Since its inception in 1918, the cultural hub known familiarly as the Carver has served various purposes on San Antonio’s East Side, originally functioning as an African-American community center before becoming a segregated library and performance space that hosted such heavy hitters as Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington.
Outlined in the History & Mission section of its website, the institution fell into disrepair in the 1970s and narrowly escaped its demise thanks to supporters who “galvanized in an act of civil disobedience, effectively using their bodies as human shields to protect the building from bulldozers.”
Refurbished and reopened in 1977, and now under the umbrella of the City of San Antonio’s Conventions Sports and Entertainment Facilities Department, the Carver upholds its mission to “celebrate the diverse cultures of our world, nation and community, with emphasis on its African and African-American heritage” via community-based art classes, summer camps and performances that run the gamut from local theater productions to big-name touring acts like Esperanza Spalding, Sheila E., Savion Glover and Tango Buenos Aires.
After a short holiday break, the Carver’s 2018-2019 season picks back up this week with a string of winter shows hosted between the Jo Long Theatre and intimate Little Carver Civic Center.
The Baylor Project
A creative collaboration between married duo Jean (vocals) and Marcus Baylor (drums), the Baylor Project introduced audiences to a bright melange of soul, jazz, gospel and blues via 2017’s The Journey — a Grammy-nominated debut combining original material and revisited standards. $35, 8pm Sat, Jan. 12, Jo Long Theatre, 226 N. Hackberry St., (210) 207-7211, thecarver.org/event/the-baylor-project.
Real Mus-IQ & Tylur Starks
Organized in partnership with the San Antonio Area African American Community Fund as part of its Showtime at the Apollo-themed talent competition, this concert pairs the uplifting sounds of emerging hip-hop/R&B quartet Real Mus-IQ (comprised of Vtown, Tre, Mac and Lowkey) and soul vocalist Tylur Starks. $25, 8pm Fri, Jan. 25, Little Carver Civic Center, 226 N. Hackberry St., (210) 207-7211, thecarver.org/event/real-musiq-tylur-starks-saaaaacf-talent-winners.
Stefon Harris & Blackout
Based in New Jersey, award-winning vibraphonist, composer and educator Stefon Harris has been praised by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the most important young artists in jazz.” Recorded with his progressive ensemble Blackout — which features Marc Cary on keys, Ben Williams on bass, Terreon Gully on drums and Casey Benjamin on alto sax — his 2018 album Sonic Creed puts contemporary spins on classics by the likes of Bobby Timmons, Art Blakey, Bobby Hutcherson, Abbey Lincoln and Horace Silver while reflecting on family, community and African-American life in the 20th and 21st centuries. $35, 8pm Sat, Feb 2, Jo Long Theatre, 226 N. Hackberry St., (210) 207-7211, thecarver.org/event/stefon-harris-blackout.
A.D. Snipes & Friends
Bringing a welcome dose of comic relief to the stage, this evening of stand-up showcases the talents of headliner A.D. Snipes, a Philadelphia native who’s been featured on BET’s ComicView and strives to embody “the lovable irreverent attitude of Robin Harris, the precise timing of Bernie Mac and the urban sensibilities of Richard Pryor.” $25, 8pm Sat, Feb. 16, Little Carver Civic Center, 226 N. Hackberry St., (210) 207-7211, thecarver.org/event/d-snipes-friends-evening-comedy.
Courtesy of Luaka Bop
Dubbed the “Soul of Black Peru,” 74-year-old singer-songwriter, ethnomusicologist and Latin Grammy winner Susana Baca has been singing most of her life but only reached the global mainstream when her song “Maria Lando” landed on a 1995 compilation released by David Byrne’s world-music label Luaka Bop. Credited with helping revive and preserve Afro-Peruvian music, dance and culture, Baca went back to her own roots in the fishing village of Chorillos for her most recent release, Afrodiaspora (2011), an eclectic collection of songs blending sounds and styles from Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico and beyond. $35, 8pm Sat, Feb. 23, Jo Long Theatre, 226 N. Hackberry St., (210) 207-7211, thecarver.org/event/susana-baca.
Get our top picks for the best events in San Antonio every Thursday morning. Sign up for our Events Newsletter.