Friday, December 20, 2013

The (s)Avant Garde: Vol 1, Issue #1

The (s)Avant Garde
  • This segment will focus on students/graduates impacting their communities in utilizing their developed skill sets and advancing their quality of life.
With conflicting stigmas in pursuing higher education - rising costs in tuition, the corporatization of the university, among other issues - we find it increasingly difficult to view a college or university education as a valuable venture. Any prospective student or graduate would be leery of the student-loan debt crisis recently surpassing $1 trillion, in which students are accumulating massive amounts of debt in order to obtain a quality education.

Whatever the physical or figurative cost, I view a degree as the culmination of the passion for discovery in any subject. Many institutions are now requiring a minimum of a B.A. upon admittance(or hiring) and so a degree, in this sense, has the potential to fulfill itself as a worthwhile investment.

  • The first interview will feature a long time friend and colleague, Mike Morón.  Growing up on San Antonio's west side, he spent years living and studying at DePaul University in Chicago. Recently returned to his hometown, he works with Big Brothers-Big Sisters of South Texas and remains actively involved in the inner city community.

NAME: Michael Morón

STUDENT or GRADUATE: Graduate, DePaul University

FIELD OF STUDY: Philosophy, Political Science, Liberal Arts

photo by Andrea Medina

Community at Large: Coming from your west side community, how would you describe the adjustment of attending college in a major metropolitan area?

Mike Morón:

Community at Large: What inspired you to pursue studying these subjects?

Mike Morón:

CL: Were student loans a factor in considering your choice of college?


CL: With a background in your particular studies, you bring a scholarly perspective to the BBBS mentorship program.How would you characterize our approach in mentoring young people?


CL: Both philosophy and political theory have a rich history exemplified by figures such as Socrates and Aristotle to Locke and Rousseau to Hegel and Marx to Sartre and so on. How do you see current issues shaping American philosophy in the 21st Century?


CL: Is there a particular philosopher/theorist or influential school of thought that you suggest we delve into?


Updates coming soon!

  • this interview was recorded at The Filling Station Cafe & Tap Room

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Rivard Report: Local Needle in a Haystack

Rivard Report-courtesy graphic

With decades of professional journalism under his belt as former editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Express-News, Robert Rivard launched the Rivard Report in early 2012. His staff aims to contribute to the public conversation on the urban renaissance of San Antonio, creating a community forum through their online magazine.

The diversity of the RR lies in its contributors, presenting their perspective of the Alamo City with regularly featured columns. (See Rendon Retrato, The Feed)

After meeting with managing editor Iris Dimmick at a TEDx-Geekdom workshop in August, we exchanged contact info, shared our stories, and here we are - the RR has given me the opportunity to tell my story of manifesting change in San Antonio. With many friends leaving San Antonio and staying gone, I made the decision years ago to hold on and get to the heart of the people and politics shaping the culture of this city.

Following the site since its inception, I continue to be inspired by the wide range of issues covered on the RR. They have all the momentum behind them in igniting this community dialogue.  So stay tuned, spread the word, and if you have a story, they'd love to hear it.

 - Taken from the RR:

I realized I was a part of a network of talented individuals, all striving to make San Antonio a better place for our communities through music, through art, through culture.
I set a goal for myself: redirect my energy to staying in San Antonio, immerse myself in the history of this city, and get a better grasp of the social, political, and economic issues affecting and shaping San Antonio.
Dia de Los Muertos altar for Maury Maverick, former progressive mayor of San Antonio who "defeated the machine."
Dia de Los Muertos altar for Maury Maverick, former progressive mayor of San Antonio who “defeated the machine.” Photo by Rene Jaime Gonzalez.
In surveying the story of San Antonio, I fell in love with this city. I fell in love with the beautiful struggle that is present in the everyday lives of its citizens. I’ve embraced all aspects of its rich and turbulent history.
The impact of Emma Tenayuca’s pecan sheller strike in the 1930s continues to resonate in Westside communities. The political domination of the Good Government League and the restitution enacted by Community Organized for Public Service (COPS) illustrate the turmoil between suburban sprawl and the role of government acting a public steward in addressing the rights to civic benefits for all.
As a DJ I engaged in the booking and organizing process with music venues and nightclubs, establishing residency in 2011 at Tucker’s Kozy Korner alongside fellow disc jockey JJ Lopez, spinning an eclectic mix of soul, funk, and jazz on vinyl. We’ve dubbed our night The Soul Spot.

Read the rest of the article here: From the City of Brotherly Love to Falling in Live with the Alamo City

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dialogues in Planning: Urban Connectivity hosted by UTSA

2nd installment of Dialogues in Planning
- hosted by UTSA, presented by imagineSanAntonio and UTSA

courtesy graphic-UTSA

With a packed room on the first floor of the UTSA College of Architecture, Dialogues in Planning brought together professors, citzens, policymakers, and students alike.

The night began with presentations from Dr. Richard Tangum, Director of Center for Urban/Regional Planning(UTSA), and Bob Wise, president of imagineSanAntonio. Both presentations gave the audience a historical evolution of street patterns of San Antonio. Tangum as a San Antonio native provided us with colorful stories of growing up in his neighborhood  - reminiscing of a time when a pharmacy, grocer, corner store, and other amenities were all within walking distance - in what is now known today as Hemisfair Park. His and other neighborhoods were razed for the development of Hemisfair Park, the Alamodome, and other public-private projects.

With the new Federal-Aid Highway Act implemented by President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s, San Antonio began developing its highways that would shape the future of its commerce. Unfortunately this construction would tear through the heart of many communities, displacing families and severing connections between neighborhoods. A diagram displaying numerous inner-city streets removed since 1904 to present-day proved staggering in its impact, eliciting moans from the audience.

Notice the boundaries of San Antonio's modern inner-city area confined by I-35 to the north/east, I-37 to the west, and I-10 covering the south, creating a box-like border. The northwest sector of downtown, once the heart of San Antonio's Italian community replete with churches, markets, and public spaces, was part of the cultural geography affected by highway development.

Picking up where Tangum left off, Bob Wise illustrated this disconnection causing major problems for our communities such as social isolation, environmental deterioration. His presentation demonstrated the need for neighborhoods to be self-sufficient, compact with mixed use, and provide a broad range of housing in creating diversity.

He presented his case for complete streets with a thorough investigation of the pros and cons for residents, business, public transit, etc.  He warned of the "superblocks" created by acquisition of public streets or spaces in serving the organization and excluding pedestrian traffic or vehicular mobility. (see: SA Current article by Charlotte Luongo) "The UTSA downtown campus is itself a superblock. No disrespect intended," he stated.

The completeness is created by setting priorities not only for motor vehicles, but for pedestrians, rapid transit, and cyclists. He emphasized the planning - with community input - for urban streets will create an efficiency of mobility, enhancing the quality of life for everyone.


Moderator David Bogle inquired into the panelists' views of the history and future of the streets of downtown San Antonio. Andrew Perez, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, in great detail gave a history of the significance of San Antonio as a major city, beginning with travelers settling here some 1200 years ago. They discovered the bountiful water supply of the San Pedro Springs area and the San Antonio River. The French LaSalle expeditions of the late 17th century recognized San Antonio as the future sight of a major city. 

Christine Drennon, Director of Urban Studies at Trinity University, also alluded to the Interstate Highway Systems destroying communities in her studies of Treme, New Orleans. Most recently the community organizations are making efforts to revitalize the original neighborhood affected by I-10 construction.

Angela Hartsell completed a unique case study of five cities - Vancouver, Chicago, Istanbul, Kyoto, San Antonio - in which she studied a specific street segment unique to each region, with downtown Houston Street fitting the model for the study. San Antonio definitely fails in maintaining a green grocer, but she was impressed with the sidewalk widths and ease of navigation with directional and historical signs indicating downtown destinations.

As the dialogue was between the moderator and panelists, an audience Q&A session was not held. So I pose my questions at this point:

  • Given the evident lack of street lighting, walkable sidewalks, and pedestrian development, will we see a shift in public policy to address the essential social fabric of communities?
  • Time will tell whether the VIA streetcar will effectively serve commuters and tourists. San Pedro, Culebra, Bandera, Broadway, and other main streets serving as arteries prove to be so wide that rapid transit, whether bus or light rail, would substantially benefit commuters and motor vehicles. Along with the new streetcar, can we expect to see San Antonio adopt a mass transit system in the near future?


In an effort to increase walkability in neighborhoods, the San Antonio-Bexar County Metropolitan Planning Organization has developed the Walkable Communities program, recently taking on Wheatley neighborhood on San Antonio's east side, broadcasted by Nowcast SA. See video below:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Humans of San Antonio: A Humanitarian Project

Humans of...San Antonio

Launched in 2012, Humans of San Antonio is a part of the international Humans of... project which began in New York City with worldwide affiliates located in Paris, Tehran, and beyond. Stella Savage and Michael Cirlos took on the project and soon expanded to include other photographers and inspired individuals on their team.

Mayor Julian Castro and District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal express that downtown is a place where all residents can claim their piece of San Antonio. Growing up on San Antonio's north side suburbs, Michael Cirlos is all too familiar with the stigmas associated with the center city. This effort, he hopes, will create for citizens a redefined image of the downtown area.

On foot and bike, HOSA carries out their mission of demystifying downtown by promoting the diversity of its citizens through photojournalism, sharing their stories with not only San Antonio, but for all the world to experience.

Humans of SA staff:

Michael Cirlos
Stella Savage

Monica Sosa
Scott Ball

I sat down with Michael Cirlos and Scott Ball to get some words about the project..

Community at Large: Why take on the Humans of... project for this city?

Humans of San Antonio:

Community at Large: In the video spot, you mention San Antonio as a segregated city. How have you experienced that segregation?

Humans of San Antonio

CL: How has the site been received by fellow San Antonians?


CL: When you're out in the streets are you looking for someone specific? What draws you to the people?


CL: After hundreds of stories and photographs, can you give any profound examples that have made an impact?


graphic courtesy of HoSA

This interview was recorded at the IAMA(International Academy and Music of the Arts) coffee house

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lit Review: Vol 1, Issue # 1

  • In an effort to promote literacy, this segment will feature brief overviews of literature publications - books, journals, magazines, etc. I find the decry of "print is dead" to be extremely pessimistic; it undermines the gravity of physical media. Newsstands have fused people together from all different political and socioeconomic backgrounds for decades, arguing and debating their viewpoints while perusing through the latest news over coffee or breakfast.
  • I feel that print is not dead, it merely has a companion, a supplemental medium in the digital format. With a plethora of available sources in this age of information, I encourage reading online publications hand-in-hand with physical literature.
The purpose of this segment will be to illustrate the significance and relevance of the publication. In the near future this segment will feature reviews by guest students, graduates, colleagues, scholars, etc.

Civil Disorder and Violence: Essays on Causes and Cures
1971, Edited by Harry M. Clor

"Crime reflects the character of a people. This is the painful fact we do not want to face. Other premises are easier to accept, other causes easier to control. There is no simple reform for defective character. It is stubborn, durable and strong as ourselves. It is ourselves."

- Ramsey Clark "Crime in America"

While conducting research for an informative speech on labor movements in the U.S., I began taking note of the violence associated with organized marches, strikes, and protests. These organized movements have a history tainted by violence in this country and I sought out to discover the core of the conflict. How do nonviolent political protests and labor strikes turn into violent affairs?
When asked by Swedish journalists about achieving a revolution through means of violence, an interview conducted during her incarceration in 1972, scholar-activist Angela Davis became frustrated with such a question being imposed, discrediting her methods for social progress. She then recanted the violence in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama instigated by white supremacists and segregationists - the 16th st Baptist Church bombing, commonplace and socially accepted police brutality, etc. See The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975.

The essays in the book, arranged by Harry M. Clor of Kenyon College, investigate concepts such as "law and order", "public safety", among other topics. Political scientist Edward C. Banfield in his essay How Many, and Who, Should be Set at Liberty? gives a thorough examination of the exclamation, "Robberies, murders, rapes, are the sports of men set at liberty from punishment and censure" by John Locke. 

In the excerpt from The Politics of Protest, criminologist Jerome Skolnick states the violence associated with social and political protest is not planned, it "arises out of an interaction between protesters and the reaction of authorities," and that mass protest itself stems from the prevailing social, political, and economic conditions affecting a community.

In 1967 President Lyndon B. Johnson commissioned an 11-member committee to investigate the causes of the turbulent social protests of the late '60s known as the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders aka the Kerner Commission, named for the chair of the commission - Otto Kerner Jr. The book begins with the introduction to the final report. Origins of social unrest, the committee concluded, were in part due to the "concentration on 'national' and international problems at the expense of 'local' and domestic concerns", leaving the U.S. with an "enormous deficit of unmet social needs and deeply-felt social injustices."

Though the findings of the Kerner Report were ultimately disregarded by President Johnson, these pressing issues of civil discontent continue to affect our communities some 40 years later. We must go to necessary lengths of recognizing the legitimacy of voiced concerns taking the form of civil protest, no matter the results of the immediate outcome. If we take the time to probe the fundamental causality of the detriments to our society, we may be able to set aside preconceived notions by agreeing to confront the most unappealing aspects of the evolution of our human nature.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Street Life: Issue #1

Location: North Central Downtown
  • This segment will highlight a specific area of San Antonio through photographs, history, and intrigue. Armed with a Nikon digital camera, I'll be roaming the streets in search of a story, in search of defining characteristics of a community.
Earlier this month, I made a trek to the north central sector of downtown after scattered rainshowers had subsided. I started out at Martin and Navarro, stopping by the remodeled Hotel Havana and Ocho Lounge, making my way west to check out the ongoing community garden project - Little Patch Garden. On my journey I encountered an herb spiral, tourists, and patrons from the notorious Gloria's Lounge on N. Flores st.

 -Hotel Havana-
-this photo reminds of me walking the streets of Philadelphia in the fall-
 -vacant lots are all too common in downtown SA, this one is for rent-

-Little Patch Garden: 405 N Main Ave-
 -Herb spiral-
  •  While perusing the garden, a slim, older man flagged me down, "joven...oyes...joven". His name is Lazaro, a Spanish variant of the Hebrew "Lazarus", though everyone calls him Lazarito - a common suffix added as a term of endearment in latin-american culture.
Our conversation proceeded entirely in Spanish.
  • A patron of Gloria's Lounge, he was well into his fourth beer at 3pm and decided for a walk around the block. Hailing from Cuba, he traveled the world before settling down in SA in the 1980s. He spotted me observing the root he stands next to in this photo. He told me that these were common throughout Cuba and began to tell a story of encountering them in his childhood.
  • He asked me if I was familiar with the neighborhood, his neighborhood stretching a few blocks on Flores st. I told him that I have been living in SA since 1993 but only recently have I been discovering the downtown area. He told me of the years where the streets in the area were not safe at night during the '80s and '90s. He said that things have been cleaned up recently, but still to be careful when walking this area of town after dark. "...ten cuidado, joven"
  • I asked him if he missed his home country. "My heart will always belong to Cuba," he told me, but he wanted to see the world. He asked me how much I knew of Fidel Castro. Not much, I told him, but I am eager to learn the history of Central American and South American countries. We discussed the portrayal of Fidel Castro by the U.S. government and media. "That's only one side of the story," he said, "the U.S. dislikes countries that are not willing to follow its model [of liberal capitalism], so they'll badmouth those leaders to discredit their reputation and leadership."
 -Lorax mural across the street from Little Patch-
  • He was glad that I was willing to engage him in conversation. "I love to speak with the youth," he said, "I am able to learn so much about the world from them." We spoke of our love for music, art, and culture.
  • He invited me to Gloria's for a cerveza or two. "Come on, follow me and I'll tell you a story about a man, an artist from Spain with a mustache that curled up to his eyes," illustrating a curling motion with his fingers. "Oh, you're speaking of Salvador Dali, no?" His eyes lit up when I asked the question. "Yes, yes! Come on!" I made my way toward my parking spot, turning around one last time to take in the glorious afternoon. "Maybe next time, Lazarito," I shouted back.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sounds on the Margins Lecture - Follow Up

Sounds on the Margin Lecture
by Associate Professor Marco Cervantes

Presented at UTSA'S Institute of Texan Cultures, the lecture presented by Marco Cervantes was given as a follow up to the Sounds on the Margins Concert.

The comprehensive lecture began with an overview of the mixing of African slaves, indigenous Mexicans, and Spanish conquistadors, often on turbulent and violent terms, in the late 1500s-early 1600s, introducing the cultural implications of the terms mestizo and mestizaje, meaning a "mixed people".
He illustrated the Spanish casta system put in place in Mexico. This social hierarchy was largely based on color of skin - the dominant culture, of course, being those from Spain with fair skin and light hair. With Spanish men and women mixing with indigenous mexicans and imported african slaves, the casta system gave birth to the terms güero, prieto, and moreno, ordered from lightest to darkest skin tone.

Portraying the Mexican Revolution of 1810, we examined the complex history of Texas and the U.S-Mexican war, the implications of treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and the shaping of the cultural/physical landscape of the southwestern region of the U.S.

Rolling right along into the 20th century, Cervantes changed the focus of his lecture to contrast the similarities of Mexican-American and African-American music culture.
He began by making a striking comparison between musicians Lidia Mendoza and Huddie Ledbetter, better known as "Leadbelly". Demonstrating the universality of the folk ballad, Cervantes displayed the uncanny resemblance of "El Lirio"(Mendoza) to "Sweet Jenny Lee"(Leadbelly).

*Note: contrast the Mexican grito and the African-American field holler*
Moving from conjunto and orquesta groups, Chicano Soul of San Antonio in the '60s, the Tejano movement of the '70s and '80s - living on through Selena Quintanilla-Perez in the '90s - leading up to his hip-hop collaborative group Third Root.

Third Root, consisting of Charles "Easy Lee" Peters and Marcos Cervantes aka Mexican Stepgrandfather, is a collaboration of MCs, DJs, and musicians, putting forth a mission of shedding light on the afro-mex-american connection. Their lyrics exemplify a positive message calling for the unity of black and brown peoples of this nation, concerned with liberation of imposed hegemony in order to ultimately come together as Americans, from all ethnic backgrounds.

Since the origins of the U.S. census, the complications of race continue to distort our view of culture to this day. In the post-lecture Q&A session we discussed thoughts on transnationalism, establishing a sense of cultural identity, among other topics.

In terms of introducing ourselves to each other, Americans are often ask the question "what are you", implying "what is your race so we can better understand you".
For example, I would be considered prieto by my skin tone, yet I stand at 6' tall with Germanic/Nordic facial features, confusing people when I explain my Mexican heritage. Growing up as Mexican-Americans in Philadelphia, PA, my family was often mistaken for Greek or Iranian origin. Upon researching my own family tree, I find traces of Germanic and Swedish heritage. The name Gonzalez coming from Gundisalv -  from the Germanic gundp meaning "war" and Visigoth in origin.
A woman in the audience of fair skin and light hair with Mexican heritage gave her personal testimony of growing up in San Antonio, interacting with people disdainfully speaking about her in Spanish as if she was incapable of understanding, ostracizing her by complexion. Her testimony alone gives weight to the notion of Mexico parallels the U.S. as a melting pot of culture.

Overall, the lecture was absolutely remarkable in demonstrating the complexities of race and culture in North America, the information in this field of research proves to be ever-expanding. Any student, no matter the age or ethnicity, can take away something personal from this presentation while exploring cultural concerns.

Recommended reading by Marcos Cervantes:

  • Recovering History, Constructing Race: The Indian, Black, and White Roots of Mexican-Americans by Martha Menchaca
  • They Came Before Columbus: African Presence in Ancient America by Ivan Van Sertima

Future Events for ITC:
Family day with the Ruda Phat installation by Mas Rudas on 9.21


  • Concerning religion, the African-American civil rights movement of the '50s and '60s used the spirituals as a theme to overcome discrimination. However, beginning with such leaders as Malcom X in the mid-'60s, radical figures within the movement began abandoning Christian faith, abdicating that it was imposed upon them by Protestant and Puritan slave owners. In doing so, they began changing their given birth names and adopting Islamic names along with its religious views. Members of the Chicano movement also abandoned their Catholic faith, critcizing the role of the hierarchy of priests, cardinals, and bishops of Rome making decisions they felt were out of touch with the needs of their community. They also began changing their given Spanish or American names in favor of monikers from an Inca, Aztec, or Mayan culture.
  • Though christian-catholic faith has a strong presence in these communities today, what role will religion play in terms of constructing cultural identity in the 21st century?
  • When will we see the U.S. begin to think beyond race while maintaining a cultural identity?
  • For further reading, pick up the latest edition of Daedalus. A quarterly publication, this summer's issue focuses on the past, present, and future of immigration in America.

graphic courtesy of UTSA's ITC

Friday, August 30, 2013

Pecha Kucha Night #11 - Josephine St Theater


Pecha Kucha, japanese for "chit-chat",began in Tokyo in 2003. The project has since expanded to cities around the globe as an event for young professionals to display their ideas to a like-minded and curious audience.
After making its way to San Antonio, TX in 2011, Pecha Kucha SA is poised for a 12th installment later this year.

Presentations follow a format of 20 slides, displayed for 20 seconds each, exhibiting their work throughout the night at a riveting pace.

Tuesday's event brought together ideas from cocktail bartenders to ceramic art to anthropology in South America.

I had the chance to get a few questions from guest speakers:

Chris Davila - art consultant

Jennifer Ling Datchuk - ceramic artist

Jeremy Mandrell & Anne Ng - brains and brawn of Bakery Lorraine

Community at Large: You clearly display a strong utilization of social media skills. Is this changing the dynamic of interaction in the arts community?

Chris Davila:

CL: Other than reaching you through social media, can you tell us about hosting "The Chris Connection"?


Community at Large: Your work addresses conflicts of race, domestic issues, etc. Given your diverse ethnic background, how has San Antonio embraced your art?

Jennifer Ling Datchuk: 

CL: Any future exhibits coming up?


Community at Large: Most husband-wife teams working in restaurants can be found in front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house, respectively. What was it like with both of you working in the kitchen at Bouchon?

Bakery Lorraine: 

CL: What are you some of your favorite items on the menu?


CL: You started out at a farmer's market, working your way up to a brick-and-mortar. What can we expect to come from Bakery Lorraine?


graphic courtesy of pecha kucha SA

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mas Rudas presents... Ruda Phat

On display at UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures...

- Mas Rudas presents Ruda Phat - 

Mas Rudas continues to push boundaries and challenge conventional notions of art, this time finding comfort in the uncomfortable. Ruda Phat is a look at how the female body is represented, examining our perceptions of that portrayal. 

In these realities comes a stark message, a profound reminder in accepting the contours of your physical self.

I had time to speak with the women of Mas Rudas about their identity as a collective, past exhibits, and future endeavors...

Community at Large: As established artists in your own right, what brought you together to express your art collectively?

Mas Rudas:

CL: "Mas Rudas" - can you give us some info on the meaning of the name and what it is to you.


CL: Not only are you presenting your perspective as Chicanas, but also bringing a critique of that experience. Would you say that this critique is the motivation or premise for your artwork?


CL:  In December, while video recording at the Alamo, you were ejected on terms of your presentation was considered out of the norm.
What was this norm in violation during your performance?


CL: There is often a divide in Mexican-American culture in regards to California and Texas - Cali-Mex vs. Tex-Mex, Spurs vs. Lakers, etc.
Can you describe your residency experience at Slanguage in LA?


CL: In December, you landed an installation titled Brown Style for the Window Works series at Artpace.
With their international artist-in-residence program in the spotlight, how did it feel having your work on display?


CL: What's next for Mas Rudas?



  • ruda phat: Aug 17 - Dec 1
  • future curation is scheduled for Mexic-Arte Musuem in Austin at the YLA annual exhibition 2014
  • sarah castillo has opened her own LADY BASE gallery @ 1913 south flores
  • kristin gamez
  • ruth buentello

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bibliotech Opening Fall 2013

BIBLIOTECH - the name itself a refreshing spin on the branding of a public library. A fitting perspective, with the project scheduled to take off in the near future as the nation's first fully-functioning all-digital public library.

Already making headlines on HuffingtonPostABCnews, and NPR, San Antonio's south side is eagerly anticipating the official date which has yet to be released.

The library will feature access to 10,000 e-books and a number of databases through the TexShare program which members will be able to browse through PC stations, e-readers, tablets, and laptops.

This past week I found Bibliotech setting up shop during the opening of Seussical: The Musical at the Magik Theatre, promoting their services with an informational pamphlet, coloring sheet, and watermark tattoos for the kids.

I had the opportunity to get some words from them on the project..

Community at Large: What inspired you as a student to pursue library science?

Ashley Eklof: 

CL: After studying library and information science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, what brings you down to south Texas?


CL: How did the Bibliotech project come about? Were you all involved from the beginning?


CL: Will there be plans for community engagement or outreach?


CL: With Bibliotech being the first, completely functioning public library of its kind, what is getting you excited about next month's opening?


Voices of the BiblioTech staff:

  • Ashley Eklof, head librarian
  • Laura Cole, project manager
  • Catarina Velasquez, branch manager
  • Jose Siller, assistant branch manager

Bibliotech will be located at 3505 Pleasanton Road SA,TX 78221 

graphics courtesy of Bexar Bibliotech

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Downtown Blog x Diego Bernal

A Downtown Blog Event : A Conversation with Diego Bernal

graphic courtesy of the downtown blog

A first time event hosted at the Filling Station Cafe and Tap Room quickly packed inside with eager citizens in their chairs and latecomers finding standing room only. Olivo and Bernal covered topics on the revitalization of Alamo Plaza, the production of Via's proposed streetcar routes, and development at the Joske's building. Bernal gave his personal input and the city's stance on the issues.

You check out the full conversation here!

I had the chance to ask them both a few questions..

 - Ben Olivo of the Downtown Blog

  • Ben Olivo heads the downtown blog at a time when the downtown scene is experiencing rejuvenation. He reports on a number of issues and concerns - from street alignments to restaurant openings to the museum reach - he covers it all.

Community at Large: I've been following the blog since 2010 around the launch of SA2020. When did the site kick off and how long have you been involved?

Downtown Blog:  

CL: Was there a motive or inspiration for reporting on the history, urban planning, and social dynamic of downtown?


CL: Any more events or special features that we can expect in the near future?


- District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal

  • Diego Bernal ran unopposed this year for his seat as district councilman. Be on the lookout for plans of a newly reconfigured San Pedro Springs Park.

Community at Large: After studying sociology and law at the University of Michigan, you returned to San Antonio pursuing music - studio production, live performance, even establishing a record label. What turned you in the direction of working for the city?

Diego Bernal:

CL: With district 1 boundaries extending from Southtown all the way up to the airport you face a unique set of challenges concerning a host of issues. How do these issues define or set you apart as a councilman?


CL: In collaboration with PASA, you created X Marks the Art which features pop-up art installations in vacant storefronts and properties downtown. With the next round of artists coming up, what can we we expect to see?


Ben Olivo works and writes for the SA Express-News

Diego Bernal can be found engaging communities all over District 1.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July Recap Pt 2: Sounds on the Margins

An event brought to you by the Institute of Texan Cultures, highlighting the sounds of a marginalized people in south Texas. The event featured live vocal performances from Mexican Stepgrandfather and Vocab, a live DJ set by JJ Lopez, and the sounds of Bombasta had everyone getting out of their museum seats to dance about it. People of all ages attended and plans are in the works for a future installment of Sounds on the Margins...

graphic courtesy of The Institute of Texan Cultures: In Association with the Smithsonian Institution

I had the opportunity to speak with the artists over how they feel about their art. Linked below are the sounds of the artists describing the sound of their music and the importance of this artistic cultural expression represented internationally at the Institute.. 


Mari Hernandez

Roberto Livar

Andrea Sanderson

Marco Cervantes

  • Catch Marco Cervantes performing and recording with Third Root
  • Roberto Livar performing with Bombasta
  • Mari Hernandez of the Mas Rudas art collective establishing their residency at The Institute of Texan Cultures on August 16th.
  • The sounds of Andrea "Vocab" Sanderson can be heard on Soundcloud, for sale at Amazon, and all over San Antonio

Sunday, July 28, 2013

July Recap Pt 1: Chicano Soul

Chicano Soul recap!

Last weekend marked the closing of the Chicano Soul exhibit at the South Texas Pop Culture Center. With a panel moderated by Sarah Gould, the group explored and discussed contemporary music in a post-WWII San Antonio. Highlighting the teenage rock 'n' roll movement, low-rider car culture, the importance and global influence of chicano soul, the panelists also engaged in questions from the audience on the record labels, radio scene of the '60s and '70s, and chicano music today.


Jim Beal

Ramon Hernandez
JJ Lopez
Ernie Garibay
Sarah Gould
Alex Larotta
and more...

Special thanks to Sarah Gould and Michael Ann Coker.

TX Pop

graphic courtesy of South Texas Pop Culture Center