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Arts Word on the street


News and notes from the San Antonio literary scene

It’s time for the monthly installment of Word on the Street, but like a Communications major who finds an irresistible slate of courses in the Fine Arts department, we’re going to approach this round-up as an interdisciplinary major, beginning with that most lyrical of non-literary art forms, ballet.

After an impressive debut performance last spring, the Ballet Conservatory of South Texas ups the artistic ante this weekend with East Meets West: Ballet from Two Cultures. Ravi Shankar’s landmark “Concerto for Sitar and Orchestra” provides the score for intricate choreography combining classical ballet with an Indian flair, including guest Indian dancers for stylistic counterpoint. Also on the program is “Children’s Games,” featuring the younger (and adorable) dancers in a piece set to music by Bizet. Carver Community Cultural Center, 215 N. Hackberry, two performances: Saturday, October 29, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 30, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $18, $20, $25; call 366-3848.

Children will also be the stars of the Storybook Project pajama party and reading Monday, November 7, at Gemini Ink, 513 S. Presa, celebrating young authors from the Cyndi Taylor Krier Juvenile Correctional Treatment Center. This year, participants in the three-year-old program worked with Gemini writer-in-residence Dave Rutschman and illustrator Mark Lopez to create original stories that will be published in a forthcoming anthology. The Storybook Project, part of Gemini’s Writers in Communities program, is supported by the Bexar County Women’s Bar Association, Methodist Healthcare Ministries, and Tesoro Petroleum. The free event begins at 6:30 p.m. For more info, call 734-9673.

Actress Catherine Keener portrays To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee in the just-released Capote, but Keener isn’t the only artist channeling Lee this year. Texan Mark Gimenez took a page from The Hours author Michael Cunningham and updated a classic of Western literature with a modern twist. In both cases, the result is inferior (Give Mrs. Dalloway a facelift? Why not reinvent water?) but Gimenez’ effort, The Color of Law: A Novel, does have its charms, most notably some dead-on characterizations of a Dallas smitten with ostentatious wealth. But this legal thriller — in which a high-flying attorney rediscovers his conscience while defending a black prostitute accused of murdering the son of a powerful Republican Texas senator who is the Presidential frontrunner — has a few plot holes (i.e. senators rarely become president, even without family scandals) and a none-too-subtle paternalistic attitude toward poor black folk that mar its shiny surface. Still, it’s a first novel for this former big-firm lawyer and it shows enough narrative potential to merit keeping an eye on the author.

Other books we have stuffed in our knapsack this month: Trail of Feathers: Searching for Philip True, Express-News Executive Editor Robert Rivard’s version of the 1998 disappearance and murder of one of the paper’s reporters, published by PublicAffairs; and High Pink: Tex-Mex Fairy Tales, by Franco Mondini-Ruiz, published by Distributed Art Publishers, which combines gorgeous color photography of his rascuache artwork with text that explains his inspirations and obsessions. More on both to come.

Elaine Wolff and Diana Lyn Roberts

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