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in this issue San Antonio Current

Issue 19_02 /// January 16-29, 2019

37 Screens

Publisher: Michael Wagner Editor-in-Chief: Sanford Nowlin

At a Disadvantage

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

The Upside is a very average remake of an exceptionally charming French film

Dead End

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek starts strong but doesn’t live up to its efficient setup

Advertising

39 Food

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SoHill Café’s inviting Italian plays nice with its Beacon Hill neighbors

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43 Music

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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 2019 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.

28 Feature

Jaime Monzon

Is This Thing On?

Local stand-ups are working to cultivate a relevant comedy scene in SA, but is anybody listening?

Iconic San Antonio Act the Krayolas Return With New EP

Music Top Picks

50 Etc

Savage Love, Crossword Puzzle, Astrology, This Modern World

BY K I KO M A R T I N E Z

07 News

Remembering Paul Elizondo and His Power Playbook Julián Castro’s Presidential Ambitions Will Show Just How Shrewd an Operator He Can Become Boozy Bills

14 Calendar

Our top picks for the week

21 Arts

Basketball Diary

Spurs forward Pau Gasol reflects on a championship career in his engaging Spanish-language memoir

This Is America

Gabino Iglesias’ ‘barrio noir’ novel Coyote Songs offers a disturbing wake-up call

Measures in the Texas Lege would let brewers, wineries and distilleries give customers more of what they crave

Hitting a High Note

Rearranging Deck Chairs

Blunt Force Comic

Can the Texas Legislature deliver on education reform without raising taxes?

Local artist Jose Villalobos earns a hefty grant from the esteemed Joan Mitchell Foundation

On The Cover: San Antonio’s never been an easy place to make it doing stand-up, but some local comics aren’t ready to give up on it just yet.

Blind Tiger Founder Jay Whitecotton wants SA to hone its comedy craft

Joke: Austin-San Antonio comedian Jay Whitecotton

My Life as a San Antonio Comedian

Art Direction: Tracie Louck sacurrent.com | January 16-29, 2019 | CURRENT

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Jade Esteban Estrada

GLITTER POLITICAL

Remembering Paul Elizondo and His Power Playbook BY JADE ESTEBAN ESTRADA

I

sat down with the late Paul Elizondo, County Commissioner, Precinct 2, about seven months before his death. During our interview at Mi Tierra Restaurant and Bakery, the local icon shed light on how he believed he was able to win his seat a whopping 10 times. His explanation seemed like a perfect epitaph for the longtime Democratic power broker. With an almost tribal instinct, he seemed to understand the importance of being loved. “I’ve always been about la gente,” said Elizondo, who was 83 when he died a few weeks ago of natural causes. Though critics accused Elizondo of being out of touch with constituents, he possessed a grandfather-like approachability. He could be found at H-E-B or any number of Mexican restaurants, chatting with a spontaneous gathering of constituents, cashing in on the celebrity as a musician that gave him the name ID that got him elected in the first place. “I’ve never had a constituent tell me that he had to go to a damn [neighborhood] meeting to tell me what was on his mind,” he said. (Elizondo’s successor, former State Rep.

Justin Rodriguez, whom Elizondo praised for his education and experience, seems to have a similar accessibility; I recently ran into him at my local Starbucks.) Elizondo’s connection to voters was key to his political longevity. He told me that he won the “faith of the people” by keeping an open mind about technology and social issues. He also surrounded himself with a knowledgeable staff that could dispense information and expertise on his behalf at public meetings. However, Elizondo took no prisoners when it came to political retaliations. He even seemed to delight in publicly ridiculing opponents. At a candidate forum last year, Mario Bravo, an environmentalist who ran for Elizondo’s seat, criticized him for not being attentive enough to the relationship between climate change and diabetes awareness. Ever the showman, Elizondo, leaned into his microphone and announced that Bravo sounded like he was “running for a professorship at a college.” Elizondo went so far as to impersonate Bravo during our interview. “[Saying] ‘Diabetes is loose!’ is sort of like

Chicken Little saying, ‘The sky is falling!’” Despite the potential payback, naysayers still took aim at Elizondo’s administration. Some criticized the way, by his own admission, he “[missed] the opening of every morning meeting.” Others made “pay-to-play” accusations about who he recommended for county contracts. In turn, Elizondo took note of his opponents’ shortcomings for future use. Though many in the community understood the far-reaching nature of Elizondo’s power, he went on the record with me arguing the contrary. “The county is a creature of the state,” he said. “We cannot do anything that the state does not allow us to do.” Even so, if Elizondo wanted to move metaphorical mountains and literal highways, all he needed to do was spread his wings of influence. When he couldn’t get something done himself, his deep knowledge of city, county and state agencies was like a GPS that allowed him to find the exact person who could make the difference for his project. He’d then push them to “get it done.” That ability to reel in outside resources was learned over time. “The Paul Elizondo from the ’80s did not realize there were that many resources that he could turn to to get things done,” he said. Over time, the commissioner also learned to spot a dead end and understand the difference between a “real [community] need and a political need.” He compared government to the tale about the little Dutch boy who used his finger to plug the dike and hold back a flood. “Nothing is ever fully solved,” Elizondo said. “And you have to remember many things, all at once,” he added, comparing governing to playing music. “It’s a form of instantaneous recall. If you’re reading the [budget] numbers, you have to read ahead and remember what you just saw over here. [That] takes discipline.”  During his two terms as a state rep — the first stage of his political career — Elizondo learned how to work the system within the system. “In the Legislature, I used the power of the subcommittee to trade off and get things done,” he said. “If you give people what they want, if it’s not bad, they’ll hopefully give you what you want. If you don’t respect them, they don’t respect you. On 98 percent of the votes, everyone waits until I make the motion, [and] 90 percent of the things we vote on are unanimous. You either lead, follow or get out of the way. You have to know what cards are on the table. That, my friend, is skill.” After we concluded the interview, I asked Elizondo to pose in front of the mural at Mi Tierra that bears his image. “It’s been a great ride,” he mused as I readied the camera for a final photo in the afternoon light. In my viewfinder, I saw a portrait of a man who was living his life to the fullest. What could be more powerful than that?

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Sanford Nowlin

CITY CURRENT

Julián Castro’s Presidential Ambitions Will Show Just How Shrewd an Operator He Can Become BY SANFORD NOWLIN

W

hen announcing his presidential bid on Saturday, Julián Castro showed all the political savvy that elevated him to political rising star during his 2012 keynote address at the Democratic convention. In many ways — from the unapologetically left-of-center policy planks he unveiled in his speech to the way he’s making his family’s immigrant background a major storyline — the whole affair seemed to position him as the Anti-Trump. Where Trump, 72, represents a twilit era, the 44-year-old Castro is a fresh face. Where Trump has stoked fear of immigrants, Castro delivered part of

his speech in Spanish. Where Trump clings to divisive politics, Castro delivered an aspirational, big-tent message. But Anti-Trump status alone won’t be enough for the former San Antonio mayor and Obama White House HUD secretary to make history as the first Hispanic person to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. party. To become a viable candidate, Castro will need to play on a larger scale than ever before, spending the coming months punching his national poll numbers through the roof, raising a fattened-to-bursting war chest and gathering powerful party allies. That may be easier said than done in a Democratic field that some experts

think could balloon to more than a couple dozen. Not to mention, Castro’s starting from way behind. Right now, he polls between 0 and 2 percent, trailing the double-digit showings of Joe Biden and fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke, neither of whom has formally announced. Given the numbers, Castro was smart to jump into the fray early, said David Crockett, a scholar of presidential politics at Trinity University. As one of the first contenders to declare, early excitement could help bolster name recognition. “Castro’s youthful, he’s Hispanic and he has a record,” Crockett said. “And right now, there’s a very soft, fuzzy top tier.” Leveraging the early start, Castro has already dropped in on primary states and published a memoir laying out his background and vision for the country. And despite pledging to not accept PAC money for his presidential campaign, he started the Opportunity First PAC to help elect Democratic contenders and bolster his party profile. Castro’s also gotten an early jump on fundraising. He’s been soliciting contributions since last year via his exploratory committee’s website, and as early as November, started organizing fund-

raising events for party financiers. Helping him curate those gatherings, according to Politico and CNBC, was Scott Atlas, the high-profile Houston attorney who served as one of O’Rourke’s major backers during his close bid to unseat Senator Ted Cruz. Whether roping in Atlas is an attempt to replicate O’Rourke’s success or keep a key fundraiser out of his potential rival’s tool chest, it’s clear Castro understands the need to construct a nationwide donor base. However, his challenges go beyond funding. Castro will need to convince Democrats he’s their best hope for taking down Trump. Hispanic voters remain a coveted bloc for the Democratic Party, but Castro has got to show the party establishment that he can deliver more than the Mexican-American votes that carried him into two terms as San Antonio’s mayor. To that end, Castro’s time with the Obama White House could offer a potential inroad with party loyalists. His relative youth and aspirational message could also endear him to millennials — another bloc that will be key to his electability, according to a recent FiveThirtyEight analysis. Castro may win points as a fresh-faced outsider at a time when voters’ distrust of Washington is at an unprecedented high, but he could have a hard time selling mainline Democrats that he’s got the needed experience. He’s yet to hold statewide office, for example, and foreign policy was notably absent from his announcement speech, highlighting another potential weakness. So, even if Castro can turn his age and outsider status into strengths, he’ll need to work the inside track like a seasoned pro. It will be a test of just how smooth a pollitical operator he’s capable of becoming. Not that Castro would admit it — no presidential candidate ever does — but he could recognize the long-shot nature of his candidacy makes him a more attractive contender for vice president than the top of the ticket. He also might have the long game in mind, understanding his prospects will grow as he builds a name and demographics continue to swing in his favor. This run, in other words, could prove good practice for the next. Or the one after that. “He’s relatively young,” Crockett said. “He’s still got several election cycles he could run for.” sacurrent.com | January 16-29, 2019 | CURRENT

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news

Boozy Bills

Measures in the Texas Lege would let brewers, wineries and distilleries give customers more of what they crave BY TRAVIS E. POLING

A

fter a disappointing 2017 meeting of the Texas Legislature, beer, wine and spirits makers are all hoping to win something this session that will boost their businesses and meet growing customer demand. Lawmakers are expected to introduce bills this session to let customers depart from brewery tours with to-go beer, allow wineries to offer more product via shipments and takeaway, and permit distilleries to sell customers addtional bottles in their tasting rooms.

Beer To Go Companion bills have been filed in the House and Senate with Democrat and Republican sponsors that would give microbreweries the right to sell beer to-go from their tasting rooms, something their brewpub brethren, wineries and distilleries in the state already can do. The fight for to-go sales began 12 years ago but has been rebuffed by powerful lobbying forces, even as state after state changed their laws. “[The newly filed] HB 672 corrects a glaring disparity in the state’s alcohol laws and gives Texans the freedom to purchase beer to go when they visit a local brewery, just like they can when they visit a Texas winery, distillery or brewpub,” said bill sponsor Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin. “The fact is, 49 other states already allow consumers to purchase beer to-go when they visit a local brewery. Texas should be a leader when it comes to supporting small businesses, not the last horse to cross the finish line.” Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway, who is carrying the companion bill SB 312, says it would be an economic boon to her district, because of its large number of breweries. Current laws restricting the sales are “unnecessary government overreach,” she said. The Texas Craft Brewers Guild points

out that the bills are not asking for an increase on the amount of beer that can be sold annually from a microbrewery tap room, just that it be inclusive for on-premise and off-premise consumption. Breweries making less than 225,000 barrels of beer per year can sell up to 5,000 barrels per year in their tasting rooms for on-premise consumption. “The fact that both parties expressed unequivocal support for beer to go in their 2018 platforms demonstrates the bipartisan, grassroots momentum surrounding this issue,” said Charles Vallhonrat, executive director of the guild, which represents about 250 Texas breweries. “We would love to sell you a case of beer to go,” said Eugene Simor, CEO and founder of San Antonio’s Alamo Beer Co. “It’s a memory from the brewery tour, and you’re sharing that with your friends and building excitement, not just about the next visit, but to buy the beer in stores and bars.” Simor said additional money from togo sales would go back into the business and developing the brand to the benefit of the brewer and the distributor.

Lifting Wine Limits Wineries already can sell wine to go from their tasting rooms and ship directly to consumers who are members of their wine clubs. What they want to see this legislative session is the cap on those sales removed completely. To that end, Buckingham introduced SB 313, which would remove the 35,000-gallon annual cap on to-go and direct-to-consumer shipping sales. That cap does not include on-premise consumption sales. Kimberly Frost, general counsel to the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association, said only a few wineries in Texas have come close to this cap. “It’s more galling than anything to have this cap to success,” she said. Wholesalers need not fear the measure, Frost added, because only “super

niche” consumers get all of their wine, beer or spirits directly from the maker. “Everybody’s grocery store (or package store) is closer than the brewery, winery or distillery.”

More Bottles for Distillers Texas distillers are looking to improve both the customer experience and their own sales with an increase in the number of bottles they’re able to sell per-visit from their tasting rooms. They are fine with the existing cap of 3,500 gallons per year but argue that both consumers and their own bottom lines would be better served with no restrictions on the number of bottles. A bill to make that change is expect-

ed to be filed in mid-January, said Mike Cameron, president of the Texas Distilled Spirits Association and founder and CEO of Devil’s River Whiskey. “No one has reached the bottle limit yet, since to-go sales were approved in 2013,” Cameron said. Cameron pointed out that lifting the cap on the number of bottles per visit would benefit customers who have to choose only two when there might be six expressions of a spirit that they want to take home, including special tap-room-only bottles. “The consumer is really driving a lot of this,” he added. To bolster its case before the Lege, the association has commissioned an economic impact study from the University of Texas at San Antonio that will begin with a survey this week of 150 distilleries across the state. sacurrent.com | January 16-29, 2019 | CURRENT

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Rearranging Deck Chairs Can the Texas Legislature deliver on education reform without raising taxes? BY SANFORD NOWLIN

T

he Texas Legislature kicked off its 86th regular session last week with elected officials pledging to make public school reform its top priority.  But if you believe the lege will actually open up new revenue streams — i.e. raise taxes — to make that happen, maybe we could interest you in some nice beachfront property in Midland.  For all the talk about boosting money for public education, the Republican-controlled legislature is unlikely to line up new funding sources, warns Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson. Instead, the GOP’s longstanding aversion to taxes means legislators will be forced to shuffle around money already in the state’s ultra-tight budget.  “The current Republican majority is unwilling to find new sources of revenue, so they’re stymied,” Jillson said. “At this point, all they can really do is rearrange the deck chairs.”  On a per-student basis, Texas spends 85 percent of the national average on public education, which doesn’t exactly give lawmakers much cash to play with.  And, critics charge, we get what we pay for. Texas now ranks 46th in the nation in fourth-grade National Assessment of Educational Progress reading proficiency, according to a recent Washington Post report.

Changing Priorities Despite the budgetary constraints, some lawmakers remain optimistic that the energy to reform will carry the day. Democrats gained 12 House seats and two Senate seats in the November election, signaling voters’ exasperation with the Republican-led status quo. “I’d like to think that everyone, at a minimum, heard loud and clear from the voters of Texas that they want us to concentrate on the issues that matter — things like education,” said State Rep. Diego Bernal, D-San Antonio. And the urgency is being felt on the other side of the aisle as well. Gov. Greg Abbott and new House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, both Republicans, have prioritized education reform. On his first day, Bonnen urged unity, telling representatives “you will be reminded every day of our goal.” Sen. Robert Menendez, D-San Antonio, said tough budget choices, such as tapping into the state’s $15

Dennis Bonnen/Twitter

billion rainy day fund, its sizable budget surplus or diverting money away from border security, could be sufficient to fuel meaningful reform. However, he warned that lawmakers should avoid the urge for a quick fix. Voters are savvy enough to see through tricks such as a one-time teacher raise or short-term funding increase. “It would be dangerous for our newly elected speaker to say this is a priority and then devise something that’s only cosmetic,” he said. “The funding for this can’t be one-time. It has to be ongoing.”

Another Top Priority Complicating matters, lawmakers are also under pressure to rein in property taxes — the primary funding source for Texas’ public schools. Abbott has proposed that local property tax revenue growth be capped at a meager 2.5 percent per year.   Meanwhile, the state’s share of public education funding has slipped from 50 percent in 2006 to around 36 percent today, forcing municipalities to continue escalating property tax rates to keep pace

New House Speaker Dennis Bonnen urged state lawmakers to work together to reform public education this session. with school enrollments. “The state bears a tremendous amount of blame on both issues,” said Bernal, who says lawmakers will need to balance finding more money for education while reining in property taxes. “It’s the state’s divestiture of duty that got us where we are today.” Whatever the final outcome, SMU’s Jillson remains skeptical that lawmakers can turn around the state’s education system without new sources of revenue. The lege, he points out, will also need to fund ongoing recovery from Hurricane Harvey. While federal funds have so far covered much of the cleanup, Texas will be on the hook for up to another $2 billion, according to a recent report by the Senate’s budget panel. “It’s just implausible to argue that if we spend more wisely that we can get bang for our buck that other states are unable to get,” Jillson said. “Those states are also trying hard to get the most for their money.” sacurrent.com | January 16-29, 2019 | CURRENT

13


of it, keep an eye out for SACC’s signature cocktail for 2019: Call Me, Honey — a concoction combining Deep Eddy vodka, lemon juice, orange juice, honey syrup and a muddled cardamom pod, garnished with cinnamon and a lemon wheel (snag the recipe directly from the source at sanantoniococktailconference. com). — Bryan Rindfuss

Jason Risner

WED | 1/16 SUN | 1/20 SPECIAL EVENT

SAN ANTONIO COCKTAIL CONFERENCE L

Since its inaugural outing in 2012, the San Antonio Cocktail Conference has grown in leaps and bounds, earning consistent support from the local community and nods of approval from big-name publications like Fodor’s and Paste magazine — all while donating hundreds of thousands of dollars from event proceeds to area charities such as ChildSafe, the Children’s Shelter, HeartGift San Antonio and Transplants for Children. Founded by restaurateur and chef Mark Bohanan and presented under the umbrella of Houston Street Charities, the five-day affair strives to be much more than just “an opportunity to drink” as it brings together a far-flung assortment of liquor reps, cocktail enthusiasts, bartenders and other industry pros for guided tastings, paired dinners, swanky parties and niche seminars exploring everything from sustainability and “functional bar flair” to Puerto Rican bar-scene history and women in mezcal. Kicked off this past Sunday with a boozy brunch in Boerne, this year’s packed program continues through Sunday with more than 90 individual offerings. Standing out among the highlights are Wednesday’s Women Shaking It Up: The Art of Being Awesome event celebrating female bartenders, chefs, community leaders and business owners in an artsy setting with hands-on creative opportunities ($65, 7:30-10:30pm Wed, SAY Sí, 1518 S. Alamo St.); Thursday’s newly reimagined “opening night” party Come & Taste It, which mixes cocktails, historical reenactments and period musicians in the Alamo-centric confines of the Battle for Texas: The Experience attraction ($85, 7:30-11pm Thu, Battle for Texas: The Experience, 849 E. Commerce St.); the return of Friday’s luxe Waldorf on the Prairie shindig with top-notch libations, cuisine samples and music amid the old-school splendor of the St. Anthony Hotel ($100, 7:30-11pm Fri, St. Anthony Hotel, 300 E. Travis St.); the introduction of a clever theme in the form of Saturday’s Cocktails in the Enchanted Forest, set in a woodland-inspired spread inside the La Villita Assembly Hall ($85, 7:30-11pm Sat, La Villita Assembly Hall, 418 Villita St.); and Sunday’s closing hurrah, the It’s Not Over Yet: Gospel Brunch, which promises to wrap things up on a posh note at SACC’s official birthplace of Bohanan’s with uplifting music, brunch faves and an abundance of the hair of the dog that bit you ($75, 11am-1:30pm Sun, Bohanan’s Bar, 219 E. Houston St.). While you’re out in the thick 14  CURRENT | January 16-29, 2019 | sacurrent.com

Hallease Narvaez

WED | 1/16 - WED | 1/23 SPECIAL EVEN T

DREAMWEEK HIGHLIGHTS L

DreamWeek belies its name as its constellation of events marches onward into a second week of festivities. Privately, Henrietta Lacks’ illness and death was a family tragedy, but, unbeknownst to her relatives, a sample of her cancerous cells was taken without her consent and became an integral part of medical research. Members of the Lacks family will discuss their experiences and Rebecca Skloot’s book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: A Dream for Social Equity, examining the “ethics of ownership around human biological material” and the “historical legacy of discrimination against people of color in healthcare” (free, 6pm Wed, Our Lady of the Lake University, Thiry Auditorium, 411 SW 24th St., ollusa.edu). If living under the shadow of the constant scandals that erupt from Trump’s administration wasn’t enough, the FBI released a report that hate crimes increased by 17 percent in 2017. The Esperanza Center’s Otro Mundo Es Posible: Creating Positive Change Under the Current Presidential Administration brings together a panel of representatives with expertise in “LGBTQ issues, immigrant issues, housing and gentrification issues, women’s issues, and environmental issues,” who will examine the impact of Trump’s leadership on both the local and national level, as well as the work that is being done to foster positive change in spite of it (free, 6:30pm Fri, Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, 922 San Pedro Ave., esperanzacenter.org). The Impact Guild will host a screening of Hallease Narvaez’s documentary Windows and Mirrors, which explores the cultural origins and modern meaning of different headwear. Whether a turban, wrap, or wig, head coverings are connected to “symbolism or historical attachment” worldwide, and Narvaez (pictured) uses

this link to explore the diverse cultural backgrounds of her interview subjects (free, 6:30pm Mon, The Impact Guild, 708 W. Summit Ave., theimpactguild.com). Teatro Anansi’s African Folktales doesn’t open until February 8, but they’ve invited the community to participate in a special preview during DreamWeek. The company will host an open rehearsal featuring a selection of tales from African and African-American folklore (which includes the ensemble’s namesake, “Anansi the Spider”), and afterward the audience will have the opportunity to participate in a “talk-back” with the company, during which they will learn about Teatro Anansi and provide feedback on the performance (free, 6:30pm Wed, Reuter Building Ballrom, 217 Alamo Plaza, teatroanansi.zohosites.com). If this wasn’t enough to wet your whistle, check out dreamweek. org for the full slate of events.— Kelly Merka Nelson

THU | 1/17 SAT | 1/26 THEATER

SEMANA DE SUEÑOS p

Offering a unique translation of DreamWeek’s mission to “advance the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other great humanitarians like him,” Jump-Start Performance Co.’s Semana de Sueños weaves together

Julie Marin


FRI | 1/18 SUN | 1/20 SPECIAL EVEN T

PAX SOUTH p Courtesy of WWE

timely stories exploring themes of “tolerance, diversity and equality.” Written and directed by company member Eraina Porras, the new production takes shape in three distinct chapters: Posoge employs the medium of film to tell a surreal, cautionary tale of two magical sisters who can make water appear — and even “create a rio grande” — simply by braiding their hair together; The Edge of the Woods turns back the clock to 1968 to follow two Edgewood High School students as they join the Chicano civil rights movement and stage a walkout in protest of unjust treatment; and in Attorney in Wonderland, an immigration lawyer working to unite a separated family slips down a rabbit hole and finds herself in an alternate reality populated by such unusual characters as “the Talking Door, the Cheshire Coyote and Queen Liberty.” $10-$12, 8pm Thu-Sat (no performance on Jan. 24), Jump-Start Theater, 710 Fredericksburg Rd., (210) 227-5867, jump-start.org. — BR

The geeks are nearly upon us, and they’re coming in costume. Get ready for the return of PAX South, a three-day celebration of all things gaming that descends on San Antonio Jan. 19-20. Attendees can enter video game tournaments, forge new friendships

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he goes head-to-head with Seth Rollins. Last week during WWE Live, Rollins was seconds away from grabbing the belt after he gave Ambrose the Curb Stomp, but wrestler Bobby Lashley interrupted the match and attacked Rollins, who ended up losing the fight. Also on the card is Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin. Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey, Sasha Banks, Lashley and many more superstars are scheduled to make appearances. $20-$110, 7:30pm, AT&T Center, One AT&T Center Pkwy., (210) 444-5140, attcenter.com. — Kiko Martinez

among hundreds of board and card game tables, bring their own computers and handheld consoles to the free play arena or rub elbows with the hundreds of exhibitors sharing their latest work on the show floor. PAX South — one of a family of gaming expos under the Penny Arcade umbrella — doesn’t draw as mind-bogglingly huge a crowd as related gatherings in Boston and Seattle. But the cozier atmosphere means more room to play new games, meet fellow enthusiasts and chat up developers about their wares. In addition, dozens of panel sessions let industry veterans, experts and fans talk shop. The annual show, which made its local debut in 2015, also includes bar crawls and other meet-up opportunities. The PAX South Fans group on Facebook has compiled a list of events and resources for convention-goers, new and old, plus there’s online discussion at the Penny Arcade forums. The event is free for children 6 and under, though we’d rate some of the panel discussions T for Teen. $42 for one-day badge, $85 for three, 10am-midnight Fri-Sat, 10am7pm Sun, Henry B. González Convention Center, south.paxsite.com. — Daniel Conrad

FRI | 1/18 SPORTS

WWE LIVE L

Linda Romero

San Antonians love their pro wrestling, whether it’s a lucha libre match in a makeshift outdoor ring or the grittier New Japan-style wrestling that’s becoming more popular in the States. So, when the WWE rolls into town with an event, fans of the sport come from all around the area to get a glimpse of their favorite athletes jumping from the top rope or driving their elbow into someone’s temporal lobe. The WWE Live event at the AT&T Center comes on the heels of one of the entertainment company’s popular pay-per-view shows, Royal Rumble, which takes place next week in Phoenix. At WWE Live, wrestling fans will get a chance to see Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose put his championship belt on the line when

Find these and more events at sacurrent.com


AT W I L D W E S T

R E E L F R E S H S U S H I + R EA L S L O W C O O K E D M E A T Western Fusion Decor, Food, Drinks, Sake & Desserts | Outdoor Patio - Sports TV’s - Games

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CURRENT | January 16-29, 2019 | sacurrent.com


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Courtesy of Planet X Cinema

FRI | 1/25

Alamo City Opera

SAT | 1/19 SUN | 1/20 OPERA

AS ONE L

Starring Liz Bouk and Jose Rubio, the contemporary opera As One tells the story of Hannah Before and Hannah After, the sole protagonist on her journey of self-realization and transition. Since its premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Art in 2014, the 75-minute chamber opera has become one of the most performed operas in the country. “It’s a big thing for our region to pull this off,” said Mark Richter, founder and artistic director of Alamo City Opera. “To be able to bring this to the stage and present it in a way that’s beautiful and inspirational is a perfect choice for the kind of opera that we do.” Although its plot centers on a transgender character, As One is hardly a tale about sexuality or gender issues. Rather, the opera can be described as a coming-of-age story that points to our similarities in spite of our gender or sexuality. “This is more of an opera about finding your inner self, the inner realization of who you are and pursuing it,” Richter told the Current. “I don’t think you have to be transgender to understand that … everybody is looking for that.” Since rechristening itself Alamo City Opera, the company (formerly Opera Piccola) has been venturing into various venues around the city and taking opera to communities where the art form is not usually presented. Among the operas that are favored by Alamo City Opera are stripped-down, contemporary and accessible operas with mass appeal. As One fits that description. It features two voices, a string quartet (in this case, Camerata San Antonio) and multimedia projections that serve as a backdrop. “People hear opera and they think ‘Oh, no, I don’t wanna hear that,’ even if they’ve never been to one,” Richter said. “But our operas are in English

FI LM

STAY TUNED L … our operas are intimate and up close. You don’t have to wear a tuxedo or suit to our operas, you come as you are.” For Alamo City Opera, it’s about fewer frills, more drama. “We are in the business of creating an experience,” Richter said. “Why else do we go to a live performance or concert? We want to feel that presence of emotion that comes from a live performance, and opera is right at the top of that.” $15-$50, 8pm Sat, 2:30pm Sun, UTSA Downtown Campus, Buena Vista Theatre, 501 W. César E. Chávez Blvd., (210) 314-6696, alamocityopera.org. — Marco Aquino

SUN | 1/20 SPORTS

SPURS VS. CLIPPERS

The Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers square up for the third time this season on Sunday, with San Antonio leading the regular season series 3-1. In previous wins, LaMarcus Aldridge has been the catalyst for the Spurs, scoring a combined 65 points in San Antonio’s December victories versus the Clippers. After signature wins against the Celtics and Raptors, the Spurs surged to their longest winning streak of the season and appear to have turned the corner on the defensive end of the hardwood. Bryn Forbes and Derrick White continue to thrive in Dejounte Murray’s absence, and both Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan are capable of dropping 30 points on an opponent any given night. With the halfway point of the season in the rearview mirror, quality wins against Western Conference opponents are critical for a post-season push. $10-$590, 6pm, AT&T Center, One AT&T Center Pkwy., (210) 444-5000, attcenter.com. — M. Solis

SUN | 1/20

Shutterstock

SPECIAL EVEN T

LUNAR ECLIPSE VIEWING PARTY L

Miss the epic blood moon in October 2014? Don’t worry — 2019’s got you, fam. San Anto is a prime viewing locale for the next total lunar eclipse, which also coincides with a supermoon. To celebrate the occasion, the San Antonio College Astronomy Department and SAAA Astronomy Club are taking over the top of the five-level parking garage on SAC’s campus and setting up telescopes to view the eclipse. Local astronomers will be on hand to help amateurs and newbies get an enhanced glimpse of the moon with sophisticated equipment, and hobby astronomers are encouraged to bring their own telescopes if they have them. In case you get a little peckish whilst contemplating objects of literal astronomical scale, the Most Wanted Smokers BBQ and Mr. Meximum food trucks will park at ground level to assuage any moonlit munchies. The moon will first enter Earth’s penumbra at around 8:30pm, with totality anticipated for shortly before 11pm. Free, 8pm, San Antonio College, 1819 N. Main Ave., (210) 486-0100, sacscobee.org. — KMN

Courtesy of Time for Three

For its first 2019 screening, Planet X Cinema asks you to Stay Tuned! Late at night, an enigmatic man knocks on the door of a suburban family’s home with a dubious, yet enticing, gift — a powerful satellite dish with access to a then-unheard-of 666 channels. Of course, this comes at a cost, for the gift-giver is a demon enacting an elaborate plot to steal their souls by sucking them into the devilish television channels they unwittingly subscribed to. Starring John Ritter and Mork and Mindy’s Pam Dawber, with a pre-American Pie Eugene Levy and a pre-conviction Jeffrey Jones (fittingly cast as the soul-stealing villain), Stayed Tuned epitomizes the righteous trash that Planet X promotes. Free, 8pm, Künstler Brewing, 302 E. Lachapelle, (210) 688-4519, planetxcinema.com. — KMN

SUN | 1/27 MUSIC

TIME FOR THREE i

As part of the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio’s Zachry Series, the YOSA Philharmonic performs with Time for Three at the Tobin. With the unusual ensemble makeup of two violins and a double bass, Time for Three bucks tradition to form a tight-knit trio with serious panache. Violinists Nicolas Kendall and Charles Yang join forces with bassist Ranaan Meyer to render music of all types, from J. S. Bach to Katy Perry, and, backed by the Philharmonic, they’ll perform a set of virtuosic selections that are sure to impress. The Philharmonic fills out the program with their renditions of Malcolm Arnold’s Four Scottish Dances and George Gershwin’s An American in Paris, for what is sure to be a crowd-pleasing night. $5-$22, 7pm, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, H-E-B Performance Hall, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 223-8624, yosa.org.— KMN sacurrent.com | January 16-29, 2019 | CURRENT

17


calendar Join us for Bubbles at the Barre and celebrate our Grand Opening on January 26th!

Open House

Free classes at 9:30 am & 10:30am

Plus

Studio tours Complimentary Hors d’oeuvres + libations Boutique shopping New client packages and specials Giveaways + more!

FRI | 1/25 – SUN | 1/27 SPECIAL EVEN T

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CURRENT | January 16-29, 2019 | sacurrent.com

AA R C SA .CO M

After a year’s hiatus, the Amazing Acro-Cats are back on the road — bigger and better than ever. Under the guidance of troupe leader and trainer Samantha Martin, the housecat circus act tours the nation with a show that features feline feats of acrobatic prowess. Martin trains all the cats in the troupe with the positive-reinforcement method of clicker training, working with each cat to find his or her intrinsic talents. Each show begins with a series of circus-themed tricks, from riding a skateboard to jumping through impossibly small hoops, and ends with a performance by the Rock Cats, whose sound skews toward the “anarchic” and avant-garde, according to past reviews. While part of the draw of the Acro-Cats is the novelty that notoriously hardto-train felines are performing on cue, the “Amazing” in the troupe’s name has not been unearned. On top of the ensemble’s successful touring show and many television appearances, in 2014 dilute calico Alley scored the Guinness World Record for the longest leap by a cat by crossing six feet in a single bound. Of course, that doesn’t mean the performers always hit all their marks. A hallmark of the Acro-Cats is the inevitable diva meltdown, sometimes playing out as a refusal to leave the carrier, or the sudden desire to do a bit of crowd work as a flash of fur darts into the audience seating. Martin always rolls with the punches, able

Samantha Martin

to adjust the performance as needed when the cattitude gets turned up to eleven. As with any ensemble of performers, the group’s makeup changes as time goes on. This year, the slate of Acro-Cats includes a lot of young blood seeking to make their claw marks on the world. Keep an eye out in particular for twin tabbies Roux and St. Claude (pictured), who are in the midst of their rags-to-riches story. Abandoned in a box with their siblings, Martin discovered the two when she fostered their litter. The twins have a particular affinity for performing tricks together, and their hearts are set on careers on the silver screen. With so much film and television production now based in their home state of Georgia, we may be seeing a lot more of them in the future. What allows Martin to continue to develop new talent is her commitment to cat rescue work in addition to the Acro-Cats’ demanding performance schedule. Fosters even come on tour with the troupe — everyone famous needs groupies, after all, and some even get the chance to perform. The Josephine Theatre has welcomed the Amazing Acro-Cats back with open arms for their return to San Anto at the end of the month. They’ll only be in town for three days, so if you’re looking for some feline fun, be sure grab your tickets before the circus leaves town. $24-$40, 7pm Fri, 3pm & 7pm Sat, 1pm & 5pm Sun, Josephine Theatre, 339 W. Josephine St., (210) 734-4646, circuscats.com. — KMN


calendar Join us for Bubbles at the Barre and celebrate our Grand Opening on January 26th!

Open House

Free classes at 9:30 am & 10:30 am Call or Email to reserve your spot.

Plus Evening Cocktail Party 5-8 pm Studio tours | Boutique shopping New client packages and specials Complimentary Hors d’oeuvres + libations Giveaways + more!

FRI | 1/25 – SUN | 1/27 SPECIAL EVEN T

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CURRENT | January 16-29, 2019 | sacurrent.com

AA R C SA .CO M

After a year’s hiatus, the Amazing Acro-Cats are back on the road — bigger and better than ever. Under the guidance of troupe leader and trainer Samantha Martin, the housecat circus act tours the nation with a show that features feline feats of acrobatic prowess. Martin trains all the cats in the troupe with the positive-reinforcement method of clicker training, working with each cat to find his or her intrinsic talents. Each show begins with a series of circus-themed tricks, from riding a skateboard to jumping through impossibly small hoops, and ends with a performance by the Rock Cats, whose sound skews toward the “anarchic” and avant-garde, according to past reviews. While part of the draw of the Acro-Cats is the novelty that notoriously hardto-train felines are performing on cue, the “Amazing” in the troupe’s name has not been unearned. On top of the ensemble’s successful touring show and many television appearances, in 2014 dilute calico Alley scored the Guinness World Record for the longest leap by a cat by crossing six feet in a single bound. Of course, that doesn’t mean the performers always hit all their marks. A hallmark of the Acro-Cats is the inevitable diva meltdown, sometimes playing out as a refusal to leave the carrier, or the sudden desire to do a bit of crowd work as a flash of fur darts into the audience seating. Martin always rolls with the punches, able

Samantha Martin

to adjust the performance as needed when the cattitude gets turned up to eleven. As with any ensemble of performers, the group’s makeup changes as time goes on. This year, the slate of Acro-Cats includes a lot of young blood seeking to make their claw marks on the world. Keep an eye out in particular for twin tabbies Roux and St. Claude (pictured), who are in the midst of their rags-to-riches story. Abandoned in a box with their siblings, Martin discovered the two when she fostered their litter. The twins have a particular affinity for performing tricks together, and their hearts are set on careers on the silver screen. With so much film and television production now based in their home state of Georgia, we may be seeing a lot more of them in the future. What allows Martin to continue to develop new talent is her commitment to cat rescue work in addition to the Acro-Cats’ demanding performance schedule. Fosters even come on tour with the troupe — everyone famous needs groupies, after all, and some even get the chance to perform. The Josephine Theatre has welcomed the Amazing Acro-Cats back with open arms for their return to San Anto at the end of the month. They’ll only be in town for three days, so if you’re looking for some feline fun, be sure grab your tickets before the circus leaves town. $24-$40, 7pm Fri, 3pm & 7pm Sat, 1pm & 5pm Sun, Josephine Theatre, 339 W. Josephine St., (210) 734-4646, circuscats.com. — KMN


calendar

returns to the stage as Elle in this Big League Productions tour presented by BMW of San Antonio. $44.50-$89.50, 7:30pm, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 2238624, tobincenter.org. — BR

SUN | 1/27 SPORTS

SPURS VS. WIZARDS 5

Almost 40 years ago, the Spurs and Washington Bullets clashed in a dramatic seven-game series with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line. Led by Hall-of-Famer Wes Unseld, the defending champs from the nation’s capital clawed out of a 3-1 hole in the Eastern Conference Finals to take the series, only to fall to the Seattle Supersonics in five games. Things have pretty much gone downhill for D.C.’s professional basketball team ever since. After losing five-time All-Star John Wall for the season to bone spurs in his left heel, Washington remains on the periphery of the playoff hunt. With Wall on the mend, the Wizards have leaned heavily on shooting guard Bradley Beal who presents a formidable challenge for DeMar DeRozan. A duel between these two could quickly turn into a Sunday night shootout. $9-$1,650, 6pm, AT&T Center, One AT&T Center Pkwy., (210) 444-5000, attcenter.com. — MS

Courtesy of Culinaria

MON | 1/21 TUE 1/29 DI NI NG

CULINARIA RESTAURANT WEEKS L

Proudly “promoting San Antonio as a premier food and wine destination” since 2010, the local nonprofit Culinaria is behind the Jason Dady-driven Titans of Tailgate event (January 27), a breezy, boozy 5K Wine & Beer Run (save the date for March 16) and a fullfledged festival spread across various venues (set for May), but it’s arguably best recognized for its biannual Restaurant Weeks that unite San Antonio, Boerne and New Braunfels eateries offering fixed-price menus with a portion of proceeds benefiting the organization’s outreach and programs. Rolled out in August of 2010 and expanded to include a winter edition in 2015, the initiative functions as an excellent

THU | 1/24 SUN | 1/27

Spurs Sports & Entertainment

excuse to splurge a little, ideally while trying out one of the new or enduring restaurants on your to-visit list. With prices ringing in between $15 and $45 per person ($15 for lunch, $25 for breakfast or brunch, and $35-$45 for dinner), consider it a challenge to amp up your knowledge of San Antonio’s expanding culinary landscape — and maybe find a new favorite in the process. $15-$45, times and locations vary through February 2, culinariasa.org.— BR

TUE | 1/22 THEATER

LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL p

First introduced on the pages of author Amanda Brown’s novel Legally Blonde, the tenacious character Elle Woods now seems inseparable from actress Reese Witherspoon, who seemed to effortlessly embody the effervescent UCLA sorority president-turned unlikely Harvard Law student in director Robert Luketic’s 2001 dramedy of the same name. Debuted on Broadway in 2007, the musicalized version follows the same trajectory as the big-screen guilty pleasure (Elle sashays her way from Delta Nu to Harvard Law, naturally with her costumed Chihuahua Bruiser in tow, in an attempt to win her ex back and instead discovers her true calling) but turns up the volume

THEATER

RENT \

Nick Barron

with pink sets fit for a princess, eclectic choreography (including random Riverdance references), a Greek chorus comprised of sorority sisters, and what New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley summed up as a “cherry-soda score of ballads of self-empowerment.” Like other critics, Brantley lamented the absence of Witherspoon in the leading role, specifically missing her “square chin and everything it signifies: grit, smarts, a will to dominate and that soupçon of freakishness that separates a star-in-the-making from the professional beauties.” After opening to mixed reviews with actress, singer and “self-proclaimed hot mess” Laura Bell Bundy in the leading role, Legally Blonde the Musical ventured into the realm of reality-competition TV to find its next Broadway lead in Bailey Hanks before setting off on a national tour and charming London’s West End with British actress Sheridan Smith in a Laurence Olivier Award-winning role. With a Chinese tour already under her belt, bright-eyed starlet Maris McCulley

Drummed up on the rooftop of a Greenwich Village apartment by playwrights Jonathan Larson and Billy Aronson, the rock opera RENT famously took seven years to come to fruition but then swiftly accomplished what it set out to do: shake up a stagnating Broadway with a gritty reinvention of Giacomo Puccini’s 19th-century opera La Bohème. Peppered with characters and situations directly inspired by 1990s-era New York reality — punks, poverty, drugs, drag queens and AIDS included — the updated take on bohemian life in the big city essentially took the theater world by storm, selling out an Off-Broadway run before graduating to the Great White Way and winning four Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Tragically, the musical that birthed the crossover hit “Seasons of Love” was only on the verge of Broadway previews when Larson died from an aortic aneurysm at the age of 35. Adapted for a 2005 film starring the majority of the original cast and revived for a 20th-anniversary tour in 2017, Larson’s grungy, unconventional “Hair for the ’90s” returns to the Alamo City in this Public Theater of San Antonio production directed by David Nanny. $10-$40, 7:30pm Thu-Sat, 2pm Sun through February 17, the Public Theater of San Antonio, 800 W. Ashby Pl., (210) 733-7258, thepublicsa.org. — BR

Big League Productions

sacurrent.com | January 16-29, 2019 | CURRENT

19


CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: 2019 Distinction in the Arts Awards

Nominate an outstanding San Antonian for Achievements in Arts & Culture

DEADLINE:

FEBRUARY 1, 2019 The City of San Antonio is seeking nominations for the 2019 Distinction in the Arts Awards honorees in the fields of: Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Music, Literary Arts, Culinary Arts, Arts Patronage, and Arts Administration

Nomination Form and Information are Available at GetCreativeSanAntonio.com

20

CURRENT | January 16-29, 2019 | sacurrent.com


Spurs forward Pau Gasol reflects on a championship career in his engaging Spanishlanguage memoir BY M. SOLIS

B

etween Ian Thomsen’s insightful account of the 2010-11 NBA season in The Soul of Basketball and the encyclopedic oral history Basketball: A Love Story by Jackie MacMullan, Rafe Bartholomew and Dan Klores, 2018 proved to be a banner year for basketball-themed books. Then, just before the holidays, physical copies of Spurs forward Pau Gasol’s recent Spanish-language memoir Bajo El Aro (Below the Hoop) became available stateside, bringing yet another strong contender — and a sterling addition to the Spurs canon. Originally released in Spain prior to the start of the NBA season, Bajo El Aro begins with a 2006 FIBA World Championship semi-finals showdown between Gasol and Argentinian icon Manu Ginobili in Saitama, Japan. Despite a game-high 21 points from Ginobili

arts

Basketball Diary

Cornel West’s Race Matand a crunch-time injury to ters and Between the World Gasol, Spain prevailed 75 to and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. 74, advancing to ultimateSimilar to Coates, Gasol ly capture its first world proves adept in capturing championship in basketball. snapshots of an adolescence To Gasol, the victory and the spent in sacrifice. For Gasol, sacrifices that preceded it it is moments like serenadserve as a perfect prologue ing his Spanish teammates as he pulls back the curtain with Green Day’s “Basket on a hall-of-fame career that Case,” one of his favorite also includes back-to-back songs at the time, that serve NBA titles. as touchstones in a lifetime Comprised of five parts, devoted to basketball. Gasol spread over 22 chapters credits reading and literacy and 133 pages, Bajo El Aro is with providing peace and a concise meditation on equilibrium for a hectic lifetalent, team building, destyle, while wearing recomtermination and leadership from perhaps the most wellConecta mendations including Carol S. Dweck’s Mindset, Daniel read player in professional H. Pink’s Drive, Marshall basketball. In reflecting on Bajo El Aro Goldsmith’s Triggers and his journey from Spain to San Good to Great by Jim Collins $18 |  Conecta | 133 pages Antonio, Gasol notes that on his sleeve. both Phil Jackson and Gregg Ultimately, it is these Popovich, two of the greatexemplary autobiographical est coaches in NBA history, promoted reading among their players. From elements, along with team-oriented takes on Jackson, it was through gifts like Ernest Hem- his time with the Lakers and Spurs that make Gasol’s memoir an engaging read. That it is ingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Roberto Bolaños’ written and flows in his native Spanish is a 2666 and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. From Coach Pop, it’s been through timely titles like welcome bonus.

This Is America

Gabino Iglesias’ ‘barrio noir’ novel Coyote Songs offers a disturbing wake-up call BY MAX BOOTH III

I

t’s difficult to read the new barrio noir novel from Gabino Iglesias without also being reminded of Childish Gambino’s “This is America.” Back in May 2018, that song’s music video blew up the Internet for a solid week — no easy task, considering how many new things are pumped into our brains every time we scroll through our news feeds. If you’ve seen the clip, you already have the entire performance memorized: Childish Gambino dances like an awkward goofball before executing a man with a pistol, then music takes a sharp transition from a folksy melody to dark, hypnotizing trap. The video continues displaying sweet dance skills followed by brutal gun violence. The message is the opposite of subtle, yet very effective. “Wake up!” it screams. “This country has a big problem, and nobody’s doing anything about it!” America has other problems too. Children are dying at the border. Families are being separated. Immigrants fleeing for their lives are being denied access to safety. Despite all this death and travesty, nearly $19 million has been raised on GoFundMe to build Trump’s

wall. More than 300,000 toxic racists have looked at what’s happening to these innocent people and decided, “Ah, to hell with ’em.” Enter Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias. Much like Childish Gambino’s single, Coyote Songs doesn’t flinch. It offers an eye-opening representation of the U.S.-Mexico border and all the ugliness that currently hovers over it. We open with a Mexican man and his son fishing together, only to be interrupted by a random white guy blowing the father’s brains out just because he can. Coyote Songs shares similar themes to Iglesias’s previous novel, Zero Saints, both released by a small press based in El Paso called Broken River Books. Dubbed “barrio noir” by Iglesias, an Austin resident, Zero Saints and Coyote Songs both contain a mixture of genres, including literary, horror, crime and bizarro. Not every author can create their own genre. But then again, not every author is Gabino Iglesias.

Coyote Songs is a mosaic novel, meaning Iglesias balances a cast of protagonists, each with their own storyline. Not only are we following what happens to the boy whose father was murdered while fishing, but we also catch glimpses into the lives of Jaime, a kid recently paroled from prison; Alma, a girl desperate to make a statement with her art, no matter the consequences; The Mother, a woman pregnant with a bizarre alien creature; Inmaculada, the ghost of one of many victims who found Broken River Books themselves locked in a coyote’s truck; and, of course, an actual coyote. All these characters come together to tell a story familiar to some and foreign to others. Even the more fantastical elements become believable thanks to the strength of Iglesias’ prose. This is a reality closer to home than most Americans would care to admit. This is the kind of novel that crushes ignorance and forces people to open their eyes. This is America.

Coyote Songs $15.99 | Broken River Books | 212 pages

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arts

Hitting a High Note

Local artist Jose Villalobos earns a hefty grant from the esteemed Joan Mitchell Foundation BY MARCO AQUINO

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he Joan Mitchell Foundation recently announced the 2018 recipients of its Painters and Sculptors grants, and this year’s list includes none other than Jose Villalobos, the lone Texas artist to receive $25,000 in unrestricted funds. Previous San Antonio artists who’ve received the grant include Ruth Buentello and Ana Fernandez, who both won the award in 2017, and Vincent Valdez in 2015. As reported by ARTnews, this year’s list of winners (25 total from across the country) is among the most diverse with 70 percent of the recipients identifying as female and approximately 80 percent as non-white. Speaking to ARTnews, Joan Mitchell Foundation CEO Christa Blatchford said, “As demonstrated by the diversity of this group of grant recipients, we work with a spectrum of artists, whose practices, backgrounds, and careers vary widely, but we hear consistently

that day-to-day financial support — the kind that rarely makes headlines — remains critical.” “It was surreal that I was selected,” Villalobos told the Current. “When I got nominated to apply, for some reason I had this self-doubt. But that goes to show that the work speaks for itself. I feel very honored to be among the recipients for this award ... Amy Sherald has been a past recipient ... Peter Saul … you have Ana Fernandez. This reassures what I’m doing and I feel like someone is looking at my work.” Currently, the artist is working on several pieces that will make their debut over the coming months in various exhibitions across the country including “Queer Craft” at the University of Minnesota and an upcoming performance at the McNay. Born along the U.S.-Mexico border in the city of El Paso, Villalobos is largely influenced by the merging of cultures

Marc Arevalo

and family members. Hanging on the Guadalupe’s gallery wall, the series of belts appeared nondescript until closer inspection. Hiding from view, the underside of each belt was painted in pink. Titled De la Misma Piel (Of the Same Skin), the series references the artist’s sexuality while deconstructing a symbol of masculinity often found along the U.S.-Mexico border. The series draws attention to the pain one might feel when on the receiving end of these derogatory terms. On the popular website artofmanliness.com, a guide for choosing the perfect belt states, “Belts are worn for both function and style. A seemingly small accessory, they can have a surprisingly large impact on the impression you make.” For Mexican-American men who have adopted a Western aesthetic or Norteño style, the leather belt is often a symbol of pride, and its use is one way to assert masculinity. A key component of the Western-style belt is an oversized buckle. Along with this series, Villalobos presented a series of belt buckles, each consisting of a capital letter that makes up the word JOTO (meaning fag). De la Misma Piel marks the beginning 25 6

and takes a particular interest in the use of language and its ever-evolving nature. His work explores gender norms, gay identity and the effects of an overbearing patriarchal society. He is a 2016 graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio and currently a resident artist and co-director at Clamp Light Artist Studios and Gallery. Here’s a look back at some of Villalobos’ most memorable work of the last two years.

DE LA MISMA PIEL

In 2016, Villalobos was among five artists selected to receive the Artist Lab fellowship grant and participated in the Artist Lab exhibition at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. For this show, Villalobos created a series of leather belts, each inscribed with a Spanish-language derogatory term meaning “gay,” on the area of the belt typically reserved for a family name. Among the belts was one that read Maricón. Another one read Jotito. Villalobos, who came out as gay in his early 20s, grew up hearing these slurs from both friends

Clockwise from top: Villalobos photographed by Marc Arevalo, details from De la Misma Piel. sacurrent.com | January 16-29, 2019 | CURRENT

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Clockwise from bottom left: the bedazzled saddle from We Have Always Been, two views of the installation Sin la S, Villalobos photographed by Marc Arevalo. things like that. … I think my goal is altering certain things … to change the perspective people have of certain clothing. It’s like bending reality.”

SIN LA S

6 23 of Villalobos’ explorations into men’s fashions and deconstructing of masculine symbols by repurposing Western attire. Speaking to the Current’s sister publication Out In SA in 2017, Villalobos reminisced on his early beginnings in fashion. “When I was a lot younger my mother used to always say that I was going to be a fashion designer and I would always deny it,” he said. “I would always say ‘No, that’s gay!’ because I was hiding myself. … I’ve always loved creating something that goes over a person, clothing and accessories and

In 2017, the Austin-based Mexic-Arte Museum brought together eight emerging artists from around the state for the 22nd installment of its Young Latino Artists exhibition. Guest curated by Alana Coates, the exhibition’s themes centered on some of today’s prominent issues — from widespread economic inequality to increased racial tensions along the U.S.-Mexico border — while also exploring the ever-broadening topic of gender. Most striking was Villalobos’ installation, Sin la S, which featured a series of suspended cowboy hats “meant to explore the dichotomy of feminine and masculine materials within cultural symbols.” In the installation, 10 cowboy hats hung from the gallery ceiling in a flamboyant yet elegant display that seemed to allude to the fragility of the Mexican-American male ego. “It’s almost like poking fun at it, but it’s also this way of breaking down and deconstructing these symbols of masculinity,” Villalobos told Out In SA. “Especially something that has power. … I always see this in my family … the men wear these hats or sombreros as a symbol of power.” Here, the layers of fringe draped around the edges of the cowboy hats transformed these otherwise ordinary objects into an outrageous spectacle blurring the lines between what is considered feminine and

what is considered masculine. For many men on both sides of the border, the sombrero has become tied to the idea of manhood. A tradition that spans cultures and stems hundreds of years back, it has been adapted by American men as part of a contemporary cowboy uniform and continues to be popularized by musicians and entertainers. After the Spanish arrived in Mexico in 1519, ranches were established and horses were imported from Spain. The native vaqueros were born (what we now call cowboys) and their traditions spread throughout Mexico and as far south as Argentina. In Sin la S, each hat is assigned a jewel in the shape of a letter from the Villalobos name, save for the letter “S” which was markedly missing. Beneath each hat was a small pile of soil where, symbolically, the hat could plant its seed — except for a pink hat devoid of its letter, preventing the Villalobos name from being spelled in full. Translated from Spanish, the title of the work literally means “without the S.” “The work is about my inability to pass on my last name in the tradition my family wants, which would be by giving a child to a woman,” Villalobos said. “It becomes kind of like a broken chain.” At the exhibition’s opening, which set an attendance record for the museum, Villalobos arrived dressed to the nines in a white cowboy outfit with the word “Macho” inscribed on the back. Just underneath that term was the word “Maricón” obscured by fringe. A Spanish term that also translates as “fag,” maricón might seem an odd choice to juxtapose against the term macho. But it was a bold statement and Villalobos’ decision to arrive in costume gave the installation a performance aspect as well. “I think it just shows how versatile he is,” Coates explained. “Jose was trained in ceramics and his powerful installation work in YLA really demonstrated his ability to take his conceptual practice to new heights … His outfit was just as carefully and ingeniously designed … from the hidden text under the fringe and the glitter on the boot heels.”

WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN

In the summer of 2018, Villalobos participated in “We Are,” the first exhibition of LGBT artists to be presented by the City of San Antonio. Bringing together both established and emerging artists, the exhibition marked a historic moment for the community at large. 27 6

Marc Arevalo

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COME SEE RESCUED HOUSE CATS 6 25 In his installation We Have Always Been, Villalobos presented an intricately bedazzled horse saddle alongside a pair of cowboy boots. Hanging in layers underneath the boots (which were also strung from the ceiling), were the boots’ detached soles with colorful pink and yellow flowers and a green mockingbird hiding in between. A label for the work read, “In We Have Always Been, Villalobos uses traditional masculine objects typically glorified by Latino men to challenge paternal-centered narratives by incorporating a materiality that softens the virility; an interstitial space where [machismo] is the delicate signifier.” The work’s title suggests gay men have existed since the beginning of time, despite being considered “in fashion” during the modern era. The title of the work also alludes to the fact that the Southwest, where cowboys roam free, had been occupied by Mexicans long before the U.S. annexed

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the area from Texas to California after the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), America’s first imperial war. In an era when Mexicans and Mexican Americans are often vilified and made to feel like foreigners in their own land, We Have Always Been is a gentle reminder of Mexican-American history. For all his efforts challenging power structures and patriarchal systems, Villalobos’ work remains unapologetically Mexican.

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Local stand-ups are working to cultivate a relevant comedy scene in SA, but is anybody listening? Shutterstock

Photos by Jaime Monzon t’s past midnight inside the Blind Tiger, a tiny club in the basement of the Magic Time Machine Restaurant, and a dozen comedians from San Antonio and Austin are delivering rapid-fire sets on the small, makeshift stage. About 30 people huddle in the dark, crackerjack box-sized room, taking in the weekly Friday-night showcase. A teal-colored blanket hangs as a backdrop to the stage and also hides the door for the emergency exit. As more audience members trickle in, one of the comedians drags out extra velvet-upholstered chairs and lines them up tightly against the back wall. During the 90-minute show, local comedian Tori Pool introduces each performer and times their sets. Some comics kill. Others receive sporadic laughter. Most importantly, though, audiences leave the 28  CURRENT | January 16-29, 2019 | sacurrent.com

Blind Tiger knowing they experienced something they couldn’t find anywhere else in San Antonio. “Every time I walk down those stairs, it feels like I’m going into a church,” said Blind Tiger regular Jeff Clements, who’s attended since the shows began in 2012. “It’s something I look forward to every week. They’re a great class of people and great comedians.” The local showcase may feel like a religious experience to some, but the consensus among local comedians is that the state of stand-up in San Antonio is in perpetual limbo. With the December closure of the 25-year-old Improv Comedy Club at Rivercenter Mall, the seventh largest city in the U.S. is down to a single full-time comedy venue. Moreover, San Antonio isn’t considered a comedy mecca by any measure. Most comics who decide to stay and try to make it work dream of

leaving. Those who leave seldom look back. “What’s the next step for me?” asks Pool, who hosted the recent Blind Tiger show. “It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. Maybe I should leave. I just think we get the shit-end of the stick all the time.” With Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club (LOL) left as the only San Antonio comedy club that can book touring comedians and also support local talent, local stand-ups are nervous about what the future holds. Still, some point to a venue like the Blind Tiger as signs the scene can grow and thrive.


Should I Stay, or Should I Go

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Local comedian Joshua Cabaza was the last performer to grace the stage of the Improv Comedy Club at Rivercenter before it closed on December 9. As one of the club’s featured comics, its departure was a financial blow. “We had two comedy clubs and now we have one,” said Cabaza, who has been working as a standup for nine years. “Half my club income is gone, so it’s definitely affected my pocketbook.” Like many local stand-ups, Cabaza has thought about leaving San Antonio for a city that would afford him more opportunities. The ceiling for success here is low, so when the local comics hit it, they find it impossible to break through without moving on to markets like Austin, Los Angeles or New York. Cabaza, however, isn’t in a position right now to relocate. “Comedy is what I do full time,” he said. “I have two kids and a wife, and they have already sacrificed a lot. But who knows what will happen in the next few years. Moving has always been in the plan.” Another reason comedians leave is that no one who can make an impact on their careers is paying attention to the San Antonio scene — or lack thereof. It’s one thing to deliver kick-ass performances week after week, but without industry insiders here to witness, it’s hard to reach the next level. “If you’re Netflix or Amazon or Comedy Central, you’re not coming to San Antonio,” Cabaza said. “You’re going to Austin, LA, New York, maybe Houston. Those are the places people are going. That’s where you’ll get a manager, or an agent, or someone that is going to help you get work.” Pool also sees the limitations of staying,

but she’s not ready to give up on her hometown just yet. Although she’s only been performing for a year and a half, she’s managed to maneuver her way through what she calls the “sausage fest” of San Antonio’s comedy scene and earn the attention of her male peers. “I feel like everyone is saying, ‘Austin, Austin!’ Don’t get me wrong, Austin is dope, but we’re not trash,” Pool said. “San Antonio is my home. Wouldn’t it be great if we were known for good comedy? Wouldn’t it be great if we could change the narrative?” But it’s easier said than done, Cabaza said. He knows San Antonio can only give him personal not professional success. “Anyone who is like, ‘Man, I’m at least one of the top five comedians in San Antonio’ is still nobody,” he said. “You could be the funniest person in San Antonio. Nobody is going to know who you are.”

Moving On Up Raul Sanchez, who started his stand-up career in 2010, wasn’t about to wait around to see what San Antonio could offer. After three years in his hometown, he moved to Austin and immediately won the Funniest Comedian in Texas award. In 2017, he packed up again and went east to New York City, where he has performed at The Stand, a prestigious East Coast comedy club. He’s since been featured on Epix’s stand-up comedy reality series Unprotected Sets. “I did as much as I could do in San Antonio,” Sanchez said. “There just isn’t an industry there. In Austin, it at least has a small window where someone is going to peek their head in [a comedy club] and say, ‘Let’s see what’s in here.’” In the end, Sanchez was motivated by the “romantic” idea that he could make it as a stand-up comedian living in New York. He wanted to challenge himself and didn’t want to become comfortable playing the same clubs and getting booked for the same kinds of gigs for the rest of his career.

“Comedians can fall into a trap where they feel like a local celebrity,” said Sanchez, who now resides in Brooklyn. “In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t mean anything.” Comedian George Anthony agrees. A San Antonio native, he made a difficult decision and relocated to Austin early last year. His daughter and girlfriend stayed behind. “Not being able to pick up my daughter from school is a hard thing,” Anthony said. “But there’s no comedy industry in San Antonio. I wanted to put myself in the spotlight, and San Antonio just wasn’t providing that.” Although Anthony believes the Alamo City comedy scene is doing everything it can to cultivate talent, it’s far from competing with the likes of Austin. It’s a tough reality, he said, but comedians need to accept it: without highly respected comedy festivals, competitions and showcases, it’s almost impossible to get discovered. “San Antonio is a good place to develop, but there’s not a lot of eyes on the comedians there,” he said. “I would love to move back home again and do my thing, but if you want to make it big, you have to bounce around.”

Only the Lonely When the Improv closed last month, owner Colleen Barshop also sold her 51 percent controlling interest in LOL to Tom Castillo, owner of ATC, a management company that oversees comedy club operations 31 6

Comedians perform during a recent Blind Tiger showcase. Clockwise from top left: Tori Pool, George Anthony, Joshua Cabaza, Larry Garza, Raul Sanchez. Facing page: Jay Whitecotton. sacurrent.com  |  January 16-29, 2019 | CURRENT  29 


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Blunt Force Comic Blind Tiger Founder Jay Whitecotton wants SA to hone its comedy craft BY KIKO MARTINEZ 6 29 across the U.S., including the Dallas, Houston and Arlington-based Improv Comedy Clubs. Contrary to speculation in local comedy circles, LOL will not change its name to the Improv, Castillo said. The club will continue to use the LOL moniker, although he adds that there are “possible paths with the LOL brand.” Castillo, who’s originally from San Antonio, said he bought out Barshop’s interest because he’s always wanted a comedy presence in his hometown. He sees it as a growing market with great potential. “LOL is the only ‘A’ club in San Antonio, and that will not change,” he said. “We will continue to bring the nation’s top talent to the market.” Some things will change, however. Castillo’s updating the club’s equipment and adjusting its menu. He wants to continue fostering the club’s relationship with local talent — even though some local comics feared the new ownership would favor Austin tal-

ent — and nurture adequate comedians who still have a long way to go. “LOL will continue to do local shows and support local talent with work in all of the Texas venues,” Castillo said. “The challenge is to not only provide stage time to those individuals who you may believe are on the right track, but to also provide opportunity for those you may not believe in.”

Surveying the Scene While LOL is now the city’s only completely comedy-focused club, it’s far from the only venue for local stand-ups. The Blind Tiger, started by comedian and San Antonio native Jay Whitecotton, has emerged as the city’s own version of the Comedy Cellar in Manhattan — although noticeably absent the big-name stars. Whitecotton, who’s also relocated to Austin, sees it as more of an “alternative room” and 33 6

San Antonio-to-New York comedian Raul Sanchez delivers his set at the Blind Tiger (above). Joshua Cabaza, who still works out of the Alamo City, waits for his time at the mic (below).

D

on’t let his downy, delicate-sounding surname fool you. Ask stand-up comedian Jay Whitecotton about the comedy scene in San Antonio and he’s brutally honest about his complicated relationship with it. A stand-up for 15 years, Whitecotton left for Austin in 2012. Before he bailed, however, he opened the Blind Tiger — an underground comedy club and stand-up collective run by comedians and focused on comedy as an artform. Whitecotton said the comedy scene in San Antonio has a bad reputation, so he wanted to create a respectable venue that local comics could depend on and a place to hone their craft. How would you describe the comedy scene in San Antonio? It is very insular. Comedy already attracts a lot of narcissists, so because of the club system, you have a lot of guys who get tunnel vision and can’t see outside their scene. The second they get a few weeks [at a club] and start seeing these big headliners and start taking pictures with them, they think they’re on par and start getting cocky attitudes. That happens everywhere, but in San Antonio, it’s an epidemic. The fraud syndrome is very high. What do you mean by “fraud syndrome”? A lot of comics in San Antonio fake it till they make it. There are some really good comics that have come out of San Antonio who haven’t gotten the credit they deserve, but a lot of comics are frauds. That will move some comics forward, but there is a very low ceiling. A lot of comics hype themselves up, so when they hit that ceiling, they get frustrated because they bought into their own lies.

If San Antonio has such a bad reputation, why did you open the Blind Tiger? I wanted to show comics that they can’t rely on just one club to make or break their career. Everything they do, they have to do for themselves. Everyone who goes [to the Blind Tiger] respects the show and respects comedy. It’s really how you build a better scene. There’s a standard. I want comics who go there to be working comics, not the guy who works in the kitchen who occasionally gets asked to do a set. If you’re not trying to be a better comedian, get the fuck out of here. You’re wasting our time. Who is the best comedian still based in San Antonio? The best comedian in San Antonio probably isn’t doing comedy. He’s probably working at Chili’s and is really frustrated and angry. There’s no “best” comedian. There are experienced comedians. There are comedians people gravitate toward. How truthful are you with fellow comedians when they ask you for constructive criticism? I’m too truthful. It makes it uncomfortable to keep friendships, unfortunately. But if you suck and you want to get better and you care about comedy, then I’m going to try to help you get an opportunity to do that. What advice do you give that 20-year-old comic just starting out? Go to college. And major in what? Chinese philosophy. Learn about Confucius because that’s going to make poverty so much easier to deal with. sacurrent.com  |  January 16-29, 2019 | CURRENT  31 


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Making It Work as a San Antonio Comedian by Larry Garza

I

am often asked what it’s like being a comedian in San Antonio. I tend to say it’s similar to having a pimple on your ass — no one notices until it gets really big or when it takes a picture with someone famous. San Antonio has a thriving comedy scene that not many people know about. And some of us local comedians are even trying to get noticed without moving to LA — or Austin. I’ve been in the scene for almost 17 years, doing everything from sketch comedy and films with Comedia A Go-Go to stand-up all over the country, although mostly in Texas. What I do seems simple enough to explain, but not to the Bud Light-drinking, Cowboys jersey-wearing population of our fair city. “Tío, sketch comedy is like SNL,” I find myself explaining. “No, Tío, I don’t know George Lopez. Yes, I know Cleto.” I have performed comedy in front of hundreds of people at the Aztec Theatre one day and to a baker’s dozen in a Mexican restaurant the next. That is the scope of our city’s stand-up scene. Unfortunately, our scene has an interesting reputation — and it’s not the best. From comedian Chris Cubas’ 2013 Austin Chronicle interview, where he described San Antonio as “the worst fucking town” for comedy, to more recently, when comedian Ron Funches took out his frustration over a performance here with a series of tweets ending with, “Suck my dick, San Antonio.” Say-Town’s finest will quickly clap back on a tweet or comment on an article defending the 210 like it’s the Battle of the Alamo again. Yet they won’t always come out and support the very thing they’re defending: San Antonio comedy. Most S.A. comics will travel around Texas to do shows, especially Austin. Not just because of the distance, but because of the attendance and potential for industry people to notice you. I used to be nervous performing in a politically correct city like that. Turns out, Austin’s PC stereotype isn’t true. Just like other cities in the country, audiences there will laugh if a joke is funny, even though, yes, there are douchebag hecklers there, just as there are here and in every city in every state.  But I’d like to point out a few key things that show

why Austin is different from San Antonio. First, there’s usually a good amount of people out on a weeknight. Second, there are usually no “names” on the bill, and the comedians performing are from all across the country. Occasionally comedians like Ron White or the Sklar Brothers will randomly show up to perform. Why don’t shows like that happen in San Antonio? Is it our city? Is it the comedians? Is it the crowd? Is it the venue? Could it possibly be all of the above?  It all depends on the type of show you go to. There are the shows in the comedy club format, with a local host, a feature (middle) act and a headlining comedian. Then there are showcase shows featuring five to seven vetted lesser-known local and traveling comedians. Finally, there are open mics, where anyone, from a working comedian to someone off the Greyhound, can sign up and perform. Similar to most working-class cities, going out on a weeknight is a rarity reserved for a special occasion — like a Spurs game or cheating on your spouse. So, when a bar or restaurant decides to hold a comedy open mic on one of their off-nights, expect to see fewer than 10 people in attendance, half of whom have no clue a comedy show is even going on.  Performing in that kind of environment is like trying to explain climate change to a kindergarten class after recess.  In order to stand out, some comedians stick to the lowest common denominator — dick jokes, race baiting and shock humor. Unfortunately, when that’s what an audience member sees, it may be their first and last time at a comedy show. It also becomes what they think stand-up is in our city. After an influential local musician checked out an open mic night, she asked on social media, “Why are

San Antonio comedy shows just two hours of rape jokes?” I can imagine her disappointment when she thought those kinds of comics were representing our city. But it was an open mic. If I were to judge our music scene solely based on open mics, I might ask, “Why do San Antonio musicians do nothing but Sublime covers?”  I’d be wrong, but no one would blame me for assuming that’s the norm. I’ve been lucky enough to perform all over the country. I’ve performed with people like Paul Rodriguez, Anjelah Johnson and Brian Posehn. One of my proudest achievements was selling out multiple shows headlining Austin’s Velveeta Room. It wasn’t just random people either — some were actually there to see me. Later that year, I finally headlined the club where I started, the Rivercenter Comedy Club. Sadly, the Rivercenter shows weren’t sold out.  Friends have asked how I feel about the closing of the Rivercenter Comedy Club. I’m torn because it holds a special place in my heart. As the home of Showtime’s Latino Laugh Festival in the ’90s, Rivercenter was the beacon for any Latino comic in the country. As a teenage fan of everything from Cheech and Chong to Mr. Show, I’d take the bus and wait under the club’s neon “Ha! Lapeño Café” sign to meet my favorite comedians as they left. I hoped to one day be an audience member at the packed Saturday Midnight Madness show. The show was free, the crowd was hot, and the comedians were great. In the early 2000s, not only was I able to attend, I was invited to perform. It was an honor and the first step toward a career I’m proud of. Unfortunately, like many good things in San Antonio, Midnight Madness went away. It was a victim of a toxic combination of arrogance and apathy — from all parties involved. I will miss the club, but I won’t miss downtown parking, the dickish tourist crowds that gave our city a bad name or having to bark at people to come to a Saturday afternoon open mic in the mall. I’ll miss the staff and the memories of what our scene once was, but I look forward to what it’s now becoming.  Because San Antonio deserves better, I refuse to give up. We are more than Mexican restaurant shows, Sharpie-eyebrow jokes and shitty open-mics.  You can’t choose your parents, and you can’t choose where you’re from, so I choose to be a proud San Antonio comedian. Put down the domestic beer, guys, shut up during shows and laugh with us. Then you can say you knew us before we moved to Austin. 

6 31 “comedy co-op” that features comedians inside an already established business. And at least one other local club is hoping to pick up the slack in touring comedy. Jokesters 22, which opened last April, markets itself as a comedy club, sports bar and lounge. It’s featured plenty of local stand-ups, and owner Marsha Mahaffey said she’s set a goal of bringing in touring acts this year. “I hope to start working with book-

ing agencies and giving our club credibility,” Mahaffey said. “Until you have those big names, your credibility isn’t as good.” On the other end of the spectrum, San Antonio’s theater scene has been a conduit for some of comedy’s marquis performers. The Tobin Center for Performing Arts, Majestic Theater, Empire Theater and Aztec Theater have all regularly brought in top-name acts. Patton Oswalt, Tom Segura, Steve Martin, 35 6 sacurrent.com  |  January 16-29, 2019 | CURRENT  33 


34  CURRENT | January 16-29, 2019 | sacurrent.com


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Tori Pool emcees a show at the Blind Tiger. Like other local stand-ups, she wonders how much further she can take her career in San Antonio. 6 33 Martin Short, Carol Burnett and Demetri Martin are scheduled to roll into town this year, for example. “People want to see famous [comedians],” Pool said. “So, it doesn’t surprise me when those shows sell out. But the caliber of local talent goes unnoticed, which is why I think it’s important to cultivate a scene that supports local comedy. Frankly, it’s time San Antonio started showing up.” In rare cases, local comedians can land gigs opening for one of those theater shows. Earlier this month, local comic Matt Golightly opened for Jeremy Piven at the Tobin Center. Fellow SA comedian Larry Garza hit the stage at the Aztec last September before Jim Norton. More often, though, top-tier comedians bring their own openers. That means local comics are more likely to open for a big name at a comedy club. Last summer, San Antonio’s Regis Velasco opened for comedian Bobby Lee at LOL and local comic Clifton Simmons got a guest spot during one of Mike Epps’ shows at the same club last month. While opening slots offer limited opportunities for up-and-coming local comedians, other less-conventional spots that have found room for stand-

up performances. Bexar Stage, which focuses more on improv comedy, features stand-up on certain nights, while music venue the Paper Tiger offers its stage to stand-ups on occasion. Bars and restaurants including Oakhills Tavern, Martini Ranch and Web House also host open-mic nights. “Even if there were no clubs in San Antonio, the goal for a comedian should still be to always improve their comedy,” said Sanchez, the Brooklyn-based comic. “Sure, the clubs could do more stuff, but it shouldn’t come down to them to make a comedian good.” Like all comedians, San Antonio comics understand that stand-up isn’t a team sport. They have to take responsibility for their careers and accept the highs and lows. At the same time, though, they want an opportunity to thrive in their home market. Maybe all they’re looking for is someone who cares about their craft as much as they do. “We just need a chance,” Pool said. “I feel like San Antonio is golden, but people just don’t know it yet. I mean, I’m not going to lie, we have some trash comics, too. But for the most part, we’re pretty badass.”

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CURRENT | January 16-29, 2019 | sacurrent.com


The Upside is a very average remake of an exceptionally charming French film BY KIKO MARTINEZ

A

merican remakes of already wonderful foreign-language films can sometimes be a hard sell, especially when Hollywood’s take doesn’t live up to the original movie. For every Oscar-winning film like The Departed (a remake of the 2002 Chinese film Infernal Affairs) there is a badly-executed U.S. version of Oldboy (a remake of the 2003 South Korean film of the same name). It’s easy for things to get lost in translation when not enough attention is paid to the spirit of the preceding picture. Such is the case in The Upside, a remake of the exceptionally charming 2011 French drama-comedy The Intouchables, one of the highest-grossing, non-English language films in cinematic history. The film is so beloved it has already been remade in India and Argentina, with a second remake in India in the works. Although The Upside premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2017, it became collateral damage when allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein surfaced. The film was shelved, then sold and finally dumped out in January — the month where most studios send movies to die. The Upside isn’t dead on arrival, but it’s nowhere near memorable. Directed by Neil Burger (Divergent) and adapted by first-time screenwriter Jon Hartmere, the film follows Dell (Kevin Hart), an

STX Entertainment

unmotivated, jobless ex-convict who inadvertently gets hired as a live-in caretaker for Phillip (Bryan Cranston), a widowed, quadriplegic billionaire. Through their professional relationship, which is frowned upon by Phillip’s loyal associate Yvonne (Nicole Kidman), the men form a bond where each of them opens one another’s eyes about personal issues that are keeping them both from living fulfilled lives. For Dell, it’s rising above his bad habits as an absent father to care for his estranged teenage son. For Phillip, it’s allowing himself to take chances in finding happiness. While Hart and Cranston produce a few sincere moments, Hartmere’s script fails to build a strong enough emotional tie between the two to make audiences believe their friendship means much to

Dead End

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek starts strong but doesn’t live up to its efficient setup

G

ive some credit to first-time screenwriter and director Henry Dunham on his attempt to make a steadily paced thriller reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino’s debut film, 1992’s Reservoir Dogs, without falling into some of the cliché trappings most novice filmmakers might deem enticing. In The Standoff at Sparrow Creek, Dunham’s focus is on his characters and the interactions they have with one another throughout the film’s short, 88-minute runtime. Leading the all-male cast is actor James Badge Dale (Shame) as Gannon, an ex-cop who is now a member of a local militia group in rural Michigan that is not shy about their distaste for police. Gannon and the rest of his fellow militiamen are called to meet one evening at their secret headquarters inside a lumber warehouse when they learn that a mass shooting has just taken

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place at a cop’s funeral. After slowly piecing together what occurred, the seven men realize that one of their assault rifles, grenades and other gear is missing from their arsenal. This, of course, leads everyone to believe a member of their own militia is responsible for the shooting. With his law enforcement background, Gannon becomes the de facto investigator of his own crew and begins to interrogate each of the men to find out their alibis and whether they had anything to do with the killings. This includes Morris (Happy Anderson), an ex-Aryan Nation terrorist, and Keating (Robert Aramayo), a young recluse who never speaks. As a writer, Dunham proves to have a way with words as he matches Gannon up against each of the men in different areas of the compound. In

either of them. When it’s time for them to step up and fully support each other, their good deeds ring false. Even the scenes they share together as employer and employee feel forced and lack real humor. In one scene, Dell reluctantly replaces Phillip’s catheter and refuses to utter the word “penis.” He finally says it after Phillip involuntarily gets an erection. Despite The Upside’s struggles, Cranston is still able to tap into his character’s mindset and pull off a passable performance with what little the screenplay gives him. It is also noteworthy to see Hart dial down his usually brash personality, although this specific dramedy obviously wasn’t the right project for him.

some cases, it’s a battle of the minds. In others, it’s all about which man can puff his chest out more. Either way, Dunham keeps the exchanges tense, although when the aforementioned Keating finally does open his mouth, his long-winded monologues are too clever for their own good. The dialogue-driven narrative stays grounded for the most part, but Keating’s ramblings are pretentious and overwritten. Where The Standoff at Sparrow Creek falters the most, however, is in its third act, which should have been the beneficiary of the strong buildup that came before. Unfortunately, the film veers off into a jumbled story with flashbacks and a litany of twists that aren’t nearly as interesting as Dunham would have audiences think. Save for the impressive photography by firsttime feature film cinematographer Jackson Hunt (he’s shot four Beyoncé music videos), any real consistency in The Standoff at Sparrow Creek is lacking from start to finish. There’s nothing wrong with finding inspiration from the best, but someone needs to tell Dunham to quit when he’s ahead. The Standoff at Sparrow Creek is available on VOD platforms on January 18. – Kiko Martinez

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CURRENT | January 16-29, 2019 | sacurrent.com


food

Ron Bechtol

SoHill Café’s inviting Italian plays nice with its Beacon Hill neighbors BY RON BECHTOL

T

he Beacon Hill neighborhood’s period of major development, from the last half of the 19th century to the 1930s, assures a congenial mix of historic residential structures, and its main north-south thoroughfare, Blanco Road, has somehow managed to retain an animated commercial life into the current century. A striking obelisk at Blanco and Fulton Avenue by Angel Rodriguez-Diaz has further enlivened and given focus to the street. A “neighborhood bistro” trying to slip into this scene had better be ready to conform and contribute. If you happen to arrive at newcomer SoHill Café on one of those Saturdays when vendors

line the sidewalks, the sense of neighborhood is even more palpable — and that sense extends into the café’s interior. Flashes of purposeful design contrast with just-happened bits and pieces. The result is a setting that manages to banish any vibes remaining from its previous occupant — the late, lamented Casbeers Café — while not shocking anyone with freshly pressed newness. The same can pretty much be said of the food: this is not a farm-to-table temple. Plating, under the watchful eye of Chef Justin Limburg, whose resumé includes a Wolfgang Puck restaurant in LA and Il Sogno here in San Antonio, is deliberate but not fussy. And the menu selection? Italian with a little

something in every expected food group: pizza, pasta, salad… With a few tweaks just to let you know they care, but not so many as to be scary. Owner and “visionary” Jean-Francois Poujol is pushing a little beyond his personal comfort zone, however. Poujol has been responsible for four, primarily French-accented Alamo City eateries in the last 12 years, the most recent being Tribeca in Olmos Park. The desire to do neighborhood-friendly Italian was why he brought on Limburg with his California and SA pizza experience. Together, they built the hybrid gas-wood oven that’s fully visible in the bright, open kitchen. It’s capable of reaching 1200 degrees, Limburg boasts. At the moment, the would-be Ferrari is loafing along at well below autostrada speeds — say, around 700 degrees. This is not the blasting temperature that gives the pies at Dough their volcanically craggy urgency, but it’s still good enough to make for a respectably chewy and flavorful sourdough foundation. I suggest taking a test drive first on Wednesday, when all pizzas are $10. A few toppings betray some Wolfgangy puckishness, with combinations such as fig and prosciutto with pistachios. But if it’s pepperoni that brings you to the table, there’s that too. I tried the only slightly tony wild mushroom model with taleggio, mozzarella and truffle oil. The aroma of the pungent oil preceded the pie to the table but was fortunately more subdued thereafter, and the funghi were on the tame side of selvaggio, but I was happy nonetheless. And if you’re dining solo and feel like a complementary salad, though there’s only a large Caesar on the menu, the kitchen will happily plate a small one for you. Chef Limburg makes all his own pasta with the exception of the ruffled lasagna noodles that appear in the SoHill lasagna roll. I’m not convinced rolled lasagna is any better than a typically layered one, but why not? It presents well on the plate and comes across as more delicate than many around town. Yes, I can always use a few more grinds of black pepper. But light beats leaden lasagna any day. Delicacy is also the impression of the three-meatball appetizer. A mix of beef and pork, the orbs are tender and moist, the accompanying marinara not so robust 41 6

Find more news every day at Find more sacurrent.com food & drink news at sacurrent.com

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CURRENT | January 16-29, 2019 | sacurrent.com


food

Ron Bechtol

the stuff — and the beautiful shrimp are 6 39 as to get in the way. The same the happier for it. His house-cut fettuccimeatball mix comes in a burger, along ni are on the thick side, but the pleaswith tomato jam and smoked gouda. The SoHill burger boasts beef, cheddar, antly burly pesto iteration is matched bite-for-bite by a bright and pungent, a loose garlic aioli and even a little garlicky pesto. More mushrooms and a arugula — don’t worry, though, it’s few pine nuts not too fancy. suggest luxury Cooked exactly SoHill Café without getting as requested, off-puttingly the combo is 1719 Blanco Rd. 78212 cheffy. fine but not Sohillcafe.com Desserts exceptional. 210-455-2177 are a work in Ditto for the Hours: 11-9 Tues.-Thurs., 11-10 Fri.-Sat. progress, and pale fries. Our the wine list Cheers-cheery Entrées: $10-$15 may undergo waitress was Bathrooms semi-accessible some changes sure the kitchBest Bets: Pizzas, lasagna and as well. But in en could do an fettuccini, meatballs. the meantime, upgrade to the The Skinny: SoHill is the new kid in the it strikes me spicy truffle Beacon Hill hood, and it shows every sign of as being a fries that are fitting in. That’s thanks to its relaxed menu well-calibrata stand-alone of only slightly tweaked Italian, its justed selection appetizer. Ancreative-enough pizzas (on a sourdough designed to other instance base), pastas (primarily house-made) and offer the snob of accommodaappetizers, and its exceptionally cheery and just enough tion. accommodating staff. The setting is just to dwell on If Chef freshened enough (it was formerly Casbeers while remainLimburg’s Café) to speak of new beginnings for a ing desirably seasoning is venerable space. approachable. generally not Full bottles in-your-face, start at $18. Fits he nevertheless right in with the Beaconhoody ethic, seems a huge fan of garlic. My man. The in other words. garlic butter shrimp comes showered in sacurrent.com | January 16-29, 2019 | CURRENT

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CURRENT | January 16-29, 2019 | sacurrent.com


music

Jana Birchum

Saldaña Bros.

Iconic San Antonio Act the Krayolas Return With New EP BY CHRIS CONDE

I

t’s been a rough couple of years for Hector Saldaña, founding member of San Antonio power-pop band the Krayolas. He lost his father in 2017 from a progressive disease, then last year had a traumatic amount of musical gear stolen, including a Harmony guitar he played at his dad’s funeral. Police caught the thief, but he didn’t give up where he stashed all of Saldaña’s axes. But instead of wallowing in the darkest depths of his soul for too long, Saldaña channeled that darkness into creativity and will later this month release the first collection of Krayolas music in five years. The six-song EP Saldaña Bros. varies in tone and genre from track to track, yet it retains enough of the Krayolas’ classic ’60s pop vibe to make it sound as cohesive as a full LP. “Part of you is thinking, ‘Does anybody listen? Does anybody care anymore?’” said Saldaña, Texas music curator for Texas State’s Wittliff Collections and a one-time Express-News music writer. “It was a time for a reassessment, and I started thinking, ‘How did [the Krayolas] begin?’” Saldaña explained that he wanted to reexamine the Krayolas’ roots after finishing the cathartic and folksy tune “The Murder at the Taco Land” last year — one of the songs on the new EP. “So we thought, ‘Let’s just do something really, really fun,” he said. “I love Lesley Gore [who sang ‘It’s my Party’], so that’s that first song, ‘Maybe I know.’”

The other five tracks, excluding “Taco Land,” had already been written, but the playful energy around the remaining four really lend to the coherence of the collected songs. The bouncing “Baby I was Wrong” is a song Saldaña claims he may have written about fighting with his brother — Krayolas drummer/vocalist David Saldaña — over songwriting and musical direction. The organ-forward “Psychofant,” the Honky Tonk-esque “Sometimes the Bridesmaid, Sometimes the Bride” and the puro San Anto, Spanish-language accordion jam “El Cucuy” all help make Saldaña Bros. a well-rounded experience that both longtime and recent Krayolas fans can dig. In case you aren’t familiar with the Krayolas, who released classics like “Catherine,” “Little Fox” and “Fruteria,” and were most active in the late ’70s and early ’80s, here’s a quick history lesson: In 1975, Saldaña and his drummer brother jammed in a bedroom, entertaining their friends with what would be the first manifestation of the the band. Within a few years, the brothers, along with guitarist Van Baines and bassist Barry Smith, would take San Antonio and the region by storm with their blend of garage rock and pop, drawing comparisons to the

Beatles, the Who and other heavy hitters from the ’60s and ’70s. After taking an almost 22-year break, the Krayolas returned in 2007, releasing new and old music with special guest appearances from Texas legends like Augie Meyers and the Westside Horns. The band continued to push the boundaries of its sound, introducing elements of Chicano soul and Conjunto into the mix, all while securing acclaim from NBC News, Texas Monthly, Pollstar, BMI Music World, Action Magazine, No Depression, Village Voice and, obviously, the Current. The band then returned in 2015 with an explosive performance at the Paramount Theatre in Austin for a special SXSW show honoring legendary San Antonio musician Doug Sahm. “In essence, The Krayolas are me and my brother fighting — that’s the truth; arguing and fighting to the point that we scare all the people around us and make people uncomfortable,” said Saldaña, laughing. “We both love each other, we get along. He has a very strong personality, so I guess that’s a part of it. But I’m the first person to say, ‘I want to write music that I can get into and crank loud and rock out to,’ and so I hope that someone would like to do that with [this EP].” The release will be available on Spotify, iTunes and most steaming platforms Saturday, January 26. While there won’t be a release party or show for the collection, Saldaña promised we won’t have to wait long for the follow up EP, Saldaña Bros. Vol. 2, due this spring.

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


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CURRENT | January 16-29, 2019 | sacurrent.com

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This week, New Orleans-based singer-songwriter and ace guitar player Lindsey Baker, who records and performs under the name Guts Club, will play Lowcountry with some killer local support. Guts Club, on tour behind Trench Foot, a breakthrough of a third LP that hit last July, boasts a moody, swampy, folk and rock-based sound (with some alt-country feels) that ranges from warbling acoustic meditations to more polished, electric forays — all displaying Baker’s ever-budding prowess as a songwriter. Dig her music at gutsclub.bandcamp.com. Also on the bill are roots/soul/country rock firebrand D.T. Buffkin, who released his finest work to date last year in Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, and the ever-enthralling Lonely Horse, a high-emotion desert blues/rock duo and one of SA’s most cherished original acts over the past several years. Free, 9pm, Lowcountry, 318 Martinez St., (210) 560-2224, lowcountrysa.com. — James Courtney

A COWBOY BEBOP JAZZ NIGHT Thursday, January 17

It’s safe to say that anime has some of the most bomb soundtracks ever. I mean, the story lines are epic as fuck, so the creators need to match that craziness with banging beats. From the killer hip-hop intro from Samurai Champloo to the almost frightening metal of Deathnote, if there was a showdown between American and Japanese cartoon music, the U.S.A. would definitely lose. That said, Cowboy Bebop boasted one of the finest soundtracks to emerge from anime. The jazz-fusion songs gave the science fiction-spaghetti Western series a certain spice that pulled it all together. If you dug the show, you might want to get down to Carmen’s de la Calle, where Rene Saenz will team up with fellow local jazz hotshots Mark Little, Kara Stevens, Andrew Bergmann and Kory Cook to recreate Cowboy Bebop’s distinctive sound. $15, 7:30pm, 9:30pm, 11pm, Carmen’s de la Calle, 320 N. Flores St. — Chris Conde

What can’t Justin Timberlake do? He rose to fame with the uber-famous boy band NSYNC to somehow survive the awkward music decade of the 2000s. Then, somehow, he managed to build a solo musical career while working on his acting resume. Let’s just say his management deserves every penny of their percentage. Supporting his latest solo effort Man of the Woods, Timberlake proves, yet again, that’s he’s pretty much untouchable. $49.50-$250, 7:30pm, AT&T Center, One AT&T Center Parkway, attcenter.org. — CC

YOUNG DOLPH x Saturday, January 19

Hip-hop fans may want to take note that Memphis rapper Young Dolph is blazing through town this weekend. If you’re not familiar with his work, you might be tempted, based on his membership in the dubious — and seemingly endless — club of rappers calling themselves “Young This” or “Lil That,” to write him off as another mumble rapper: all posture and no purpose. But that would be a serious mistake. In actuality, Young Dolph is a nimble and hardened street storyteller with an eye for dark, and even emotional, details that could only have been honed by living the life he raps about. He’s also prolific as hell. Since dropping his first mixtape in 2008, he’s released five full-lengths, including last year’s rad Role Model, and nearly 20 mixtapes. Dig Young Dolph’s music at youngdolph. bandcamp.com. Definitely recommended for aficionados of Southern rap, Gucci Mane, the Memphis streets and reality rap in general. $25, 7pm, Aztec Theatre, 104 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 812-4355, theaztectheatre.com. — JC


music | music Picks

bringing a fresh wave of flavor to the genre, and in the process, securing an enormous fan base that continues to grow. On the heels of new album Testing, A$AP Rocky feels like the last of a generation of a rappers that actually has some things to say, besides “yuh,” “molly” and “esskitit.” $39.50-$248, 8pm, Freeman Coliseum, 3201 E Houston St., attcenter.com. — CC

THURSDAY L

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Wednesday, January 23

Post-hardcore band Thursday provided many folks’ stepping stone into the Land of Emo. And while scores of bands attempted to copy the New Jersey dudes’ sound, there was something authentic and raw about it that’s yet to be duplicated. Between 2001’s Full Collapse and 2003’s War All the Time, Thursday carved out their place and made it cool for boys to cry again. Back on tour to celebrate those two landmark albums, Thursday’s legacy is a testament to a sound that defined a generation and continues to make an impact. $25, 8pm, Paper Tiger, 2410 N. St. Mary’s St., papertigersatx.com. — CC

A$AP ROCKY 5 Friday, January 25

As hip-hop began to rediscover itself in the mid-to-late 2010s, A$AP Rocky rose as a leader who would bridge the gap between mainstream rap, old school gangsta and SoundCloud trap music. The rapper was an anomaly,

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acts can muster. Orange County-bred Total Chaos, for starters, is a hardcore punk band that’s been at it since 1989. Fronted by SOS Records co-owner Rob Chaos, Total Chaos is a band with a unique appreciation for activism within the punk community, especially in Cali, and its sound reflects that desire to honor the sonic and ideological roots of the genre. U.S. Bombs, meanwhile, formed in the early 1990s in Pomona, California, and makes a brand of street punk that hearkens back to the LA and NYC punk scenes of the late 1970s. The band released one of its strongest albums yet, Road Case, at the end of last year, a testament to the its staying power. $10-$15, 9pm, Paper Tiger, 2410 N. St. Mary’s St., papertigersatx.com. — JC

DISTURBED L Friday, January 25

Rising with the tide of nu-metal in the late ’90s, Disturbed actually brought something new to an often soundalike genre. Part of the credit goes to frontman David Draiman’s unique vocal stylings — a blend of strained singing and a rhythmic, almost rapping, delivery. For fans of the genre, the band quickly became favorites, and their record sales show it. Out of the seven albums Disturbed released, five debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. And the band’s just-released Evolution isn’t any more or less heavy than their 2000 debut, The Sickness. We’re sure fans will be able to, ahem, get down with it. $44-$79, 7:30pm, Alamodome, 100 Montana St, alamodome.com. — CC

AARON LEWIS p Friday, January 25

Remember Staind? Yeah, you do. And if you were a fan of their blend of emotionally painful lyrics and heavy nu-metal, you remember how frontman Aaron Lewis wouldn’t move onstage but just stand there looking sad and singing about, well, being sad. Jump 20 years later, and Lewis’ music still retains an edge of melancholy, but the packaging is way different. He now does a blend of honky tonk and outlaw country, which is shocking but actually works surprisingly well with his voice.

Dare we say, we’re actually fans. Yeah, we’ll say it. This shit is actually dope. $27.50 - $52.50, 8pm, Majestic Theatre, 224 E. Houston St., majesticempire.com. — CC

TORO Y MOI L Saturday, January 26

Incorporating indie rock, ’60s baroque pop, ’80s R&B, French house and underground hip-hop, Toro Y Moi is arguably the leader of all things chillwave. Much like bands such as Norma Jean and Thursday defined the sound of a generation with metalcore and post-hardcore, Toro Y Moi has sort of done that same in the 2010s for his respective style. And while he’s mostly known for sleepy jams, his art manifests across a variety of genres. In other words, dude’s a badass, and you’re not going to want to miss his performance at Paper Tiger. $25, Sat Jan. 26, 8pm, Paper Tiger, 2410 N. St. Mary’s St., papertigersatx.com. — CC

ATMOSPHERE y Saturday, January 26

Honestly, who’d have thought Minneapolis would emerge as a hub for underground hip-hop? The mighty Rhymesayers Entertainment hip-hop label calls the city home, and the label’s fearless leader, Slug of Atmosphere, has certainly put in work to create a movement in the city. Starting in the early ’90s, Atmosphere created a buzz in the underground rap community, not only by pushing the genre’s boundaries but

cultivating a community of like-minded artists to grow the movement. It’s safe to say hip-hop would be quite different without the group’s contribution. Dem Atlas, The Lioness and DJ Keezy round out the bill. $25-$35, Aztec Theatre, 104 N. St. Mary’s St., aztectheatre.com. — CC

U.S. BOMBS + TOTAL CHAOS p Sunday, January 27

Two stalwart scuzz/street punk acts will romp through San Anto this weekend to satisfy your urge for the kind of offthe-grid, socially antagonistic catharsis that only the purest of throwback punk

REEL BIG FISH L Tuesday, January 29

Veteran ska-punk outfit Reel Big Fish made quite a splash (ahem) back in the 1990s, especially during the brief and — to some — regrettable period where ska, blended with rock and pop stylings, enjoyed a surge in popularity, owing at least in part to its sheer novelty in the era of grunge and alternative rock. The band, while still releasing music, has undergone myriad lineup changes over the years, with the one remaining constant being frontman Aaron Barrett. Now, having released a new album back in December (who knew?), and probably having heard about our weird little city’s obsession with all the most obnoxious bands of the 1990s, Reel Big Fish is stopping by the Aztec to take fans on a trip down memory lane and forcibly subject them to its new stuff — which may very well be great, but probably isn’t. If you’re already a fan of the band, you won’t want to miss the chance to hear some of your old favorites and see what its latest incarnation is up to. If you aren’t a fan, then you may want to go, like us, in search of sheer spectacle. $22.50, 6:30pm, Aztec Theatre, 104 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 812-4355, theaztectheatre.com. – JC sacurrent.com | January 16-29, 2019 | CURRENT

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Perpetual Groove delivers a sound that’s calculated and, dare I say, art school. But don’t let their background fool you, Perpetual Groove can also rock with as much abandon as high school dropouts. $15-$60, Sam’s Burger Joint, 7pm

FRIDAY, JANUARY 25 Elizaveta Porodina

BY SHANNON SWEET FRIDAY, JANUARY 18

SINATRA AND BEYOND WITH TONY DESARE

Just because the Rat Pack’s big cheese is now performing at the big casino in the sky, his songs and style need not be laid to rest. Lucky for us Postmodern Jukebox guest vocalist and dapper, crooning piano man Tony DeSare will dust off his suit and fedora to bring the sparkle back to Ol’ Blue Eyes. Even though “The Best Is Yet to Come,” what’s wrong with second-best? $10-$81, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 8pm

SATURDAY, JANUARY 19

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY

Responsible for ’90s sludge metal hits “Albatross” and “Clean My Wounds” and inspiring the MTV generation to break out their bongs and dad’s Lynyrd Skynyrd vinyl, Corrosion of Conformity lives up to their band name — for challenging the popularity of grunge then and staying consistently rock ’n’ roll now. $26, Alamo City Music Hall, 6:30pm

SUNDAY, JANUARY 20

YOSA WINTER SHOWCASE

Christmas time has come and gone, for better or worse, but the lingering chill in the air still calls for festive cuts from history’s greatest composers — from the lush orchestrations of Tchaikovsky to the sweeping romance of Verdi. As we all know, YOSA (Youth Orchestras of San Antonio) is devoted to educating and culturing Alamo City youth through the power of music. Free, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 7pm

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23

PERPETUAL GROOVE

Like their name suggests, a Perpetual Groove concert is likely to erupt into a seemingly never-ending jam session, and that’s the way fans like it. Formed at Savannah College of Art and Design,

AMANDA SHIRES \

Armed with a violin and a master’s degree in poetry, Amanda Shires is just as profound with a pen as she is on stage. For her latest tour, dubbed “On with the $hit Show,” Lubbock-Mineral Wells native Shires amplifies her poetry with a sweet, lilting songbird voice and passionate strings — her fiddle and husband Jason Isbell’s guitar — as she spellbinds the audience with both her words and music. $20, Gruene Hall, 7pm

SATURDAY, JANUARY 26

ADOPTED KIDS ALBUM RELEASE SHOW

After one listen to their first full-length album Heavy Hands, you may want to take Adopted Kids home. Originally a solo, acoustic bedroom project of Russell, frontman of San Antonio’s Lowly Servants. Adopted Kids has since been augmented by other local musicians and transformed from lonely lo-fi into the next big thing on the St. Mary’s Strip. $10, Brick at Blue Star, 7:30pm

SUNDAY, JANUARY 27

LOS LONELY BOYS, LOS LOBOS

Remember that earwormy Los Lonely Boys 2004 hit “Heaven” that was sandwiched in-between the Latin rock sounds of Santana and the feel-good inescapability of Smash Mouth’s “All Star?” That combination may make some cringe today, but others may find it a charming relic of simpler radio days when Maroon 5 was thoughtful blue-eyed soul and Kelly Clarkson was inspiring everyone through grocery store loudspeakers. $30-$69.50, Aztec Theatre, 7pm

TUESDAY, JANUARY 29

CONTEMPORARY WHATEVER: NEUTRALS, MEGAN EASELY

Flight Gallery’s Contemporary Whatever is a cutting-edge monthly series that highlights avant garde music from both local and national artists. This installment features Ohio ambient-noise duo Neutrals, whose music cycles through crashing chaos to gradually reveal its underlying beauty. Free, Flight Gallery, 7pm

SAT. FEB 2 I 9 AM TO 6 PM SUN. FEB 3 I 9 AM TO 5 PM

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Men and Women I’m a 40-year-old guy with a 30-year-old girlfriend. We’ve been together a year, and I can see a future with her. But there are problems. This girl comes after two minutes of stimulation, be it manual, oral or penile. As someone who takes pride in my foreplay/pussy-eating abilities, this is a bummer. She gets wet to the point where all friction is lost during PIV and my boners don’t last. It’s like fucking a bowlful of jelly. Part of me is flattered that I get her off, but damnit I miss a tight fit! (Her oral skills aren’t great, either, so that’s not an option, and anal is a no-go.) I love to fuck hard, and that’s difficult when I’m sticking my dick into a frictionless void. Is there a way to decrease wetness? Help, please. Can’t Last Inside Tonight

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First things first: She’s not doing anything wrong, CLIT, and neither are you — at least you’re not doing anything wrong during sex. (When you sit down to write letters to advice columnists, on the other hand…) She can’t help how much vaginal mucus she produces or how much vaginal sweating your foreplay/pussy-eating skills induce, any more than you can help how much pre-ejaculate you pump out. (Her wetness is a combo of vaginal mucus and vaginal sweating — the latter is not a derogatory expression, that’s just the term for it.) And all that moisture is there for a good reason: it preps the vagina for penetration. In its absence, PIV can be extremely painful for the fuckee. So the last thing you want to do is dry your girlfriend up somehow. Now here’s something you are doing wrong: “It’s like fucking a bowlful of jelly,” “I miss a tight fit,” “Her oral skills aren’t great, either,” “I’m sticking my dick into a frictionless void.” You’re going to need to have a conversation with your girlfriend about this, CLIT, you’ll need to use your words, but you can’t have that conversation — not a constructive one — until you can find some less denigrating, resentful, shame-heaping words. Again, she’s doing nothing wrong. She gets very wet when she’s turned on. That’s just how her body works. Too much lubrication makes it harder for you to get off. That’s how your body works. And this presents a problem that you two need to work on together, but insults like “bowlful of jelly” and “frictionless void” are going to shut the conversation down and/or end the relationship. So try this instead: “I love how turned on you get, honey, and I love how wet you get. But it can make it difficult for me to come during PIV.” If you don’t put her on the defensive — if you don’t make her feel like shit about her pussy — you might be able to have a constructive conversation and come up with some possible PIV hacks. If there’s a move (clitoral stimulation) or an event (her first orgasm) that really opens up

the tap, CLIT, save that move or delay that event until after you’ve climaxed or until after you’ve reached the point of orgasmic inevitability — if PIV isn’t painful for her when she’s a little less wet. You can also experiment with different positions to find one that provides you with a little more friction and doesn’t hit her clit just so — perhaps doggy style — and then shift into a position that engages her clit when you’re going to come. And there’s no shame in pulling out and stroking yourself during intercourse before diving back in. Be constructive, get creative and never again speak of her pussy like it’s a defective home appliance, CLIT, and you might be able to solve this (pretty good) problem (to have).

I’m a man in love with a woman half my age. We met shortly after I had to leave the city I was living in to escape a toxic relationship. I know this girl has feelings for me. My gut screams it. We also share a strange connection. It’s something I know she feels. She simply can’t help being tied to the energy I’m feeling. A while back, I hurt her. Unintentionally, but it hurt just the same. I was still not over my ex and very leery of ever experiencing that kind of pain in my heart again. The problem now is that this young woman won’t acknowledge her feelings for me. She swears she never had feelings for me. We found ourselves alone one day, and her actions were clearly indicating that she wanted to have sex with me but her words prevented me from taking the opportunity. How can I reach this girl? She knows I love her. I know I’m not wrong. She wants what I want. This love is not something I chose and I’m beginning to resent it. In Lasting Love You are wrong. She does not want what you want. Your gut is lying to you. She is not in love with you. You do not share a connection. You need to listen to her words. She is not tied to the “energy” you are feeling. You have got to stop thinking with your dick. She was probably scared out of her wits when you managed to “find” her alone. You cannot reach this woman. She can sense your resentment and she’s afraid of you. In all honesty, ILL, I’m afraid of you. Just as this poor woman most likely fears becoming one of the many women murdered every year by men they’ve rejected, I fear being the messenger who got shot. But you asked for my advice, ILL, and here it is: Get into therapy. You need help. And my advice for her, if she sees this, is to do whatever you must to protect yourself — up to and including moving away.

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

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“Hey Nineteen”— welcoming in the new year. ACROSS 1 Gymnastics equipment 5 Pointillism detail 8 It’s called “orange” but is really black 13 “Grand Ole” venue 14 Salve plant 16 Collect little by little 17 Element #19, whose chemical symbol derives from the word “alkali” 19 “No Hard Feelings” band The ___ Brothers 20 Here, at the Louvre 21 Italian city where “Rigoletto” is set 23 ___ facto 24 British tabloid since 1964 26 Not so much 28 Card game holding where it’s impossible to score 19 points 34 Number on a liquor bottle 37 Instrument with stops 38 Actor Keegan-Michael 39 Julia Roberts, to Emma Roberts 40 Singer with the hit 2008 debut album “19” 41 Lima, for one 42 Belarus, once (abbr.) 43 Afghani neighbor 44 Spend thoughtlessly 45 Stephen King series that makes many references to the number 19 48 Yokozuna’s activity

49 “The Stranger” author Camus 53 Hare crossing your path, e.g. 55 Eucharist disks 59 “See-saw, Margery ___” 60 Cold-weather coat 62 Golf course hangout known as the “19th hole” 64 Simon’s brother 65 Chuck 66 ComÈdie segment 67 Charges on personal property 68 “Karma Chameleon” singer ___ George 69 Achievement DOWN 1 Hasbro game with voice commands 2 Division of a geologic period 3 “Glee” character Abrams 4 One of four singers on the “Lady Marmalade” remake 5 Coca-Cola bottled water brand 6 “The Reader” actress Lena 7 Publicize 8 Links gp. 9 Language spoken in “The Lord of the Rings” 10 Souvenirs 11 They may be steel-cut 12 Prefix meaning “inside” 15 National bird of Australia 18 Character pursued by Gargamel

22 Aquarium accumulation 25 Aberdeen resident 27 End of the end of October? 29 “___ Yellow” (Cardi B song) 30 Spiner of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” 31 Spaghetti ___ e olio (garlicky pasta dish) 32 “That’s swell!” 33 Physical force unit 34 Realm of one “Christmas Carol” ghost 35 “Tom Sawyer” band 36 Like popular library books 40 It’ll show you the way 41 Insulting comment 43 “___ not kidding” 44 Language for Llanfairpwllgwyngyll 46 ___ Donuts 47 Quavering, like a voice 50 Draw out 51 Wailers fan, maybe 52 Presidential policy pronouncement, probably 53 Birthstone of some Scorpios 54 Burkina Faso neighbor 56 “Oh,” overseas 57 Mess up, as lines 58 Prefix with vision or Disney 61 Part of Q&A, for short 63 Lummox ANSWER ON PAGE 19

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CURRENT | January 16-29, 2019 | sacurrent.com


etc FREE WILL ASTROLOGY BY ROB BREZNY ARIES (March 21-April 19): In 1917, leaders of the Christian sect Jehovah’s Witnesses prophesied that all earthly governments would soon disappear and Christianity would perish. In 1924, they predicted that the ancient Hebrew prophet Moses would be resurrected and speak to people everywhere over the radio. In 1938, they advised their followers not to get married or have children, because the end of civilization was nigh. In 1974, they said there was only a “short time remaining before the wicked world’s end.” I bring these failed predictions to your attention, Aries, so as to get you in the mood for my prediction, which is: all prophecies that have been made about your life up until now are as wrong as the Jehovah Witnesses’ visions. In 2019, your life will be bracingly free of old ideas about who you are and who you’re supposed to be. You will have unprecedented opportunities to prove that your future is wide open. TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Movie critic Roger Ebert defined the term “idiot plot” as “any film plot containing problems that would be solved instantly if all of the characters were not idiots.” I bring this to your attention because I suspect there has been a storyline affecting you that in some ways fits that description. Fortunately, any temptation you might have had to go along with the delusions of other people will soon fade. I expect that as a result, you will catalyze a surge of creative problem-solving. The idiot plot will transform into a much smarter plot. GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In 1865, Prussia’s political leader, Otto von Bismarck, got angry when an adversary, Rudolf Virchow, suggested cuts to the proposed military budget. Bismarck challenged Virchow to a duel. Virchow didn’t want to fight, so he came up with a clever plan. As the challenged party, he was authorized to choose the weapons to be used in the duel. He decided upon two sausages. His sausage would be cooked; Bismarck’s sausage would be crammed with parasitic roundworms. It was a brilliant stratagem. The proposition spooked Bismarck, who backed down from the duel. Keep this story in mind if you’re challenged to an argument, dispute, or conflict in the coming days. It’s best to figure out a tricky or amusing way to avoid it altogether. CANCER (June 21-July 22): An imaginative 27-year-old man with the pseudonym Thewildandcrazyoli decided he was getting too old to keep his imaginary friend in his life. So he took out an ad on Ebay, offering to sell that long-time invisible ally, whose name was John Malipieman. Soon his old buddy was dispatched to the highest bidder for $3,000.

Please don’t attempt anything like that in the coming weeks, Cancerian. You need more friends, not fewer — both of the imaginary and non-imaginary variety. Now is a ripe time to expand your network of compatriots. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In December 1981, novice Leo filmmaker James Cameron got sick, fell asleep, and had a disturbing dream. He saw a truncated robot armed with kitchen knives crawling away from an explosion. This nightmare ultimately turned out to be a godsend for Cameron. It inspired him to write the script for the 1984 film The Terminator, a successful creation that launched him on the road to fame and fortune. I’m expecting a comparable development in your near future, Leo. An initially weird or difficult event will actually be a stroke of luck. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Psychologists define the Spotlight Effect as our tendency to imagine that other people are acutely attuned to every little nuance of our behavior and appearance. The truth is that they’re not, of course. Most everyone is primarily occupied with the welter of thoughts buzzing around inside his or her own head. The good news, Virgo, is that you are well set up to capitalize on this phenomenon in the coming weeks. I’m betting you will achieve a dramatic new liberation: you’ll be freer than ever before from the power of people’s opinions to inhibit your behavior or make you self-conscious.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Trees need to be buffeted by the wind. It makes them strong. As they respond to the pressure of breezes and gusts, they generate a hardier kind of wood called reaction wood. Without the assistance of the wind’s stress, trees’ internal structure would be weak and they might topple over as they grew larger. I’m pleased to report that you’re due to receive the benefits of a phenomenon that’s metaphorically equivalent to a brisk wind. Exult in this brisk but low-stress opportunity to toughen yourself up! CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Writing at ThePudding, pop culture commentator Colin Morris reveals the conclusions he drew after analyzing 15,000 pop songs. First, the lyrics of today’s tunes have significantly more repetitiveness than the lyrics of songs in the 1960s. Second, the most popular songs, both then and now, have more repetitive lyrics than the average song. Why? Morris speculates that repetitive songs are catchier. But in accordance with current astrological omens, I encourage you Capricorns to be as unrepetitive as possible in the songs you sing, the messages you communicate, the moves you make, and the ideas you articulate. In the coming weeks, put a premium on originality, unpredictability, complexity, and novelty.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In May 1927, Aquarian aviator Charles Lindbergh made a pioneering flight in his one-engine plane from New York to Paris. He became instantly famous. Years later, Lindbergh testified that partway through his epic journey he was visited by a host of odd, vaporous beings who suddenly appeared in his small cabin. They spoke with him, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of navigation and airplane technology. Lindbergh’s spirits were buoyed. His concentration, which had been flagging, revived. He was grateful for their unexpected support. I foresee a comparable kind of assistance becoming available to you sometime soon, Aquarius. Don’t waste any time being skeptical about it; just welcome it. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): More than four centuries ago, a Piscean samurai named Honda Tadakatsu became a leading general in the Japanese army. In the course of his military career, he fought in more than a hundred battles. Yet he never endured a major wound and was never beaten by another samurai. I propose we make him your inspirational role model for the coming weeks. As you navigate your way through interesting challenges, I believe that like him, you’ll lead a charmed life. No wounds. No traumas. Just a whole lot of educational adventures.

THIS MODERN WORLD BY TOM TOMORROW

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): What North America community is farthest north? It’s an Alaskan city that used to be called Barrow, named after a British admiral. But in 2016, local residents voted to reinstate the name that the indigenous Iñupiat people had once used for the place: Utqiaġvik. In accordance with astrological omens, I propose that in the coming weeks, you take inspiration from their decision, Libra. Return to your roots. Pay homage to your sources. Restore and revive the spirit of your original influences. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The Alaskan town of Talkeetna has a population of 900, so it doesn’t require a complicated political structure to manage its needs. Still, it made a bold statement by electing a cat as its mayor for 15 years. Stubbs, a part-manx, won his first campaign as a write-in candidate, and his policies were so benign — no new taxes, no repressive laws — that he kept getting re-elected. What might be the equivalent of having a cat as your supreme leader for a while, Scorpio? From an astrological perspective, now would be a favorable time to implement that arrangement. This phase of your cycle calls for relaxed fun and amused mellowness and laissez-faire jauntiness. sacurrent.com | January 16-29, 2019 | CURRENT

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San Antonio Current – January 16, 2019  

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