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Photo by Coral Martinez-Cardona

Youth Orchestras of San Antonio will present the 8th Standing Ovation Luncheon, honoring Allison Balfour and Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery.

The Standing Ovation Luncheon raises critical funds to support the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio and the music education programs that reach more than 2,500 local young musicians each year. The event aims to help and provide world-class musical instruction, unique performance opportunities, and transformational experiences to San Antonio’s brightest and talented young musicians.

A complete guide to celebrating San Antonio's DreamWeek 2018

Living the Dream

San Antonio’s Martin Luther King, Jr. March, now in its 31st year, has become one of the nation’s largest marches of its kind. But the march is just one part of a growing event filled with festivities that celebrate MLK’s legacy of education, tolerance, and cultural diversity.

The sixth annual DreamWeek Summit, beginning January 5, includes more than 200 symposiums, panel discussions, performances, and other activities — all designed to foster an environment for civic and civil engagement.

“Participation and interest in our 2018 summit has been tremendous,” said Shokare Nakpodia, president of the organizing DreamVoice venture, in a news release. “With 180 local hosting partners, 120 participating venues, and 100 volunteers, DreamWeek is the fruit of a community driven endeavor and has become a one-of-a-kind collaboration that is now attracting national interest. More than ever, San Antonio is emerging as the face of America’s future.”

This year’s DreamWeek Summit has grown thanks in part to new partners, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, American Red Cross, Healy-Murphy Center, and Linda Pace Foundation. DreamWeek 2018 begins on January 5 with a breakfast ceremony from 8-9:30 am at the Briscoe Western Art Museum.

In addition to remarks by Mayor Ron Nirenberg, a keynote address will be offered by noted musician/author/lecturer Daryl Davis, who has developed a reputation for forging a unique approach toward race relations. Davis, an African-American, has spent his career traveling the nation interviewing Ku Klux Klan leaders and members.

In preparation for the 15 day celebration, we've rounded up a few other DreamWeek events worth checking out. It should be noted that some DreamWeek events also double as activities for the concurrent San Antonio Cocktail Conference, as well as the city’s tricentennial celebration.

Friday, January 5

  • Free screening of the documentary film Accidental Courtesy, about Davis’ race relations experiences. Screening held from 4-6 pm at Carver Public Library.
  • 80th Annual Founders’ Day Gala marks the 80th anniversary of the founding of Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce. From 6-11 pm at Pearl Stables.

Saturday, January 6

  • Public Space East presents Brunch and Build at Burleson Yard Beer Garden — East Side chefs will prepare dishes as area artists create artwork to be installed along paths and play areas at Dignowity and Lockwood parks. Admission is free; food ticket is $10 for adults, free for children age 12-under. From 11 am-4 pm

Sunday, January 7

  • The Impact Guild hosts a global community dinner at 708 W. Summit Ave. This will be a progressive dinner, involving dishes from different cultures and regions, and an opportunity to talk with new people about new ideas. The dinner will be held from 6-8 pm and admission is $40.

Monday, January 8

  • SA RISE (Rising in Solidarity for Equity) presents an open conversation about equity in local public education. From 6-8 pm at Brick at Blue Star. Admission is free.

Tuesday, January 9

  • San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce hosts an an after hours mixer. From 6-8 pm at the Plaza Club, 100 W. Houston St. Admission is free.

Wednesday, January 10

  • Free screening of the new documentary, Walk On the River: A Black History of Alamo City. The film highlights the contributions that African-Americans have made to San Antonio’s evolution. Held from 7-9 pm at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - Park North.
  • Women Shaking It Up: Inspiring Women Superheroes helps to also kick off the cocktail conference. The event recognizes female bartenders and chefs, as well as other notable women making their mark in business, sports, politics, and more. Event held from 7:30-11 pm at Zaza Gardens. Admission is $65.

Thursday, January 11

  • Dr. J.R. Bowie III Scholarship Foundation’s Awards Banquet and Concert — Community members get to meet the original Mississippi Freedom Riders, and recognize special individuals with the Freedom Rider Jesse James Davis Scholarship. Event runs from 6:30-11 pm at Continental Café and Event Center, 6390 Fairdale Drive. Admission is $25-$28.
  • Trinity University’s MLK commemorative lecture featuring Kathleen Neal Cleaver. Listen to an inspiring talk by a woman who has spent most of her life fighting for human rights. She is currently co-director of the Human Rights Research Fund. Lecture begins at 7:30 pm in the Laurie Auditorium. Admission is free.
  • Bettye LaVette performs at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. 7:30 pm, tickets available from $39.50-$75

Friday, January 12

  • DreamWeek Awards Luncheon —This lunch honors organizations and individuals who embody DreamVoice's mission of “advancing the voices of tolerance, equality, and diversity.” This year’s event will include a keynote address by Amal Kassir, a Syrian-American spoken word poet and activist. Luncheon begins 11:30 am in the La Orilla Del Rio Ballroom, 203 S. St. Mary's St. Admission begins at $50.
  • The Renaissance Guild offers The Eastwood Project: A Blues Continuum, an evening of music and dance that recalls the legendary Eastwood Country Club, which helped to bring popular black entertainers to a local integrated audience decades ago. Concert begins at 8 pm at Carver Community Cultural Center. Additional performances Jan. 13-21. Admission is $25.

Saturday, January 13

  • San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside (SAGE) hosts its fourth annual Taste the Dream Gala. Enjoy a celebration of diversity through food with proceeds benefiting SAGE. Featured chefs include Johnny Hernandez, David “Bully” Page, Luis Colon, and Charassri Saengon. Dinner from 6-11 pm at the Witte Museum. Admission is $150. This is also a tricentennial event.
  • Evolution of Beauty Defined: From Sarah Baartman to Billions — Gwen Devoe, creator of Full Figure Fashion Week, will be among the industry experts discussing how body shaming has turned into a billion-dollar industry that celebrates women's curves. Living mannequins will pose among the guests. Show begins at 5 pm at the Quarry Golf Club. Admission is $25.

Monday, January 15

  • 2018 MLK March begins at Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy and ends at Pittman-Sullivan Park. At the park, the public will gather for a program commemorating King’s legacy. There will be speeches and food vendors, as well as business and community service information. March begins at 10 am and admission is free.

Tuesday, January 16

  • Diversity in Action lets LGBTQ youth to take part in free, artistic, peer-connecting activities. Event begins at 6:30 pm at University Presbyterian Church.

Wednesday, January 17

  • Confluence Park Grand Opening — The San Antonio River Foundation and San Antonio River Authority have been working to develop the former industrial yard into a public space for interactive ecological education and recreation. 10:30 am at 310 W. Mitchell St. Admission is free.

Thursday, January 18

  • The band The Foreign Arm will present a narrative musical performance. Event begins at 8 pm at Carmen de la Calle, 320 N. Flores St. Admission is $10.

Friday, January 19

  • SA2020 luncheon will celebrate the release of the SA2020 2017 Impact Report. Every year, the nonprofit charts the community’s progress in several elements, from economic development to public health. Lunch begins at 11:30 am at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Admission is $50.

Saturday, January 20

  • The Mayor’s Ball closes out DreamWeek with local musical, theatrical, comedic, and cultural performance talent. Ball begins at 7 pm at the Empire Theater, and admission is $200.
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Sneak peek inside San Antonio chef Steve McHugh's new Austin restaurant

Officially cured

Bucking the recent (and growing) trend of Austinites moving to San Antonio, chef Steve McHugh just debuted his first concept in Austin. The eagerly-awaited Luminaire opened February 1 at the new Hyatt Centric Congress Avenue Austin, along with a second concept, Las Bis.

Located at 721 Congress Avenue, details of the new hotel and its restaurants were released in fall 2022, sparking excitement from anyone already familiar with McHugh's work at Cured and Landrace. For the initial announcement, CultureMap connected with the six-time James Beard finalist to hear what to expect at the new outpost, while an updated announcement this week revealed that McHugh has enlisted chef Greg Driver as executive chef at the new concepts.

“We’re thrilled to finally lift the curtain and bring in guests to dine with us,” says Chef Steve McHugh in a release. “Chef Driver and I work really well together, and I have no doubt that Luminaire and Las Bis will shine under his leadership.”

Previously the interim executive chef at Austin's Westwood Country Club, Driver will carry out McHugh's vision at the restaurants. Both new concepts and the hotel itself will no doubt be a welcome addition to downtown Austin, padding out the list of pre- and post-theatre dining options for entertainment at the city's historic Paramount and State theatres next door.

Luminaire occupies the entire ground floor of the hotel, including an expansive patio stretching both sides of the corner along Congress Avenue and 8th Street. Much like its San Antonio counterparts, the full-service restaurant will feature the seasonal, local Texas fare and charcuterie well-known (and well-loved) by McHugh devotees. Along with specially curated meat boards (hello, 24-month jamon), the menu will also showcase a heavy Spanish influence, featuring a variety of delicious breakfast empanadas, chicken a la plancha, the Angus beef Luminaire burger, and more.

The all-day restaurant will be an ideal pre-curtain-time destination, while the upstairs Las Bis will take over for post-show nightcaps. Located on the eighth floor of the hotel, the terrace bar and lounge shares space with the hotel’s lobby and will feature craft cocktails, natural and biodynamic wines. Snacks will include an assortment of playfully plated conservas, both domestic and imported, which McHugh shared the story behind in our previous coverage.

“Our team put many thoughtful hours into the menu creation for Luminaire and Las Bis, blending familiar flavors with plenty of discovery,” says McHugh in this week's latest release. “And for those without much experience in cured meats and conservas, we made sure to include plenty of must-try items to introduce folks the right way.”

In addition to the two new concepts, McHugh’s team and executive chef Driver will provide room service for guests, as well as catering for the hotel’s four meeting and event spaces. Starting February 1, Luminaire will be open Monday through Sunday from 6 am to 11 pm, while Las Bis will open Sunday through Thursday, 4 pm to midnight, and noon to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Photo by Mary Whitten

A sneak peak at Luminaire.

Historic San Antonio venue chugs ahead with new owners and all-day music festival

JUST THE TICKET

Music will soon be back in the air at one of San Antonio's most historic venues. Ambassador Theatre Group, the company behind the Majestic and Empire Theatres, has taken over The Espee in St. Paul's Square and is celebrating with an all-day music festival.

The move is the latest chapter for the Spanish Mission Revival complex, built in 1902 by the Southern Pacific Railroad. In 2019, a development group redubbed the site The Espee as a nod to the former train route's abbreviation, "The SP." 2021 saw the depot transformed into the swanky 1902 Nightclub.

Ambassador has gussied up the venue with enhanced sound and lighting, renovated artist accommodations, a tour production office, satellite bar areas, landscaping, and refreshed restrooms. The improvements gel with St. Paul Square's vision of bringing more entertainment and nightlife to the district without compromising its history or architecture.

Guests can check out the revamped space during All Aboard on March 4, a daylong party featuring The Head and The Heart, Danielle Ponder, Grupo Fantasma, UPSAHL, Golden Dawn Arkestra, Mike and The Moonpies, and DJ sets from Bartees Strange. Doors open at 2:30 pm, with performances starting at 3 pm.

Tickets are on sale now and partially benefit local nonprofit San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside (SAGE), which champions investments that improve the quality of life for individuals, families, neighborhoods, and businesses in the area.

The show is only the first experience the revived venue is set to deliver. "Vicious" hitmaker Sabrina Carpenter is set to bring her Emails I Can't Send Tour to the Espee on March 25. The San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum will hold its Fiesta Family Blues festival on April 28. More programming will be announced throughout the year.

"The Espee is the perfect addition to San Antonio's growing entertainment landscape – from venues and musical performances to community gatherings and everything in between," said Emily Smith, Ambassador general manager, via a release. "This unique, beautiful, and historic space will bring even more creative experiences to San Antonio for the entire community to enjoy."



6 San Antonio exhibits to warm your heart and soul this February

State of the Arts

All you need is art this month in Alamo City with fresh and fearless exhibits: Some will tickle your fancy; others, your psyche. Explore JooYoung Choi’s imaginary world at The Contemporary, or immerse yourself in the history of the Mexican-American War of 1848 with representations from various artists at the Centro Cultural Aztlan. Guy Blair brings San Antonio’s unhoused population into careful focus with painted portraits at the Semmes Gallery, while the San Antonio Museum of Art transports viewers into “Roman Landscapes” providing birds-eye perspectives and fantastical views. There's something for everyone this February.

Centro Cultural Aztlan

“Segundo de Febrero: Chicana/Chicano Reunion” — Now through February 24
February 2 marks the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The landmark treaty ended the Mexican-American War, redistributed the border, and created a new bicultural population. In this exhibition, a group of celebrated artists will explore the impact of broken treaties, new borders, and their effects on Latino, Chicano, and indigenous history and culture.

The Contemporary at Blue Star

“JooYoung Choi: Songs of Resilience from the Tapestry of Faith” — February 3 through May 7
Through painting, video, sculpture, animation, music ,and installation art, multidisciplinary world-builder JooYoung Choi documents the interconnecting narratives of a highly structured, expansive, fictional land she calls the "Cosmic Womb." Her work explores issues of identity, belonging, trauma, and resilience through the sci-fi/fantasy genre. This exhibition introduces the Cosmic Womb multiverse and highlights some of its key characters and narratives. In creating a world that explores loss, healing, and growth based upon a connective web of belief and faith in oneself, Choi expresses human resiliency and the strength that can be found through the power of storytelling.

Centro de Artes

“Soy de Tejas: A Statewide Survey of Latinx Art” — February 9 through July 2
Soy de Tejas presents the works of 40 native Texan and Texas-based contemporary artists who reflect the diverse and beautiful complexity of Latinx identities. The more than 100 artworks forge new connections and explore intersections from a nexus of artists who ambitiously blaze a trail of contemporary artmaking, presenting fresh Latinx perspectives and experiences while amplifying the voices of a segment of Texas' most inspiring established and emerging artists. “The exhibit explores themes ranging from race, class, and gender to migration, mythmaking, displacement, and indigeneity," says curator Rigoberto Luna on the gallery's website. "In contrast, many works center on celebrating joyful customs, culture, and traditions that unite and sustain our communities in the face of a multitude of challenges."

Semmes Gallery - University of the Incarnate Word

“Homeless in San Antonio” — February 17 through March 17
Guy Blair is largely self-taught as an artist in the medium of pastels and watercolor. He always wanted “to do” art but was devoted to his ministry as a priest. For the past 40 years as a Catholic priest, he has ministered to both the deaf and homeless communities. In the past eight years, he has seriously paid attention to his desire to paint. This exhibit is a blending of his service to the homeless as well as his interest in art. “As we walk by homeless people on the streets of San Antonio, most people tend to look through them or judge them as perhaps deserving of the situation they are in,” Blair said in an artist statement. “This attitude allows people to build an emotional barrier, giving them permission not to connect with the homeless as destitute people whose suffering and tears are as real as our own.”

The Carver Cultural Community Center

“Alain Gakwaya"— February 23 through April 14
Alain Gakwaya hails from Rwanda and is a self-described, “activist, artist, and adventurer.” His love for art began in the 3rd grade, when his teacher requested that he draw for his entire class. Specializing in portraiture, Gakwaya paints to tell his story and the stories of his homeland. Though he's now based in San Antonio, he draws inspiration from everyday life in Africa and specifically his home country of Rwanda.

San Antonio Museum of Art

Courtesy of the Carver Cultural Community Center

Alain-Gakwaya's work is coming to the Carver Cultural Community Center this month.

“Roman Landscapes: Visions of Nature and Myth from Rome and Pompeii” — February 24 through May 21
The exhibition features 65 wall paintings, sculptures, mosaics, and cameo glass and silver vessels created in Roman Italy between 100 BC and AD 250. “Roman Landscapes” introduces visitors to the cultural and archaeological contexts of Roman landscapes, beginning with mural paintings and relief sculptures that depict coastal villas and rustic shrines. These works display the imaginary aspects of Roman images of the natural world, connecting the genre’s appearance to the political and social upheaval of the late Republic and early Empire. Fantastical views of Egypt and Greece reflect ancient fascination with these celebrated lands incorporated into the Roman Empire. Mythological paintings then reveal landscape scenes as settings for hazardous encounters between humans and the gods.