The Perfect Storm For … Seafood

(Friday.)

Because I don’t want to retype, please allow me to cut and paste from a FaceBook comment of mine:

“Friday, March 18, 2011. Spring Break, Lent, and Friday. These factors created a perfect storm on the southside where the crowds at Rudy’s Seafood on S. Flores were so massive that police were directing traffic in the parking lot. In fact, those who couldn’t get in had to take sloppy seconds at the Fred’s Fish Fry down the block (and I NEVER see people in there).”

I drive by this place a couple times a week and have never seen this sort of excitement. But I had a hint from Sandra Torres’ FaceBook comment that she’d seen the craziness during lunchtime. Apparently they have famous lent specials. And there I was, heading to the La Fiesta to buy groceries some hours later. This would be the early dinner crowd. People were parking in obviously illegal spots. But that’s fine. If you hire cops to keep order, they’ll watch your back, even turning a blind eye to minor infractions of your patrons. The right lane was all cars idling with flashers for two blocks waiting their turn at the Rudy’s goodness.

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At La Fiesta is a young woman who works the registers. Her name is Disney. That’s right, Disney. And yet she seems wonderfully well-adjusted. While I was waiting for my groceries to be rung up at the adjacent register, I overheard a woman tell Disney: “I love your name. My sister-in-law had two daughters who she named Merry and Melody.” For my San Antonio friends, this is exactly why I shop at La Fiesta instead of Central Market (AKA the Gucci HEB).

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My day was fairly unproductive. I did, however, deposit a smallish check into my bank over on the eastside. As I was returning, I noticed a film crew a few short blocks from my house. They were across the street from where Sam Lerma used to live, so I was pretty sure it was the crew for his new short, Lilia. I pulled over, grabbed my camera, and walked over. Producer Ralph Lopez came up. We chatted. They were in the middle of day two, with two more days scheduled. I watched the action happening across the street. There was Sam, Dago, Rosalva, and several people I recognized, but whose names I didn’t know. Ralph headed off to deal with important production stuff. I crossed the street and took some photos. Between setups Sam came over and said hello. Things seemed to be running smoothly. There was a shitload of equipment, and a crew who seemed on top of things. I’m looking forward to a truly fine and polished short film. I have been a fan of Sam’s vision for years. He is clearly one of the best filmmakers in town. I hope his steady successes culminate in a big break. It couldn’t happen to a better person.

Here’s a photo from Adams Street.

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I met with an emerging filmmaker tonight (Friday) at Tito’s. Noi Mahoney was at the PGA mixer the other night at the GCAC. He’s a newspaper writer and editor who’s wanting to get into filmmaking. He’s done some early work which is rough. He knows this. And, like all of us, we have to start somewhere. He’s eager to learn and I hope he begins to find like-minded people here in town he can work with and learn from.

The San Antonio film community does exist. It’s a bit fragmented, and certain corners seem to run on high-octane spite. But mostly, we’re nice and reasonable and helpful people. Yes, it’s great that we find ways to be polite and helpful even to those who we are periodically at war with. But what I really want to see is honest and constructive criticism. We, as a whole, need to stop sucking so much. I’m as guilty as the next person. Let’s admit our inherent lameness, and figure out each filmmaker’s particular weakness, and then, collectively work to remedy these defects.

Noi asked me to name some of my favorite filmmakers. When I mentioned Guy Madden, he said that not only was he aware of Madden’s work, but he had a friend who lives in Winnipeg. This is a city in the Canadian great plains where several wonderfully weird and idiosyncratic filmmakers live and work. Noi’s Winnipeg friend asked him if there was anything in San Antonio like the rich film culture in Winnipeg. Noi truthfully said no. The sad fact is that this Canadian hicksville with a population of 600,000 is internationally know as a home for innovative filmmaking, and San Antonio, with over twice the population, has little of which to be proud in the film area.

We need to find our odd, idiosyncratic, regional geniuses, and make them shine. Winnipeg has Guy Madden, Portland has Karl Krogstad, Baltimore has John Waters, Wellington has Jane Campion. We need our Guy Madden. And we need to stop making fucking zombie movies and films about drug deals gone bad. Jesus! What’s wrong with you people?

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(Sunday.)

I was cleaning my place earlier this afternoon. I’m not much for house-cleaning, so when I discovered a piece of mail addressed to one of my neighbor’s under my sofa, I realized it could be maybe two years stale. It was from his family in England and didn’t have any sort of dated cancelation stamp. This is a neighbor whose house and dogs I often looked after when he was out of town. I hope nothing horrible happened because he never got this letter. Perhaps there had been some rift in the family with him being eradicated from a will. The neighbor in question has moved to the other side of the county. I guess I’ll give him a call and get his new address.

Oh, well….

Rod Guajardo gave me a call about an hour later. He told me he was heading to Tito’s. Did I want to join him? I said, sure. If it got me away from cleaning (which was, in turn, keeping me from doing a final pass on editing a project which, um, I’ve already been paid for). When I walked into Tito’s, Rod was at a table in the side room with his wife Rosemary, and their two youngest kids.

(The other night Rod had emailed me a link with a password so I could view his submission to the Neighborhood Film Project. I did the same for him. He and I will be competing against one another as filmmakers representing the southside. I’m not sure who else we’re up against. His film is damn tight and very good. If I had been the judge, I would have given his work more points than mine. Ah, and now I’m depressed.)

After a late lunch, we headed over to the Friendly Spot. This is a laid-back “ice house.” True, it’s infested by alcoholic hipster parents who can toss their kids into the fenced playground and suck back their cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon al fresco, but the truth is, it embraces all types of patrons. The place was pretty crowded. Rod showed me his new lens for his Canon Rebel. It was a zoom lens with a very wide aperture. I asked him how much it cost. Rod look up. Rosemary was fussing with their little girl, and was about to walk her back over to the playground corral. “I’ll tell you when Rosemary leaves.” I assume she heard him, be decided not to comment. When Rosemary walked out of hearing range, Rod told me. It was about what I had assumed. And as envious as I was, the lens was far beyond my budget.

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I headed home and took a short nap. Then I headed over to the series of events at Gallista Gallery. It was: “Spring Equinox: The Chicano New Year, Curated by David Zamora Casas.” The event had other events within. Such as an anti-nuke rally. Some music performances. And various artists with shows in the studios there at Gallista. The main reason I was going was because of Monessa M. Esquivel. Her show, “Underground Ghetto Cartoon People: Part Juan,” was also there at Gallista. I’m very fond of Monessa. She’s an extraordinary actress (one of this city’s best), a compelling performance artists, a sensitive and accomplished writer, and, I now know, a smart and playful artist who can damn well rock a sheet of graph paper. She’s also one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met. I tend to get a bit tongue-tied around her, but I was able to get her to pose for a picture in front of her art.

I was also impressed by the work of Roberto Sifuentes. His flat varnished neo-pre-Renaissance panels were very impressive. Here’s the largest. Maybe ten feet by eight feet.

Some guy, and I forget his name, had a room of very cool stuff. But my favorite piece was this, which is clearly a collage made from the flattened paper of hundreds of roaches. What a beautiful abstract work!

I stayed for a few songs with Rithe, a tight trio very influenced (in a good way) by Joy Division.

A very nice Sunday. I just wish I could have made it to the eastside where there was an art kite event. That would have been fun to shot photos and video.

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