Even Atheists Can Have Angels in Their Lives

[A blog entry I wrote Wednesday night, but am just now posting.]

I was up fairly early this morning. There wasn’t much to eat in the fridge which wouldn’t involve some chopping, and cooking, and, well, the washing of dishes. So, I made a large cappuccino for a liquid breakfast and caught up on a few science blogs. Around 9:15 Deborah called. I wasn’t sure she would remember that yesterday I had expressed interest when she asked if I might like to join her photography class out at Northwest Visa College. The exercise was long-exposure photography. She had gained access to the large theater. And armed with various lights — battery-powered LEDs as well as some strings of Christmas lights — she planned to have her students take turns moving around on stage in a darkened theater while wrapped in colored lights. The other students would be staged about, with their cameras on tripods, getting wierd and wonderful images.

The only problem with me answering Deborah’s call was finding a parking space at Northwest Vista. That campus is fucking nuts. If they have more students than parking spaces (apparently there is some agreement with Sea World to use some of THEIR parking — with a shuttle), well, all I can say is this incredible success story should be reflected in agressive pay raises to their instructors. But you know, I don’t think that’s gonna  happen.

I digress.

I ended up hanging out with Deborah’s students for over two hours. It was a very fun shoot. Also, she’s an amazing teacher.

Here are a few images I took:


After the class I met up with Deborah for lunch at Los Serapes on S. Presa. I still mourn the passing of Pepe’s Cafe (in he same building), but Los Serapes is pretty damn good. The special of the day was enchiladas poblano. They were happy to make Deborah’s to order — stuffed with cheese instead of chicken.

We were eating enchiladas, drinking coffee, and swapping chisme in a southside Mexicano cafe. This, by the way, defines the San Antonio artist class.


I had a 3pm meeting with Seme way over in her ‘hood. We were supposed to meet at the Olmos Perk, a pleasant laid-back coffee shop in the yuppie enclave of Olmos Park.

Deborah came along. She’s helping Seme come up with some art design for the stages of Seme’s up-coming shows. The dance and multimedia performance, Pintame el Alma, will be staged at the end of the month at the Instituto de Mexico in San Antonio’s HemisFair Park. And, again, the first weekend of May, at San Antonio’s Little Carver Theater.

The three of us looked at the video which I had shot back on Saturday of Seme and her three dancers. We made some decisions as to what clips should be included in the video projection component of the show.

It was nice seeing the clips with two other people, each with a different background, and each with a strong set of aesthetic sensibilities.

There was one point I found myself apologizing for a very poor composition on a clip I shot. “Oh, yes, it’s no good,” Seme said, making no attempt to stop me from moving to the next clip, nor did she make a move to soften her pronouncement with placating diplomacy. And I was in no way offended, We were all being amazingly candid. It’s wonderful being around other people with a common artistic language. This so rarely happens amongst my peer group. And I’m not just shitting on the local filmmakers (though most of them can neither compose nor light themselves out of their own assholes) — the lack of aesthetic sensibilities amongst so many of the artists in this city is simply amazing. I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or vomit. I try not to do the latter in fear that one of these ham-handed naifs will scoop up my GI expulsions with his or her vellum MFA diploma and have it framed and hung in a place of prominence in his or her next show. We need educated and honest art critics working for the local papers in this city. A wake-up call is long over-due.

What was I saying? Oh, honesty. Yes. We need to be comfy when our peeps call our work crap. Because that might well mean it’s time to reassess. I’m trying to stop making crap (and yes, I know, I’m a damn slow learner) — so please, the rest of you, try doing the same. Pretty simple, eh?


Later, when I returned home, I discovered that one of the recent video gigs I had done for free (and happily, I should say) resulted in a check in my mailbox. Wow! Money which I actually need.

Angels are everywhere. And I’m thrilled that some of them are my dear friends.

I should point out that the work I did on this particular project — like the video I shot for Seme — is damn fine. I am finally comfortable putting my recent video work against anyone else shooting in San Antonio.

Perhaps I should have higher aspirations. I’m an old man who has been doing this sort of work for almost a decade. But, what can I say. I’m a slow learner. A VERY slow learner…..


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