ANXIETY OF INFLUENCE.

I almost crashed on my way home tonight.  I was driving on a two-lane street alongside a black Lexus luxury SUV that had a white plastic rosary dangling from its rear view mirror. I couldn’t help it; I was fixated on the plastic symbolism and almost jumped a curb. But I got home safe, and as a result of the ‘near death / major fuck up’ experience, I’m now feelin temporarily displaced within the cliché of a man who’s becoming ‘painfully aware of his conscious’ as a result of the suffering almost endured. Well, I was. Not so much anymore.

I also had a near ‘fart in public’ experience today, as well.  It happened while I attended a lecture at South Texas College by Alvaro Rodriguez, a Hollywood screenwriter known for his penmanship in films like Machete and Shorts.

I managed to save the gas ’til the end of the lecture, which I let out, smoothly and silently, as I ‘crop-dusted’ a former history professor of mine whom I dislike.

But, aside, I also experienced something neat. I got to meet Alvaro and have a casual sit down discussion / interview about Machete, a movie he cowrote about a Mexican who kills a lot of people and bangs several hood rats because he’s super mad / horny / mad-horny because Steven Segal killed his wife.  Basically, it was a meaningful movie, and I was pretty excited to be meeting Alvaro.  I was fortunate enough to have him to myself for a ‘planned’ interview for the College’s newspaper (Thanks Charley / Michael J), and took the cleared out room as an opp to ask him some questions.

The interview was tame.  His response to the first couple of questions exposed him as a literary man without a film degree who ‘takes what he can get’ from Shakespeare and Borges and ‘leaves whatever he can’t use on the table.’ In response to my loaded question: “Do you think the genre of ‘Mexican-American Literature’ is a form of literary segragation?”  he, with the smooth, slippery conciseness of a politician, maneuvered around to, well, not directly answering it.

Unfortunately I didn’t record the good majority of the interview (STC’s writer did, though). However, I did manage to record the last question I asked him, which I felt had the best response.  With Alvaro’s permission, I’ve decided to share it with the interweb.

Here is the transcribed Q & A I had with Alvaro Rodriguez.

Me:
Can I ask you one more question?

Alvaro:
Absolutely.

Me:
You’re telling us that you’re making ‘popcorn’ films [cheap films overloaded with cheap entertainment, often void of conveying ‘deep social commentary’]. I totally see that. You also seem like a very well read, educated, individual.

Alvaro:
Right.

Me:
But your presentation (Machete) does have meaning. And you regularly exhibit artistic qualities in your film.  You, YOU, are artistic. But- do you consider yourself an Artist?

Alvaro:
I would say I aspire to be an artist.  But I think that claiming any sort of title like that comes with a lot of baggage.

Me:
Of course.

Alvaro:
It’s just something where it’s like, there’s a pretense. It goes back to defining whatever an ‘artist’ means. So to me, an artist is someone who makes you feel through their art, through whatever creation they’ve put up there, whether it’s amazing, a poem, or a movie. That’s what I aspire to do; I aspire to make you feel. I also aspire to make you feel happy to be watching this movie, happy that you’re having this experience. I don’t think I succed all the time, but it’s something I want to keep trying to do, whatever story I’m working on.

Me:
Ok, well hey, thank you for putting up with my questions.

Alvaro:
Hey, no, ‘ppreciate it.

///////////////////////////////////////

Here is a trailer for Machete:

Thanks for reading.

-///

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