Courtesy of H-E-B

Editor's note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. From animal crossings to page turning, here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. H-E-B soars to No. 2 in Forbes' prestigious list of best employers in Texas. In addition to being based in San Antonio, H-E-B operates more than 300 stores in Texas and employs 154,000 people.

2. Wildlife advocacy tour treks to San Antonio's spectacular land bridge. The land bridge is getting national attention through a promotional road trip meant to highlight the structure's role in protecting local ecosystems.

3. Texas Book Festival releases full lineup of 300 authors, including Roxane Gay and Ali Hazelwood. The weekend will be full of panel discussions, author readings, book signings, and much more.

4. San Antonio foundation pounces on bold program to return ocelots to the wild. Following the proposal, the East Foundation will release ocelots onto a section of its San Antonio Viejo Ranch.

5. Famous furniture store Louis Shanks shutters last remaining San Antonio location. The furniture retailer first opened in 1945, with the San Antonio store opening in 1983.

Blue Star Contemporary Facebook

San Antonio contemporary art sale makes anyone a collector for 33rd year

The eye of the beholder

Sometimes it feels like the only art most people will ever have in their homes is funky craft market finds, but one San Antonio art hub is making its contemporary curation accessible in a popular annual sale. The 33rd annual Red Dot Sale is returning soon.

Held at Contemporary at Blue Star, the exhibition and celebration of local artists officially opens to the public on October 6th. Don't fret if you can't make it to the opening weekend, as the Red Dot art sale will be on display until January 9, 2024. Eager art buyers will even be able to look at pieces for purchase online at the official Blue Star Red Dot website.

There will be a special opening night celebration on October 4 from 6-10 pm, where guests who purchase a ticket will be able to preview the artwork on display and for sale from more than 100 San Antonio based artists. (The event page also teases a silent disco after-party.)

Previous Red Dot Sales have reportedly seen prices as low as $200, so there really are works available for most budgets.

The Red Dot Art Sale is a fundraiser that helps keep Contemporary at Blue Star running year after year. According to this year's call for submissions (now closed), half the proceeds from the event go toward funding Contemporary at Blue Star's ongoing exhibitions, and half will go to the artists who put their work on display.

Continuing the ongoing theme of supporting talented local artists, the Red Dot exhibition also features an honored artist who has consistently displayed dedication to supporting the San Antonio arts scene.

This year that chosen honoree is Cathy Cunningham-Little, an artist inspired by explorations of illusions versus reality.

According to Cunningham-Little's official biography, her central theme in her pieces were inspired by her father's loss of sight due to a genetic disorder.

In Cunningham-Little's own words, viewers of her artwork are, "asked to become an active participant in a dialogue with the work as they experience the dissolution of boundaries between substance and space."

The sale also spotlights Andi Rodriguez as this year's distinguished patron, as well as the MOSAIC Student Artists — a group of high school students who study studio art and business in an after-school program with the Contemporary.

The Red Dot exhibition and sale will also feature augmented reality (AR), thanks to a partnership with a San Antonio-based art tech startup called Kaleido. Guests who attend the show will be able to utilize Kaleido's AR to hear straight from the artists about their work (as opposed to reading a placard describing what the artwork is supposed to be).

“I am thrilled that Red Dot celebrates San Antonio’s vastly rich community of artists,” said the Contemporary’s Executive Director Mary Heathcott in a release. “I am also excited to partner with Kaleido, which has the potential to share Red Dot works and artists across the globe. With innovation being one of our pillars, this new partnership will elevate the Red Dot show to an immersive augmented reality engagement.”

Tickets ($75) for the opening event are still available in a limited quantity — purchase them via Eventbrite.

106 Bella Cima Drive/Zillow

Legendary Houston Rockets 'champion' coach Rudy Tomjanovich lists elegant Lake Travis home for $3M

a slam dunk find

San Antonians who are serious about living like a baller on the lake should take a look at this house that just hit the market. Realtor.com recently spotted a listing for the 6,917-square-foot house of Basketball Hall of Famer Rudy Tomjanovich, right off the shore of beautiful Lake Travis.

The Zillow listing shows a wealth of photos in white and dark wood grain, for a tasteful, semi-natural look. But across this 5-bedroom, 7-bathroom house, there's one thing that ties it all together: a ton of arches. They appear over the entrance, in many of the windows, in doorways, in shelving, and even on both ends of the pool. Two domed showers look like they're inset in a cave-like bathhouse.

Among the more standard array of rooms — a very spacious entryway, a light-filled kitchen, and a couple of dining nooks and living areas — there are two that stand out.

The first is the study, the darkest room in the house, as one who often peruses mansions might expect. With wood paneling along the walls, exposed wooden beams inset in the ceiling, and big floor-to-ceiling bookcases, this serious room lightens up thanks to almost an entire wall of windows. In these photos, it's obvious that the house belongs to someone who loves basketball.

106 Bella Cima Drive Austin houseAll the natural woodgrain provides a beautiful contrast to the rest of the white house.106 Bella Cima Drive/Zillow

The other standout room is a wine cellar, seemingly carved from earth, but still fitting in with the white-and-wood aesthetic of the rest of the house. This dramatic storage space is lined with enough shelving to fit hundreds of bottles. A big air vent suggests that the room has its own temperature or humidity control.

Although large, the bedrooms are almost nondescript, save for some inset arches (no way, really?) and walk-in closets big enough to count as another room. At least one of the primary bedrooms features a fireplace in dark marble and a door straight out to the back patio.

It's a grand house, but certainly the biggest draw is the outdoor space. The back patio is topped with a deck, so the entire back of the two-story house is utilized for enjoying the beautiful views in the shade. Tuscan columns offset one section of the patio from the next, creating a few different conversation or reading nooks.

The stone tiled patio floor is even with the pool and "spa" (basically a small hot tub), creating one unified area. On the other side of the pool, an ornate retaining wall sets off the expertly manicured backyard, which avoids the boring green expanses of many mansion lawns in favor of some knobby Texas trees and a conversational fire pit.

106 Bella Cima Drive Austin HouseThere are lots of places to relax among the expert landscaping.106 Bella Cima Drive/Zillow

Other interesting features are a spacious laundry room, a "game room" (which could theoretically be used for anything, and a five-space attached garage.

A Texas legend, Rudy Tomjanovich spent his entire playing career with the Houston Rockets, starting the final year that the team was based in San Diego in 1970. He was the team's second draft pick that year. The six-foot-eight player (notice those high ceilings?) went on to coach until 2005, and is now a player personnel consultant for the Minnesota Timberwolves at age 74.

But fans will always remember "Rudy T" as the man who brought the city of Houston its first true pro sports championship — twice. Tomjanovich coached the Rockets and Hall of Fame legend Hakeem Olajuwon and co. to Houston and the Rockets' first title in 1994 — and followed suit the next year after a blockbuster mega-trade splash brought University of Houston icon and Hall of Famer Clyde "The Glide" Drexler home to the Rockets.

Addressing doubters and naysayers after the 1995 sequel championship win, Rudy T issued one of the greatest lines in pro sports history : "Don't ever underestimate the heart of a champion."

106 Bella Cima Drive Lake Travis Austin house

The Lake Travis home is beautifully situated among trees.

See more of the house, which currently has an offer pending, on Zillow.

Steven Devadanam contributed to this story.

Photo by Sonnie Hiles on Unsplash

San Antonio brings its to-do lists for expert advice at the Fall Home + Garden Show

Supervised DIY

San Antonians have a lot to be proud of in their homes. We know they'll shell out thousands of dollars each year to keep up curb appeal, and the city is poised to attract lots of Gen Z residents who will at least become renters, if not buyers quite yet. But home maintenance can be overwhelming, even for longtime homeowners.

Inspiration and important tips can be found at the 35th annual San Antonio Fall Home + Garden Show. The expo just announced that it will set up its goods and service booths at the Alamodome from October 6-8, 2023.

With "hundreds of industry professionals under one roof," according to a news release, the show will offer a lot more than a chance to browse the more than 200 booths. Vendors are happy to give advice and inspiration (hey, maybe bring in that broken something-or-other you've been holding onto for months), and some have even prepared how-to presentations.

This isn't just something for landscape-obsessed dads. (Although...we'll see you there. Can't wait to talk about the best hoses.) Every member of the family can have a hand in keeping the home running smoothly, and kids are invited to learn about how to be more responsible and creative in workshops.

The release picks out 12 highlights, but here are the six CultureMap is most interested in:

  • Celebrity appearance by April Wilkerson: A home-improvement expert on YouTube, Wilkerson can often be spotted in her workshop forming DIYs with wood and metal. She has appeared on History Channel’s More Power, testing power tools. Wilkerson speaks on Friday, October 6, at 4 pm and Saturday, October 7, at 1 pm.
  • Celebrity appearance by Patric Richardson, The Laundry Evangelist: Believe it or not, people couldn't wait to go to Laundry Camp — so much that it created book and TV spinoffs. Richardson is teaching people to take better care of everything that goes in the laundry. He speaks on Friday, October 6, at 3 pm and Saturday, October 7, at noon and 2 pm.
  • Barbie-Inspired Dream Rooms: Barbie inspired tons of people at the movies this year, and her dream house will remain a lasting cultural touchstone for generations to come. Anyone who is ready to think pink can explore four "Barbie-themed dream rooms" by professional designers, to gather inspiration for what can be done in the real world.
  • Ask an Expert Arborist: Local arborists will be answering questions about "all tree-related matters." Hiring an arborist is a good idea, but not cheap, so these tree experts can help make sure you've checked all your boxes first. Consider asking what to plant, and where; whether your trees look healthy or need more attention; and if it's really time to take an old tree down.
  • Home Depot Children’s Workshop: Kids have too much creative energy to let it go to waste around the house. But before popping on a YouTube video and hand them a hammer, consider getting guidance from the Home Depot. The workshop will teach kids "how to build and make something real by themselves."
  • Runway Pet Show: Adoptable pets will hit the runway to inspire pet parents and find new homes. These runway models come from God's Dogs Rescue and San Antonio Pets Alive; Both rescue organizations will benefit from the silent dog house auction.

There will be plenty of snacks from San Antonio food vendors including Aloha Kitchen, Carina's Tacos, Casey's Cottage, Gigi's Cupcakes, Sofia's Pizzeria and The Original Taste of the Caribbean.

Tickets ($8 until October 5, $10 later) are available at sanantoniofallhomeshow.com. Children under 16 enter free, and special days are set for free entry for active military personnel, veterans, fire, police, first responders, and teachers.

Amols' Fiesta/ Facebook

6 essential San Antonio shops for scoring last-minute Fiesta gear


We hate to break it to you, but there's not much time left to prepare for Fiesta. Those bare walls with nary a swag of papel picado just won't cut it. The good news is that there's one shopping weekend left before the entire city explodes like a giant cascarón. Whether you're new to town or need a retail refresher, these shops will bring the party just in the nick of time.

Amols' Fiesta
Since 1949, Amols' has been San Antonio's go-to Fiesta spot, offering essential decorations like piñatas, door wreaths, and paper flowers. Those needing a wardrobe refresh will also find guayaberas, embroidered dresses, and serape sashes for piling on the medals. The purple Fredericksburg Road shop will be packed all week, but the staff is friendly and startingly efficient. Plus, the store hours have been extended to 10 am-6 pm, Monday through Friday; 10 am-4 pm, Saturday; and 11 am-3 pm, Sunday.

The Cascaron Store
There's no way to do Fiesta without getting flecks of tissue paper in your hair. This 927 Austin Hwy embraces the mess with colorful eggs and mini piñata shaped like maracas, margaritas, and cactuses. Local party planners should put the Cascaron Store in their Rolodex now. Designers are on staff to create some truly jaw-dropping custom props.

Dos Carolinas
This Pearl boutique is a must for breathable, elegant guayaberas. Owner Caroline Matthews stocks them in a variety of fabrics ranging from classic cotton broadcloth to seersucker and gingham. Shoppers can even nurse a post-Flambeau Parade hangover wearing a fabulously soft "guayarobe." Though it's too late for this year's celebration, the shop also offers custom shirts. But, hey, guayaberas are San Antonio appropriate year-round.

Divide & Conquer
For a one-of-a-kind Fiesta lewk, it's hard to top this downtown menswear store. The guayaberas are wild, sporting prints that run the gamut from psychedelic to preppy. If things get nippy (it is Texas, after all), there is also a selection of chic leather goods. The guayabera jacket offers the best of both worlds.

Fiesta at North Star
Conveniently located across from North Star, this mega-store is one-stop shopping for official San Antonio Fiesta merch. Outfit your front lawn with yard stakes, flags, and garlands, then outfit yourself with hand-painted hats, light-up bracelets, and tiny sombrero fascinators. It even offers tissue paper by the case for a tequila-fueled crafting party.

This Broadway shop focuses on gorgeous goods sourced from fair trade artisans from remote villages in Mexico. Top picks include gorgeous long dresses embroidered with brightly embroidered yokes, slouchy sweatshirts with dazzling handwork, and Otomi cummerbunds and suspenders. The straw totes are also a must — especially the handwoven pig.

Amols' Fiesta

Amols' has been San Antonio's Fiesta supplier since 1949.

Photo by Sophia De Pascuale

Historic Hill Country mansion transforms into luxe vacation getaway


Hot on the heels of last week's luxury hotel news, Fredericksburg is getting even more accommodations this summer. In a fusion of elegant Victorian-style design and Texas history, a historic Hill Country property is being transformed into a glorious getaway destination.

The Menagerie is located at 302 West Travis Street in Fredericksburg, just blocks from the historic downtown Main Street. The renovations are in its final stages, with the overhaul expected to be completed by summer 2023.

The overall property spans 9,500 square feet across 12 total units on both sides of West Travis Street: the original landmark mansion, a carriage house, a five-unit converted barn/garage, and four units in three cottage-style bungalows. The Menagerie can accommodate up to 34 guests over 14 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms.

The original mansion was built in the early 1900s as the private residence for Fredericksburg’s first mayor, and was heavily influenced by Queen Anne Victorian-style design. Property owners Nicole and Ramzi AlRashid wanted to keep those aspects in mind when choosing a design team to renovate the house, which led them to Austin-based land design studio Twistleaf and interior designer Sarah Stacey.

“We have an excellent team of all-stars working on this project and we’re incredibly thankful for the work Twistleaf and Sarah Stacey have put into making The Menagerie inviting, restful and lively for groups of many sizes,” Ramzi said in a press release.

Nicole shared that the decision to work with Twistleaf was due to her and her husband’s desire to collaborate with inspiring designers that would “elevate [their] spaces and do great work for [their] guests and the local community.”

Details of the property renovation include:

  • New fencing and gates
  • A hardscape reconfiguration
  • LED landscape lighting
  • Mutabilis rose bushes and native ornamental grasses by the pool
  • Native Hill Country plant species
  • Natural color schemes

The interior design refresh will include vivid, bold colors with theatrical elements and a few modern updates for practicality. Each room on the property will feature antique furniture, eccentric wallpaper, and vintage decor that pays homage to the site’s history.

Twistleaf founder Sarah Yant said renovating a property with a rich past like The Menagerie is an "exciting opportunity" for her team.

“Nicole, Ramzi and Sarah Stacey brought expansive vision to this project, and our landscape design mirrors their excellence," she said. "We're working to improve the land with Hill Country-friendly plants and create a design that adds to the intuitiveness, circulation and comfort of the outdoor spaces. All the changes are designed to enhance the functionality and hospitality of the property.”

The Menagerie is expected to open in summer 2023. More information can be found on themenagerieatx.com.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Kendra Scott teams up with Texan style influencer for milestone breast cancer awareness collection

Wear for a cure

Kendra Scott is already a Texas charity champion, but for a new collection the lifestyle brand is kicking its philanthropy up a notch. This will be the first time an entire collection will give back, and the focus is turned to an indisputably important cause: breast cancer research.

Kendra Scott — who loves a Texas connection — is joining native Houston fashion influencer Nasreen Shahi (@heynasreen), for a limited-edition jewelry collection. It will include two necklaces, two pairs of earrings, and a bracelet, all named after Shahi's mother.

Although Shahi's mother is the muse, it is her own experience with breast cancer that ties the collection to the cause. The fashion maven was diagnosed in 2021, and it's the outpouring of community support that the collection celebrates.

"This is a difficult month for most survivors because you reflect on so much of your own journey," wrote Shahi on Instagram on October 1, commemorating the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The pieces are gold (with some silver options) and very simple, setting stones in abstract patterns meant to be layered. The centerpiece is an emerald eye of protection, a classic Middle Eastern motif. A release states that avoiding pink was intentional, but does not share why. From a wearer's perspective, it may feel refreshing to wear a breast cancer collection that isn't so literal, and doesn't invite questions about the wearer's intent or connection.

Kendra Scott x Nasreen Shahi from @heynasreen collection necklacePhoto courtesy of Kendra Scott

Kendra Scott and Shahi have been "close partners" in previous years (the influencer has been featured on the Kendra Scott blog), but this is the first collaborative collection. All pieces will result in a 20 percent donation to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).

The Kendra Scott x Nasreen Shahi from @heynasreen collection ($55-85) is available at kendrascott.com and in Kendra Scott retail stores.

Beyoncé brings dazzling Renaissance Tour to big screens with new concert film

big-screen bey

“The goal for this tour was to create a place where everyone is free ...and no one is judged.”

So declares Queen Bey in a just-released trailer for RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ, a new documentary and concert film coming to major movie theaters on Friday, December 1 across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The new film chronicles Houston-born Beyoncé's journey from concept to performance as she treks across the globe in her worldwide, 56-performance, 39-city Renaissance tour.

Houstonians (and fans who made the drive) are still buzzing from the two-day H-Town homecoming (read our review here) that near-capacity crowds pack NRG Stadium for the often breathtaking, three-hour shows that featured a cameo by fellow Houston-born superstar Megan Thee Stallion.

Tickets for the concert film — a joint production between Parkwood Entertainment and AMC Entertainment — are on sale now at amctheatres.com and Fandango.com. Fans can also find tickets at Cinemark, Regal, Cinepolis and Cineplex, all of which will screen the movie. Tickets will also be available at numerous movie theatre circuits in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico later this week, according to an announcement. Admission for all standard showtimes will start at $22, plus tax.

RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ is a must for any Beyhive member — as well as those who want to reminisce attending the epic shows, or those who missed her tour stops. The big-screen treatment is fitting: short of seeing the shows live, there is no better way to take in the Renaissance tour's dazzling effects, lasers, and pyrotechnics, mind-bending visuals on huge screens, unforgettable costumes (A.I.!), Megan's surprise, and of course, Queen Bey riding through the air atop a glittering Reneigh, her trusty, mirrorball, shimmering steed.

Fans can look forward to multiple showtimes daily on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, for a minimum of four weeks, according to press materials.RENAISSANCE will also be available in IMAX (the ideal viewing) at AMC and Dolby Cinema at AMC, and other branded premium large format screens.

Kicking off atthe opening show in Stockholm, Sweden and documenting each stop to the grand finale in Kansas City, Missouri, the film captures rarely seen, behind-the-scenes moments of a Beyoncé tirelessly working and preparing and sharing tender moments with her children and family.

Meant to further articulate her “everyone is free/no one is judged” mantra, scenes will depict the more than 2.7 million fans from around the world who dressed in silver and shiny outfits, took part in her Joy Parade, and nailed the Mute Challenge at each show.


Find RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ tickets at at amctheatres.com and Fandango.com.

Official Texas Fashion Week sashays into San Antonio with top emerging designers


Few among us have the clout to sidle up to Anna Wintour on Loewe’s front row, but one doesn’t need the ear of the legendary editor-in-chief to gain fashion inspiration. As Paris Fashion Week winds down in October, the locally hosted Texas Fashion Week is just kicking off.

The annual affair — the official fashion week of the state’s emerging fashion industry — strutted into San Antonio on October 1 and will inspire through October 7 with a full slate of runway shows, educational programs, and glamorous celebrations. A collaboration between the state nonprofit Texas Fashion Industry Initiative and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the event aims to give promising designers a chance to showcase their ideas.

KLRN’s TV studios at 501 Broadway will be the epicenter of four days of presentations highlighting inspiring new collections. The shows kicked off with a college night featuring Lillian Jenae Designs, Brøc, and Aubrey Frey Apparel, labels created by Texas university students.

“Texas Fashion Week aims to provide a platform for emerging designers to showcase their innovative designs, including students,” said Texas Fashion Industry Initiative Vice President Saige Thomas in a release. “Fashion students deserve a chance to stage their work as well, without the standard financial limitations holding them back.”

In addition to soaking in wardrobe inspiration, local fashionistas can enjoy fashion and beauty panels, a high school sustainability competition, exhibitions, and networking opportunities. An educational program on October 2 covers topics such as branding and drag.

The jam-packed days lead up to the Texas Fashion Industry Awards at the Tobin Center on October 6. A curated brunch at Kiki’s Coffee on October 7 gives gala guests one last chance to congratulate the winners.

The full schedule of events can be found at texasfashionindustry.org. A limited number of all-access and single-day passes are still available.