Cinematic Overload Ahead

poster designed by Rigoberto Luna

An admission-free screening of films on Main Plaza from 8 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 19, will launch the 16th annual San Antonio Film Festival.    

The first of seven films of varying length to be shown on the outdoor screen that night is “Recuerdo,” the second video piece by San Antonio artist Vincent Valdez.  Produced by the Federal Art Project and the Southwest School of Art and Craft with production supervision by Luis Guizar, the work consists of a San Antonio cityscape and portraits of San Antonians from various backgrounds.  

The film festival will continue from June 23 to 27 at Instituto Cultural de México in HemisFair Park , showcasing independent filmmakers and featuring more than 120 films on three screens over the five-day span.   The offerings come from all over the map and include all types of filmsTickets range from $10 to a $69 package.  

Running less than two minutes, Yoni Goodman’s Closed Zone is among the shortest of the shorts.  

Having spent much time recently with Lynnell Burkett discussing commas (actually the common colon proved our most challenging deviation about punctuation) as we try to get Last Farm Standing on Buttermilk Hill to press, I was drawn to Ken Kimmelman’s animated film, Thomas Comma.   Based on a story by poet Martha Baird, the film is the adventure of a lonely comma, drawn by hand and then “painted” on computer.  According to Baird:  

We’re all of us like commas looking for the right sentence.  

Don’t Procrastinate in Viewing Pair of Art Exhibits

It’s a long drive from downtown out to David Shelton Gallery, so, despite being interested in several shows, I procrastinated visiting for a long time. 

A group show, “Good and Well,” featuring works by Aaron Hans Forland spurred me to action.  Some of Forland’s relatively anonymous unofficial public art installations might have brought a smile to your face as you stopped at traffic lights downtown along Durango; you encounter them unexpectedly on the trap doors at the base of traffic light poles.  It was great to see his talents corralled inside and uptown, and I fell in love with Mimi Kato’s works.  Procrastination in blogging about the Shelton show paid off; Ben Judson wrote an extensive review for San Antonio Current.

Found it a lot easier and a whole lot less time-consuming to walk over to the opening of Say Si‘s Biennial Exhibition that includes new works by Jeannette MacDougall.  Think there are still openings for her painterly retreat in France offered through the Southwest School of Art and Craft.

Update on August 14:  Aaron Hans Forland has a new website showcasing his work.

‘Faux Bois’ Roots Run Deep in San Antonio

Like remnants of an ancient petrified forest blending in with the urban landscape, San Antonio’s cement artworks, faux bois or trabajo rustico, are cherished landmarks.  The rough “bark” of the old trolley stop near Central Market in Alamo Heights; the covered bridge in Brackenridge Park; and the entrance to the Japanese Tea Garden has been rubbed to a sheen by the exploring hands of generations of San Antonio’s children.

The craft of creating trabajo rustico sculptures could have been lost for San Antonio following the deaths of Dionicio Rodriguez and Maximo Cortes, but fortunately Maximo’s son, Carlos Cortes, inherited both the secret formulas and the talent to continue to add prominent public artwork throughout the city.  Carlos installed a graceful “cypress” bursting through the ceiling in the middle of the San Antonio Children’s Museum; built the Treehouse for the Witte Museum; added a trellis to the River Walk; recently completed the massive Grotto for the river’s Museum Reach; and installed benches in a pocket park.

San Antonio’s connections to the art form of trabajo rustico are explored during an exhibit and related symposium, both part of the celebration of Historic Preservation Month.  The Tradition of Trabajo Rustico:  Fantasies in Cement can be viewed in the Russell Hill Rogers Lecture Hall in the Navarro Campus of the Southwest School of Art and Craft through May 30.

Speakers at the symposium on the morning of Saturday, May 15, include Patsy Pittman Light, author of Capturing Nature:  The Cement Sculpture of Dionicio Rodriguez.  Following a box lunch, there will be a bus tour of some of San Antonio’s faux bois landmarks and a demonstration by Cortes at his studio.

The morning session is admission-free.  The fee for lunch and the afternoon bus tour is $25.  For more information, telephone the San Antonio Conservation Society, 210-224-6163.

January 16, 2013, Update: San Antonio’s faux bois art and artists are featured on KLRN ARTS.