The Summer season is in full swing. Last year was all about the monsoon and accidental gardening. This year there hasn't been much of meteorological interest except an occasional brisk wind. Yes, things are slow right now. A self-diagnosis of chondromalacia didn't help and put the ride-by journalism on a temporary break. With that melodramatic introduction, here we go...
Letters (to the On the Street Penthouse Suite)
#1 Cat Found
With the simple title of 'cat found' came this appealing but horrific image...
#2 Texas Texas Texas
Similarly, came this message with the simple title of...that's right, 'Texas Texas Texas!!!'...
#3 The Turbulent Aeviternity
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New sculpture installation by Jason Jay Stevens at Joan Grona Gallery, in San Antonio, June 26 through August 16, 2008
WHO: Jason Jay Stevens, San Antonio-based installation artist, exhibit designer & live cinema performer WHAT: Mixed media sculpture installation, titled: "The Theoretical Fixed Point in the Turbulent Aeviternity (Come You Lost Atoms to Your Center Draw)" WHEN: June 26 through August 16, 2008 Opening Reception: Thursday, June 26, 6-9pm WHERE: Joan Grona Gallery, 112 Blue Star San Antonio, Texas 78204 210-225-6334
San Antonio-based artist, Jason Jay Stevens, presents his latest sculpture installation at Joan Grona Gallery, at the Blue Star Arts Complex, during San Antonio Contemporary Art Month. The show opens with a reception on Thursday, June 26th, from 6 until 9pm, and runs through August 16th. Mr. Stevens' immersive installations envelope and transport viewers, mixing poetry and science to alter space and time. The work is often interactive, multimedia, and always multi-layered and complex. For "The Theoretical Fixed Point in the Turbulent Aeviternity (Come You Lost Atoms to Your Center Draw)," Stevens has combined work in fabric, wood, electronics, light, musical objects, and strange lightning bolts made from black shag carpet. The result might be a scene from an alternate dimension. At one end of the gallery, a giant light box occasionally flashes the question, "Did you feel that?" referring to a mysterious event that makes the viewer question their sensitivity. Throughout the room, flying bed sheets imitate a firmament of angels, and flecks of gold outline otherwise invisible magnetic fields.
A Hint of the Lavender
Last weekend, somehow, surprising to even me, I ended up in Blanco for a celebration of all things lavender. It was more of an event for spinster grandmothers and wolf packs on Harley Davidsons, but in truth there was a mix of people. I sat on the curb in the shade for a moment and had a brisket taco. Most of the Texas wine featured that day was especially sweet. Perhaps I should have tried the lavender limeade instead.
Outside the city were occasional lavender farms that opened their doors and fields to people roaming the countryside. Blanco is the lavender Capitol of Texas I learned. There were all things lavender being sold that day- crushed lavender, lavender soaps and oils, lavender margarita mix...
Bogart and Bergman together again. Inside the Blanco Courthouse was this surprisingly well put together poster. "OBCCPS" in red ink makes it seem almost communist. Basically, the heat was unbearable and people hid inside the courthouse for a brief break before investing in more lavender lifestyle purchases.
His hat, her flowers...together as always. It was more than just lavender. Ancillary organizations got in on the action in various ways. Booths were everywhere. This booth was for LBJ Park.
(After the brisket taco, I realized I could have tried Vietnamese spring rolls with a spicy but sweet peanut-lavender dipping sauce but realized I probably made the best choice. Usually things happen by accident (the discovery of penicillin, as one example) but in Blanco it was an active laboratory, pushing and pulling the limits of lavenderness.)
To go from walking in the fields of flowers with the LBJs, to this odd mini-jail promoting itself as a school, it's as if the horrors of 1968 have revisited...the Great Society dismantled...
A view out the car of the Blanco River. For about $5 people could get in and swim along the banks. The drive might be too long for the current gas prices, but it's an option.
Back at the festival. One of the more interesting booths was of a guy who made wind chimes out of wine bottles. Here, segments of the wine bottles made there way to this window. (The glass guy assumed I was taking fotos of his work because I wanted to take his ideas. I assured him that was not the case. I quickly moved on and went back to stealing lavender secrets.)
At the LBJ State Park one can find an ananchronistically working farm for visitors to observe. The occasionally brilliant George Saunders had a short story that dealt with a character who worked at a historical park, though at the time it was written I thought it was more near-future satire, and to be honest, it was of a pre-historic caveman exhibit and not a Texas German farm of the Late Edwardian Era.
Here is a blurb from the website...
The Sauer-Beckmann Farm - Rural Life, 1900-1918: When visitors can smell lunch being cooked on a wood-burning stove, they are close to the Sauer-Beckmann Living Farm! Here, costumed interpreters carry out the day-to-day activities of a turn-of-the-century Texas-German farm family. Some chores are seasonal, such as canning and butchering. Farm animals, however, must be cared for on a daily basis, including activities like feeding, milking, gathering eggs and slopping the hogs. Also, the house is cleaned, meals are cooked, butter is churned and cheese is made. Visitors may see the "family" scrubbing the floors with homemade lye soap, or plowing the garden with a team of horses.
The F Word
In what seems to have become a weekly feature of linking to articles that challenge and at times offend people, here is another.
The Mighty Wind
The AT&T Arena is now powered solely by West Texas wind power. A press conference revealed this a few days ago, and actually the arena has been on windtricity since June 1st. Meanwhile, the evil Lakers are probably powered by nukes and triple espressos...
Spider Man 3
With no early class this morning, sadly, I found myself flipping through the channels last night. I stumbled upon the last half of Spider Man 3. What a disaster. The surprising progress made by the last Spider Man movie was tossed to the wind. What struck me was the awkward choreography: darkside Peter Parking strutting down Broadway in an outfit stolen from the band Interpol, Parker doing an unlikely John Travolta impersonation, and then dry humping the air as women walked by. It was not a good moment for cinema. Then later at a jazz club, darkside Peter Parker does an elaborate dance routine with the help of a chair, all to humiliate the feeble Kirsten Dunst and perplex the audience. And I almost forgot the Chubby Checker "twist" scene when Dunst and the guy who hates Peter Parker made an omlette together while 'twisting. The spirit of Travolta dance numbers haunted this film. The forced charm was anachronistic (that word again) and perplexing.
When later I read the budget was almost $300 million dollars and the film such a disaster, I wondered if Hollywood might be returning to an identity crisis it "suffered" in the 70s when it didn't know what to do and let the filmmakers make the movies. After Spider Man 3, can the numbers people at the studios continue to roll the dice this way? Gas prices are through the roof, but will quality studio filmmaking also return? Too hard to say, and yes, this is a forced argument. That era of film was as much about youth culture explosion and the innocence before the dawn of Jaws. Still, with the national economy in trouble, can films of that budget and risk continue to be made? The Critical Darling raises a similar issue.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...