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Hemisfair will present its annual Holiday in the Garden. Bridging holidays traditions, the event will capture the spirit of Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah with Santa and his reindeer, holiday crafts, Story Time, food and beverages, shopping at the Hemisfair Holiday Gift Market, live music and REAL snow.

The Hemisfair Holiday Gift Market will take place on both December 10 and 11.

City of Boerne presents Dickens on Main

City of Boerne will present Dickens on Main, featuring two nights of holiday fun. The historic Hill Country Mile transforms into a vintage Christmas experience, with non-stop entertainment in various holiday "villages" set up throughout the venue. The celebration’s main attractions include live music and performances, visits with Santa Claus, ice sculpting shows, children’s take-home crafts, and snow along Main Street. There will also be roving musicians, carolers, and other revelers as visitors make their way along Main enjoying the shops and restaurants.

Alamo Heights Holiday Parade and Fun Run

The 44th annual Alamo Heights Holiday Parade and Fun Run starts at Alamo Heights High School, and proceeds down Alamo Heights Blvd, ending at the Heights Pool. Guests can watch the parade and stay for the party, moon bounce, music, food, and fun.

Photo courtesy of Magik Theatre

San Antonio children's theater adapts timeless children's book for the holidays

It's Real

Of the many stories that reside in our memories long after they’re told, few if any match the mysterious longevity of The Velveteen Rabbit. The story by Margery Williams has been lauded and adapted in too many places to keep track, but perhaps because of its length or wistful undertone, hasn’t formed a new life through constant references like many other books and fairytales.

This is The Velveteen Rabbit’s superpower; the story remains mostly untouched, leaving room for earnest retellings. When San Antonio’s Magik Theatre picks the story up from November 19 to December 24, it will be many young readers’ first time experiencing it or seeing it off the page, while their adult companions suddenly remember the touching plot.

“Older generations will fondly remember the first time they heard the story of The Velveteen Rabbit, or read it to their children,” said Magik Theatre CEO Frank Villani in a press release. “Now they can experience it in a new way while sharing it with their families through theatre. It’s a full-circle moment.”

The Velveteen Rabbit is a Christmas show in the theater’s programming, as it follows the friendship between a child and a toy rabbit received as a Christmas present. The 1922 story goes on to explore the concept of being real through the toy rabbit’s eyes, using advice from other toys, love displayed by the child, and the experience of other, living rabbits. Many will remember a sad story about scarlet fever and mortality, but the story is ultimately uplifting.

The adapter, Michelle Hoppe-Long, may have made some changes to the narrative, but only provides a broad plot summary that does not seem to deviate from the original writing. Alyssa Cavazos plays “The Child,” in the press release, who is notably only referred to as “the Boy” in the original story. Rosa Gardner, a performer at Magik Theatre since 2016, makes her directorial debut with the new production.

“We are thrilled to share this story that transcends generations and brings families together during the holiday season,” said Magik Theatre artistic director Anthony Runfola. “There’s no better time than the holidays to add a little Magik to your life…and there’s no more magical story than that of The Velveteen Rabbit.”

To celebrate opening night, Magik Theatre is embracing the beginning of the holidays with hot cocoa and themed arts and crafts. The theater is dedicated to providing accessible children’s shows, and other special performances of this play include American Sign Language interpretation, “sensory-friendly” productions, field trip performances, mask-required performances, and pay-what-you-wish entry.

More information about The Velveteen Rabbit at Magik Theatre, including special performance dates and a link to purchase tickets (starting at $17.25), is available at magiktheatre.org.

Photo courtesy of Blippi

Tobin Center for the Performing Arts presents Blippi Live!

The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts presents Blippi Live!

Blippi Live brings the energetic and loveable character Blippi off the screen and onto the stage with world-class production, audience engagement and amazing music. Children from the ages of 2 to 7 years old across the world have quickly taken a liking to Blippi’s charismatic personality and innovative teaching lessons. In the live show they will continue to learn about the world around them while singing and dancing along with this one of a kind show.

Children's Ballet of San Antonio presents Children’s Nutcracker and Holiday Market

From Snow Queens and Sugarplum Fairies to dashing princes and dancing mice, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker has been a part of family holiday traditions for decades. This year, Children’s Ballet of San Antonio will take the magic to a whole new level, combining this timeless classic with immersive and interactive elements, wrapping several cherished holiday traditions into one event.

There will also be a pre-show holiday market, photos with Santa and the Nutcracker cast, makeovers, shopping, and plenty of sweets and treats.

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San Antonio Missions hit home run with new owners, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio's minor league baseball team scores new owners, including Texas sports legends. San Antonio's minor league baseball team is back to being locally owned — by some big names.

2. H-E-B unveils new line of merchandise for super fans, available exclusively at this store. Kerrville was chosen to launch the company's new line of H-E-B-branded merchandise, in celebration of its 117th anniversary and in honor of its first store.

3. San Antonio market continues to see prices going up and sales going down. San Antonio home sales dropped 19 percent from October 2021.

4. San Antonio Rodeo wrangles even more musical acts for star-studded 2023. Turnpike Troubadours joined the already impressive lineup for the 2023 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.

5. San Antonio children's theater adapts timeless children's book for the holidays. Magik Theatre celebrates The Velveteen Rabbit as a Christmas story, with inclusive special performances.

Steven Spielberg opens up personal history in The Fabelmans

Movie Review

For over 40 years, director Steven Spielberg has been delivering some of the most popular blockbuster movies of all time as well as a bevy of Oscar-quality dramas, a combination that’s unique to him. For his latest, The Fabelmans, he’s decided to go more personal than ever, telling a thinly-veiled version of his own childhood.

Sammy (played mostly by Gabriel LaBelle) is one of four children – and the only son – of Mitzi (Michelle Williams), a concert pianist, and Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano), a computer engineer. From an early age, Sammy is enthralled by the art of filmmaking, first remaking a train crash sequence from The Greatest Show on Earth, and gradually moving on to more adventurous stories.

Burt’s advancing career, which moves the family from New Jersey to Arizona to California, causes stress for various members of the family, most notably Sammy and Mitzi. Sammy must deal with anti-Semitic bullies, while Mitzi falls deeper into a mental health crisis. Sammy’s movies continually offer a respite for the family, though, giving him a creative outlet and the rest of them a chance to forget their troubles for a while.

Written by Spielberg – his first writing effort since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence – and Tony Kushner, the film is heavy on emotions but presented in a way that those feelings don’t always translate. Spielberg is no stranger to depicting fraught family situations in his long career, but in showing ones from his own family, it feels like he pulled back, not wanting the scenes to be overwrought or schmaltzy.

The result is a story that isn’t as universal as some of his other films. As the film is told from Sammy’s perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in his pursuits and various discoveries as he gets older. The mindsets of the rest of the family are less clear, even though his parents and sisters are ever-present. Mitzi’s state of mind is a concern from the start, but it’s not always treated as such by other important characters.

Just as Sammy’s movies are an escape for his family, so too are they some of the best parts of the film. Sammy figuring out the process and secrets of filmmaking is informative and often thrilling, especially if you’re a cinephile. Spielberg has been considered a master for so long that watching him revisit the days when he was learning as he went is catnip for movie lovers.

In addition to being a dead ringer for a teenage Spielberg, LaBelle is a fantastic actor. It’s no easy feat to carry a movie on your shoulders, and LaBelle makes the assignment look easy. Williams’ performance will likely be more polarizing; she employs a very mannered speech pattern that works in some situations, but not all. The film also includes memorable short appearances by Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and David Lynch.

Spielberg has provided the moviegoing public with such pleasure over the years that he deserves to have a movie that’s mostly for him. The initial viewing of The Fabelmans left this critic wanting, but perhaps it will gain more traction on a second screening.

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The Fabelmans is now playing in theaters.

Photo by Merie Weismuller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans

New self-guided tour showcases iconic Fort Worth Stockyards' many Hollywood ties

Tinseltown in Cowtown

A new self-guided tour showcasing the Fort Worth Stockyards’ many star-studded appearances in cinema throughout the years recently debuted in time for the 16th annual Lone Star Film Festival, which took place earlier this month in the Stockyards for the first time.

Called Stars of the Stockyards, the eight-stop, go-at-your-own pace walking tour guides folks to famous film sites where celebrities have stepped foot in front of Hollywood cameras. Visitors to the Stockyards can access the PDF tour map on their smart phones via QR codes (no app required) posted throughout the district, namely at hotels and tour kiosks.

"The Stockyards is a historic and celebrated destination for many reasons, but one that may be lesser known is its popularity as a filming location for some of our favorite movies and TV series," said Ethan Cartwright, VP of marketing for Stockyards Heritage Development Co.

The tour and corresponding QR codes are a permanent addition to the district, he said.

Stops on the map include the iconic White Elephant Saloon, a hotbed for Hollywood performances including several by legendary actor and martial artist Chuck Norris in the longtime TV series, Walker, Texas Ranger when the watering hole was portrayed as the fictional CD Bar. The White Elephant was also graced by country music superstar Tim McGraw and Academy Award-winning actor Billy Bob Thornton for their appearances in Paramount Plus’ hit series 1883.

Also in 1883 and featured on the tour is Hookers Grill, hidden in the less flashy West side of Exchange Ave. The burger shack transformed into a gambling den in the show called The Texas House of Liquor & Sport. It’s the only building in the Stockyards that preserved the façade constructed by 1883’s production team. During operating hours, customers can order at the outdoor burger window and dine at patio tables within the two-story structure.

Cowtown Coliseum is marked on the map for its appearances in the 1983 film Tough Enough, where actor Dennis Quaid played an amateur boxer. It’s also the home of the final rodeo scene in the 1992 movie Pure Country starring country music legend George Strait.

Billy Bob’s Texas, the Stockyards Hotel, and even unassuming historic cattle pens also make the list on the tour, along with notations for the Texas Trail of Fame, which features more than 240 bronze markers honoring contributors for preserving and perpetuating the Western way of life.

Veteran actors Sam Elliot and Robert Duvall, both stars in the megahit TV series Yellowstone, are among the most recent Texas Trail of Fame inductees.

For more information and to get started on the tour, go here.