A unique and lovely personality-my cousin Miguel left us this morning in Buenos Aires-to the end full of surprising life and humorous contradictions-I'm sure he will seek out Stan Kenton to see what he is up to.
Vallejo Nocturno 2016 - The Walk to Buy Bread and Avoid the Traffic
As the medicine took hold each morning we had an hour of purposeful leisure in preparation for that day's breakfast.This involved a walk down towards the water where bread was being baked and where the fruit cart stood decked in an array of mangoes and papayas and bananas. The trick was to take a different way avoiding the same streets and weaving past the traffic of desperate work goers trying to find a way around the bottle necked city streets. With the sun accompanying us we set off on our walk believing that our normal mundane life was far away on hold in a snow covered northern city and we were not fully aware in those days that an end is always nearby. Several years ago this walk was done while my mother lay in her bed delicately being tended to by two dutiful nurses back in the apartment I had just left. In a bright room full of windows my mother after 94 years of commanding freedom was confined to a bed and a reclining chair.Though close to death I couldn't see past her daily struggles and my explanations of plot lines of both simple and complex French movies we saw religiously every night. We had inverted our positions. I was now the explainer and storyteller all in one. I was the one in charge of taking the lead and providing the daily drama such as the tragedy of spectators at local soccer stadium being thrown by the competition's fans to their painful demise down below. We couldn't believe it but the television and magazines which I read to her in the late mornings said it was true with photographs of the ledge where the young man had been pushed over circled in red. Where were the perpetrators of this crime? All this accompanied by a faint Chopin Nocturne from the CDs I had brought for her ears.
It felt a bit like Fellini's 8 1/2 during one of the break at the carnival scene near the end only this was a live TV show set by the beach next to the Pacific ocean and featuring three different Peruvian groups of varying sounds. One from the 70's that had recently re-united playing soulful originals in English and a heavy horn and brass section laying down the funk quite capably. Another, a hard core alternative quartet with a series of complex bass lines, contrapuntal guitar riffs and the energetic mono syllabic singing of someone who is learning to talk that resembled an accidental mixture of punk and George Clinton. Finally, the third, was a mediocre duo of uninspiring electronics and voice, except the voice was not in tune though the audience thought the inspirational piping and repetition could solve some post-teenage dilemma. A strange brew to wander about at your mid-sixties and nearing retirement. Especially the audience that resembled a more varied and browner middle class crowd in any North American city but with odd touches of original exotic jewelry and more precise hair arrangements. And all this ebbing and flowing amid a strange sequence of events with each group playing and then pausing for the announcers who spoke into the wandering cameras in-between songs and were followed by a chorus of claps as the camera men trailed the action. The lighting was perfect all over the space considered the set for this live television program airing all over Peru and the green grass rugged rug sitting atop the dirty brown sand. Everyone across the provinces wondering what a foreign place their country had now become.
Our planned shoot began going off the rails when the driver that was supposed to ferry us around the colonial and decrepit parts of Lima before sunrise failed to show up and my nephew the photographer had instead to drive us averting our carefully laid out plans for his early morning shot of an over-sized crate of a building. At 5am only the street-sweepers and transvestites were out punctuating each block with their introverted presence. The general stillness of the crumbling structures and empty streets gave a calmness to our silent ride. We were the only car to obey the traffic lights as we made our slow way to our shoot. Earlier that dark morning I had woken up way too early and secretly worried that I'd miss the ride-I waited in the living room looking down at the gray street where occasional cars sped by driven by drunken husbands trying to make it home before the sun came up. My nephew showed up a little early and waited out in the side street. He texted me 5 minutes later saying he was there. I locked the apartment door and headed down the elevator imagining we'd shoot incredible stuff in the etiolated light . . .