ON THE TOWN
Season 09.10 Roars in Like a Lion Itâ€™s Wicked Time! Mark Richter Jim Cullum Symphony Conductor Fiesta Noche del Rio Search Anya Grokhovski-Michaelson Carla Veliz Gilbert AndrewDuran Weissman Cappy & Suzy Festival Lawton Texas Folklife Museum Reach with JoAnn Boone Patty Ortiz Plus 14 Additional Articles
July-August 2009 | On The Town 3
Features Season 09.10 Roars in Like a Lion
Larry West San Antonio Hot Glass Sculptor
Mark Richter San Antonioâ€™s Ambassador of Opera
Cappy and Suzy Lawton True Restaurateurs
San Antonio Symphony Winds Down 20 Conductor Search During 70th Anniversary Season
Pinch Pennies and Dine Well The Time to Save is Now
Anya Grokhovski-Michaelson Celebrating 12 Seasons of Musical Bridges
Cruising The New River Walk with JoAnn Boone
July-August 2009 Events Calendar
Front Cover Photo: By Joan Marcus
Q&A With Bill FitzGibbons of Blue Star About Contemporary Art Month in San Antonio
Hot Exhibits! Summer Viewing is a Cool Idea
Performing Arts Cover Photo: BigStock-Sobeone
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Visual Arts Cover Photo By: Greg Harrison Culinary Arts Cover Photo: iStock-Jamsey Literary Arts Cover Photo: iStock-Bluestocking Eclectics Cover Page Photo: By Paul Lara
Lair Creative, LLC would not knowingly publish misleading or erroneous information in editorial content or in any adv appear under any circumstances. Additionally, content in this electronic magazine does not necessarily reflect the view mances and exhibits, it is recommended that all times and dates of such events be confirmed by the reader prior to at
Departments Box Office: My Very Own Summer Film Festival
More Performing Arts
Portfolio: The Art of Gilbert Duran
More Visual Arts
Accolades: Ruthâ€™s Chris Culinary Program for Roy Maas Youth Alternatives
More Culinary Arts
Book Talk: Carmen Tafolla Contemporary Chicano Literature Pioneer
More Literary Arts
In The Hills: Rockbox Theater is Playing Your Song
Picture This: The New River Walk Photos by Paul Lara
Julie Catalano Cynthia Clark Paloma Cortez Lisa Cruz Thomas Duhon, Artist Chris Dunn Alexis Gunderson Greg Harrison, Staff Photographer Christian Lair Kay Lair Paul Lara Claudia Maceo-Sharp
Marlo Mason-Marie Susan A. Merkner, Copy Editor Susanna Nawrocki Bonny Osterhage Angela Rabke Blair Russell Gabriella Scott Sara Selango Shannon HuntingtonStandley Jasmina Wellinghoff Erin West
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vertisement in On The Town Ezine.com, nor does it assume responsibility if this type of editorial or advertising should ws or opinions of the management of Lair Creative, LLC. Since On The Town Ezine.com features information on perforttendance. The publisher assumes no responsibility for changes in times, dates, venues, exhibitions or performances.
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Contents page 3
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8 On The Town | July-August 2009
Performing Arts 10-42
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Roars in Like a Lion By Sara Selango
10 On The Town | July-August 2009
. he Lion King is back, well as of December! This Disney theatrical extravaganza of costuming, choreography, scenery and song is an absolute stunner for all to see. It is my guess that every ticket will be sold to every performance of its extended run. Thatâ€™s why hotels, restaurants and shops in the center city eagerly await the frenzy that only a blockbuster musical like this
can generate. Wicked is pumping up profits for downtown establishments as I write and The Lion King will undoubtedly encore the huge economic impact of its first San Antonio engagement in 2006. It will be bonkers on Houston Street nightly, plus Saturday and Sunday matinees. Make your reservations and get your tickets. This train roared out of the station the minute it was announced.
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Broadway Across America brings The Lion King to the Majestic from December 9 – January 3 as a part of an eight-show package for season 09.10 that also includes the likes of Mamma Mia, Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles and Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps. Other performances in the offering are Riverdance: Farewell Performance, 101 Dalmatians, Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein and the Rodgers & Hammerstein favorite South Pacific. In addition to being the home stage for Broadway Across America touring shows, the Majestic is the primary venue for the San Antonio Symphony. This grand performance hall is where we should all be on Saturday, September 19 when the symphony opens its 70th anniversary season. The evening will begin with acclaimed violinist Gil Shaham performing the Barber Violin Concerto and conclude with Orf’s extremely powerful Carmina Burana under the baton of conductor Ken-David Masur and featuring the Symphony Mastersingers along with the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio and three other ensembles. This amazing assemblage of full orchestra and 400 voices promises to be quite thrilling.
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Other symphony highlights for season 09.10 include performances by violinists Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Nancy Zhou, Ertan Torgul and Jennifer Koh, plus pianists Misha Dichter, Ewa Kupiec, Benedetto Lupo, Stewart Goodyear and Andrew Armstrong. Cellist Alisa Weilerstein, Soprano Dawn Upshaw and guitarist Manuel Barrueco round out the classical season. On the lighter side, experience Three Phantoms in Concert, Star Wars & More John Williams, Holiday Pops, Classical Mystery Tour: A Tribute to the Beatles, Rodgers & Hammerstein at the Movies and Fiesta Pops. The Carver has a super 09.10 schedule as well, starting with Sweet Honey in the Rock in early October and concluding with Lizz Wright in June of next year. In between enjoy a steady stream of great performances by Harlem Gospel Choir, Ahn Trio, Ailey II – the touring ensemble from Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, DBR & The Mission, and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, to name a few. Mark Richter and San Antonio Opera will present an outstanding trio of performances in 09.10. Puccini’s Madame Butterfly inaugurates the season
in September followed by Donizetti’s Daughter of the Regiment in early January of next year. The season concludes with Rigoletto by Guiseppe Verdi in June. All three of the operas will be staged at Municipal Auditorium. In the classical music genre, both Musical Bridges Around The World and San Antonio Chamber Music Society have announced their upcoming seasons. Anya Grokovsky-Michaelson’s Musical Bridges celebrates its twelfth season with five Sunday afternoon concerts at McAllister Auditorium on the campus of San Antonio College. The organization’s Faces of Music series begins in October and ends in May. For details, please go to MBAW website. Four world-class quartets and two trios make up the 09.10 offering from San Antonio Chamber Music Society. By name they are Lark Quartet, Shanghai String Quartet, Lafayette String Quartet, Jupiter Quartet, Atos Trio and Lee Trio. Enjoy their performances on Sunday afternoons as well at Temple Beth-El. The 87th season of Tuesday Musical Club has also been announced. Calling this year The Best of the Best, TMC has slated performances by organist Paul Jacobs,
pianist Claire Huangci, male vocal ensemble Cantus and violinist Judith Ingolfsson with pianist Vladimir Stoupel. All performances are at the Laurel Heights United Methodist Church. San Pedro Playhouse begins its 79th season with the ever-popular Evita in late September and follows it with A Christmas Carol: The Musical opening on Thanksgiving weekend. Beehive, Curtains, Boeing Boeing and The Music Man follow on the main stage in the new year. Their Cellar Theater series includes The History Boys, Betrayed, Mourning Dove, Almost, Maine and more. Check the web for announcements from other theatres like the Sheldon Vexler and AtticRep at Trinity. Also bear in mind that many quality community theaters don’t publish a list of shows for the year but rather announce one or two at a time. The Cameo is a good example of this as is The Woodlawn. To keep track of what’s going on in local theater; go to the web page for San Antonio Theatre Coalition. This non-profit will keep you informed and you can even become a member which allows you to receive discounts on tickets at selected member theaters.
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The 09.10 performing arts season is packed with one great show after another and I’ve only scratched the surface. As a matter of fact, two more organizations will be featured later in this magazine under the heading of More Performing Arts. Find the page and read about Kerrville Performing Arts Society and Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre in New Braunfels. Pick you favorites, buy tickets and go. Enjoy what San Antonio and the surrounding area has to offer. Photo Credits: Pages 10-11 André Jackson as “Simba” and the ensemble singing “He Lives In You” from The Lion King ©Disney. Photo by Joan Marcus Page 12 (L-R) Jennifer Koh Photo by Janette Beckman Courtesy Opus 3 Artists Dayton Contemporary Dance Company Photo courtesy Teri Fritze-DCDC
Page 13 (L-R) Gil Shaham Photo by Boyd Hagen Ailey II George Faison’s Movin’ On Photo by Eduardo Patino Courtesy Opus 3 Artists Alisa Weilerstein Photo by Christian Steiner Courtesy Opus 3 Artists Page 14 (L-R) Paulo Szot and Kelli O’Hara in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific Photo by Joan Marcus Sgt. Pepper from Rain Left to Right: Joey Curatolo, Ralph Castelli, Joe Bithorn, Steve Landes. Photo by Joan Marcus
Season 09.10 FP Editorial
Lizz Wright Photo courtesy Carver Community Cultural Center
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Michelle Dawson Mamma Mia National Tour 2009 Photo by Carol Rosberg
San Pedro Playhouse FP Ad
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Mark Richter San Antonioâ€™s Ambassador of Opera By Susan A. Merkner Photography Greg Harrison 16 On The Town | July-August 2009
onsistency is the key to success in staging opera productions locally, says Mark Richter, founder and artistic director of San Antonio Opera.
“Our audience continues to grow, and we add new audience members every year,” Richter says. “People are initially drawn to an opera production either out of curiosity or because they already know the story. Many of them return again because they enjoy the emotional appeal of the show and because of the very high artistic quality of our shows.” One of Richter’s biggest frustrations is hearing people say, “I didn’t know San Antonio had an opera” – tough words for someone who has spent his entire career immersed in the arts. “The city is growing by leaps and bounds, and I think consistency is the key to changing that perception,” he says. A San Antonio native and graduate of Highlands High School, Richter began his musical training at age 5 on the viola. He attended the University of the Incarnate Word, and performed as a soloist with the San Antonio Symphony, San Antonio Choral Society, First Presbyterian Church, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and other ensembles. In 1992, Richter and colleague Jeff Troxler produced four small operas at the Josephine Theater under the auspices of Metro Opera of San Antonio. Five years later, he established the San Antonio Pocket Opera, initially producing modest shows at the 400-seat San Pedro Playhouse and then moving to the 1,000-seat McAllister Auditorium at San Antonio College. Growth continued, necessitating bigger venues and more elaborate productions. Currently, the opera has a substantial season ticket base, shows involving visiting opera singers from large houses around the county, a professional orchestra of 28 musicians and lavish sets. During the 2008-09 season, San Antonio Opera presented four shows at the 2,300-seat Lila Cockrell Theatre: Carmen by Georges Bizet, Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni, The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan, and Il Trovatore by Guiseppe Verdi. The 2009-10 season is scheduled to include Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, Sept. 11-13; Daughter of the Regiment by Gaetano Donizetti, Jan. 8-10; and Verdi’s Rigoletto, June 18-20, 2010, all at the 5,000-seat Municipal Auditorium. Richter says the opera will return to the Lila Mark Richter – founder / artistic director, San Antonio Opera
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Cockrell Theatre after renovations there are completed and eventually hopes to land in the newly redesigned arts center slated for the Municipal Auditorium site. Because of the current size of Municipal Auditorium, Richter selected popular shows for next season and “vehicles that will demonstrate large voices.”
Richter wears two hats every day: guiding the opera’s artistic side and overseeing its business operations. “About 30 to 40 percent of my time is about opera itself; the rest is spent on development, fundraising and other business matters,” he says.
“No San Antonio nonprofit ever complains about being overloaded with contributions from corporations,” Richter Productions are sung in Italian with English and Spanish says with a hint of irony, yet he is quick to add that the surtitles -- translations of the singing and dialogue opera has been fortunate to have AT&T as a major donor. projected on a screen above the stage, designed to help With no time available anymore for performing, teaching the audience follow along quickly and easily. or even a family, Richter is not one to complain. “I love it all. I love my life, and I love my city.” Like other arts organizations, San Antonio Opera aims to attract the next generation of audience members through What makes it most worthwhile? “Seeing the smile on the various educational efforts. The opera collaborates face of a child when they first hear the raw, unamplified with Magik Theater to bring short opera productions to power of voice. Children are smart little people. They are elementary school students each year; offers an Opera 4 able to tap into the power and emotion of a story that’s Kids program that reaches middle-schoolers in 13 area been retold in music for 250 years.” school districts with 35- to 40-minute productions in English; provides the Opera Xtreme program aimed at “I know we provide an emotional impact, a small form of high school students; and opens its dress rehearsals to an escapism that allows people to get away from the hard estimated 2,000 students in collaboration with the Opera things in their own lives. Often an opera performance Guild of San Antonio. reminds us that our own lives are not so bad after all.” 18 On The Town | July-August 2009
All photos are scenes from Il Trovatore at the Lila Cockrell Theatre
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San Antonio Symphony Winds Down Conductor Search During 70th Anniversary Season By Lisa Cruz he San Antonio Symphony celebrates its platinum anniversary during the 2009-10 season, opening with a grand celebration featuring violinist Gil Shaham and Carmina Burana. The symphony’s 70th season will also cap a more than two year process to find its next music director.
style to de la Parra’s conducting. She will also conduct Clarice Assad’s Brazilian Fanfare, Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2. In an interview with Texas Public Radio’s John Clare on Oct. 23, 2008, de la Parra said, “The success in conducting lies in the communication and the engagement between the score and the conductor, the conductor and the musicians, and the musicians and the audience. If I can make them (musicians) give their best as individuals and as a group, then they will give their best to the audience and the audience receives them, then the cycle is complete. The secret of good leadership is inspiring individual leadership.”
Researching, visiting with and listening to more than 200 conductors worldwide, the San Antonio Symphony’s search committee has spent countless hours narrowing the field down to fewer than 20 candidates, many of whom performed during the 2008-09 season, with several returning for the anniversary season. Led artistically by a team of four musicians, the search committee developed a job description with the musical and leadership characteristics “Inspirational leadership is a critical trait for a music necessary to advance the symphony even further. conductor,” Fishman said. He added that the symphony “The musicians took the lead on the musical decisions of is looking for a conductor who has all the right musical the search,” said symphony president/CEO Jack Fishman. abilities and moves the audience. “Who do you get the “Denny Ware, the board of directors’ incoming chairman, most emotional connection to? Who moves you?” That has led the committee through the process, and our connection with the audience is the primary reason overriding strategy and goal was to have all conductor the symphony is bringing conductors back for a second candidates conduct with our symphony twice, which is why time. “Because music is subjective, we want the audience to hear the conductors play different repertoire, so the so many of the conductors this season are returning.” audience can get a true sense of the conductor’s depth Not all the conductor candidates this season have and range,” Fishman said. performed with the symphony before and some have performed more than twice, but overall, the goal of the On Oct. 16 and 17, Jean-Marie Zeitouni is returning to committee was to expose the orchestra and audience to San Antonio to perform Misha Plays Mozart, featuring Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, Dvořák’s Symphony No. the conductors on multiple occasions, Fishman said. 8 and Strauss’ Don Juan. Zeitouni, who was featured in The symphony will begin its Classics Ovation Series with the 2008-09 season holiday classic Messiah, has emerged Brahms’ First, conducted by Rossen Milanov, featuring as one of Canada’s brightest young conductors whose cellist Alisa Weilerstein on Sept. 25 and 26. Milanov first eloquent yet fiery style in repertoire ranging from performed Polovtsian Dances with the symphony in May Baroque to contemporary music results in regular re2009. The Chicago Tribune once wrote of Milanov that he engagements across Canada and the United States. is “one who bears watching by anyone who cares about Shifting from Tristan and Isolde during the 2008-09 the future of music.” season to Beethoven and Prokofiev, Maestro Sebastian Brahms’ First is followed by the Classics Applause Series Lang-Lessing will conduct Beethoven’s Emperor and opener, Beethoven 7, on Oct. 9 and 10. Conducted by Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet Nov. 20 and 21. “San Antonio Alondra de la Parra, who debuted with the San Antonio is completely different. To find a city where you can Symphony during the 2008-09 season in Tchaikovsky 5, walk in the (United) states is actually something quite Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 will showcase a contrasting fabulous. I really love that. It’s beautiful… a lot of history 20 On The Town | July-August 2009
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and culture,” said Lang-Lessing of San Antonio in a TPR conductor of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra at the interview in April 2009. start of the 2005-06 season. In addition to conducting, Vajda is a clarinetist and composer. Conductor and violinist Scott Yoo returns to perform Grieg’s Piano Concerto on Jan. 29 and 30. First Maestro Julian Kuerti will conduct the March 26 and 27 performing Appalachian Spring and Beethoven’s concert of Mozart and Der Rosenkavalier. The concert Pastorale Symphony in November 2008, Yoo displayed will feature Bartók’s Divertimento, Mozart’s Bassoon both talents conducting and performing the violin solo Concerto, Webern’s Passacaglia, along with Strauss’ Der in Mozart’s third violin concerto. Rosenkavalier suite. Kuerti, who hails from Canada, has been assistant conductor to James Levine at the Boston On Feb. 12 and 13, conductor David Angus will lead Symphony Orchestra since February 2007. He made the orchestra in Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez. Angus his BSO debut with concerts in March 2008. The Boston is music director of Glimmerglass Opera and honorary Globe said of Kuerti’s conducting in July 2008, “Kuerti conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of Flanders, drew sumptuous sounds from the orchestra… with a following several years as its principal conductor. The vibrant and dashing account of Oliver Knussen’s The Way Deseret News in Salt Lake City, Utah, said of Angus’ to Castle Yonder and a dark, robust reading of Dvorak’s performance in 2008, “Angus is a wonderfully talented Seventh Symphony.” musical conductor with remarkable interpretative skills who knows how to elicit a finely nuanced and well- Andrew Grams will lead the orchestra at the April 2 and 3 concerts, The Mighty Organ, featuring David Heller on crafted performance from his orchestra.” the organ and the San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers. March 12 and 13 marks the return of conductor Gregory Grams appeared during the 2008-09 symphony with Vajda in Mozart’s Prague. Vajda spent his first visit to violin star Sarah Chang, conducting Bela Bartok’s Concerto San Antonio leading the symphony and the Los Angeles for Orchestra, along with Johannes Brahms’ Concerto in Guitar Quartet in February 2009. In a news release, D major for Violin and Orchestra. Grams is an American the San Antonio Symphony described Vajda as “fast conductor from Maryland who began conducting becoming one of the most sought-after conductors when he was 17 years old. He first conducted the World on the international scene.” Vajda became resident Youth Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen Arts Camp
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in Michigan and has gone on to serve as the resident conductor of the Florida Orchestra and completed his three-year term as assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra in 2007. Maestro Josep Caballé-Domenech will conduct Four Seasons of Buenos Aires April 30 and May 1, with Ertan Torgul on the violin. According to a classical music Web site, Andante.com, “Josep Caballé-Domenech is a young man to keep your eye on.” Caballé-Domenech is a Spanish conductor who participated in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, becoming the protégé of Maestro Sir Colin Davis. In his mentorship biography, CaballéDomenech said, “The most important thing I learned from Sir Colin Davis was his attitude: his relaxed way of approaching and solving artistic problems – and human problems as well, which he feels are the same thing. He has great trust in people.” Cliff Colnot will lead the orchestra in showcasing soprano Dawn Upshaw on May 21 and 22, in a concert featuring pieces from Schubert, Golijov/Schubert, Stravinsky and Canteloube. According to his biography, “Cliff Colnot has emerged as a distinguished conductor and a musician of uncommon range. He has been principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s contemporary MusicNOW series since its inception, and he was recently named principal conductor of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.”
“I try to get Cliff every year and every chance I get… His communication from the podium is marvelous. Cliff is one of the great music educators of our time, period,” said Tom Wieligman, executive administrator of instrumental ensembles and special performance activity for Indiana University’s Summer Symphonic Series. The 70th anniversary season features many other accomplished artists, along with artistic adviser Christopher Seaman, resident conductor Ken-David Masur and fan favorite, maestro Michael Krajewski. “The plan for the music director search is to choose a conductor by the end of the ’09-’10 season,” Fishman said. “But we may make a choice at any time throughout the season. It’s a constant, on-going process, and we want to be able to secure the best person we can for San Antonio Symphony.” Photo Credits: Page 21 - Alondra de la Parra / Photo by Dario Acosta Page 22 – (L-R) Rossen Milanov / Photo by Anthony Sinagoga Cliff Colnot / Photo courtesy SA Sympony Scott Yoo / Photo by Christian Steiner Page 23 – (L-R) Julian Kuerti / Photo courtesy IMG Artists Gregory Vajda / Photo courtesy vajda.com Josep Cabelle-Domenech / Photo courtesy Schmidt International Artists
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Anya Grokhovski-Michaelson: Celebrating 12 Seasons of Musical Bridges By Julie Catalano Photography Liz Garza-Williams
.hen the Musical Bridges Around the World concert series rings up the curtain on its 12th season this fall, its charismatic founder and artistic director Anya Grokhovski-Michaelson will be in one of her favorite places – at the piano. And she couldn’t be more excited.
Not exactly. It started innocently enough, with visits to the Alamo City by friends and musical colleagues of Grokhovski-Michaelson and her then-husband, pianist Valery Grokhovski, who had moved here first through an exchange program and ultimately jobs in the music department at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The couple wanted nothing more than to show off San Calling the opening concert on Oct. 11 “a truly inter- Antonio until one visitor – a former teacher – needed national affair,” Russian-born Grokhovski-Michaelson financial help with the airfare to get here. When an will share the stage with a string quartet from Mexico offer of assistance by the Mexican Cultural Institute fell City and French pianist-composer Francoise Choveaux. through, a student stepped in with an idea for a partyslash-concert and a house to host it in – and the rest The idea of musicians from all over the world is what is musical history. “Everybody liked it so much that drove Grokhovski-Michaelson to fill a musical void in a two months later I brought over another of my former city she’s come to love and cherish. “No one else does teachers to give another recital.” The salon concerts took what we do,” she says, in her delightfully accented, off, supported by a group of women that included a almost perfect English. Along with MBAW’s signature lawyer and a CPA, and a nonprofit was born. convergence of international artists, the new season is the “most eclectic ever,” with Baroque, jazz, and Russian She has “learned a lot” since 1998, says GrokhovskiMichaelson, laughing. For one, jumping headfirst into folk music. nonprofit administration was an eye-opener. “I was But she emphasizes that MBAW “does not just bring trained and raised as a musician,” she says. Born in musicians in to perform. We mix them with other Moscow in 1961 to parents Zoya and Yuri, professional musicians, and that’s not easy, because sometimes violinists, she earned her bachelor’s, master’s and musicians want to go and play their own stuff. And we’re doctoral degrees at the Russian Academy of Music. “To put on a music performance for me is like nothing,” she not interested in that.” says. “That’s the easy part. The hard part is to really run Instead, Grokhovski-Michaelson describes her mission the nonprofit corporation. Our programming part was to create “musical bridges between musicians” where always ahead of our organizational issues, because I’m artists work in a “chamber mingling” with musicians from a musician. I know how to do that. I didn’t know how to the San Antonio Symphony, local universities and others do the other things.” from around Texas. “It’s not like we bring someone in for MBAW now presents five concerts at McAllister a big solo recital.” Auditorium, nine concerts at San Fernando Cathedral To hear Grokhovski-Michaelson talk about her inno- and the Kids to Concerts series held at area schools.. vative program, one could gather that a master plan was “I’m planning to design three different programs to at work, a methodical crafting of epic proportions with take to five schools each for a total of 15 concerts,” says Grokhovski-Michaelson. The elegant house concerts every step anticipated and calculated along the way. Anya Grokhovski-Michaelson – founder / artistic director, Musical Bridges Around The World
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live on to the tune of four a year for certain levels of membership; they include dinner and authentic Russian vodka tasting the night before the Sunday McAllister concerts. “People get a chance to get up close and personal with the musicians,” explains GrokhovskiMichaelson, whose bridge-building also includes making classical music “more accessible” to audiences. Not one to sit still, Grokhovski-Michaelson is incorporating dancers and actors into next season’s performances. Her strategic plan for the company includes a 20 percent to 25 percent growth rate (“we’re positive we can do that”), based on her observations that “so far the economy has not had an effect. This past season was very successful, actually.” This year MBAW received a grant from Frost Bank for recording equipment that will allow them to enhance their Web presence by offering video clips of performances. “Go to Google, type in MBAW, and look at the videos. We’re going to spend a lot of effort to be all over the net.” On the low-tech side, Grokhovski-Michaelson tends her flowers and herb garden, draws her fanciful animals (“I’m into butterflies now”), enjoys life in the Hill Country with her new husband, Air Force physician Robert Michaelson, and never really stops thinking about an organization that might have started by sheer chance but is now “not just my job, it is my style of life.” Some have said that, artistically speaking, Musical Bridges is the best thing in town – a statement that brings a radiant smile. “That is what I live for, to hear that.”
Musical Bridges Around The World 2009-2010 Season – Faces of Music Carnival of the Animals Sunday, October 11th Bach in a style of Jazz Sunday, November 22nd If it is not Baroque do not fix it! Sunday, January 10th Jazz Reflections Sunday, February 28th Russian Dance Sunday, May 2nd
26 On The Town | July-August September-October 2009 2008
All performances are held at McAllister Auditorium on the campus of San Antonio College, 1300 San Pedro @ 3pm. For more info – www.musicalbridges.org
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July-August 2009 Events Calendar Music Notes Whiskey Meyers County Line Free Music Series 7/1, Wed @ 6:30pm (doors open) County Line BBQ – IH-10 Van’s Warped Tour 7/2, Thu @ 11am AT&T Center Band of Heathens KNBT Free Live Music Series 7/2. Thu @ 7pm WhiteWater Amphitheater New Braunfels Maxwell 7/2, Thu @ 7:30pm Majestic Theatre Gary P. Nunn 7/3, Fri @ 8pm Gruene Hall Randy Travis Around The Bend Tour An Arts San Antonio Presentation 7/3, Fri @ 8pm Sunken Garden Amphitheater
Keith Sweat 7/4, Sat @ 7pm Lone Star Pavilion at Sunset Statin Fabulous Family Fourth Concert and Fireworks Members of the SA Symphony Bernard Rubenstein, Conductor An Arts San Antonio Presentation 7/4, Sat @ 8pm Sunken Garden Amphitheater Jack Ingram Eli Young Band 7/4, Sat @ 8pm WhiteWater Amphitheater New Braunfels Asleep At The Wheel 7/4, Sat @ 9pm Gruene Hall Two Ton Tuesdays with Two Tons of Steel 7/7-14, 28 Tue @ 8:30pm 7/21, Tue @ 7pm 8/4-18, Tue @ 8:30pm Gruene Hall South Texas Destroyers County Line Free Music Series 7/8, Wed @ 6:30pm (doors open) County Line BBQ – IH-10
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Concert Under The Stars: Joe Posada 7/9, Thu @ 6pm (doors open) San Antonio Botanical Garden Modern Day Drifters KNBT Free Live Music Series 7/9. Thu @ 7pm WhiteWater Amphitheater New Braunfels Soulful Sorbets Cactus Pear Music Festival Presentation 7/9, Thu @ 7:30pm Travis Park United Methodist Church 7/10, Fri @ 7pm New Braunfels First Presbyterian Church Stoney LaRue 7/10, Fri @ 7pm (doors open) John T. Floore Country Store The Krayolas 7/10, Fri @ 8pm Gruene Hall Akon 7/11, Sat @ 7pm Municipal Auditorium
Glimmering Glaces Cactus Pear Music Festival Presentation 7/11, Sat @ 7:30pm Travis Park United Methodist Church 7/12, Sun @ 2:30pm New Braunfels First Presbyterian Church The Derailers 7/11, Sat @ 9pm Gruene Hall Reckless Kelly Micky & The Motorcars Texas Renegade 7/11, Sat @ 8pm WhiteWater Amphitheater New Braunfels Sunday Jazz at The Witte: Hard Bop Jazz 7/12, Sun @ 4pm Witte Museum Robert Cray Band 7/12, Sun @ 7pm (doors open) John T. Floore Country Store No Justice County Line Free Music Series 7/15, Wed @ 6:30pm (doors open) County Line BBQ – IH-10
Triple Sundae Delight Cactus Pear Music Festival Presentation 7/15, Wed @ 7pm Boerne First United Methodist Church 7/16, Thu @ 7:30pm Travis Park United Methodist Church Mitchel Musso Starburst® Summer Concert Series 7/16, Thu @ 6pm Lone Star Lil’s Amphitheater Six Flags Fiesta Texas Stoney LaRue KNBT Free Live Music Series 7/16. Thu @ 7pm WhiteWater Amphitheater New Braunfels Ghostland Observatory 7/17, Sat @ 7pm WhiteWater Amphitheater New Braunfels Brave Combo’s Summer Nights Polka with Flaco Jimenez 7/17, Fri @ 8pm Gruene Hall DCI: Drum Corp International 7/18, Sat @ 4pm Alamodome
Tootie Fruiti Ice Cactus Pear Music Festival Presentation 7/18, Sat @ 7:30pm Travis Park United Methodist Church 7/18, Sun @ 2pm Boerne First United Methodist Church Emory Quinn 7/18, Sat @ 9pm Gruene Hall Gaither Vocal Band 7/21, Tue @ 7pm Majestic Theatre Metro Station Starburst® Summer Concert Series 7/22, Thu @ 6pm Lone Star Lil’s Amphitheater Six Flags Fiesta Texas Josh Abbott Band Country Line Free Music Series 7/22, Wed @ 6:30pm (doors open) County Line BBQ – IH-10 Concert Under The Stars: Henry Brun and Latin Playerz 723, Thu @ 6pm (doors open) San Antonio Botanical Garden Guy Forsyth KNBT Free Live Music Series 7/23. Thu @ 7pm WhiteWater Amphitheater New Braunfels July-August May-June 2009 | On The Town 29
Pat Green 7/24, Fri @ 7pm (doors open) John T. Floore Country Store Tool 7/24, Fri @ 8pm AT&T Center Roger Creager 7/24-25, Fri @ 8pm Sat @ 9pm Gruene Hall Bob Schneider 7/25, Sat @ 7pm WhiteWater Amphitheater New Braunfels Judas Priest 7/25, Sat @ 7pm AT&T Center Roger Creager 7/24-25, Fri @ 8pm Sat @ 9pm Gruene Hall Honeybrowne County Line Free Music Series 7/29, Wed @ 6:30pm (doors open) County Line BBQ – IH-10 Will Hoge KNBT Free Live Music Series 7/30. Thu @ 7pm WhiteWater Amphitheater New Braunfels Max Stalling 7/31, Fri @ 8pm Gruene Hall
Delbert McClinton 8/1, Sat @ 7pm WhiteWater Amphitheater New Braunfels
Ottmar Liebert and Luna Negra 8/9, Sun @ 7pm Majestic Theatre
Cory Morrow 8/1, Sat @ 7pm (doors open) John T. Floore Country Store
Green Day 8/9, Sun @ 8pm AT&T Center
Tejas Brothers and Eleven Hundred Springs 8/1, Sat @ 8pm Gruene Hall Blue Edmondson County Line Free Music Series 8/5, Wed @ 6:30pm (doors open) County Line BBQ – IH-10 tobyMac Starburst® Summer Concert Series 8/7, Fri @ 6pm Lone Star Lil’s Amphitheater Six Flags Fiesta Texas Zona Jones 8/7, Fri @ 8pm Gruene Hall The Spazmatics 8/8, Sat @ 7pm WhiteWater Amphitheater New Braunfels Brandon Rhyder 8/8, Sat @ 9pm Gruene Hall Sunday Jazz at The Witte: Hot Sauce Jazz 8/9, Sun @ 4pm Witte Museum
30 On The Town | July-August 2009
Jonas Brothers World Tour 8/13, Thu @ 7pm AT&T Center Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival 8/14, Fri @ 2:30pm AT&T Center Tracy Lawrence 8/14, Fri @ 7pm (doors open) Cowboys San Antonio Max Stalling 8/14, Fri @ 7pm (doors open) John T. Floore Country Store
Kevin Flower 8/22, Sat @ 7pm (doors open) John T. Floore Country Store Honeybrowne 8/22, Sat @ 9pm Gruene Hall Rich O’Toole County Line Free Music Series 8/26, Wed @ 6:30pm (doors open) County Line BBQ – IH-10 Crosby, Stills and Nash An Arts San Antonio Presentation 8/27, Thu @ 8pm Municipal Auditorium Jamey Johnson 8/28, Fri @ 7pm (doors open) Cowboys San Antonio
Junior Brown 8/14, Fri @ 8pm Gruene Hall
Bart Crow Band 8/29, Sat @ 7pm (doors open) John T. Floore Country Store
Reckless Kelly 8/15, Sat @ 7pm (doors open) John T. Floore Country Store
Radney Foster 8/29, Sat @ 9pm Gruene Hall
Ray Wylie Hubbard 8/15, Sat @ 9pm Gruene Hall Ricardo Arjona 8/16, Sun @ 7:30pm AT&T Center
On Stage 1776 Playhouse 2000 Presentation 7/2-18, Thu-Sat @ 7:30pm Sun @ 2pm Kathleen C. Cailloux Theater - Kerrville
Powerhouse Divas 7/1-8/29, Sat @ 10:15pm Harlequin Dinner Theatre Broadway Bound 7/2-11, Thu-Sat @ 6:15pm (dinner), 8pm (show) Harlequin Dinner Theatre Seussical the Musical Fredericksburg Theatre Co. 7/3-5, Fri @ 7:30pm Sat-Sun @ 2pm Steve W. Shepherd Theatre Take Me Out 7/3-19, Fri-Sat @ 8pm Sun @ 2:30pm (no show 7/4) Cellar Theater San Pedro Playhouse Spotlight: The Great American Playbill- A Musical Revue 7/3-8/7, Fri @ 8pm Woodlawn Theatre Legends of Las Vegas 7/4-25, Sat @ 11am Harlequin Dinner Theatre It Happened One Night On The S.S. Applewhite Steven Stoli Entertainment 7/9 & 30, Thu @ 6:30pm (dinner and show) Milano Ristorante Italiano - Nacogdoches Blackbird 7/9-26, Thu-Sat 2 8pm Sun @ 2:30pm Attic Rep at Trinity
Seussical the Musical 7/9-8/2, Thu-Sat @ 8pm Sun @ 2pm Circle Arts Theatre – New Braunfels Beauty and the Beast 7/10-25, Thu-Sat @ 8:30pm Sun (7/12 only) @ 8:30pm Smith Ritch Point Theatre – Ingram Crimes of the Heart Renaissance Guild Presentation 7/10-26, Thu-Sat @ 8pm Sun @ 4pm Jump Start Theater Buddha Swings 7/10-8/15, Fri @ 9:30pm Sat @ 8pm The Overtime Theater Disney’s High School Musical 2 Live! 7/11-8/15, Sat @ 7:30pm Woodlawn Theatre Barbara’s Blue Kitchen 7/16-18, Thu-Sat @ 6:30 dinner, 8pm show 7/23-8/2, Thu-Sat @ 6:30 dinner, 8pm show Sun @ 4pm S.T.A.G.E. Spotlight Theatre Arts Group Etc. Crossroads 7/17-8/2, Thu @ 7:30pm, Fri-Sat @ 8pm Sun @ 2:30pm Boerne Community Theatre July-August March-April 2009 | On The Town 31
The Sound of Music 7/17-8/23, Fri-Sat @ 8pm Sun @ 2:30pm (no show 7/19) Russell Hill Rogers Theater San Pedro Playhouse I Hate Hamlet 7/25-8/23, Fri-Sat @ 8pm Sun @ 2pm Cameo Theatre The Trojan Women 7/30-8/9, Thu-Sun @ 7pm Playhouse in the Park San Pedro Playhouse Dearly Beloved Playhouse 2000 Presentation 8/6-22, Thu-Sat @ 7:30pm Sun @ 2pm Kathleen C. Cailloux Theater - Kerrville Greater Tuna 8/7-22, Thu-Sat @ 8:30pm Sun (8/9 only) @ 8:30pm Smith Ritch Point Theatre Psycho Beach Party 8/14-9/19, Fri-Sat @ 10:15pm Zumbo Lounge @ Cameo Center Action Philosophers 8/21-9/19, Fri @ 9:30pm Sat @ 8pm The OvertimeTheater The History Boys 8/28-9/27, Fri-Sat @ 8pm Sun @ 2pm Cellar Theater San Pedro Playhouse
Standup Greg Vaccarello 7/1-5, Thu & Sun @ 8:30pm Fri-Sat @ 8:30pm & 10:45pm Rivercenter Comedy Club Carole Montgomery 7/8-12, Thu & Sun @ 8:30pm Fri-Sat @ 8:30pm & 10:45pm Rivercenter Comedy Club JR Brow 7/15-19, Thu & Sun @ 8:30pm Fri-Sat @ 8:30pm & 10:45pm Rivercenter Comedy Club Steve Shaffer 7/22-26, Thu & Sun @ 8:30pm Fri-Sat @ 8:30pm & 10:45pm Rivercenter Comedy Club Chinaman 7/29-8/2, Thu & Sun @ 8:30pm Fri-Sat @ 8:30pm & 10:45pm Rivercenter Comedy Club Danny Bevins 8/5-9 Thu & Sun @ 8:30pm Fri-Sa,t @ 8:30pm & 10:45pm Rivercenter Comedy Club George Lopez 8/8, Sat @ 8pm AT&T Center
32 On The Town | July-August 2009
Max Dolcelli 8/12-16, Thu & Sun @ 8:30pm Fri-Sat @ 8:30pm & 10:45pm Rivercenter Comedy Club
The Wiggles Starburst® Summer Concert Series 8/6, Thu @ 6pm Lone Star Lil’s Amphitheater Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Gemini 8/26-30, Thu & Sun @ 8:30pm Fri-Sat @ 8:30pm & 10:45pm Rivercenter Comedy Club
Beauty and the Beast 8/21- 9/5, Fri @ 7pm Sat @ 2pm 9/7-26, Tue-Wed @ 9:45am & 11:30am Fri @ 7pm, Sat @ 2pm Magik Theatre
Jazz on Tap 7/25, Sat @ 8pm Jo Long Theatre
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey: Over The Top 7/1-5, Wed-Fri @ 7pm Sat @ 12pm & 4pm Sun @ 3pm Alamodome
For The Kids Phantom of the Alamo 7/1-24, Wed @ 10:30am Fri @ 7pm Magik Theatre The Three Bears Go to the Beach 7/11-25, Sat @ 10am & 12:30pm The Rose Theatre Co. Dora the Explorer Live! 7/24-26, Fri @ 7pm Sat @ 11am, 2pm & 5pm Sun @ 2pm Majestic Theatre If You Give a Mouse a Cookie 7/29-8/14, Wed @ 10:30am Fri @ 7pm Sat @ 2pm Magik Theatre
Cesar Millian A.K.A. the Dog Whisperer 7/11, Sat @ 4:30pm Lila Cockrell Theatre Los Magnificos Car Show 8/5, Sun @ 12pm Freeman Coliseum PBR: Professional Bull Riders 8/1-2, Sat @ 6:50pm Sun @ 2pm AT&T Center
On Exhibit ARTPACE Hudson (Show)Room Jonathan Monk: Rew-Shay Hood Project Part II Thru 9/6
International Artist-In-Residence New Works: 09.2 Anne Collier Charlie Morris Silke Otto-Knapp Kitty Scott – Curator Opens 7/16
BIHL HAUS ARTS River of Silk by Caroline G. Flores Opens 7/10
BLUE STAR CONTEMPORARY ART CENTER
Lonely Are The Brave Jesse Amado Justin Boyd Kelly O’Connor Chris Sauter Hills Snyder – Curator 7/2-8/15
And…featuring Kevin Patrick McClellan 7/2-8/15
INSTITUTO de MEXICO Nuevo Leon, Tres Generaciones 7/9-8/30 McNAY ART MUSEUM In Their Own Right: Contemporary Women Printmakers Thru 8/23 30 x 30 cm Project: A Contemporary Print Collaboration Thru 8/23
Tom Slick: International Art Collector Thru 9/13 Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey Thru 9/13 MUSEO ALAMEDA American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music Thru 9/25 Becoming American: Teenagers and Immigration Thru 8/30
July-August May-June 2009 | On The Town 33
Frida Kahlo Through The Lens of Nickolas Muray 7/29-12/6 SAN ANTONIO BOTANICAL GARDEN John Henry: Art In The Garden Bill FitzGibbon – Curator 7/16-6/1/10 SAN ANTONIO MUSEUM OF ART Perspectivas Populares Thru 7/09
UTSA’s INSTITUTE OF TEXAN CULTURES Texas Contemporary Artist Series: Leigh Anne Lester 7/18-10/25 Touching the Lives of Texans: AIDS Quilt 8/15-9/20 WITTE MUSEUM Wild, Wild West: True Stories and the Arena Thru 8/23
Vincent Valdez: El Chavez Ravine Thru 8/2
Breathing Places: History of San Antonio Parks Thru 8/31
Zoe’s Room Thru 8/2
Queens and Crowns: Fiesta’s Royal Traditions Thru 9/7
Imagenes de Mexico: Select Photographs from the Permanent Collection Thru 8/09 Waterflow Thru 8/23 Music in Medieval China Thru 10/18 SOUTHWEST SCHOOL OF ART & CRAFT Gregory Allen Johnson Solo Exhibition 7/2-9/6 Texas Draws 7/2-9/6
Playing With Time Thru 9/27
Festivals & Celebrations
Summer Literacy Festival 7/10-27 Gemini Ink Houston Street Fair & Market 7/25, Sat / 12pm-6pm Summer In SA 8/29, Sat / 12pm-6pm Car Show Downtown
San Antonio Missions vs. Midland RockHounds 7/16-19, Thu-Sat @ 7:05pm Sun @ 6:05pm Nelson W. Wolff Stadium San Antonio Silver Stars vs. Connecticut Sun 7/17, Fri @ 7pm AT&T Center
2009 Conjunto Heritage Taller Tardeada 7/25, Sat / 6:30pm11:30pm Maverick Plaza – La Villita
San Antonio Silver Stars vs. Indiana Fever 7/23, Thu @ 11:30am AT&T Center
Ford Canoe Challenge 8/15, Saturday River Walk
San Antonio Missions vs. Midland RockHounds 7/24-27, Fri-Sat @ 7:05pm Sun @ 6:05pm Mon @ 7:05pm Nelson W. Wolff Stadium
Professional Sports San Antonio Missions vs. Northwest Arkansas Naturals 7/2-4, Thu-Fri @ 7:05pm Sat @ 5:05pm Nelson W. Wolff Stadium
San Antonio Silver Stars vs. Seattle Storm 7/28, Tue @ 7pm AT&T Center
San Antonio Silver Stars vs. Chicago Sky 7/3, Fri @ 7pm AT&T Center
San Antonio Missions vs. Frisco RoughRiders 7/31-8/3, Fri-Sat @ 7:05pm Sun @ 6:05pm Mon @ 7:05pm Nelson W. Wolff Stadium
First Friday Art Walk 7/3 & 8/7, Fri / 6-9pm Southtown / Blue Star / King William
San Antonio Missions vs. Tulsa Drillers 7/5-7, Sun @ 6:05pm Mon-Tue @ 7:05pm Nelson W. Wolff Stadium
San Antonio Missions vs. Corpus Christi Hooks 8/4-6, Tue-Thu @ 7:05pm Nelson W. Wolff Stadium
Fiesta Noche del Rio 7/5-8/8, Fri-Sat @ 8:30pm (gates open @ 6:30pm) Arneson River Theater
San Antonio Silver Stars vs. Minnesota Lynx 7/12, Sun @ 6pm AT&T Center
San Antonio Silver Stars vs. Atlanta Dream 8/6, Thu @ 7pm AT&T Center
Contemporary Art Month 7/1-31 Citywide
34 On The Town | July-August 2009
July-August 2009 | On The Town 35
San Antonio Silver Stars vs. Sacramento Monarchs 8/11, Tue @ 7pm AT&T Center San Antonio Missions vs. Springfield Cardinals 8/12-14, Wed-Fri @ 7:05pm Nelson W. Wolff Stadium San Antonio Silver Stars vs. Phoenix Mercury 8/15, Sat @ 7pm AT&T Center San Antonio Missions vs. Arkansas Travelers 8/15-17, Sat @ 7:05pm Sun @ 6:05pm Mon @ 7:05pm Nelson W. Wolff Stadium San Antonio Silver Stars vs. Los Angeles Sparks 8/21, Fri @ 7pm AT&T Center San Antonio Missions vs. Frisco RoughRiders 8/25-28, Tue-Fri @ 7:05pm Nelson W. Wolff Stadium San Antonio Silver Stars vs. Detroit Shock 8/29, Sat @ 2pm AT&T Center San Antonio Missions vs. Corpus Christi Hooks 8/29-31, Sat @ 7:05pm Sun @ 6:05pm Mon @ 7:05pm Nelson W. Wolff Stadium
Max Stalling Photo courtesy maxstalling.com
Page 28 (L-R) Randy Travis Photo courtesy randytravis.com Asleep at the Wheel Photo courtesy sonicbids.com Two Tons of Steel Photo courtesy twotons.com
Page 32 (L-R) Cory Morrow Photo courtesy corymorrow.com Brandon Rhyder Photo courtesy brandonrhyder.com
Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio Photo courtesy cpmf.us
Ottmar Liebert Photo by Greg Gorman
Page 29 (L-R)
Tracy Lawrence Photo courtesy tracylawrence.com
Stoney LaRue Photo courtesy stoneylarue.com Bion Tsang Photo by Mark Matson Page 30 (L-R) Heidi Krutzen Photo courtesy cpmf.us Jeff Garza Photo courtesy cpmf.us Pat Green Photo courtesy patgreen.com Lorna McGhee Photo courtesy cpmf.us Page 31 (L-R) Roger Creager Photo courtesy rogercreager.com
36 On The Town | July-August 2009
Page 33 (L-R) Ray Wylie Hubbard Photo courtesy raywylie.com Radney Foster Photo courtesy radneyfoster.com Greg Vacarello Photo courtesy gregvac.com Helen Frankenthaler Postcard for James Schuyler Lithograph Collection of the McNay Art Museum Bequest of Evelyn Halff Ruben
Page 34 (L-R) Pablo Picasso Portrait of Sylvette, 1954 Oil on canvas Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of the Estate of Tom Slick Selena Poster American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music at Museo Alameda John Henry Featured sculptor Art in the Garden San Antonio Botanical Garden Vincent Valdez El Chavez Ravine San Antonio Museum of Art Page 36 (L-R) Music in Medieval China San Antonio Museum of Art Alice Briggs Trace, 2008, sgraffito drawing, 24x18” Southwest School of Art and Craft Fiesta Noche del Rio Photo courtesy Fiesta Noche del Rio Car Show Houston Street Fair & Market
July-August 2009 | On The Town 37
38 On The Town | July-August 2009
My Very Own Summer Film Festival By Blair Russell
he thought occurred to me a short while back that I should take time to see more movies. I remember thinking that life shouldn’t be so hectic and that I should stop the world for a couple of hours every now and then to enjoy a film. With this in mind, I whipped out my calendar and began to formulate a plan. I decided to package this brainstorm under the heading of “My Very Own Summer Film Festival” and have it take place in July and August.
have been just OK but, hey, it’s my film festival. Closing out the month is Funny People, a comedy-drama with Adam Sandler. August brings Meryl Streep back to the big screen as Julia Child and me back to the ticket booth. Julie and Julia is the story of Julie Powell, played by Amy Adams, and her attempt to cook all 524 recipes in Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in one year’s time. Nora Ephron wrote the screenplay and directed. It debuts Aug. 7.
The first thing I needed to figure out was where to find information on which movies were scheduled to open during this timeframe. A quick noodle on the net took me to www.imdb.com, short for the Internet Movie Database. Now I’m an expert because this site is an allinclusive wonder.
The Time Travelers Wife is my next choice in August. Eric Bana is a librarian in Chicago who possesses a gene that causes him to involuntarily time travel, resulting in marital complications. Rachel McAdams plays the part of his wife. I’m really looking forward to seeing Inglourious Basterds in August as well. Directed by Public Enemies, the initial show on my list, opens July Quentin Tarantino and starring Brad Pitt, the film is the 1 with a cast of thousands headed by Christian Bale story of an American-led killing squad known as “The as Melvin Purvis and Johnny Depp as John Dillinger. Basterds” that terrorizes the Nazis in German-occupied I already know the storyline, as do most folks, but I’m France during World War II. looking forward to Depp’s portrayal of the notorious 1930s bank robber. The way I figure it, if he can play The month comes to an end with Alexis Bledel in Post Jack Sparrow followed by Willy Wonka and Sweeney Grad. Her character, Rhyden Malby, graduates from Todd, this ought to be a piece of cake, and I’ll be there college and moves back home with her oddball family to see the proof. while trying to find a job, the right guy and a hint of where her life is headed. Michael Keaton and Carol Next up, opening July 17, is 500 Days of Summer, which Burnett also star. is said to be the best film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a cubicle Eight films comprise “My Very Own Summer Film dweller who writes greeting cards and Zooey Deschanel Festival,” and I plan to see each one for $5. Santikos as the new girl in the office, the film is a story about love Theatres offers $5 per ticket “Extravaganza” pricing at but not a love story. I’m sure I’ll understand the meaning three of their locations -- Embassy, Northwest and Rialto of this before the final credits roll. The Ugly Truth is also – from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily. on my lineup for July. This formula romance features the duo of Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler. The reviews Life shouldn’t be so hectic. See you at the movies. Photo: Bigstock-Dicdesign
July-August 2009 | On The Town 39
PA Performing Arts
By Erin West Photos (L-R) Marvin Hamlisch Photo courtesy Kerrville Performing Arts Society Manhattan Rhythm Kings Photo courtesy producersinc.com
f you live in San Antonio and don’t mind a short drive to see a show, then I’m about to give you some great news. Two smaller communities within minutes of the city have big-time performing arts presentations for everyone to enjoy. I urge you to step right up and learn more about the Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre and the Kerrville Performing Arts Society.
The Kerrville Performing Arts Society is set to begin its 26th season this fall. The group’s offering for 2009-10 starts with two performances by Yamato Drummers in October, followed by the fifth annual Nutcracker in the Hills (with the San Diego Ballet) the weekend before Thanksgiving. Next year kicks off with the colorful Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez and the Berlin Wind Quartet in January. American Big Band The Brauntex, a 569-seat venue that originally opened plays two shows in February, as does the legendary in 1942, is now the performing arts gem of downtown Marvin Hamlisch in late March. Peter Schickele, a.k.a. New Braunfels. Located just south of the circle on San PDQ Bach, brings the season to a spectacular close Antonio Street, the theater was restored from 1998 with two dates in April. to 2000 and is currently entering its 10th season as a presenter of live entertainment. The 2009-10 schedule All Kerrville Performing Arts Society performances are features such highlights as Manhattan Rhythm Kings presented at the Kathleen C. Cailloux Theater, an 834in October, Irving Berlin’s I Love a Piano in November, seat auditorium that’s worth the trip by itself. Winter Dance Party in January (a recreation of the last concert by Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Since I’m fairly certain you’ll want to know more about Bopper), American Big Band in February and Three Men these wonderful presenting organizations, here are their and a Maestro in April. In addition, the season includes Web sites: www.brauntex.org and www.kpas.org. New Odyssey, Destino and the Hunt Family. Season tickets just might be a great idea!
40 On The Town | July-August 2009
July-August 2009 | On The Town 41
Blue Star FP Ad
42 On The Town | July-August 2009
Visual Arts 44-64
July-August 2009 | On The Town 43
44 On The Town | July-August 2009
The Art of Gilbert Durán By Paloma Cortez Photo of Gilbert Duran by Cynthia Clark
eeting artist Gilbert Durán at San Antonio’s .popular Mi Tierra Cafe for our interview, I ...couldn’t help but notice how the setting could have been inspired by one of his own paintings. From my view sitting across from him in the restaurant’s brightly decorated middle dining room, his white goatee with handlebar mustache seemed to glow against his brown cotton shirt while the lights and colorful papel picado behind him filled the imaginary canvas surrounding him. Known for his consistently evolving style, Durán continues to depict the many expressions and people who help create San Antonio’s Hispanic culture.
As one of a family of 10 children growing up in San Antonio, Durán’s interest in art was sparked by his father, a portrait artist who was forced to put aside any artistic pursuit in order to support his large family. A self-taught artist, Durán began his career right after high school as a wood carver while also working any odd jobs that would allow him to continue his passion. It wasn’t until he transitioned to watercolors that his works of wildlife and scenic landscapes became popular among collectors. Securing his reputation as a skilled wildlife artist, Durán decided to express his Hispanic heritage and portray
July-August March-April 2009 | On The Town 45
people and images significant to his culture. With bolder colors and styles borrowed from art movements such as cubism, impressionism and surrealism, his later art stands in strong contrast to his earlier work, but thoughtful and skillfully orchestrated subject matter continues to be a constant among Durán diverse collections. Visiting Durán’s studio, Studio 911, one of his most recognizable images, Alameda Girl, greets you at the door as she flirtatiously peeks back, while each wall is covered with canvases created in magnetic colors that echo the beauty and diversity of those living in San Antonio. At the easel is his partially finished work, Dali-Gas, which depicts surrealist painter Salvador Dali playing an accordion; at closer inspection, the accordion transforms into a motor and the sense of speed is represented by images of a mustang, roadrunner and cheetah in the background. “Just like anything else, an artist goes through a lot of phases,” Duran said. “The watercolor demanded a lot of my time and detail. I needed to take a break and to paint bigger canvases. I began to notice that most of my collectors where non-Hispanics, and for many years I was determined to get Hispanics to appreciate art.” In 2007, when invited by the San Antonio Public Library Foundation to contribute a series of paintings inspired by Columbian figurative artist Fernando Botero for the Sabor Botero event, Durán portrayed the familiar short, plump characters in some of San Antonio’s wellknown places. “I like to take famous paintings done hundreds of years ago and teach myself not only by reading their (artist) biographies, I want to know how they painted, and the only way to do that is to mimic their style. I like to see paintings from Europe and around the world where our (Hispanic) cultures are very similar, and so I incorporate some of my San Antonio images into their paintings as an exercise.” Recently, Durán faced critics when his latest work, a giant aluminum fork sculpture installed in front of chef Damien Watel’s Ciel Plaza, was criticized by the Stone Oak Property Owners Association as being an advertisement and called for the sculpture to be removed and relocated. A compromise was later made to build a wall around it. “The first time I venture out to do something for everyone to see, they want to build a wall around it, 46 On The Town | July-August September-October 2009 2008
that’s the battle right now,” Durán says. “It’s not just about the sculpture; it’s about all of our rights.” However, Durán continues to find support from a growing arts community in San Antonio. Currently he is working with fellow artist Carlos Cortés as his creative consultant for the Museum Reach expansion of the San Antonio River Walk and is completing a series of benches commemorating the lives of César Chávez, Rosa Parks and Ann Frank. “San Antonio has become an art community not just because of the artists we have, you also have another element that makes it better: the buyers, collectors and supporters of the arts who are very important for an artist to succeed. It is the support of those who purchase art who are supporting it at its root level that is keeping the artist painting and creating. We all have that here in town; without that, we don’t survive.” For more information of Gilbert Durán, visit www. Duran-arte.com.
“Just like anything else, an artist goes through a lot of phases. The watercolor demanded a lot of my time and detail. I needed to take a break and to paint bigger canvases. I began to notice that most of my collectors where nonHispanics, and for many years I was determined to get Hispanics to appreciate art.” - Gilbert Duran
Photo Credits: Page 44 – Gilbert Duran Page 45 – (Left) Alameda-II (Right) Whirlwind Page 46 – (Above) Artist-Non-Grata (Below) Margarita-Hombre Page 47 – (Above) Moonlight (Below) Picasso Girl July-August 2009 | On The Town 47
Q & A with Bill FitzGibbons of Blue Star About Contemporary Art Month in San Antonio By On Gabriella 48 The Town Scott | July-August 2009
t the helm of the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center since 2002, Bill FitzGibbons epitomizes the democratic, creative, non-bureaucratic style of this gallery and its innovative and resourceful approach to promoting and supporting contemporary visual arts in San Antonio. As an artistrun institution, Blue Star benefits from its executive director’s personality and style: his involvement in local, national and international artistic and curatorial projects has allowed this gallery to be steeped in local culture and at the same time recognized nationally and internationally through a series of collaborative ventures. The result of this broader exposure has directly benefited local artists and satellite art galleries as they have gained access, through the gallery’s increased visibility, to venues previously reserved only for players from larger, more established markets. Blue Star originated from a common need among San Antonio artists and art entrepreneurs for a more inclusive and democratic art environment, one focused on promoting, enabling and supporting rather than simply sanctioning and validating. The same need is at the heart of Contemporary Art Month (CAM), an organization founded in 1986 and designed to promote grassroots contemporary art events by dedicating a month each year to celebrating local contemporary art, facilitating exhibition and marketing of art, and coordinating and distributing a calendar of events. We asked FitzGibbons about CAM’s history, its trajectory and its potential future developments: GS: How is Blue Star’s history tied to CAM? BF: A group of artists were asked by SAMA in 1986 to be in a group exhibition, which was then canceled one month before the scheduled date. The artists decided to find an alternative venue and Bernard Lifshutz, who had recently acquired the vacant, rundown Blue Star complex located just south of the King William neighborhood, allowed them to use it for the exhibition, which took place in July 1986. Although only about 200 people were expected to attend, over 2,500 showed up, which took the art community by surprise and was followed by other art exhibits over the years. We have been here ever since. Jeffrey Moore, originally executive director of Southwest Craft Center (now Southwest School of Art & Craft), became executive director of Blue Star Art Space. Jeffrey was instrumental in creating a collaboration between Bill FitzGibbons / president and executive director of Blue Star Contemporary Art Center - Photo by Rick Hunter
Blue Star, Southwest Craft Center, the McNay and the San Antonio Art Institute to petition city council to designate July as Contemporary Art Month. GS: How did the leadership of CAM evolve over the years? BF: CAM grew in scope and reach over time to cover a wide range of events: from artist studio openings, to Katie Pell’s “Automatic Studio Tour” in the Blue Star/ LaVaca area, to the Dignowity Hill Pushcart Derby, to name a few. Blue Star coordinated the calendar of events in the beginning, but as the number of events and venues grew it was turned over to the Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) to run the calendar and manage logistics. In 2004, Blue Star’s board of directors and OCA passed a recommendation to move CAM from July to either October or November, to increase attendance by avoiding the hot weather and by connecting it to the recently inaugurated Fall Festival, an event designed to attract cultural tourism in cooperation with the Conventions and Visitors Bureau. A group of local artists, led by Robert Tatum, objected to moving CAM to the fall and proceeded to register the “CAM” name, although Blue Star had previously registered the name “Contemporary Art Month.” For the sake of avoiding conflicts with these local artists, who are central to our community and operation, Blue Star renounced control of CAM, the date was left unchanged, and we continued to cooperate with the organization by funding some of their advertising. On our 20th anniversary, we hosted CAM’s kick-off, inviting past Blue Star directors Jeffrey Moore and Carla Stellweg. GS: I hear CAM’s official month has been moved from July to March… BF: CAM has grown to a point where it is increasingly difficult for the artists involved to manage it without the support of major local cultural institutions. Over the last couple of years, these institutions have partnered with CAM to address its growing needs and give it administrative and logistical support, and Tatum has ceded control of the organization to an advisory board that includes Ben Judson, Andy Benavides, Michele Monseau, Leslie Raymond and Jason Jay Stevens. 2009 will be the last year that CAM takes place in July, and in 2010 it will be moved to March to combine with Luminaria, the one-day art festival that Mayor Phil Hardberger inaugurated two July-August 2009 | On The Town 49
years ago. This is aimed at establishing San Antonio as a visual arts destination for tourism for the month of March. As director of Blue Star, I am very supportive of this new direction for CAM. GS: How has contemporary art and public art grown in San Antonio over the past 20 years? BF: In 1988, when I moved to San Antonio, there was very little support of local arts by the museums, and there were few galleries. Since then there has been an explosion of opportunities, both through venues and public art programs: the growth of Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, the establishment of ArtPace by Linda Pace, the McNay and SAMA hiring curators for contemporary art, all this provided a stimulus for not only San Antonio artists but contemporary art in general. About 17 years ago, San Antonio began a public art program whose first manager was Felix Padron, who at the time faced an art-hostile mayor and city council that lowered the city art budget by 15 percent and de-funded the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center. Unfortunately, this created a negative image of San Antonio as being a city unsupportive of the arts in general, but under Felix Padron’s expert leadership the public arts program was reinstated and reorganized, and it is now enjoying great progress under James LeFlore. Padron became the director of the San Antonio Office of Cultural Affairs and has overseen a tripling of his budget, with a resulting blossoming of the arts community. The city’s current administration is extremely supportive of the creative class, which they see as an essential part of our identity and instrumental to enhancing quality of life, and cultural institutions have taken on a leadership role in the development of cultural programs, to the point that recent studies have shown that the arts industry in San Antonio has grown to rank among the top five industries, allowing us to aspire to world-class recognition for the variety and depth of our offerings. CAM is a very good example of the creative energy and the sense of fun pervading our local culture. July 2009 ushers in Contemporary Art Month, San Antonio’s month-long, citywide celebration of art. From painting to photography, from video arts to mixedmedia installations, the city’s galleries, museums, studios, alternative venues and entire neighborhoods come together to showcase our rich, complex culture and exuberant creativity.
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(Top to Bottom) Cathedral Lights, Light Channels and Daystar Plaza 4 by Bill FitzGibbons
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By Shannon Hun
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ng is a Cool Idea
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.an Antonio is diving into summer with a full, varied schedule of exhibits on view throughout the city. In addition, July marks the 24th anniversary of San Antonio’s Contemporary Art Month (CAM), which continues to raise the national profile of local contemporary art and artists.
Just in time for summer, the Witte Museum is bringing time warp to San Antonio through Playing with Time, on view through Sept. 25. Speed up, slow down and manipulate time, using high-tech slow motion and timelapse cameras, to see the things that happen too quickly or too slowly for the eye to see. Afterwards, step back in time to the Wild Wild West exhibit, on view through Aug. 23, to see the real-life stories of Western heroes through Western frontier artifacts from the post Civil War era to the 1920s. Don’t miss the Witte’s annual Fiesta exhibit, Queens and Crowns: Fiesta’s Royal Traditions, on view through Aug. 9, honoring the 100th anniversary of the Order of the Alamo. The Southwest School of Art & Craft opens two exhibits this summer in honor of CAM. Texas Draws One, on view July 2 through Sept. 6, features drawn works by 12 artists from across Texas and illustrates the capabilities of the pencil. San Antonio artists include Jayne Lawrence, Katie Pell and Regis Shephard. Greg Johnson: Solo Exhibition, also on view July 2 through Sept. 6, boasts drawn works by this San Antonio artist whose method features the bizarre and the comical.
Museum Story FP Editorial
As the San Antonio Museum of Art recently celebrated the new River Walk extension coming to its back door, it is more than appropriate that the summer exhibit is Waterflow, on view through Aug. 23. Comprising 15 contemporary artists, the works all have been inspired by water and feature a variety of mediums. Eight photographers from the permanent collection were chosen to form Imagenes de Mexico: Select Photographs from the Permanent Collection. On view through Aug. 9, these artists were chosen for their portrayal of their own vision of Mexico. This summer marks the last chance to see Vincent Valdez: El Chavez Ravine and Zoe’s Room, both closing Aug. 2. Displayed side by side, experience the reflection upon the late 1950s displacement of the Los Angeles Chicano community and John Hernandez’ inspiration by childhood stories such as Aesop’s Fables and Mother Goose. In addition, SAMA has opened Music in Medieval China. This exhibit will be on display through October 18 depicting the great transformation that took place in early Chinese 54 On The Town | July-August September-October 2009 2008
music during the medieval period, especially during the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) dynasties. UTSA’s Institute of Texan Cultures has two fascinating exhibits lined up following the Texas Folklife Festival. The Texas Contemporary Artists Series: Leigh Anne Lester, on view July 18 through Oct. 25, features layered botanical drawings on semi-transparent Mylar. This examination of the natural state of plant life and the effects of genetic modification includes cactus, succulent plants and Johnson grass — all native to Texas. The famous AIDS Quilt is making a limited engagement stop at ITC, Aug. 15 through Sept. 20. Touching the Lives of Texans is a special 1,728-square-foot portion of the quilt honoring individuals from San Antonio and Texas. Fresh off the one-year anniversary of the opening of the Jane and Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions, the McNay Art Museum boasts a top-notch summer schedule. The Tom Slick Collection, on view through Sept. 13, features more than 50 paintings and sculptures, reuniting for the first time the works given to the McNay by the Tom Slick estate in 1973 with those held by his family in their private collections. Carnivorous plants, falling masonry and uninvited guests fill the unique, imaginary world of American author and illustrator Edward Gorey. Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey, on view through Sept. 13, is composed of more than 175 of Gorey’s original works. Focusing on the achievements of women printmakers from 1960 to the present, In Their Own Right: Contemporary Women Printmakers is on view through Aug. 23. This exhibit showcases nearly 30 prints by contemporary women printmakers from the McNay’s collection.
Museum Story FP Editorial
The Museo Alameda celebrated its two-year anniversary this spring and has several notable exhibits on view. American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music, on view through Sept. 25, is the first exhibition to tell the story of the profound influence of post-World War II U.S. Latino musicians on American popular music. Becoming American: Teenagers and Immigration, on view through Aug. 30, features photographs by Barbara Beirne. Developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, this exhibition spotlights images of first-generation immigrants and children of immigrants. A rare exhibition of 50 photographs of Frida Kahlo, dating from 1937 to 1941, makes up Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nikolas Muray. On view July 29 through Dec. 6, the photos in this exhibit were taken by Hungarianborn photographer Nikolas Muray, providing a view from Kahlo’s friend, lover and confidant. July-August 2009 | On The Town 55
Keeping up the pace of world-renowned exhibits this summer is Artpace. Jonathan Monk: Rew-Shay Hood Project, on view through Sept. 6, features a diverse range of media from photography and sculpture to film and installation. This Berlin-based artist has created contemporary projects that deal with reception and reinterpretation. The new season of the International Artist-in-Residence program, New Works: 09.2, opens July 16 and boasts artists from New York, San Antonio and London. New York-based artist Anne Collier uses appropriation and re-photography to expand on the emotive implications of mass-produced images, using photographs and illustrations drawn from diverse sources, often with an emphasis on 1970s popular culture. Local artist Charlie Morris’ multi-media approach combines flat color schemes with atypical compositional arrangements, resulting in an ongoing series of work that explores technology and mass media. London-based and German-born Silke OttoKnapp’s paintings and drawings are inspired by theater sets and botanical gardens, the use of the stage, mirrors, and multiple figures are enhanced by her combination of watercolor and washes. The gallery space at Bihl Haus Arts will be filled with cascades of hand-dyed silk with the new installation, River of Silk/Rio de Seda by Carolina G. Flores. Opening on July 10, the installation is inspired by the Alhambra, as the artist creates a cool, inviting space reminiscent of Islamic gardens. Adding to the garden feel, Flores accompanies the silk with giant flower paintings and terracotta fountains bubbling from the floor and hanging from the ceiling. The official kick-off to CAM is happening at Blue Star Contemporary Art Center through Lonely Are the Brave, on view July 2 through Aug. 15. Taking its title from the 1962 movie, this exhibition features four San Antonio artists: Jesse Amado, Justin Boyd, Kelly O’Connor and Chris Sauter. Curator Hills Snyder claims that these artists somehow combine to create a picture of America, an idea that cannot be contained by the implied borders of “USA.” Also on view at Blue Star from July 2 through July 26 is And…featuring Kevin Patrick McClellan. The calculated processes developed in the world of architects and designers are resulting in a re-evaluation of how design is conceived and implemented. Beyond the object and its intended use, a manifest reality emerges, one both questioning and answering. 56 On The Town | July-August September-October 2009 2008
Mark your calendar because a new Art in the Garden exhibit opens at San Antonio Botanical Garden on July 16 featuring the contemporary metal sculptures of John Henry. A bit later on in the fall, the garden will unleash David Rogers’ Big Bugs. Opening on Sept. 7, this largerthan-life collection of bug sculptures gives visitors a closer look at hidden gardeners! As the temperature rises this summer, think about hitting the indoors! The museums, galleries and institutions in San Antonio offer fantastic air-conditioned activities for the entire family.
Photo Credits Page 52-53 – Poppin’ Popcorn Playing with Time Witte Museum Page 54 – (Above) John Hernandez Living Eye – Zoe’s Room San Antonio Museum of Art (Below) Plant Dance – Playing with Time Witte Museum Page 55 – (Above) Mona Marshall: Oil Field, 2007, 54x52” Tex Draws – Southwest School of Art & Craft (Below) Gregory Johnson: The Narcoleptic’s Daydream, 2008, watercolor, 13x20” Tex Draws – Southwest School of Art & Craft Page 56 – (Above) Traveler by John Henry
“Just like anything San Antonio Botanicalelse, Garden an artLeigh AnneaLester ist goesBelow) through lot of phases. Texas Contemporary Artists Series The watercolor demanded a lot of UTSA’s institute of Texan Cultures my time and detail. I needed to Page 57a– (Above) take breakWilliam andBaziotes to paint bigger Whirlwind, 1957 canvases. I graphite began to notice that Oil and on canvas most ofCollection my collectors where nonof the Slick Family McNay Art Museum Hispanics, and for many years I (Below) Georgia O’Keeffe was determined get Hispanics Sun Water Maine,to 1922 Pastel on paper to appreciate art.” Collection of the Slick Family McNay Art Museum - Gilbert Duran
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Larry West San Antonio Hot Glass Sculptor Story and Photography by Greg Harrison
.arry West, owner of Dragonfire Hot Glass Studio, is a Prometheus. Molten glass becomes art in the hands of this San Antonio sculptor. Well, not literally, but certainly by his touch. West lifts liquid glass out of the cauldron on a long “glass pipe,” he shapes it, breathes life into its form and begins sculpting. West knows how gravity and motion coexist, how they dance, allowing him to coax the glass to his visions. He becomes a partner with fire, air and gravity as he turns and shapes orange-hot orbs of glass into beautiful, imaginative designs. West views understanding viscosity, the liquid density of the glass and metal he works with, as among the most important keys to his work. “Knowing how fast liquid glass will yield to gravity and motion tells me how fast I need to keep it rotating, how much pressure to blow into the pipe, and how long I can shape it before it begins its shape-shifting back into a solid form,” he says. West has to transform sand into liquid glass and then form and shape it without touching it. Unlike sculpting with stone, West adds glass upon glass instead of taking anything away. Once he has created a glass sculpture, he often turns his fire to metal. West sculpts, hammers and welds unique stands for some of his sculptures. Other times, he creates metal sculptures in concert with his glass works. “Glass and metal, although both liquid sculpture media, do not meld; rather they carry each other when in a mixed-media sculpture.” West says. Uniting the arts of the blacksmith, the forger and the welder comes naturally. “A single process yields a given result. I want to be a little surprised with every project I undertake and with the processes I cumulatively employ. Creativity is seldom predictable.” Larry West, Dragonfire Hot Glass Studio
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Formally educated in the arts at Kent State University and at Pilchuck Glass School, West refined much of his technique while teaching art at Reagan High School in San Antonio for eight years. “There’s nothing like teaching to learn more about art. The vitality of curious minds experimenting with art serves as a powerful catalyst,” he says. Now teaching at the Southwest School of Art & Craft, providing private lessons and conducting ongoing field trips, West has stepped out of the public school classroom into his studio and other art schools. Public events such as Fiesta, Luminaria and the Texas Folklife Festival all have hosted West as a guest artist. The energy and amazement surrounding his portable glass studio are magnetic wherever he goes. Schools from all over the San Antonio region take field trips to Dragonfire. The studio was named after the mystical and magical powers of dragons in so many children’s stories. West explains the name: “Dragons are loveable and even a little bit frightening because they breathe fire. My furnace, called a Glory Hole, is a little like a dragon. It seems to create magic, but needs to be respected. Children are mesmerized by fire and seeing someone use it as a tool to create neat stuff.” West turns into a bit of a “Science Guy” when speaking with children. He explains energy, as well as how solids become liquids. The effect of temperature on various items is a hands-on lesson with ice cubes. West teaches the basics and brings them alive with fire and glass, leaving children with certain awe, but also a new curiosity and confidence. “When I hear kids saying ‘wow’ under their breaths while I’m working the glass and explaining how it is working, I know I’m on track. There’s a lot of satisfaction in creating a glass sculpture, but doing a little sculpting in a child’s mind tops that hands down. I’ll always want to do that,” West says. An amber glow pours from Dragonfire’s open studio doors most evenings. Inside, West is often alone with his fire and glass, talking to the glass and listening to the fire. Other times, students are gathered around watching every move he makes and hanging onto the myriad of nuances they need to know. Like school children, they take their first pieces of an ancient art home to show friends and family. Regardless of their futures with glassblowing, they have held fire in their hands and won’t ever forget it. Meanwhile, West continues to let his imagination go as he sculpts glass and iron into art born of dragon fire. 60 On The Town | July-August 2009
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VA Visual Arts
By Alexis Gunderson Photos (L-R) Donald Lipski’s F.I.S.H. Photo by Paul Lara Victoria by Philip Grausman Photo courtesy McNay Art Museum
pen your eyes to public art. It’s ubiquitous, free for the viewing and knows no boundaries of expression. May I suggest you visit new installations around the city in the summer of ’09 and revisit old favorites too? The Museum Reach portion of the River Walk features a couple of wonderful new pieces. First up is The Grotto, a faux bois concrete cave-like structure on the river at Camden and Newell. Designed and crafted by Carlos Cortes, it is an amazing example of public art. Also on the new River Walk is Donald Lipski’s F.I.S.H., a colorful school of 25 seven-foot native long-eared sunfish that hang from under the I-35 Bridge and illuminate at night. Take a river taxi to see the sights along this new 1.3 mile extension, or stroll its 3.4 miles of walkways to see these works and more.
As to favorites worthy of revisiting, one of mine is Dale Chihuly’s Fiesta Tower at the San Antonio Main Library. Standing 26 feet tall and weighing 4,500 pounds, this monument to the art of glass-blowing consists of 917 hand-blown, multi-colored glass forms weaved together into one spectacular piece. Another favorite is Richard Harrell Rodger’s Colonnade, made up of four 45-foot vertical aluminum columns that form a diamond shape when viewed from afar. See it by the Omni San Antonio Hotel in The Colonnade.
The public art piece I like best is one that most folks will never see because it is not out in the open but rather housed in the lobby of Bromley Communications on Houston Street. It’s called Dos Mundos and it celebrates When the Jane and Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions the creative power of Latino and American cultures. opened last June at the McNay Art Museum, Victoria, a Joseph Wesner designed this contemporary 14 foot 14-foot tall sculpture by Phillip Grausman was installed tall stainless steel and aluminum sculpture. on the grounds as part of the opening celebration. She was not alone in her appearance as several other permanent sculptures were also added at that time to Public art is everywhere in San Antonio. See the new, the beautifully landscaped lawns of the museum. If revisit the old, and appreciate all. you haven’t seen them, a visit is in order.
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Cappy and Suzy
Lawton True Restaurateurs By Chris Dunn Photography Greg Harrison
The word “restaurant” comes from the French verb restaurer, meaning “to restore,” initially a reference to a hearty, “restorative” soup. By the end of the 18th century, the term had evolved to mean what it does today -- a place that serves food to the public.
Their sage advice and Cappy’s research led to the idea of opening a college pub near the San Antonio College campus. It was “…a place for cheap beer and cheap hamburgers,” said Cappy, “and it was very, very successful.” It was called The Quarter House, and indicative of Cappy’s future ventures, was constructed Therefore, it seems particularly appropriate that Cappy of materials from the past. Lawton is a “restaurateur” -- literally, “one who restores.” Because whether building a restaurant, renovating A slew of hit restaurants followed, including Mama’s, historic houses, or salvaging doors, windows, bricks and which featured his mother’s original recipes – “My mom vintage hardware from demolition sites, that is what he was a phenomenal cook,” he said; Avery’s, named for his loves to do most -- to restore, renovate and, thereby, daughter; Cappy’s, whose chef, Gabriel Ibarra, according innovate; to give value to something where there was to Cappy, “is as good a chef as there is in this part of none before. As he expresses it in his mild-mannered the country;” Mama’s Café, inspired by small-town way, “I love to rebuild things.” cafes that serve everything from seafood to Mexican food; EZ’s, the quintessential “Happy Days” hamburger/ In fact, of the 29 restaurants Cappy has developed over pizza destination; and a neighborhood bistro and bar, the years, many have been located in old buildings Cappyccino’s. that were renovated using salvaged vintage lumber and hardware, giving every endeavor its own unique In 1997, Cappy and Suzy acquired La Fonda on Main, the personality. “Cappy can’t do cookie cutter,” said his wife oldest continuously operating Mexican food restaurant and business partner, Suzy. in San Antonio. The Lawtons meticulously restored the old house it was located in, and added one of the most There is, however, one thing all of his restaurants have picturesque outdoor dining patios in San Antonio, as in common -- careful planning, which is exactly how he well as a private party facility. got into the restaurant business in the first place. After studying at San Antonio College and the University of The Lawtons work closely with general manager Ceasar Texas at Austin, Cappy embarked on a career designing Zepeda and chefs Javier Flores and Victor Maldonado airplanes and airplane interiors. But in 1973, he decided to bring interior Mexican specials to the menu while to make a change. “I love research, and I decided to quit continuing to offer the traditional Tex-Mex that made La my job and research a business to get into,” he said. Fonda famous. According to Cappy, “Mexico had a very “[For 90 days] I spent half the day in the library and half sophisticated cuisine of its own that was pre-Hispanic, the day talking to older people, primarily people over but it’s been overlaid with French, Spanish, Moroccan the age of 70,” explaining that wisdom gained from and Lebanese and so many other flavors… I think it’s experience is invaluable. one of the most sophisticated cuisines in the world.” Cappy and Suzy Lawton – owners of Cappy’s, Cappyccino’s and La Fonda on Main
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Suzy, who gave up a successful career in banking and real estate to work with Cappy, is in charge of wine selection for all of their restaurants. “Suzy is one of the most knowledgeable people -- in the city, at least -- on wine,” said Cappy, adding that her contribution to the family business doesn’t stop there. “She’s worked every single position in the restaurant,” he said. “If Suzy sees something that needs to be done, she does it.” Suzy also trains the employees. “Our servers have to go through an oral exam they call the ‘Suzy Test,’“ said Cappy. “It’s role playing,” said Suzy. “It’s like I’m their worst nightmare of a guest. I ask them the hard questions that nobody seems to know how to answer.” She said she tells the servers, “You’re not an order taker here -you are a salesperson.” Whatever they’re doing to train their employees is working. During a recent busy lunch at Cappy’s, I personally witnessed the general manager, Tina Mencio, assisting all of the service staff with the skill of a symphony conductor. “What’s really fun about the restaurant business is it’s everything rolled into one,” said Cappy. “It’s design, it’s engineering, it’s plumbing, it’s electrical; but what it is more than anything else is people, people, people. In the 36 years I’ve been in the restaurant business, I’ve worked with over 100,000 people.” That includes their children. “Our son, Trevor, works with us, and our daughter, Avery, used to work with us,” said Cappy. “Both of them are really, really gifted.” The large number of people, restaurants and restoration projects the Lawtons have been involved with over the years hasn’t diminished their enthusiasm. “If you find something to do in life that doesn’t feel like work, you don’t have to work,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time I love what I do and still do after all these years.” “We really do have fun,” said Suzy. “The days fly by.” As for me, after all this investigation into the true meaning of “restaurateur,” I think I need to drop by Cappy’s for a “restorative” cup of Chef Cathy Tarosovic’s famous “Cathy’s Soup.”
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Photos: (Above) Cappy’s Chef Gabriel Ibarra and general manager Tina Mencio (Below) La Fonda on Main general manager Ceasar Zepeda and chef Javier Flores
Greg Harrison FP Ad
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Pinch Pennies and Dine Well The Time to Save is Now! By Marlo Mason-Marie
f you enjoy dining out, the time to save is now. It seems to me that culinary establishments are trying harder than ever to attract my business and yours. Obviously, the economy plays a major role in motivating the incredible offers being made. My e-mail is ringing off the hook (so to speak) with one deal after another, and my snail mail box is loaded, too. But who am I to complain? I’ll do my part to help these eateries succeed by taking advantage of their discount offers and creative packaging. For example, a few evenings ago I joined friends at Morton’s The Steakhouse and ordered a two dine for $99.99 dinner that was amazing. Each person received a salad, single cut filet, choice of Shrimp Alexander, Broiled Sea Scallops or a Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, one side and a dessert choice of Hot Chocolate Cake or Key Lime Pie. This was fine dining at a fine price. They call it their Steak and Seafood offer, and it’s available through Sept. 30. Ask and you shall receive.
p.m. and 6:30 p.m. seven days a week, and $45 is all you’ll pay for your dinner of any salad or appetizer, your choice of a Petite Filet, Mixed Grill, Stuffed Chicken Breast or Atlantic Salmon, any one accompaniment, dessert, coffee or tea. This is a wonderful option for early dining before the symphony or theater. I can almost hear the sizzle now! The Palm is competing for your business as well with their $89.95 Gigantic Lobster Dinner for Two, which is valid through Aug. 31. It consists of a 4-pound Nova Scotia lobster divided for two, two salads and one side.
Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar has thrown its hat in the ring with their Summer Prix Fixe, three courses for $35.95. Start with a Spinach Salad or Chilled Potato Leek Soup and follow with your choice of Peppercorn Crusted Filet Mignon, Roasted Sesame Chicken or Broiled Sea Scallops. Sides are Sautéed Mushrooms or Green Beans with Toasted Almonds. Now is also the time to save at local Ruth’s Chris Steak Dessert is Caramelized Banana Crème Brulee with Houses. Order their Primetime Special between 4:30 Chantilly Crème. Bon appetit. 70 On The Town | July-August 2009
If you’re headed north anytime soon, stop at Sullivan’s Steakhouse in downtown Austin for their Summer of $69 Dinner for Two. Check out this bountiful menu. Each guest gets a choice of a selected soup or salad, their favorite from four different entrees including an 8-ounce filet, two sides and a dessert choice of Chocolate Mousse, Key Lime Pie and more. Get this until Sept. 7. Goodness gracious sakes alive. Don’t get the wrong idea; all types of restaurants are offering package deals at reduced prices these days, not just upscale steakhouses. Jason Dady, one of San Antonio’s young superstar chefs, has created special $25 to $35 dinners from time to time at some of his restaurants. These four- to five-course feasts afford diners an outstanding opportunity to enjoy his considerable talents and to take in the ambiance of The Lodge Restaurant in Castle Hills and Bin 555. Silo Elevated Cuisine gives diners at both of its locations a Prix Fixe opportunity before 6:30 p.m. for either $25 or $35, depending on the entrée chosen. Other local restaurants have exceptional offerings like this on their menus, also. Photo: istock-Jancouver
Reduced-price appetizers represent still another opportunity to save and savor. Wildfish Seafood Grille on Loop 1604 at Huebner Road offers selected appetizers for half price during Happy Hour in its bar from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily along with some martinis priced at only $5. Roaring Fork, its sister restaurant located next door, sells selected appetizers in the bar for $4 off their regular price every day from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and has certain margaritas, mojitos and martinis priced at $5. Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar features“5 for 6 ‘til 7.” That’s five cocktails, five wines and five appetizers at $6 each, served at the bar until 7 p.m. And finally, Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse also has selected half-price appetizers from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday in their bar. My favorites are Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail and Grilled Tequila Shrimp in a Lime Cilantro sauce. Not to be outdone, they have a list of $5 martinis, too. I have painted this subject with a wide brush. So many more discounted dining deals from quality restaurants are out there waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. Check Web sites, make a few calls and ask questions. Learn how to pinch pennies and dine well. It’s a lot of fun. July-August 2009 | On The Town 71
Ruth’s Chris Culinary Training Program Ruth’s Chris Culinary Training Program Offers Recipes for Success to Roy Maas Offers Recipes for Success to Roy Maas Youth Alternatives Kids Youth Alternatives Kids
By Bonny Osterhage ByTheBonny | Photography Greg Harrison 72 On Town Greg | Osterhage July-August 2009 Photography Harrison
ake a dash of self-esteem, a pinch of encouragement, a sprinkle of understanding and several heaping cups of love; mix well and you have a recipe for success for three lucky young people at Roy Maas Youth Alternatives (RMYA). Thanks to the new Ruth’s Chris Culinary Training Program, the selected youth will learn valuable skills that will serve them not only in a culinary career, but throughout the rest of their lives. The inaugural 11-day program, created by former foster child and Ruth’s Chris owner Lana Duke, will take place from July 6-18 and will be designed for RMYA participants ranging in age from 16 to 21. The young people, all of who must be nominated and approved by the RMYA staff, will work side by side with Ruth’s Chris executive chef and former RMYA resident Chris Brooks for three to six hours per day. “I am so happy that this program allows me to give back to my community through my passion for food,” said Brooks. The participants will go through a formal interview process before taking part in the condensed version of the actual Ruth’s Chris employee-training program. From basic food handling and sanitation to food delivery and presentation, the young men and women will experience firsthand what it takes to run one of the most successful steakhouses in the country. Oh, and did we mention they will be dining on delicious Ruth’s Chris meals? “Our goal is to give hope of a bright future to kids who question their future every day,” said Brooks. “In the end, I hope these kids walk out of here with confidence, higher self-esteem and possibly a new goal in life.” “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It is a question many children take for granted. But for abused and neglected children, there is no one to ask them what they want to be when they grow up. Sadly, some of them never even get to grow up. The Ruth’s Chris Steak House RMYA Student Training Program aims to help these children by exposing them to the day-to-day responsibilities of operating a business. The participants will see that it takes dedication, dependability and teamwork to ensure that any operation runs smoothly. “The things the children will learn during this 11-day course are more than just culinary,” said Duke. “They are skill sets that will benefit them regardless of the line of work they choose to follow.” Photo: (L) Executive chef Chris Brooks with Roy Maas students (Above) Executive chef Chris Brooks (Below) Ruth’s Chris San Antonio Owner Lana Duke
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The first day of the program will consist of food handling, safety and sanitation. During the next 11 days, the following topics will be covered: food preparation; baking; pantry introduction; short orders; broiling and meat preparation, including Ruth’s Chris famous “sizzle” procedure; expo station; lunch preparation along with a test and Q&A; front desk, reservations, greeting and seating; shadowing a server assistant and shadowing a server. The Culinary Training Program is just one more ingredient in the recipe that Duke has so carefully prepared for the young people served by RMYA.
Hands” campaign. The event was an enormous success, culminating in the sale of 4,009 potatoes at Ruth’s Chris and 80 cases of one-pound potatoes delivered to RMYA. Since then, Duke has hosted an Etiquette Class and Steak Dinner, an annual Thanksgiving Feast and a Salute to Education dinner for RYMA high-school graduates. When she is not orchestrating these hands-on events, Duke can be found educating the community through programs such as the “Every 1 Counts” summit, which was organized to reach out to community leaders in a bid to create beneficial partnerships.
But fancy dinners and educational summits aside, the It all began in 2005 when, after meeting some RMYA most important thing Duke gives the children from RMYA participants for the first time, Duke realized that she is her love. She greets each and every child with a hug and wanted to create an ongoing program to help them shares her story in the hopes that she will be a role model achieve their potential and overcome the stigma who inspires them to reach beyond their circumstances associated with foster care. Now, four years later, Duke and achieve their dreams. has implemented not just one but several programs, and is continually coming up with new and exciting ways to “Without my own troubled childhood, I would never have show the children of RMYA that they matter. succeeded and become the person I am today,” said Duke. “I want to help the children of RMYA understand that She began her efforts in March 2005 with the “One Potato, they too can turn their negative situations into positive, Two Potato” campaign where, for each potato sold at productive lives.” Ruth’s Chris, another was donated to the RMYA “Helping
Accolades FP Editorial
Photo: Executive chef Chris Brooks with Roy Maas students
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CA Culinary Arts
By Marlo Mason-Marie
n the years before the internet, when I went to a restaurant for the first time I usually entered not knowing much about the establishment except what I had heard via the grapevine or through the restaurant’s advertising. When handed the menu, it was my initial opportunity to view both content and cost. Sometimes I was pleased with both and on other occasions I was disappointed in the culinary offering and shocked by the price. The latter was not a good thing, especially when I was picking up the tab. There is no reason to go through this mystery ever again. The internet and restaurants have become best friends forever. Knowing about a restaurant in advance helps you live into the adage “the best surprise is no surprise,” by providing all the information you’ll need.
addition, many restaurants have invested in quality photography to give viewers an idea of plate presentation and restaurant ambiance. In reality, a little research goes a long way. Knowledge is power. Before making a reservation (also available on the internet to many quality restaurants), you can preorder in your mind and pre-figure in your pocketbook. The internet puts you in control. As an added bonus, a large amount of restaurants use email as a way to communicate special offers, wine dinners and the like. Usually all you have to do is sign up and give them permission to send this type of information to you at your online address. You’ll also find that selected eateries ask for your birthday and anniversary dates so they can send you either free or discounted entrees at those times.
Most restaurants with web sites post their menu(s) either in abbreviated form or in total. This allows you to figure out whether or not you would be pleased with their Find menus, prices, maps, hours, offers and more on the selections, their approach to preparation and health web. Googling can save you time, money and help make considerations, and of course their financial aspect. In your next restaurant visit extremely enjoyable. Yahoo! 76 On On The The Town Town || July-August May-June 2009 76 2009
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Literary Arts 80-86
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Carmen Tafolla Contemporary Chicano Literature Pioneer Story and Photo by Jasmina Wellinghoff
ong recognized as one of the pioneers of contemporary Chicano literature, San Antonio native Carmen Tafolla is the author of 15 books, including five poetry volumes, a short story collection and eight books for children. Her work is deeply rooted in the barrio culture in which she grew up and in that historically fluid Texas borderland where cultures mix precariously, sometimes dangerously and sometimes quite hilariously. Told by her condescending junior high principal that she had the potential to make it all the way to high school, Tafolla proceeded to win a scholarship to Keystone and eventually earned a Ph.D. in bilingual education from the University of Texas in 1982. After holding several academic jobs for 17 years, she left academia to devote more time to writing. A recipient of many awards, she is often invited to speak on issues of cultural diversity and bilingual education, as well as to read her own work.
JW: The Chicano experience of San Antonio and South Texas is central to your work. Did you start writing because you wanted to preserve that experience and to record it? CT: My roots in this state go a long way back. On the maternal side, my family has lived in San Antonio under four different flags. On the Tafolla side, we go back to 1690 before the United States existed. The sense of the beauty of the place, the crossroads of cultures, is ingrained in my being. There was no proper reflection of that in literature. I felt it was urgent to capture the beauty of San Antonio and the cultures of South Texas. These are a source of wealth not only for Texas readers but worldwide. The more authentic the characters, the more readers identify with them, regardless of where they are from.
JW: Writers are always advised to write about what Tafolla’s story collection, The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of they know. I take it you agree with that advice? Beans, won the 2009 Tomas Rivera Book Award, and her picture book for children, What Can You Do with a CT: I would say, be who you are and build on it, grow, but Rebozo? was named one of the 2009 American Library know yourself. Good writing requires self-knowledge. Association Notable Books for Children, in addition to You can’t write against your values, at least not your garnering several other honors. Her most comprehensive best stuff. This doesn’t mean that you can’t get to know poetry collections are Sonnets and Salsa (2001) and different situations. I was able to write about the Maori Sonnets to Human Beings (1992). culture, for instance, and have the Maori appreciate it. JW: In April, you were inducted into the Texas JW: One thing I like about your work, both prose and Institute of Letters. What does this latest recognition poetry, is this sense of connectedness with ancestors, a mean to you? sense of their casting a shadow over the present. Could you comment on that? CT: I am very honored. The whole spirit of TIL is to recognize distinctive literary achievement, and to CT: I was raised with a lot of stories my grandmother and stimulate the cultural development of the state. But one other relatives passed to me. She told me about events of the areas most in need of development right now is from when she was a child, and they became real to the fair recognition of the writings of women and of the me. The people she talked about came alive in my mind beautiful diversity of ethnic groups that make up this state. and made me realize that there was an ongoing thread While TIL statewide is small -- there are only 15 members connecting generations. The struggles of the past are all in the whole city of San Antonio -- it is high powered and part of today. That sense of history is important to me. by definition creative. So it’s a pleasure to be part of that You don’t know yourself if you don’t know the past of renaissance and to reflect the great diversity of colors and your community. flavors that create this distinctive state. July-August 2009 | On The Town 81
JW: Your stories often have an allegorical tone, like myths or folk tales. Was that a conscious choice or did the subject matter impose the choice of style? CT: Each story carries its own style. Sometimes, if the message is a heavy one, it’s best to communicate it through a mythological style so the reader can see it almost as a parable. In other cases, a casual, conversational style works better. JW: How difficult was it to leave the security of academia to become an independent writer and speaker? CT: Actually, I am an adjunct professor at Trinity right now teaching freshman seminar. I teach one called The Republic of Poetry which explores the poetry of peace, and another, The Mestizo in Everyone, which deals with transculturization in Mexican-American literature and film. But to answer your question, I have always been a risk taker. When you make space for something in your life, it will happen. So if you want to be a writer, you have to make space to write. If you are flexible, you can take risks. JW: Your children’s books have been winning awards. Any recent news?
JW: What are you working on now? CT: I am writing the biography of Emma Tenayuca with Sharyll Tenayuca, Emma’s niece. Emma was a civil rights leader well ahead of her time. She organized thousands of the least powerful (pecan shellers) in this city in a struggle for justice back in the 1930s. We are also working on a movie script. Coming out in December will be the memoir of my great-grandfather, Santiago Tafolla, who lived from 1837 to 1911 and was both a U.S. Army and Confederate bugler and a circuit-riding preacher. I edited it and wrote the historical footnotes and the epilogue. And I am finishing a children’s book titled, The Prince of Chocolate. (In addition, a poetry and art book, Rebozos, featuring Tafolla’s poetry and the art of Catalina Garate is scheduled to be published in 2010.) JW: If you had one wish for San Antonio, what would it be? CT: I would like to see an authentic interlinking and celebration of the cultures of San Antonio endorsed at a serious level, through the school and library systems, for instance. And I wish every child in this city would own a book that they really love. Some of Ms. Tafolla’s comments have been slightly edited for reasons of space.
CT: What Can You Do with a Rebozo? just won its sixth award yesterday. And my new book, What Can You Do with a Paleta was just released last month and has already received praise from the prestigious Kirkus Review. This picture book, aimed at 2- to 6-year-olds, is a song of praise to the beauty of a child’s home and centers on the sights, sounds and flavors of San Antonio’s Mexican neighborhoods.
To read more about Carmen Tafolla visit www.carmentafolla.com.
CT: Good question! (Smiles and thinks for a moment.) We have already learned a great deal from each other. Both cultures are industrious but in different ways. Anglos have the ability to go from point A to point B with great efficiency, for instance. But that’s not always the best way to go about something. Flexibility, which is part of the Latino culture, sometimes helps us see the bigger picture. Culture is what our community teaches us in order to survive, and it gets richer the more input it receives. The arts are a big part of that enrichment. Look how many Anglos like conjunto music!
Children’s Books What Can You Do with a Rebozo? That’s Not Fair!: Emma Tenayuca’s Struggle for Justice Somebody Stole My Smile! Baby Coyote and the Old Woman My house is your house: Mi casa es su casa Take a Bite The dog who wanted to be a Tiger El Día que el Armadillo Vió Su Sombra Patchwork Colcha: Poems, Stories and Songs in English and Spanish
Selected Works by Carmen Tafolla
Books of Poetry Sonnets and Salsa Sonnets to Human Beings and other Selected Works Menschen Curandera JW: Since you’re an expert in bilingualism and Get your Tortillas Together biculturalism, what can the Anglo culture learn from the La Isabela de Guadalupe y otras Hispanic one and vice versa? Chucas in Five Poets of Aztlan
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Brad Braun FP Ad
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LA Literary Arts
By Claudia Maceo Sharp Photos: (L) Among the Angels of Memory by Margorie Agosin (R) The Devil’s Company by David Liss
ot off the press! Several San Antonio literary young protagonist who is looking for answers and talents bask in recognition as their newest efforts dealing with unexpected changes. see national release. For more inspiration, Gemini Ink’s Summer Literary Festival The summer begins with Pamela Morsi’s Red’s Hot Honky- features Charles Peters presenting a class called The Tonk Bar. Red, a tattooed, 40-something saloon owner in rEvolution of Spoken Word. Participants will experience tight jeans, experiences the paradoxes of grandmother- in-class writing and daily reading sessions immersed hood where children act as parents and her boy toy in spoken-word poetry that has evolved from the jazzproves to be her adult role model. Morsi will have her inspired Beat poets to contemporary slam poetry and only in-town book signing July 7 at The Twig Book Shop. hip-hop verse. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org regarding this class and others. David Liss’ The Devil’s Company will hit the shelves July 7. Rigorous research informs the 18th century setting in this historical suspense novel, as the unscrupulous Benjamin Starting July 29 and running for three consecutive nights, Weaver finds himself enmeshed in a corporate conspiracy. the Macondo Writers Workshop, brainchild of Sandra Let the signings begin! Catch Liss July 8 at The Twig or Cisneros, presents Café Nostalgia, three free nights of performance, dancing and music. First up July 29 is July 14 at Barnes and Noble-San Pedro. Marjorie Agosín with music by Viva Tango at OLLU’s Thiry The younger set will enjoy meeting Diana Lopez as Auditorium. Pat Little Dog is featured July 30 with music she signs her newest publication, Confetti Girl, July to be announced, and Ruth Behar will appear along with 13 at Barnes and Noble-San Pedro. Tweens will enjoy Orquesta Tropical July 31 at Casa Navarro, 228 S. Laredo this summer read, released in June, about a girl who St. (Thiry Auditorium in the event of inclement weather). plays volleyball and loves, of all things, socks. Lopez Each evening also will include selected presentations by effectively captures the authentic nature of Lina, the the Macondo Writers. Call 210-534-0517 for information.
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Cruising The Museum Reach With
By Angela Angela Rabke Rabke By Photography Cynthia Cynthia Clark Clark Photography
..or decades, the San Antonio Riverwalk has remained the most recognizable attraction in our city, drawing millions to the downtown area and acting as a sort of thread that holds together our urban fabric. The development of the River Walk to the north of downtown has been anticipated with great excitement, and most observers view the recent opening of the new Museum Reach as a boon for the city that will create a welcome connection between previously disjointed areas. And while this area has been carefully planned with exacting detail, the reality of exactly how people will use it remains to be seen. JoAnn Boone, president and CEO of Rio San Antonio Cruises, plays an important role in the unfolding scenario. Her company owns and operates the iconic river barges that are so familiar to San Antonians. Thousands of tourists ride the barges every week, learning about the history of the city through well-trained tour guides. Locals are also steadfast users, often incorporating the barges into special events such as weddings and JoAnn Boone – president and CEO of Rio San Antonio Cruises
proposals. Now, Boone is challenged with determining how the barges can best serve the newly developed area. Opening weekend was, by all accounts, a success. About 4,000 people used the barges assigned to the Museum Reach portion of the Riverwalk. “Opening weekend went beautifully,” said Boone. “We provided a regular taxi service, and the city offered free rides, which led to some big crowds. The challenge now is to offer what we do downtown in this new area.” One of those offerings is the taxi service that Rio San Antonio offers. With the purchase of a $10 24-hour pass, folks can hop on and off the boats at their leisure, exploring the entire downtown as well as any docks on the museum reach. Getting there is an adventure in its own right, with a stop in the lock-in dam—a type of lift that allows the boat to successfully navigate a nine foot change in the level of the river. The flexibility of the taxi approach works, especially as people explore the new area and determine their interests. “Right now we are in unknown territory, but we anticipate next that July-August 2009 | On The Town 89
there will be an interest in learning about the history of the buildings and structures in the Museum Reach— this can be incorporated as part of a narrative tour, as well as the major art installations along the way. We are definitely designing a tour around that. It is an exciting time for us and we will use this summer to figure out exactly what tourists want,” says Boone. For tourists, the Museum Reach is a natural extension of downtown attractions. Now even those without cars can easily access San Antonio Museum of Art and the Pearl Brewery development. Each stop along the way is detailed with significant art installations by some of the world’s most celebrated artists, and the river barges are an ideal way to experience the pieces. “It is the best seat in the house,” says JoAnn. “The drivers will fill [passengers] in and inform them about the area. My favorite installation is the beautiful grotto by Carlos Cortéz. He is a third generation faux-bois artist and his family has created most of the faux-bois pieces you see around the city. This piece includes the faces of all the workers that helped put it together. All of the art pieces are extraordinary, but this one says the most about San Antonio to me.” It makes sense that Boone has selected the grotto installation as her favorite. The faux-bois pieces are a recognizable piece of San Antonio’s history, as are her beloved barges. Now, those barges will continue to tighten the threads holding together our urban fabric, drawing together the symbols of our history and our future along the old San Antonio River.
“Opening weekend went beautifully. We provided a regular taxi service, and the city offered free rides, which led to some big crowds. The challenge now is to offer what we do downtown in this new area.” - JoAnn Boone president and CEO Rio San Antonio Cruises Rio San Antonio Cruises operates daily tours, chartered cruises and a water taxi service on one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Southwest – the San Antonio River Walk. The tourism industry leader serves more than one million visitors, conventioneers and residents annually. For more information, visit www.riosanantonio.com. 90 On The Town | July-August 2009
Photo: The Museum Reach locks
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In The Hills:
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Rockbox Theater is Playing Your Song By Julie Catalano
he hills are alive – with the sound of musical history. In the peaceful German town of Fredericksburg lies an unassuming storefront that serves as a time portal for baby boomers and bobby soxers to visit a place where the Beatles are still together, Roy Orbison croons a tearjerker, Sonny and Cher are happily married, and Elvis lives forever.
Fredericksburg has taken Hill Country audiences for a rollicking ride through 60 years of American pop music – live and onstage in a million-dollar state-of-the-art theater with a seasoned, professional cast that could hold its own anywhere.
“We’ve really hit our stride,” says Russ Hearn, director and head writer who – with partners Mike Kinchen and Every Friday night, Saturday and Sunday for more Ray Rodgers – saw the potential of combining one of than two years, the Rockbox Theater in downtown the state’s most popular small-town destinations with July-August May-June 2009 | On The Town 93
a nostalgic musical comedy revue that would span all age groups. Where else could three – maybe four – generations sit for two hours and enjoy a completely G-rated show (Hearn guarantees a family-friendly, “cringe-free” show), with nonstop music and comedy. “We try to balance the experience, whatever age you are, whatever type of music you love.” “We” are the talented and versatile cast that Hearn surrounds himself with. Unlike most casts who come and go, the Rockbox ensemble is at its core a longtime family of its own, some of them going back more than 20 years of sharing a stage. Hearn and his wife Wendy, Carey Dyer, Dena Dyer, Linda Morgan, Cass Moore, T.J. Smith, Jacob Longoria and Mark Best put on a polished and professional production where costume changes are fast and furious, the comedy ranges from sweetly corny to positively inspired, and musical legends come to life. Smith and Dyer’s eerily spot-on impressions evoke scores of familiar voices from rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues, country, gospel, folk and pop. The result – thanks mainly to glowing word-of-mouth and the Internet – is that the Rockbox has become something of a destination in itself, drawing from San Antonio, Houston, Austin, San Angelo, Abilene and surrounding towns such as Kerrville. As for the recession, Hearn says, “it’s either had no effect on people seeking entertainment or it hasn’t really hit hard in this area.” Or maybe people – world weary, stressed out and beaten down by bad news – will seek out a temporary escape to times that at least seemed simpler. Enter Hearn and his elaborate spreadsheet of more than 800 minutes of music representing hundreds of songs. Directing a show that changes every weekend, Hearn has to stay on top of not only rotating existing numbers but also incorporating new ones. Recent additions include a feel-good ABBA medley, the Mamas and the Papas, Mason Williams’ iconic “Classical Gas” performed note for note by guitarist Smith, and a comedic tribute to boy bands in the form of a fictional group that once sang backup for Tiffany. “Nobody knows who they are,” says Hearn. “They’re making a comeback, and they’re not aging gracefully.”
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Hearn says the creative process involves “going into our little room, shutting the door, and not coming out until we have some ideas.” He admits he “likes to keep the audience guessing, wondering where we’ll go next.” It’s all just too much fun, he says, but always with an eye toward the responsibility to entertaining the
wildly diverse audiences who travel to see them. “We’re keeping the pedal to the metal, expanding our writing chops, and balancing music from the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and present day. We’ve got younger families bringing their kids, and kids bringing their parents.” Summertime was perfect for offering something a family could do together. “From July 2-30, we’re adding a show on Thursday nights -- buy one regular-price adult ticket and get one youth ticket for 17 and under free.” “I feel like I’m managing a Super Bowl team every week,” says Hearn. “I’ve got so many different players with skills, talents and a love of what they do. That’s the entertainment factor that kind of goes unnoticed in today’s ‘American Idol’ world. An entertainer will always outlast a singer, and we want everybody in the audience to feel like we’re playing their song.” Photo Credits Page 92 – Rockbox-Fleetwood Mac Page 93 – Rockbox-Mo and Bro Page 94 – (Above) Rockbox-Sonny and Cher (Below) Rockbox -Starshine Page 95 – (Above) Rockbox-Kitty (Below) Rockbox -Ozzie
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Picture This: the
Catch a river taxi or stroll the banks of the new River Walk between Lexi
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e new river walk
ington and Josephine. Marvel at its beauty and public art along the way.
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photos by Paul Lara
This visual invitation is courtesy of San Antonio photographer Paul Lara.
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