My involvement with and interest in the Plaza Theatre dates back to 1986 or 7, when I was ether eleven or twelve years old. It was slated to become a parking lot. I wrote a letter to the Editor of the El Paso Times and volunteered at Rita Moreno's sold-out benefit concert which, combined with grassroots efforts and extraordinarily adept donor coordination through the El Paso Community Foundation, ultimately succeeded in raising the one million dollars required in a very tight timeframe to purchase the building.
When I was probably around twenty, as the building stood abandoned but partly exposed to the elements, I spent about a year independently researching an article which was ultimately published in "Password", the Journal of the El Paso Historical Society. I also wound up getting my picture on the front page (though below the fold) of the El Paso Herald Post about a month before that afternoon newspaper folded, after I had basically overtaken, on my own initiative, guiding a tour through the abandoned building for the Mayor which had been arranged by Nestor Valencia, the guiding visionary behind the now realized "Arts Festival Plaza" district in beautiful downtown El Paso.
At twenty years of age, spending a year on a single project without yielding the *specific* results I'd had in mind going in to the project struck me as a tremendous waste of time. Political crosscurrents were in play which at the time I very simply didn't understand, with the result that I effectively threw up my hands and turned my back and walked away, feeling "betrayed", in absolute dismay. I had "burned out", and *very* badly, on the first of a whole string of seemingly hopeless "lost causes" which I believed in *very* strongly, and always pursued with singleminded focus, determination, and tenacity entirely regardless of assumed foregone conclusions involving tremendous personal detriment.
For twenty years the Plaza was the bitter and defining failure of my entire life. No matter what I happened to survive, nothing *ever* stung near as bad as or wiped me out as completely as my involvement with the Plaza Theatre had. As such, it served as a baseline for my abiding sense of personal ineffectiveness and utterly atrocious lack of self-esteem in ever having failed to obtain any specific goal upon which I'd happened to set my sights -- always in what hindsight would later reveal to be "the very short term".
Or at least, so it did, until my "perfect" life in Albuquerque came flying apart like a very slightly off-balance centrifuge for enriching uranium. But, to make an extremely long series of stories *quite* short, when *that* occurred, I landed right back in El Paso, within walking distance of -- not an abandoned building, but THE WORLD'S LARGEST CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL held in the magnificently restored movie palace (now expanded to a full-scale Broadway venue) to which I'd devoted a mere single year of my existence on this planet some two decades beforehand, despite its very clearly having appeared to be on all counts the most obvious "wrong" thing to do at the time I was doing it.
Everything I have *ever* done -- however clearly ill-advised -- has been and continues to be FOR A REASON. The methods which I unapologetically employ are ultimately premised on no more than simple logic combined with a set and finite assortment of valid modes of cognition: only, almost *never* in such strictly delimited combinations as are typically exhibited and/or perceived only within very strictly "closed" systems (e.g., "cleanroom" laboratory settings). My life's work -- however "bizarre", "off the wall", "out there", "controversial", and/or even downright "dangerous" it may appear to be when viewed from within narrowly-constructed social frameworks established (in the end) through nothing more than interlocking systems of arbitrary linguistic conventions -- is *never* without purpose or aim; nor is any activity which I ever undertake in its service, however straightforwardly incongrous with actual "reality" it may appear to be, even capable of being anything other than supportive of those very reasons, purposes, and aims.
The website for the Plaza Classic Film Festival -- THE WORLD'S LARGEST CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL -- now complete with schedules for the various events and screenings coming up this August 2nd through the 12th in downtown El Paso, Texas may be viewed at http://plazaclassic.com/ .