Last year as the drought continued to dry South Texas to the bone we would bring people who came to visit our studios in Castroville on a field trip up the road to what was Medina Lake. It offered a very graphic glimpse at what happens when a dammed lake dries up and reveals what was once called “Box Canyon”.
On one visit I remember a large double decker pontoon party boat with a dozen or so revelers onboard sailing around in circles near the dam where the water was the deepest. The music from the boat was on full blast and the people were whooping it up. A very large black pirate flag, with an equally large State of Texas flag, flapped at opposite ends at the stern of the boat.
How fitting. The end of the world, party on!
That spring we had a studio assistant who was very talented and very organized. But she also had a secret disorganized, anarchist side. She performed every weekend night with a theater group called The Aesthetic of Waste. Performances started at 11:00 PM or so, and the theater was in an almost condemned building underneath the freeway.
Out of curiosity, I went one night to check it out. I found the performances the equivalent to the people on that pirate party boat on what was left of Medina Lake.
I asked the troupe, or the Wastrels as they like to be called, if they would do a few performances with the lake bed landscape as a backdrop. They jumped at it and showed up more or less on time one weekend afternoon with a few cases of beer. They knocked out skits with such speed and precision, it was nothing short of inspirational.
It took me over a year to figure out a way to link it all together. In the meantime the drought continues, and the lake is even lower. I don’t think there is enough water to even float that party boat, but these performances would.
“Most of the pieces tilt toward the funny and absurd, though there are some more serious segments in the mix.” - Deborah Martin on The Atheistic of Waste performances, San Antonio Express News, September 6, 2012