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Preparing for Luminaria -- Come for the Turkey Legs, Stay for the Art

Posted on 2008.03.14 at 23:51
I was up late last night. Me and Russ were burning DVDs for three different venues. The Prometheus Thesis, to be screened at the Kress Building on Saturday for the Luminaria event. And a preliminary edit of Christy's dance project we produced, Melancholy, which should be showing in one of the Dillard's storefront windows with some other vids from MoDaCoLabs (Modern Dancers' Co-Laboratory). And, finally, a DVD with all the material from the other two DVDs along with a small poetic experimental piece by Russ called In the Absence of Light -- this final DVD was to loop on a flat screen monitor at Alston's art show today.

So, I had quite a few things I needed to run around and take care of today. But that didn't keep me from sleeping late. In fact, as I was checking my email and browsing through my subscribed RSS feeds, and thinking of brewing up a press-pot of coffee, the phone rang. It was Deborah. She was a bit stressed about her Luminaria project. She wanted to know if I had any advice for getting more sound from her CD player which will be used to provide the music that her dancer will be moving to. We went through a quick list of people we know who might have PA systems. She finally hit upon the perfect person. And then, feeling more on an even keel, she invited me to breakfast. Well, a very late breakfast, as most of the patrons were making choices from the list of lunch specials. I had a load of things to do, but I never say no to an invite from Deborah.

We were both pretty busy between bites of eggs and tortillas as we found ourselves fielding calls on our cells from various projects we have going -- mostly involving the big Luminaria event tomorrow.

Eventually Deborah headed off to one of the classes she teaches up at Northwest Vista community college. And I drove downtown to track down Dora Pena, who's coordinating the film events for Luminaria. I parked illegally in Peacock Alley, and met her on the street in front of the Kress Building. I handed her Pete's film as well as mine. Inside, I saw some of the guys from PSAV Presentation Services. This is a national company with an office here in San Antonio and they are providing the audio/visual tech for the event. I wish we could have wrangled a locally-owned business, but these folks seem very focused and on top of things.

I headed back home and checked my email to find contact info for the MoDaCoLabs people. It seems that Jayne King lives in my neighborhood. I hopped on my bike and cycled over to her place, three streets over, and slipped the DVD into her mail slot. I hope I didn't get it to her too late.

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I uploaded the current edit of the Prometheus Thesis to YouTube.

Here's where you can see it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_CoiJjFTn0

It seems that I spelled Anna's last name wrong in the credits -- an over-sight that soon I hope to remedy.

After I got the file up and active, I clicked over to the page to view it. It seemed adequate, and not too overly compressed.

But my eye wandered to a little region on the right side of the screen. "Related videos." I saw a link to something titled "San Antonio Film District Promo Videos." Oh, dear me. With the exception of some footage AJ shot, the video is as off-putting as a visit to Mr. Sullivan's crumbling warehouse.

Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzTzL-kX9Bk

And also check out another link I saw under that "related" heading. It is a link to an eight minute documentary, Art on the Tracks, by Jose Lozano. It looks like it's a couple of years old. Done as a project for a University of Texas (Austin) documentary class. It's about model train enthusiasts in San Antonio. And it's great stuff. These train guys are nuts, but in a good way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bf92M36VQ0

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And, finally, I called up my car insurance company and cajoled them into letting me renew my premium a bit late -- I need to get that little Luminaria artist honorarium check first -- I decided to head out for a bike ride.

What a warm, beautiful day. The wind was on my back on the way south. I was struggling on the return trip. When I got back home, I clicked over to the Wether Underground weather site. If they can be believed, it was 103.8 degrees at 4:45 this afternoon. I understand there were record temperatures all across south Texas. But I wonder if other weather reports had it break a hundred here in San Antonio. But, it was damned hot. Still is, and it's eleven at night. Wait, maybe that's just my sunburn humming away.

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Alston Cox's art show began at 5:30 this afternoon on the edge of downtown over near SAC (San Antonio College -- the hub of the local Alamo Community College District).

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I headed off, hoping to get there a bit early. But Friday rush hour through the heart of downtown San Antonio slowed me down. As I was crawling down Flores, just past the courthouse, I saw a purple Camaro in the on-coming lane. The driver waved, and then it was gone. It had to be Carlos. I pulled out my cell phone and called him up. He said he was meeting his mother at the downtown bus station. I invited him to Alston's show, if he had time.

The art show was at the Magnolia Gardens on Main Street. It's a little events center -- small, but rather up-scale. The place you rent out for wedding receptions and things like that. As I understand it, Alston's mom won an evening's use of the place in a charity auction, and decided to give her daughter a place to display her paintings. There were also arts and craft people set up on a line of tables along the windows. Me and Russ were the film part of this sideshow. We set up a flat screen monitor, a DVD player, and two headphones.

The were maybe sixty or seventy people in about out between 5:30 and 8:30. Not a lot of people were sitting down at the film table. But Alston sold several paintings. Maybe five, but I lost count.

Congrats, Alston!

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And kudos to those people smart enough to buy her work.

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I stopped by my neighborhood grocery store tonight. It's the HEB supermarket on South Presa. They were doing some major cleaning. All the produce along one wall have been pulled out and employees were frantically cleaning the fixtures. And over in the cheese and luncheon meat section the same thing was going on. I recalled a rumor I had heard a couple of weeks back that this store was slated for closure, with a new HEB super store down on Military Drive.

I didn't have the stomach to ask the workers if the end was coming. I will not drive all the way down to Military for groceries. First HEB drove out the Handy Andy eight blocks from my house. And then I had to shop at the HEB. For those who don't live in San Antonio, HEB is a grocery chain. They also own Central Market. They are based in San Antonio, and they had somehow finagled a sweet deal where they have a monopoly. It's true. They have no competition. HEB is pretty much the only game in town. There are maybe three Handy Andy's left. And there are a few little Fiestas scattered around (and these aren't the same Fiestas that are thriving as super latino grocery stores in Houston, Dallas, Austin, etc.).

If HEB closes their South Presa store, there will be no grocery store in the area. I'll have to drive at least four fucking miles to any of the next closest stores. And I can't imagine that the new HEB will be any closer than these other options.

I guess I will have two choices. There's an HEB over on Nogalitos, just past Henry's Tacos to Go. And then there's the Fiesta on South Flores. It's not convenient, but it also ain't HEB. Fuck HEB. Those vile monopolistic swine.

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This is my last reminder to people to show up for Luminaria. It's tomorrow (Saturday). I'm still not sure of the official start time. But if you want to make a day of it, get there by 5:30pm, and stay through to midnight.

Or, if you aren't so ambitious, come anytime in that six and a half hour range.

As it gets darker, there will be more striking events, such as the laser light show, fire dancers, or the firework display shot off the top of the Emily Morgan Hotel.

I understand there is parking at the Alamodome, with a shuttle. Probably parking lot A, accessible from the I-37 access road. But my recommendation is to park anywhere in my neighborhood (King William) -- like in the Blue Star Arts Complex -- and take the trolly downtown. Because of street closures, I don't know what the bus and trolly routes might be, but surely they will get you to the HemisFair Park -- and that's the outer reach of the Luminaria event.

It's going to be loads of fun. And because this is the first year (only year, some wags are already saying), it might not be too crazy. But because San Antonio loves festivals and outdoor events -- hell, anything that involves street closures and beer -- Luminaria might surprise me and turn into a huge crush of humanity.

There is no doubt a schedule of events in todays Express-News "weekender" section (and damn I forgot to pick one up today). My suggestion is read about all the events to get stoked of the huge variety of stuff offered. Get excited enough to decide to attend. And then throw that guide away. There's too much going on. Don't plan to make this or that event. Just drift around. It's a large region. Three or four blocks of Houston Street. All of Peacock Alley. All of Alamo Plaza. And about six blocks of Alamo Street. There are at least five large stages. And there is stuff happening in all the nooks and crannies. Just don't plan. Drift, and enjoy the accidental discoveries off all the creativity this town has to offer.

It's going to be great.


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