On the Street - Soap, Lasers, and Prosthetics


Friday night came to life again in Southtown under what appeared to be a full moon.   It was not the largest crowd I’ve seen for a First Friday at the Bluestar complex, but it was still filled with episodic moments of interest, which is to be expected when so many people are packed together getting drunk.

For me the impetus began earlier that day when I received a late email promoting a video projection at 3 Walls that night by filmmaker Cauleen Smith entitled “Right Hand Only, Left Hand Lonely.”  After discussing the Austin film scene with Cauleen briefly, I was able to get some insights into the mysterious title of the show.   The motivation came from her experience when she traveled through Africa and Asia. At times when she would share meals with her host she ate meals using her right hand instead of using the familiar fork and spoon.  This cultural distinction was inhibitive yet later became symbolic for the video projection seen below.

What interested me more were still photos of Ivory soap in increasing stages of annihilation.  What was once typical (if not iconic) became exotic.  I’m not sure of her technique (I think a microwave was involved) but she was able to transform different bars of soap into ethereal blobs.  I was lucky to see one of these bars of soap in the back room of the gallery.  It was much more interesting than the photos, and fittingly I have no photo to document how more interesting it was than the other photos, if that makes any sense.

Outside in one of the back alleys of Bluestar I ran into an electric light and laser show.  Though more spectacle than substance, a young rapper was able to distract a fair amount of pedestrians who were on their way to La Tuna.  One guy asked me why I was taking a photo.   He wanted to make sure that I didn’t actually think this was a true representation of hip hop.  I told him I was more into the laser aspect and not the music.  That seemed to put him at ease.

I thought there would be more people out on the town for First Friday but I think they might have been distracted by the Spurs game that night.  It was perhaps at this exact moment during the laser rap show that Manu was going hibachi in the 3rd quarter versus the Orlando Magic and turning what seemed to be a close game into a blowout.  The Spurs finally are on a roll.  But is the city too bored with their success to notice?

The next morning, after breakfast at Café Chiapas in Southtown, I went along with a group to a large but anonymous warehouse on the eastside on 403 Dawson.  This huge warehouse is home to a business called Architectural Antiques.  Basically, they salvage architectural items from old homes and sell them to people interested in doing historical renovations and remodeling.  Their collection is absolutely astounding in its enormity.  The proprietors Barry and Lindsay Rusler posses a wealth of knowledge of San Antonio’s historic architecture.  For example, I learned that 1926 was the last year homes were made with the legendary longleaf pine, which is perhaps of interest to those looking to buy an old house.

Monday morning while in the computer lab at school I talked with local graffiti artist Duo.  He gave me a flyer to a benefit he and his crew from the Clogged Caps scene are putting together at Holdens 101 on Friday.  The proceeds go to benefit the father of one of their friends who is going through a struggle with medical bills stemming from a gun accident.  The flyer is unusual in its depiction of the prosthetic leg, but for that reason its also pretty funny.  Leonard Spinnard and others will be DJing hip hop.  Duo and others will be spraying live graffiti art.  Check it out.


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