I got some shit to say. And I'm lazy.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

David Vs. Goliath, or Why San Antonio is good for the little guys and downtown actors

In previous posts, I made a 'homer' type plea for what's good about my hometown San Antonio Spurs. Watching them lose valiantly tonight against the Lakers in Los Angeles (or some suburb thereof; it's not really Los Angeles, let's face it) reminded me in a more immediate vein as to why they so dearly mean so much to me, probably more than any of my other, non-South Texan friends here in New York who follow sports can fathom. Eric and Chris and even Laura can understand.

Ladies and gentlemen, we ARE the underdogs. We come from a part of the country politicians forget, politically correct pundits don't want to touch with a ten foot (highly multi-cultural-all-inclusive) pole, and movies only care about in terms of legends about the dusty old West.(The Alamo, anyone?) But we keep on making it. All of us. Music wise, writing wise, acting wise, family wise. (shout out to little Sophie!!!) My dad has told me time and again that my time would come, and that when it did, I shouldn't expect anyone to care. Watching the Spurs dominate professional basketball the last ten years is to have watched the national media basically ignore a force of nature. I wondered if, and now can only come to the conclusion that, they did, in fact, ignore my hometown Spurs because they are located in, if not the, then certainly one of, the smallest markets in all of the U.S. You think it's coincidence that nobody outside of Sacramento was upset six years ago because of all the non-calls against the Lakers in the Kings series back then? I bet my good friend H-bomb could tell you something about that.

And more to the point, that's the problem. With sports fans specifically, but also with alot of people in general. They only root for winners. They only like the sure thing. Believe me, I know how hard this life is; hell, all I do is help 5,000 people a day and then come home to an empty apartment and wind up making mix tapes for myself, and wonder why no one cares what I think. So, why, when everything out there, all the bills, and war, and uncertainty coming at us a million miles an hour from every direction (do I stay in the arts or not?, do I get in a long term relationship or not?, do I spend my economic stimulus package on new jeans and shoes, or invest it in me long term or not?, do I give this all up and move back to Austin and open a smoothie stand or not?) it's easy to only care, and in turn, root, for the winners. We need reassurance. We need comfort. We crave that winner take all, no matter how wrong it is mentality that this country is founded upon. In short, most of us NEED, nay, crave the Lakers. And the Yankees. And James Cameron films. And Obama....oops, too soon?

I say let's root for the underdogs. Let's root for the Jimmy Chitwoods. Let's pull for the Cougar's and reformed needle heads and kids who come from drug addled parents of this great land. That, in part, is what we are also founded on. Finding our way, no matter what anyone told us. Fighting our way to the top. Especially to those of us in the arts. We don't need to root for winners in the big sense, no, we need to root for the people that came from nowhere, who keep fighting the odds, no matter how bad the odds look. (Apologies to everyone who went to Yale or UCSD or ART or ACT. I apologize. I clearly couldn't get in to any of those programs and deservedly so. Right?) Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker, Brent Barry,Bruce Bowen, Timmy, and especially Coach Pop, this one's for you. You fought for everything you got, and in losing, a.) did it with dignity and pride, the opposite of that little Serbian bitch who shot a 3 at the buzzer; and b.) do it in spite of all the pundits, who,let's face it, drive this country, and told you that you had no business being there in the first place. (cue up commercial of Charles Barkley gorging himself to death on his 'top five.') To quote Steve Perry, 'Don't stop....believing...'

Now that's a lesson we could all stand to learn.
Keep on doing what you believe in, the way you believe in doing it.

And as always,
Sorry all you theatre heads. This one's for the kids from the 210 and 512.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Nita Quepasita!

A very very very hearty congratulations to my kid sister, Sarah Jane York, who this past Saturday received her bachelors in Social Work and already has a job in her field!

Way to go Nita!

It's strange the pride that swelled in me watching this kiddo walk across the stage. Like I had a damn thing to do with it. Please. This one is all you, baby girl. You make me proud to be your older brother. Odelay!

And in case anybody's ever wondered, here's what the whole clan looks like, circa 2008.

A Break In The Time/Space Continum, or A Spurs Fan's Lament

(Editor's Note: The below was written on a flight late last night from Memphis to New York. It is meant to convey the anxiety one feels while waiting on an outcome you have absolutely no control over. or something.)

I am flying 30,000 feet in the air, delayed an hour by bad scheduling, and couldn’t be more frustrated. I find myself in a unique position in that I am completely without access to TV, Internet or even the radio. Flying back to NYC at the exact same time as the Spurs play the Hornets in a monumental Game 7 (for Spurs fans, anyway) has rendered me emotionally flaccid and unexplainably antsy. Let me explain.

Being a fan of a sports team is an irrational act, unlike falling in love with a writer’s work or the body of songs a rock band puts out. It’s rooted in something deeper and more primal: when we as fans identify with a team, it speaks to something unspeakable about ourselves. In the grand scheme of things the games are truly just pleasant diversions, something to take our mind off of the day to day, but in the underneath of it all, the game behind the game, fandom can say more about us than our tastes or how we dress. It’s a simple thing, really, but it says a lot.

I am a massive Spurs fan. Have been on and off for the last 25 years of my life. When I fell in love them they were terrible, perennial losers both on and off the basketball court. They got David Robinson and had some success; ten years later they got Tim Duncan, an even a mild sports observer knows the rest of the story. They won. A lot. But let me back up a moment for a little personal reflection.

I am from San Antonio, born and raised. By all accounts, we are the big Texas city with the chip on its civic shoulder, the place known for a foolhardy battle (Remember the Alamo?) and a river walk in the center of town. We are the 8th largest city in the country, and yet when I tell people where I’m from, they get a quizzical look on their face so I quickly throw a ‘Texas’ after it.

We don’t have much in the way of commerce, or art, or money to speak of; no, those went to the bigger and better endowed cities like Austin, Houston, and god forsaken Dallas. No one really famous is from here, and the very invocation of our city brings to mind coonskin caps, long knives, and demarcations in the sand, all for the misguided efforts of a ragtag band of misfits. If they ever decide to anoint buildings with sainthood, well then surely The Alamo is the patron saint of lost causes.

Which brings me back to my Spurs. No one outside of Sand Antonio, other than smart sports people in the know, likes them. They are not flashy like the Lakers; they don’t have the mystique of the Celtics; there are no high wire acts ala Michael Jordan’s Bulls. They are tough but they aren’t bullies; they play smart and gutsy, bur rarely wind up on Sportscenter’s Top Ten. They aren’t demonstrative or lippy; what tattoos they do have aren’t readily visible to the public eye. Everyone who is a casual fan discounts them, but no NBA player who knows what’s up wants to face them. They are, in short, often an after thought; they do, in fact, have 3 of the last 5 NBA championships.

I love them because they, in short, remind me of me, and in a more general sense, the people of SA. I didn’t get to go to the undergrad program I wanted to, and I had to work hard, probably double hard, just to get in to the Apprentice program at Louisville. People in San Antonio are often overlooked, which is why industry is slow to move here. No one takes some San Antonio actor who didn’t come out of one the grad school mafias seriously.People from SA gotta work for everything they get. It took me five years to get an agent, and when I did, I booked four gigs in six months. I haven’t heard from those agents in over a year. So even when you think you're making headway, it's right on to the next big thing.

I don’t want this to become some screed about how you can never count out the heart of a champion in symphony with the heart of a unemployed character actor from South Texas because one of the many things that endears the Spurs to me so is that they would be the first to tell you that everything that happened in the past is merely prelude. You’re only as good as your last possession, and everything that came before don't mean diddly, even though it seems like it should. A good life lesson, really.

Hopefully, things will work out for the best,for me and the Spurs, everything being equal. Hopefully this fallow period will actually help sow future fruits that will make my current lull seem like nothing but a long since faded memory. Hopefully tonight’s game will be one for the ages, and the good guys will come out on top. Hopefully this blog post won’t seem embarrassing in the harsh grey light of day, because of the curious stuck between stations nature of it’s contents.

For lack of anything revelatory to end this on, I will say only this:


So, they won.
Next up, The Lakers.
Bring it.