Texas Toku Taisen
Timed with the release of British director Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla reboot, Texas Toku Taisen celebrates tokusatsu—a live-action Japanese film genre fueled by special effects. Organized by Mecha Gorilla with Alamo City Comic Con, the inaugural fest features 2013’s Hentai Kamen (about a “forbidden superhero” who wears panties on his head), 2005’s Kamen Rider: The First (following a student who’s abducted and turned into an inhumanoid), 1991’s The Guyver (concerning a young man’s transformation into an alien-hybrid super soldier) and 1995’s Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (starring a giant, jet-propelled turtle determined to save the world from a “vampiric avian”) and finally, the latest Godzilla. To sweeten the deal, the event also includes vendors and a panel with artist Matt Frank of the comic Godzilla: Rulers of Earth. $10 per film, 11am-9pm, Alamo Drafthouse Westlakes, 1255 SW Loop 410, (210) 677-8500, mechagorilla.com.
Adriana Corral, Madre (Mother), installation, 2011
In a season sprinkled with MFA thesis exhibitions and sprawling senior shows, “Professors’ Picks” stands out with a curated mix of educators and students representing two universities. The latest from promising newcomer Cinnabar, the group show unites professors Liz Ward (Trinity) and Margo Sawyer (University of Texas— Austin), their respective student choices Clay Reuter and Adriana Corral, plus Phil LaDeau—a joint pick who’s studied under both Ward and Sawyer. While Ward is known for organic works on paper (including silverpoint drawings based on tree rings and watercolor paintings depicting leaf stomates and bodies of water), Sawyer uses sharp, blocky lines to build architectural installations and public artworks dealing with global rituals and color symbolism. As disparate as their styles may be, both have drawn inspiration from butterflies—with Sawyer focusing on the shifting colors of their wings and Ward exploring the migration cycle of monarchs. As for their students: Reuter uses maps as backgrounds for works informed by anthropology; Corral’s well-received 2011 installation Voces de las Perdidas employed hundreds of ceramic body bag tags to address slain maquiladora workers in Juarez, Mexico; and LaDeau’s work encompasses photography, laser etching on wood and digital renderings. Free, 6:30-9pm, Cinnabar, 1420 S Alamo #147, (210) 557-6073, cinnabarart.com. —BR
David and Daniel Frank: “Infinite Yes”
For their second project at Sala Diaz, mystically inclined twin brothers David and Daniel Frank have created a “space of sacred resonance for the community” based on their living philosophy that “yes” opens the world to infinite and divine possibility. According to curator Hills Snyder, the duo (who arrived in San Antonio via Boulder, Colo., and Tumbaco, Ecuador) is "really doing a number on the place." For a sneak peek of how the installation's shaping up, check out their Instagram. Free, 6-9pm Friday, Sala Diaz, 517 Stieren, (210) 473-9062, saladiazart.org. —BR
Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow & Le Strange Sideshow
Dallas-based Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow joins SA’s own all-female Le Strange Sideshow for a night of glass-eating, contortion, acrobatics, balloon-swallowing and a “homemade lobotomy”—plus music by DJ Christina Zombi and burlesque performances by Lilith Sinsear, Lady Adonais and Saterra Rene ShatteredVains. $10, 9pm Friday, The Korova, 107 E Martin, (210) 995-7229, facebook.com. —BR
Fri 5/16 - Sun 5/18
Tejano Conjunto Festival
There’s a reason we chose the Tejano Conjunto Festival as our Puro San Anto Festival pick in the 2014 Best of SA issue. Along with our neighbors in the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio is the ground zero for the cross-cultural genre. Presented by the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, this year’s festival features 26 artists from Spain, the Netherlands and Texas, among other locales, and workshops on the button accordion and bajo sexto. Edinburg’s Los Dos Gilbertos and Corpus Christi accordion shredder Boni Mauricio y Los Máximos headline on Saturday and Sunday night. But this TCF’s uncontested stars are the Texas Tornados, the supergroup of accordionist Flaco Jimenez and organist Augie Meyers, performing Friday night. Though singers and SA legends Doug Sahm and Freddy Fender are up in the great Tex-Mex gig in the sky, Doug’s son Shawn Sahm and Nunie Rubio have stepped in to continue the Tornados tear across South Texas. Is anybody going to San Antone? $15-$40 (workshops an additional $40), 6pm-11pm Fri; 9am-11pm Sat; 1pm-9pm Sun; Rosedale Park, 340 Dartmouth, (210) 271-3151, guadalupeculturalarts.org.
Fri 5/16 - Sun 5/18
Little wonder Tim Meadows (Walk Hard, Mean Girls) got pissed off last year when Saturday Night Live did a Bill Brasky sketch without him. His role in the Will Ferrell-penned sketches might seem insignificant, but during his 10 seasons as an SNL cast member, Meadows specialized in solid supporting characters and thankless names-in-the-news impressions and got few shots at a spotlight grab. Unfortunately, when his most memorable recurring character—Leon Phelps, Ladies Man—became the subject of a 2000 film, it failed hard enough to put Hollywood off SNL for a decade. So let’s take a moment to thank Meadows—whose friendly observational standup, despite the quickly squashed Twitter beef, is happily bitterness free—for saving us from Mango: The Movie. $22.50, 8pm & 10:15pm Fri-Sat, 8pm Sun, Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club, 618 NW Loop 410, (210) 541-8805, lolsanantonio.com. —Jeremy Martin
Fri 5/16 - Sun 5/18
Dead Man’s Cell Phone
Versatile and wildly original playwright Sarah Ruhl has successfully tackled Greek myth (2003’s Eurydice), romantic comedy (2004’s The Clean House) and the politics of religion (2005’s Passion Play: A Cycle), all while developing a distinct style often pegged as “quirky” and “surreal.” Summed up by The New Yorker as “a meditation on death, love and disconnection in the digital age,” Ruhl’s 2007 play Dead Man’s Cell Phone follows Jean, a mousy gal whose life takes an unlikely turn in a cafe when she answers the ringing phone of an expired stranger named Gordon. Assuming the role of social secretary for the deceased, Jean becomes oddly enmeshed in Gordon’s complicated relationships with his mother, brother, wife and mistress. Andrew Thornton directs The Playhouse’s production. $10-$25, 8pm Fri-Sat, 3pm & 8pm Sun, Cellar Theater, The Playhouse, 800 W Ashby, (210) 733-7258, theplayhousesa.org. —BR
Fri 5/16 - Sat 5/17
A Weekend of Music and Stories
Carmen Tafolla by Sarah Brooke Lyons
In celebration of women artists, the Esperanza wraps two unique events into a weekend package uniting poets, writers and musicians. Moderated by author Bárbara Renaud González, the triumphant reading “Viva la Vida” pairs cancer survivors Ana Castillo (who’ll share excerpts from Give It To Me, a book The Feminist Press bills as “Sex and the City for a Chicana babe who's looking for love in all the wrong places”) and Carmen Tafolla (who’ll read from her collection This River Here: Poems of San Antonio and the forthcoming Comadres of Cancer). On Saturday, pianist Aaron Prado, bassist George Prado and percussionist Nina Rodriguez join singer-songwriter Azul Barrientos for a concert exploring “Historical Archetypes of Mexicana and Latina Women in Song.” Reading: free, 7pm Fri; concert: $5, 8pm Sat; Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, 922 San Pedro, (210) 228-0201, esperanzacenter.org. —BR
White Elefant CD Release
If you’ve never seen San Antonio’s White Elefant play, you’ve been missing out on a true local gem. But the time is ripe to rectify that. The trio (sometimes quartet) makes organic and moody indie garage rock that is somehow meandering and direct, simple and complex, combining melancholy with a dry sense of humor and a smoldering confidence. In White Elefant’s songs, as in their shows, there’s a gratifying tension between anxiety and release, sharpness and smoothness. After seven years honing their sound and songwriting, the guys will deliver the debut LP Nights & Weekends on Saturday. Representative of their own unique musical history, the album is among the best local offerings so far this year, and the CD release show promises to follow suit. Tempted? Stream the album at withanf.bandcamp.com. You’ll find that the band’s music makes its own case. $5, 9pm, 502 Bar, 502 Embassy Oaks, (210) 257-8125, 502bar.com. —James Courtney
18th Annual Americana Music Jam
Gruene Hall, South Texas’ definitive source for the blanket category of roots and Americana music, presents the 18th installment of its Americana Jam this Sunday. From 1pm to midnight, Gruene Hall and KNBT 92.1FM showcase an impressive array of acoustic and electric acts, including pop-country outfit Micky and the Motorcars (3:45pm) Houston native Radney Foster (7:30pm) and Curb recording artist and mullet enthusiast Hal Ketchum. Cody Canada (above) and Robert Earl Keen co-headline the Jam, with Canada performing his Southern rock hits in full regalia at 10:40pm, while Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Keen plays an acoustic set at 10:10pm. Founded in 1996, the jam has benefited a local charity each year, with the Braunfels Foundation Trust as beneficiary for the 2014 bash. $50, 1pm-midnight, Gruene Hall, 1281 Gruene (New Braunfels), (830) 606-1281, gruenehall.com. –MS
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