The second chapter of Artpace’s 2013 International Artist-In-Residence cycle unites a trio of artists selected by Hou Hanru, an accomplished curator whose recent credits include the 5th Auckland Triennial. Origami-folded satellite images of Mars and photographs of tinfoil-covered windows are among the components Houston-based Clarissa Tossin has used in multimedia series dealing with landscapes, mapping, and urban life. Her “Brasília, Cars, Pools, and Other Modernities” employs a vintage Volkswagen as a vehicle to explore architect Oscar Niemeyer’s imprint on her Brazilian birthplace. Irreverent and witty, Hong Kong’s Pak Sheung Chuen (nicknamed Tozer) spins everyday experiences into conceptual works that blur lines. With a doctorate degree in geography, New Yorker Trevor Paglen has photographed numerous sites — including a National Security Agency eavesdropping complex in West Virginia, a secret C.I.A. prison outside Kabul, and an Israeli nuclear-weapons facility in the Negev Desert — related to the so-called “black world” of classified defense activity. Inspired by nuclear waste warning signs, ancient cave paintings, and the Voyager Golden Records, his recent project The Last Pictures comprises 100 images etched onto an ultra-archival, golden silicon disc sent into orbit aboard the EchoStar XVI to function as “both a time capsule and a message to the future.” Free, 6-8:30pm Thursday, Artpace, 445 N Main, (210) 212-4900, artpace.org.
2. Josiah Media Festival
Named after Josiah Miles Neundorf, a local media artist who passed away in 2006 from osteosarcoma (a form of bone cancer), URBAN-15’s Josiah Media Festival is one of the best film fests in San Antonio. Every year, the shorts films sent from all over the world by filmmakers under 21 years of age confirm a growing trend: oftentimes, student films are better — much better — than films made by adult directors. Call it “youthful energy” or whatever, but Josiah always provides reasons not to miss this event that includes San Antonio films like The Associate, the predictable but entertaining and superbly shot film by Comm Arts’ Shane Leal-Willett, starring Brant Bumpers, which won Best in Show in 2012. There’s plenty others made by local directors too, directed by students from Film School of San Antonio, Northeast School of the Arts, St. Mary’s Hall, and SAY Sí. Five reasons not to miss this year’s three-day festival: #5. The New Screen. URBAN-15’s studio not only has a brand new floor for dancing, but a brand new screen as well. #4. Disorder (First Place Narrative, 8 min.) Dir. Pamela Mora, 19, North Palm Beach, Fla. Love in the eyes of a young man suffering from an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Believable acting and the claustrophobic feel of a psychological thriller. #3. No Recent Activity (First Place Experimental, 3 min.) Dir. Sarah Rivka, 21, Westlake Village, Calif. This trippy music video of a song by Portland band Sneer is as good as the track itself. #2. Ditching School to Whistle (First Place Documentary, 14 min.) Dir. Ien Chi, 21, Duluth, Ga. Now, this is something special. If you saw (and liked) American Harmony, a fascinating 2009 documentary about barbershop singing, you’ll dig this affectionate look at the world of
whistling! It’s hilarious in a Christopher Guest kind of way, only this is real. Even though some Indian religious schools of thought consider whistling a way to attract demons, in the West whistling is a marvelous, underrated art with its practitioners meeting once a year in Lewiston, N.C. to see who is the world’s best. #1. Kachho Gauldo (First Place Animation, 6 min.) Dir. Pranay Patwardhan, 21, Pune, Maharashtra, India. This gorgeous-looking story about a child’s imagination takes ancient stories and folk tales from India’s spiritual heritage as a starting point. It has the intensity and grandiosity of The Mahabharata and the warm, sweet magic of Enrico Casarosa’s La Luna, nominated for a Best Short Animated Film Oscar in 2012. The fight scene looks like a chilling, free take on the story of Lord Nrsimhadeva (Krishna’s half-man/half-lion incarnation) vs. the demon Hiranyakasipu. $5-$10, 7pm Thursday-Saturday, Urban-15 Studio, 2500 S Presa, (210) 736-1500, urban15.org.
3. Wood & Wire
In Texas, it has always been cool to remake — stony-faced — the songs of our granddaddies. In the sawdust timbre of a steel guitar or a mandolin or a fiddle, many have found a connection not only to their past but to their creative self in the present. On Friday night, this type of music — bluegrass and alt-Americana — will be on display at 502 Bar in the form of two excellent young Texas quartets, Austin’s Wood & Wire and SA’s own El Campo. Headliners Wood & Wire come to town supporting their riveting self-titled debut album, released back in February. For El Campo, with only a promising demo under their belts, this is a great opportunity to play with a more established and like-minded outfit. For music fans, it’s just more proof that the only genre 502 specializes in is goodness.$8, 8pm Friday, 502 Bar, 502 Embassy Oaks, (210) 257-8125, 502bar.com.
4. Friday Night Films In the Park: Blues Brothers
“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.” Ease the old Bluesmobile down to the Pearl to forget 100 bad Dan Aykroyd movies, including the unconscionable Blues Brothers 2000, and pay tribute to John Belushi with the infinitely quotable original Blues Brothers flick. Reconnect with Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues on their mission from God to save a Catholic orphanage by putting the band back together, defeating Illinois Nazis and a lunatic Carrie Fisher in the process. The holy rollers converted audiences, who worship the 1980 film as an instant comedy cult classic. Plus, there’s no denying the divine inspiration of the soul staples soundtrack, featuring Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Charles. Jesus H. Tap-Dancing Christ, it’s still good after all these years. Free, 8pm Friday, Pearl Brewery, 200 E Grayson, atpearl.com.
5. Contemporary Rabbit Month: "Dust My Broom/Settle In"
Declared Political Art Month by artist and activist Gene Elder, July doubles as Contemporary Rabbit Month at Sala Diaz. Emerging in 2011 with little more than an odd portrait of Abe Lincoln in tow, CRM returned last year with Robert Tatum’s amusing “Random Prayers.” Curated by Michele Monseau, Leigh Anne Lester, and Jayne Lawrence, CRM’s third chapter coincides with the Duplex Series, a two-artist recipe inspired by a note found in a discarded copy of The Joy of Cooking. “Flying down the road at breakneck speed” informs the new work of J. Derrick Durham, a motorcycle enthusiast known to use death metal and ambient noise to accompany his pieces. Alluding to the freedom and daydreams allowed by childhood tents and forts, Leona Scull-Hons creates structures out of sheets, curtains, and tablecloths. Free, 6-9pm Friday, Sala Diaz, 517 Stieren, (210) 852-4492, saladiazart.org.
6. The Ready Set
Twenty-three year-old Indiana-born drummer and keyboardist Jordan Witzigreuter, a one-man band known as The Ready Set, is the poppiest punk kid out there. He appears to suffer from the usual disposable dance floor garbage (the Auto-Tune, dance-more-than-you-think type), but hidden underneath is an above-average songwriting talent and attitude, enough to earn him a slot on the Warped Tour and a platinum single (“Love Like Woe,” a top 20 hit on pop radio). “But at least you’re rich/and your songs don’t suck/So take that 13 for luck/and find that there’s 100 others/waiting in line,” he sings in his latest single, “For the Better,” a show of support for a post-Harry Styles Taylor Swift (she loved it, by the way). As he does on tour, he comes to SA with a four-piece band. With Breathe Carolina, T. Mills, and headliners We The Kings. $18-$21, doors at 7pm Friday, Backstage Live, 1305 E Houston, (210) 417-4454, frontgatetickets.com.
7. Sean Dorsey Dance: The Secret History of Love
Through his trailblazing dance company (Sean Dorsey Dance) and arts organization (Fresh Meat Productions), San Francisco’s Sean Dorsey brings personal stories of gender and sexuality to life on stage. Born female and now recognized as the nation’s “first out transgender modern dance choreographer,” Dorsey earned two Isadora Duncan Awards for The Outsider Chronicles. The product of a two-year oral history project, Dorsey’s The Secret History Of Love spans decades, visiting speakeasies and cabarets to reveal the underground ways LGBT people once managed to find and love one another against perilous odds. Combining “full-throttle dancing” with “riveting storytelling” and “hilarious episodes,” the production lands in SA as part of a national tour. $12-$15, 8pm Friday-Saturday, The Stirling Houston Theater at Jump Start, 1420 S Alamo, (210) 227-5867, jump-start.org.
8. Miniature Curiosa
Zach Dorn and Murphi Cook are Miniature Curiosa, a niche operation that produces fast-paced “live-action comic books” incorporating low-fi projection technology, non-linear storytelling, and Victorian toy theater. In keeping with its mission to explore “the underbelly of childhood nostalgia with the disappointed eyeballs of adulthood,” the tiny troupe’s touring show Tonight! a Clown Will Travel Time follows Albert Billows, a clown/archivist/amateur scientist who builds a time machine to escape a from a present complicated by an F.B.I. investigation, a fascination with a mysterious woman from another century, and haunting memories of “a bloodthirsty execution of a law-breaking pachyderm.” Co-hosted by S.M.A.R.T. and Gravelmouth, Miniature Curiosa’s only Texas stop on its North American tour includes two full Friday evening shows and a five-minute excerpt from Five Excruciatingly Ordinary Toy Theater Shows on rotation during Second Saturday in the Lone Star Arts District. $10, 8pm & 11pm Friday; Free, 7-11pm Saturday, Gravelmouth, 1906 S Flores, miniaturecuriosa.com.
9. Sneaker Palooza
The fourth-annual Sneaker Palooza brings musicians, collectors, artists, designers, B-boys and -girls, and hip-hop fans to the Witte for a street culture showcase featuring performances by Big K.R.I.T., Talib Kweli, and Stak 5. Rising Southern rapper Big K.R.I.T. dropped his debut LP Live From the Underground in 2012 to wide acclaim (MTV hailed it as one of the year’s biggest success stories). One half of the Afro-centric duo Black Star, socially conscious Brooklynite Talib Kweli teamed up with Nelly, Kendrick Lamar, Busta Rhymes, and others on 2012’s Prisoner of Conscious. The event that’s “not just a show, but a way of life” also includes appearances by Stak 5 (aka Stephen Jackson, a veteran forward released by the Spurs in April), and Freehand Profit (above), an artist who creates post-apocalyptic headgear from covetable kicks. $30-$60, 6-11pm Saturday, Witte Museum, (210) 357-1900, sneakerpalooza.com.
10. Nik Soupé
Nik Soupé always wanted a cool nickname like Spider or Tiger, but got stuck with the moniker Soup by producing style-mixing community murals some likened to “art soup.” As a teen, Soupé was ushered into a scene of painters working from a shared studio in South Padre Island. Since relocating to SA 20-plus years ago, the dreadlocked McAllen native has built a solid fanbase that helped him win Best Graffiti Artist and Best Local Artist in our 2013 reader poll. While he’s known for a photo-realist approach to street art (his Frank Zappa mural looms like a new landmark on the St. Mary’s Strip), Soupé is also a master of Gorillaz-esque cartoons that pop off walls in shades of Montana Gold. Expect experiments in depth of field in his latest works, sprayed on canvas in a cinematic blend of sharp focus and obscured mystery. Free, 7-10pm Saturday, Gravelmouth 1906 S Flores, (210) 367-2528, gravelmouthgallery.com.