Photo by Bryce France

A new addition to the highly anticipated fourth season of the Netflix hit series Stranger Things has close ties to both Texas and San Antonio. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, actress Regina Ting Chen grew up in San Antonio and studied at the University of Texas at Austin.

Now residing in Atlanta, Georgia, Chen was a 2016 finalist for CBS's Diversity Drama Initiative Program. She has been featured in the popular USA crime drama Queen of the South, Marvel's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and HBO's Emmy-winning limited series Watchmen. In the new season of Stranger Things, debuting Friday, May 27, Chen plays a guidance counselor at Hawkins High.

CultureMap connected with Chen for a few questions about her career so far, and about what fans can expect from the next season of Stranger Things.

CultureMap: So you were born in Honolulu, Hawaii. What brought you to Texas originally?
Regina Ting Chen: My dad’s business was not doing well and we had to close shop. We all relocated to San Antonio where my aunt was working and said that it’s a much more affordable place with great education opportunities.

CM: What inspired you to study at the University of Texas at Austin?
RTC: My aunt is a pharmacy professor at UT! She gave me the idea from the get-go, and I wanted to stay close to home as I am extremely close to family.

CM: What are some of your favorite memories of Austin or UT from that time?
RTC: College was difficult for me, I’m not great at test-taking haha! But it taught me so much about discipline, how to stay organized, and work my butt off. I also worked full-time as a hostess and makeup artist in order to pay my way through college as I had no help. Austin always had the best food options! But more importantly, Austin is such a great place to find all kinds of creative outlets. That’s the only way I got to explore doing different things like makeup and acting to find out what I would like to do, how to network, and just grow as a human! Austin is beautiful and will always be dear to me. It was hard leaving the city.

CM: You earned your degree in Spanish and business. How did you first get into acting?
RTC: When I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed to take drama classes so I would just put on “shows” for my family during the holidays. I would come up with different acts, have my family members partake, build a set, all of it! So I always had the spirit in me. My grandma, being an immigrant, was afraid to venture out much. So I always enjoyed helping her live vicariously through my eyes by reenacting my days, sometimes embellishing basic things as long as it made her smile and laugh. She was my rock. She’s gone now, sadly, but I have all those memories I re-enacted for her and created with her to last me my whole lifetime.

As an adult, I was actually scouted by a local photographer who suggested that I try modeling. It almost sounds like a story that would end with me in trouble. I then did some local photo shoots, and, eventually, it led me to sign with Kim Dawson Agency in Dallas. They suggested acting classes for me and thus began my Meisner journey with Austin Meisner coach Laurel Vouvray.

CM: When did you decide to take the plunge and make it your full-time career?
RTC: In 2016, I had decided I was going to just go full-time corporate and take a break from acting for a few years, as I was burned out and not getting opportunities. Three months later, I realized I was miserable without the life of storytelling in any capacity. That’s when I realized acting is for the rest of my life. And everything else I did from that point forward was done to support that realization.

CM: Can you tell us more about the CBS Diversity Drama Initiative Program?
RTC: Yes! So CBS had a nationwide initiative for diverse talent to submit tapes as an audition for the program. They received over 10,000 tapes! The next step was callbacks, which I did in Austin, and finally, they selected 12 finalists to be flown out to LA for a week-long, paid-for intensive. I learned so much on that trip. I have never been on a real big-budget set before in my life, nor met other actors in different markets across the nation. It truly opened my eyes to see how big that world can really be.

CM: What have been some of your favorite roles until now?
RTC: I loved playing a money laundering banker on Queen of the South. I am such a person of honor that it was fun to play someone who was so deceiving. Plus, working with Alice Braga was amazing! I also enjoyed playing the female lead in a local indie feature (Lion Killer) shot in Houston back in 2018, because the creators gave me a chance to show my talent and believed that I could carry the film before I even knew I could. And ultimately, my role in Stranger Things is by far my favorite, because my character Ms. Kelly is truly me — caring, kind, and quirky. I cannot wait for the world to meet her! I’m also just so proud to represent the Asian community every chance I get.

CM: How did the role in Stranger Things come about?
RTC: Just like any other show, I received an audition from my agent for the role. The script (sides) were different names so that we wouldn’t know who was involved in it. It was great, actually, because that allowed me to just bring myself authentically to the character of how I would be in that world.

CM: Were you already a fan of the show before you signed on for Season 4?
RTC: Yes!!! I’m a big sci-fi nerd and I loved the show prior to even getting the audition. So you KNOW how stoked I was to have gotten a chance to read for the show. It’s so rare!

CM: Can you tell us anything particularly exciting to look forward to in this next season?
RTC: The world is darker and scarier than it ever has been before. It’s impossible. Hang on tight! I’m right there with you because I’m scared of the dark and everything spooky!

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

The Dominion: San Antonio's premier lifestyle community

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in San Antonio that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.


The Dominion has always intrigued real estate agent Matthew Resnick — he lived there himself for more than eight years, and was a HOA board member, and has family still in the neighborhood. His office has been located in The Dominion for the past 15 years.

"I've made it my passion to become the expert for people buying and selling in The Dominion and its surrounding areas," Resnick says. "It's a masterplanned community where you can live, work, and play, with golf courses, parks, ponds, and trails."

Resnick — who is also a certified expert in diamonds and jewelry, thanks to growing up with his father's business, Reznikov's Fine Jewelry — calls The Dominion San Antonio's premier lifestyle community.

His reasons? Here are a few more of his personal favorites about life in the area:

Where to eat & drink
No matter what you're craving, you'll be satisfied. Resnick recommends Signature, Piatti, Rudy's BBQ, and Bar 301.

Where to play
"I enjoy spending time with my family hiking at Friedrich Park," he says. "I also really enjoy playing a round of golf or having a tennis match with my kids at the Dominion Country Club and La Cantera Resort & Spa."

What to see
TopGolf is another way to practice your swing, or more adventurous souls can check out Six Flags Fiesta Texas, horseback riding at Rose Palace, and iFly indoor skydiving.

Less heart-pounding but still enjoyable is retail therapy at The Shops at La Cantera or a visit to Cascade Caverns and the Cave Without a Name.

Where to live
"Behind the gates in The Dominion you have many distinctive neighborhoods that each have their own style, appeal, and architecture," Resnick says. "You will find contemporary and modern to traditional and Colonial architecture in all sizes, from garden homes to large acreage lots with mansion/estate homes."

A recent large sale of Resnick's definitely falls into the latter category: 5 Crescent Bluff, a beauty of over 7,000 square feet built by the award-winning Roberto Kenigstein of Image Homes.

"Matthew really cares, as though he's making the purchase himself," says his client. "Having moved a handful of times, I have experienced a variety of Realtors as both a buyer and a seller. Matthew and his team are exceptional."


Matthew Resnick works and plays in The Dominion. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email matthew.resnick@kupersir.com, or call 210-849-8837.

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Olmos Park: The perfect place to build a lifetime of memories

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in San Antonio that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.


The true test of a neighborhood is when a person grows up there, and then chooses to return in adulthood.

That's what real estate agent Mary Carter did with Olmos Park, which she has called home for the past 20 years.

"I know it so well, and I met my lifelong best friends there as a child," Carter says. "I had many children my age to play with, and we would ride bikes, have lemonade stands, and sell Girl Scout cookies. It was a wonderful place to grow up."

Today, she praises the area's convenience, being only minutes from Highways I10 and 281 and a very quick jaunt to downtown.

"If I didn't have to get around town for work, I could easily live here without a car," she says. "There are so many conveniences right at my doorstep."

Carter offered up a few more of her personal favorites about life in Olmos Park. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
Panchito's Mexican Restaurant is "a favorite spot with all San Antonio," Carter says — and that's extra impressive, considering the city's rich Tex-Mex offerings.

Where to play
Olmos Basin is a popular spot for its sports fields, as are the many walking trails that surround the neighborhood and its dog park.

What to see
Olmos Park is very close to Landa Library, plus just minutes from all the entertainment, history, and cultural spots that downtown San Antonio has to offer.

Where to live
"Olmos Park was one of the first major elite communities built after WWI," Carter says. "A man named Thorman bought the land to develop and was instrumental in making sure it would be its own township and part of the newly developed Alamo Heights Schools District."

The style of homes he built were two-story native rock or brick with interior features like high ceiling and arches between formal areas.

"In the middle of the Olmos Park is a large hill where you can see to downtown and back, and on those lots Thorman built true mansions," she says. "Much later, another man came along to build more contemporary-style homes, only one story and made from brick. You still have a mixture of the two, though many of the contemporary homes have either been torn down or vastly expanded."

Carter recalls that her very first sale was 625 Contour Dr. in 1977, though sadly it was just torn down to become part of a lot for the next-door neighbors. More recently, she has sold 202 Primera, 210 E. Mandalay, and "a great house on Park Lane."


Mary Carter lives, works, and plays in Olmos Park. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email mary.carter@kupersir.com, or call 210-387-4663.

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Oak Park: Namesake trees surround rapidly rising property values

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in San Antonio that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.


You know you're making the right choice in a neighborhood when even your Realtor has invested there.

Kuper Sotheby's International Realty agent Megan Perez has lived in Oak Park for the past four years, drawn by the tree-lined streets, family friendly community, convenient location — 281, 410, the airport, and Alamo Heights are all nearby — and collection of midcentury modern homes that are ripe for loving renovations.

"The values here have substantially increased over the years," says Perez. "Plus Oak Park pays the Bexar County property tax rate, not the Alamo Heights property tax rate, making a home here an even smarter investment."

She has invested in her personal home, completing a significant interior renovation. Perez is also an owner in a local boutique development business called MP2 Urban Development, where her expertise is in residential new construction and historic renovations in the urban core.

Her background and team of contractors are especially valuable when her clients are preparing their micentury-era Oak Park homes for the market.

She offered up a few more of her personal favorites about life in Oak Park. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
You won't go hungry in Oak Park. Some of Perez's favorites include Theory Coffee, Revolucion Coffee+ Juice, Twin Sisters Bakery & Cafe, Boss Bagel, and Naco Mexican Eatery for breakfast, La Fonda Alamo Heights for the Fajitas, and The Barn Door for Texas-style steaks and home cooking.

Head to Mama's Cafe for Texas-style comfort food, Bangkok 54 for Thai cuisine, and Soluna for the chispas and ribeye tacos.

Where to play
"I love that the Greenway Trail connects Oak Park to other parts of the city," Perez says.

Haskin Park, Northridge Park, Northwood Park, and Quarry Golf Course all also offer ways to get in touch with nature.

What to see
"Oak Park is home to one of the most significant caves in Bexar County, the Robber Baron Cave," she says.

The McNay Art Museum is also a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Where to live
The majority of the homes were built between 1955 and the 1980s, and are predominantly ranch-style and midcentury modern.

"There is a variation of lot sizes, with several large lots still intact," says Perez. "100-plus-year-old oak trees shade the streets and yards, and the neighborhood is easy to navigate in and out of."

Oak Park is a very walkable and friendly neighborhood, and it's not unusual to see kids and pets out playing, people walking and jogging, and neighbors hanging out in their front and backyards.

Among Perez's most significant recent sales are 258 Cave Lane and 111 Oakhurst Place.


Megan Perez lives, works, and plays in Oak Park. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email megan.perez@kupersir.com, or call 210-748-3616.

Agent Megan Perez

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty
Agent Megan Perez
Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Southtown: San Antonio's artsy, historical enclave

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in San Antonio that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.


"Southtown is a neighborhood in the truest sense," says real estate agent Debra Maltz, "residents with diverse backgrounds who care deeply about their community, both its people and its structures, who strive to maintain balance in order to assure that future generations have the same quality of life."

The artsy neighborhood of Southtown is where Maltz keeps her office, and it's an area that she's been happily introducing clients to for the past decade.

"The vibe of Southtown is well appreciated among San Antonio," she says. "It is probably the most walkable neighborhood in the city, with fabulous restaurants, interesting shops, Blue Star Arts complex, the San Antonio River, the So Flo HEB, and gorgeous Victorian homes, all only a short walk to downtown."

Maltz offered up a few more of her personal favorites about life in Southtown. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
"There are too many to pinpoint, but I love Cascabel, a small Mexican cafe across from Bonham Elementary — delicious!" she says.

Liberty Bar, Upscale, Bar Loretta, Little Em's, Pharm Table, Bliss, and The Good Kind also make the list, though Maltz points out that new favorites seem to always be appearing.

Where to play
Obviously Hemisfair Park and the San Antonio River hike and bike path, which goes all the way to the Missions, are oft-visited spots, as is Yanaguana Park and just strolling down King William Street.

What to see
Though the Edward Steves Homestead Museum is currently closed, you can still visit Villa Finale and the Blue Star Arts Complex for your doses of culture and history.

Where to live
"Southtown has wonderful historic homes, many of them well over 100 years old, as well as newer, more modern ones," Maltz says. "Many of the older homes are filled with history, and when you decide to live in a home filled with history you are agreeing to be a steward of the home."

One such homes is a recent listing of Maltz's: 134 Cedar St., a four-bedroom 1904 King William home.

The Lucas House, as it's known, sits on almost half an acre in the heart of the city, with a landscaped back yard that offers a koi pond and water feature, potting/storage shed, and raised zinc garden beds.

The additional, 480-square-foot Alamo motif structure in the back could be a guest house, artist studio, or office. In the main house, original wood floors, tall windows, and intricate woodwork can be found throughout, plus tiled fireplaces that have all been meticulously maintained.

But perhaps the most appealing feature is the number of outside porches. The large front wraparound porch affords a place to interact with neighbors and watch school children pass by, while the two private, large, screened-in porches in the rear are the perfect spot to dine al fresco or watch the fireworks at the Tower of the Americas.


Debra Maltz works and plays in Southtown. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email debra.maltz@kupersir.com, or call 210-639-3272.

Agent Debra Maltz

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty
Agent Debra Maltz
Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Vintage Oaks + Gruene: Go on vacation without ever leaving home

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in San Antonio that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.


Real estate agent Ginger Browning spent most of her life in the New Braunfels area — even a short move out of state couldn't keep her away from Central Texas.

"While I loved getting to visit different parts of the country, learn different cultures, and meet different people, I got back home as soon as I could," she says. "The graciousness and hospitality of people here are beyond compare."

Having worked in the area, which includes the neighborhoods Vintage Oaks and Gruene, for the past 10 years, Browning notes that the location is unbeatable: convenient to everything, but not in the hustle and bustle of the big city.

"The area has so much to offer: the relaxing feel, beautiful rock and stucco homes, expansive yards, Hill Country views and so much more," Browning says. "With the music scene in Gruene and its wonderful restaurants, you do not have to go far to have a good time."

The amenities aren't to be overlooked, either. "Vintage Oaks has hidden parks and walking trails, but the best is the amazing pool with the lazy river," she adds. "It is a great way to pass those long, hot summer days."

Browning, who was a Top 10 agent for Kuper Sotheby's International Realty in 2021 and a member of the President's Circle, has also been recognized as a Platinum Top 50 Realtor several years running.

What you might not expect, though, is her hobby: beekeeping. "We have several hives on our property that we care for. It is such a great experience to watch and learn how they work," she says. "The honey is not bad either."

Browning offered up a few more of her personal favorites about life in Vintage Oaks and Gruene. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
There are several icons of the area that Browning visits often, like Gruene River Grill, Krause's Biergarten and Cafe (which was originally built in 1938), Muck & Fuss for craft beer and burgers, and Marina's for breakfast tacos.

Where to play
It's all about the water here, from Schlitterbahn to Canyon Lake to a day lazily tubing down the river.

What to see
See live music at Freiheit Country Store or Gruene Hall, catch a classic or new-release movie at Stars and Stripes Drive-In, or participate in any of the many seasonal festivals.

Where to live
Many properties here have beautiful views and spacious grounds, and most are custom-built or semi-custom like 1021 Gruene Springs, a record-breaking sale of Browning's in New Braunfels that secured the highest price per square foot that has ever sold in the neighborhood.

Another perk that Browning points out is the area's generally low tax rate and no city taxes in some of the more popular neighborhoods, including Vintage Oaks

"While it was not our first time selling a home, we had never before encountered such exceptional service," says one of Browning's clients. "From the first day that we worked with Ginger, we were struck by her incredible enthusiasm, heartfelt sincerity, astounding industry knowledge, client advocacy, dedication, and personal attention."

The client also pointed out that Ginger went out of her way to ensure that selling their home did not interfere with their busy work schedules.

"Words cannot describe how reassuring it is to know that not only do you have an agent who is willing to go the extra mile, but will make your life as stress-free as possible throughout the home searching and buying process. We also connected with Ginger's warm personality and sense of humor from the start, and now consider her not just our Realtor but our lifelong friend.""


Ginger Browning works and plays in Vintage Oaks and Gruene. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email ginger.browning@kupersir.com or call 830-837-1891.

Agent Ginger Browning

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty
Agent Ginger Browning
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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.


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.