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A Cut Above 46 Getting Buzzed at Vee’s Chop Shop Role Model 50 Ayla Hartung Plays Dress-up with San Antonio’s Hottest Designers Keep San Antonio Lamé 60 Fashion Designer Agosto Cuellar Talks Runway en la Calle, Goodwill & Rasquache Empowerment Causing a Commotion 80 Wayne Holtz Jumps into the Spotlight Theater Queens 84 RuPaul’s Drag Race Star Latrice Royale Leads Greg Hinojosa’s Latest Rocky Horror Remix
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On the Cover
AYLA HARTUNG PLAYS DRESS-UP WITH SA’S HOTTEST DESIGNERS
Chop Shop GETTING BUZZED AT
Barber Vee Hernandez and model Ayla Hartung photographed at Vee’s Chop Shop by Marc Arevalo. Art direction by Rick Fisher.
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MARCO AQUINO is a freelance arts writer and Out In SA blogger.
MARC AREVALO is an award-winning fashion and fine art photographer.
RUDY ARISPE is a writer and public relations strategist with a newfound appreciation for craft beer.
RON BECHTOL is an architect and the Texas editor for the Fearless Critic restaurant guides.
CHRIS CONDE is a gay rapper who contributes to Out In SA’s social media channels.
JAMES COURTNEY is a writer, poet, teacher father and ardent philosopher of the everyday.
GENE ELDER is the leading “Clip and File Queen” for the Happy Foundation Archives.
SARAH FISCH is the media manager for Luminaria and founder of Go Fisch New Media.
PAGE GRAHAM is a writer, photographer and corporate training consultant.
FAITH G. HARPER is president of the Texas Association for LGBT Issues in Counseling.
TAMI KEGLEY is a freelance arts writer when she’s not in the jewelry studio.
JULIÁN P. LEDEZMA is a photographer specializing in bridal and special events with an LGBT emphasis.
KIKO MARTÍNEZ is a CineSnob with Obsessive Movie Compulsive Disorder and is not seeking treatment.
BONNY OSTERHAGE is a freelance journalist who spends her days copywriting for H-E-B.
SUSANA N. RAMIREZ is a queer nepantlera visionary, educator, scholar and spiritual activist living in San Antonio.
POLLY ANNA ROCHA is a queer trans Xicanx poet, musician and journalist born and raised in San Anto.
ELIZABETH G. RODRÍGUEZ is a writer, poet and journalist born and raised on the Southwest side of San Antonio.
SAM SANCHEZ is an Out In SA news writer and the founder of QSanAntonio.com.
KELSEY VALADEZ is a freelance writer and blogger who likes cats.
LEIGHTON WITTINGTON is an American fashion designer and independent creative genius.
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On September 24, the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio honored state Senator Jose Menendez with the Political Advocacy Award, which is given annually to “an elected or appointed official who has made significant contributions toward the advancement of equality for LGBT persons at the local, state or national level.” The award was presented at Stonewall’s annual banquet.
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Menendez was elected to the Texas Senate in 2015 to replace Leticia Van De Putte, who left the position to run for mayor of San Antonio. Prior to his time in the senate, Menendez served in the Texas House from 2001 to 2015. Long-considered an ally, Menendez has worked to advance legislation that is beneficial to the LGBT community. Recently, Equality Texas named him one of the top five senators on LGBT issues. In April 2015, Menendez worked to help prevent the passage of Senate Bill 2065, an anti-gay marriage bill that allows clergy and ministers to deny marriage services if doing so violates “a sincerely held religious belief.” Despite the efforts of Menendez and others, the bill passed. Menendez also co-authored Senate Joint Resolution 13 to repeal the amendment in the state constitution that prohibits same-sex marriage, a law that remains on the books despite the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.
“This city is blessed with a vibrant LGBT community, and I’m grateful they feel represented”
Congratulations on receiving the Political Advocate Award from the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio. What was your reaction to hearing the news? It was incredibly humbling to receive the award. My role as a legislator is to give voice to the people of San Antonio. This city is blessed with a vibrant LGBT community, and I’m grateful they feel represented. One of the most exciting days as an elected official was when the Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality. At the time, our Senate office was located in the courthouse so we held a little reception and handed out congratulations certificates to all the couples that got married that day. It was so moving to hear the stories of couples who had been together for 40 years and they were finally getting married.
subpoenas, an increased ability to unmask anonymous social media users who send threatening messages or make threatening posts. It will make it a misdemeanor to electronically harass or bully anyone under the age of 18 through text messages, social media, websites, apps or other means. This section was modeled after Gracie’s Law in Maryland. It will focus on providing additional counseling and rehabilitation services to the victim and the aggressor.
With the new year just around the corner, what do you see as the top priorities for the coming legislative session? Passing David’s Law to prevent and combat cyberbullying is going to a major initiative. I’m also going to prioritize the same issues I have been championing. I want to make sure our teachers get a pay raise and more money is put into the classroom. Texas needs to recognize the rights of every citizen and that every citizen has equal protection under the law. Building a 21stcentury transportation infrastructure is key to the millions of people who drive and call San Antonio home. Can you explain how David’s Law would work? Texas laws need to keep pace with evolving technology. David’s Law will empower school administrators and law enforcement to go after and reprimand the bullies who prey on students, while focusing on rehabilitation. David’s Law will prevent and combat bullying in schools through several measures. It will require school districts to include cyberbullying policies in their district policies on bullying and notify parents if their child has been the victim of bullying or is the alleged aggressor. It will require school districts to develop a system to anonymously report bullying and threats. It will give school districts the ability to investigate bullying off campus if it materially affects the school environment and it will allow schools and law enforcement to collaborate on investigations. It will give school districts greater latitude to place students in a disciplinary alternative education program or to expel students for certain very serious bullying behavior, such as coercing a child into committing or attempting to commit suicide. It will allow law enforcement, through
In July, the U.S. 5th District Court of Appeals found that Texas’ voter identification law violates the U.S. law prohibiting racial discrimination in elections. While the voting regulations will not change for now, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he plans to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. Do you think his efforts will be successful? No. He will not be successful. Moreover, the millions of dollars spent defending this unconstitutional law could have helped shore up Child Protective Services, replaced textbooks for Texas classrooms, or helped thousands of indigent seniors. I’m calling on General Paxton to stop chasing windmills and face the reality that this law discriminates against voters. It’s all money flushed down the toilet on a “solution” looking for a fictitious problem. San Antonio civic leaders are concerned that Texas Republicans could enact new anti-LGBT laws in the 2017 session of the state legislature which would stifle the ability to attract events like the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament, which the city is scheduled to host in 2018. Do you think Democrats will be able to block such legislation? In North Carolina, we have seen the ramifications of passing discriminatory legislation. According to the Center for American Progress, North Carolina could see a loss of approximately $500 million in economic activity. Texas cannot afford to pass these types of damaging laws. San Antonio would be particularly impacted because a large segment of our economy is generated by tourism. The NBA [moved] their All-Star game [from] Charlotte, North Carolina. If Texas passes legislation it could lead to the end of major sporting events and major employers moving to this state. Fortunately, I think we have a unique political alliance built to defend against legislation that discriminates against the LGBT community. Business leaders, local elected officials, and Democrats are all united to defeat these bad laws that have no place in Texas.
FALL 2016 // UP FRONT | 13
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The Henry Ford Academy Alameda School for Art + Design Gay-Straight Alliance
Henry Ford Academy Fosters Gay-Straight Alliance JAMES COURTNEY Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) groups have been helping to empower LGBTQIA individuals (especially youth) since at least as early as the late 1970s or early 1980s. The Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSAN), a national network that seeks to unite and support GSA clubs around the country, officially became statewide in California in 2001, though it began coalescing around founder Carolyn Laub in 1998. By 2005, the GSAN began operating programs nationally. Especially prevalent and essential in colleges, GSAs can also increasingly be found to operate in both public and private high schools, and even some middle schools. In today’s climate of increasing dialogue and tolerance, GSAs flourish as safe spaces where LGBTQIA folks and, importantly, anybody else who wants to learn and/or show support, can share their stories and feel encouraged. This, of course, doesn’t mean that the work of creating a fully accepting and integrated society is done. We ain’t all that woke yet. On macro (see the damn politicians) and micro levels, discrimination against LGBTQIA individuals is still rampant and, unfortunately, so is the very real threat of violence (physical and otherwise). One new-ish, thriving, local such alliance (established at the start of the 2015 school year) can be found at the cutting-edge Henry Ford Academy: Alameda School (HFAAS), a part of a national network of schools that seeks to remix the educational framework with an eye toward design-oriented thinking and progressivism. HFAAS has recently, through a gift and support from LezRideSA — the rad coalition that “uses cycling and exercise to promote, inspire and support LGBTQ inclusion, diversity, wellness and community
building” — begun an after school bicycling program for LGBTQIA youth, wherein participants ride and learn to build and fix bicycles. The new partnership falls right in line with the downtown school’s mission to educate “healthy mind-body-spirit students.” We caught up with HFAAS superintendent Jessica Sanchez and teacher/club sponsor Analisa Leos-Garcia to find out more about the school’s GSA and its recent partnerships. For starters, tell me about the foundation of the GSA at Henry Ford Academy: Alameda School. Surely, you are aware that this is fairly unique on the High School level. What motivates HFA to foster such a refreshing and unabashedly progressive organization? Analisa Leos-Garcia: Students had been requesting an LGBTQIA organization at the school and we ran an informal grouping for a couple years. Last year, we decided to make it a formal organization with a lead sponsor. Jessica Sanchez: For me, it was never a big a deal. It’s viewed as just another organization on campus. We never considered it a controversial organization. Tell me a bit about how the students have handled the GSA — from the kids who are involved in the Alliance to the ones who are not, and the campus in general. Have you experienced any backlash about the Alliance from students, faculty or parents?
FALL 2016 // UP FRONT | 15
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ALG: There have never been any issues with students and the Alliance. If students want to join: great. If they don’t: no problem. Our organization has a great deal of allies who have joined and no students have been subjected to negative backlash. JS: We have a unique population of students and staff. Everybody is treated with respect. We worry more about respect and education and less about whether a student likes somebody of the same sex. Nor has it ever been an issue having openly gay or lesbian staff at the school. I have gotten calls for more information about the Alliance in terms of their partnership with Big Brother Big Sisters and their mentoring program. I haven’t had any calls from parents asking why we have an Alliance on campus. Our faculty is very accepting of the students and their colleagues. Not every staff member agrees with the lifestyle choices that staff and students may make regarding their sexual orientation, but there is an understanding that respect of person supersedes all. From a school administration standpoint, what are the key benefits of the Alliance? In what way does the Alliance improve the learning environment? JS: The key benefits of the Alliance are mostly about student mental health and wellness. They are in an environment where they can be open about their feelings and just be accepted. Within the educational environment, the openness helps create safe spaces where students feel comfortable talking about and discussing issues that are important to them. For the broader community, the Alliance helps to educate our youth to be accepting individuals, no matter what the situation or context. What advice do you have for other students/teachers/ administration who might want to start something similar at their schools? ALG: For teachers and administration, I encourage them to not treat it as a controversial issue, so it doesn’t become that. It can just be another club that you sponsor for teens. JS: I agree with Ana. If students/teachers/administrators attach controversy or look to outside sources and influences on whether an Alliance should exist on the campus, then the club will never be able to be successful. If it is simply treated like any other club, which it is, then students and families know that it will operate with a mission and vision like everyone else. Tell me about the partnership with LezRideSA and how that came about. What other kind of community partnerships is the GSA interested in establishing? ALG: The partnership with LezRide started with Anel Flores, who used to teach at the school and who has stayed in close contact with us through the years, celebrating our successes. When LeZride found out we had an Alliance on campus, they talked about how we could partner with them. Eventually we were awarded a $500 grant to establish an after-school program for LGBTQIA youth. We are using the money to partner with the nonprofit Earn-a-Bike to provide bikes for the program. JS: We are also so fortunate to have a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters, as I mentioned before. Early on, we saw a need for our LGBTQIA students to have outside mentors to help them as they go through the many processes of just being a youth in San Antonio. Big Brothers Big Sisters and Pride Center San Antonio stepped up and became these incredibly strong mentors for our students. We couldn’t be happier with the results.
photo by Bob Howen
photo by Bob Howen
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FALL 2016 // UP FRONT | 17
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Attorney María Salazar Is a Voice for the Vulnerable and a Builder of Bridges RUDY ARISPE María R. Salazar was 5 years old when she held her first important job. “I was the water girl,” she recalled of working at a tender age in the beet, onion and potato fields of Idaho, where her parents toiled as migrant workers. “Whenever it would get really hot, I would take the jugs out of the back of our truck and walk up and down the fields giving water to the workers. I remember the beets being up to my knees.” Her second official field duty was counting potato sacks with a little notepad in hand, so that families, lined up in 10 rows – the Garcias, the Gonzalezes, the Martinezes among them, as she still remembers the faces – could get paid for a hard day’s work. Her first job out of the fields, however, came at age 16, when Salazar was accepted into the Upward Bound program designed to help children of migrant workers go to college. It provided an opportunity to work at the Oregon Rural Legal Services office for the summer. “I was a filing clerk,” she said. “It was my first introduction into law.” 18 | UP FRONT // FALL 2016
Salazar, 51, has never forgotten where she came from. Her early childhood experiences growing up among migrant farmers and their kids most definitely shaped her outlook on life and instilled a sense of justice and caring for others, which she has carried from the onion fields of Idaho to her adopted San Antonio. She also knows what it’s like to struggle, as she once did over her sexuality — and with the fear and uncertainties that come along with it, and then grappling with the precarious days that followed after she and her siblings found themselves navigating the family court system after her parents separated and a sister attempted suicide. “When I think about those difficult times, I can’t help but think about the individuals and family who encouraged me all along the way. That made all the difference,” she said. “The school secretary cheered me onto class, my aunts and uncles wrote me letters full of praise for my good grades, my speech and debate teacher listened to my troubles. That one person made the difference and showed me that ‘bad times’ are just temporary. It doesn’t mean it’s less painful, but it did tell me that things can change.” So it makes perfect sense, Salazar said, that today as an attorney, she is a voice for many of San Antonio’s vulnerable children, as well as an unsung advocate for the LGBTQ community. For instance, she is a founding member of the LGBTQ chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 22198, whose mission is to indeed affect change by establishing open communication between the LGBTQ and Latino communities by promoting social and economic opportunity and full equality for all. Anel Flores, a 40-year-old writer and artist, met Salazar at the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in the late ’90s. In January 2015, Salazar and her partner, Jo Ann Castillo, spoke at Flores’ wedding in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, offering words of wisdom for a happy marriage. “I was a terrified, young lesbiana without any mentors,” Flores said. “Seeing Maria, pursuing her law degree and working as an activist for LGBTQ people of color inspired me then and still inspires me as an activist, writer and artist. Even better, seeing Maria in a loving relationship made me feel less out of place and hopeful for a healthy relationship. She never ceases to be a mentor to anyone — and not just in the LGBT community.” Sitting inside a small conference room at her law firm in the Dignowity Building on the Eastside on a late Friday afternoon, the confident and cheerful human rights crusader is reminiscing about her childhood, even showing a first grade school picture of her grinning, chubby-cheeked self in pigtails and a red-and-white checkered dress. As cute as it is, the photo is a hoot, and it’s hard to believe this is the same person sitting across the table, now sporting a crew cut and dressed in black slacks, blue button-down, long-sleeved shirt and black shoes. “I’m more comfortable dressing in male clothes,” she said. Then, laughing, she adds, “If you put me in a dress, I feel like I’m in a straight-jacket.” Absent is her trademark bow tie, perhaps because it’s after 5 p.m., so she can relax a little. That fashion statement started as a child. “I think my mom always knew,” she said. “I remember when I was going to kindergarten and my sister was in pre-K, my mom was getting us ready. She brought out all these ribbons. She put my sister in pigtails and put ribbon in her hair. But she put a bow tie around my neck. I was so excited, so happy. But looking back, I always wondered, ‘How did mom know?’”
Although born in Idaho, Salazar was reared in Oregon and attended Willamette University in Salem on a scholarship. Later, she moved to San Francisco to be near her mom. There, she founded Ellas en Accion, a Latina lesbian political organization to help bring Latinos to the political and civil rights process. At the time, an uncle and other family members were actively involved with voter registration, the farm workers movement and a push for more bilingual programs in schools through LULAC, so she joined the national organization, too. While in San Francisco, Salazar also became a member of the Harvey Milk Democratic Club, clamoring for equal rights for gays and lesbians. The Golden Gate City provided a chance encounter with her future partner, Jo Ann Castillo, a San Antonio native. Although Salazar admits “we really didn’t like each other” at first, the two began working side by side on a number of political projects together. Eventually, when Castillo decided to return to the Alamo City in 1997, Salazar followed as long as she had three requisites: a coffee shop, an arts community and political activism. She found all three after moving here, first with the former Espuma Coffee Shop in Southtown, as well as performances at Jump-Start and then participation with the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center. “I remember asking Jo Ann why she wanted to move to San Antonio when San Francisco already has everything,” Salazar said. “She said, ‘Because Texas is where the work is needed.’ ” Starting a new life in the Alamo City, she also enrolled at UTSA where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2001. While working with the Esperanza, preparing to sue the City of San Antonio after it cut the nonprofit’s funding because of controversy over its gay and lesbian film festival and art exhibits, she got a taste for law. “There were meetings, and it was very exciting,” she said. “I wanted to know what they were talking about. I didn’t know the language. That’s when I decided to go to law school.” Salazar left San Antonio to attend City University of New York Law School and studied employee law, women’s reproductive rights and gay rights issues. After graduating in 2006, she returned here and interned with Rosie Gonzalez, a family law attorney, while she studied for the Texas Bar exam. “That’s how I got into child welfare cases,” she said. “The stories you hear about children being abused, abandoned and neglected, that’s who I represent.” In 2014, Salazar, along with Rosie Gonzalez, Brad Veloz, Mike H. Rodriguez, Sylvia Garza, Esmeralda Zuniga and Robert Salcido, created the LGBT LULAC Council 22198 Orgullo de San Antonio. In July, it was awarded Council of the Year at the 87th annual National LULAC Convention in Washington, D.C. Veloz, who is the chapter secretary, said Salazar has proven to be a great leader with the organization. “When we first got together with LULAC officials to discuss establishing the first LGBTQ council, she provided a lot of historical background on the struggles of the LGBTQ community,” said Veloz, who is also chair of the LULAC Texas Civil Rights Committee. “She has been instrumental not only with leadership skills but also providing legal advice.” In her role as council vice president, the activist works to build bridges between LGBTQ and Latino communities regarding civil and human rights, marriage equality, non-discrimination and transgender issues, among many others, just as she does much of the same as a member of the Stonewall Democrats. “It’s about making connections with people,” Salazar said. “When you tell the truth about your experiences, people connect with you. And that’s how you form community.” FALL 2016 // UP FRONT | 19
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ET R A B A C 0 3 / 10/25 – 10 Sam Mendes’ terrific 1993 production of Cabaret accomplished the seemingly-impossible: It actually rivaled the artistic success of both Hal Prince’s original production of ’66 and Bob Fosse’s award-winning film adaptation, starring a particularly leggy Liza Minnelli. For this re-imagining, Mendes upped Cabaret’s sheer sleaziness, as he parked the show in Manhattan’s legendary Studio 54 for a multiple-year run. The New York incarnation won Tony awards for its young, gender-bending emcee, Alan Cumming, as well as for Natasha Richardson. In an unusual move, the Roundabout Theater has revived this revival of a London revival, which makes it a head-spinningly meta-revival. But fret not: It’s still as fabulously gay as ever, as the sexual anarchy of the Weimar Republic is juxtaposed with the increasing militarism and bigotry of the German Nazi party. The brilliance of Cabaret is that the cabaret itself functions as a metaphor for political apathy of every stripe — and Mendes’ harrowing coda, with its gesture toward the Holocaust, remains one of the masterstrokes of contemporary musical theater. If you’ve been on the fence about seeing yet another Cabaret, discover a production where both the staging, and “life” itself, are beautiful. $30-$125, 7:30pm Tue, Oct. 25, 7:30pm Wed, Oct. 26, 7:30pm Thu, Oct. 27, 8pm Fri, Oct. 28, 2pm & 8pm Sat, Oct. 29, 2pm & 7:30pm Sun, Oct. 30, The Majestic Theatre, 224 E. Houston St., (210) 226-3333, majesticempire.com. — Thomas Jenkins
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Released last year, Live! 8-24-1979 is definitive proof that whichever parallel-reality America The B-52s swooped in from is clearly the superior one. Eisenhower-era cheese — beehive haridos, tiki and hot-rod cutlure, etc. — was reappropriated and weaponized by punks who watched at least as many beach-party movies as biker-gang flicks (“Rock Lobster”) and shook their moneymakers doing the “Aqua Velva” and the “Hypocrite” (“Dance This Mess Around”). There, the disco vs. punk dichotomy must be nonexistent: Gay icon Fred Schneider gamely offering to “kiss your pineapple” on the dance floor deserves the same kind of guitar squawl as Roger Daltry growling “I hope I die before I get old” once merited (“Strobe Light”). Between their self-titled debut and 2008’s comeback Funplex, The B-52s have given us four decades of alternate American history with which to embellish and improve our own. See it on stage while you still can, before they fly their positivity-powered convertible back to “Mesopotamia,” “Planet Claire,” “Hallucinating Pluto” or whatever it is they call the kitschkissed wonderland that loaned them to us. $39.50-$96.50, 7pm Sun, Oct. 9, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 223-8624, tobincenter.org. — Jeremy Martin
In the days, weeks and months that followed David Bowie’s death back in January, important figures in music, social commentary, art, fashion, literature and elsewhere have shared, in a multitude of ways, their appreciations for the musical icon’s life and work, as well as their lamentations at his death. Bowie was a singular figure who — though he made dynamic, boundary-pushing pop music — transcended music and ascended to the rarified air of a genuine, allaround cultural touchstone. In the wake of his death, one popular tribute among musicians has been to cover his songs, sometimes faithfully and sometimes not so much. Even Lady Gaga got in on the action at the Grammys, to mixed reviews. In this vein of appreciation for Bowie, Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA), led by director Troy Peters, has its own special kind of tribute planned, which should come as no surprise to those who have been following them over the last few years. As a part of the YOSA Gold Series, the talented youngsters and their fearless leader will present tributes to Bowie by composers Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt and, with an assist from the local SOLI Chamber Ensemble, premiere “Remembering Bowie,” a tribute piece written by Peters himself. The evening will also feature performances of classical favorites “1812 Overture” and “Danzón No. 2,” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Arturo Márquez, respectively. Like Bowie himself, the evening promises to showcase the best of what the human creative spirit has to offer. $16-$32, 7pm, Sun, Nov. 6, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 223-8624, tobincenter.org. — James Courtney
11/25 – 11/27 PEACE MARKET/ MERCADO DE PAZ A self-described “clown in a gown,” Bianca Del Rio is the acidtongued alter ego of comedian Roy Haylock, and the season six winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The New York Times describes her a little differently, calling her “the Joan Rivers of the drag world” because her wit is at least as striking as her look (which is really saying something), and the authority on the subject, Joan Rivers herself, called Del Rio “So funny! So sharp!” Del Rio calls her latest international stand-up tour Not Today Satan, clearly indicating there’s no target too big or fearsome to escape her laser-point sights. Her feature-film debut, this year’s Hurricane Bianca — an LGBT-advocating subversion of the Miss Nelson Is Missing plot with Del Rio in the Viola Swamp role — shows her more than holding her own opposite the likes of Rachel Dratch, Alan Cumming and Margaret Cho, never mind the students dumb enough to talk back in class. The devil can take the past — the present and future belong to Bianca. $28-$53, 9pm Wed, Nov. 9, Aztec Theatre, 104 N. St Mary’s St., (210) 812-4355, theaztectheatre.com. – JM
The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center is once again presenting the truly splendid Mercado de Paz, now in its 27th year. A local mainstay for fans of all manner of arts and crafts, the Mercado de Paz is a whole lot more than just a weekend pop-up arts fair. As stated on the nonprofit’s website, the Mercado de Paz combines the arts with considerations of “economic sustainability, international exchange and social consciousness.” What else would you expect from the consistently active team at Esperanza? The indoor/outdoor event is family-friendly and, starting on Black Friday, provides a conscionable, community-centered alternative to the biggest corporate shopping days of the year. This year’s Mercado will feature more than 100 international and local artists/artisans, live music provided by local performers, and tons of food choices, including vegetarian and vegan options. In summary, the annual tradition is an ideal go-to, whether you’re looking to bolster your art collection, score some points for the proletariat in the grand battle against our capitalist overlords, snag some one-of-a-kind gifts, catch some live music, occupy the kiddos for the day, or simply hang out and avoid the rest of your family. Free, 10am-6pm Fri, Nov. 25, 10am-6pm Sat, Nov. 26, noon-6pm Sun, Nov. 27, Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, 922 San Pedro, (210) 228-0201, esperanzacenter.org. — JC
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, g n i l r a d h s o g Oh my
n w o t h t u Sosooooo is cool!
BITE “I AM ATTRACTED TO HUMANS ... BUT, OF COURSE ... NOT RMANY” E S—TMORRISSEY AURANT
1 0 1 2 S . P R E S A | 2 1 0 . 5 3 2 . 2 5 5 1 | B I T E R E S TA U R A N T S A . C O M
11/28 C IDLE RI E & E S E E L JOHN C Where average funnymen might don dresses and break out the feminized falsetto to reinforce sexual stereotypes, the guys in Monty Python played frumpy housewives arguing about Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialist philosophy. Like childish sexual innuendo (“Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.”) and “silly walks,” bad drag is a dumb, well-trod comedy trope elevated to an art form by the Pythons — maybe most especially by John Cleese and Eric Idle, whose long hairy legs and knobby knees paired hilariously with high skirts and garters, and who continued the tradition into their solo film careers as well (The Out-of-Towners and Nuns on the Run, respectively). Cleese and Idle’s two-man show Together Again at Last…For the Very First Time promises audiences “scripted and improvised bits with storytelling, musical numbers, exclusive footage and aquatic juggling,” but if we’re lucky, it will also be kind of a drag, including some playful screwing around with the gender binary as only these two British septuagenarian master-craftsman goofballs can properly pull off. $59.50-$99.50, 7:30pm Mon, Nov. 28, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 223-8624, tobincenter.org. – JM
Light up a Moz veladora and pray for the poor souls of the Tobin Center’s security team, for the Morrissey fan bumrushing the show fears no venue ban or misdemeanor arrest. Since the first documented incident in 1983, fans of The Smiths’ baritone frontman have been crashing the stage to hug and worship the Pope of Mope — for the true follower to abstain from this tradition is like a pilgrim at a holy site sitting out the sacred ritual. His third-ever visit to San Antonio begs the question: What makes the Morrissey fan tick? There’s the music, of course. With The Smiths — perhaps the seminal ’80s band — and in his solo work, Morrissey’s jangly tone, emotional openness and commitment to individuality presaged the next 30 years of what became indie rock. There are few voices on record that sound as truly unique as his — verbose and intensely romantic, broken, but forever hopeful. As a public figure, Moz is also pretty impossible to imitate. He seems to be a man of contradictions: a romantic, but often celibate, sensitive, but a shit-talker. His private, elliptical sex life also adds to the cult of personality. In his 2013 memoir, Morrissey identifies as a “humasexual,” existing not on the spectrum of sexuality as much as occupying a plane above it. “I am attracted to humans,” he writes. “But, of course ... not many.” In a curious and beautiful instance of this flat, crowded world, Morrissey has emerged as an icon in Chicano and Latino communities. Norteamericano editorials point to his tonal similarity with ranchera, in their shared populism and loneliness. Or, that his experience as a first-generation Irishman living in England emulates the push and pull of identity embedded in the Chicano experience. In the Southwest, “Morrissey being bumrushed is as proud a tradition as everyone laughing at Republicans for their Mexican voter outreach efforts,” says Gustavo Arellano of ¡Ask a Mexican! fame. So, whatever the reason for the undying fan love, a word to security: Watch out for men and women in Viva Hate tees, tight-fit sweats and Nike trainers. That’s not athleisure wear — it’s a fan ready to break your ankles to embrace their man and bolster the cult tradition. Sold out ($129.99-$1,199 at stubhub.com), 8pm Thu, Nov. 17, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 223-8624, tobincenter.org. — Matt Stieb
Chef Heather Nañez Heads Up New Bohanan’s Venture Peggy’s on the Green RON BECHTOL Let’s stop short of using the term promiscuous (I’ll get flack anyway), but it is undeniable that chefs can be peripatetic, nomadic, quixotic at the very least — moving from place to place and kitchen to kitchen in order to scratch an itch, gain experience, garner a better paycheck … or to escape an intolerable boss. All perfectly valid reasons. But not Heather Nañez. Despite a confessed condition of serious ADD (“I can’t even watch a whole movie,” she says), she has remained at her current job for more than 13 years. Nañez came to San Antonio from Laredo to study radio, television and film at San Antonio College but, like most students, needed to make some money. “I got my first job as a busser at Fratelli’s. I wasn’t good at the front of the house, but as soon as I got to the back, I was really happy. I fell in love with the guys in the kitchen and stayed a really long time,” she says. Sayonara SAC. Her first big move after that was to Grey Moss Inn. “I was scared to death but I had a blast, I got to do menus,” she says of her time there. “And I got canned after three years — right after 9/11.” The next move was a truly big one — to upscale steak and seafood restaurant Bohanan’s, where she’s been ever since. They have kind of grown up together. “My first task was team building,” she relates. “Then doing wine dinners, opening a bar, getting involved in charity events, [being in on the establishment of] the San Antonio Cocktail Conference … I had a lot of leeway.” She also says that many restaurants may have “one or two good people, but we had a ton of them.” And in that ton were the bar guys largely responsible for initiating San Antonio’s cocktail revolution: Don Marsh, Jeret Peña, Chris Ware, Jake Corney … “I got interested in making tonic [syrups], bitters … I dove into one thing, then the next.” ADD will do that to you.
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Nañez is still with the Bohanan’s group, of course; it seems unlikely that relationship will change any time soon. But she’s now got even more leeway in developing the new restaurant she and Mark Bohanan are about to open: Peggy’s on the Green in Boerne. The new restaurant has expanded on the space formerly occupied by the Limestone Grille in the historic Ye Kendall Inn. A former porch has been incorporated, a snazzy new patio and arbor have been built, and the kitchen, of course, has been massively renovated. It looks like every chef’s dream. “We let her talk to us,” she says of the building they “fell in love with.” (Must be easier to listen to a woman.) “You can’t just move a two-foot thick limestone wall,” she observes when discussing required changes. New ventilation alone was a massive chore, requiring the taking of valuable hotel space above the kitchen. There will be some steak at Peggy’s — named, by the way, for Bohanan’s mother — but the menu otherwise takes a more casual, “refined Southern” direction than that at Bohanan’s. “We will let our hair down a bit,” says she of the cropped cut. In preparation, Nañez got to do some traveling around the South, a tour that included Florida, a stop at Husk in Charleston, South Carolina, a temple of the South-shall-rise-again culinary movement, and another at Olamaie in Austin — hanging out at the chef’s table, trying to find that “Southern palate.” Fortunately, this new direction is not a one-woman job, as front-of-the-house guy Shaun Kimmey is coming along, and she was able to hire a chef, Luis Arrizcorreta, with a lot of corporate experience. “I’m not good at the paperwork stuff,” she says, all the while admitting to a little separation anxiety from the mothership on her part and that of the come-along crew. She is apparently good at whipping a kitchen into shape, however. As for her kitchen command style? “I’ve mellowed as I’ve grown older,” she says. (She admits to being 40ish.) “There’s no Gordon Ramsey-style shouting for me.” But a little anxiety in the new space is to be expected. Despite
the fact that Mark Bohanan and his family live there, Boerne is still an untested market. “It’s both scary and exciting,” she says. “We don’t totally know the audience yet, but we want to have a conversation with the community.” That conversation will happen over shrimp and grits and mac and cheese, to be sure. “I have a pork chop I’m really excited about,” she tells me. (It’s good to know that someone can still get excited over a pork chop.) And despite its proximity to San Antonio, Boerne still lacks a really good craft cocktail bar, so they will be bringing that as well — along with some bartender names those of us in the cocktail appreciation business have become familiar with. Dinner will come first; there will eventually be an extended brunch utilizing that new patio and arbor. And all menu items will take advantage of local products where possible. “It’s expected and a no-brainer,” she says — and, to this end she has already had a sit-down with Jennifer Fadel of nearby Bending Branch winery. “They’ve got some really good wines,” she says. These days, that’s expected, too. All of this will have taken about 14 months from start to open, and Nañez is clearly chomping at the bit to get started. There has been little down time. She had been in Boerne exclusively for the last two months when we spoke. So it’s no surprise that, when asked about what she cooks when off duty, she replies that “She who takes care of me [also takes care of that].” The caretaker is Lynn Harris, a full-time graduate student with whom she shares a house off 1604 near Blanco and Bitters. “She’s fantastic,” says Nañez, a big smile dominating her face. Apparently her cooking passes muster, too. But I keep pressing: surely there’s a fantasy food you have always been wanting to master, I suggest — hoping to discover that she has a secret jones for fancy French sauces. Or, at the very least, an an unseemly obsession with Funyuns or Frito pie. But no. “We did have a good steak with roasted squash the other night,” she admits. “‘That was a really good steak,’ we keep telling ourselves.” Which is why she’s been able to keep this job for going on 14 years — ADD notwithstanding. Peggy’s on the Green
128 W. Blanco Rd., Boerne, (830) 572-5000, peggysonthegreen.com
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MONDAY-FRIDAY 11AM - 2AM
SAT:12PM - 2AM BRUNCH:12PM-4PM
SUN:3PM - 12AM
IMAGES COURTESY OF THE SAN ANTONIO CONSERVATION SOCIETY FOUNDATION
THE SAN ANTONIO ORIGINAL
How to Recreate Classic Chili con Carne RON BECHTOL San Antonio can lay legitimate claim to being the birthplace of chili con carne. However you chose to spell it, let no one try to convince you otherwise. Springing up here in the latter half of the 19th century, it was initially hawked in La Plaza de Armas, (later Military Plaza, the site of today’s City Hall), by the “beautiful and bantering — but virtuous” vendors known as Chili Queens, the most popular among them apparently being one Sadie Thornhill. From her cameo photo, we can testify to the “beautiful” part. As the popularity of chili spread, so did the places it was sold. (There was a San Antonio chili stand at the Columbian Exhibition of 1893 in Chicago.) The Queens themselves eventually expanded to Alamo Plaza, only to run afoul of the city fathers who closed down their final redoubt in Haymarket Plaza, in the 1930s, for alleged sanitation reasons. No beans in their chili, even then; flies, however, were thought to be another matter. Recent attempts to revive the tradition in Market Square have been laudable but pallid in comparison to the original setting. There was a Chili Queens food truck for a time … but by and large, the current state of chili in the Alamo City is sorry. If you want anything resembling the real thing, you’ll have to queen out (or not) and attempt the following recipe, developed by me and a cooking companion some several years ago. It takes a little work (please note that the beef is chopped, not ground, and that there is nary a whisper of prepared chili powder — sorry, Mr. Gebhardt), but it’s worth it, I swear. And as the weather is now getting to be accommodating, have at it. Your courtiers will thank you.
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Delicious MON - FRI: 10:30AM - 5PM | SAT: 11AM - 4PM 3123 Broadway St. San Antonio, TX wddeli.com | 210-828-2322
HEALTHFUL. MINDFUL. FOOD. N.
The Original San Antonio Chili con Carne (As interpreted by Ron Bechtol and Cynthia Guido)
2 lb. lean chuck roast trimmed of all gristle and excess fat and cut into ¼” cubes (save trimmings for rendering suet for frying beef — or substitute corn oil) 1 tsp. whole comino, toasted in dry skillet 4 cloves garlic peeled and toasted in dry skillet ¼ tsp. dried oregano, toasted — or more, to taste 1 ¾ tsp. salt 6 Tbs. ancho chile paste (see below for preparation) 1 ½ Tbs. pasilla chile paste (see below) 2 tsp. canned chipotle chile en adobo, chopped 1 ½ Tbs. concentrated tomato paste 1 can (14 ½ oz.) beef broth ¾ cup water ½ cup Shiner Bock or other sturdy Texas beer 4 tsp. masa harina, toasted and mixed into ¼ cup water
Meat preparation: brown cubed beef in reserved fat and suet, in batches, if necessary. Set aside. Spice preparation: Starting with garlic, toast spices in a dry skillet until garlic begins to blister. Do not let burn. Blend together with salt in blender, using just enough water to facilitate blending. Set aside. Chile preparation: Toast dried ancho and pasilla chiles (La Michoacana is a good source) separately in a dry skillet until just puffed and beginning to blister. (1 ancho = approximately 1 ½ Tbs. of paste; 1 pasilla = approximately ½ Tbs. of paste.) Remove from pan, split open, discarding seeds and prominent interior ribs. Cover, separately, with boiling water and let stand about 15 minutes or until chiles have begun to soften. Reserve soaking water. Blend, separately, in blender using only the amount of soaking water necessary. Set aside. Combination: Using the frying pan in which the beef was browned, fry the garlic mixture briefly (add oil only if required) then add the chile pastes, the chipotle and the tomato paste and fry a few more minutes. Add the beef broth and water, cook briefly, then add the reserved beef. Simmer, partially covered, until the beef is tender and flavors have permeated (30-45 minutes); add the beer and cook a few more minutes. Meanwhile, toast the masa harina in a dry skillet and mix with water, then add to chili when beef is tender. (A little smoked paprika may be added here, as an option.) Simmer until the chili “binds” and masa flavor is absorbed. If chili is too liquid at this point, simmer, uncovered, a little longer. If too thick, add beef broth or water. Or beer … Adjust seasonings. Serve with beans on the side, if desired, and chopped onions and unabashed yellow cheese. Serves six, but recipe may be directly scaled up (except for salt). It also freezes well, as do the chile pastes, so make more than you need. Que vivan las reinas!
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FALL 2016 // FOOD | 33
Sarah Castillo, Masculine/Feminine
WORK IN PROGRESS
The Evolution of Sarah Castillo & Lady Base Gallery TAMI KEGLEY
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Sarah Castillo was recently included in an interesting listicle posted by the San Antonio Current, “20 San Antonio Artists You Should Be Following on Instagram.” Keep in mind that perhaps the most interesting thing about following Castillo is that she’ll likely introduce you to artists that you may have never seen before. She is the curator of Lady Base Gallery and has also been a member of Más Rudas, a Chicana art collective that began to coalesce in 2008. They presented their first show, “Our Debut,” at Joe Lopez’s Gallista Gallery in the winter of 2009, creating works in response to quinceañeras. Castillo says, “Working with Más Rudas was an opportunity to work with a group of women devoted to their goals. That really helped me in sustaining my practice as an individual artist.” In addition to Castillo, the collective comprised Ruth Leonela Buentello, Kristin Gamez, Mari Hernandez and Christina Ordonez. “We started working together because we didn’t feel that our lives were being reflected in the art community. For us — women of color, Mexican American, people who grew up here, particularly Latin American women, Chicanas — we were not a significant part of the landscape at the time.” She clarifies, “It existed, but primarily from the male point of view. We thought, together, we could be stronger, and of course we were.” To the collective members, the name Más Rudas means “to be tough, to be defiant, and without apology.” After years of collaboration, the group has run its course — but not without accomplishing many of its goals via exhibitions in San Antonio (at Artpace, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and the Institute of Texan Cultures), Austin and Los Angeles. “We held each other up a lot. It was a practice in consciousness-raising.” Within the rasquache school of thought, hard work and a DIY aesthetic permeate all — the driving force being that if you wait around for someone to give it to you, or until you have the money or circumstances, it might never happen. Artists must seize opportunity, push back, be inventive and make things their own, even if weaving it from nothing. This is held close to the soul of San Antonio’s Latinx art community and the heart of Castillo’s restless spirit. Castillo grew up as an artist and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2011. When she
A salon-style Frida Kahlo tribute organized by Lady Base Gallery
decided to further pursue higher education, she made a very pointed decision to focus her work on an Master’s in bicultural studies, graduating in May 2016. Elaborating on her choices, Castillo says, “My experiences in the program made me decide that I did not want to get my MFA at UTSA. At the time, there were no women of color working as professors in the program. I don’t know if there are now. I have to say that there were great professors there, but it was very male-dominated and a very Eurocentric perspective.” Castillo laments a lack of focus on the predominant culture and history of San Antonio. “There was maybe a Latin American art history class or a Mesoamerican art history class, but never really a focus. My work is culture-based and much of the work I was making was never suitable. I just never felt
Sarah Castillo, La Morena
a lot of support.” An inquiry made to the UTSA Office of University Communications and Marketing confirms that there are no Hispanic or Latina women on faculty for the art or art history programs. Again, the Chicana sisterhood of Más Rudas presented an opportunity. The collective was invited to submit to the journal Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS). The lead editor for the journal, Dr. Josie Méndez-Negrete, is also an associate professor in Mexican-American studies at UTSA. Castillo gained a valuable mentor and this relationship presented an important turning point in the development of this young curator. MéndezNegrete ultimately served as Castillo’s graduate advisor and thesis chair. Castillo says, “I held her hand all the way through. I think this program was a good choice for me. It has helped me to be more careful and delicate and sensitive with people and their stories and with myself.” While in grad school, Castillo founded Lady Base Gallery. In 2013, her goal was to create a space that supports the artistic practices of women and the LGBTQIA arts community. To this point in time, Lady Base has not been a brick-and-mortar entity. Rather, Castillo has actively sought independent spaces and opportunities to showcase artists who have not had a voice or space to exhibit and explore their art. As a curator, Castillo is interested in how individuals use art to understand their own identities. “These are tangible opportunities to refine yourself as an artist, FALL 2016 // ARTS + CULTURE | 35
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Castillo reviews the work of photographer Arlene Mejorado at R Space
such as writing an artist statement, feeling comfortable identifying with your accomplishments and the meaning of the work you have created. These are important lessons and challenges.” Castillo feels strongly that artists should be able to explore in an environment that is supportive and safe from judgement. Castillo looks back at a time when she might have felt timid about sharing her own work, and credits local artist, author and activist Anel Flores as another strong mentor in her development. “We have co-curated several shows together and people in the community, like her, helped me to believe in myself,” Castillo says. “It is important to be able to find supportive people to work with in a creative setting.” For Fotoseptiembre 2016, Lady Base collaborated with Alex Rubio’s R Space Gallery to showcase the work of photographer Arlene Mejorado. Guest curated by r.l. rodriguez (a pseudonym for La Botánica proprietor Rebecca “Rebel Mariposa” Lopez), Mejorado’s “Califas Lens, San Anto Heart: Outside Looking In” captures “people that exist outside of pop culture” — specifically visitors and vendors the artist encountered at the Poteet Flea Mart. The river doesn’t stop flowing for Castillo. Her love for art and sharing with her community is what gives her life. She holds a day job as registrar at Texas A&M University-San Antonio and it is this position that sustains Lady Base Gallery’s ongoing projects. Castillo looks forward to 2017 and a new chapter, sharing gallery space with Amanda Poplawski of AP Art Lab, located in the 1906 South Flores arts complex. Poplawski plans to change the name of her space, representing a collaboration between two separate entities. Over the years, Lady Base Gallery has organized more than 30 exhibitions, the majority of them group shows. Castillo says she will soon be putting out an open call for artists. “There will only be five slots,” she says. “And for 2017, I really want to focus on representing the LGBTQIA community as much as possible. I really connect with that. I want to focus on highlighting one artist at a time to give them each more of the spotlight.” Castillo reflects on the idea that she will enjoy being in a space that she has more control of, more stability for the gallery. In a sense, Lady Base is leveling up. “With grad school finished, I can focus on my own work more,” Castillo says. “I’m going to refine and narrow the shows, and I really support Amanda’s initiative. She’s melding social practice with art.” Seems like a logical fit. Castillo goes on to muse that she would like to create a nonprofit someday to have a “legit” base. “I actively went into all this with the idea of creating a portfolio and body of work, and showing ‘them’ — whoever they are — that I can do it.” In conjunction with the San Antonio Public Library’s Hispanic History Month programming, Castillo’s mixed-media portraits of her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are on display through October 15 at Bazan Branch Library (2200 W. Commerce St). For more about Castillo’s Lady Base Gallery, visit ladybasegallery.com.
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THE NE W E S T JE W EL O N THE S A N ANTO NIO RI VE R WALK. The Jack Guenther Pavilion and McNutt Sculpture Garden at the Briscoe Western Art Museum. Sophisticated elegance surrounded by a majestic canopy of oak trees, lush customizable indoor and outdoor spaces, beautiful vistas, and spectacular architecture â€” all located on the picturesque San Antonio River Walk.
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210 W. Market Street San Antonio, TX 78205 210.507.4849 BriscoeMuseum.org 38 | ARTS + CULTURE // FALL 2016
It was in conjunction with the Prietas y Güeras conference that Marisa Belausteguigoitia held at the UNAM. We began hosting El Mundo Zurdo shortly after that and SSGA became an affiliate of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers. What is the significance of Gloria E. Anzaldúa? Why should we know about her? NC: Anzaldúa was a path-breaking philosopher and thinker whose most important work, Borderlands/La Frontera, reverberates even to this day, 29 years after its publication. It has been published in Italian and in two Spanish translations. Her work is taught and discussed in universities all over the world and numerous scholars work on her writings. The application of her theories about the border are ever more relevant worldwide as immigrant and “minority” communities find themselves in situations similar to the realities found along the U.S.-Mexico border.
El Mundo Zurdo founder Norma E. Cantú
EL MUNDO ZURDO
Celebrating the Life and Work of Queer Tejana Icon Gloria E. Anzaldúa SUSANA N. RAMÍREZ “Write in the kitchen, lock yourself up in the bathroom. Write on the bus or the welfare line, on the job during meals, between sleeping and waking,” Tejana author, theorist and philosopher Gloria E. Anzaldúa (1942-2004) once wrote. Born in the South Texas city of Raymondville, Anzaldúa wrote for queer brown women — but also wrote for the world. Norma E. Cantú, founder of the Society for the Study of Gloria E. Anzaldúa (SSGA), notes that Anzaldúa’s writing is taught globally: in Italy, Austria, Poland and Mexico, among other countries. Twenty-seven years after Anzaldúa’s landmark publication Borderlands/LaFrontera: The New Mestiza, 12 years since her death and 9 years since the first international symposium on her life, Anzaldúa’s spirit still speaks to hundreds. Activists, scholars, educators and artists gather every 18 months in San Antonio to honor her life and work during El Mundo Zurdo: An International Conference on the Life and Work of Gloria E. Anzaldúa. In anticipation of this year’s gathering we spoke with the organizing committee about the significance of Anzaldúa’s work and the conference. How did El Mundo Zurdo originate? What was the first conference and symposium like? Norma E. Cantú: I started thinking of the conference when I attended both Modern Language Association and American Studies Association conferences and the sessions on Gloria Anzaldúa were packed. So we held the first symposium in November of 2007.
What is the significance of this conference for the city of San Antonio? Anel I. Flores: San Antonio and all South Texas is a densely populated comunidad of first-generation, Spanglish-speaking, Mexican American and Xican@ LGBTQ people, who come from a lineage of farm and labor workers. Gloria Anzaldúa, who identified as all the previously mentioned identities, was the first author to combine all of these subjects in autobiography, poetry, narrative and writing. To go to the SSGA conference and learn about the work and life of Gloria E. Anzaldúa is to learn about ourselves. And, to learn about ourselves and our family history builds pride, drive and the consciousness to work towards a more just and healthy world, in the practice of our people. What are some challenges organizing the conference? AF: There is little to no funding for women’s studies, queer studies, LGBT studies, Chican@ studies, the arts, music … need I go on? It is very challenging to fund this conference and give our keynote speakers and performers the fee they deserve to be paid as professionals. It is doubly difficult to provide community members and students scholarships for this conference. We would love some funders to commit to a few years or a lifetime of scholarship for the SSGA conference. What are future visions for this space? NC: For the future, we hope to continue the conference every 18 months (November and May) and to make our blog and website more of a space for continued sharing. It will become what the members of the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa want it to be. Rita Urquijo-Ruiz: San Francisco-based Aunt Lute Books, under the direction and cariño of Joan Pinkvoss, has made the commitment to publish the El Mundo Zurdo conference proceedings every 18 months in book form. The chosen art piece is used for the book covers, as well as other conference materials such as the programs, bags, and T-shirts. The books are coedited by at least two or more professors who are part of the organizing committee. El Mundo Zurdo Conference $30-$95 | Nov. 3-5 UTSA Downtown Campus 501 W. César E. Chávez Blvd. (210) 458-6277 education.utsa.edu/womens-studies FALL 2016 // ARTS + CULTURE | 39
KEEPING THE LIGHT ON
Mike Casey Finds His Next Chapter in the Isaac Maxwell Metal Studio PAGE GRAHAM As the unofficial “Mayor” of King William, Mike Casey is known amongst our community as many different things: Sharp-dressed man about town. Retired attorney. Arts patron. Bicycle rider. Classic car owner. King William renaissance pioneer. Metal studio owner. Wait … what? As of October 2014, Mike suddenly and unexpectedly found himself as co-owner of Isaac Maxwell Metal Studio, purveyor of custom punched-copper lighting fixtures. His partner is longtime Maxwell protégé Gregorio “Goyo” Rebollar. Maxwell himself passed away in 1998 at the age of 59, but his wife Judith — who managed the business from then until 2014 — is still with us. Mike handles the business end of running the studio, and Goyo, who speaks little English, runs the creative end. Goyo’s grandson Abel, son-in-law Jacob, and daughter Judith currently work with them. Mike and I recently sat down for lunch at Liberty Bar (where else?) and what follows is essentially his tale about how all this came to be. In the 1960s, architect Isaac Maxwell was designing homes, but he also had his metal business operating on the side. He 40 | ARTS + CULTURE // FALL 2016
would offer doors, kitchen cabinets, lighting fixtures and other “embellishments to his design,” as Mike says, for his customdesigned homes. The primary product were the punched-copper light fixtures, which cast unique light patterns in a room. Originally, Maxwell and his collaborator, architect William McDonald, would draw and then punch out the designs on the copper itself. But that turned out to be a time-consuming and not necessarily productive method. Then they realized they could draw designs on paper, have it reproduced, tack it down on the copper, and punch out the patterns, using a hammer and scratch awl. It soon became apparent to Maxwell that he needed help — he simply had too much going on. While working on his own living space, he met Goyo, a carpenter and woodworker helping with the project. Seeing Goyo’s potential, Maxwell asked him to work for his lighting business. Goyo was a quick study, and capable of living up to Maxwell’s extremely high standards. They quickly built a professional — and familial — relationship. According to Mike, Isaac and Judith Maxwell essentially became patrónes of Goyo and his wife Leticia’s family. The Maxwells became a ubiquitous presence at Rebollar
PHOTOS BY PAGE GRAHAM
Mike Casey and his 1950s-era Rambler, Maude
birthdays, weddings and other family events. In fact, Goyo’s youngest daughter is named after Judith, and one of his grandsons is named after Isaac. As the business continued to grow, Goyo brought in family members to fill the need. At one point, five additional relatives were working with him. Following Isaac Maxwell’s death, Judith soldiered on, running the business with Goyo in charge of the artisanal side. Previously, both Judith and Goyo had learned how to create designs. Along with Maxwell’s original designs, which still exist, they have managed to create an impressive body of work. Since Goyo speaks scant English and Judith speaks no Spanish, their close friend Mike Casey was brought in to translate. Soon enough, Mike became a part of Goyo’s extended family. Gradually, Goyo’s relatives mostly moved back to Mexico, and he found himself working solo. Looking to the future, both Isaac and Judith hoped the business would ultimately go to Goyo, but there were linguistic and business barriers. To make matters worse, it turned out the business was losing money — Judith was putting more in than she was getting out, to the chagrin of her financial advisor. The shop was under threat of foreclosure. One day, around this time, Mike was driving in Maude, his distinctive 1950s-era Rambler, by the Maxwell Studio, then located at 1109 South Alamo Street in the heart of King William. He saw an unfamiliar car in the driveway. Curious as to what was going on, he went inside only to find a Maxwell family acquaintance breaking the news to Goyo that the studio would be closing down. Fortunately, Mike had actually been working on an order for 10 fixtures, the design of which had just been finalized. He managed to convince everyone they had an order and could make payroll. He also had another order in the works, despite not yet even being directly involved in the business. According to Mike, Judith said to him, “Okay, if you want to take over, then you can take over the shop.” Mike subsequently asked Goyo if he thought it was doable. The answer was a big abrazo and a heartfelt “¡Si!” But they had to move quickly because Judith’s financial advisor was feeling compelled to sell the building. The timing couldn’t have been more fortuitous. As it happened, one of Mike’s tenants
Gregorio “Goyo” Rebollar at work on a torchiere
A few of Isaac Maxwell Metal Studio’s signature styles
in “The Compound,” an artists’ colony of six homes he owns at the corner of South St. Mary’s and Steiren, was planning to move out. Perfect timing. The new space at 1135 South St. Mary’s — which was once a boat repair shop — actually turned out to be more comfortable for Goyo to work in. Slowly but surely, Mike and Goyo have rebuilt the business. For the first year, copper artist José Chapa was brought on board to help with his expertise and management. “I’m not an entrepreneur, I’m not a marketer…but I’m learning,” Mike says. At this point, they have had several recent installations, including 10 fixtures in the newly remodeled lower level of The Esquire Tavern, and the new space Chad Carey is renovating in the old Teka Molino on North St. Mary’s, which will also have 10 fixtures. In an effort to broaden awareness of their studio, they will be hosting a booth at the Texas AIA Convention in November. More recently, an agreement has been reached with Stone Standard at the Roosevelt Library to become the dealer for Isaac Maxwell fixtures. Fortunately, all of the original templates exist and can be reproduced. Goyo also has the capability to create new designs upon request. The future seems promising for this newlyresurrected and unique business. FALL 2016 // ARTS + CULTURE | 41
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Jota co-editor Rita Urquijo-Ruiz
Forthcoming Anthology Celebrates the Stories of Brown LGBTQI Women ELIZABETH G. RODRÍGUEZ A collaboration between self-identified “jotas” Anel Flores, Jackie Cuevas, Candace López and Rita Urquijo-Ruiz, the forthcoming anthology Jota records and celebrates the stories of brown LGBTQ women. The term “jota” has and is still used today as a derogatory, homophobic term to shame women who are attracted to other women, many of whom are reclaiming it as an act of agency, pride and survival. Jota praises the existence of women-loving women, while giving tribute to and validating their resilient creativity in contributions of writing and art. The anthology was created out of necessity to experience tangible reflections of other jotas. Anel Flores shares, “When I decided I was a writer, my teachers told me to go to the bookstore and find my favorite authors, my favorite editors, and my favorite publishers. This was 23 years ago and there were barely a handful of LGBTQ authors of color out there for me to learn from, to be inspired by or to see myself in.” To see and relate to other people like oneself is an important aspect to the livelihood of brown LQBTQI women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that Latina girls are at the highest risk for attempting suicide. The stories collected in Jota will serve as a reminder for LGBTQI women of color, specifically from the Latinx community, that they are not alone in the world. Having edited the similar anthology Chicana Lesbians: The Girls Our Mothers Warned Us About (a collection of poetry, fiction and essays published in 1991), author Carla Trujillo was a natural
choice to pen the foreword to Jota. All four Jota editors relate that Chicana Lesbians had a remarkable impact on their lives. Jackie Cuevas remembers, “When an ex-lover gave me a copy of Carla Trujillo’s Chicana Lesbians anthology over 20 years ago, the book became part of my mental roadmap for imagining, creating and theorizing my own queer Latinx life.” Readers may notice a few of the Chicana Lesbians contributors among the 90-plus authors and artists represented in Jota — a reminder that LGBTQI voices of women of color remain vital to insert in literature and the fine arts. Due out in spring 2017 from Kórima Press (an independent publisher “committed to Queer Ch/Xicana and Ch/Xicano literary art”), Jota is exclusively a collection of creative work — without any academic essays. The editors predict that it might be used as a learning tool, emphasizing the importance of knowledge gained outside educational institutions. Urquijo-Ruiz comments, “Our communities have created and encouraged knowledge/sabiduría for all its members for millennia and it behooves us to continue to cultivate safe spaces where our elders’ and young people’s experiences can be shared.” Her hope is that the anthology and the voices of its writers and artists will reach a vast, worldwide audience. The editors firmly believe that Jota will be a healing resource for queer communities of color, while hopefully inspiring other LGBTQI women of color to share their stories. Lopez writes, “We’re made to feel daily that we’re not loved or worthy — I hope readers view this as a love note written to them.” Reprinted here courtesy of the Jota editors and Kórima Press, an excerpt from “I Thought I Was a Boy,” written by San Antoniobased attorney María Salazar. “But why Daddy? Why can’t I sleep with my shirt off? Slow to answer he finally said, “Because you’re a little girl. Only boys sleep with their shirts off. You are a little girl just like your sister, Anita.” His words sank in me. I shook my head back and forth, no, no, no. Only boys sleep with their shirts off? How stupid! This made no sense to me. How could this be? Looking at my arms, my chest and legs, I saw that they were same as my dad’s. Why could my Daddy sleep with his shirt off? We were the same, weren’t we?”
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New York City-based filmmaker Alden Peters
MAKING A STATEMENT
Filmmaker Alden Peters Shares His Coming Out Story in Intimate New Documentary BY KIKO MARTÍNEZ
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In the documentary Coming Out, filmmaker Alden Peters turns the camera on himself as he reveals to his family and friends that he is gay. During a phone interview with Out In SA, Peters, 26, who runs a small production company in New York City, talked about the reason he made his coming out story into a film and explained why coming out is such an important step for people in the LGBTQ community. Why did you decide to come out in such a public way? When talking about coming out, what usually get discussed is just that one moment of disclosure and not the years that happen before. I was interested in that and also in asking, “What happens next?” That film didn’t exist the way I wanted to see it. I had the opportunity to make the film I wanted to see by filming my own coming out story. This is a film I needed to see and one I knew others did as well. Everyone in the film is very accepting of you when you come out. Did you really worry there would be people in your life you would lose because of this?
PHOTOS COURTESY OF WOLFE VIDEO
Filmmaker Alden Peters tells his father he is gay in the independent documentary Coming Out
I absolutely thought it was going to happen because that’s the only story I had heard. The coming out stories that rise to the top are usually the ones that are the worst-case scenarios — the ones that are very tragic. I assumed that was just part of the process. I thought that would inevitably occur. It didn’t happen with my family and very close friends, but there were people who didn’t take the news well. They’re not in the film because they didn’t want to participate in the project. Again, based on what is shown in the film, your experience seemed to go very well. Why not include something indicating that things don’t always work out so smoothly? The conversation about how to show a negative reaction is one I had a lot with the producers and the editor. Ultimately, I felt like I had already damaged a relationship because of this and didn’t want to allude to what had happened. By telling me they didn’t want to participate in the film, I felt like I had a responsibility to guard their privacy and not share that with other people. You’ve come out, of course, but how do you feel about the whole process in general? Is “I’m gay” something you think needs to be said? Does an actual statement to someone need to be made? One thing you’ll hear a lot is that coming out doesn’t really matter anymore. If you watch the film, you might think that is something we’re trying to say, especially because I had a positive experience. But it is important. There are kids still getting disowned. There are kids still getting bullied. There are kids still taking their own lives. This film is only one tool to explore the coming out process because it’s multifaceted. It’s unique to every individual person. Some people in the LGBTQ community might argue that coming out is the responsibility of every gay person so the
lifestyle can continue to move out of the shadows. How do you feel about that? I would hesitate to tell anyone what they should do. It depends on their environment. Are they living in a state, for example, where they can be fired for being openly out? If so, who am I to tell them they should be out for the sake of the community when they could lose their job? There are so many factors to the LGBTQ experience that it’s really hard to say what anybody should do. They know their own lives more than we do. Over time, our community has gotten a lot stronger by being visible. We are doing a great service for LGBTQ youth who see themselves reflected in leaders everywhere. I think that’s very valuable, but that doesn’t mean everyone should feel obligated to come out just because they’re part of the community. National Coming Out Day is October 11. Do you feel observing a specific day like this puts pressure on people in the LGBTQ community to come out? That’s funny because I’ve never actually thought about National Coming Out Day as a day where people should come out. I’ve always thought of it as more of a celebration of being out and an acknowledgement of the reality of our experience. As much as we’d like to be beyond coming out and not have to make this declaration, the reality is that we have to do it all the time. We might come out to our family, but should we come out at the workplace? If someone asks me what I did over the weekend, do I tell them I was with a friend or with a boyfriend? I think National Coming Out Day is a day where we can reflect on how far we have come. Coming Out was released October 4 on DVD and across all Video On Demand platforms, including iTunes, Vimeo and at wolfeondemand.com.
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Getting Buzzed at Vee’s Chop Shop ELIZABETH G. RODRÍGUEZ // PHOTOS BY MARC AREVALO Vee Hernandez’s studio space in the Salons by JC is decorated with San Antonio Spurs and New England Patriots collectibles. A mini fridge in the corner is stocked with cold water and soda. In many ways, Vee’s Chop Shop is a typical stylist’s station, but to watch the petite, curly-haired Vee cut hair is to watch an artist deeply immersed in her work, gently gripping a client’s head for added precision, bringing radiance to a human canvas. The 33-year-old barber is known for adding a touch of modern style to vintage men’s cuts from the ’60s and ’70s — fades and combovers with hard parts — but her skill set is deep and versatile. Vee has built a steady clientele of lesbian, queer, femme and butch women who want undercuts, custom etchings, or partial head shaves. “Being a butch woman, or being just gay in the community, or being a lesbian,” Vee said, “sometimes we’re not given the same treatment by males because they’re like, ‘I don’t care to cut your hair.’” Vee works to create a welcoming space for queer women to talk about their partners and personal lives. This added appeal brings in customers like Olivia Youngblood. She was referred to Vee’s Chop Shop by writer Anel Flores, whose dashing undercut is the perfect wordof-mouth advertising for Vee’s talents. “She really listened to the hairstyle I was trying to achieve and did a great job capturing my vision,” Youngblood said. Vee trained in barbering and cosmetology in Lubbock and at the Milan Institute, but she found her calling at age 12, when her Uncle Luis asked her to cut his hair. Vee protested: “I don’t know how! I don’t even have scissors!” But Luis handed her a pair and issued directions as they sat on a row of outside stairs, he on the bottom step and Vee on the top, Luis pointing, Vee anxiously snipping. Soon, she was cutting her brother’s hair while the neighbors watched, which led to more clients. Neighborhood children would sit on an upside-down bucket, draped in a big trash bag, to get their hair cut by Vee for $5. Vee’s path from the steps to the salon was anything but direct. In high school, she stopped cutting hair and began spending hours each day at a local Gold’s Gym, which became a second home. Her newfound passion led to an internship and a job at Amarillo Community College, where she earned a certificate in personal training. As a first-generation college student, she said, “It was hard. I had to do it all on my own.” Eventually she burned herself out on the weights and machines. “Cutting hair was passion,” she realized. “Working out was a lifestyle. I chose my passion.” When she made the decision to enroll in Lubbock Barber School, she found an unexpected advocate among the staff — a woman named Kiki from Mississippi, who saw some of herself in the young Vee. She recalls her saying, “Vee, you know what? I’m gonna make sure you get into school.” When Kiki made good on that pledge, Vee picked up the clippers for the first time in years, promising, “If this is good to me, I’m gonna be so good to it.” Vee was born in Pharr, Texas, but as a small child she woke up to the jungles of Veracruz, in Southern Mexico. Vee, her mother and brother lived with her grandmother in a house with dirt floors and hammocks for beds, surrounded by lush foliage and tropical wildlife.
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“You would step outside of my grandma’s house and you were in the jungle,” she said. “You would hear the coconuts drop … You would just hear them crashing down through the [banana leaves].” It was an ideal playground. They sprinted through the undergrowth and used slingshots to throw rocks at the iguanas sunning themselves. She recalls with pride a picture of herself being baptized at 3 in a traditional white jarocha. When she was 5, Vee’s family moved back to Texas, eventually settling in Amarillo. She describes her childhood as “rough.” Her father, a Cuban immigrant, was not around most of the time, and the family struggled financially. “We were close,” she said. “We weren’t raised with a lot, but we made the best of it.” Her maternal grandmother was a key part of a community of women who supported Vee’s family and cultivated her sense of determination. She recalls in particular an aunt who didn’t have the luxury to mourn her husband’s death, returning quickly to the day-to-day rhythm of life. “Yes, I knew poverty,” she said. “But I also knew that, with hard work, you could have a great life.” Vee’s Uncle Luis continued to be a steady presence, too, until his sudden death in 2011. He was her best male role model, she says, but she never fully came out to him. “I felt like there was no need, he knew it and I knew that,” she said. “To tell the truth, I don’t think he cared about things like that. He just loved people. He just loved me for who I was.” Vee also found an ally in her older brother, Alberto, the first person she came out to. She was 21, had moved away from home, and was in her first serious relationship with a woman. “I called my older brother one day, just out of the blue, and did it. He took it with such grace and moved from it like if we had been talking about dinner plans,” Vee said. His example of unconditional love spread to her family members, who also remained lovingly supportive.
Vee has thrived in San Antonio’s strong LGBTQIA community, and found a fulfilling personal relationship, too. A self-proclaimed “homebody,” she spends free time with her girlfriend Mars, snuggling up to watch a movie, cooking together, or listening to music and drinking wine. They are proud parents of a dog named Jupiter and plan to add a Pluto to their family orbit soon. In her spare time, Vee likes to support other locally owned businesses. One of her favorite spots is the Mexican vegan restaurant, La Botánica, which she describes as a safe space where she and her partner are shown respect. Last December, Vee donated haircuts for La Botánica’s event Jotos y Recuerdos. Proceeds from the cuts supported programs for San Antonio LGBT youth and the outdooractivity coalition LezRideSA. In the next five years, Vee plans to open Vee’s Chop Shop as a stand-alone business, where she can help create career pathways for other stylists. Despite her success — and a devoted fan club of straight male allies — she is regularly reminded that barbering is a male-dominated trade. “I think women are very underestimated. I don’t think just in the barbering world, in any aspect,” she said. Vee is often met with hesitance by men who prefer to have their hair cut by another man, and she also runs into professional envy. “I think men can become intimidated by a female doing so good in this business because it’s so dominantly run by males.” Yet Vee encourages women to enter the barbering world, arguing that their presence will make the profession more inclusive. Her eyes welling with tears, Vee praises her second family, her clients. “They propel me forward. They pick me up, even when I can’t, even in my personal life,” she said. Their presence is, “what makes Vee’s Chop Shop run, and it’s what’s gonna open the door for a shop.” Vee’s Chop Shop
11703 Huebner Rd., (806) 382-5720, vees-chop-shop.genbook.com
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Fashion Designer Agosto Cuellar Talks Runway en la Calle, Goodwill & Rasquache Empowerment SARAH FISCH Agosto Cuellar is a veteran visionary in this town. Couturier, entrepreneur and social activist, he’s got deep roots and wide wings, having owned and operated legendary Southtown resale shop Jive Refried, created collections of irreverent, often-recycled garments that have landed him in serious Project Runway consideration, and DJed at big events and unexpected venues citywide. He currently works as the merchandising maven at Goodwill, where he combines his unparalleled eye for revolutionary fashion with his dedication to green design, recombination and fashion at every price point, and has been the fashion designer/creative director at AC19 Projects since 1999. On October 15, the street-level runway show he founded, Runway en la Calle, takes place during Una Noche en la Gloria: Contemporary Art in the Cultural Zone. Tell us what we can look forward to at this year’s Runway en la Calle. This year we’ve got five designers. Our opening designer is Golden 60 | STYLE // FALL 2016
Sky, a transplant from New York who has also worked in Japan, but he’s made his home in San Antonio. Fabian Alejandro Diaz, I’ve been working with him for years ... he’s coming on this year as a designer with his own collection, and he’s our featured designer this year. Petricia Falcon, she’s a University of the IncarnateWord graduate, she’s been doing her work a long time but she has been so under-recognized. This is her fifth year. And we’ve got Angeline De Carlo, a collaborative designer and hair artist with Mary Alice Medina being the lead. That’s four right? And then myself. And what will you be showing? I’m doing my collection which, instead of “Keep San Antonio Lame,” is “Keep San Antonio Lamé.” El accento es todo! I’m not going to describe it. People will have to come and see. I will say that, of course, the inspiration always has to do with rasquache — it’s a design aesthetic, and also the hands-on practice of doing the best you can with what you have.
KIN MAN HUI
How do you raise the money to put this on every year? We had our fundraising event at Brick in July, which is important because we receive no city funding. No COSA, no PASA, no nada. Ideally, would you like more city support? We’ve approached people at that level, but it seems we are so guerrilla-style and fringe and avant garde that they say, “We just don’t really understand what you are doing. Are you an expo? Are you promoting artists? Are you selling something?” And we are promoting artists, and selling something. So Runway en la Calle isn’t just a fashion performance showcase, it’s entrepreneurial. Yes. I want it to be a marketplace, where the artists are paid for their work. And they’re all pretty much providing their own money as a foundation. For all of us, it’s really an economic endeavor … This year we want to do a bunch of little pop-up shops. We’re shooting for two or three models from each collection to be inside the Progresso, which is the building where we are changing, and produce a very interactive and raw, behind-the-scenes environment where the public is invited to come see where the collections are created; and some of the items are on sale. We haven’t tried that, but we have the venue this year and we’re going to give it a shot. The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center is the anchor institution you’ve worked with, how important is it to you? The Guadalupe has always been, for me, a place of refuge, a place to do hands-on work. I’ve been involved with Grupo Animo ... I worked on the production of the play Heroes and Saints
with Cherríe Moraga, Real Women Have Curves with Evelina Fernández; they’ve allowed me to do set design, and sound design, backdrop design … It’s a relationship that I’ve nurtured. I have never lost sight of the fact that it is a strong institution on the Westside, and serves a lot of people who do not have access to a traditional museum, or to theater, or for that matter, education. How does fashion fit into your idea of the Westside’s potential? Each year, I am amazed at the support from the community and the audience. I will have a little abuelita from the courts sitting next to somebody from Neiman Marcus. And that mixture is why I do it, because I want to expose everyone to everyone. I’ve been doing this for eight years, so there was a little 10-year-old out there in the beginning and he’s 18 years old now — and he has been inspired by everything he has seen on that runway, and it has liberated him. I don’t know who he is, but I know he exists. I know that we have touched hearts and minds … it’s free, it’s open to the public, and we are very close to the neighborhood. I want to show emerging designers who have never shown before. I want to say, “You can do it, you can spread your wings and I want to give you the venue to make it happen.” When you were a kid, where did you look for this kind of real-world inspiration? When I was 10 years old, no such thing existed. That’s why now I would like to create a hybrid — a kind of curriculum, something that combines a memoir with a textbook … where you learn about me, and you learn about the people who inspired me. Because a
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Lauren Nicole And Her Launch Of The Fashion For Cancer Foundation. her new men’s collection.Throughout her young years, Lauren Nicole has had several immediate family members who have been touched by cancer. She has seen the hardships that cancer patients face, whether they be emotional or physical. Lauren’s does not want anyone facing or dealing with cancer to feel singled out or ashamed. She has used this as her catapult to launch the Fashion For Cancer Foundation.
About Designs by Lauren Nicole A 16 year old high school junior from San Antonio, Texas, Lauren Nicole launched Designs by Lauren Nicole in 2015
and is now in her 3rd collection. Lauren is an Ambassador
the young age of 11, Lauren Nicole Shipley began
Girl Scout who has earned her Bronze and Silver award and is
constructing designs in her hometown of San Antonio.
awaiting acceptance of her Gold award. For more information,
She loved the creative process – sketching, draping, sewing
and seeing her visions come to life, A jumpstart to her career, Lauren Nicole was accepted to attend summer classes centered in LIM College in Manhattan where teens learn the ins and outs of the fashion industry.There, Lauren was paired with designers from Ralph Lauren and executives from Coach to study the trade. Now 16 years old, the high school Junior draws inspiration from the world around her and looks to Valentino as her style muse for the design house’s edgy yet feminine aesthetic. Lauren Nicolecreates versatile pieces for the timeless woman – pieces women can wear no matter her age.When it comes to her personal style, Lauren Nicole describes her daily wardrobe as “classy,comfy and chic,” three elements she translates into her designs for her label. In late 2015, Lauren Nicole debuted her women’s
About Fashion For Cancer Foundation
clothing line Designs by Lauren Nicole with her first Spring/
Having been personally touched by cancer throughout
Summer 2016 collection “La Floraison des Fleurs” – a French
her family life, Lauren Nicole founded Fashion For Cancer
phrase meaning “The Blossoming of Flowers.” Now in her
Foundation, a 501 c3 non-profit organization in 2016. The
3rd Collection, which is to debut at the Fashion For Cancer Fashion Show on October 9th , 2016 at Paramour will include 62 | STYLE // FALL 2016
Foundation’s mission is to help cancer patients improve their self-esteem and promote a positive self-image by looking and feeling beautiful through fashion. sponsored
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kid starting out thinks he has done something original. Although he hasn’t, and people came before. I used to think that. I want young designers to know that there are people, who are still alive, whose work pertains to what they are doing. I know people in their 60s and 70s who say to me, “Agosto, I went to design school and worked, but it didn’t really work out for me.” And I say, “Yes it did, because you laid the foundation I’m working on.” You’ve also laid your own foundation. San Antonio can’t be the easiest city to make a fashion career in. How do you stick with it? You know, when Jive Refried closed, I experienced it as a failure. It is so hard to build something, whether it’s a collection or a business or a brand, and not have it come out how you had hoped. And you think, “Will the market ever get it? Why am I still doing this?” As a designer, you face criticism and rejection, some of your ideas are copied, others are praised. You have to not attach too much importance to any of these things. I have faith that the market is coming around. I have faith that San Antonio is on the brink of getting the attention it deserves. Everything I have built helps to build everything else I do. I knew that another big door was going to open up, and that door was Goodwill. I was blogging for them for about three years, and the CEO, Marla Jackson, liked what I was doing and understood it. She said, “I don’t have a job for you yet, but I’m working on it.” And here we are, four years later. I’m their retail merchandiser. I love this job for so many reasons. I feel respected, I’m inspired and I’m challenged. It’s like a rasquache empowerment position! FALL 2016 // STYLE | 63
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ATLANTIS EVENTS
OUT AT SEA
Gay & Lesbian Cruises Pull Out All the Stops KELSEY VALADEZ Where are all the non-gendered LGBTQ cruises? Lost at sea? A recent web search returned mostly male-only and female-only results; in fact, most LGBTQ cruises that depart from the U.S. are male-specific. “Olivia is the biggest as far as lesbian cruises go,” says Patti Wylie, a representative for Now Voyager Travel, a company in the heart of San Francisco’s Castro District. Wylie states that while many of the cruises are gender-specific, many lesbians go on the predominantly male cruises. “We’ve booked about 10 to 15 percent lesbian on [male] cruises,” Wylie says. Gender specifics aside, the cruises we found — all departing between fall 2016 and early 2017 — have plenty to offer, from gay Halloween parties and Broadway-style entertainment to spa treatments and surf simulators. BGL Cruising Ship: Carnival Sunshine Cruise: 19th Annual Black Gay and Lesbian Cruise Dates: Oct. 28-Nov. 5, 2016 The Black Gay and Lesbian Cruise features three decks, a waterfall, waterparks, a jogging course and even giant chess. The amenities are all there, but the focus of this cruise is family and friendship — and romance, if it sparks. The ship carries 3,002 guests, offering plenty of opportunities to form the friendships the cruise aims for. The ship departs from Norfolk, Virginia, and tours the Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Grand Turk before returning to Norfolk. bglcruising.com 64 | TRAVEL // FALL 2016
Atlantis Ship: Holland America Line Westerdam Cruise: San Diego to Mexico Halloween All-Gay Cruise Dates: Oct. 29-Nov. 5, 2016 This Halloween cruise is specific to gay men — 1,800 of them to be exact. Atlantis celebrates its 25th anniversary with dancing, brunches, outdoor decks and a stop at a gay-friendly beach. At press time, this year’s entertainment was still unannounced, but past cruises have included Idina Menzel and Jennifer Hudson — not to mention drag queens and cabaret performers. The decks might as well be nightclubs themselves, once they’re transformed with lasers, DJs and dancing. And, of course, there are Halloween festivities by day and night. The tour departs from San Diego and hits Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán before returning to California. atlantisevents.com Gayribbean Cruises Ship: Carnival Breeze Cruise: Gayribbean Halloween Cruise Dates: Oct. 30-Nov. 6, 2016 This Gayribbean adventure departs from Galveston and tours Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. While beach time in the ports is a guaranteed highlight, the Carnival Breeze’s stacked amenities and entertainment options — including bars, lounges, pools, hot tubs, a miniature golf course, a casino with
slots and gaming tables, and Las Vegas-style shows featuring drag performers Tasha Kohl, Kourtney Paige Van Wales and Deyjzah Opulent Mirage — promise to make getting there half the fun. gayribbeancruises.com Pied Piper Travel Ship: Celebrity Infinity Cruise: Panama Canal Cruise Dates: Nov. 9-24, 2016 Having organized luxury cruises since 1990, Pied Piper is a veteran of the gay travel scene. When it comes to the company’s 26th anniversary offerings, the ever-popular, one-week Post-Thanksgiving Cruise from Miami packs a punch with visits to San Juan, St. Maarten and St. Kitts, not to mention an intimate performance by the hunky classical-pop quartet Well-Strung (Nov. 26-Dec. 3, 2016). But the longer Panama Canal Cruise gets our vote for its abundance of destinations. After departing from Fort Lauderdale, the elegantly decorated ship — which boasts a gym, a piano bar and Broadwaystyle entertainment — makes stops in Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico. piedpipertravel.com Atlantis Ship: Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas Cruise: Allure Caribbean All-Gay Cruise Dates: Jan. 22-29, 2017 With two stops in Mexico and one in Haiti, this weeklong getaway takes the gay cruise experience to an entirely new level,
thanks to the seemingly endless list of possibilities aboard what’s billed as the “largest” and “most incredible ship” ever built. Capable of hosting up to 5,400 guests, Allure of the Seas pulls out all the stops with 17 decks, five distinct dance spaces (ranging from “massive to intimate”), five theaters, 13 restaurants and cafes, four pools, seven “neighborhoods,” an ice-skating rink, a zip line, two FlowRider surf simulators, a sports court, and 20 different shows — from a full-length production of the Broadway blockbuster Mamma Mia! to the acrobatic antics of Blue Planet. atlantisevents.com Olivia Ship: Holland America MS Eurodam Cruise: Caribbean Festival at Sea All-Lesbian Caribbean Cruise Dates: Feb. 4-11, 2017 As stated on its website, “the Olivia Experience is about women having fun together, making friends – and maybe even finding that special someone.” Among the many options offered by the lesbian travel company, Caribbean Festival at Sea is set to welcome more than 2,000 lady-loving ladies aboard the mid-sized MS Eurodam for a weeklong tour departing from Fort Lauderdale and stopping in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Mexico. In addition nine restaurants, a Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine, the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, bars, nightclubs and an array of live entertainment from lesbian artists, Olivia assists guests with arranging activities at ports, like snorkeling, parasailing and horseback riding on the beach. olivia.com
FALL 2016 // TRAVEL | 65
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66 | TRAVEL // FALL 2016
Sex, Death and Bowling
OUT TO THE MOVIES
LGBT Film Festivals to Visit This Fall MIKEY ROX Bored with the steady influx of box-office bombs at the megaplex? Skip Hollywood’s overblown (and underwhelming) offerings and support indie filmmakers by planning a fall getaway around one of these stacked LGBT film festivals scattered across the country. TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival | Oct. 13-23 threedollarbillcinema.org The largest lesbian and gay film festival in the Pacific Northwest, TWIST celebrates its 21st year by showcasing the latest and greatest in queer film — from major motion pictures to projects highlighting emerging talent. More than 10,000 LGBT cinephiles are expected to converge on the Emerald City to partake in an 11day program packed with screenings, performances, special guests and panel discussions. TransNation Festival | Oct. 20-23 transnationfestival.org “Honoring the trans experience through film, art, beauty and cultural achievements,” West Hollywood’s TransNation Festival endeavors to “uplift, educate, and galvanize the transgender community.” Benefiting St. John’s Well Child and Family Center and the Imperial Court of Los Angeles & Hollywood, the threeday celebration of artistic and cultural transgender achievements includes a film-screening portion curated by Zackary Drucker (co-producer of Amazon’s Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning series Transparent), a benefit art exhibition and a beauty pageant designed to support transgender health and human rights.
NewFest LGBT Film Festival | Oct. 20-25 newfest.org More than 100 films, panels and parties shine a light on the LGBT experience at New York City’s 28th annual NewFest, sponsored by HBO. This year’s six-day program features a collection of narratives, documentaries and shorts highlighting stories from across the LGBT spectrum, plus post-screening talkbacks with cast and crew — and the bonus of occasional celebrity sightings. QCinema LGBT Film Festival | Nov. 10-12 qcinema.org Details for Fort Worth’s 18th annual international film festival are tightly under wraps — so much so that its Q18 logo asks “Are You Curious?” Of course we are! But based on the success of previous years, this three-day outing won’t let you down. A decorated highlight of last year’s fest: the feature Sex, Death and Bowling, starring Adrian Grenier and Selma Blair, got props on Entertainment Tonight — and it’s still a flick to catch if you haven’t seen it yet. San Francisco Transgender Film Festival | Nov. 10-13 sftff.org Billed as the nation’s first transgender film festival, SFTFF was founded in 1997 with a dedication to challenge “mainstream media’s negative stereotypes of our communities” while exhibiting groundbreaking, provocative, outrageous and courageous works that depict the complexity of the transgender experience. This year’s program features films cultivated from local, national and international filmmakers who identify as transgender or gender variant, organized by theme. Last year’s themes included “TransSex,” “Against the Grain!” and “Beyond Classifications.” 3rd Street LGBT Film Festival | Nov. 14-15 3rdstreetfilmfestival.com Heroin use in the United States is rearing its vicious head again — and with a vengeance — and an early-submission preview of director Graham Streeter’s Imperfect Sky at Santa Monica’s inaugural 3rd Street LGBT Film Festival provides a documentarylike tale of two brothers — half living, half dead in South Central Los Angeles. Ultimately a story of love and family (and shooting up), Imperfect Sky is but one of the challenging conversation starters in 3rd Street’s program of screenings, seminars and open forums. FALL 2016 // TRAVEL | 67
Government Hill RON BECHTOL Few institutions have had as much influence on surrounding neighborhoods as Fort Sam Houston has on its. Bel Meade was peppered with high-level officer homes. Westfort Alliance incorporated enlisted-man housing. But it’s Government Hill that shares the longest border and whose history is most inextricably tied to that of the venerable army base. Fort Sam’s development began in 1807 with a donation to the government of 40 acres, at which time it was already, if unofficially, known as Government Hill. A gift of land from the former Dignowity and Polley estates was later made by the city, to be followed by another in 1875. With acquisitions then totaling about 93 acres, the Army began construction of the Quadrangle in 1876, following that with Staff Post officers’ quarters in 1881. From 1882 to 1883, the Army built more officers’ quarters on purchased land. According to the city’s Office of Historic Preservation, by the end of the 19th century Government Hill was already home to more than 12,000 civilians. Many of its grandest homes date from around this time. As the neighborhood expanded, so did the Army post, having acquired a total of 193 acres by 1918. Positive growth continued until about World War II, an era that’s also reflected in the smaller-scale cottages that form the majority of housing stock. After WWII, the neighborhood began to decline, and in 1950 the formerly cohesive Hill was further impacted by the construction of Interstate 35, a project that left a sliver of mixed residential and industrial use sandwiched between the expressway and the railroad yards.
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The most significant non-residential structure built in Government Hill’s era of early expansion was St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 1018 East Grayson Street. Erected in 1863 “specifically to serve military families in the Fort Sam area,” this handsome Gothic Revival building, with its later Montessori School and other additions, remains a landmark on Grayson, one any neighborhood would be proud to possess. But wait — there’s more: at 950 East Grayson, Terrell Castle, also known as Lambermont, was constructed in 1894 by locally famed architect Alfred Giles for Edwin Terrell, once the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium. Later, and only somewhat less grandly, General John Lapham Bullis built his own Classic Revival manse around 1910 at 621 Pierce Street. Today, Lambermont functions as a venue for weddings and special events. Bullis House, as it is now known, operates as a bed and breakfast. It looks a little less loved from the street, but does sport a yard sign proclaiming a grant for façade work from San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside (SAGE). “Posted No Trespassing” signs are apparent on the best small historic house in the ’hood at East Grayson and Palmetto. It’s in need of some serious attention. But well-maintained homes — many of them still grand — dot the neighborhood, especially in the area south of New Braunfels Avenue, and they form the core of the city’s Government Hill historic district. With boundaries at Grayson Street, New Braunfels Avenue, I-35 and Willow Street, the historic district is much smaller than the neighborhood as a whole, which extends east to beyond Walters Street and includes a sliver south of I-35. Occasionally, the city’s historic boundaries seem somewhat arbitrary. But in this case they appear largely justified, especially at New Braunfels Avenue, where anything east of this historic, commercial corridor (with a few exceptions such as Tank’s Pizza, and Ma Harper’s, mostly moribund-looking due to housing offices with little connection to the street) is not in danger of becoming gentrified any time soon. Zillow shows lots of foreclosures.
Take the opportunity now to drive along Carson and Mason streets to get a feeling for the “before” of historic Government Hill: 901 Mason Street is especially handsome, and the grand structure at Mason and Spofford Avenue is fronted by some exceptional wrought-iron fencing; there’s a great cottage at 421 East Carson Street, and now-colorful 609 East Carson was once a part of the presumably staid West Texas Military Academy. But expect changes. The ’hood has attracted the attention of developers in search of unique opportunities, and one of them is Pat Biernacki. Beirnacki, a recent arrival from Chicago, is 30-ish and a man with a mission. Before landing in San Antonio, he toured 31 other cities in the space of just a few months looking for urban neighborhoods with the qualities and characteristics that would make them “the hot spot to be … but hadn’t realized that yet.” “High character, walkability, older housing stock, easy access to arteries,” these were all aspects of his investigation. San Antonio, he confesses, was almost an afterthought — a “why not, I’m close” result of being in Austin. But after several Sundays driving around, it was the Alamo City, and Government Hill in particular, that best met his criteria. “This neighborhood felt like a blank canvas to me,” he says. Over lunch at Grayze (a recent restaurant arrival to the ‘hood along with Jason Dady’s Shuck Shack), Biernacki explains his “science of straight streets” theory. “Grayson and Josephine are just two-lane, and you can see the prize at the end of the road” — in this case Pearl, a major factor in his selection. “[The goal] feels close, you’re encouraged to walk or use your bike.” That goal is also symbolic in that the private investment that brought about Pearl, coupled with city incentives and infrastructure improvements (the Museum Reach, for example) and the availability of federal dollars (the East Side Promise Zone, among other efforts) serves as a unique base for further development. “I couldn’t find a city in the U.S. that matched that,” he says. And so
he put down roots, beginning with the purchase of two existing apartment complexes along Grayson. The total of renovated projects now numbers three — and Biernacki lives in one of them. His first two efforts are located across from the San Antonio AIDS Foundation’s facilities, an institution Biernacki and others consider an anchor in the neighborhood. Sandwiched between the apartments was a derelict house, vacant and decaying. The obvious solution was to buy and demolish it and put up something new and viable. Not so easy — there was a ruckus. “It took four to five months to get approval. Who knows what might have happened if I hadn’t already been invested in the neighborhood,” he says — all the while understanding that resistance to change is both natural and inevitable. But now that the units are out of the ground (there will be 14 townhomes for sale, measuring 1,500 square feet and priced in the mid $300,000 range), he claims that most people have come around. He already has four reservations. Residents and urban trendwatchers should expect even more change when the results come in from a proposal to sell the SAISD’s citywide school bus yard on Government Hill’s southwestern corner. The site covers several blocks and could be very intensively developed under current zoning designations. One nearby Government Hill resident who got in early is Julia Rosenfeld, a writer and organizer of culinary tours. Rosenfeld, who had been living in a mid-century modern in Leon Springs, was happy going home to her “little house in the country” — until traffic got the better of her, a situation that was compounded when she took a teaching job at the Culinary Institute of America. Rosenfeld enlisted a realtor friend with a home in Government Hill, found a place (“about the only one for sale”) that needed “cosmetic work,” then moved in renters while she sold her country property. “Wow! I made the right decision,” she says — so right that she quickly bought the “eyesore” house across the
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street and fixed that up too, thus pretty much changing the entire character of her short block just outside the historic district. “I think that it is this level of commitment, in these neighborhoods, that makes real change,” she says. To each his or her own level of commitment, of course. Families, both military and civilian, are tentatively moving back into the neighborhood and engaging in renovation efforts. But for Dona and Pat Liston, it was more like jumping off a cliff. They found Lambermont eight years ago almost by accident on a website, and bought it a week later at auction. For Dona, who had spent the previous 20 years as a wedding planner in the Valley, it was an ideal location for a wedding and event venue — but not one without its challenges. “It had been divided up into apartments and neglected,” she says — but fortunately, the modifications kept the original bones intact. What they thought might take six months turned into a three-year project, but a tour through the property today might have one think that almost nothing has changed since Terrell and Giles completed it over 120 years ago. And the Listons’ commitment doesn’t stop with a building. Pat is chairman of the board of neighboring St. Paul’s Montessori School and is active in SAGE, the entity granting improvement grants. Lambermont has also hosted the WEBB Party, SAAF’s major fundraiser, and is open to the celebration of same-sex unions. The neighborhood is indeed changing. In this light, it’s worth noting that there is precedent for Government Hill acting as a kind of incubator/launching pad. USAA’s first off-base building was built for the fledgling insurance giant at 1400 East Grayson in 1927. (It looks unused from the outside, but I’m told that Fort Sam has plans for the classic revival building.) With more than 4.2 million square feet, today’s USAA is larger than the Pentagon. Just saying.
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Meet the Makers of Sol y Luna Soaps FAITH G. HARPER // PHOTOS BY JULIÁN P. LEDEZMA Anyone who has ever worked with a loved one will tell you it can be the most rewarding experience in the world … as long as you don’t kill each other first. Manuel Davila and Beto De León are a local couple that have navigated that process with a level of success we can all learn from. Working through their creative differences has strengthened their relationship and allowed them new ways of supporting each other’s hopes and dreams as small business owners — while nerding out about the curative properties of plants and a shared passion for returning to the holistic, medicinal practices of our grandmothers. While many of us have dabbled in crafting bath and body products at summer camp or in a misguided effort to save money on holiday gifts, Sol y Luna Soaps is operating on a whole other level, blending indigenous herbal practices with sustainable ingredients and local sourcing to build the business they have today. De León grew up in a family where plant-based medicine lore was a respected pursuit, and Davila applied his Western medicine pharmaceutical training to herbalism. Their studies overlapped in their commitment to natural remedies and ways of interacting more gently with the world — a path walked by their own families and local, indigenous spiritual communities. To an outside observer, it seems that what happened next was preordained. 72 | FITNESS + BEAUTY // FALL 2016
They started sharing what they knew about making their own herbal tinctures, teas and experimenting with different recipes for soaps and salves. When they started sharing and trading with friends, the response was enthusiastic, which eventually led them to vending at various artisan markets and pop-up shops around San Antonio. The guys cheerfully confess that their typical customer base is not the crowd that hits up the drugstore body-care aisle. The people attracted to their products are the people who are just as passionate about learning more about the traditional uses of plants as they are. Each of our product’s ingredients has a story to share and we share as much information as we can when talking with customers. We try to create dialogue about plants because everyone has at least one story about an herbal remedy in their life. In doing so we build community around traditional wisdom that many often take for granted as something from the old days. We learned much by talking to family and elders locally which helps us utilize many plants and minerals in the area. They either grow or locally source their ingredients … not just the herbs, but the clays, salts and minerals that they incorporate in their concoctions. This connection to the Earth and their community has reinforced their environmental justice work and commitment to
preserving natural areas in our communities. Their hope is that the products they have developed inspire people in the same way. Often we see the spark of interest in gardening and medicinemaking when we talk with community at our table. Our biggest dream is that one day, people will reclaim natural medicines and continue sharing to make a larger network of community healers who promote a conscious view of the world and the environmental impact that the average day-to-day person makes. Promoting knowledge of your own health and well-being empowers you to make simple changes that can enrich your life and body. Like all small business owners, we hope to make choices and products that promote sustainability to our vision and that promote herbal health. What’s next? The couple continue to set up at many local markets and are looking for a permanent home to sell their products and host workshops. Fall and winter are their busiest times, not just because of the holidays — they’re able to produce more products after having time to grow and process their raw ingredients cultivated through the warmer months. Some of their biggest sellers are their lemongrass facial soap bar, which helps clean oils and tones the skin, as well as their blue corn and lavender soap bar, which contains a gently exfoliating blue cornmeal they grind in their kitchen. They also have clay masks made with the aforementioned red and yellow clay they harvest themselves, as well as salt scrubs mixed with relaxing strands of rosemary or eucalyptus for sore muscles. They are also known for their healing salves, like the magical-sounding squash blossom calendula salve made with pumpkin flowers, which is designed to help restore vitamins and heal skin cells. Where can you find our hometown herbal healers? At many of our local holiday markets, including the San Antonio Queer Collective’s annual Queer the Cheer. Why shop at the mall, when you can support an amazing local business like this one? To learn more about Sol y Luna Soaps, visit facebook.com/ solylunasoaps or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Tatum Rebelle Keeps Moms Happy and Fit BONNY OSTERHAGE At just 5’3” and 110 pounds, Total Mommy Fitness owner Tatum Rebelle may be petite in size — but don’t let that fool you. This former Army Drill Sergeant turned personal trainer once made a grown man cry during basic training.
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“It’s my claim to fame,” she laughs. Today, Rebelle has gone from whipping men of all sizes into shape to offering personal training and nutrition services to the fairer sex — specifically moms and moms-to-be. Her down-toearth and easily accessible approach has caught the attention of thousands of women worldwide, including a few celebrity moms, who rely on this tiny dynamo to keep them looking and feeling their best. BORN OF EXPERIENCE Raised by a single mother in Scottsdale, Arizona, Rebelle is the youngest of three children. Money was tight, so family time consisted of getting active, going to the park or riding bikes for entertainment. A self-described tomboy, Rebelle played basketball in elementary school with dreams of one day joining the WNBA, but her height made that unlikely. Instead, she took up track in middle school, and added weight-lifting in high school to put some muscle on what she refers to as her “scrawny” frame. “I knew then that I wanted to be a personal trainer,” she says. She also wanted to “start her life and do something important,” so the little girl with the big personality joined the Army and left for basic training just a few weeks after graduation. “When I decided to join the Army, people said, ‘Oh that’s cute,’” she laughs. “But I think that’s where being petite gave me an edge. People just naturally dismissed me — they didn’t expect me to be so tough.” They certainly didn’t expect her to graduate from basic training and drill sergeant school at the top of her class in physical fitness, beating all the men. The experience made Rebelle more determined than ever to pursue a career in personal training. While in the Army, she became certified through the American Council for Exercise (ACE), moved to Fort Worth, and enrolled at Texas Christian University where she earned a degree in Communications and Kinesiology. During her freshman year, Rebelle experienced a personal tragedy when her mother was diagnosed with skin cancer and died just two short months later. “That was such a jarring experience,” says Rebelle who had just started building her clientele. “But in hindsight, I now realize that it may have had something to do with helping me find my path as a trainer and why I chose to focus on helping moms take care of their health.” BORN OF NECESSITY Rebelle knew that she wanted to fill a specific need with her personal training services, and she found her niche when one of her clients became pregnant “I realized I didn’t know how to train her — and I didn’t know anyone else that did either,” she admits. Curious, Rebelle began doing research and found that, when it came to prenatal training, information was scarce and outdated. It wasn’t until she found a continuing education course through ACE that focused on pre- and postnatal exercise that Rebelle realized there was a real need for this type of service in the industry. “What I discovered is that it is not only safe but beneficial for women to exercise throughout pregnancy,” she says. “Many studies show that a child is born with fitter genes and a faster metabolism when the mom stayed active. Plus it helps mom lose the baby weight more quickly if she’s fitter to begin with.” Knowing she was onto something, Rebelle started Total Mommy Fitness in 2005 and, after graduating from TCU in 2006, she moved to Austin and watched her business boom. Her strategy is simple: help busy moms and moms-to-be overcome any obstacle
to staying fit and healthy. The biggest challenge most of her clients face? Time! Rebelle deals with that by meeting her clients anywhere and everywhere, offering group, one-on-one, and even Skype training services. “I do whatever it takes to help them fit it into their schedules,” she says. “I help them understand that exercise doesn’t have to mean putting your kid in childcare while you go to the gym for an hour. It can be letting your baby crawl on you while you do pushups in the park.” BORN OF KNOWLEDGE Since founding Total Mommy Fitness, Rebelle, who now resides in San Antonio, has increased her knowledge and serves as a resource for women everywhere who want to stay in shape. She holds numerous certifications, a master’s in business administration, and is currently working on her Ph.D. in performance psychology, while serving as the vice chair of the communications committee for the San Antonio Mayor’s fitness council. She has developed her own accredited pre- and postnatal certification course for trainers with a goal of teaching other people what she has learned so she can focus on bigger things both professionally and in her personal life — namely, becoming a parent herself. She and her partner, an Army surgery resident at SAMC, were married earlier this year and they plan to start a family of their own in the near future. In the meantime, she will continue her mission of keeping moms healthy, happy and fit. “My goal is to make pre- and postnatal exercise the norm rather than the exception,” she explains. “There is no better gift you can give your kids than to be healthy yourself.”
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Huddle Up with the San Antonio Regulators ERIKA LAND In the shadows of star UCF fighters Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey still lurks the taboo notion of women expressing themselves through physical contact. The International Women’s Football League (IWFL) struggles to escape that belief. The league was established four years after the WNBA, but has yet to catch its footing under outdated ideals. San Antonio boasts three women’s football teams: the San Antonio Cowgirls of the Sugar N Spice Football League, the semi-pro San Antonio Legacy, and IWFL affiliate conference team San Antonio Regulators. Out In SA caught up with the Regulators just before their last game of the regular season. Unfortunately, the team was not advancing to the playoffs, but the energy and optimism for the game was through the roof. Since their formation in 2012, the Regulators have seen many ups and downs that include significant
injuries, a fluctuating squad and a change in ownership. But the players are relentless and dedicated to the team. Tara Cook (#10), who has been playing tackle football for 11 years, sees the IWFL as “an opportunity for women to … play a game they have not been able to be a part of.” Cook was lucky to have played the sport she loves as a child, whereas many of her teammates were excluded from tackle football because of their gender and perceived frailty. Physical setbacks, however, are no match for the drive and determination of the players. Take Erica Green, for instance. Despite being on the injured list for two and half seasons due to a broken knee, Green (#25) still shows up for games and practice because the Regulators are family. Rookie Chelsie Huntley, a mom and nurse by day and #17 by night, was drawn to the culture and climate that owner Patricia
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François has created for her team. When François was an enthusiastic fan in the stands, her support for the players involved keeping them in good spirits. Now the Regulators’ owner, her goal is to create a healthy and inclusive environment for women of all ages. Team captain Tye Ferguson has found a way to thrive because of the Regulators. As an African-American lesbian, Ferguson has been stereotyped her whole life, and felt she needed to be involved in illicit activities to belong. After high school, she spent a lot of time “being rebellious, thugging in the streets and trying to get fast money,” consequently finding herself in places she didn’t want to be. Joining the Regulators has changed her life. With a smile that draws your attention away from her various tattoos, she boasts, “I’ve taken all that negative energy and put it into something positive, which is why I take being out here so seriously.” Her teammate Joanie Chladek asserts that Ferguson’s charismatic leadership style holds the team together. “This is a good place for us to fit in,” Chladek says. “Not all of us are lesbians, but … it’s a comfortable environment regardless if you are gay or straight.” Ferguson’s energy has even turned an admirer into a player. After watching the team captain play alongside her girlfriend Alana Ferguson (Tye’s sister) for more than a year, 26-yearold Juanishia Felix decided to try out for the team. The former track star says she doesn’t know anything about football but is going to learn. Sponsored by the San Antonio Orthopedic Group, the team maintains a full staff that includes head coach Charles Richardson, offensive coach Rod Fields, defensive coach Jamar Livingston and athletic trainer Ethan McCoy. Everyone involved is on a mission to make the Regulators a staple sports organization in San Antonio. When they’re not tearing up the field, the team gives back by hosting training camps for local girls, offering empowerment and self-esteem training. The team’s corner safety for two years now, DC Clark (#12) encourages interested players to join the Regulators family, which encompasses all walks of life — from retired military sergeants to students and corporate leaders. While regular practice doesn’t start back up until January, team tryouts will be held October 29, with conditioning continuing through the fall. Visit saregulators.wixsite.com/sa-regulators for details.
2515 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78215 210.354.0101 stonegaterx.com FALL 2016 // FITNESS + BEAUTY | 79
Wayne Holtz Jumps into the Spotlight CHRIS CONDE
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Causing a Commotion
I’d met Wayne Holtz the photographer, shooting indie bands at Limelight and Hi-Tones. And I’d met Wayne Holtz the fashionista, kicking it with the vogue troupe House of Kenzo. But I’d never met Wayne Holtz the “pop star,” until he descended on Paper Tiger this summer, captivating an unsuspecting crowd with baritone crooning and a choreographed performance complete with backup dancers and costume changes. Amid a shower of rainbow lights and pulsing drum kicks, a surprise element suddenly upstaged all else firing through my consciousness: Holtz started jump-roping on stage. I wasn’t ready. No one was ready. But we got ready and all wanted more. I recently caught up with the androgynous multitasker and social-media maven to find out more about his artistic trajectory and what else is cooking in the Haus of Holtz. So, basic shit: Where are you from? I’m from San Antonio; I’ve lived here my entire life, actually. Born and raised? Born and raised. I went to Pat M. Neff Middle School and Communication Arts High School, which is at Taft.
What did that entail? I just had to take pictures of everybody … Com-Arts was just an extremely liberal school and I was having a ball with all the fantastic-looking people and all the crazy stuff we were doing … so I just started taking pictures constantly, just to hold onto those memories. I was taking so many pictures that someone suggested I run for historian — so I ran, and basically just took pictures of everyone hanging out. I categorized it well and my job was just to be at all of the events, document [them] and, at the end of the year, put together a slideshow for everyone to view. It was kind of an obsession, and really just a way to connect with people. I remember when we first met, I was playing a set with my band at the time … You were shooting pictures and hanging out with Roxy [Eguia] from House of Kenzo, who was on the bill as Rainbow Starchild. How did you first connect with House of Kenzo? I initially met Roxy Eguia years before at a house party … she had pink hair and we were in line for the bathroom and I was like, “Bitch, I’m triggered … who are you?” I thought she was so sexy that I had to get to know what she was doing … I found out she was a designer and we just started hanging out all the time. I was working at a crazy antique store called Cesar Vega Decor.
Where is that? Off Fredericksburg and Woodlawn, but it’s not there anymore. The owner retired. But it was a wild antique store … it was the kind of place that, when you walked in, you were literally like … Triggered? [Laughs] Triggered by a ghost, girl, ‘cuz you literally felt like you were possessed. You know where Woodward Lumber is now? … It was that. That place! Okay. How long did you work there? I worked there for a year and a half, and there was a beautiful
Is that where you got into photography? Yeah, I was historian for my class [for three years]. But … there were obviously photo triggers because it was an artsy school.
man — Jaime Cesar Vega … I drove by it one time, and I was just mesmerized by a birdcage that was sitting out front. I went in, and it was one of those places where you walk in and you can’t even move from the front of the door for a good 30 seconds. That’s when you know it’s good. Jaime was the only person working there. After a while, we got to know each other and I got fired from IHOP the first time — the second time I quit — and I asked him, “Do you need help?” And he was like, “Do you want to work in the shop?” So I ended up being there 60 hours a week for a year and a half. Sixty hours a week? Yes girl, I was the only person working. He literally wanted someone to take over so he could do other things outside like really bring things into the store, have time to shop around, etc. Was that where you started to explore fashion more? Well, that place was wild. And I gotta say: I was in a huge rut after high school … I went to college for half a semester. But I was just like, school is so goddamn boring and I hate math, so … I just stopped going. And I got depressed. But, I mean, listen, bitch, the whole time I was working. From the second I turned 18, I was out of the house [and] I had my own apartment. But I was feeling uncute ‘cuz I wasn’t doing anything … I felt like everybody was just passing me by.
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1 0 2 9 t h S t, Pa r a m o u r b a r . c o m
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That show at Paper Tiger was probably the best local show that I’ve ever seen in San Antonio. Oh my God, I appreciate it. At what point did you decide to transition to performing? I really wanted to get on stage [after] I saw Westbound
CHELSEA VON PEACOCK
How old are you now? I’m 26 ... So when I went to work at Cesar Vega, it really just ignited a passion in me. Nobody knew about this place at all — only rich people and random antiquers knew this place existed … it was like mondo crazy house. So I started taking pictures again and started [their] Instagram. That’s when people started noticing who I was in this city, because of the Cesar Vega Instagram … When I first started working there, I threw an event with the Pastie Pops … Roxy was throwing fashion shows, so we were like “Let’s just do a show here. It’s the place for a show.” And that’s when some of the House of Kenzo members were first in front of me. There was Karma, who’s now in New York. He’s in Sia music videos. He’s performed with Lil Mama. He’s living right now. So we just put together this wild show and it was so gorgeous. We had 25 models. We put it together in two weeks and it was lit. Everyone had a fantastic time. It was pouring that night and we probably had 60 people there in that space. But really just being there and getting the chance to decorate — I was constantly decorating, moving things around everyday … So that place just reawakened Wayne. Wayne was dormant … But I went back to IHOP ... I just wasn’t making enough money. I was homeless for a little bit and was living in the store for six months. It was crazy ... Around the fall of 2014, [Roxy] brought the dancers in — that’s when I first met Breezy and Tony [from House of Kenzo] and when Ted from This Is Where Two Oceans Meet approached me about doing a show.
Departure, which is a local group. They’re on a hiatus … but [they] really showed me how to start a song, finish a song, bring it back together … keep everything moving and monumental the entire time and … love that you’re playing every time … But, girl, I’ve been trying to do a band for like four years. Bitches are lazy or busy … I only started writing songs in the last year. How did you meet [bandmate/producer] Bobby Rivas? I met Bobby when he was playing with Michael J. and the Foxes … I went to go see them and shoot their show at Sam’s Burger Joint … and he was playing lead guitar. I saw him again when I was covering Fuzzland Productions … Bobby was hot, so I was just keeping an eye on him. You know what I mean? As we do. Mhmm … So he saw my Facebook post [about wanting to start a band] and I needed someone who was ready … I really liked that Bobby came to me and was ready to just produce some fucking pop music … I really started writing music avidly … The two songs people liked the most were inspired by the podcast Straight Talk with Ross Matthews … [It’s] such a fun, uplifting podcast and … it triggered me hard ... I wrote two songs for them [and] they premiered both of them on their show … So from there, I was just like, let’s go … People are bored and they’re fucking hungry for some good stuff — and I don’t write trivial music. Anytime that you hear a song from me, or see me perform, it’s going to be something that has a meaning — a clear meaning. No interpretations bitch, you’re gonna know what I’m talking about.
To keep up with Holtz and his projects, visit instagram.com/ hausofholtz and wayneholtz.bandcamp.com.
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THEATER QUEENS RuPaul’s Drag Race Star Latrice Royale Leads Greg Hinojosa’s Latest Rocky Horror Remix MARCO AQUINO // PHOTOS BY JULIÁN P. LEDEZMA Decades before the dawn of RuPaul’s Drag Race, British playwright Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show challenged the status quo and championed a similar message of selfacceptance. Both the Logo reality series and the 1973 musical transcended their early cult status to become icons of pop culture. In 2012, director Greg Hinojosa, then with the Woodlawn Theatre, tapped into the lure of these two cultural mainstays, casting RPDR alum Sharon Needles in that year’s production of Rocky Horror, sparking what is now an annual extravaganza and fan favorite. Hinojosa, who stepped down from his position as the Woodlawn’s artistic director in 2015, now brings his ever-evolving adaptation of Rocky Horror to the Josephine Theatre for a fivenight run in October, this time bringing local nightlife promoter Rey Lopez on board as co-producer. Whether it’s the S&M costumes of the 2013 production starring Willam and Alaska, or the circus milieu of the 2014 edition starring Bianca Del Rio and Courtney Act, fans have come to expect a different theme each year. While remaining tight-lipped on this year’s theme,
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Hinojosa told Out In SA it will be partly inspired by the personal histories — and controversies — of this year’s leading cast members. Taking the stage this year will be Latrice Royale as Dr. Frank N. Furter, Ginger Minj as Magenta and Phi Phi O’Hara as Columbia. “When you see them in a theatrical setting, it opens up the perception that these are more than drag queens,” Hinojosa said. “They are actors and singers.” Indeed, all three performers have pushed the boundaries of drag with their own projects. Royale and Minj have both toured their own one-woman shows in recent months and O’Hara has revealed her theatrical mastery of costume and makeup with her “365 Days of Drag” challenge on social media. All three are also RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, with Minj and O’Hara on the current season. In anticipation of this year’s production, Out In SA spoke with Royale over the phone from San Francisco, where she was performing her show Here’s to Life. Known for being “large and in charge,” Royale was forthcoming about her past, present, and future, and laughed out loud at many of our questions.
The Rocky Horror Show $45-$100, 8pm Tue-Thu, 10pm Fri-Sat, Oct. 25-29 The Josephine Theatre 339 W. Josephine St. (210) 734-4646 josephinetheatre.org.
You gave a very emotional exit after you were eliminated from RuPaul’s Drag Race season four. What were you able to learn from RuPaul? RuPaul has been a constant influence in a lot of our lives as far as drag is concerned. What he’s done for the industry, and now for the world — drag was not always understood as much — I think creating the show, RuPaul’s Drag Race, has really given an insight into the person behind the makeup. People get to see that this is really an art form, and a legitimate and viable career, whereas before, it wasn’t even a consideration. It was very underground and not mainstream. It’s still not as mainstream as we want it to be, but it’s definitely more in people’s consciousness. He’s done amazing things not only for himself, but there have been 100 [contestants] now. We have careers because of that. You gave a standout performance this past July at the Rey Lopez Birthday Bash. Is that a bit of Beyoncé and Tina Turner I’m detecting in your dance moves? Who are your some of your musical influences? Absolutely, you are right on the nail with that! I love Tina Turner, and Beyoncé definitely has an influence on a lot of what I do as far as a performer. But yeah, I’m a fan of both. I have that old-school, and that new-school flare as well. Beyoncé is definitely a mix of that as well. But I have to be that girl, too. I gotta stay present and relevant, but old-school at the same time. Is live singing something you want to incorporate more into your performances from now on? Well, I have been training, and it’s a big part of my one-woman show, Here’s to Life, which we are currently touring. I got bitten by the theater bug, and I’m loving using my voice now as a tool and as a part of my show. Before, I had songs where I did more talking and melodic rap but now I love using my voice as part of the show. This is definitely something new and exciting, and fresh, and I want to cultivate it. Rocky Horror is definitely going to give me the chance to do that and get more comfortable.
Where you a fan of Rocky Horror before getting this role? I wouldn’t say I was a diehard fan. I’ve grown to love it. This was quite a surprise and honor when I was asked to do it, so of course, now I’m all in. How do you think your talent, as a drag performer, will translate into the theater? This is high drag at its finest. I love Tim Curry and what he has done with this role; he put his stamp on it. Everyone knows the role from him, but I think he left it open to interpretation. You’ve been very open about your past and time spent in jail. What are some of the lessons that you learned in your younger years that you still apply in your daily life? I wasn’t that young when I was arrested, it was just that I was stupid. I was younger, but in those days, I can say I should have known better. The biggest thing is really knowing more and being more aware. Now I’ve grown to learn that you can’t wish things away — you have to take care of your responsibilities. I’m very candid as far as my background. I’m proud of my accomplishments and what I’ve accomplished since then. I don’t have anything to hide.
You and Ginger Minj both embrace and celebrate the fact that you’re big girls. Do you think drag fans are more accepting of big beautiful women, more so than general audiences? Ginger is a little big girl! When I first came on the scene, my primary goal was to make sure that you knew I was “large and in charge,” and I did not let my weight lead to failure or hold me back. Ginger — she’s been very successful because she’s comfortable in her skin. I think now, more than ever, not only me, but Ginger and the big girls, have shown that you can be big, juicy, voluptuous or whatever, but you’ve got to be confident. What other hidden talents do you have that fans will be surprised to see in Rocky Horror? I think they are going to be shocked just to hear me sing, period — they are not used to that, you know what I mean? I’m excited to show that I have more to give … As I’ve said before, we are touring my show, Here’s to Life, and my album is available on iTunes. It’s live in the studio with me and my band and a microphone. It’s something different and I think people should check it out. It’s a jazz album. It’s for the soul, the mind and the body. What’s the best part about being a drag queen? The best part of being a drag queen is that you get to be fabulous! Fabulous, sexy and elegant, and then you get to take it all off and become a man again. That’s my favorite part — creating the illusion. It’s a bit of a mind freak. That’s the part I love most.
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The tasting committee: Katie McKee, Nick Kenna, Hugh Daschbach and Ron Bechtol
GIN VS. VODKA
The Martini Challenge RON BECHTOL // PHOTOS BY BRYAN RINDFUSS The history of the martini is long, glorious, and, well, muddled. Some cocktail historians date the drink to an early classic, emerging in the 1850s, called the Fancy Gin cocktail; it used Old Tom gin (a sweet version of the spirit that ultimately fell out of production only to be revived in the current cocktail renaissance) and orange curaçao as a further sweetener. (Vermouth wasn’t widely available in this country until later.) Others claim the Martinez, which used maraschino liqueur. There’s talk of an inventive bartender at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York at the turn of the 20th century… In most of these early iterations, after the introduction of vermouth, the proportions were remarkably “wet” by today’s standards — one to one in some cases. During Prohibition, according to cocktail guru Dale Degroff, the gin was so bad that “everything imaginable was added to mask the flavor.” Afterwards, again according to de Groff, “America got wetter and the martini got drier.” His rendition of the Nick and Nora Martini, named for The Thin Man characters, calls for 1½ oz. gin, ½ oz. dry vermouth, stirred (not shaken) with ice and strained into a chilled martini glass. There was no orange bitters, which had been common in many earlier versions. An olive was the only garnish. 86 | FOOD // MUSIC + NIGHTLIFE 2016
Many more stories abound about the further drying of the cocktail in subsequent years. Some would have you rinse the glass with vermouth and then discard it (the vermouth, not the glass). Others suggest simply whispering the name “vermouth,” or tightly gripping the neck of the bottle — but not including it at all in the finished cocktail. Today, some would also have you believe that anything that is served in a martini glass deserves to be called a martini. Some, but not all. Enter vodka, the preferred base for some of the most outrageous flavor combinations — caviar and Pop Rocks included. (Separately, not together.) The vodka cocktail emerged in the U.S. after World War II largely due to entrepreneur and relentless promoter John Martin, who had purchased the original Russian Smirnoff recipe. Woody Allen was to become a print spokesman. And Sean Connery, in the guise of James Bond, launched the vodka martini, “shaken, not stirred,” into popular consciousness. More recently, Mad Men’s Roger Sterling started with Smirnoff, then segued to Stoli. Gin lovers the world around cringe. Which brings us to the Out In SA Gin vs. Vodka Martini Challenge. Just as in presidential politics, we probably won’t convince anyone to switch camps — but we’ll have fun trying. Paramour’s manager Chris Ware graciously volunteered his space. Also recruited from Paramour were San Antonio’s doyenne of bartenders, Karah Carmack, and Misael Gonzalez (he cut his bartending teeth at partner Michael Rossetti’s Bar du Mon Ami). Rounded up as experienced observers were Katie McKee, former manager at Liberty Bar; Hugh Daschbach, culinary concierge at Hotel Emma; and bartender about town Nick Kenna, currently spending most of his time at George’s Keep. Let the games begin.
Bartenders Karah Carmack and Misael Gonzalez at Paramour
Give talented ‘tenders free rein and they will run with it. Carmack lined up four bottles of gin and commenced to whip up (stir up, actually) martinis out of each. Dolin Dry vermouth was the common denominator, and the ratio of gin to vermouth (two to one) was the same for each, leaving the characteristics of each gin to exert themselves. She cracked Paramour’s doublefrozen ice to get it ready to do its job, then, employing well-chilled mixing glasses, stirred two at a time — one clockwise, the other counterclockwise. (We’re not claiming that the direction matters, just that it looked cool.) Her spiritous choices were the bar staple Bombay Dry, followed by California’s St. George, Scotland’s Botanist 22 (the number referring to the number of different herbs used), and Vermont’s Barr Hill, which uses honey as a base. Over each, a surgical swath of lemon peel was squeezed, then dropped in — much to the relief of McKee, who’s not an olive fan. To all but the St. George (“It’s got a unique flavor, so lemon’s enough,” said Carmack) a drop of orange bitters was added. The results were surprising. A clear “winner” emerged. But not the one I expected. The Botanist, a personal favorite in a G&T, is made by scotch distillers on Islay, and it came across as assertively herbal. Barr Hill, on the other hand, was preferred by three out of five tasters. “I’m bit by the magic of the bees; it’s almost therapeutic,” offered McKee. “It’s super-round on the palate,” said Daschbach. Kenna agreed. But St. George was their universal number two; it was number one for both me (I liked its assertive and snappy botanical edge) and Gonzalez, with Barr coming in second. Does that mean bye bye, Bombay? “If you found anybody who thought they didn’t like a gin martini, serve them these [first] three,” quipped Daschbach. “The Bombay reminds
me of my uncle…” But “It’s a true London dry; it marries all the flavors,” said Gonzalez. “It makes a nice classic in our well,” confirmed Carmack, who offered that her favorite, if she were having just one, would be the St. George, but “If I were going to sit around and drink, it would be Barr or Botanist.” So there you have it. Not to be outdone, Gonzalez next marshalled four vodkas: Alesbury Duck (made in Canada and developed by bartenders for bartenders); a 100-proof Stolichnaya from Russia; potatobased Chopin from Poland, and the ZU, aromatized by a spear of bison grass and perhaps the world’s first “flavored” vodka. (Little did they know what they were starting.) He, too, used Dolin Dry in a two-to-one proportion, and as there were fewer botanical components to distract the palate, special attention was paid to getting the right temperature and water content. Much stirring. No bitters. A lemon swath was rubbed on the rim of each glass and dropped in. Those who are convinced all vodkas taste the same would have been disabused by the results. Of the Alesbury, “You can’t taste the vodka,” said Kenna. “It doesn’t harmonize,” thought McKee. The Stoli “shows much better balance, the Dolin doesn’t totally take over,” opined Daschbach. “I’d revisit this,” admitted Mc Kee of the Stoli. But it was the Polish-made ZU from Zubrowka that turned heads and opened eyes. “This is really fucking good,” asserted Kenna. “It’s hard to believe that’s the same drink,” said Daschbach — and we both found vanilla and some baking spice in the mix. The Chopin? Somebody claimed “It’s my pick for a dirty martini,” but it was getting hard to remember who…
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HALLOWEEN JUST GOT Yet there was more to come in the inevitable combo drink for those who couldn’t decide between gin or vodka. Enter the Vesper, another cocktail advanced by the Bond franchise. Gonzalez put two of these together for the group using the two favorite spirits, The Barr Hill and the ZU, but subbing the more highly aromatized Cocchi Americano for the Dolin. (If you’re making this at home, the proportions are 1½ oz. gin, 1 oz. vodka and ½ oz. Cocchi, or Lillet Blanc in a pinch.) And in a nod to the devoted shaken-notstirred crowd, he shook one (“keeping it awake,” he said) and stirred one — at the same time. Turns out the drink is not a boxerbriefs kinda compromise no matter how you mix it. “Wow! That’s my response!” said McKee, an admitted Vesper virgin. The shaken may have been more dilute, but it had sharpness; the stirred version was rounder, fuller. In the end, I wouldn’t kick either one out of the coupe, the preferred vessel at Paramour. The iconic, V-shaped martini glass, on the other hand — the one that has adorned many a neon cocktail sign over the years and across the country, has been banished by our purists. It’s held one too many appletinis for them, I’d venture.
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90 | FOOD // MUSIC + NIGHTLIFE 2016
JULIÁN P. LEDEZMA
Michael ‘Salem’ Gonzalez Lets His Freak Flag Fly KELSEY VALADEZ Born and raised in San Antonio, Michael “Salem” Gonzalez grew up dancing flamenco and folkórico, building a strong foundation through “hardcore instruction” at the Guadalupe Dance Academy. After graduating from high school, he felt the urge to push himself beyond that comfort zone and, at the suggestion of a friend, auditioned for a burlesque troupe. Now 24 years old with two years of burlesque under his belt, Salem has performed in 10 states, headlined two productions and won two awards at this year’s Texas Burlesque Festival. Even within a contemporary burlesque landscape that encompasses such sub-genres as “boylesque” and “draglesque,” Salem is something of an anomaly. “I tend to already be the different one,” he says. “I know that I have a unique aesthetic … I’m not a man portraying a woman … but, at the same time, I want to grab pieces of what a woman would do in a typical striptease and kind of make it my own … I’m just a mind-fuck/ what-the-hell-am-I-watching type.” He describes his sexuality as “open,” saying, “It sounds cliché, but I love people for who they are.” As for his aesthetic, Salem says he’s toned down some of the darkness of past performances. “[Now] I like to incorporate circus music, but I’ll do weird, creepy moves or integrate creepy makeup
so … you’ll still be weirded out, but you don’t have to think too deeply about what you’re watching.” Moreover, he says he gets a lot of praise from straight men and has even been dubbed “The Awkward Boner Giver.” And then there’s the glass-walking, fire-breathing, darts and mousetraps. “I was always intrigued by sideshow acts,” he says.” “It really appealed to me. So [Lita Deadly] showed me the ropes. I call her my burlesque mom.” A typical sideshow act, he says, involves the performer on the mic, explaining the act and the dangers of it. “I wasn’t so good on the mic, so [now] I just do a striptease and throw in a sideshow act element.” Hairdresser by day at Medusa the Salon, he finds parallels in his day job and performance life. “I like to change lives, that’s truly my main mission in both jobs that I have: to make people feel something, whether it’s anger, sadness, laughter, whether they remember it later or not,” he says. “I strive to make an impression in that moment.” An unsurprisingly firm believer in freedom of expression, Salem urges people to stay true to themselves: “Do what you love, love who you want to love, be in touch with what you’re into, and don’t be afraid to just own all of it … Regardless of what people think, it’s your life … Don’t be afraid to be a freak.” FALL 2016 // MUSIC + NIGHTLIFE | 91
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PO Box 15481, San Antonio TX 78212-0481 92 | COLUMNS // FALL 2016
Polly Anna Rocha illustrated by Luvia Velandia
BRAVE NEW GIRL
Metamorphoses: Medical Transition and Where Gatekeeping Is Headed POLLY ANNA ROCHA Like a large portion of transgender women, I have experienced immense difficulty accessing the proper care that I’ve required to medically transition. When I first came out publicly as a trans woman, one of my goals was to start hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as soon as possible, but I quickly learned that it isn’t as easy as showing up to a doctor and getting a prescription. First, I had to jump through dozens of hoops, what I now know to be gatekeeping tactics, in order to meet the requirements for my insurance to cover my HRT. I had to have months of therapy, provide documented evidence that I live my everyday life “as a woman,” and pass a handful of medical tests to ensure that my body was in the right condition for HRT. Needless to say, all of this was costly, time consuming and emotionally exhausting, but I got through it as best as I could manage. Second, after bending over backwards for the insurance company, I had to seek out a local medical practitioner who administers HRT to trans people regularly, which proved to be a completely different challenge. I tried contacting support groups and online forums, asking friends and making phone calls until I found a small clinic that would provide me with the medical care that I sought. Keep in mind, I did not have a job at this time because I still “looked like a boy,” as one of my former employers so eloquently brought to my attention, and I had a difficult time maintaining employment because of this. Therefore, I had to fundraise to pay for all my appointments, blood work, and therapy.
Thankfully, I had great support from my extended family and my San Anto community, so I was eventually able to raise enough money to get through the gatekeeping bullshit and schedule my consultation with the clinic that provides HRT. When I left that clinic with a prescription in my hand, I felt so validated, as if the medical world agreed with how my mind has always felt — I am a woman and starting hormone replacement therapy was going to help me assert that to the world. By the time I had gone through all that and more, several months had passed. For some trans women, it takes years with even greater hardships. And now, more than a year since I gave myself my first shot of estrogen, the state of Texas, along with a handful of other states, are filing a lawsuit against the federal government over a regulation that prohibits discrimination against trans people in a number of health programs. In short, the healthcare system apparently doesn’t make it hard enough for trans folks to get the proper medical care and services that we deserve, so Texas is trying to sue the federal government so that doctors and medical professionals can outrightly deny us any care at all. According to a report in The Texas Tribune, the case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, who just so happens to be the judge who blocked the Obama administration’s guidelines to accommodate trans students. They don’t want us to use the bathroom, they don’t want us to have healthcare, they don’t want us to have jobs outside the realm of sex work and they don’t want us to receive any sort of justice when we are murdered for merely existing. But we are people; we are human beings just like anyone else on this Earth, and we are worthy of dignity and respect. We deserve the right to seek our happiness and our truth, and that’s all any of us are really trying to do. Is it really worth the effort to make trans people’s lives all the more difficult by potentially denying us the right to healthcare? Whether it is or not, trans people like myself are still going to be here, hopefully ready to take on whatever comes our way, because we have no other choice. FALL 2016 // COLUMNS | 93
Tony Villejo photographed at his Radius Center exhibition by Julián P. Ledezma
A VIEW OF REALITY FROM A CHARTREUSE COUCH
Gene Elder Interviews Tony Villejo Gene: Hi Tony! Welcome to the Chartreuse Couch. Tony: Hi Gene, thanks for the interview. Gene: Well, we have been friends since you were one of the first artists to have a studio at Blue Star. It was quite a dump then. Why don’t you recall that experience for us. Tony: Well Gene, 1986 at the Blue Star, that was certainly a place back in time that has always been a bittersweet memory. I will say that it was definitely a productive and creative time for me because of its rawness. At the time I was self-employed as an artist. I worked on quite a few theatrical productions as a set designer. I’m sure that you recall the early days. We all had this hairbrained idea that we could somehow carve out some type of niche in the art community. Now, the sweet part was the fact [that] I wasn’t making money. I constantly worked. You know, back then, there was this unspoken camaraderie amongst the few artists that did tough it out under those conditions. Blue Star, at that time, had this strange ambiance about it, like some sort of mysterious ghost town with, of course, the artists as the ghosts. The emptiness of the complex provided enough room for everyone to breathe and think clearly without inadvertently running into someone to break your concentration. And if you did notice anyone else, you more or less picked up on this vibe that they were at some sort of a crossroads in their work and that a simple acknowledgment would suffice. You really had to go out of your way for conversation. 94 | COLUMNS // FALL 2016
Gene: Interesting that you remember it that way. I liked it then. What about your parade floats? Tony: In the ’70s and ’80s, I did float design, construction, production, everything. It was a job, but I learned how to work big. I would highly recommend it for the art experience, and not be discouraged by the business end. Gene: Well, that makes sense. Artists really need to have real life experiences to work from. How else did you earn money? Tony: In the beginning, I figured I needed to earn some type of a living wage, and that this “utopian” existence was not destined to last forever. I’d worked on a few theatrical productions. However, back at the parade business, one had to almost immediately adapt. For me, it was a vast playground of materials. You are basically armed only with an idea, a design and the problem of making it into a three dimensional object. Gene: Earn a living? Really? Tony: Well, fortunately, I somehow did. Gene: Keep going. This is good. Tony: Objects were welded, carved, painted, motorized — it ran the whole gamut, not to mention the scale of the constructions. And yes, I must admit that, finally, these things were all destined to slowly roll down the avenue for the enjoyment of the masses. I
of a family member commissioned me to create another one, but in plaster, for his new home ... Well, this guy is new to the neighborhood. Keep in mind that every single home in the area has its own six-foot privacy fence. A couple of weeks later, his neighbor informs him that, the night before, he had seen this really bright light radiating from his patio. That happens to be where this statue is situated. I put it there, and I do know for a fact that all this guy has on his patio is a simple 60-watt bulb. Anyway, the neighbor tells him this happened. My friend thinks this is unusual, but who knows? A few days later, same scenario, from the other neighbor. Gene: Really? Tony: Another incident happened during a very hard downpour. This time it’s the neighbor directly behind his home ... Then he has a friend visiting for a few days and, at around 3 a.m., his home alarm goes off. He rushes out of his bedroom and lo and behold, through the blinds there is this really bright light or aura radiating from you know what. The good thing is that he woke his guest from the other bedroom and had him sit there and experience this with him. The only reason they didn’t go out [there] was that they had to wait for the response from the alarm people to figure out what to do in the way of a police response. Anyway, he tells me they both sat there and continued to watch this happen for about 10 minutes. Gene: Really? Tony: Prior to the last incident, my friend was at work and had received a call from his home alarm monitoring people informing him that something at the window where the statue sits had, for lack of a better explanation, caused some type of pressure on the glass to set off the alarm. They investigated it and came to no reasonable conclusion. Gene: Again, proving the power of art. Tony: Moreover, this person has no reason to conjure up a fairy tale. He is the choir director for a church of which my brother is a member. Practically everything that I’ve delved into creatively, whether a commercial endeavor or otherwise, seemed to have some sort of a purpose in the whole mix. I attribute this way of thinking to several people. As far as my work is concerned, it sometimes takes a while for me to completely grasp, but it’s like Robert Gonzalez wrote: “Making art is a penetration into a spiritual culture. Not particularly an act of cultural-centric self-expression.” Tony Villejo, History in Truth, Truth in History
had to keep reminding myself of advice given to me by an artist: Try to diversify your experience with the materials and techniques and how you work with them and their possibilities as much as possible. So ... that when you decide to make art, forget everything that you’ve learned. Because at that point, the media in which you need to put forth an idea will simply manifest itself. Gene: Well, you created a Saint Anthony sculpture for a friend that has turned out to be very mysterious. Tony: I was commissioned by the Saint Anthony Catholic Church out in Spring Branch [to sculpt] Saint Anthony holding the baby Jesus. Everything turned out well, the dedication and all. By the way, I must admit that the whole process, from start to finish, was the most difficult project I had ever been involved with. Technically it was fine, but emotionally, it drained me ... just the fact that it was to be a saint that was to be viewed by a serious Catholic community. Anyway, a year later, a good friend
Gene: I know Robert. That’s great, Tony. I love hearing about that. See, I told you, you’re interesting. That was good for me! Was it good for you? Tony: It’s done wonders for me. Gene: Want a cigarette? Now you get to ask me a question. Tony: We’ve known each other for quite a number of years. At the very least 30. I’ve known of your work as an artist. I’ve always had a great respect for what you do. In these past years we’ve reconnected, and I now recall your intense attitudes about certain things. We’ve had conversations concerning some types of art that bother us both, yet you’re so deeply involved with the social and political movement of it all. So am I, but I do know that I simply don’t have the patience. I recall you telling someone that I was easygoing and that you were more of an “in-your-face” type. It would seem to me that the effort that you put forth, the letters, the people, the arts organizations, all of it — that you would get very frustrated. But you don’t. So my question to you is: What drives you to do it? FALL 2016 // COLUMNS | 95
96 | COLUMNS // FALL 2016
V ISI T
OU T INS A .C OM FOR SAN ANTONIO’S L ARGEST L G B T Q - F R I E N D LY C A L E N D A R O F E V E N T S , U P D A T E D D A I LY.
Above and below: examples of Villejo’s work on parade floats
Gene: Oh, my reasons change every year for why I want to be involved in the arts community as an artist and an activist. At first, I was just impressed by creative people and wanted to be one and have a good time. As I understood the art world better, I realized that being a creative person is important to every aspect of life. I enjoyed getting to the bottom of the art world. Where were the problems and who was solving them? There is always some new corner of the art world that gets my attention. When I got to the realization that God is an artist — because it says at the beginning of the Bible: “God created the Heavens and the Earth,” I just had the biggest laugh. Because then I “knew” whose side God was on. It just made perfect sense. Art! It’s a religion! My mission is to get all these MFA artists politically involved and organized. However, that is like herding cats. I am so afraid that San Antonio is missing its opportunities. That is what’s behind Political Art Month. Artists should be involved and engaged in correcting the world’s problems, and not standing around worrying about conceptual art while the world falls apart. To me the Declaration of Independence is the real beginning of conceptual art anyway. Thanks for joining me on the Chartreuse Couch.
FALL 2016 // COLUMNS | 97
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Eating Clean to Get Dirty FAITH G. HARPER Clinical nutrition work has been a bigger and bigger part of my private practice recently. People who aren’t digging talk therapy (or already have an amazing therapist) are coming in for nutritional coaching sessions because they want to boost their physical, mental and emotional health with nutrition and natural supplements. Less reliance on pharmaceutical demigods and more focus on giving our bodies what they need to be healthy? This is the kind of thing that gives me hope for the future of humanity. This summer I taught a workshop at The Love Shack Boutique specifically on “eating clean to get dirty.” Can we support excellent sexitimes just through what we eat? Oh, fuck yeah. And pun totally intended. I know, you are looking at me with deep suspicion. I’m not fixing to sell you an expensive-ass drink mix through some pyramid scheme or make you start eating Brussels sprouts, if you hate that shit. I am well aware that I will have to pry the tacos from your cold, dead hands. When it comes to a holistic approach to boosting our sex drive with nutrition, the things I focus on are: naturally increasing sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen); naturally balancing energy levels (alert, but not anxious); naturally increasing blood flow (erectile tissue); decreasing inflammatory response (because if you feel like shit, you don’t feel sexy); decreasing toxin load (ditto); and decreasing viral load (double ditto). So how does all that work? Basic rule: We figure out what foods you like that do good things for your body and you start eating more of them. If I tell you okra is amazing for you but you hate okra, then we aren’t getting very fucking far, are we? Once you have a good idea of what food components you are looking for (selenium for testosterone, for example) you can check out the World’s Healthiest Foods website and do a search (whfoods.com). You can also do a Google search on most anything with “health benefits of XYZ” to get a good idea. Try it with whatever foods you love best and see what pops up. However, if you type in “health benefits of funnel cakes,” you aren’t gonna get much in the way of results. Some of the results I have found using my Google Fu: Foods that build estrogen because they contain phytoestrogens: dried fruit, flaxseed, sesame seeds, chickpeas, beans, peas, tempeh, sprouts and bran cereals. Foods that build testosterone through vitamin D, zinc, and/or selenium: tuna, salmon, egg yolks, oysters, shellfish, beef, beans, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts and almonds. And of course, these are all foods that are insanely healthy for all people. Food isn’t gender-policed like public bathrooms in North Carolina. So you might be thinking, “Chickpeas are cool, I dig hummus.
But, um, how do I actually cook with all this stuff? How do I create a meal that gives me total wood?” I have had so many people tell me they get frustrated as fuck when it comes to making something taste good. Nobody wants to eat a bowlful of plain steamed broccoli with tears streaming down their face while every normal person is chowing down on a burger. That’s where the cookbook came in. People who have eaten my food, either chillin’ at my house or at one of my workshops, have said: “Wow, okay … this tastes good. I could totally eat healthy if this is what healthy looked like.” Because honestly? Nobody has time for crap food and I’m pretty sure that cookies are the meaning of life. So instead of continuing to threaten to write a cookbook, I got off my ass and actually did it. It’s called The Revolution Will Include Cookies and you can totally snag it on Amazon (tinyurl.com/cookiesarelife). Wanna test the waters? How about we fuck up a pan of amazing brownies and you see how you feel after eating them? Shoot me an email at email@example.com and tell me what you think, hot stuff! Dope(amine) Brownies Dark chocolate is actually good for you! It’s full of polyphenols that increase sexual arousal and sexual satisfaction. Chocolate for Valentine’s Day happens for a fucking reason. It also includes natural cannabinoids and Phenethylamine (PEA), which increases dopamine production. Excuse me for being cheesy as hell, but these brownies really are dope. This recipe is also naturally dairy-free and gluten-free so it doesn’t have common food inflammatory agents in it. It does include eggs (if you don’t eat eggs, feel free to use an egg replacer) and coconut oil. Eggs don’t raise bad cholesterol, only good cholesterol. They are full of vitamins and minerals we need (B5, B6, selenium) plus they include all the amino acids the human body needs, including the nine essentials the body can’t make on its own. Coconut oil is also the one food that you can’t extract the benefit of into a supplement. It’s lower in calories than other fats, converts better to energy without build up in the head and arteries and boosts both energy and endurance. So eat your coconut oil … it’s sexy! 6 Tbs. coconut oil, measured as a liquid (you can substitute with melted butter if you can tolerate dairy, but use a good grassed, organic butter like Kerrygold) 6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (use a dairy-free version if you are dairy sensitive) 2 large eggs, room temperature 2 /3 cup sugar (unrefined or coconut sugar is best) 2 tsp. vanilla extract ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 3 Tbs. arrowroot powder (cornstarch also fine) ¼ tsp. salt Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 8” x 8” baking pan with foil or parchment paper (leaving overhang to make it easy to remove the brownies later) and spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Add coconut oil and chocolate chips to a small saucepan set over low heat. Stir until oil and chocolate have melted before removing from heat and setting aside to cool slightly. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and pale, about two minutes. Add the melted chocolate mixture and mix until well combined. Add cocoa powder, arrowroot powder, and salt, mixing until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Batter should be thick and shiny. Pour batter into a prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a greased spatula. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the center is set. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for about 15 minutes before removing. FALL 2016 // COLUMNS | 99
100 | #SAINFAMOUS // FALL 2016
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SUMMER 2016 // DIRECTORY | 105
FROM THE HAPPY FOUNDATION ARCHIVES The Calico Cat Tea Room BRYAN RINDFUSS
“Some people like cats; some don’t. The air of genial slovenliness about this Cat puts the regulars at ease but startles some newcomers.” So begins an archived Texas Monthly restaurant review of San Antonio’s bygone Calico Cat Tea Room, located just off the River Walk at 304 North Presa Street. In addition to winning over fans with soups, salads, quiches and cakes prepared with love by Yvonne Woods, the cherished hangout fostered a bohemian, gay-friendly scene Happy Foundation Archives director Gene Elder describes as a “gossip central” favored by lawyers, cowboys, San Antonio Symphony players, Conservation Society members and everyone in between. (Elder remembers gifting Woods a sign that read “No Bikers,” which she stuck in a ficus tree out front.) Often staffed by artists (famed Greater Tuna collaborators Jaston Williams and Joe Sears among them), the Cat set the stage for creative endeavors like the whimsical performance piece pictured here. Organized in 1986 by former San Antonio scenester Lisa Mellinger, the project brought together a number of local influencers, including Steve Bailey and Mike Casey.
106 | ARCHIVES // FALL 2016
Ask About Testosterone
r e p l a c e m e n t t h e r a p y. • 13 Million men in the United States suffer from low testosterone. • Only 3% of men discuss Low-T symptoms with their doctor. • Effects of Low-T are: - Increased fat accumulation - Lower sex drive or erectile dysfunction - Sleep problems - Linked to diabetes and heart disease - Impaired thinking and mobility - Smaller muscles and reduced strength
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