1. San Antonio Film Festival
Including the supernatural dramedy Blood Cousins, there are 23 films (five features and 18 shorts) made by San Antonio-based filmmakers screening at this year’s San Antonio Film Festival from June 17-23. Other films on the slate are coming from the usual film meccas like New York, Los Angeles, and Austin, and as far away as France, China, Australia, and New Zealand. “The festival generates excitement and continues to encourage us to persevere and show everyone that San Antonio is a great place to make films,” said Robin Nations, whose film Champion received the first-ever San Antonio Local Filmmaker’s grant of $25,000 from the San Antonio Film Commission last year. “There is a wide pool of talented and experienced and motivated filmmakers [in San Antonio]. You don’t need to bring a crew from outside of the city to make your film.” $8-$15, $149 for a seven-day badge, 12:30-11pm Thursday-Sunday; Santikos Embassy, 13707 Embassy Row; Santikos Northwest 14, 7600 I-10 W; Santikos Palladium, 17703 I-10 W. For the complete schedule, visit safilm.com.
2. Pride Center Comedy Night with Jessica Kirson
Although she doesn’t consider herself a lesbian comic, Jessica Kirson is raising a daughter with her female partner and has been known to dart across Manhattan to squeeze six gigs into one night. Drawing from a deep well, Kirson digs into her Jewish roots in New Jersey, stoner culture, and life as a plus-size woman. On her YouTube channel, the Last Comic Standing alum funnels elements of candid camera and improvisational comedy into The Jessy K Show, a “reality talk show” featuring celebrity guests (including stepbrother Zach Braff) and recurring segments like the Rachel Feinstein collaboration “Yentes.” Kirson kicks off a five-show run at Laugh Out Loud with a performance benefiting Pride Center San Antonio, a nonprofit dedicated to providing an inclusive environment for the LGBT community and its allies. $15, 8pm, Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club, 618 NW Loop 410, (210) 541-8805, lolsanantonio.com.
Friday, June 21
3. Grupo Fantasma
Austin’s Grupo Fantasma is a high-octane nine-piece group that creates a fusion of diverse styles in their music. Listen closely and you’ll be blown away by the disparate Latino-afro (and other) influences they embrace, from calypso and cumbia to funk and rock. Grupo Fantasma incorporates elements from a seemingly endless number of inspirations, making some of the most uniquely independent and culturally universal music heard today. Widely considered one of the best live acts around, these guys play with an intensity that is truly impressive, especially considering their grueling touring schedule. Formed in 2000, GF has since released five albums, been all over the world, won a Grammy, and fine-tuned their virtuoso live set into something you don’t want to miss. $12-$15, 9pm, Sam’s Burger Joint, 330 E Grayson, (210) 223-2830, samsburgerjoint.com.
4. Miss and Mister San Antonio Pride Pageant
Nearly $2,000 in prizes awaits the winners of The Official Miss and Mister San Antonio Pride Pageant. Following a theme of “Dream in Color,” the inaugural event encompasses five categories — daytime interview, presentation, talent, eveningwear, and onstage Q&A — to be judged by two panels. According to multitalented host Sasha Taylor (who’s previously nabbed Miss Bexar County International and Miss Queen of the Globe titles), the pageant is open to amateur and professional entertainers provided they “have what it takes to take home a prestigious title.” Beyond the crowns, sashes, and swag — which includes an Android tablet, gift certificates, and a spot in the Pride Bigger than Texas Parade — the titles bind each winner to at least four benefit performances during their reign. $5, 10:30pm, Bonham Exchange, 411 Bonham, (210) 271-3811, bonhamexchange.com.
Perennial 1980s influences — including Bauhaus, Joy Division, and New Order — are easy to spot in the music of Knifight, but the darkwave quintet mines its own haunting, minimalist sound on its Kickstarter-funded debut Dark Voices. A Tyler-based solo project until frontman John Gable joined forces with Patrick Marshall, Nick Garrison, John Hetherington, and Nick Cogdill in Austin, the band made its first impression with the 2010 EP Now We’re Invisible and has since played official SXSW showcases and opened for an eclectic array of artists including Thomas Dolby, Active Child, and the Octopus Project. Masters of a moody mélange austin360.com tallied up as “detached and devilish vocals, horror-soundtrack synths, and dance beats,” Knifight lands in SA with support from 3D Friends, Shum, and Verisimilitude. $4-$6, 9pm, The Ten Eleven, 1011 Avenue B, (210) 320-9080, theteneleven.com.
6. Alamo City Tattoo Show
San Diego’s Flying Panther, Dallas-based Death or Glory, and New Orleans’ Tattooagogo are among the visiting studios set to join local favorites including Element, Four Horsemen, and Mr. Lucky’s at the Alamo City Tattoo Show. By uniting artists, vendors, and suppliers in a family-friendly setting, the three-day expo “hopes to further educate people in and around San Antonio about this fascinating industry and art form that has become a major influence in our culture.” Beyond browsing for ink, the ninth-annual event offers a tattoo contest along with food, beer, and an appearance by Arc Angel’s own Brittany Elliot (above). A native Texan, Elliott entered the big leagues in April as a contestant on the second season of Oxygen’s reality series Best Ink. $15-$30, noon-10pm Fri-Sat, noon-8pm Sun, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 111 E Pecan, (210) 354-2800, alamocitytattooshow.com.
Saturday, June 22
7. 5th Annual Rocklobster Festival
New Orleans’ Mutemath headlines Josabi's fifth annual Rocklobster Festival, an outdoor event with grilled lobster tails, cold beer, live music on two stages, and a solid lineup featuring Girl in a Coma, Vallejo, Carlton Zeus, Hydra Melody, Ready Revolution, Pop Pistol, Fifty Dollar Dynasty, Broken Buffalo, Attica, Rumors, and A Machine Called Z. Even though singer Paul Meany comes from openly Christian (and short-lived) outfit Earthsuit, Mutemath is not the type of band that flaunts its Christianity in your face. “Mutemath’s music is certainly not Christian-rock,” drummer Darren King told Minneapolis/St. Paul’s City Pages in 2012. “It’s in a much better place where it can exist beyond those limitations and restrictions.” The superb Odd Soul, the band’s third album (and first without original guitarist Greg Hill), was released in October 2011. “Although we’re not classified as Christian-rock, our music is spiritual and can go either way,” King said in 2012. “Everything we’ve ever been raised in — all of our experiences — it all comes into play when we start writing.” Not only do they keep their faith to themselves — they even sued their label, Warner Bros., in 2006 for marketing them as a Christian band. Need an extra reason to love these guys? I’ll give you two: they’re tremendous live and, according to their Facebook page, they keep a photo of the Beatles nearby “for intimidation and inspiration.” Take that, Creed. $25-$35, 3pm Saturday, Josabi's, 17200 Hwy 16 N, Helotes, (210) 372-9100, josabis.com.
8. The Rock 'N' Roll BBQ
The Rock ’N’ Roll BBQ’s booze fest at Nightrocker Live will have enough beer, rock, and (if you come early enough) prime cut eats for everyone. Enjoy your beer and barbecue while listening to some of the Lone Star State’s best southern rock and country-western groups that could hope to hold a candle to Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top. The lineup includes the psychedelic blues trio Amplified Heat, the fuzz-tinged soul rockers Dark Planes (led by artist and Current staffer John Mata), and the teeth-gnashing riff fiends Hogbitch. Other artists to perform are Sweat Lodge, Slo’ Poke, Old & Ill, Chickenhawk (above), The In & Outlaws, The Whiptails, and Hans Frank “El Gallo.” Make sure to get there early to beat the summer heat with some $1 Lone Stars and award-winning barbecue from the K Hill BBQ Company. $6-$8, 4pm Saturday, Nightrocker Live, 605 San Pedro, (210) 265-3573, nightrockerlive.net.
Post-rock is a genre that, whether you love it or hate it, is best experienced in a live setting, where textures can develop naturally and surprises adorn songs that might otherwise seem to just wander on. The best post-rock groups, like South Carolina’s Pan, can translate their live show into their recordings, lending freshness and playfulness to the listening experience. Pan, who’ll be supported at 502 Saturday by local genre-mates Bright Like the Sun, has a sound that is full to bursting with pop curves and crunchy guitar ruminations, wrapped around intricate and beautiful melodies that seem to spill out of themselves onto themselves. Catch them in action for a night that might be more suitable for the mist of Absinthe than the neon lighting of beer and cocktails. $5, 9pm Saturday, 502 Bar, 502 Embassy Oaks, (210) 257-8125, 502bar.com.
Sunday, June 23
10. Cabaret for a Cause
Situated in the second-oldest municipal park in the nation, The Playhouse opened its doors in 1930 to house a troupe with roots that date back to 1912. In 1929, then known as San Antonio Little Theatre, the Greek revival structure began hosting Junior Theatre — an educational program that continues today as The Playhouse San Antonio Youth Conservatory. On Sunday, director Darrin Newhardt and performers Kimberly Bianco, Byrd Bonner, Don Braswell, Trevor Chauvin, Lee Cusenbary, Beth Erwin, Anna Gangai, Cody Garcia, Allison Newsom, Mariela Flor Olivo, and Laura Michelle Wolfe join forces to present a three-act cabaret to help the program raise need-based scholarship funds that will reach roughly 10 percent of its enrollment. Among other antics, the show spells “Broadway Backwards” with an act in which “ladies will sing traditionally male songs, and the men will sing female songs.” $35 (includes food and one drink ticket), 6pm Sunday, Luna, 6740 San Pedro, (210) 394-8699, theplayhousesa.org.
San Antonio Current works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of San Antonio and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep San Antonio's true free press free.