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The Mother Road

May 28th, 2018 · Tags: Uncategorized

Brothers Of The Road, The Mother Road …

Just This, Then Moratorium On Windmills … Already

May 24th, 2018 · Tags: Arts · Coffee Shops

 

I had said I would try no more windmill video tricks.  I lied.  Maybe I need a windmill support group.  After all those years of making cracks about black-velvet paintings of windmills … I tried to get out and they sucked me back in.

 

 

Little Movie Set That Could

May 23rd, 2018 · Tags: Arts · Cities

This has kind of a down-home feel about it.  A Folk Art video take on what has become a nice museum. 

Grazes With Cadillacs

May 20th, 2018 · Tags: Arts

Folk Art, Windmills Still …

May 19th, 2018 · Tags: Arts

The Answer My Friend Is Blowing In The Wind

May 13th, 2018 · Tags: Arts · Coffee Shops · Music

 

In Jim Stafford’s old novelty tune, “The Wildwood Weed,” the storyteller speaks of finding his brother Bill “naked, singing on the windmill,”  after a night of home-grown revelry.  (Ha … When my brother was a young boy, he once tried to fly off the windmill wearing a cape, but I think he was fully clothed.)

Interesting to note:  various Internet sources for song lyrics differ on whether brother Bill was “singing” on the windmill, or “swinging” on the windmill. I thought it was the former, but I am terrible at song lyrics.  Could he have been “pinging” on the windmill?  Regardless, all sources agree, Bill was, in fact, naked.  I digress …

 

 

 

I have climbed a few of the old galvanized towers, either to help turn the mechanism into the wind and “kickstart” the mill … or to look at an eagle’s nest perched at the top of the tower … or to take a photo or two.

Flash forward … In Fort Worth, planted between a new shiny Starbucks coffee shop and an even shinier Neiman Marcus store, there is a replica of the old farm-and-ranch style windmill.  But there’s a twist on this windmill.  An artist has added colored, transparent blades. When the wind blows, it is quite a light show.  Alternating colors, the sun’s glare, and shadows cast down on the bloggers below.

(I couldn’t resist shooting video of the stained glass windmill, and trying out some new skills with a video editing app.)

 

 

Today, greeting visitors to my home, there is an old, Aermotor brand  windmill vane hanging on the wall by the door — Aermotor, made in Chicago, “The Windy City,” I might add.  The art piece is complete with bullet holes from back-roads vandals, and an old stenciled inscription on the metal, stating “Adrian Mercantile.” “If that ain’t country, I’ll …” as the old David Allan Coe song goes …

 

 

Flash back … When we were kids, my brothers and sister and I would pause in the blinking shadow of the windmill, spinning on the ground down below, on a sunny day.  A fan of “Star Trek” as a young boy, I would pretend that the windmill’s strobe effect was me “beaming up” to some imaginary starship.  Fascinating!  Ha … I think “beaming up” was sort of what Jim Stafford’s brother was doing in the song mentioned above … maybe.

 

 “Star Trek” may have seemed far-fetched back in the day, but then again, now we can get photos of our old windmills from satellites in space. 

 

Pinging The Old PingFarm Place From Space

 

Windmills are so awe-inspiring … both the old relics that helped settle the plains, and the huge white monsters that are infiltrating the countryside as of late.

 

 

But, is there anything more refreshing that a drink of cold water on a hot windy Panhandle day, right out of an old windmill, direct from the aquifer beneath?

 

I’m a fan of windmills.

 

 

I’m not alone.  A simple Google search also found these lyrics, sung by one of the most sultry voices of the ’60s, Dusty Springfield.  Ha … dusty and windmills go hand-in-hand in my mind.

 

“Windmills Of Your Mind”

 

Round
Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel
Like a snowball down a mountain
Or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that’s turning
Running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes of its face
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind
Like a tunnel that you follow
To a tunnel of its own
Down a hollow to a cavern
Where the sun has never shone
Like a door that keeps revolving
In a half-forgotten dream
Or the ripples from a pebble
Someone tosses in a stream
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes of its face
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind
 
Songwriters: Alan Bergman / Marylin Bergman / Michel Legrand
 
I like windmills.
 
Know what I sayin?
 

Dallas International Film Festival … The B-I-G Idea

May 9th, 2018 · Tags: Arts · Cities

 

Anthony Pedone

If you go to The West Village in Dallas — or “Big D” — you will see these two large, blue (probably concrete) letters that spell out “B_G” … No, it is not a tribute to a falsetto disco group.  The “I” is missing.  But you don’t have to “buy a vowel,” when you can “be a vowel.” … So there are instructions on a mat on the sidewalk, with a graphic, showing where you should put your feet, between the B and the G, inviting you to stand there and complete the word.

You don’t have to “you do you” for a second or two.  You can “be the ‘I.’”  BIG idea.

A few feet away, the creative folks at The Dallas International Film Festival have planted big red letters that spell out their hot hashtag #DIFF … however, the DIFF letters are not made of concrete.  I know.  I leaned on the not-so-tenacious “D” last night and just about knocked it to the ground.  Ha!  Yes, I did that thing where, as soon as one regains their balance, I looked around to see if anyone witnessed.  No one did … not even the diminutive gentleman who was almost man crushed on the other side of the big “D.” Ha! I almost inserted an extra “I” in the DIFF hashtag.

 

Around the corner from the big letters, I saw the Tesla demo automobiles, mentioned in the previous blog.  I had to get to the bottom of this. “Señor Tesla,” I called out to the promo person.  “If Tesla is cool enough to orbit the earth, do the cars also have Wi-Fi?”  Nyet. But, he said they do have cool LTE wireless technology.  Meanwhile, the specs on the Tesla site list Wi-Fi … more research required.

In other news … another great night of shooting the up-and-coming on the red carpet.

Just two days left for the festival, btw:

DIFF 2018 Schedule

 

Daveed Diggs

Last night, I suppose the biggest “stars” on the red carpet were Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal.  Diggs — as most people on the planet other than me know — won a Grammy and a Tony for his role as Jefferson in “Hamilton.”  Casal starred in HBO’s “Def Poetry.”  Well I won’t give my thoughts on “Hamilton,” but Diggs became an instant favorite of mine when I watched him interact with a special-needs child (Make-A-Wish?) off to the side, beyond the red carpet activities.  Diggs and Casal co-wrote for the film “Blindspotting” — perhaps destined to be a DIFF festival favorite.

 

Diggs, Rafael Casal

Diggs

As for the intense, ongoing PingWi-Fi one-on-one coverage … ha … I corned the man of many hats — co-writer and director, Anthony Pedone — of the film “An American In Texas.”

Pedone’s film is a coming-of-age story of a punk rock outfit in Victoria, Texas of all places. Wonder if the band hung out at Moo-Moo’s Chicken and Ventura Mexican Food … I digress …

 

Pedone “had me at ‘punk,’” so our conversation soon turned to The Clash.  He is a fan too, although he is about 10 years younger than me and what’s left of that band.  BUT … get this … one of his colleagues from the film played in Joe Strummer’s solo band (not The Mescaleros).  Well, “rock my casbah!”

American In Texas

Next up, Pedone said no more music films for now … but he has a really interesting unsolved, true Texas murder mystery in the works.  Can’t wait.

Know what I sayin?

GunsUp But Shooting Nikon At Dallas International Film Fest

May 8th, 2018 · Tags: Arts · Cities · Wi-Fi

 

It’s time for the annual pilgrimage to Big D for the DIFF, The Dallas International Film Festival … does that make me a film pilgrim?  I digress, (with assonance, I might add) …

It’s great fun … and sometimes I actually get to see a film or two, but a lot of the time is spent on the carpet … the red carpet.  The other night I rushed over to meet, greet and Nikon-ize the directors and talents paraded through the reporters/photographers’ gauntlet.  

But before all that, I spotted the festival’s Artistic Director James Faust and stopped by to surprise him with a big Texas Tech #GunsUp hand gesture and greeting … pretty neat that one of the coolest events in Dallas has a Red Raider overseeing the content.

In a brief outtake, Faust seemed to agree with my assessment that the DIFF has gone the way of social media, so to speak … “a more compact, energetic” iteration of itself.  This year, the festival is centralized at the Landmark Magnolia Theater, which puts the activity in the heart of Dallas’ oh-so-swank West Village.  Man!  That little restaurant/retail area has exploded … with many a street cafe table to view the stars and near-stars.  Great atmosphere, beautiful people and you don’t have to rush across town to get to your next screening.  I like it.

DIFF

Ha … shooting many up-and-coming talents and young directors, I spend most of my time trying to identify the people I photograph. (Yes, there is a tipsheet available, but me trying to be organized would take all of the fun out of it, wouldn’t it?)

But meanwhile … as I sift through all of the still photos, it seemed I needed some type of graphic content for this blog.  Thus the video.  If you’re interested in the “how to”: I opened about a hundred photos in Photos, and as I scrolled through them on my computer, I shot the screen images with my iPhone.  Then I took that raw video and edited it in iMovie and added a zippy little tune from the Garage Band app.  Kinda fun.  A poor man’s collage.  Red Carpet Noir, I call it.

Earlier in the week … I missed Director Rob Reiner on the carpet … my big chance to throw out a pithy, bigotry-laden, tongue-in-cheek one liner to Reiner … yes, call me “Meathead” for missing out on that.  Even I would know Reiner …

OH … did I mention I was way early for the Red Carpet event?

 

Tesla

Walking around, I had a chance to check out a couple of Tesla automobiles strategically parked to show off their beautiful technology for all of the film festival traffic.  No one offered, but I would have said “Nyet” to a test drive … still nursing a wounded wing from my two-wheeler incident.  

Hmmm … I should have checked to see if the two Teslas offered Wi-Fi … but I gotta wonder if Wi-Fi would eat up too much battery … you know for life support systems on all those trips into deep space … I digress.

Tesla

Still waiting, prior to the event, I walked around West Village then scoped out a nice bench in the shade, as the afternoon sun was slipping away, but still a factor. Ha! As I approached the bench, I saw another long-haired, bearded, gentleman … much younger than myself.  As I sat down, and I quipped, “They told me that ‘the longhairs were all supposed to sit over here.’”  He smiled a little, uncertain about me, this conversational old “Wavy Gravy” guy with a camera.

Nice.  Later when I took my assigned spot on the carpet — lo and behold — guess who was stationed right beside me?  Yes.  “Us longhairs gotta stick together.”  Nice guy.  Get this.  He was covering the event as a freelancer, and was still in high school.  High school! I couldn’t have grown a beard in high school even if VHS would have let me … 

Know what i sayin?

Bad Things Happen To Good Pings

May 6th, 2018 · Tags: Politics

A friend of mine responded with kind words to a post about The PingWi-Fi motorcycle crash, as seen on Facebook.  My friend’s family had experienced the horrific loss of their precious daughter at the hands of a drunk driver …years ago.  But I am sure it doesn’t hurt any less today …

I want to share part of the dialogue between friends, because  I just streamed my church’s services and today’s sermon recalled part of this … one of the points I tired to make.  Today’s sermon was “Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People” …

 

From Facebook:

“Connie: Thanks so much for your kind words and for sharing a part of your family’s tragic story. People need to hear stories like that to learn. Also, I want you to know that you guys were in my thoughts shortly after my accident … for a couple of reasons. 1) I thought of “Kev” and his new motorcycle, and my setting a poor example. I know he will still have the most fun on his bike … But, if hearing about my accident makes Kevin more safety conscious on his beautiful new Harley, then it was worth it. 2) In the blog I mentioned retrieving one of my possessions from the roadway, after the wreck. But what I didn’t say was that I had to limp over about 20 yards the opposite direction, in a different intersection to pick up my shoe. As I picked up my should, I immediately thought of you guys and the shoe being such a powerful icon used in the retelling of the terrible car accident that took your beautiful daughter’s life.

 

 

I will never forget what a sad, sad day it was when randomly, a TV commercial first told me the story of you and Kevin losing your daughter. Since then I have grieved for you, mourned with you, and prayed for you, but also rejoiced in knowing that you will all be together again someday.

Connie, I truly believe that everything that happens is God’s will — good things and even the horrendous things that happen, for reasons we may never understand. If we think about it, the most horrible thing that ever happened in this lost world was pre-ordained by and carried out against our Savior — all for the good of us … the undeserving.

When people tell me that they don’t believe good comes from bad, that miracle comes to mind. (Don’t get me wrong, I know you and Kevin know/believe this as strongly as anyone.) Good things make us appreciate how wonderful this world can be. Bad things have so many ripples we may never see. And bad things turn our focus to our God and to eternity — when life will be perfected for believers. I digress …

Could my accident have been a message or a wake up call? Probably. Has it changed my thinking? Most definitely. But as I was saying, if it makes Kev tighten up that helmet just a little more — then excellent. If some new father reads about it and decides to sell his moped … then awesome. For me … I will probably get out of city limits more. I can’t put into words that the act of riding a motorcycle and communing with nature in a special way, makes me feel closer to our Lord … weird, huh?

The point … of course, that life is short, regardless.

We could be randomly sucked from an airplane …

… thrown from a horse …

… hit by a car …

… fly off a motorcycle …

When it is our time, it is our time.

We should all be ready in our hearts.

Another friend said “Yes, God determines our fate to a degree, but don’t tempt fate.” Well … I agree to an extent, but that is like saying don’t leave your house … don’t swim … don’t try a new food … don’t go to the zoo … don’t talk to new people … don’t go to new places …

Ha … knowing me, I will probably accidentally cut myself with a can opener while prying open a can of green beans on some wilderness trip … and go out like that:) Who knows!?!

Live!

The most significant thing about the accident has been the effect on my heart. My heart has been warmed by so many friends who have reached out … but my heart hurts that there are people in this world who just don’t care enough about others to be more watchful.”

 

Know what I sayin?

Fortress Festival, Year Two Draws Big Names

April 28th, 2018 · Tags: Uncategorized

 

Day one of the second annual Fortress Festival in Fort Worth’s Cultural District, I caught Cure For Paranoia, the Dallas Observer‘s Best New Act in 2016 and Best Group Act in 2017. The highlight of their rap set — the lyric “but I digress …”

De La Soul later tonight … Father John Misty tomorrow night.

Fortress Festival Line Up

 

 

Know what I sayin?