Arts/Culture/Photos

UTSA Professor Discusses the Resilience of San Antonio’s Cultural Heritage

By R Eguia . Last month, scholars, community members and students gathered at the Southwest School of Art Coates Chapel to hear a conversation by the San Antonio Conservation Society Endowed Professor at UTSA, William Dupont, called A Resilient Heritage: Designing San Antonio’s Future to Preserve Our Past. The talk introduced Cultural Sustainability as the continuity of cultural systems of human existence. People have heritage identities and values that bind them to places and communities are essential for full sustainability. “Design with respect for Heritage,” was a key theme as Dupont explored the challenges in capturing intangibles in cultural traditions and spirituality.  He asked, “How does a place come to be as it is?” Founder of UTSA’s Center for Cultural Sustainability,  Dupont’s work informs how communities, designers, and policy-makers use heritage. His goal is to make cultural heritage more resilient and to raise awareness about what he argues is one of the great challenges of our time. “I start from the premise that cultural heritage, like natural heritage, is easily harmed or destroyed if we do not make careful choices about how to keep what we value,” he said. He identified natural disasters as one of the main threats to historical preservation and talked about his work Building a Sacred Places Heritage Network with the State Historic Heritage Network for Disaster Resilience in the Texas Gulf Coast Region. The correspondence for these efforts are anchored in the network of  Historic Churches in the Gulf Coast. Fast change strains the existing built environment, increases vulnerability to disasters and decreases resilience to sustain, survive or recover.  On the positive side, Dupont...

Computer and Internet Addiction is a Real Thing

Are you dependent on technology to bring you satisfaction in life? Dependency can be playing video games to escape reality, posting to social media to get attention or validation, compulsive online spending when anxious or bored, or visiting dating sites with the hopes of meeting the love of your life. Are there noticeable negative patterns surrounding your computer or internet activities? Are they causing problems in your relationships or affecting your work performance? Most of the time, these addictions are just distractions to real issues that people are not yet ready to face. They may feel anxious, impulsive or unfulfilled in life. These activities produce a “high”, filling a void and bringing pleasure that lasts momentarily. Overtime, these addictions have negative consequences that outweigh the positive feelings experienced. They can also have long-term negative effects on many areas of our lives. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research has shown that certain people are more susceptible to computer or internet addiction. These individuals include; those who have had prior addictions to other behaviors or substances; a history of depression or anxiety; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; or Low self-esteem. Recovering computer addicts reported feelings of euphoria when using the computer and feelings of depression, unfulfillment and irritability when not using it. They also described feeling withdrawn or neglected by family and friends as well as experiencing many of the following; creating secret relationships over the internet; having family and friends complaining about their behavior; lying to hide computer activities; consistently using the computer at work for non-related work activities; and the inability to stop computer or internet use despite...

S.A Performance Art Collective HoK

On March 9, the local performance art collective, HoK (House of Kenzo) presented Permutations, a 20 minute production exploring systems, fluidity, work and cycles, at the Lawndale Art Center in Houston. The trio, Ledef (sound production), Brexxitt (choreography) and Grapefruit (concept design) embodied possibilities through splash choreography and projection mapping. Local carpenter company, Precision Woodworking Texas, assisted the group with an installation that included an indoor water trough, a 10 part pulley system and a network of clear bags filled with water tied onto natural rope. The performance was inspired by Yanaguana aka the San Antonio River. The group spoke on protecting the watershed that supports the local river. The group also spoke on nudity in their performances and expressed how they wished the world was ready to respect a naked body. “There is more than one way. Systems corrupted. How will we go back to the beginning? When the only laws are of nature. How humans can exist as naked as they were born into the world without society and police berating. Being as we were born and holding space for everyone without being limited to mature audiences,” said the group. The piece also discussed work and how it relates to modernity. The group carried large bags of water across the space and their bodies representing a reappropriation of work, serving the incipient natural systems and themselves. The group then performed a digital bath and washed themselves clean of modern systems that no longer suit them. The curated soundscape that the production ran on features unreleased compositions from musical artists Der Kindestod, Ledef and Rabit. Sampling sounds of...

Mariachi Girl Stars Lucero Garcia at the Magik Theatre

Many women have made their mark in the performance arts. In San Antonio, girls go to places like the Magik theatre to begin their journey. Like 14-year-old San Antonio actress, Lucero Garcia. She began acting at the age of 7 during The Magik Theatre’s summer camps and classes. She plays the role of Carmencita in the new show called Mariachi girl at the Magik Theatre. “I fell in love with musical theatre. All I could think about was being on stage singing and dancing and performing for people and making them happy,” said Garcia. The Mariachi Girl audition was Garcia’s first ever audition for a main stage production and she said it was extra nerve-wracking because she was the only young teen there. Mariachi Girl follows a ten-year-old girl who dreams of being a mariachi singer like her father who clings to a long-held family tradition of male-only mariachis. The story introduces the character to female teachers and musicians that inspire her to pursue her dreams. She is excited to play this role and she advises other girls her age, “to not let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do and don’t listen to people who speak negatively about what you do. If you love doing what you’re doing then keep on doing it.” Being in 8th grade and doing a full-fledged theater production can be grueling but she is looking forward to learning more about the arts. She will attend High School next year at the North East School of the Arts to study Musical Theatre. Mariachi Girl is a bilingual production Garcia said,” Being able...

Guadalupe Cultural Arts

By Melinda Gonzalez There is a renewed energy in the air and the culmination of efforts to re-establish the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (GCAC) as the beacon of Chicano Art is paying off. Founded in 1980 and located in the heart of San Antonio’s historic Westside, the nonprofit organization serves over 100,000 people each year on a local, national and international scale through artistic, educational, and community programming. Jorge Piña who is a native San Antonian is back and fulfills a key leadership position for the GCAC after resigning from the organization in 2000. Prior to his resignation, he served as Director of the organization’s theater arts program for 16 years and was the founder of Grupo Ánimo, GCAC’s resident youth theatre company. His presence, the leadership of Executive Director Cristina Ballí, and the commitment and passion of staff members like Production Manager Mark Riojas are instrumental in the upwards momentum of the GCAC. “People that are long-timers from the Guadalupe, who haven’t been here for a while, are coming back around,” says Riojas. He also credits the organization’s former Performing Arts Director, Joel Settles, for sparking its reinvention. Along with established events that include the Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival, CineFestival, and Día de Los Muertos Annual Celebration and Alter Exhibition, The GCAC continues to offer classes and workshops for learners of all ages in dance, theatre arts, music, and visual arts. Visit their in house art gallery, Galería Guadalupe, for the current exhibition titled “The Best of Tejano Conjunto Live Y Selena”, which will be on display until May 31. The organization has recently complimented their offerings by...

LAN! is Coming to Texas

Latino Art Now! (LAN!) is coming to Texas--at last! This week the first of 70 planned exhibitions opened. LAN! has been in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, but never in a Texas city. That makes the LAN! Conference in Houston ever more significant. Over the next three months, the Inter-University Program for Latino Research (IUPLR) at the University of Houston Central campus will join up with the City of Houston to host LAN!. Universities, museums, art galleries, and cultural centers from across the city have signed on to promote exhibits and cultural engagements featuring Latino art. My wife Harriett and I were honored to be involved with one of the first opening events of LAN! last week at the University of Houston- Downtown. Our show titled “Close to Home: Latinx Art and Identity” included 57 of the 100 Latino prints, oils, and watercolors that we donated to UH-Downtown. When the University of Houston-Downtown President Juan Munoz opened the exhibition, he noted that like the Romos, he had long been an admirer and collector of Latino art. Mark Cervenka, managed to completely fill the Gallery space with striking images radiating with vibrant colors. The prints and paintings featured in this exhibition, the curator noted, “assert Latinx identity as specific, powerful, and ancient in origin.” Cervenka consulted with the Latino community on his campus to select a title and found general preference with the term “Latinx.” Latinx appealed to many because of its gender neutrality. As long-time collectors of Latino art, we recognize the frequent shifts in identity terms. Two weeks earlier we opened a show of our collection...

Three Kings Day Celebration Tradition

The Puerto Rican Heritage Society will host the Three Kings Day Celebration today, January 6, 2019 from 1:00 to 5:00 pm at the San Fernando Hall (San Fernando Cathedral) located at 231 West Commerce Street Downtown. Entry is free and parking is available on the streets surrounding the area. Free snacks will be available for the children while traditional Puerto Rican food plates will be sold on site. The PRHS 25th annual celebration of the Three Kings, also known as the Three Wise Men in the Epiphany, will introduce this year a magical “Coqui” --a miniature tree frog native to Puerto Rico, who travelled with the Three Kings to find and honor the baby Jesus. Based on “Un Coqui de Boriquén con Los Reyes a Belen” authored by Puerto Rican storyteller Lara Mercado, this story will delight both children and adults. (In English: “From Boriquén to Bethlehem: A Coquí and the Three Wise Men”) Once the Three Kings find and honor baby Jesus the quest has been accomplished and hope and joy will prevail. Mari Goyco, PRHS organizing committee chair, said, “We remember our ancestors through the traditions brought to Puerto Rico from Spain.” “Traditions bring beautiful memories of our past which we enjoy even today. Traditions always bring a smile and maybe an emotional tear as we remember our childhood,” said Goyco. Children participate dressed as shepherds, and baby barn animals. Others will be dressed as angels, Joseph and Mary. Traditional music with aguinaldos and villancicos—will be played and sung, typical food of the season will be available for sale, and dancing music will delight all present. The...

The Church at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine Will Host Free Performances on Tuesday, December 11

1321 El Paso Street, San Antonio, TX 78207 This free event is in celebration of the 30th pilgrimage with the Sister Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine and the Tricentennial of San Antonio. El Encuentro A one man play about the Apparitions of Guadalupe will be performed by local actor, Mr. Jose Ruben de Leon at 6:30 pm. Come, watch the story unfold of the Lady in the Tilma! SAVAE The San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble will perform at 8:00 pm. Come, listen to music from the time of...

Lucha Libre in San Antonio

Lucha libre wrestlers are known as luchadores (singular luchador, meaning “wrestler”). They usually come from extended wrestling families who form their own stables. Tradition is about passing customs and/or beliefs from one generation to the next. In San Antonio, we have a family trying to do just that. Father, Jaime Guiterrez has been not only a luchador but a promoter of this sport. When the place he started fighting at shut down, he started Mexican American Lucha Libre ( M.A.L.L. ) and opened a venue where he has been able to keep las luchas alive. His 13 year old daughter, Anahi, has decided to follow in her father’s foot steps. She is currently advising her father of new ways to promote the fights on social media and giveaways. Since she was six years old, she has been accompanying her father on the ring. Anahi is no stranger to the spotlight. She is former Miss Preteen San Antonio United States, and current Miss Preteen Lone Star United States. She is a very active volunteer in San Antonio with different organizations including the Stock Show and Rodeo. She has been in pagents since she was just a little girl but if you ask her what stage has been her favorite, she will immediately respond that the wrestling ring at her father’s side has been the ultimate for her. She would like to eventually enter the ring as a wrestler. For now, she will continue to learn the ropes and give dad her ideas. Anahi feels innovation is the key to progress while failure to innovate leads to decline, and, eventually, death;...

Eva’s Heroes Recognizes Special Needs Community

When local artist Cruz Ortiz was approached by Eva’s Heroes about collaborating with the nonprofit’s teen and adult participants on a Tricentennial inclusion mural, he didn’t hesitate to say yes. “My daughter, Graciela, has Rett syndrome, so I know what it’s like to for individuals with special needs,” Ortiz said. “They are often ignored, but they just want to be included.” So, on October 17, despite the chilly morning air and chances of rain, more than 20 teens and adults with intellectual special needs picked up paint brushes and used bright orange, red, yellow and blue to paint three 4-feet by 6-feet wooden panels to create an official Tricentennial inclusion mural at the Harvey Najim YMCA on the South Side. Participant Justice Simeon said his favorite part of working on the mural was “having fun” with his fellow Eva’s Heroes friends, while Sandra Hernandez said she liked using her favorite colors “red and yellow to paint the mural.” Later that evening after the panels had dried, the participants, their families and other guests gathered outside at the Mission Marquee Plaza, formerly the Mission Drive-In Theatre, adjacent to the Najim YMCA for an unveiling of the mural, which now hangs on the back wall of the marquee plaza through December 31. “The whole idea behind this mural is about inclusivity, so this mural is about them and all of San Antonio’s special needs community,” Ortiz said. “The entire process of the image was developed by the participants and they made their marks with these colors. Together we have made something beautiful for all of San Antonio to see.” Eva Longoria...

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