Theater review: ‘Clear to Partly Crazy’ at The Classic Theatre

Jaston Williams returns to The Classic Theatre of San Antonio with ‘Clear to Partly Crazy’ until Sunday July 30, 2017.  Photo: Kirk Tuck, used with permission.

‘Clear to Partly Crazy’ opened at The Classic Theatre of San Antonio last night as Jaston Williams brings his one-man show to San Antonio audiences. Picking up where he left off after ‘A Wolverine Walks Into a Bar,’ he muses on subjects from cheerleaders to tornadoes and certifiably insane blood relatives. It is written and performed by Jaston Williams and no late seating is allowed at any performance. Next show times are Friday at 8p.m. Saturday at 3p.m. and 8p.m. and Sunday at 3p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission and are available online and at the box office.

Before the show, he takes the time to welcome everyone and say how happy he is to be back in San Antonio despite the hot weather. The stories contained in this show are: An Empty Space, The Whistle and A Window Seat to Never, Neverland. Dressed casually in a robe, pajamas and slippers he begins with a rant about how silly television is nowadays with reality shows and other nonsensical forms of ‘entertainment’ including televised cheerleading competitions. Being from West Texas, he can relate to football culture and the one thing that comes with it: cheerleaders. This is the topic of An Empty Space where he recalls how important they were to high school society. Tornadoes and storm shelters take center stage on The Whistle while a family member’s unfortunate bout with mental illness and institutions make it into A Window Seat to Never, Neverland.

Fans of Jaston Williams and his brand of comedy are in for a treat with ‘Clear to Partly Crazy.’ He always manages to find the humor in even the bleakest of situations. His animated storytelling pulls the audience in as they hang on to his every word. After the laughter dies down every story has its serious side; an especially poignant moment is his quiet ode to his cousin as he ended A Window Seat to Never, Neverland. Some of the references may be aged but that should not be a deterrent. Laughter and humor, after all, are ageless. It is a must see show that explores the themes of politics, television, natural disasters and family but most of all, it is a reminder not to take life so seriously.


Book review: ‘Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean’ by Jonathan White

In his new book ‘Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean,’ Jonathan White explores the science and spirit of ocean tides.  Photo: Barnes & Noble

Jonathan White is a marine conservationist, a sailor, surfer and author. He has written for publications like the Christian Science Monitor, The Sun, Orion and Surfer’s Journal. His first book, “Talking on the Water: Conversations about Nature and Creativity” is a collection of interviews exploring human relationships with nature. After a boating incident involving tides while on a seminar in Southeast Alaska, he vowed to learn more about tides and their powerful forces. In his new book, “Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean” he shares what he learned during his years of research that took him across the world; from the Arctic, to China, France, Chile, Scotland, Panama and Venice.

In “Tides,” Jonathan White writes about that all-important force that keeps earth’s waters in constant motion. With global warming making headlines worldwide, he explores how tides are affecting sea level and people’s livelihoods. The book is divided into nine chapters that give readers unique stories about tides such as: The Perfect Dance: Birds and Big Tides in the Bay of Fundy and Fast Water: How Tidal Currents Slow the Earth and Bend Time. He uses pictures, scientific figures, line drawings, brilliant color pictures and personal anecdotes to share his knowledge of what tides are and how they work. It is a combination of travel log, personal journal and scientific textbook.

Jonathan White’s love and respect for the ocean comes through in every story and scientific discovery he shares. The material is interesting and easy to understand although sometimes it can get too technical for the lay reader. Thankfully, he does an excellent job of balancing the science and the personal stories so that everyone can get something out of it. It is recommended for readers who enjoy learning about oceans, tides and wildlife along with interesting cultural history.

*A copy of this book was given for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are solely the author’s.

Tickets now on sale for Mala Luna Music Festival

Tickets for the second annual Mala Luna Music Festival are now on sale. Photo: Mala Luna Music Festival, used with permission.

Tickets are now on sale for the second annual Mala Luna Music Festival to be held on Halloween weekend October 28 and 29 at the Nelson Wolff Stadium, west of downtown San Antonio.  Due to a sold-out event last year, the festival has moved to a new location and is expanding to two stages. It will feature high-profile musical performances, multiple live art installations and numerous local food vendors and merchandise. The Halloween theme, designs and costumes will help pay tribute to the local culture and the community’s annual Diá de los Muertos celebrations. (Mala Luna Music Festival, 2017)

General admission tickets, $149 and VIP passes, $399 are on sale online as well as other VIP Packages including Black Moon for $189, Harvest Moon for $209, and Fly Me to the Moon for $399, which offers ticket-buyers the most enhanced experience at the festival. Attendees are encouraged to act fast as these VIP tickets are in short supply and will continue to increase in price as the event date approaches. VIP perks include preferred viewing areas, expedited entry, dedicated bars and restroom facilities, festival merchandise and more.

This year’s musical lineup includes Future, Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Migos, Afrojack, Carnage, Khalid, Borgore, Playboi Carti, Kali Uchis, Ugly God, Smokepurpp, Trae Tha Truth, J.I.D, and Maxo Kream. One of Mala Luna’s missions is to support San Antonio’s up-and-coming music scene and several San Antonio-based artists are also scheduled to perform, including Xavier Omär, Intre, Bamsworth Belli, Izaq Roland and Lil Yodaa, as well as Rayne and Isabella Rodriguez of Network for Young Artists.

Through its continuing partnership with Network for Young Artists (NYA), the Mala Luna Music Festival will donate a portion of the proceeds from each ticket sold to the San Antonio-based organization. NYA is a nonprofit organization that provides affordable classes in voice, guitar, percussion, keyboard and dance to San Antonio-area youth ages 4-20. Last year’s festival donations supported student-driven music education initiatives through the end of 2016 and into 2017.

Nelson Wolff Stadium
5757 W US Highway 90
San Antonio, TX 78227
(210) 675-727

Weekday Signature Hour and Weekend Signature Brunch

Poached Eggs & Salmon at Signature, Inspired by Chef Andrew Weissman.  Photo: Signature, used with permission.

Signature, Inspired by Chef Andrew Weissman, one of the fine dining choices at La Cantera Resort & Spa is now offering a weekday Signature Hour and a weekend Signature Brunch. For those looking for a charming and relaxed Hill Country culinary experience, Signature offers dinner from Monday through Saturday from 6p.m. to 10 p.m., Signature Hour from Tuesday through Friday from 4:30p.m. to 6 p.m. and Brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations for dinner and brunch are recommended but not required and can be made by calling (210) 247-0176. (Signature, 2017)

The cocktail menu at Signature Hour changes weekly to showcase the mixology mastery of the restaurant with a rotating menu of hand-crafted specialty cocktails, beer and wine. The bar has approximately 50 scotches from single-malt to blended, including the rare Gaelic scotch Ice God, with only 30,000 bottles existing in the world.  The vast bourbon and rye collection includes many hard-to-find selections, including Hibiki 21-Year-Old and Whistle Pig Boss Hog Single Barrel. Signature Hour has menu options that include a savory selection of menu favorites such as the ever-popular Deviled Egg Potato Salad, Gold Leaf Risotto, Signature Petite Burger with fried egg and pickles, charcuterie and new items such as Mumbai-Style Lamb with curry and Black Truffle Laneh and La Reve Wasabi Oysters.  Prices range from $5 to $15. Drink prices range from beer for $5 and wine and hand-crafted Signature cocktails for $7.

Chef Andrew Weissman has teamed up with Executive Chef Laurent Rea to create a French-inspired weekend Brunch menu with Texas influences.  The menu offerings include an authentic French toast made with challah bread, a true New England-style lobster roll and French style omelet and diners can choose between mixed-mushroom, lobster, crawfish or smoked salmon, prepared with fresh herbs grown in Signature’s garden.  Texas influences include a breakfast burger stacked with Swiss hash browns, apple-smoked bacon atop a house-made brioche roll, creamed chipped beef on a house-made biscuit and Blueberry buttermilk pancakes with warm maple syrup and apple-smoked bacon. Fresh cocktails include a house-made Bloody Mary made with yellow tomato juice, designed to complement brunch offerings.

16401 La Cantera Pkwy
San Antonio, TX 78256
(210) 247-0176

‘Clear to Partly Crazy’ at The Classic Theatre

Jaston Williams returns to The Classic Theatre with ‘Clear to Partly Cloudy’ from Thursday July 27 to Sunday July 30, 2017.  Photo: Kirk Tuck, used with permission.

Jaston Williams returns to The Classic Theatre for the San Antonio premiere of his one man show ‘Clear to Partly Crazy’ from Thursday July 27 to Sunday July 30, 2017. Previously seen on ‘A Wolverine Walks Into a Bar,’ he muses on subjects all Texans understand; from cheerleaders to tornadoes and certifiably insane blood relatives. Travel with him from grandstands to storm cellars to the occasional mental institution, laughing all the way. Written and performed by Jaston Williams. No late seating will be allowed at any performance. Show times are Thursday and Friday at 8p.m. Saturday at 3p.m. and 8p.m. and Sunday at 3p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission and are available online. (The Classic Theatre of San Antonio, 2017)

Jaston Williams is best known as one of the trio of writers of the Greater Tuna series. Along with Joe Sears and Ed Howard, they wrote ‘Greater Tuna,’ ‘A Tuna Christmas’ and ‘Red, White and Tuna.’ The shows are comedic plays each set in the fictional town of Tuna, Texas and are an affectionate view and satire of small-town, Southern life and attitudes. Williams and Sears play the entire cast of over twenty characters of both genders and various ages.

The Classic Theatre of San Antonio
1924 Fredericksburg Rd
San Antonio, TX 78201
(210) 589-8450

Movie adaptation: Valerian and Laureline

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is the movie adaptation of the French comic book series Valerian and Laureline.  It opens in theaters on Friday July 21, 2017.

Pierre Christin is a French comics creator and writer and he, along with Jean-Claude Mézières, a French comic strip artist and illustrator created the French comic book series Valérian and Laureline. First published in 1967, it is also known as Valérian: Spatio-Temporal Agent, or simply as Valérian, and it recounts the adventures of the dark-haired Valérian, a spatio-temporal agent and his redheaded female colleague Laureline as they travel the universe through space and time. The movie adaptation, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, will be released in theaters on Friday July 21, 2017. It stars Dane DeHaan as Major Valerian, Clara Delevingne as Sergeant Laureline, Clive Owen as Arün Filitt, their commander and Rihanna as Bubble, a shapeshifting entertainer.

According to Wikipedia, Valérian and Laureline, Valérian is a classical hero who is kind, strong, brave and follows the orders of his superiors even if he does not always agree with them. His partner Laureline is intelligent, determined, independent and good looking. The comic series combines space opera with time travel. Christin’s writing style contains humor, complexity and strongly humanist and left-wing liberal political ideas while Mézières’ art is best known for its vivid depictions of the alien worlds and species that they encounter along the way. It is considered innovative in European comics and pop culture and its influence can be seen in films such as Star Wars and The Fifth Element. Many of the stories have been translated into several languages.

Tickets now on sale for ‘The Bodyguard’ at the Majestic Theatre

The Bodyguard
Tickets for ‘The Bodyguard’ are now on sale.  It will play at the Majestic Theatre from September 19 through September 24, 2017.

The new season of North Park Lexus Broadway in San Antonio begins in September with the first U.S. national tour of the hit musical ‘The Bodyguard.’ It will play eight performances at the Majestic Theatre from Tuesday September 19 through Sunday September 24, 2017 and tickets are now on sale. Ticket prices begin at $35 and are available online, at the box office, through Ticketmaster online or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Box office hours are 10a.m. to 5p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday hours vary. Performances are 7:30p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8p.m. on Friday, 2p.m. and 8p.m. on Saturday and 2p.m. and 7:30p.m. on Sunday. Orders for groups of ten or more may be place by phone at (210) 226-5967. (North Park Lexus Broadway in San Antonio, 2017)

‘The Bodyguard’ is based on the 1992 Oscar-nominated Warner Bros. film and is adapted by Academy Award-winner Alexander Dinelaris. It is the story of former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard Frank Farmer who is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge but what they do not expect is to fall in love. Considered a romantic thriller, it features such classic songs as So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, Run to You, I Have Nothing, I Wanna Dance with Somebody and the mega-hit I Will Always Love You. This version changes the focus of the story from the bodyguard to Rachel Marron. Grammy® Award-nominated and multi-platinum R&B and pop recording artist Deborah Cox stars as Rachel Marron and television star Judson Mills stars as bodyguard Frank Farmer. Jasmin Richardson will be playing the role of Rachel Marron for the Saturday matinee and Sunday evening performances.

Majestic Theatre
224 E Houston St
San Antonio, TX 78205
(210) 226-5700

Theater review: ‘Hairspray’ at The Playhouse San Antonio

Kass Ortiz as Tracy Turnblad in The Playhouse San Antonio’s production of ‘Hairspray.’  Photo: Daniel D Baumer, used with permission.

One of Broadway’s most popular musicals, ‘Hairspray,’ opened at The Playhouse San Antonio last weekend.  This musical is based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name and tells the story of Tracy Turnblad whose innocent desire to dance on a television show ends up shaking up her hometown of Baltimore. It runs until Sunday August 6 with show times on Friday and Saturday at 8p.m. and Sunday at 3p.m.  Tickets are available online and prices range from $12 for children to $42 for general adult admission.

‘Hairspray’ begins with “Good Morning Baltimore” where the audience is introduced to the perky Tracy Turnblad whose world revolves around watching The Corny Collins show. While watching the show one afternoon she finds out that there will be auditions to replace one of the ‘council members’ who is taking a leave of absence due to a pregnancy.  She eagerly goes to audition only to be rudely turned away, “Miss Baltimore Crabs.” While there she bumps into teenage heartthrob Link Larkin and that leads to a romantic dream sequence, “I Can Hear the Bells.” She ends up gaining a spot on the show and with the help of friends and family manages to get The Corny Collins Show fully integrated.

The stage version of ‘Hairspray’ is slightly different than the movie, which most people are familiar with, but it is still a joy to experience. With its infectious songs, energetic dancing and vital social commentaries it is easy to see why it so popular with theater audiences as evident by a sold out opening weekend. Show highlights include “Big Blonde and Beautiful,” a song about being proud of how you look despite what people think and “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” when Tracy emerges from the back of the theatre to crash the competition at the end. Danielle King, who plays Motormouth Maybelle, gives a poignant rendition of “I Know Where I’ve Been” that reminds audiences of the serious side of the show. Amid singing and dancing, ‘Hairspray’ tackles such topics as racism, segregation and finding love despite weight and color differences. The colorful staging and vibrant costumes bring this show to life. Top-notch choreography and a talented cast who work well together makes this a must-see show.

Theater review: ‘Burning Patience’ at The Classic Theatre

Hector Machado as Pablo Neruda in The Classic Theatre’s production of ‘Burning Patience’ playing until Sunday.  Photo: Siggi Ragnar, used with permission.

Now playing at The Classic Theatre of San Antonio is ‘Burning Patience’ by Antonio Skármeta. Translated by Tim Klinger and directed by José Rubén De León, it stars Hector Machado as Pablo Neruda, Marisa Varela as Rosa González, Juan Carlos Calderon as Mario Jiménez and Amanda Ireta-Goode as Beatriz González. It tells the story of Mario Jiménez, a fictional postman in revolution-era Chile who befriends the real-life poet Pablo Neruda. There are still three chances to catch this delightful and poetic production at 8p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 3p.m. on Sunday. General admission tickets are $20 and are available online or by phone at (210) 589-8450. There is no late seating at any performance.

‘Burning Patience’ is set in 1969 in Isla Negra, Chile where Mario Jiménez, the local postman frequently visits poet Pablo Neruda to bring him his correspondence. He is a big fan of Neruda and since he also wishes to be a poet his visits usually center around poetry. Until one day when Mario brings exciting news that he has met Beatriz, the woman of his dreams and wants Neruda’s help in winning her heart—with poetry, of course. Beatriz’ mother Rosa disapproves and wants to send her away to separate them and goes so far as to write Neruda to ask him to intervene. Love wins in the end and the two end up married but their happiness is disrupted when Neruda falls ill and dies when the country’s political instability touches home.

Productions at The Classic Theatre are quality classic works and ‘Burning Patience’ is no exception. Audience members at last Friday’s performance were there because they were either familiar with Pablo Neruda or the movie adaptation but this was the exception and not the rule. Familiarity with the subject matter is not necessary to enjoy this excellent piece of theater, only a love and appreciation of poetry. The cast works perfectly together but Calderon’s portrayal of the love-struck Mario with the heart of a poet is the shinning beacon of the story. Neruda’s personal life is also examined including his political views and his 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature. Overall, it is a must see, well-balanced story of love, friendship, politics and poetry and will appeal to fans of classic literature.

Movie adaptation: ‘My Cousin Rachel’ by Daphne du Maurier

The movie adaptation of ‘My Cousin Rachel’ by Daphne du Maurier is now in theaters.

Daphne du Maurier was an English author and playwright whose works are described as nonconventional and moody with overtones of the paranormal despite being classified as a romantic novelist. Her works include the novels “Rebecca,” “My Cousin Rachel” and “Jamaica Inn” and the short stories “The Birds” and “Don’t Look Now/Not After Midnight.” The newest movie adaptation of “My Cousin Rachel” is now in limited release and stars Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Iain Glen and Holliday Grainger. It tells the story of a young man in Cornwall who meets the wife of his older cousin and suspects her of having been responsible for his death.

According to Amazon, “My Cousin Rachel” is set in 19th century England where Philip Ashley was orphaned at a young age and is raised by his older cousin Ambrose. Ambrose is single and loves Philip as his own and considers him his heir. Their perfect world is turned upside down when Ambrose goes on a trip to Florence where he falls in love, gets married and just as suddenly dies. The new widow, Rachel, turns up in England shortly after that. She is beautiful, sophisticated and mysterious and even though she may have had something to do with Ambrose’s death, Philip is drawn to her.