Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Sweet Sound of Two Men Laughing

NORTH BOSQUE BIKE PATH--Bob Evans and I hadn't been able to ride together for a month. We were taking the north route. Bob parked his VW in the parking lot at Kit Carson Park just south of Tingley Beach, and we started north at a pretty good pace. Before long we saw a guy coming towards us on a tricycle and flagged him down. Bob figures his body is taking him in the direction of just such a machine.

It was being ridden by a man named Mark who works at the airport. He rides down from Alameda and the river every day to Tingley Beach, catches a fish, and brings it back north again to the Alameda parking lot. As I understand it, he then takes this fish with him to work, where he cooks it and eats it.

     Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb

Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley

Down the rivers of the windfall light.
Everything seemed to be busy changing down by the Rio Grande today...and that included the two of us. We felt like boys again, maybe 13-year-old kids, out riding and exploring for the day. We saw all kinds
of birds including a Bald Eagle, Canada geese, and a whole flock of sea gulls. Could somebody please explain what they are doing on the Rio?

And cranes. Lot of cranes. And they were headed north! They didn't look in any particular hurry, but the cranes were definitely headed north.
         Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
We were up on the old Alameda Bridge by this time. It turns out that the state is doing some habitat restoration on all those islands north of the bridge. We saw an airboat of some
kind ferrying workers. And there is a big crane out there that seems to be dredging new channels into the center of some of the islands.

We fooled around in the old sand bars for a while. I found a curved stick that had a plastic tape tied to it at both ends like some kid was trying to make a play bow-and-arrow. Bob and I thought how similar our lives were today to that kid. We're laughing in the sunlight, wandering around, riding our old bikes anywhere we want...yes, childhood does return occasionally.
     And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden

Follow him out of grace.
We got up on the levee and continued north. A couple of miles from Alameda Blvd. Sandia Pueblo has a gate across the levee threatening trespassers with prosecution. "Well," I asked him, "Do you feel lucky?" No...not that kind of lucky...just lucky to be here. Just lucky to be two wise guys laughing.

     Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
--from Fern Hill, Dylan Thomas

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: El Cabezon del Pit

THE PIT--Yes, this is the view from my seat in Section 6 Row2. As you can see The Pit starts numbering their rows at the top. Life is indeed almost perfect.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Sunday Poem: Kenyon Review Editor David Baker

American Life in Poetry: Column 044


Unlike the calculated expressions of feeling common to its human masters, there is nothing disingenuous about the way a dog praises, celebrates, frets or mourns. In this poem David Baker gives us just such an endearing mutt.

Mongrel Heart

Up the dog bounds to the window, baying
like a basset his doleful, tearing sounds
from the belly, as if mourning a dead king,

and now he's howling like a beagle — yips, brays,
gagging growls — and scratching the sill paintless,
that's how much he's missed you, the two of you,

both of you, mother and daughter, my wife
and child. All week he's curled at my feet,
warming himself and me watching more TV,

or wandered the lonely rooms, my dog shadow,
who like a poodle now hops, amped-up windup
maniac yo-yo with matted curls and snot nose

smearing the panes, having heard another car
like yours taking its grinding turn down
our block, or a school bus, or bird-squawk,

that's how much he's missed you, good dog,
companion dog, dog-of-all-types, most excellent dog
I told you once and for all we should never get.

Reprinted from "The Southeast Review," Vol. 23, No. 2, 2005, by permission of the author, whose newest book of poetry is "Midwest Eclogue," W. W. Norton (2005). Copyright © 2005 by David Baker. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

A Bridgework Orange

NOB HILL--It was hard to miss the picture of Mayor Chavez on the front page of this morning's Albuquerque Journal. It was one of those posed live-action shots that the mayor is famous for. Pat Vasquez-Cunningham of the Journal gets the credit for the original photo. But let's take a closer look at it...just because we like to play with the paper while eating breakfast.
The two guys doing the real barrel work that morning look pretty darn amused by the whole thing...probably due to a number of things.
  1. If the mayor had any sense he would have taken the weight ring off the bottom of the barrel before lifting it into the truck.
  2. If Councilman Cadigan had any sense he would have dressed like he had some.
  3. And where are their "Mayor Marty's Clean Team" vests? Everybody else, from city employees to prisoners doing community service, has to wear them.
But you say, "Wait a minute. These aren't real guys working, it's a visual symbol of our civic leaders getting things done." And that leads us to the symbolism itself. And what does that barrel represent? Petroglyphs? Peace and Quiet in the valley? The wishes of most of the City Council? Heave it into the truck. Here is a picture of a man who can get it done all by himself. Even Michael Cadigan looks like he is trying to get out of the way!

The other feature of this publicity photo concerns who is not in the picture. For instance, where are:
  1. people from the trampled Village of Los Ranchos
  2. the rest of the City Council
  3. the judges and Army Corps of Engineers who went along with this
  4. the west side developers who contributed so heavily to his campaign
Bridges are meant to bring people together. But not this one.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Friday Reading @ Winnings Coffee House

NOB HILL--This just in from the English Grad Students:

Aaron Zimmerman
The first Works-in-Progress of the Semester is TOMORROW!

When: 7 PM
Where: Winnings Coffee, 111 Harvard SE
What: A night of readings featuring the Lena M. Todd
Memorial Prize winners:

Lauren Brazil, 2nd Prize, Creative Non-Fiction
A. Kyce Bello, 1st Prize, Creative Non-Fiction
Matthew Gomez, 2nd Prize, Poetry
Laurel Bastian, 1st Prize, Poetry
Graeme Prentice-Mott, 2nd Prize, Fiction
Aaron Zimmerman, 1st Prize, Fiction

We hope to see you there.

Questions? Contact Izzy at wasserst@unm.edu

Laurel Bastian

Taos Resident Writer Award Recipient

During the five years that Laurel has lived in Taos, she has organized and performed in dozens of spoken word events and is currently curating biweekly poetry and fiction readings for the Live Wire Writers Series. She managed the local literary magazine Venus Envy and was a contributing writer. She has also been chosen to read at the Somarts Center in San Francisco this July, and her work is forthcoming in Heart Lodge: Honoring the House of the Poet.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Last Train to Albuquerque

NOB HILL--A fellow rail fan in Arizona has emailed me that a tentative schedule has been posted for the New Mexico RailRunner. And...it looks like the RailRunner also has a new website. Although the website is still under construction, the female rider depicted plays to every rail fantasy in existence since Grant and Eva Marie Saint sat down to dinner.

The schedule is pretty interesting. It looks like it will take 45 minutes to get from downtown Belen to downtown Albuquerque. That is not too much faster than driving, but remember this time includes 3 stops before the train gets to ABQ's Alvarado Center. So I imagine that train is going to be passing cars like crazy. Now that is the kind of visual advertising that increases ridership!

And speaking of rail fantasies, the last train leaves Los Lunas for ABQ at 7:45 in the evening...so there is plenty of time for that tete a tete at the Luna Mansion.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper

NOB HILL--Sunday is the day for a big breakfast, and today we have J_M's specialty: the rustic omelette. A sauteed combination of whatever is in the vegetable bin and whatever is left in the egg tray...with cheese. Turkey sausage rounds it out. If, however, you are not "food-driven" even on Sundays, upload the sunset posted Friday.

The Sunday Poem: Floridian Lola Haskins

American Life in Poetry: Column 043

Lola Haskins, who lives in Florida, has written a number of poems about musical terms, entitled "Adagio," "Allegrissimo," "Staccato," and so on. Here is just one of those, presenting the gentleness of pianissimo playing through a series of comparisons.

To Play Pianissimo

Does not mean silence.
The absence of moon in the day sky
for example.

Does not mean barely to speak,
the way a child's whisper
makes only warm air
on his mother's right ear.

To play pianissimo
is to carry sweet words
to the old woman in the last dark row
who cannot hear anything else,
and to lay them across her lap like a shawl.

From “Desire Lines: New and Selected Poems,” BOA Editions, Rochester, NY. Copyright © 2004 by Lola Haskins and reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Fellow China Painter Evelyn Loose Dies at 96

NOB HILL--Fellow China painter Evelyn Loose died this week. She was two weeks shy of celebrating her 97th birthday. I was privileged to attend her last birthday party, a picture of which is below. I wrote about her then.(You'll have to scroll down to read it). I am reposting some of it here.

NORTH VALLEY--Evelyn Loose nee Wing was born in 1910. This picture was taken when she was 18. What a beauty. She was voted Best Looking Brunette, Best Looking Blonde, and Best Legs. I wonder how that worked. She is no longer a brunette or a blonde...and I haven't seen her legs, but what a beautiful person (inside and out).

Here is some of today's obituary from the Albuquerque Journal:

LOOSE -- Evelyn Jenny Loose, 96, our beloved mother, grandmother, and friend, passed away peacefully at home on January 17, 2006. Evelyn Wing was born in Continental, Ohio on January 30, 1910. She was the fifth of ten children born to William Wing and Myrtle Ault. Evelyn married the love of her life, Norman Loose on September 15, 1928. She and Norman moved west in 1935, lived in El Paso and Carlsbad, and eventually settled in Albuquerque in 1960. Evelyn was a skilled seamstress, cook, artist, flow-blue china collector, and world-class cherry pie baker. She enjoyed poetry and song; her beautiful voice sang songs that her great-grandchildren are still singing today. She was an active member for many years of the Progress Women's Club and the Highland Senior Center china painting group. We will miss her radiant smile, sparkling blue eyes and positive attitude which inspired everyone who met her. Evelyn was a cherished part of our lives.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Nothin' Special About This Morning...Except the Sun Came Up and Filled the Sky With Fire

NOB HILL--I was walking down to the Flying Star this morning...and the dawn stopped me cold! I fumbled in my pocket and pulled out my little Nikon. Some things you just have to stop for. Even before coffee.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

J_M Scoops ABQTrib by 2 Days...Trib Columnist Calls Blogs "SLOP"

NOB HILL--I was so happy to see the Tribune picked up the El Vado story Wednesday afternoon. The Journal had a short piece on it this morning, Thursday. My original story is below...under Monday. I guess what tempers my happiness at seeing the issue put before more people is that the same day the Tribune ran its El Vado story, they ran a page-length column by Steve Lawrence titled, "BLOG SLOP."

Under that moronic headline was this: "Internet hangouts can be lively, but they're not credible." Somebody should have told their news department before they spent all that time following up on my story.

What was SL's point? Oh, that blogs don't have to pass "through a writer and several editors, all of whom are concerned with fairness, accuracy and timeliness." No, I am not making this up. And No, I am not going to cite the problems of America's Newspaper of Record. In fact, I can't even link you to the column because it is not on their website. But Steve, it seems, has an uneasy feeling that people don't read books or newspapers anymore.

I hear that. It is especially difficult to read SL's long-winded (but ultimately lazy) assessment of the state of the printed word. BLOG SLOP goes on for about 600 words and 15 paragraphs without mentioning a single blog. Not one. It is as if he had a deadline, three cups of coffee, and a load on angst. He had to dump it somewhere. Talk about "slop." It was a rant that actually sounded like a few bloggers I've read...you know the rants...and when you get down to the time they were posted it is usually about 3:00 A.M.

Maybe he needs a long vacation. I called Tribune Editor Phil Casaus today, got his machine and left my number. I wonder if he'd be interested in what a blogger thinks we have to contribute to public discourse. I do know I am not the only writer to take offense at Lawrence's column; heavy-hitters Mark Justice Hinton and John Fleck have also posted on this.

Meanwhile, both papers seem to miss what I consider to be the most important aspect of that El Vado piece: the purpose of the enormous price hike. After all, the price went from either $670,000 or $1,300,000...depending, to the present price of $3,250,000 in 3 months. I have to believe that the owner, Richard Gonzales, is looking to having the city somehow pick up the bill...or at least he wants a 7 figure amount under discussion. Stay tuned on this one.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Chairs, Chairs, Ceviche, & Shrimp

NOB HILL--They didn't look that special: 6 small wooden chairs stacked up seat on seat someplace near the front windows of the Antique Specialty Mall on Central SE. They did have a blocky look to them with carved geometric designs on the backrests. Still, $4000 seemed a bit steep for the six, even if the piece of paper taped to one of them did say the three magic letters: WPA.

I had just been looking at four other chairs in a back room, trying to figure out how to justify buying them...and where, exactly, I could put them if I did buy them. They were also small and carved, but totally different. They had turned details and the seats were carved into concave shapes. Amazingly, some of the seat bottoms still bore saw marks from what looked to have been a hand saw. The little sign said that they were hand-made, from Taos, and had been in the family for 4 generations. The price for these wonderful pieces of New Mexico history had been marked down to $280 for the set! What a total bargain. MaryAnn said, "Get 'em."

But not this time. Not me. YOU get 'em.

We were still talking about those little pieces of furniture as we drove away south on Jefferson. Hey, what's this? A big new sign on that drive-in bank building said, "Los Equipales Restaurant." Now I love equipal furniture. We have some at home...you know, those round pigskin chairs from Mexico. Well, we had to stop.

Los Equipales Restaurant specializes in coastal Mexican cuisine. Their menu is about 70% seafood, but also has things like enchiladas suizas. I always crack up when I read that...Swiss enchiladas!

Anyway, we started out with ceviche, fresh seafood with lime sauce. I wish I had taken a picture of it because the presentation was simple but elegant. I just wasn't that smart. I was too busy enjoying the eating aspect. MaryAnn ordered the enchiladas suizas and I had the special, shimp enchiladas. I do love shrimp. They also had a couple of really tempting soups but maybe next time.

Everything was delicious and tasted totally fresh. And the restaurant was beautiful - complete with tablecloths and equipales chairs. I liked the fact that the kitchen was visible. I liked how new everything felt new; the place has only been open two months. But most of all, we loved the warm and comfortable feeling that those equipales lent to the room and our time there. Erika, one of the owners, said that at night they light candles on the tables.

What would all this set you back? Most dishes are under $10. They are open until 9 p.m.

Monday, January 16, 2006

El Vado Up For Sale Again...New Owner Hoping for a $2 Million Profit

WEST CENTRAL--What a sad lesson in greed. When MaryAnn and I talked to the former manager of El Vado last October she said the property was for sale and the asking price was $1.3 million. The property sold. And, after some "issues" with the mayor and others concerning tearing down a property on the national register of historic places, the property is for sale again. This time, three months later, the price has climbed to $3.25 million! This is according to Lynn Koch of La Puerta real estate, who is the agent handling the sale.

Update! A commenter apparently from a blog called Route 66 News states that the actual sales price was around $670,000.

Now I would admit that the owner is entitled to some profit...after all, he assumed some risk in buying the place. But a $2,000,000 profit on a three-month turnaround seems just a little excessive. Remember, this is a 32 room facility on 1.26 acres that was deemed unprofitable at $1,300,000.

It sure seems like the owner is not only asking the city to bail him out of an idea that wouldn't fly with the community, he wants to get rich beyond what he would have made if his set of condos had been built. Sin Verguenza. Shameless.

I remember him saying how bad that property was and the city should be glad he was going to tear it down. Now listen to him sing his $3,250,000 tune. This should be interesting.

Silver City Gets a Full Page in the New York Times

NOB HILL--Last Friday the NYT featured Silver City in its "36 Hours" segment. They outline several things they did there beginning at 5 p.m. on a Friday and ending at 9 a.m. Sunday. What a great way to organize a little info about a town.

And Silver City is a GREAT place to visit. It is one of our favorite places. It is in the center of so many things in the southern half of the state, like the Gila Cliff Dwellings, the Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness Areas, Pino Altos, the Black Range, and Palomas, Mexico. Speaking of Mexico, it is only about 3 hours from Casas Grandes, Paquime, and Mata Ortiz, home of Juan Quezada and all that pottery.

The NYT article did omit a couple of our favorite spots: the Dos Baristas coffee house (they have a picture of it but don't mention it) and the Palace Hotel.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: The Rail Runner Dashboard

NOB HILL--Last week I went on a small tour of the coaches and engines. These trains are meant to run in reverse as well as forward. In other words, they will not turn around at each terminus: the engine will always face south. Going north, the engineer will sit in a booth at the end of the last car...much like a motorman on a subway. Here is a shot of the dashboard in that booth. To use as your personal desktop background, right-click ...then set as wall paper.

The Sunday Poem: Minnesotan David Bengtson

American Life in Poetry: Column 042

Here is a poem by David Bengtson, a Minnesotan, about the simple pleasure of walking through deep snow to the mailbox to see what's arrived. But, of course, the pleasure is not only in picking up the mail with its surprises, but in the complete experience—being fully alive to the clean cold air and the sound of the wind around the mailbox door.

What Calls Us

In winter, it is what calls us
from seclusion, through endless snow
to the end of a long driveway
where, we hope, it waits—
this letter, this package, this
singing of wind around an opened door.

Reprinted from "What Calls Us," a Dacotah Territory Chapbook, 2003, by permission of the author, whose most recent book is “Broken Lines: Prose Poems,” from Juniper Press, St. Paul, MN, 2003. Poem copyright © 2003 by David Bengtson. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

Here is an additional piece by David Bengtson for your Sunday morning pleasure.

Morning Coffee

He stares at the pages of newspaper scattered across the kitchen table. He can't focus on any of the words, everthing a gray blur. He picks up his coffee cup, sips a bit, then puts the cup down precisely on the wet ring seeping through the newsprint. Again and again he does this, each time pressing harder and twisting the cup a little until a round wafer of paper can be lifted from the page. As he carefully peels it away, he reads what's printed inside the ring. Something about a $100 million NASA project to see if life exists elsewhere, about a few scientists who will begin listening tomorrow for signals from whoever might be out there. He reads, "Many stars emit radio waves, and if human ears were tuned to the right frequency, the sky would roar as much as it glows."

Friday, January 13, 2006

Full Circle on the Kitchen Remodel

NOB HILL--Almost exactly one year ago Marc Coan of Branch Cabinetry came over to the Mango_Mansion to check out our kitchen. He took pictures of everything...calling them the "before" pictures. It did need some work...and I posted what I considered to be a humorous piece about it last January called "Words Men Fear."

We eventually hired Marc and Branch to redo our kitchen. By the end of June they had completely stripped it down to bare walls and the subfloor. That's when MaryAnn and I left on our vacation. We came back in a month, and missed some of the messier aspects of the remodel. This included Berkshire Flooring refinishing the floors in our whole house as well as running oak flooring into the new kitchen.

We actually had it easy, since there is a "mother-in-law" studio apartment in the back of the house which we moved into for a while. It was kind of cramped...but also kind of fun. MaryAnn is just so flexible in her outlook on life. Nothing is a problem unless you make it a problem.

Well, Marc came back yesterday with a bigger, better camera. More pictures. It seems he is entering our kitchen in a home remodelling contest sponsored by some magazine. It is in the "small projects" category I am sure. Still, we really love our kitchen. Everything that Marc suggested was absolutely on the mark. And the sub-contractors were trustworthy enough and good enough that we were out of town for a good part of it.

Sometime I will do a thorough job of detailing what we actually did in the kitchen. It is all finished now except for the backsplash. We never really figured out that part of it.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Fresh Pavement on South Bosque Bike Path

SOUTH VALLEY--For the last couple of years I have been wondering what the future of the bike path was going to be once the pavement started to crack or heave. There always seems to be money to build things, but what about maintaining them. Well, maybe we have something of an answer: they have repaved the bumpiest part of the south valley bike trail, that part next to the Hispanic Cultural Center. Actually they have repaved about a mile of trail...from Bridge Blvd. south to where the path crosses the ditch. They also seemed to have widened it.

I was down there with MaryAnn Sunday. There were a lot of Canada geese hanging out in the ball fields near Bridge. In fact, I have noticed a lot of geese and cranes in Albuquerque's bosque this winter. Maybe this is because there is so much water in the Rio Grande right now.

Further down, where the path curves east, we saw three matching white horses keeping an eye on us.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Old #63 Is Up and Running

TINGLEY BEACH--The train is running! I guess it has been, but the hours are so restricted I hadn't noticed. Right now it is in service from 10:00 in the morning until 4:00 P.M. The cost is only $2.00 which isn't that much since the ride lasts, according to the engineer, 45 minutes. That must include a considerable amount of station time. Still...I want to do it. Maybe my grandson could find the time.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper

NOB HILL--The pony awaits his call at the filming of "Welcome to America" this week in Nob Hill.

The Sunday Poem: Albuquerquean Diane Thiel

American Life in Poetry: Column 041

Those photos in family albums, what do they show us about the lives of people, and what don't they tell? What are they holding back? Here Diane Thiel, who teaches in New Mexico, peers into one of those pictures.

Family Album

I like old photographs of relatives
in black and white, their faces set like stone.
They knew this was serious business.
My favorite album is the one that's filled
with people none of us can even name.

I find the recent ones more difficult.
I wonder, now, if anyone remembers
how fiercely I refused even to stand
beside him for this picture — how I shrank
back from his hand and found the other side.

Forever now, for future family,
we will be framed like this, although no one
will wonder at the way we are arranged.
No one will ever wonder, since we'll be
forever smiling there — our mouths all teeth.

Reprinted from “Echolocations,” Story Line Press, 2000, by permission of the author. Copyright © 2000 by Diane Thiel, whose most recent book is “Resistance Fantasies,” Story Line Press, 2004. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Across the Border: Juarez & El Paso

NOB HILL--As MaryAnn's winter break wound down last weekend, we found ourselves spending the day in Juarez, Mexico. It was actually the day of New Year's Eve, so life on both sides of the border was moving a little slow...everyone saving their energy for that evening.

But the skies were blue and the sun was bright as we walked across the border into Juarez. About three blocks into the city a man asked, "Taxi? El mercado?" Well that hit me just right. I didn't want to walk all the way to the old mercado. So for 5 bucks we rode the mile or two.

Oh, we shopped. I bought another beautiful striped blanket. I have bought several over the years, but something keeps happening to them and I needed a new one. We also got a couple of hand-blown juice glasses and a small mirror. They may be trinkets to most people, but to us these are more like small parts of our lives filled with memories of this wonderful time together.

At any rate, we didn't really come down here to shop...we were looking for relaxation. So we settled down on the warm patio drinking a kind of coffee flavored with cinnamon. The musicos played nearby and the coffee and sun warmed us inside and out. It seemed like a day in paradise.

We took a taxi back to the downtown area and slowly made our way north the few blocks to the border. The bright paint gave an exotic feel to what was essentially a very human experience: how to separate us from a few of our dollars. But we met some very friendly people down there. Some were merchants or street vendors, others were shoppers. Several times I found myself looking into someone's eyes...both of us realizing that we were both dancers in someone else's tune. And there wasn't much we could do about it.

As we crossed the bridge back into El Paso it felt even more like that. One side of the bridge was for pedestrians walking into Mexico, the other for pedestrians walking into El Paso. The moving lines of people, both Mexicans and Americans going to and fro reinforces one thought: we are one people, worldwide, and though politics and borders certainly have their impact on our lives, there is no US and THEM.

I do not have any big solutions for border and immigration problems. There are at least two sides to everything. But looking down from that bridge at the narrow channel of water that divides Mexico from the U.S. it is so obvious that one side the the channel is pretty much the same as the other...at least in terms of us as people sharing the same land. I only hope that we can overcome the impositions of political reality and economics.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

'Welcome To America' Filming in Nob Hill

NOB HILL--Kevin Kline stars in this drama about a young Mexican girl who is abducted and forced into becoming a sex slave. Her brother tries to find her and teams up with a police officer. This plotline would certainly explain why I saw a young woman being kidnapped from the parking lot behind La Montanita Co-op this afternoon.

She had been on the payphone having a really intense conversation with somebody when a Chevy van pulled up. Two guys jumped out, grabbed her, forced her into the van, and drove off. I personally don't like to watch those kind of scenes. I guess I need to know that everything will turn out all right in the end.

In any case, they were also filming a parade scene. Silver Ave. was crowded with band members, a color guard, several antique cars, clowns with balloons, a horse and woman...both dressed in silver spangles, and bystanders (who may or may not have been part of the cast).

The film is directed by 28-year-old Marco Kreuzpainter, whose filmography includes quite a few German titles. The film also stars Paulina Gaytan in her first film. Genia Michaela also stars. She also appeared in Three Wise Guys which was filmed in Nob Hill last year. By the way, Kevin Kline was not there this afternoon.

Frankly, I feel that it's pretty neat that film companies think this part of the world is interesting enough to use. I certainly do...I have been taking pictures around here for over a year.