April 17


Should Miraflores be a park or a museum?

Not the original, but it still stops traffic on HildebrandLittle Miraflores Park, crowded on three sides by concrete and traffic, may forever be cut off from its one true friend – Brackenridge Park, which lies just across the river. Those western banks are frequently busy with joggers from Incarnate Word and pairs of migrating ducks who like the still, shallow water.

But the gate to the new Miraflores Park bridge is locked day and night, ostensibly to protect the fragments of the once lavish garden of Dr. Aureliano Urrutia, a physician and politico whose personal style was so over-the-top that it defies any attempt to wrestle it into adjectives.


Will Blue Star twinkle alone?

Illustration by Jeremiah TeutschA few hundred square feet and a few hundred dollars a month may make all the difference between the Blue Star of today and tomorrow. In mid January, word leaked that property owner James Lifshutz was planning to upgrade the scruffy facility – home to a brewery, a bike shop, a salon, and lots of art, from the eponymous contemporary art center to the handful of artist-run spaces that put the essential bitters in the complex’s magic cocktail. Rumors displaced the art for more food, drink, and shopping. And some of that is true. Stone Metal Press, a postage stamp of its former steamroller-print self, is on its way out, along with a photographer and a few other businesses. Overtime Theater’s short tenancy is over. Joan Grona Gallery is closing this week, voluntarily she says, after a 20-year residency. So you might reasonably worry that Blue Star, surrounded by old King William, on-the-make Lavaca and fleets of new urban-core lofts, is set on the familiar SoHo path, described succinctly by artist Chris Sauter: “The trend is always artists move into an area, then the gays, then everybody else.” Pushed out by rising rents and newly persnickety neighbors, the artists move along to re-colonize the next under-valued neighborhood.


Knocking out a new look

The handiwork at Knockout Cuts on South HackberryWalking into Knockout Cuts Barber Shop on Hackberry Road, I'm hesitant. This is the ultimate man cave. The smell of shaving cream is pervasive, and chairs are set up facing a wide-screen TV, where a 1990s Jim Carrey contorts for the two gentlemen waiting to be called. The walls are covered with signed pictures and posters of fights and fighters. The only name I recognize is Oscar de la Hoya.

I'm quick to offer styling tips to anyone who asks, but like the plumber whose own house is full of leaks, I wouldn't be here if this story hadn't been assigned by my editor. Perhaps she's trying to tell me something. When it comes to hairstyles, everyone's a product of their generation. A style often reflects the time in a person's life when self-esteem was at an all-time high. We all know that woman sporting Farrah Fawcett hair and accompanying bangs well into her 50s. My all-time high is set to somewhere in the early' 90s and I cringe at the idea of leaving my post as a representative of the decade when saying “Yo!” was a revolutionary thrill.

Eighteen-year-old Moses Martinez is sitting next to me awaiting a “skin taper fade” – a style that starts off bald on the sides and blends into hair.


The Mexican diaspora in SA: a culinary reconquista

Without going back as far as Marco Polo, whose creds regarding the introduction of pasta to Italy and beyond have come under increasing scrutiny anyway, it seems fair to say that food is one of the most important ways in which cultures shake hands with one another. Maybe the most important. This can be both good (think sushi, for example) and bad (consider pizza) — and sometimes both at the same time (consider pizza once again).


The sweet smell of sugar plum

When opening day arrives for Ballet San Antonio's cast of The Nutcracker – plus one (that's me) – we're ready to make some holiday magic at the Majestic Theater. The backstage chatter conjures a spirit of cheerful anticipation, while random instruments can be heard going over what may be the more difficult passages of Tchaikovsky's immortal score. When I close my eyes, it isn't hard to envision opening night at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg when the ballet first premiered in 1892.

In dressing room M6, between painted homages to Oliver! and State Fair, corps de ballet dancer Dylan Duke, chin raised almost undetectably higher than the rest of his colleagues, casually applies his stage make-up. To my left, 15-year-old trainee Aiden Carrasquel kneels on a chair to get a closer look at his eye-liner. Corps dancer Ernesto Lea Place walks back and forth – oblivious to my admiration - ensuring that his costumes aren't in wardrobe purgatory. The wardrobe master and his staff are still hemming and stitching steadily.


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