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Barbaro gets salty with a pickle cocktail


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CURRENT | December 19-25, 2018 | sacurrent.com


in this issue San Antonio Current Publisher: Michael Wagner Editor-in-Chief: Sanford Nowlin

Editorial

Senior Editor: Bryan Rindfuss Art Director: Carlos Aguilar Staff Writer: Chris Conde Digital Content Editor: Sarah Martinez Contributors: Alexis Alvarez , Ron Bechtol, Erik Casarez, Daniel Conrad, James Courtney, Callie Enlow, Jose Garza, Dan R. Goddard, Alejandra Lopez Gonzalez, Lance Higdon, Steven G. Kellman, Hannah Lorence, Michelle C. Lorentzen, Abby Mangel, Kiko Martínez, Jeremy Martin, Kelly Merka Nelson, M. Solis, Gary Sweeney, J.D. Swerzenski, Kelsey Valadez, Erin Winch Editorial Interns: Clarence Beal, Lori Salazar

Issue 18_51 /// December 19-25, 2018

31 Feature

The Drink Issue

From Barbaro’s pickle cocktail to tips for touring local whiskey distilleries, there’s plenty to imbibe in our annual Drink Issue.

Advertising

Account Manager: Mallory Jochen Senior Multimedia Account Executive: Sarah Estrada Account Executive: April Miller, Roger Macias

Marketing and Events

Marketing and Events Director: Cassandra Yardeni Events Manager: Chelsea Bourque Event Coordinator: Mallory Jochen Marketing and Events Interns: Alec Salazar

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Business

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Euclid Media Group

Chief Executive Officer: Andrew Zelman Chief Operating Officers: Chris Keating, Michael Wagner VP of Digital Services: Stacy Volhein Creative Director: Tom Carlson Digital Operations Coordinator: Jaime Monzon Senior Marketing and Events Director: Cassandra Yardeni www.euclidmediagroup.com National Advertising: Voice Media Group 1-888-278-9866, vmgadvertising.com San Antonio Current 915 Dallas San Antonio, Texas 78215 sacurrent.com Editorial - (210) 227-0044 / Fax - (210) 227-7755 Display Advertising - (210) 227-0044 Fax - (210) 227-7733 Classified - (210) 227-CLAS / Fax - (210) 227-7733 The San Antonio Current is published by Euclid Media Group Verified Audit Member San Antonio Distribution – The Current is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader. Get listed 1. Visit sacurrent.com 2. Click “Calendar” and then “Submit an Event” 3. Follow the steps to submit your event details Please allow 48 hours for review and approval. Event submissions are not accepted by phone. Copyright - The entire contents of the San Antonio Current are copyright 2018 by Euclid Media Group LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Publisher does not assume any liability for unsolicited manuscripts, materials, or other content. Any submission must include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. All editorial, advertising, and business correspondence should be mailed to the address listed above. Subscriptions - Additional copies or back issues may be purchased at the Current offices for $1. Six-month domestic subscriptions may be purchased for $75; one-year subscriptions for $125.

Fabian Leon Villa

07 News

Glitter Political

State Rep. Diego Bernal is Glad You Finally Think Public Ed Is Cool

Stalling Game

What’s really happening to asylum seekers at the Brownsville Port of Entry

14 Calendar

Our top picks for the week

22 Arts

Warrior Women on Wheels

New book celebrates the legacy of Texas Rollergirls through photography

27 Screens

All I Want for Christmas Is a Few Movies

Nine new releases vying for your attention this holiday season

31 Food

A Spirited Celebration

Everything you need to know about the San Antonio Cocktail Conference

Pickle Me This

New Barbaro cocktail pairs pickle juice with a dill-infused Scandinavian spirit

Whiskey Trip

Sip and learn at these six area distilleries

Badass Bubbly

With holiday cork popping around the corner, don’t limit yourself to Champagne

39 Music

Space Cowboy

Garrett T. Capps follows up a winning album with an ambient remix that takes him further into the cosmos

Music Top Picks

47 Etc

On The Cover: The Pickle Me This cocktail is the creation of Barbaro’s Steven Santillian. Photo by: Fabian Leon Villa Art Direction: Carlos Aguilar

Savage Love, Crossword Puzzle, Astrology, This Modern Life sacurrent.com | December 19-25, 2018 | CURRENT

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CURRENT | December 19-25, 2018 | sacurrent.com

Basse & Broadway Complimentary Santa Photo with Canned Food Donation, benefiting San Antonio Food Bank


news

GLITTER POLITICAL

State Rep. Diego Bernal is Glad You Finally Think Public Ed Is Cool BY JADE ESTEBAN ESTRADA

I

’m sitting across from Democratic State Rep. Diego Bernal and he’s telling me that his mother and I are neck and neck in tracking his whole political career. In honor of the holiday season, I thought I’d demand a recount. Bernal became this column’s inaugural subject in 2011, when he ran for the District 1 city council seat and won. Our second onthe-record chat was in 2012, for the shortlived Who Runs This Town? video series. We met again in 2014, when he decided to leave the dais to run for the Texas House 123 seat being vacated by then-mayoral hopeful Mike Villarreal. Now, four years later, I’m sitting across from Bernal at Halcyon Cafe in the Blue Star Arts Complex. This time, he’s won a second term as state rep in what many observers agree was a midterm to remember. So, yes, if I were on a game show and all the questions were about Bernal, I’m confident I’d make it to at least the final round. Though Bernal’s a superstar elder statesman in the eyes of some young activists — particularly those connected to the local LGBTQ community — he’s hardly the ghost of Texas’ political past. In fact, he actually

appears younger than when I first met him. “I think if you’re under five-eight and you have adult acne, you look like a teenager all the time,” he says, deflecting my compliment with his signature charm. No doubt, that charm comes in handy when crossing the aisle over issues that have been near and dear to his heart for years. Public education, he’s happy to observe, is finally trendy. “It’s almost like I’ve been telling you for a long time that this band’s really good?” he says. “And then, finally, they blow up, and all of a sudden, they’re everybody’s favorite band.” “Live on stage: Public Ed and the Healthcare Hotties,” I joke, turning his signature issue into a band name. “So, it’s like, ‘Oh, now you like Public ed,” he replies, smiling. I was like that in high school, I tell him. When I started seeing everyone wearing Madonna buttons, I was like, “Oh, now you like Madonna.” “Exactly,” Bernal says with a knowing nod. Bernal and I seem to have a best friendsin-middle school-type dynamic that gives our conversational style a bouncy familiarity. During our conversation, he hands me a glass of Topo Chico.

“To clear your palate when you drink this,” he says, sitting down my outsize cup of espresso. So European. After the midterms, Bernal says that the culture in the House seemed to change “overnight.” “There were Republicans who won, but just barely,” he says, citing Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who eked out less than a five-point victory. “I think the state was telling us to focus on things that matter.” When I mention my recent interview with his colleague, Democratic Rep. Ina Minjarez, he unhesitatingly sings her praises. “To me, Ina’s the future of Texas politics,” he says, adding District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña to the mix a moment later. Getting back to parties, I ask Bernal if he thinks they sometimes stop politicians from doing the work of the people. When he replies affirmatively, I ask if the situation is frustrating to see. “Yes. Very much so,” he says. “I hate Democrats as much as I hate Republicans sometimes.” “A lot of reps act like people are watching all the time, so everything’s a performance,” he continues. “When everything’s a performance, awful, terrible things will come out of their mouths.” Though some of those things, he admits, are “pretty funny.” “How so?” I ask. “Not all Mexican-Americans are very tall, right?” Bernal says. “Some of these reps will continuously confuse us for one another. ... Someone will come to my desk, kneel down and say, ‘Hey,’ and then go into this whole thing about Veterans Affairs. I’m like, ‘Dude, I wish I was as good-looking as [State Rep.] César Blanco — but I’m not César.” I ask how that makes him feel. “It depends on [my] mood,” he says. “Sometimes, you’re really offended by it.” But, he concedes, other times his inner Fozzie Bear kicks in. “I might say as a joke, ‘There’s only a few of us. If you think it’s hard for you, imagine how hard it is for us! I need flashcards for you guys!’” Over the coming holidays, Bernal and his family will carry on a relatively new tradition. “We order Chinese takeout and watch some crap Christmas movie on Netflix,” he says. I inquire what crap movie goes well with egg rolls and fried rice. “There’s this movie called Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale,” he says. “It’s about the legend of the original version of Santa Claus, where he would kidnap kids and put them in his knapsack. There’s this expedition that uncovers this frozen, deadly Santa and awakens him. This little boy is basically trying to save his town from the crazy Santa Claus.” He shakes his head and chuckles. “It’s so ridiculous, but it’s so much fun.” I’m officially documenting that he loves this movie, I tell him. Don’t tell your mother.

Find more newsmore coverage Find news every day at sacurrent.com


news

Rebecca Centeno

Stalling Game

What’s really happening to asylum seekers at the Brownsville Port of Entry BY REBECCA CENTENO

T

his spring, after former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, people watched in horror as children were ripped from the arms of their parents. As public furor grew, the policy’s defenders threw around three words that muddied the reality of the situation: “Just come legally.” To avoid separation, they said, all families seeking entry simply need to report to a border crossing and declare they’re seeking asylum. Under international law, it’s legal for immigrants to seek asylum in the United States, but starting that process at ports of entry isn’t as simple as the Trump administration makes it sound. The administration’s tactics have made it extremely difficult for asylum seekers to cross over legally. 8

CURRENT | December 19-25, 2018 | sacurrent.com

Brownsville Crossing I traveled to Brownsville on a cold, rainy morning to witness what’s happening as asylum seekers approach the bridges to South Texas from Matamoros, Mexico. Elisa Filippone, a member of the refugee-aid group Angry Tias and Abuelas of the RGV (Rio Grande Valley), met me in front of the Gateway Bridge. Filippone, one of 11 core members of the Angry Tias, provides food, clothing and even temporary shelter to asylum seekers arriving at bus stations and bridges in Brownsville-Matamoros. “When we learned of the separation of families, we felt that doing nothing was being complicit,” Filippone said. There’s a border wall on the U.S. side, across the Rio Grande, that’s about 20 feet tall with vertical pillars. It was built during the George W. Bush administration as a “wildlife-friendly” wall, which would allow the passage of some animals but not people. More recently, concertina wire was added by the Trump administration — a waste of money, in Filippone’s eyes. “I don’t need the protection of our soldiers against people who are not armed and in shock from the violence they have suffered,” she said. Together, we traveled across the Gateway and Brownsville & Matamoros international bridges — the latter commonly called the B&M or the “old bridge”

— to bring warm tortillas, clothing and emotional support to asylum-seekers. A group of asylum seekers camped out on the Mexican side of the B&M. There was a 20-year-old pregnant woman from Honduras, a mother with a child who looked about six years old and a few other people under tarps, makeshift tents and umbrellas trying to stave off the drizzle. Filippone asked if they had eaten breakfast that morning. Groups from the U.S. bring dinner every night, but breakfast has been lacking for the past week or so. They said no but added that they didn’t need anything. Even so, we went to get them warm corn tortillas and cajeta. “The task at the bridges is to sustain [the asylum seekers],” Filippone said. “The task at the Brownsville bus station was to keep them safe for the night. … With the winter change, immigrants need a winter coat to arrive up north where most of them are going.”

Waiting Game According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the first step to seeking asylum here is to arrive on U.S. soil. “To apply for asylum in the U.S., you must be physically present in the U.S. or seeking entry into the U.S. at a port of entry,” the Affirmative Asylum Process states. 11 6


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CURRENT | December 19-25, 2018 | sacurrent.com


news

Rebecca Centeno

68 I witnessed Border Patrol actively turning people away at ports of entry, however, creating a waiting game or a stall-tactic hell. And recent data show that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents are simply not allowing people to seek asylum at ports of entry in significant numbers. So, coming here “legally” is impossible at times and arduous at best. According to a report released this month by the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law, only zero to six people are processed daily in Brownsville-Matamoros. Filippone’s conversations with asylum seekers seem to back up those numbers. “We learned that only one person has come across to be processed for asylum, a woman from Ethiopia who has been there waiting close to 80 days,” Filippone said. “At the B&M bridge, the old bridge, we found 10 people allowed [onto] the bridge. … Somebody crossed two days ago also, and that’s it.”

Turned Away As recently as June, asylum seekers were allowed to wait on the Gateway Bridge in Brownsville. But that clearly wasn’t the case on my visit. When a couple of women with young children stood too close to the U.S. boundary, they received a stern warning from Border Patrol agents.

“Don’t step over the line, because that would be illegal entry,” an agent told the women. “Step back.” It shouldn’t have been illegal entry at that point, since the boundary line is before the U.S. Customs building, where people are supposed to request asylum. “It used to be that you would just walk the whole bridge, cross the physical border line into the American Customs building, and in there, being on American soil, ask for asylum,” Filippone said. “This administration is making them go to the bridges and turns them away there.” Under the new process, asylum seekers are told to wait “in line” at their camp outside the bridge. It’s a confusing situation that led one family to wait outside the line because they were unclear with the instructions and didn’t feel welcome in nearby camps. As the lines build, the asylum seekers aren’t only clustered near the bridges but also in nearby shelters like Casa Bugambilia in Matamoros. In contrast to the Gateway Bridge, the first few people lined up at the B&M are allowed onto the bridge. Those further down, however, must remain in their camps. In both cases, the asylum seekers are exposed to the elements. At the Gateway, there’s no cover since the people aren’t allowed onto the bridge. They asked Filippone for ponchos and umbrellas, so they can stay dry. There are people in flip flops and wet socks. “Once you have your spot up on the bridge, you just

This stretch of South Texas border wall was constructed during the George W. Bush administration, but the coils of barbed wire went up during Trump’s. don’t move from there,” Filippone said. “People don’t go shower. They wait for food there. It’s hard for them to make it down to the bathroom quickly. It doesn’t matter if you’re the third or fourth in line. [Border Patrol] might call somebody from down the line and skip people in front. There’s no method. That’s why they don’t want to leave their posts once they make it up here.” During my visit, there were about 10 people camped out on the B&M bridge, including one pregnant woman and a child. “She’s 20 years old, six months pregnant,” Filippone translated. “The other women, the other people in camp allowed her to take that place in line, because she’s pregnant. ... The husband is staying behind [in the camp].”

Stripped of Dignity It’s difficult to count for how many people are waiting in Matamoros to seek asylum, because some camps are in off-site shelters. 13 6 sacurrent.com | December 19-25, 2018 | CURRENT

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CURRENT | December 19-25, 2018 | sacurrent.com


news

6 11 One of those shelters housed 283 people at last count, according to Filippone. There also were 27 people at the base camp near Gateway Bridge and another 10 located on the B&M bridge. At the base camp near B&M, numbers fluctuate. By my estimate, a total of a few hundred people wait in limbo around the two bridges. One of the off-site camps we visited is located in a Mexican office building near the B&M. Two Mexican guards stood outside the entrance, which is lined with a fence. We approached and said we were bringing food. They allowed us in but told me I couldn’t film. Despite the warning, I snuck my camera into one area of the building, where a half-dozen people were crammed into a 5-by-12-foot space. Blankets, pillows, shoes, plastic bags and other belongings cluttered the floor. One woman was lying in the corner and others sat against the wall. A few people overflowed outside, where thin mats lined the curb outside the glass doors. More huddled under blankets. “You see this?” Filippone asked. “Stripping people of their dignity is just — this is not something that America should be doing.” While there, we spoke to one asylum seeker from Cuba, who was determined to wait out the hardship. “Even if it’s hard, we have to do the fight and pursue our dream,” she told us. We walked to another camp closer to the Gateway Bridge on the grounds of another office building. To get inside, we had to enter through a small gated area where a Mexican security guard sits. Again, I was told not to film inside. We were told that 27 people camped in the area. Two rows of cots lined the outside space, about seven on either side. The rest of the people, likely women and children, must have been upstairs in the building. Tarps kept the rain off the camp but only covered the cot area, and it was cold. Step a few feet away, and you’d get wet. A woman sat on a cot underneath blankets, a couple of men stood near the entrance and a child wandered around. At the far end of the camp sat a shelf stocked with extremely limited kitchen items — a jug of water and a few supplies. We asked if anyone had eaten breakfast, and no one had. Filippone and I went to the store and brought back warm food. A child asked her for gloves because his hands were cold. She reached into her backpack and offered him a variety of colors to choose from.

Rebecca Centeno

Migrants camped near the bridges often were in flip flops and socks (above). Elisa Filippone volunteers by providing aid to asylum seekers in Matamoros (right). It was in the mid-50s that day, drizzly and wet, and the temperature dropped to the mid-40s that night.

Psychological Warfare Some may be tempted to write off what we saw as an anomaly at one border crossing, but there’s evidence it’s being repeated elsewhere. A June Texas Monthly report found similar conditions in McAllen, for example. And, in El Paso, Border Patrol agents are writing numbers on asylum seekers’ arms to signify where they are in line. To call this treatment of asylum seekers cruel is an understatement. The administration continues to tell people to come, arrive legally and they’ll be processed. But, when they follow these directions, they’re met with agents who turn them away as part of a stalling game. The Trump administration is creating the crisis — and it’s completely unnecessary. The number of unauthorized immigrants is at its lowest point since 2004, according to a Pew Research

Rebecca Centeno

Center report published in November. By Homeland Security’s own count, in December of 2017 arrests for people trying to enter without permission reached its lowest level since 1971. Even though days have passed since my visit to the border, one story still haunts me. A pair of mothers stranded in line recently stopped lactating due to the stress of the situation, Filippone told me. Angry Tias and Abuelas of RGV helped the mothers get formula because they could no longer feed their children. Make no mistake, this is psychological warfare. Ripping children from their families, telling people to wait outside in the cold and rain indefinitely for inexplicable reasons is meant to traumatize people and deter them

from coming here. Data has repeatedly shown this strategy of intimidation doesn’t work. All it does is hurt an already vulnerable population and put them further in danger. Rebecca Centeno is a Mexican-American activist media maker and video journalist. Her work has been featured on Democracy Now!, Free Speech TV, the Washington Post, act.tv, NowThis Politics and Deep Dish TV. In 2015, she co-founded Reels for Radicals, a screening series by Paper Tiger TV and Deep Dish TV, highlighting the work of political filmmakers and creating space for critical dialogue. For more information on Angry Tias and Abuelas of the RGV, visit facebook.com/ angrytiasandabuelas. sacurrent.com | December 19-25, 2018 | CURRENT

13


WED | 12/19 DRAG

ALYSSA EDWARDS \

A former dancer from Mesquite, Texas, Alyssa Edwards rose to fame on season five of RuPaul’s Drag Race. On Wednesday, the tongue-popping, lip-syncing queen brings her talents to the Alamo City for two performances at Heat courtesy of Rey Lopez Entertainment. As matriarch of the Haus of Edwards, she also serves as drag mother to fellow RPDR alums Laganga Estranja, Shangela Laquifa Wadley and Gia Gunn. Edwards cultivated a loyal fan base starring in the popular web series Alyssa’s Secret and landed on the big screen via the 2016 comedy Hurricane Bianca. Currently, she stars on the original Netflix series Dancing Queen (essentially a drag version of Dance Moms) that premiered in September. The reality show follows Edwards (born Justin Johnson), who appears in and out of drag, as she teaches young dancers at Beyond Belief Dance Studio. A San Antonio favorite, Edwards will close out the year as one of the last Rey Lopez productions of 2018. Consider bringing an unwrapped gift to donate to the Reys of Hope toy drive. $15-$25, 10:30pm & midnight, Heat Nightclub, 1500 N. Main Ave., (210) 227-2600, reylopezentertainment.net. — MARCO AQUINO

Josh Huskin

Courtesy of Alyssa Edwards DRAG

A DRAG QUEEN CHRISTMAS

After a decade on television, the reality competition series RuPaul’s Drag Race is going stronger than ever. From its many spinoffs to various national tours, RPDR is a franchise with a steady-growing audience. On Wednesday, A Drag Queen Christmas: The Naughty Tour takes over the Aztec Theatre for an evening of reads, lip-syncs and death drops. Presented by Peter and Murray and hosted by season 10 contestant Miz Cracker, A Drag Queen Christmas brings together six RPDR fan favorites who will jingle your balls and spread holiday cheer. Latrice Royale Known to be “large and in charge,” and “chunky but funky,” Latrice “mutha fuckin’” Royale always brings down the house with her electrifying stage presence and Beyonce-inspired dance moves. Farrah Moan Native Texan Farrah Moan describes her look as a cross between fetish, old-school Hollywood and retro glam. As for her name, it’s a combination of the drag star’s 1970s idol, Farrah Fawcett, and the word “moan” — because she’s admittedly “a whore.” Vanessa “Miss Vangie” Mateo The first queen eliminated from RPDR season 10, Vanessa Mateo made a name for herself when she uttered the now infamous phrase-turned viral meme, “Miss Vangie,” and walked backwards as she left the stage. Monét X Change Brooklyn native Monét X Change ultimately came in sixth on RPDR season 10 after impressing the judges with her wildly creative sponge dresses. She is the co-host of the podcast Sibling Rivalry with her drag sister Bob the Drag Queen and host of the internet series Monét’s Herstory X Change. Aja Not only did the gender-fluid performer Aja drop out of high school to become a drag queen, she was also the youngest contestant on RPDR season nine. In July, Aja announced to them. magazine that they now prefer the term “queer artist.” Thorgy Thor Brooklyn queen Thorgy Thor is mostly known for competing on season eight of RPDR, but she is also an accomplished musician who’s performed at Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center. She once famously stated that RPDR has made it more difficult for drag performers who are not on the show to build a career. $23-$53, 8pm, Aztec Theatre, 104 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 812-4355, theaztectheatre.com. — MA

WED | 12/19 Courtesy of Miz Cracker

14  CURRENT | December 19-25, 2018 | sacurrent.com


calendar

TALK

PECHAKUCHA VOL. 32 \

PechaKucha pops up at the Tobin for the 32nd round of San Anto’s take on the global arts and culture series. The latest iteration features FL!GHT gallerist and Hot Wells guardian Justin Parr, head of collections and communication at the Linda Pace Foundation and mixed-media collage artist Kelly O’Connor (pictured), “plant-forward” chef and Pharm Table founder Elizabeth Johnson, Rivard Report co-founder and true crime author Robert Rivard, prolific poet and Texas State University professor Naomi Shihab Nye and cocinero and Southtown carnitas don Alex Paredes. Early birds can enjoy a reception and “happiest hour” prior to the main event, in which each speaker will take the stage for just under seven minutes to wax poetic about their latest projects or passions. $5, happy hour at 6:30pm, presentations at 7:30pm, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 223-8624, pechakucha.org. — Kelly Merka Nelson TALKS

‘UNF#CK YOUR HOLIDAY STRESS’

A stuffy doc Faith Harper is not — the counselor, sexologist, nutritionist and zine-maker disavows pretension in her wisdom- and profanity-laden book, Unf#ck Your Brain: Using Science to Get Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-Outs and Triggers. And what time of the year is more triggering than the holiday season? With Christmas decor hitting shelves as early as August (yes, we’re aghast too), the yuletide creeps into a larger portion of each year, accompanied by broiling political brouhaha over the family table, the scramble to afford an ever-lengthening list of gifts and enough tinsel to choke a reindeer (or eight). If that last sentence was enough to raise your blood pressure, consider dropping by the Love Shack for Harper’s holiday-themed chat about healthy ways to cope and otherwise “Unf#ck Your Holiday Stress.” $15, 7pm, the Love Shack Boutique, 1580 Babcock Rd., (210) 7679411, theloveshackboutique.com. — KMN

Her Sins Burlesque & Cabaret

attack without consulting the President, the film stars Peter Sellers of Pink Panther fame as three characters: well-meaning Royal Air Force Captain Lionel Mandrake, unprepared and unqualified U.S. President Merkin Muffley and Dr. Strangelove himself — a former Nazi physicist-turned presidential advisor. Although initially critiqued as implausible and even dismissed as Soviet propaganda, the classic has not just stood the test of time but emerged as a surreal premonition the New Yorker outlined in the 2014 article “Almost Everything in Dr. Strangelove Was True.” Hailed by the Criterion Collection as “one of the fiercest satires of human folly ever to come out of Hollywood,” Dr. Strangelove comes to light at the McNay in conjunction with local filmmaker AJ Edwards’ politically leaning stint as curator of the museum’s Get Reel film series. Free, 7pm, McNay Art Museum, 6000 N. New Braunfels Ave., (210) 824-5368, mcnayart.org. — Bryan Rindfuss Columbia Pictures

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DR. STRANGELOVE L

As hardcore film geeks might tell you, iconic director Stanley Kubrick (The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket) originally intended his 1964 opus Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb to be a fairly straight-up adaptation of Peter George’s cautionary thriller Red Alert. But somewhere along the way he completely switched gears and turned the film into a pitch-dark comedy that satirized anxiety brought on by the Cold War. At its core hypothesizing that an unstable American general could order a nuclear

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HOLIDAY AT HOGWARTS: THE TOUR L

Austin-based troupe Her Sins Burlesque & Cabaret pays tribute to the Wizarding World in their latest touring production, disapparating their costumes in bewitching burlesque acts that feature fan-favorite characters from Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts. The revue celebrates all things Hogwarts with drag performances, comedy, live singing and sideshow acts, plus trivia, themed drinks and more! Come dressed as your favorite Hogwarts denizen for a free raffle ticket, and browse the magical wares made available in Her Sins’ spin on Diagon Alley. Word to the wise — even if you’ve already received your Hogwarts acceptance letter, this show is for adult witches and wizards only. $15-$70, 9pm, Alamo City Music Hall & Club, 1305 E. Houston St., alamocitymusichallsa.com. — KMN


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calendar FRI | 12/21 SAT | 12/22 SPECIAL EVENT

BRICKMAS 5

Whether you’ve hit the snooze button on holiday shopping or have it all in the bag, Brickmas presents a festive opportunity to tie up the odds and ends of gifting season. Organized by the witty, whimsical creators behind the hyper-local brands BarbacoApparel and VeryThat, the fourth annual affair promises “unique gifts from 70 vendors, a seasonal photo backdrop for family pictures and selfies, and all the puro holiday cheer you can stand.” Beyond distinctly San Anto, Tex-Mex-inspired tees, totes, tiles, stickers and jewelry from the Alamo City’s “officially unofficial T-shirt company” (BarbacoApparel) and like-minded “one-stop Chicana shop” (VeryThat), the free, kid-friendly event beckons with unique, handcrafted wares from the likes of Snake Hawk Press, Feliz Modern, Sweet Craft, Black Moon Print, In the Weeds Natural Skincare, Flower Girl Apothecarie, Bubble and Squeak Soapworks and Karma Candle Makers — not to mention hot cocoa, shakes from Honeysuckle Teatime and grub for purchase from Smackerel. Free, 6-10pm Fri, 10am-6pm Sat, Brick at Blue Star, 108 Blue Star, (210) 262-8653, facebook.com/brickmasholidaymarket. — BR

Warner Bros. Pictures

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BarbacoApparel

THEATER

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS

In case you never realized it before, Charlie Brown is woke as hell. The beloved sad sack and focal point of the long-beloved Peanuts crew, who first appeared in a 1950 comic strip by Charles M. Schulz, is always questioning tradition, always looking for deeper meanings. Such is certainly the case in A Charlie Brown Christmas, perhaps the most cherished Peanuts installment of all, in which Charlie bemoans the commercialization

of the holiday and wonders about the real meaning of Christmas. Hijinks ensue and, through a series of Bible verses read by Linus and one very special Christmas tree, the whole gang comes to feel the true spirit of the season. With the Magik Theatre’s stage adaptation, this 1965 classic comes to life in what promises to be a memorable experience for the whole family. $15-$30, 6:30pm Thu, 3pm & 6:30pm Fri, 1pm, 4pm & 7pm Sat, 2pm Sun, 2pm Mon, Charline McCombs Empire Theatre, 226 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 226-3333, majesticempire.com. — James Courtney

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HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN L

The San Antonio Symphony has brushed off its broomsticks for a live performance of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Joined by the Brandeis High School choir, the Symphony will render John Williams’ final Harry Potter score live alongside a screening of the film. With Sirius Black on the loose and Dementors surrounding Hogwarts, the stakes are raised yet again for Harry and crew, and the lush music darkens to match. Keep an eye out for any wayward shadows in the Majestic’s gilded proscenium, and you may want to have your patronus at the ready, you know, just in case. $27-$67, 7:30pm Fri-Sat, 2pm Sun, the Majestic Theatre, 224 E. Houston St., (210) 226-3333, sasymphony.org. — KMN

The Magik Theatre

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FRI | 12/21 SUN | 12/23 TH EATER

TEJANA RASQUACHA L

In her work, Chicana writer and teatrista Marisela Barrera blends history, memory and fantasy in productions exploring urban legends, bygone haunts and colorful slices of life plucked from San Anto and the South Texas borderlands. Evidenced by her linked short story collection Ruby Reds, Big Birds y Burras and its theatrical companion Tejana Trilogy, Barrera’s got a knack for conjuring mysterious scenarios centered around mythic beasts like the Donkey Lady and notorious witch-owl La Lechuza. Playing with the locally pervasive concept of rasquachismo — the practice of creating art from low-brow, readily available materials — her new one-woman show Tejana Rasquacha takes shape in “a fictionalized memoir about living and loving in Texas.” Billed as a conceptual fusion of “Spalding Gray meets Gloria Anzaldúa and Michele Serros while harmonizing with Guillermo Gómez-Peña,” the play features live music by Jaime Ramirez and poses theater-goers such burning questions as “Do you believe in aliens? Do you believe in love? Do you believe in yourself?” $10-$12, 8pm Fri-Sat, 3pm Sun, Jump-Start Theater, 710 Fredericksburg Rd., (210) 227-5867, jump-start.org. — BR

Spurs Sports & Entertainment

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SPURS VS. TIMBERWOLVES L

The last time the Spurs and Timberwolves laced them up, Minnesota prevailed by a staggering 39 points, handing San Antonio one of the worst losses of the Gregg Popovich era. A pair of 30-point blowouts to the Rockets and Jazz soon followed, in a fall to forget for a Spurs franchise in flux. The Timberwolves have faced plenty of turmoil of their own this season, culminating in a trade that added Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Jerryd Bayless to their roster. After a successful six-game home stand, San Antonio faces another rough stretch in an unforgiving Western Conference. With ill-informed NBA pundits calling for the Spurs to tank, Coach Pop continues to lead his squad through uncharted territory, as he climbs the ladder in all-time coaching wins. $10-$1,685.00, 7:30pm, AT&T Center, One AT&T Center Pkwy., (210) 444-5000, attcenter.com. — M. Solis

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Buena Vista Pictures

FRI | 12/21 FI LM

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS L

With its whimsically macabre characters, painstaking stop-motion animation and playful reminders that “Everyday Is Halloween” if you dress the part, Tim Burton’s 1993 classic The Nightmare Before Christmas holds a special place in the heart of Gothic-leaning San Antonio — thanks in part at least to the McNay, which holds some of the film’s intricate puppets and props in its Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts. Brought to life by ghoulish characters Burton sketched as a brooding teen in Burbank, California, and directed by Henry Selik (James and the Giant Peach, Coraline), the Oscar nominee concocts a holiday mashup as lanky, disillusioned “Pumpkin King” Jack Skellington ventures outside the boundaries of his Halloween Town to encounter a brighter, cheerier parallel universe in Christmas Town. Scene stealers like the trick-or-treating trio of Lock, Shock and Barrel, and Danny Elfman’s fantastical score only add to the magic that’s cemented The Nightmare Before Christmas as a yuletide favorite that’s always worth revisiting. Slab Cinema pops up in Travis Park for an outdoor screening of the modern classic to be followed by John Hughes’ madcap holiday hit Home Alone. Arrive early to pitch a picnic blanket and partake in complimentary hot chocolate (while supplies last) and photo ops with Santa. Free, 6pm, Travis Park, 301 E. Travis St., (210) 737-3000, slabcinema.com. — BR

SAT | 12/22 THEATER

NERD COURT p

Nerd Court at the Overtime Theater strikes back with a contentious holiday-themed debate. Just when you thought the yuletide drama would be limited to sniping from your uptight aunt over the holiday ham, Rob Barron and Scott McDowell have come together to butt heads over the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special. Beloved or reviled depending on whom you speak to, even Mark Hamill hasn’t watched the 1978 TV flop all the way through. While undeniably a shameless cash grab for merchandise — marred further by stilted acting and low production values — the show was also the first time fans caught a glimpse of legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett. Attendees will get a chance to judge the special for themselves prior to Barron and McDowell taking the stage, so the grainy images of Chewbacca & Co. will be fresh to mind while the two duke it out. $5, 9:45pm, Gregg Barrios Theater at the Overtime, 5409 Bandera Rd., Suite 205, (210) 557-7562, theovertimetheater.org. — KMN

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arts

Warrior Women on Wheels

New book celebrates the legacy of Texas Rollergirls through photography BY JAMES COURTNEY

I

t’s easy to get jaded and to imagine that the world, with distance negated by various technological innovations, holds no more quaint surprises or inspiring discoveries. Let’s call this the Seen It All Effect. If you’re like me, however, then Rollergirls: The Story of Flat Track Derby, a new book from Trinity University Press, can be a small but powerful reminder that there’s no excuse for such pessimism.

Felicia Graham

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CURRENT | December 19-25, 2018 | sacurrent.com

The book tells the story, mostly through the exquisite black-and-white photography of Felicia Graham, of the the Texas Rollergirls, a pioneering group of women that created an international sport and discovered their own inner strength in the process. The fact that I was, until encountering this book, largely ignorant of the details and scope of this group’s inspiring story, even though it happened in my own lifetime and in my necks of the woods, is a testament to the all the powerful everyday stories that, all over the world, still remain to be told and learned from. Seen It All Effect be damned. The timeline of flat-track roller derby, as former Rollergirl Melissa Joulwan (Melicious) details in her illuminating foreword to this book, goes way back to the 1930s. But, it was in Austin in 2003 that, as Joulwan writes, “the flat-track roller derby revolution that’s swept the

Felicia Graham

globe officially began.” In those earliest days, the whole affair was a silly, stodgy, disorganized, coed affair — really more of an interesting side show than a legitimate sport. The Texas Rollergirls, which Joulwan refers to as “a rag-tag bunch of bartenders, waitresses, teachers, dancers, artists, musicians, office workers, feminists, introverts, extroverts, athletes and klutzes,” made roller derby into a

femme-powered (and woman-empowering) sport. Today, as a testament to the spirit (never mind the organization) that these women built, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, an international governing body for the sport, oversees nearly 470 individual flat-track derby leagues all around the world. Through her photographs, Graham, who spent 11 years documenting the rise of this rare and rowdy group, captures the empowering essence, the camaraderie and the sheer joy of the sport and the endeavor to make it into something sustainable. A mix of truly badass action shots, casual profile portraits that capture big personalities as well as moments of agony and ecstasy, and crew snaps, the photos selected for inclusion in this book are stirring. Graham managed to somehow capture the spirit of power and togetherness that Joulwan poignantly describes in her foreword. “Our uniforms, the freedom of flying around the track and the adoption of our playful and powerful names transformed us into the versions of ourselves we always wanted to be,” Joulwan writes. And, as readers of the book, regardless of our previous experience with the sport or its origins, we can’t help but agree with Joulwan’s assertion that “There’s something irresistible about the singular combination of femininity and fierceness embodied in a warrior woman on wheels.”

Rollergirls: The Story of Flat Track Derby Trinity University Press | $32.50 | 224 pages

Felicia Graham


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John Marin, American (Rutherford, New Jersey, 1870-1953, Cape Split, Maine), On Mount Desert, Maine (detail), 1920, watercolor over graphite on textured watercolor paper, Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Gift of Norma B. Marin. 2013.018.142

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screens

All I Want for Christmas Is a Few Movies

Nine new releases vying for your attention this holiday season BY KIKO MARTINEZ

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here’s a reason to be joyful and triumphant this holiday season if you plan to go to the movie theater between now and Christmas Day. Nine movies (eight theatrical releases and one Netflix original) will hit their respected platforms from December 19 to 25. This includes a political dramedy, an intergalactic robot war, an adventure with a deep-sea superhero and a musical sequel more than half a century in the making. Film buffs will have plenty to watch before unwrapping more gifts and tamales. Of the nine films, the Current was able to review seven (Second Act and Holmes & Watson weren’t screened for critics on time). See which of the new releases will make our nice list this year and which will get a crusty lump of coal in its stocking.

MARY POPPINS RETURNS 5

Fifty-four years after the original Mary Poppins hit the big screen and won five Academy Awards, including one for lead actress Julie Andrews, the title English nanny has made a comeback and is as magical as ever. Directed by Oscar nominee Rob Marshall (Chicago), the enchanting sequel doesn’t necessarily live up to the 1964 version, but it achieves the same spirit with ease. With a catalog of catchy original songs, a screenplay filled with rewarding and wholesome themes and a mixture of live-action and hand-drawn animation, Marshall gives the musical a timelessness that will live on for generations. As the new Mary Poppins, actress Emily Blunt (Into the Woods) captures Andrews’ charm and composure, and Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda does what he does best and belts the heck out of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman’s original songs like “Underneath the Lovely London Sky” and “Trip a Little Light Fantastic.” The most heartfelt lyrics, however, are found in “The Place Where Lost Things Go,” where Blunt sings sweet-

Warner Bros.

ly about the importance of embracing memories. Opens at theaters December 19.

AQUAMAN L

If Aquaman has anything going for it, it’s the fact that it fully embraces just how ridiculous it is. Taking a cue from rival company Marvel when it released Thor: Ragnarok, DC Comics is playing up the kitsch with the story of a titular half-human, half-Atlantean beefcake (Jason Momoa) who journeys to the underwater nation of Atlantis to claim his throne as king and save the planet from a war between land and sea. As the sixth installment in the DC Extended Universe series, which started five years ago and has only produced one bona fide winner (Wonder Woman), Aquaman is the closest the comic-book trailblazer has gotten to actually

putting up a good fight in the superhero arena since the Amazonian warrior princess hit pay dirt last year. With that said, however, Aquaman is a CGI-heavy, bloated mess. DC apologists will likely commend director James Wan (Insidious) for at least creating something watchable (there are a few exciting action sequences), but there’s no excuse for something with a $200-million budget to have such B-movie aspirations.

BEN IS BACK

In the last two years, actor Lucas Hedges has become a force in Hollywood — from his Oscar-nominated role in Manchester by the Sea to his smaller but significant contributions to two Oscar-worthy pictures last year: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Lady Bird. This year, Hedges continued to work on top-tier dramas, but Boy Erased and Mid-90s — although 29 6

Walt Disney Studios

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screens Annapurna Pictures

Universal Pictures

VICE

LD Entertainment

reviews were mostly positive — didn’t register with many 6 27 moviegoers to a larger degree. Unfortunately, the same can be said for his final 2018 film Ben Is Back, a satisfying albeit slight story about a drug-addicted teenager who returns unexpectedly to his family (Julia Roberts plays his mom) on Christmas Eve after a stint at a longterm treatment facility. Hedges and Roberts are believable as mother and son and share some touching scenes, but writer-director Peter Hedges (Lucas’ real-life father) can’t find the perfect balance connecting the melodrama and the darker edges of the drug trade he tries to tread. Nevertheless, like Steve Carell in Beautiful Boy, Roberts effectively depicts a devoted parent who would do anything to save her child. Opens at theaters December 21.

Columbia Pictures

Netflix

BIRD BOX

If Danish writer-director Susanne Bier has a filmmaking forte, it’s her ability to create impassioned relationships between her characters. In Bird Box, Bier, sadly, doesn’t get the opportunity to craft any meaningful rapport among the motley crew she assembles for the first horror movie of her career. Adapted from the 2014 post-apocalyptic novel of the same name by Josh Malerman, Bird Box is oddly similar to filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan’s terrible 2008 thriller The Happening. Oscar winner Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) leads an impressive cast, which includes Sarah Paulson and John Malkovich, in a fight for survival when an unknown entity compels the world’s population to commit mass suicide if they catch a glimpse of whatever it is. While some psychological thrillers featuring unseen evil like The Witch, It Follows and It Comes at Night are effective, Bird Box doesn’t allow viewers to invest much in its cast. In this case, an ominous atmosphere just isn’t enough. Available on Netflix December 21.

BUMBLEBEE

As the first spinoff to come out of the Transformers movie franchise, two-time Oscar-nominated director and animator Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) has managed to distinguish Bumblebee from the cinematic trash heap of spare parts that director Michael Bay has produced for the past decade. One could almost imagine Bay walking out of the theater after seeing Knight’s standalone movie and thinking, “Oh, so, that’s how you’re supposed to do it!” Bumblebee is such a nostalgic

action-figure residents) he builds in his backyard. Mark’s life is a fascinating one that is portrayed wonderfully in the 2010 documentary Marwencol. In the fictional take, much of the emotion and focus on personal recovery is dropped in favor of the action flick that competes simultaneously with Mark’s central narrative. While Zemeckis and co-writer Caroline Thompson (Corpse Bride) seemed like they could add something special to the stranger-than-fiction story, the blurred lines between reality and imagination make for a tonal dilemma the film is unable to solve. Opens at theaters December 21.

In the opening scene of Vice, Oscar-winning filmmaker Adam McKay’s biopic on former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney (Christian Bale in an Oscar-worthy performance), Secret Service agents urgently escort the VP into the President’s Emergency Operations Center on the morning of 9/11. There, he takes control of the grave situation and declares to his military leaders that they “have authorization to shoot down any aircraft deemed a threat,” a decision on the rules of engagement normally made by the President. In Cheney’s world, McKay shows audiences just how much influence the VP had in the administration and does so with a sharp and scathingly witty script. Politics is a whole different game than McKay tackled in his last film, 2015’s The Big Short, on the imploding housing bubble, and he came ready to play. Cheney’s wraithlike rise in the ranks saw him turn the “nothing job” of VP into one of incredible depth and power — like a cosmic comic-book villain who devours planets — and McKay’s foray into political theater is captivating, outrageous, satirical gold. Opens at theaters December 25.

Paramount Pictures

From top left: Ben Is Back, Vice, Welcome to Marwen, Holmes & Watson, Bird Box, Bumblebee, Second Act delight, not even a clunky performance by John Cena can ruin it. Set in 1987, the film stars Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) as Charlie Watson, an outcast teen who discovers Transformer B-127 (aka Bumblebee), a yellow VW Beetle sent to Earth to find refuge after a war with the Decepticons. When he is tracked down, he and Charlie must find a way to outmaneuver the villainous robots and the U.S. military ready to destroy him. Borrowing from classic films like WALL-E, The Iron Giant and King Kong, Bumblebee is the Transformers movie fans have always wanted. Opens at theaters December 21.

SECOND ACT

Actress Jennifer Lopez proves she’s Jenny from the Block when she tries to use her street smarts to climb the corporate ladder and start a professional career with a fabricated resumé. Directed by Peter Segal (Get Smart), the romantic comedy co-stars Vanessa Hudgens (Sucker Punch), Milo Ventimiglia (TV’s This Is Us) and Leah Remini (TV’s Kevin Can Wait). Opens at theaters December 21.

HOLMES & WATSON

Actors Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly team up for the third time in a comical version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Directed by Etan Cohen (Get Hard), the comedy-mystery co-stars Rebecca Hall (The Town), Kelly Macdonald (Puzzle) and Ralph Fiennes (In Bruges) as Holmes’ archnemesis Professor Moriarty. Opens at theaters December 25.

WELCOME TO MARWEN

Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) has his heart in the right place, but his love for computer-generated characters like the ones he utilizes in The Polar Express and Beowulf has finally caught up to him. Welcome to Marwen is based on the true story of Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell), a New York resident who, after a vicious attack leaves him brain damaged, finds comfort in interacting with a doll-sized, WWII-era town (and its

STX Entertainment

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A Spirited Celebration

Everything you need to know about the San Antonio Cocktail Conference BY RON BECHTOL

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fter only seven years on the calendar, the San Antonio Cocktail Conference has become both one of the country’s best such shindigs and a kind of Fiesta for the city’s spirits-savvy set. In the manner of all such events, it has also grown bigger over those years. Running from January 15 to 20, and taking place primarily at the venerable Gunter and St. Anthony hotels, the conference’s myriad seminars, panels and pairing dinners offer up a dizzying array of choices. Consider this a cheat sheet emphasizing the most promising opportunities, and know that all proceeds benefit Houston Street Charities. Yes, planning and judicious selection are imperative. As someone who has attended every year since SACC’s inception (and has frequently referred to the experience as “a duty-bound death march” due to the need to cover as many bases as possible), I am here to assure you that you don’t want to find yourself cutting short “Japanese Whisky: Rich in History and Expressions” at the Gunter in order to sneak in late to “Alternative Whiskeys and Techniques for the Adventurous Distiller” at the St. Anthony. Give yourself breathing room. And, as most presentations include cocktails, even consider booking an actual room at one of the hotels. Yes, there are dedicated conference-goers who do this. Just like at Fiesta.

Ismael Rodriguez

Fortunately for all of us, the good folks at conference-planning central have added tags to this year’s events indicating suitability for spirits industry personnel or the general public. “Vacuum Chambers and Immersion Circulators” pretty much announces itself as industry-friendly, whereas “Burn, Baby, Burn,” a presentation on whiskey barrel charring and more, is recommended for Cocktail Novice, Cocktail Aficionado and Cocktail Nerd alike. Keep this in mind when further investigating the suggestions below at sanantoniococktailconference.com.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 15, 7PM, $65-$125

Dinners pairing spirits such as Garrison Brothers and Tequila Patrón with restaurants including Biga and Toro Kitchen take place on this night only, with prices ranging from $65 to $125. Since this is a personal-choice situation, I leave it to you, but don’t dilly-dally: some are already sold out.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16, 7:3010:30PM, $65

Kicking things off in fine fashion is “Women Shaking It Up: The Art Of Being Awesome.” Women are featured in many SACC events, but this one is expressly about them and their cocktail prowess. Art aficionados will also appreciate SAY Sí as a venue.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 17

This is a light day. Start the morning right with “Women In Mezcal: Past, Present and Future” (St. Anthony, 10:30-11:45am, $40). The seminar is presented by Emma Jantzen of Imbibe magazine and author of Mezcal: The History, Craft & Cocktails of the World’s Ultimate Artisanal Spirit, along with Graciela Angeles Carreño of Mezcal Real Minero. Learn about female mezcal smugglers and more! Genever is a kind of Dutch precursor to gin as we drink it today, but most of us don’t know the original. Discover it at “Genever: America’s Lost European Spirit” (St. Anthony, 3:15-4:30pm, $40). Expect tastes. A new event on Thursday evening, replacing one that previously occupied the DoSeum, is “Come & Taste It” (7:30-11pm, $85) taking place at Battle for Texas, the Experience inside River Center Mall. Cocktails and canapés amidst relics, memorabilia and reenactment performances. Scored at 92 percent Very Good and above on Trip Advisor — and that’s without drinks, but maybe more for visitors than locals. Up to you. Whatever the decision, turn in early, as tomorrow gets rough.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 18.

So let’s try to make it easier. There is that

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Pickle Me This

from some of the city’s best chefs, music will rebound — and you’ll look swell in the historic setting of Peacock Alley and surrounding spaces.

New Barbaro cocktail pairs pickle juice with a dill-infused Scandinavian spirit

SATURDAY, JANUARY 19

Ismael Rodriguez

6 31 Japanese Whisky presentation at

10:30 a.m. I mentioned earlier; it wouldn’t be wrong. Also sounding good is an exploration titled “Puerto Rican Bar History” as it promises to introduce spirits ­— “pitorro, mavi and more” — I’ve never even heard of. But you are most likely to find me at “Let’s Talk Essential Oils” (St. Anthony, 11:00-12:15pm, $50), in which you will “learn how to use essential oils to enhance cocktails and cuisine … and leave armed and ready to add these great tools to your ingredient arsenal.” Also leave on time, as you now have 15 minutes to get over to the Gunter and what I think is a new kind of presentation for the conference: “Meet the Maker: Live, Virtual Tour Of Casa Wahaka in San Dionisio, Oaxaca” (Gunter, 12:301:45pm, $45). Here’s the pitch: “Visit a palenque in Oaxaca as we connect via live conference link with master distiller Alberto “Beto” Morales. Beto will walk us through the Casa Wahaka distillery and explain each step of the process as it is happening live. You’ll have ample opportunities to ask him your questions directly and gain unparalleled insights into the spirit.” Yes, you’ll miss “Quinine: Bark to the Future” (love the title), “Forgotten Liqueurs” and “Sugar Cane Spirits,” but you will exit in time to catch a panel entitled “The Rediscovered World of Canadian Whisky.” (Gunter, 3-4:15pm, $60). The hooch from our northern neighbor has been getting a lot of ink lately for its resurgence, but the real hook here is a signed copy of panelist and bar guru Jim Meehan’s new Bartender Manual. This is not a book for spirits sissies, so man (or woman) up. Then suit up (I’m serious — consider this an opportunity to parade your finest threads) for “Waldorf on the Prairie,” (St. Anthony, 7:30-11pm, $100). Yes, it’s pricey, but you’ll sample liquors and cocktails from many of the event’s presenters, there will be beguiling bites

Things slow down only slightly on this, the fourth day of non-stop cocktailing. I’m ready to ease up with one morning event: “Selections from the Vault: A Master Class” (Gunter, 10:30-11:45am, $50), in which you’ll “journey through history via rare, limited-production and hallmark whiskies.” Then, especially if you didn’t make to last night’s swank affair at the St. Anthony, consider ponying up for a ticket to the Tasting Suites (St. Anthony, noon-4pm, $45). I preferred this event when it was all in one place rather than split between several small ballrooms and suites, giving me a way to gauge the enormity (and danger) of all the sampling options at one go-around. But maybe the exploration aspect has its merits. In the afternoon, I’d head straight to “Foraged Ingredients: GNT + Sushi” (Gunter, 1-2:15pm, $55) for a pairing of gins with foraged botanicals and “a curated sushi menu.” Sounds like a sure winner. Next, if there are still some brain cells remaining, what about “Mid-Century Survivors, or Whatever Happened to the Steakhouse Cocktail?” (Gunter, 3-4:15pm, $40) for a trip down memory lane in which presenters will “discuss the history of some endangered classics (Gimlet, Ward 8, Sidecar, Bronx), meet a few of the bartenders keeping them alive and showcase several contemporary recipes that allow them to live to their full potential.” If you need one more large-scale event, there’s the evening’s “Cocktails in the Enchanted Forest” (La Villita Assembly Hall, 7:30-11pm, $85). I missed this last year, its first appearance, but those who attended came away pleased.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 20

The conference concludes not with a whimper but a “hallelujah!” at the “It’s Not Over Yet Gospel Brunch” (Bohanan’s Bar, 11am-1:30pm, $75). Consider this stylish bar the cauldron in which the conference was conceived, with Mark Bohanan, the late cocktail messiah Sasha Petraske and others all in conspiratorial attendance. I’ll drink (and shout) to that.

BY ERIN WINCH

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Fabian Leon Villa

he cocktail menu at upscale pizza spot Barbaro is getting a dose of salty and sour thanks to Pickle Me This, a drink made with Linie Aquavit and pickle juice. That’s it — just two ingredients. The beverage is part of a menu being revamped in segments, with new cocktails sliding in as inspiration strikes bar manager Steven Santillian. In the case of Pickle Me This, the inspiration was to “highlight the prized spirit of Norway in a interesting way, like a dirty martini,” Santillian explains. To that end, he swapped pickle juice for the olive brine traditionally found in a dirty martini. Aquavit, a classic spirit from Scandinavia, has been around for centuries. Distilled from potatoes and grains, its flavor comes from an infusion similar to gin. The neutral base is spiked with herbs and spices — in this case, primarily caraway and dill. Linie Aquavit leans more toward dill flavor than caraway, making it an easy pairing with the pickle juice. But that’s not the only flavor in play. The Linie in this Aquavit’s name means “line” — appropriate since it’s carried across the equator (a line, get it?) in sherry casks before being sold. Each bottle includes a bit of history, in that the name of its ship and voyage date are printed on the label. The drink, like other Barbaro cocktails, runs $10. However, it’s available for $5 during happy hour, which runs 3-6 p.m., Wednesday through Monday, and all day Tuesday.

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Puckering Up to Pickles

he appearance of pickle cocktails in San Antonio shouldn’t come as much surprise given the city’s love affair with briny bites. Here are a handful of other pickle-infused drinks and snacks that have become local staples:

Pickle Shots at Hi-Tones: Billed as “the original pickle shot” on its website, the St. Mary’s music venue’s go-to libation may not be fancy, but a salted rim combined with the dual bite of pickle juice and high-proof alcohol makes for a bracing bar experience. Piccadilly Raspas at Big Daddy’s Eats & Treats: Sure, these shaved-ice concoctions are found at plenty of South Texas snack shacks, but Big Daddy’s elevates it to a flavor extreme. The mix of chopped pickles, chamoy and Kool-Aid is a salty-sweet-sour-spicy workover for the taste buds. Pickle Paletas from El Paraiso Ice Cream: Fruit-based ice pops can hit the spot on a summer day, assuming you crave a trip to Sweet City. El Paraiso’s sharp and salty pickle variety offers up a savory alternative to beat the heat — including real bits of shaved pickle.  — Sanford Nowlin

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Whiskey Trip

Sip and learn at these six area distilleries BY TRAVIS E. POLING

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eer and wine tours have become a popular staple of weekend entertainment over the past decade, but the rise of Texas craft distilleries has opened up another way to combine imbibing with education. A decade ago, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission had issued only eight distillery licenses. But, since then, the number has expanded to more than 90 — and more are in the planning stages. While the Lone Star State now produces vodkas, gins, brandies and tasty rums, some of the most compelling San Antonio-area distillery tours involve whiskey. If the wares are worth bringing home, visitors are allowed to buy up to two bottles to-go monthly, an amount the Texas Distilled Spirits Association is trying to increase in the 2019 session of the Texas Legislature.

San Antonio ALAMO DISTILLING CO.

This small and bustling 4-year-old distillery produces its own bourbon and vodka as well as handling bottling and product development for other companies. Because of that busy schedule, a tour requires a reservation at least a day ahead. Alamo is one of the few local distillers with weekday tours but won’t open on weekends until they move into a larger facility next year. Tours can span an hour to two, depending on availability and the size of the group. Expect a healthy dose of education. 621 Chestnut St., (210) 325-7853, alamodistilling.com

RANGER CREEK BREWING & DISTILLING CO.

Sign up early online for this popular Saturday tour, because it fills up fast. Ranger Creek was the first combination brewery-distillery in Texas, and it’s been making well-received bourbons and beers since 2010. For $10, you get a 90-minute tour and three tastes of Ranger Creek beers or whiskeys, which include its .36 Texas Bourbon, .44 Rye Whiskey and Rimfire single malt with mesquite-smoked grains. The 2 p.m. tour ends before the tasting room and gift shop open, so there’s time to browse and purchase on-site before the regulars pour in. 3834 Whirlwind Dr., (210) 339-2282, drinkrangercreek.com

REBECCA CREEK DISTILLERY

Since 2009, it’s been all about whiskey and music

Alamo Distilling

under the live oak trees at Rebecca Creek. The local feel is still there despite the distillery’s step into the national market with its Rebecca Creek Whiskey and blended Texas Ranger Whiskey. The hour-long tours start at 4, 5 and 6 p.m. on Fridays and from noon through 4 p.m., hourly, on Saturdays. Parties of up to nine will be combined with other smaller groups for a free 30- to 40-person tour. For $13 a person, groups of 10 to 40 can book a private tour with pre-purchased add-ons such as cocktails. The tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday. 26605 Bulverde Rd., (830) 714-4581, rebeccacreekdistillery.com

Blanco

day through Saturday, but they recommend calling ahead before visiting. 2218 U.S. Highway 281 North, (830) 833-30333, benmilamwhiskey.com

REAL ALE BREWING (REAL SPIRITS DISTILLING CO.)

Real Ale hasn’t rested on the ever-growing pile of laurels it amassed in 22 years of beermaking. In 2017, they took that same drive into the spirits world with Texas Hill Country Signature and Single-Barrel whiskies plus a gin, all made from the distillation of Real Ale’s own beers. The tap room is open Wednesday through Sunday (check online for hours) and tours are at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. 231 San Saba Court., (830) 833-2534, realalebrewing.com

ANDALUSIA WHISKEY CO.

The owners themselves give the informative tours at Andalusia, providing an hour of information and whiskey tasting for $12. While distinctly American made, the Revenant Oak single malt uses peatsmoked malt like a Scotch whisky. Stryker single malt uses oak, mesquite and applewood to to smoke the malt. And the Andalusia Triple Distilled brings a lighter-bodied character of Irish whisky to the lineup. There are tasting room hours every day of the week, but you have to arrange a tour in advance. Special event tastings are ticketed through Eventbrite. 6462 North U.S. Highway 281, adalusiawhiskey.com

BEN MILAM WHISKEY

This newer addition to Hill Country distilleries produces rye whiskey, straight bourbon whiskey and a single-barrel variety, each bearing the name of Ben Milam, an empresario for Texas colonization and an important figure in the fight for Texas independence. Posted tasting room hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., TuesCourtesy of Ranger Creek

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Badass Bubbly

With holiday cork popping around the corner, don’t limit yourself to Champagne BY RON BECHTOL

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ig-C Champagne makers are desperate to have you believe their product is not just for big-C Celebrations: New Year’s, significant birthdays and anniversaries, spraying around locker rooms by Super Bowl champs… that sort of thing. And they have a point. With its bubbles, varying styles and degrees of sweetness, Champagne goes with just about anything, popcorn to Popeye’s, and whatever you want in between. But in defending a brand (Champagne with a capital “C” can legitimately be called that only if it’s produced within a designated region in France and from specific grapes), the big Champagne houses have also created a problem: price. Fortunately, there are options, all under $25. Or close to it. And one of the best is right in France: Crémant. Crémant is made exactly like Champagne (which is to say it undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle to yield the bubbles), but it can be made in grape-growing regions as diverse as Burgundy, the Loire Valley, Jura and even Alsace — from the grapes that typically grow in those regions. A fan of Chablis from the Loire? You’ll love

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the Crémant with its foundation of chablis and chardonnay. Crushing on the big reds of Burgundy? Head straight to Crémant de Bourgogne. The Bordeaux and Limoux regions also produce Crémants. A personal, perennial favorite is Lucien Albrecht’s Crémant d’ Alsace in either the brut or rosé expressions. It’s also widely available. But given that the labels still look Frenchy and the producers generally know what they’re doing, feel free to give almost anything you find a try. Blame Prosecco’s bad rap on mimosas (and, to a lesser degree, Bellinis) — at least I do. Much of the stuff is made in the charmat method, in which the secondary fermentation takes place in large, stainless steel tanks, not in individual bottles. But there is nevertheless some very good sparkling wine from Italy’s Veneto region out there. Yes, it will be a little fruitier and less nuanced than Crémant, and most of it is labelled “extra dry,” which despite the obvious implications, is actually a little sweeter than straight dry or brut. (Got that?) But it’s also generally less expensive. Some good names to look for are Carpene Malvolti,

Mionetto and Ruffino. More than most Champagne alternatives, you get what you pay for in Prosecco — so unless you really are planning to slam bottomless mimosas (we don’t judge), avoid the cutesy labels and the really cheap stuff. For a peek at what Prosecco can produce at the top — or superiore D.O.C.G. — end, look for Valdobbiadene, or Coneligiano-Valdobbiadene on the label. Don’t worry about pronouncing it. Just know that this is the wine’s most highly regarded sub-region. I’m willing to bet that Freixenet, the Spanish stuff in the black bottle, led the charge away from big-bucks bubbly. It was cheap generations ago, it still is (under $12) and you should not be ashamed of serving it. Segura Viudas and Jaume Serra Cristalino are two other labels that deliver exceptional bang at a party price. But now that most of us are long outta college, we can begin to look a little farther up the food chain for Cava, the Spanish champ generally produced from a three-grape blend in the Penedés region near Barcelona. Freixenet offers a more upscale bottling called Elyssia in both rosé (from pinot noir) and Grand Cuvée Brut renditions (blended with some chardonnay and pinot

noir). Segura Viudas counters with an impressively packaged Brut Reserve Heredad of its own. Other good names include Cordorniu, Juvé y Camps, Naveran and the impressive Raventos y Blanc in vintage-dated versions along with a NV (non-vintage) La Vida al Camp Brut. Pretty much any country that produces wine makes a sparkling wine as well. The march of global warming means that even England is turning out some very desirable bubbly. So, it comes as no surprise that the U.S. is home to some standout examples. In the Pacific Northwest, big-gun Chateau Ste. Michelle makes a dependable party pounder in its Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut. You should be able to find it at under $15 — sometimes well under. Oregon’s Argyle Brut, heavy on the pinot noir as you might expect, is equally appealing. As the nation’s biggest producer, California was naturally first to the party and thus has the deepest back bench of bubblies. Look for the basic bruts of Mumm Napa, Roederer Estate and Chandon (all French) and Gloria Ferrer (Spain’s Freixenet family) among many others. From Coppola comes the Instagram-ready Sofia Brut Rosé Monterrey County 2017; it’s pretty in the packaging and explosive on the palate. New Mexico comes on strong with Gruet in several worthy expressions. And New York’s Finger Lakes region is well-represented by Dr. Konstantin Frank Sparkling Brut made with the entirely traditional blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meuniere. (They also do a riesling sparkler.) Speaking of riesling, Germany’s bubblies are known as sekt, but there’s little availability here. Nor are we likely to see anything from, say, Hungary. Yet there is, oddly enough, a terrific sparkler from Tasmania. Yup, Tasmania — it’s not just about devils any more. I tasted the Jansz Tasmanian Rosé at High Street Wine Company just the other night, and it’s a beautiful wine (it’s not just about the bubbles, either) with light strawberry flavors and aromas. The bottle price tops our limit, but you can sample it for $11 a glass. You get bragging rights for being ahead of the small-c curve in the bargain.

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music Courtesy of Garrett T. Capps

Space Cowboy

Garrett T. Capps follows up a winning album with an ambient remix that takes him further into the cosmos BY JAMES COURTNEY

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ocal singer-songwriter, ringleader and bon vivant Garrett T. Gapps, as our frequent readers are no doubt aware, put out a real doozy of an album back in May. That release, called In the Shadows (Again) and recorded with NASA Country, a crack crew of stellar players, has done well for Capps, generating, along with a fortuitously-timed song placement in Showtime’s hit drama Billions, national and international touring action and a healthy helping of attention and praise. The album itself shines in a pristine yet uncanny kind of way. It’s lyrically powerful, presents an unexpectedly refreshing and successful blend of krautrock and country,

of psychedelic/experimental folk extrapolations and open-hearted Texas honky-tonk feels. And it’s easily the most distinctive and cohesive recording Capps has ever released. It’s sophisticated without seeming bloated, earthy and relatable without seeming simplistic. No fucking bullshit, it’s one of the best new country releases I’ve heard this year — from anywhere. Now, taking his self-described “space country” explorations even deeper into the cosmos, Capps and company will celebrate the release of an ambient remix of the album. The new take, dubbed simply In the Shadows, is the fruit of the labor of NASA Country member and sound artist Justin Boyd. It is unusual, to say the least, to have an am-

bient remix of a country album, but in Boyd’s infinitely capable hands, this project really came out beautifully. Accentuating the eerie whine of the steel guitar and deconstructing the songs, looking to expose their mystical cores, Boyd has given the works a whole new, and decidedly more spacious, life. Boyd, already at work with Capps and company on their next project, told the Current “the methodology was a bit different for me, but I really relished the constraints and pushed to make each tune sound similar to the original, but also worked to highlight the inherent beauty in the craft of the songs.” Beyond that, Boyd’s way of working has been so “augmented and transformed” by the process and the band that he can’t wait to dive into the next project. “We are about to begin work on the next album, and I’m really amped to see where it will lead us,” he said. Capps, ever the grinning optimist, said he’s thrilled with the outcome of Boyd’s work. “It totally rips,” he offered in his deadpan way of saying cool things about the cool things he does.

Find more music coverage Find more news every day at sacurrent.com


music | music Picks

Courtesy of Del Castillo

Courtesy of Nori

ROBERT EARL KEEN p Thursday, December 20

Incorporating elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, Robert Earl Keen’s extensive album catalog is a direct reflection of true Americana, and lucky for us, he’s coming back to San Antone this month. The Houston native recently announced the Cosmic Cowboy Christmas Tour with eight shows, beginning December 18 in Oklahoma City and concluding December 29 in Fort Worth. It stops in San Antonio at the Aztec Theatre this Thursday. According to a press release, the performances will include Keen’s classic “Merry Christmas from the Family,” as well as fan favorites and fun covers from his band members. “Wait until you to see what

this year’s Christmas theme is going to entail,” Keen said in the release. “I always say, if you’re not in the holiday spirit now, you will be when you leave this show.” $30-$59.50, 7pm, Aztec Theatre, 104 N. St. Mary’s St., aztectheatre. com. — Chris Conde

NORI L

Thursday, December 20

We are totally here for the uptick in musical offerings we’ve recently seen at Fl!ght Gallery. Having hosted the last few installments of the delightful monthly experimental music series Contemporary Whatever, as well the upcoming January show with Samantha Riott and Sarah Ruth, the ever-relevant art spot will host Austin band Nori this week. The five-piece makes vibrant, thoughtful music, complex and often thematically heavy, yet endlessly pleasurable to hear. Key to that appeal is the way it fuses jazz with folk and an eclectic array of world music influences. Nori just dropped its dense and searching sophomore album Bruise Blood at the end of November, and we’re here to tell you that it will be something special to experience live. Taking its name from a detail of a heart-wrenching story from pre-Civil Rights-era Harlem, the album focuses on timely themes of intolerance, hate, racial justice and the hope for change. $5-$10, 8pm, Fl!ght Gallery, 112R Blue Star, (210) 872-2586. — James Courtney

Dream Theater, black-gone-prog metal band Opeth and controversial Israeli artist Aviv Geffen, multi-instrumentalist Steven Wilson has a sprawling catalog of prog music that’s impressive as hell. Probably best known as frontman for English rock band Porcupine Tree, Wilson has been nominated for four Grammys on top of being named one of the 15 best progressive rock guitarists through the years by Guitar World magazine. He also landed at number 7 as best prog guitarist of 2016 in a MusicRadar readers’ poll. This Friday, the prog god will head to the Alamo City to shred our faces just in time for Christmas. $35, 7pm, Aztec Theatre, 104 N. St. Mary’s St. theaztectheatre.com. — CC

EMO NITE

Friday, December 21

It’s no secret that San Antonio loves its emo music. From our well-documented (and oft-tormented) Morissey obsession to our tendency to pack into shows by acts like Glassjaw, Thursday and Panic! at the Disco (just to name

STEVEN WILSON 5 Friday, December 21

Courtesy of Robert Earl Keen

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Contributing to and collaborating with numerous bands of varying genres, including fantasy prog metalheads

CURRENT | December 19-25, 2018 | sacurrent.com

Big Hassle

a few), there’s just something about sadness that we find sexy (or otherwise liberating). As such, this holiday season we expect to see a ton of y’all at Emo Nite, an event hosted by a Texas group of the same name that makes its bread by throwing parties to celebrate said sonic sadness. With the season in full swing, we’re sure you can find plenty of things to bemoan. And, who knows, in the act of congregating with others, around music you love, you might just find that everything, even if just for a little while, seems like it might be OK after all. $10-$15, 9pm, Paper Tiger, 2410 N. St. Mary’s St., papertigersatx.com. — JC

DEL CASTILLO AND PATRICIA VONNE L Saturday, December 22

Del Castillo is a hardworking and talented group out of Austin that’s been perfecting its craft, a heady and emotive fusion of Latin rock, pop-rock, blues and various strains of world music, for almost 20 years now. The band, whose raw spirit is best experienced live, will instantly endear itself to fans of acts like Ozomatli, B-Side Players and Los Lobos. S.A.-born Singer-songwriter Patricia Vonne will join Del Castillo on this ideal Latin rock bill. Taking as much influence from her ancestral Spain as the pop, rock, folk and regional styles (like Tejano, TexMex, Conjunto, Mariachi and more) she grew up surrounded by, Vonne isn’t one to play it safe or stick to a single formula. In the live setting, she’s a veritable dynamo. $20-$115, 9pm, Sam’s Burger Joint, 330 E. Grayson St., (210) 2232830, samsburgerjoint.com. — JC


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DOC WATKINS TRIO PLAYS A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS L Saturday, December 22

Doc Watkins, an accomplished bandleader, a gifted musician, and the owner of SA’s swank Jazz, TX venue has long been invested in supporting and championing the San Antonio music milieu. His venue, which is a sort of refined version of the old-town dancehalls and saloons that it’s partly modeled upon, has hosted a slew of excellent shows — ranging from jazz, blues, big band, Texas swing, salsa, conjunto and Americana — in its year and a half of existence. This Wednesday, Watkins and company will present a special holiday performance, but not the bill of X-mas standards you might expect. Instead, the group will present the music of A Charlie Brown Christmas, the beloved TV special that first aired in 1965. The music, composed by accomplished jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, is as off-beat as Charlie Brown himself. At the time of its release, it was just one more way the seminal Peanuts series challenged the entertainment orthodoxy. $10, 5:30pm, Jazz, TX, 312 Pearl Pkwy, Building 6, Ste. 6001, jazztx.com. — JC

a scheduled December 23 show at the AT&T Center. The current tour marks the second without founder Paul O’Neil, who passed away last year. “Last year, with Paul’s family steering the ship, we realized that his dream will live beyond him, and that makes us all very proud, happy and thankful,” said Al Pitrelli, the band’s music director and lead guitarist. This time around, Trans-Siberian is also celebrating 20 years of the famous winter tour that started it all, based on their 1999 Ghosts of Christmas Eve TV movie. And in yet another throwback, TSO is releasing a 20th-anniversary edition of the 1998 album The Christmas Attic, which became available September 28. $45.75$89, 3pm, AT&T Center, One AT&T Center Pkwy, attcenter.org. — CC

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music | calendar BY SHANNON SWEET THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20

allow the duo to record new material. Lloronas and DJ LivEviL will help with the sendoff. Free, Limelight, 9pm

JACK INGRAM

LOS TEXMANIACS

Jack Ingram looks like Keith Urban if the latter was a rugged cowboy, not an Aussie pretty boy. Famous for a country-fried cover of the douchebag anthem “Lips of an Angel” and a Crown Royal bag full of hits, Ingram is a country bro unafraid to play in the mud. He’s also a true Texan, having appeared in everything from H-E-B commercials to a fundraiser with Matthew McConaughey — another Texan who never abandoned the Lone Star State for Hollywood glamour. $15-$90, Sam’s Burger Joint, 7pm

SAN ANTONIO CHAMBER CHOIR

The choir’s pairing with nationally known arranger Stacey V. Gibbs promises a sound extravaganza on par with the opening of Heaven’s gates. Songs for the winter season will soothe the Christmas blues, while classics like Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” will remind you of the triumph that can come from sticking to New Year’s resolutions. $25, Tobin Center, 7:30pm

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21

VOODOO BOOGALOO p

Resident trip-hoppers Voodoo Boogaloo have scheduled this “Goodbye for Now” concert to say farewell to the material from their last two albums, Yawny. Yelly. Glowy. Floaty. and Get In There. But fear not, the hiatus is to

Los Texmaniacs are renown for adding rock and jazz elements to conjunto and shaping it into the Texas party music it is today. Along the way, they’ve also found the time to collaborate outside their genre and pave the way other conjunto artists. That makes them almost as important to our city as the Alamo. $25-$50, John T. Floore Country Store, 7pm

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Imagine Josh Groban cloned three times to perform as a quartet with his impeccably dressed copies. Il Divo sings operatic pop ballads to an audience of easy-listening and musical-theater fans, kind of like overgrown — and overpaid — choirboys. Because human cloning isn’t yet a thing, this Simon Cowell-created group is the closest we’ll get to a choir of angel-voiced, popera-singing Josh Grobans. $64.50-$149.50, Tobin Center, 8:30pm

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SAN ANTONIO SYMPHONY PRESENTS HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN IN CONCERT

Legendary film composer John Williams’ lush score for the third-installment of the chosen-wizard’s coming of age tale is a perfect, if unexpected, addition to the holiday season — especially if you’re burned out on The Nutcracker and festive radio staples. The holiday tie-in comes because Prisoner was the first Harry Potter film to feature Hogsmeade, the Christmas-village wet dream. $27-$67, Majestic Theatre, 7:30pm

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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23

A CHRISTMAS CONCERT WITH GUY FORSYTH

Courtesy of Voodoo Boogaloo

Spend the jolliest time of the year with Guy Forsyth, as he serenades with stories and songs from his two-decade career. With fiery mutton chops as wild as the old West and a soul as sweet as honey, Forsyth found his musical calling when he moved to Austin. It’s a testament to the inspiration found in the state capital, where gruff and wise Texans meet the young and idealistic. $20-$60, Sam’s Burger Joint, 7pm

12/31/18 10/1/18

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“It’s Not Unusual”— the phrase makes it. ACROSS 1 Little drinks 5 TV monitoring gp. 8 Waits 13 Muscle problem 14 Jazz legend Fitzgerald 15 Fail to be 16 Lubricant used at the front and rear of an automobile drivetrain 18 Cuba ___ (rum drink) 19 Artistic interpretation of one’s feelings, maybe 21 Alfonso Ribeiro-hosted show featuring viewer submissions, for short 22 Ward of Gone Girl 23 Claws network 24 Matilda the Musical songwriter Minchin 27 Lover 29 “___ Believer” (Monkees song) 31 It may be half-baked 33 Cedar alternative 36 Bisected 40 It contains numerators and denominators within numerators and denominators 43 Skier’s spot 44 Clean up some topiary 45 ___ gin fizz 46 Lamentable 48 Family member, briefly 50 PGA VIP Ernie 51 Place to chill out

54 Lemon zest source 57 Death ___ Funeral (2007 or 2010 film) 59 Snarky social media response to an undeserved boast (and this puzzle’s theme) 64 Heart chambers 65 Eddie Murphy’s role in Beverly Hills Cop 67 Adrien of The Pianist 68 Adjust, as banjo strings 69 Dory helped find him 70 Heavy items dropped in cartoons 71 ___-Pekka Salonen (conductor soon to lead the San Francisco Symphony) 72 Cable channel since 1979 DOWN 1 Rocksteady precursor 2 “Never Tear Us Apart” band 3 Global extremity 4 Ancient stone slab (anagram of TESLA) 5 State of change 6 Snippets, like those shown on 21-Across 7 Core group 8 Vinegar variety 9 Spring bloom 10 Credit counterpart 11 The Smartest Guys in the Room company

12 Cardiologist’s dilator 14 Heighten 17 Excruciatingly loud, in sheet music 20 Roth of Inglourious Basterds 24 Nervous spasms 25 “Rebel Yell” singer Billy 26 Inbox item 28 “thank u, ___” (Ariana Grande song) 30 Farm residents? 32 Venmo and Hinge, e.g. 34 Egypt’s cont. 35 Kardashian matriarch 37 Scrabble piece 38 Sheared stuff 39 They’re “on” in binary 41 They’re always in February 42 Good-natured 47 ___ Poetry Jam 49 Double ___ (Oreo variety) 51 Q-Tip ends 52 Ancient city in Jordan 53 With an ___ distinction 55 Bring delight to 56 High-end Toyota 58 Make good (for) 60 Six Flags attraction 61 TV Warrior Princess played by Lucy Lawless 62 Acapulco accolades 63 1996 veep candidate 66 Hither and ___ ANSWER ON PAGE 17

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I’m a kinky single woman who keeps attracting the wrong men for me — specifically, submissive guys into face-sitting. I’m submissive myself, and face-sitting is not a turn-on for me. But the vast majority of men who hit on me have this fetish. I think it’s a size-related issue — a my-size-related issue. I’m a full-figured/ curvy woman with a big butt. Granted, it’s a fabulous butt, but my butt sends the wrong signals, apparently. I’ve tried several times to word my FetLife and other dating profiles so that I’ll attract dominant men, but the messages from submissive wannabe face-sittees pour in. Dating when you’re not thin is hard enough. Help, please. Baby Got Back

women and you let me stick that in you!” isn’t quite the slam-dunk argument you think it is. So toss that old vibrator and get yourself a new one — but save the packaging so you can pass it off as new with your next girlfriend.

You’ve worded your dating profiles to attract Doms, BGB, but it doesn’t sound like you’ve worded your profiles to repel — and crush the hopes of — submissive wannabe face-sittees. Let’s fix that: “I get a lot of messages from submissive guys into face-sitting. I’ve got a great butt, I realize, but I’m a sub, I’m not into face-sitting, and I only want to hear from Dom guys.” Some submissive guys will message you anyway — guys who will be letting you know they have a hard time taking no for an answer, BGB, so not guys you’d ever want to meet up with IRL. Delete their messages and block their profiles.

You’re a better person than the asshole ex who sent those videos to everyone your poor cousin knows, SAW, but a worse person than those who deleted the videos without wanking over them first.

While having sex one night with my girlfriend, I pulled out a vibrator for the first time. She asked whether I (a guy) had used it with a previous partner (another woman). I conceded that I had. She refused to let me use it on her on the grounds that it had already been inside someone else. I pointed out that since I am not a virgin, her objection did not seem principled: My penis has been in someone else and she lets me put that in her. Nevertheless, she remained adamant. Do you think she was being reasonable? Very Interested Boyfriend Enquires I do not, VIBE, but since you don’t want to stick your old vibrator in me — presumably — what I think is irrelevant. When it comes to who gets to stick what in our bodies, we’re allowed to be arbitrary, inconsistent, capricious and even illogical. That’s why “But my dick has been in other 48

CURRENT | December 19-25, 2018 | sacurrent.com

My cousin was a victim of revenge porn. A bitter ex-boyfriend of his sent several videos they’d made to everyone on my cousin’s contact list, including me. I’m a straight woman who prefers gay male porn, and my cousin and his ex are beautiful men — they’re both dancers — and I couldn’t help myself: I watched the videos, more than once, before deleting them. So how bad a person am I? Sick And Wrong

Your life is a monstrous affront to God, and your life’s work, your ridiculous “advice” column, encourages people to act on their worst impulses. Advice column? Take the “D” away! You write A VICE column! I was involved in the gay life once, Mr. Savage, but the love of Jesus delivered me from homosexual sin. Embrace Christ, and you too can be delivered. I pray for you every day. Someone has to. Christ Even Saves Savages P.S. I have read what you’ve written about your mother, who you claim to have loved. Your mother died relatively young. I’m not suggesting God punished you by cutting your mother’s life short. No, your mother died of shame. You pray for me, CESS, and I’ll gay for you—because all the delicious dicks you left behind when Jesus raptured you out of homosexual sin aren’t gonna suck themselves, are they? P.S. “Jesus is love,” my Catholic mother liked to say. If she was right, CESS, he surely finds the things going into my mouth less offensive than the shit coming out of yours.

mail@savagelove.net @FakeDanSavage on Twitter www.ITMFA.org

,


etc FREE WILL ASTROLOGY BY ROB BREZNY ARIES (March 21-April 19): Consumer Reports says that between 1975 and 2008, the average number of products for sale in a supermarket rose from about 9,000 to nearly 47,000. The glut is holding steady. Years ago you selected from among three or four brands of soup and shampoo. Nowadays you may be faced with twenty varieties of each. I suspect that 2019 will bring a comparable expansion in some of your life choices, Aries — especially when you’re deciding what to do with your future and who your allies should be. This could be both a problem and a blessing. For best results, opt for choices that have all three of these qualities: fun, usefulness, and meaningfulness. TAURUS (April 20-May 20): People have been trying to convert ordinary metals into gold since at least 300 AD. At that time, an Egyptian alchemist named Zosimos of Panopolis unsuccessfully mixed sulfur and mercury in the hope of performing such magic. Fourteen centuries later, seminal scientist Isaac Newton also failed in his efforts to produce gold from cheap metal. But now let’s fast forward to twentieth-century chemist Glenn T. Seaborg, a distinguished researcher who won a share of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1951. He and his team did an experiment with bismuth, an element that’s immediately adjacent to lead on the periodical table. By using a particle accelerator, they literally transmuted a small quantity of bismuth into gold. I propose that we make this your teaching story for 2019. May it inspire you to seek transformations that have never before been possible. GEMINI (May 21-June 20): United States President Donald Trump wants to build a concrete and fenced wall between Mexico and America, hoping to slow down the flow of immigrants across the border. Meanwhile, twelve Northern African countries are collaborating to build a 4,750-mile-long wall of drought-resistant trees at the border of the Sahara, hoping to stop the desert from swallowing up farmland. During the coming year, I’ll be rooting for you to draw inspiration from the latter, not the former. Erecting new boundaries will be healthy for you — if it’s done out of love and for the sake of your health, not out of fear and divisiveness. CANCER (June 21-July 22): Cancerian poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau advised artists to notice the aspects of their work that critics didn’t like — and then cultivate those precise aspects. He regarded the disparaged or misconstrued elements as being key to an artist’s uniqueness and originality, even if they were as-yet immature. I’m expanding his suggestion and applying it to all of you Crabs during the next ten months, even if you’re not strictly an artist.

Watch carefully what your community seems to misunderstand about the new trends you’re pursuing, and work hard to ripen them. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In 1891, a 29-year-old British mother named Constance Garnett decided she would study the Russian language and become a translator. She learned fast. During the next forty years, she produced English translations of 71 Russian literary books, including works by Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, and Chekhov. Many had never before been rendered in English. I see 2019 as a Constance Garnett-type year for you, Leo. Any late-blooming potential you might possess could enter a period of rapid maturation. Awash in enthusiasm and ambition, you’ll have the power to launch a new phase of development that could animate and motivate you for a long time. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I’ll be bold and predict that 2019 will be a nurturing chapter in your story; a time when you will feel loved and supported to a greater degree than usual; a phase when you will be more at home in your body and more at peace with your fate than you have in a long time. I have chosen an appropriate blessing to bestow upon you, written by the poet Claire Wahmanholm. Speak her words as if they were your own. “On Earth I am held, honeysuckled not just by honeysuckle but by everything — marigolds, bog after bog of small sundews, the cold smell of spruce.”

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Until 1920, most American women didn’t have the right to vote. For that matter, few had ever been candidates for public office. There were exceptions. In 1866, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the first to seek a seat in Congress. In 1875, Victoria Woodhull ran for president. Susanna Salter became the first woman mayor in 1887. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, Sagittarius, 2019 will be a Stanton-Woodhull-Salter type of year for you. You’re likely to be ahead of your time and primed to innovate. You’ll have the courage and resourcefulness necessary to try seemingly unlikely and unprecedented feats, and you’ll have a knack for ushering the future into the present.

more fundamental solutions; to finally fix a troublesome issue rather than just addressing its symptoms.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Studies show that the best possible solution to the problem of homelessness is to provide cheap or free living spaces for the homeless. Not only is it the most effective way of helping the people involved; in the long run, it’s also the least expensive. Is there a comparable problem in your personal life? A chronic difficulty that you keep putting band-aids on but that never gets much better? I’m happy to inform you that 2019 will be a favorable time to dig down to find deeper,

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Scientists at Goldsmiths University in London did a study to determine the catchiest pop song ever recorded. After extensive research in which they evaluated an array of factors, they decided that Queen’s “We Are the Champions” is the song that more people love to sing than any other. This triumphant tune happens to be your theme song in 2019. I suggest you learn the lyrics and melody, and sing it once every day. It should help you build on the natural confidence-building influences that will be streaming into your life.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Many people in Iceland write poems, but only a few publish them. There’s even a term for those who put their creations away in a drawer rather than seeking an audience: skúffuskáld, literally translated as “drawer-poet.” Is there a comparable phenomenon in your life, Aquarius? Do you produce some good thing but never share it? Is there a part of you that you’re proud of but keep secret? Is there an aspect of your ongoing adventures that’s meaningful but mostly private? If so, 2019 will be the year you might want to change your mind about it.

THIS MODERN WORLD BY TOM TOMORROW

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): “Be very, very careful what you put into that head, because you will never, ever get it out.” This advice is sometimes attributed to sixteenth-century politician and cardinal Thomas Wolsey. Now I’m offering it to you as one of your important themes in 2019. Here’s how you can best take it to heart. First, be extremely discerning about what ideas, theories, and opinions you allow to flow into your imagination. Make sure they’re based on objective facts and make sure they’re good for you. Second, be aggressive about purging old ideas, theories, and opinions from your head, especially if they’re outmoded, unfounded, or toxic. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Memorize this quote by author Peter Newton and keep it close to your awareness during the coming months: “No remorse. No if-onlys. Just the alertness of being.” Here’s another useful maxim, this one from author Mignon McLaughlin: “Every day of our lives we are on the verge of making those slight changes that would make all the difference.” Shall we make it a lucky three mottoes to live by in 2019? This one’s by author A. A. Milne: “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” sacurrent.com | December 19-25, 2018 | CURRENT

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San Antonio Current – December 19, 2018  

The Drink Issue

San Antonio Current – December 19, 2018  

The Drink Issue