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>It’s a long way to El Paso


Nine and a half hours? That’s what Google Maps told me all those weeks ago when I was figuring out the tour at the kitchen table. We have been dreading the drive, just a bit. We get up in the dark and slip out of the house. Our host Louis is asleep. Of course we went to bed late after talking with Louis, and waiting for Rachel to drop off my suitcase. (Dumb to have left it!)

This is Texas.

And so is this. Handmade barbecues that take propane. I wish we had room in the car, but the road calls, and it changes to this classic Texas limestone.

We listen to James Naughton read “Double Indemnity” and the miles fly by. There aren’t many places to stop for gas, and we can’t linger for lunch since the reading in El Paso is early and we can’t be late. This was a lucky stop, in Hammond TX. Excellent and tidy burritos made a perfect pit stop.

As we waited for the audience to gather we enjoyed this wonderful show of photographs from the Casasola Portrait studio, old El Paso captured in portraits. It’s a beautiful and NEW library, the kind of thing that gives me hope. Several people came up to John and me to thank us for coming to El Paso. I need to remember when it feels like we are spitting in the wind that our movies have mattered to people. They tell us so. We were pleased with the turnout of 50 people considering that today UTEP is graduating thousands of students. Cesar among them! This morning he received his Masters in Film and Theater-and managed to fit in the reading as well.

Let me introduce you, from the left, Cesar’s son and cinematographer Oscar, Joe Frandina owner of Holiday Inn Express El Paso Downtown (and patron of Bi-National Film Festival), John, Cesar, and Cesar’s terrific wife Laura. After a farewell dinner John and I head to Joe’s hotel for an early night, and Cesar’s family go back to his house to celebrate his Masters. Bravo, Cesar, y gracias.

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