Monday, August 25, 2003

August 25, 2003,
I finally found a way to clean my studio. For the past six months I have come out to the studio every day vowing to get a handle on my mess, and every single day I wade past the filth and piles of crap and start working on my “blog.” Last week lightning took out my modem (the Universe trying to help me?) and I can’t get online, so I started cleaning off one of my art desks at 4 AM on Saturday morning. Even dismantled the brush tray and cleaned it (first time since I bought it in 1992). Felt great. Did my second art desk on Sunday and attacked the floor this morning. Of course I found long lost reference, intriguing half-finished paintings, and a missing neighbor (not really: he was a stranger).

On Saturday I went to see Open Range at Desert Ridge with Kathy and Mike Melrose (he met us there). Lo and behold, in comes Trish and Bob Brink and they sat behind us. What are the odds? One of the previews was for The Alamo and it looks spectacular. I was very encouraged by what I saw and I think it should probably be on the cover with Billy Bob Thorton as Davy. As for Open Range I can only say the telegraph is alive and well. Every scene and every character and every plot point is telegraphed. And like a telegraph message, most of the time you know what is coming but it takes a long time getting there. Way too self-indulgent (“Kevin Costner has an Oscar,” I can hear the studio saying. “let him make his magic”). Still, the gunfights at the end are really cool. For once, the sounds of a rifle and pistol are distinctly different (and loud) and they even captured the echo down the canyon that is so unique to real rifle fire. To show you how starved people are for a Western, Gus Walker’s father (83) went to the movies by himself this weekend, and he loved Open Range.So there. I'm hoping I'm wrong and the thing soars.

Afterwards we went down to El Conquistador for lunch ($28 cash). Had a Corona and the EC tacos. Deena and Melrose joined us. Fun.

From there, Mike and I drove down to the Camelback Inn and visited Paul Hutton who is in town scouting a resort for an upcoming History Association confab. We sat by the pool and drank beers while his kids swam. We mostly talked about the Billy dig and backstabbing production companies.

Tonight the History Channel is running two episodes of Old West Tech. I'm in both shows and the success of these shows will partially determine if we get our Classic Gunfight show. Needless to say we are rooting for them, but they show here at 9PM (not a good time for Baby Boomers like me). Check it out and tell me what you think.

Our editor, R.G. is high in the Sierra Nevadas and plans to conquer two mountains on his vacation. On Friday I asked him, “What’s more exhilarating to you, the climb to the top or the view when you get there?” R.G. thought for a moment and said, “I just enjoy walking uphill.” To which I said, “Well, no wonder you came to work here. You must be having a blast.” We laughed. He’ll be out all week.

”Words spoken on the road are heard by snakes in the grass.”
—Mo Yan

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