made my goodbyes and headed home.


Monday morning I was trying to decide if I really wanted some ramen noodle for breakfast, when I heard the familiar car horn of Catherine Cisneros. She short-cuts down my street (like a lot of people) on her way from home to work. Usually she gives a couple of neighborly taps on her horn as she passes by. But this time there was no doppler shift between the first beep to the second beep. I peeked out the window. She was parked across the street at Carlos Cortes’ place. I put on a pair of shoes and walked across the street. We caught up on the previous night’s URBAN-15 dress rehearsal as well as plans for the upcoming Josiah Youth Media Festival.

There are indeed times when I do love this neighborhood.

I just need to find a job so I can continue to live here.

Damn money-matters. In fact, it was my general poverty that helped make my decision to have ramen for breakfast.

I eventually made my way to C4 Workspace. I hooked up my DVX as a deck and captured to my computer all the video I had shot at Alamo Heights Night. While that was going on, I prepared the 8 DVDs for mailing to Dallas so I could make an out-of-town client happy. And while the second miniDV tape was being captured, I drove to the post office and mailed off my Dallas-bound deliverables. When I got back to C4, the video was all now captured. I opened up another Final Cut Pro file, and exported my Pedro Infante remix of my Luminaria film, “River Hoop,” so I could burn a DVD. In this variant cut, ST Shimi is dancing to a song by Pedro Infante, “La Calandria.”

I burned two DVDs. I exported the video as a full-resolution AVI file and placed it on a jump drive. I like to have a backup and a serious plan-B.

Around 7pm, I hopped on my bike and rode downtown to Main Plaza. It was a bit chilly out and I was wearing shorts. But, hell, the sun was still out, and I had done laundry and had dried my clothes on the line. Winter was over.

At Main Plaza there was a mariachi band playing Pedro Infante music. Angela and Rick had set up the Slab Cinema screen, projector, and sound system. I handed them my DVD.

As we all waited for it to get dark (there were about 20 serious Infante fans sitting in chairs outside in the plaza) the band played on. At one break, Mari Barrera came out to make some announcements. She’s the head honcha of the Main Plaza Conservancy–she programs the events at this great venue. After a few words from Mari, we were treated to a wonderful skit. Mari performed with fellow actress / performance artist Anna De Luna. They are always amazing when they work together. This was no exception. They played two Pedro Infante-obsessed woman, their rasquachismo hitting the red line of the Obsession Meter. Very entertaining.


And then my little film played.


And then the Pedro Infante film played.

It was a nice night (no sprinklers–just fountains, and we knew exactly where they were). A bit chilly on the ride home, but a lovely night in downtown.



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