Does This City Love Me Back?


I was afraid that my occasional, yet very lucrative, on again off again gig in Dallas at the auction house (rare books department), had finally dried up. I was afraid they’d gathered enough full-time staff to do all the work. But, because this current sale is so massive, I was able to work a week and a half. And as I live fairly frugally, this will keep me in tacos and Topo Chico for a couple of months.

But, really, I probably should get a real job. This living hand-to-mouth is wearing thin. I have to give some serious thanks to my aunt for giving me a new truck after my old one started to fail. And, really, I have been lucky in that several paying gigs (nothing substantial, but everything helps!) coalesced right when I desperately needed the money.

Now I’m back in San Antonio, waiting for those Dallas checks to roll in. The first one might arrive tomorrow…or maybe not until two weeks from now. I’m hoping for tomorrow.

But what have I returned to? Well, there are three arts and cultural events I’m involved in. (Funny, but here in San Antonio, the Arts are almost always associated with Culture. I blame it on the San Antonio Office of Cultural Affairs. They contribute significant funding to most of the local non-profit arts organizations.)

I’m gearing up for the Adelante Film Forum. This a yearly event put on by the San Antonio chapter of NALIP (the National Association of Latin Independent Producers). I’m a member of the executive board. It’s going to be pretty impressive this year. We’ve secured some substantial funding. November 12-14. Workshops, parties, screenings. Come on out!

There’s also the event on October 23rd. Proyecto Locos (AKA Ramon Vasquez y Sanchez, Deborah Keller-Rihn, and I) will be presenting our Noches de Recuerdos. Artists will place illuminated floating alters in the casting pool adjacent to Woodlawn Lake. These alters will commemorate, in the manner of Dia de los Muertos alters, loved ones who have passed away. This event is sponsored by the American Indians in Texas, non-profit cultural organization which (among other things) brings attention to the families in San Antonio who trace their roots back to the indigenous people who helped the Spanish build the Missions which were so crucial to the founding of San Antonio.

And then there’s the mother fucking Luminaria. And by that I mean, Luminaria Arts Night In San Antonio. And I know that that is what the event is called because I’m wearing one of the coveted black t-shirts from Luminaria 2010. How did I get this shirt? I busted my ass on the steering committee. For two god damn years. And I’m back. Yep, I’m the committee again. Luminaria 2009 kicked my ass. I only returned to help out for 2010 because co-chair George Cisneros invited me. I’m very fond of George and I enjoy working with him. So, I said yes. As for working on the 2011 Luminaria, well, I was asked by new co-chair Susanne Cooper if I could commit myself. Well, I had so much fun working with Susanne for Luminaria (especially bringing film and dance together on Stage Seven) that I’d be an idiot not to join her.

And so, after working ten days for, well, you know, money, I now find myself back home having basically opened myself up to six months of pro bono commitment.

I’m not yet convinced that this is a bad thing. A part of me is screaming to stop this stuff. And maybe I’m working my way in that direction. But because I honor my commitments, I will press ahead in this fashion, at least until mid March (when Luminaria will have passed out the south end of my GI tract).



Today I downloaded a copy of MacSpeech, a voice-recognition software program. I am glad I didn’t pay for it. Whereas it’s rather fun to play with, it’s doing a poor job of recognizing what I say even when I speak in slow well-enunciated halting speech. Were I to pay the $200 for a legitimate copy, I would also get a USB headset microphone which would guarantee — supposedly — much greater accuracy. I’m using the built -in microphone of my laptop at the moment, and perhaps because of all of the ambient noise surrounding me, such as this fan and my window unit air-conditioner, I’m having to go back and edit a lot of this text in shape. I usually write with music playing. Loud. I assume that would make this program virtually useless. I’m intrigued with the possibilities and all, but I’m not willing to gamble $200 to buy the software and microphone and play it legit.

Okay, so much for this experiment. I’m going to return to typing with my fingers, and playing loud music.


My new truck gets pretty bad mileage. I think worse than my old one. Maybe I shouldn’t had taken the super-scenic route back to San Antonio the other day.

My route was even more circuitous than one would expect. First I had to drive to Denton. I needed to turn some books into money, and because no used book dealers in Dallas pay as well as the fine folks at Recycled Books in Denton, I took I-35 north. And they did indeed treat me well. Next, I decided I would drive to Fort Worth and connect with either highway 281 or highway 16. I had downloaded a free navigation app onto my iPhone. It’s an extension of MapQuest. It pretty much sucks. Well, it doesn’t help that my old iPhone 3GS is a sluggish tottering old slug. And, really, I’m wondering if the iPhone 4GS is really that much better. I’ve seen two different Droids in operation. They’re looking pretty damn good. Anyway, I shut off the MapQuest app after the second time it told me to turn a block after I’d left that intersection behind.

It was about one o’clock when I hit Fort Worth. I decided to stop at Kincaid’s and get a burger. This iconic Fort Worth eatery is about seven blocks from where I used to live, some yeas back. The place was much the same. A bit cleaner. In fact, that particular stretch of Camp Bowie road had been licked and polished quite a bit over the last six or seven years. But the whole place still had that laid-back slo-mo cow town attitude. “No need to talk with such a rush, son. Just take a breath or two, lean your elbows on the side rail of your pickup truck and tell me how much rain you reckon fell on your place last night. Then I can tell you what I think about those fellers down in Austin on Capital Hill and what they’re up to. And maybe, if you still wanna, you can expound on your assessments on Fort Worth’s slow, cancerous gentrification.”

One of the things that makes that area of Fort Worth interesting is that the south side of Camp Bowie is generic middle class. The north side is where you can find the millionaires, and a couple of billionaires. It’s hard to tell one from another (the rich and the not rich) when they come in to grab a burger at Kincaid’s. Once removed from their country clubs and their homes, the ultra rich of Fort Worth are pretty heard to separate from the general herd. I suspect that this trait will serve them well. You know, when comes the insurrection.

I enjoyed my nostalgic meal and headed south, through Benbrook, Granbury, Tolar, Stephenville, Dublin, etc. I took highway 16 when it branched off at Comanche. It’s a lovely drive. I ccontinue all the way down to Fredericksburg, and then down 87 to I-10 and into San Antonio. I was itching to get back home, and so I missed one of the more scenic parts of the drive. That would have been for me to continue on 16 to Kerrville. And then on to Bandera. The drive between Kerville and Bandera is, simply put, awesome! Check it out some day.


“I’m dreading the blind and ill-applied ultra-nationalism which may well infest my day tomorrow. Wave a flag in my face at your own goddamn peril! Somber reflection is one thing, peddling hate and violence (and wrapping it in the flag), however, is another matter all together.”

The above paragraph I just posted on FaceBook. It’s 11 pm tonight, on the eve of 9/11.

I hate every goddamn mother fucking asshole who thinks that the horrendous, unconscionable criminal actions perpetrated on Americans on that day necessitated the illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of two sovereign nations. This is the anniversary of that day that triggered a series of events in which I–with the rest of my countryman and countrywomen–was drawn into a dark era of shameful savagery, a new Crusades, which may well last for generations–and, as Americans, we are all culpable and (if you believe if such things) damned.



I finally got around to taking in a bike ride down to the Missions today. After having been absent for a couple of weeks, I was disheartened that the construction along the bike and jogging trail from Espada Dam to Mission San Juan de Capistrano is still slogging along with no end in sight. I had to sneak through the construction site. Well, it being a Sunday, there wasn’t anyone where. But, dammit, they need to pick up the pace! This is a very popular place for south side families to come and walk and jog and bike.

After my bike ride, I took my truck to the car wash across from the old Mission Drive-In Theater. New Car Owner Behavior Number One: weekly (at least) trips to the car wash.



I started the day off meeting with my fellow NALIPsters. It was just four of us. Veronica, Robb, Olga, and I. We were hopping Dora would be there, it being her birthday. In fact, Robb had brought a cake. But Veronica reminded us that Dora was involved in some sort of charitable event.

We had some cake anyway. Dora would have wanted it that way…. Or so we told ourselves.

But mostly we talked about the Adelante Film Forum (well, there were the frequent punctuated digressions for the exchange of chisme). NALIP San Antonio has held the Adelante several times. I personally have attended, I believe, four. It’s an annual event, but last year we lacked the funding to pull it off. This year, however, we’ve received more funding dollars than expected. It promises to be a solid weekend of workshops. We’re working on bringing in some amazing people. We’ll have screenings, too. And, of course, great parties. We’ll be making a serious announcement probably by the end of the week. It looks like the earlier bird registration fee will be $50. That’s fucking cheap for a three-day film industry convention. You don’t have to be a NALIP member to attend. And, just in case my ultra guerroness hasn’t already clued you in, you do not have to be Latino/a to be a member of NALIP (the National Association of Latino Independent Producers). Come one come all!

Keep an eye on this blog. We will be making the Adelante schedule public in a few weeks. And don’t worry–the conference isn’t until November.

After the NALIP meeting I headed back to King William and picked up Deborah. We drove to the west side to pick of Ramon. (I’m still the only member of Proyecto Locos who owns a functioning vehicle). We drove to our office on Fredericksburg Road. Actually, it’s a taqueria. La Taqueria Huentitan Jalisco, 2318 Fredericksburg Road. Good honest dependable food. Check it out. The three of us talked about our upcoming event. We will be sending out official artist invitations to our artist friends on our email lists probably Tuesday or Wednesday.

And then I went home for a nap before heading off to the lower north side to have dinner with Pete and Lisa.

I seems like I’m back to my typical San Antonio lifestyle. I just returned from Dallas where I worked every day, ten to twelve hours per day, for money. And here I am, back home, where I’m busy, working on several projects. None of which are paying me money.

I do love this city, but, damn, it doesn’t seem to be doing such a good job loving me back.


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