On the Street

On Friday night at Galleria Ortiz in Olmos Park (on the border with Almost Park) new photographic work was on display by Rolando Briseno and Beto Gonzales.

First, Briseno.

Full Frontal Disclosure: I met Rolando while researching an article about the Old Spanish Trail.  From that I learned he would be in this show.

The crowd seemed like a lot of Olmos Park regulars but what do I know.  

A consistent motif was established.

Thoughtful inspection.

Next, Gonzales.

Semi-Frontal Disclosure: Beto did the cover art for the Old Spanish Trail story.  I've also known him from way back in the day, so to speak.  I suppose I could have instead gone out of my way to see work by people I didn't know at all but that wasn't to be (at least initially.)  

Also,  I'm not an art critic.  I'm a free wine and carrot sticks critic.

These photos were all found at thrift stores and then blown up for the show.

This image is completely California. The warm light breaking through the blinds, all that.  I think these were from San Bernardino to be specific.

The baby crib in the background suggest responsibility, or is this about hiding from responsibility?  (Ninjas=invisibility)

While many of the images were breezy and humorous, this one actually struck a note of sincerity.

This was a close-up on my part of a larger, wider image.

Humor and sincerity are in perfect harmony in this found diary entry.  The first sentence is a classic hook.  I was going to quote from it but I felt a strain of modesty.  Old age creeping in?

From the Ortiz show we caught word of this show over on the (upper) Old Spanish Trail at the intersection of Zarzamora and Fredericksburg Road.  I just happened to being wearing a NASA shirt, which was incidental.

I once had a tequila sunrise with tang instead of orange juice.  In an act of self destruction wikipedia refers to this version as an "astronaut sunrise" instead of the more obvious and crowd-pleasing, "tang-quila sunrise."

It can get crowded in outer space.

We left the MASA show and ended up across the street at a restaurant that hinted at much promise and intrigue - a huge menu, lots of tortas, fotos of futbol players everywhere, a fairly un-Tex-Mex menu, and the food?  Oh man, what a letdown.  Crestfallen.  Are some kitchens driven to ineffectiveness by parliamentary factions?    It pains me to realize that perhaps benevolent dictatorship is the answer.   This affords too much credit to one person, and falls in with the bottom-down view of the 'great men of history'.  (However, if this was film it would be the auteur theory which somehow would be acceptable.)  

To finally get to the point, why is it that some restaurants can maintain control and others can not?  It all might be because most owners are not also the ones who are cooking.  Soon it isn't long before the passion and originality are replaced with company slogans, such as "give them a wow experience everytime" or "strive for five."   And haven't we all been down that road before?  Watching training videos about teamwork and fish mongers in Seattle throwing fish around...I can't continue, it's too painful...

On the way to Garcia's for Saturday tacos the Beacon Hill/Alta Vista train border was in full lockdown.   And this brings a(n) boring interesting consideration - while freeways are known for re-creating neighborhoods, in what ways do trains semi-permanently do the same.  Beacon Hill's borders to the east and west are two different train lines...the semi-permeable membrane, aka the fluid mosaic model.  Freedom and entrapment in oscillation.  Welcome to San Antonio.

On the way downtown to UTSA.  This was well into the digital zoom end of the camera but looked much better than what my screen suggested initially.

A longer lens would have given some amazing high contrast images.   Riding into the sunset seems heroic until some you realize some half-blind grandpa behind you probably can't see anything as he inches near your rear wheel.

In the Durango Building at UTSA downtown, Leslie Raymond was showing a variety of short films and videos for a class, which was open to the public.  Here, in the background, a young, lively, intellectual 26 year old Orson Welles tries to act old, rich, and beaten down.

Here, a leathery, old, rich, and beaten down Donald Trump tries to act young, intellectual, and lively.  Though his blinking eyes were the initial distraction in this interview, really, it was the rug that seemed to have reanimated into a life of its own.

This short Trump clip was from a documentary by Errol Morris.  I don't recall this film debuting yet, but it could have already come out and I wouldn't have noticed.  Why?  Morris has been on auto-pilot since Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control.  His aesthetic is so codified now it almost is ready for parody.  That is a bit of a stretch I realize but when one compares his early work, for example, the documentary about pet cemetaries, there was much more freedom and unpredictability.  Now, its Phillip Glass all the time.  And, after a clever manipulation of teleprompter technology he has his subjects talk straight into a camera/teleprompter.  What Trump is looking at as he looks at the teleprompter/camera is an image of Morris as he interviews him.  This mediated form of interaction, I suppose, makes it easier for Morris because he doesn't have to sit in the same room with his subject, and it allows the subject to look straight in the camera which of course breaks rule #3 of film school, but other than this I don't see how that form of interaction benefits the film.  All his films now seem to go with this style, and I don't know, it seems like Morris is settling on an approach and is getting lazy.  That's not to say the films aren't still better than most, but there is a an element of predictability creaping in.   Also, on a psychological level, Morris seems to be on a roll of interviewing known but respected clowns and then through the glamorizing process of filmmaking, actually suggest a level of credibility.  Dr. Death, McNamara, Trump...

The best film of the night was by Deborah Stratman called In Order Not to Be Here.  Though many of these sort of images had been done before (probably completely by at least 1997 when the suburban frontier was probably fully documented and conquered?/a new Turner thesis?) and it did seem like Jem Cohen light, the execution was impeccable.

I had to pass on dinner and road home via bike.  Of course I got a flat tire, which I privately blamed on a bike mechanic who over-inflated my tires.  This inspired me to bring a flat kit with me from now on, but wouldn't that take away the exciting element of disaster?  (An antidote to the late Summer doldrums oppressing the city, or is it just me?)  Some say repeating past mistakes is a definition of insanity.  I thought it was a sign of one's humanity.  These and other issues to be debated later...

And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio.  As always, to be continued...

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