McALLEN — The first sight of Mayor Jim Darling at the State of the City presentation Wednesday was on the convention hall’s video screen.
In a gray sweatshirt and sweatpants, he groggily approached his fridge in a dark kitchen. He broke two eggs into a glass and swallowed it down. Then, he began running.
The video mimicked the classic montage sequence from the film Rocky, complete with the mayor jumping up and down with his arms up on the front steps of the convention center.
Only, because the theme was “Our Children: McAllen’s Future,” Darling was surrounded by kids. As the video went dark, the spotlight swung to a pair of doors, and Darling and all the kids ran through to “Eye of the Tiger.”
Since the opening of the convention center, the State of the City address has evolved from a low-key speech to a theatrical performance. Last year, Darling entered on his bicycle, and before he entered this year, several minutes were devoted to displaying computer-altered photos of what his entrance might be, including ones of Darling skydiving, skateboarding and running with the bulls.
Also, staged scenes of two parks — one for children and one for disc golf, with plastic human models — flanked Darling as he spoke at the podium.
The nearly 900 people who attended were served a chicken lunch and were able to pick up blue T-shirts with a State of the City logo after the 45-minute presentation.
As Darling was quick to point out, none of it was paid for by taxpayers. Sponsors provided about…