Book review: ‘It’s Not Yet Dark’ by Simon Fitzmaurice

‘It’s Not Yet Dark’ is the life-affirming memoir by writer and film director Simon Fitzmaurice.

Simon Fitzmaurice is an award-winning writer and film director. His films have been screened in film festivals all over the world and have won numerous prizes including Best Short Film at the Cork Film Festival and the Belfast Film Festival. His short fiction has been short-listed for the Hennessy Literary Award and his poetry has appeared in the quarterly publication West 47. “It’s Not Yet Dark” is his first memoir and upon its release in Ireland it was a best seller. In it, the author expresses him thoughts about relationships and family and what it means to be alive.

“It’s Not Yet Dark” is Simon Fitzmaurice’s personal journey that includes living with ALS. In 2008, he was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease and was given four years to live. Faced with lung function collapse in 2010, he determined that it was not his time to die and made the difficult decision to ventilate to stay alive. He had a full life with his wife and five children and a satisfying career in film that he was not ready to give up. Written using an eye-gaze computer, the author pulls the reader into a world filled with ups and downs. It begins with the exciting news that his film was picked to be screened at the Sundance Film Festival. And with the turn of a page he begins the shocking revelation of how he was diagnosed with ALS.

This is not a depressing book about someone suffering and dying from a debilitating disease. It is a beautiful and heartwarming story of a man whose life is touched by a disease but somehow manages to see the positive in life. Told in lyrical prose that includes imagery and metaphors, it is a well-balanced narrative about a life lived to its fullest. The language is simple and easy to understand and it being a small book, can easily be read in a day or two. Fans of autobiographies, memoirs and poetry will find it hard to put down. Even though it goes into detail about his struggles with ALS, it is inspiring and uplifting and highly recommended.

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


Latin Jazz Wednesdays at Sternewirth

Latin Jazz Wednesdays kick off this Wednesday August 23 at Hotel Emma’s Sternewirth.  Photo: Hotel Emma, used with permission.

This Wednesday August 23, Hotel Emma will kick off its new Latin Jazz Wednesdays music series at Sternewirth with local music icon Henry Brun. Every Wednesday from 8p.m. to midnight, guests will be able to enjoy lively Latin Jazz music from the multiple Grammy Award-winning artist. Sternewirth will be serving its full cocktail menu featuring favorites such as Three Emmas, La Babia Margarita and more as well as its updated food menu until 11:30p.m. (Hotel Emma, 2017)

Conga dynamo Henry Brun, nicknamed “Mr. Ritmo” by his fans, began playing congas at age seven and by the time he was eleven he was playing professionally. While listening to and being influenced by Latin music pioneers such as Tito Puente, Patato, Buyú, Mongo and Candido, Henry developed his own unique style and technique on bongos and timbales.

Hotel Emma is in the former Pearl Brewery which was built in 1894 and is named in honor of Emma Koehler, the wife of Pearl Brewery founder Otto Koehler. She kept the brewery going during prohibition after her husband passed away and saw it through its most successful years. The hotel was designed by award-winning firm Roman and Williams who are known for mixing historic and modern elements. They had the historic Pearl building as a starting point and created a beautiful structure that blends the old with the new, the industrial with the refined.

Sternewith at Hotel Emma
136 E Grayson St
San Antonio, TX 78215
(210) 448-8300

‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’ at the Woodlawn Theatre

‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’ opens at the Woodlawn Theatre on Friday August 25, 2017. Photo: Woodlawn Theatre, used with permission.

The new season at the Woodlawn Theatre begins this week with the local production of ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.’ The Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway classic opens on Friday August 25 and runs until Sunday September 17, 2017. This musical by Frank Loesser is a satire of big business and office politics and is based on Shepherd Mead’s 1952 book of the same name. It is directed and choreographed by Woodlawn Theatre’s Executive and Artistic Director Christopher Rodriguez and stars Crystal Vera as Hedy, Mark McCarver as Bud, Brian Hodges as Finch and Kate Ragan as Rosemary. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 7:30p.m. and Sunday at 3p.m.

Tickets are on sale online, or by calling the box office at (210) 267-8388. Prices are $18 for students and children, $24 for seniors and military and $29 for adults. There is a $3 service fee for tickets. Groups of ten or more receive a 20% discount. Free parking is available and located behind Vogue College of Cosmetology on W Lynwood Ave. This area is specifically designated for patrons and is patrolled by a uniformed security guard during the run of each show. (Woodlawn Theatre, 2017)

‘How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying’ tells the story of young, ambitious J. Pierrepont Finch who, with the help of the book “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” rises from window washer to chairman of the board of the World Wide Wicket Company. A satire of big business in the 1960s, it tackles the familiar but potent dangers such as the aggressively compliant “company man,” the office party, backstabbing co-workers, caffeine addiction and true love. Musical numbers include ‘How to Succeed,’ ‘Coffee Break’ and ‘Been a Long Day.’

On Saturday September 9, the Woodlawn Theatre will host an ASL Night (American Sign Language) with Robert Cardoza providing the deaf community with full communication access to the show.

Woodlawn Theatre
1920 Fredericksburg Rd
San Antonio, TX 78201
(210) 267-8388

Grand opening of Shake Shack

On Wednesday August 23 there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the new Shake Shack in San Antonio. Photo: Shake Shack, used with permission.

The grand opening of the new Shake Shack in San Antonio is finally here. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday August 23 at 10:30a.m. to celebrate the opening of the first ever location in San Antonio. Doors will officially open at 11a.m. and the first 50 guests in line will receive a Shake Shack concrete, the Pie Oh My (vanilla custard and slice of The Granary ‘Cue & Brew buttermilk chess pie). (Shake Shack, 2017)

Shake Shack opened in 2004 in New York City’s Madison Square Park and since then has expanded to more than 80 locations in 18 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and more than 50 international locations including London, Istanbul, Dubai, Tokyo, Moscow and Seoul. Shake Shack’s mission is to Stand For Something Good,® from its premium ingredients and caring hiring practices to its inspiring designs and deep community investment. It is a modern day “roadside” burger stand known for its 100% all-natural Angus beef burgers and flat-top Vienna beef dogs, 100% all-natural chicken sandwiches, spun-fresh frozen custard, crinkle cut fries, craft beer and wine. With its fresh, simple, high-quality food at a great value, Shake Shack is a fun and lively community gathering place with widespread appeal.

Shake Shack
Park North Shopping Center
7427 San Pedro Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78216

Whataburger fundraiser to benefit TYFA Tri-County Titans Football

On Thursday August 17 Whataburger is hosting a fundraiser to benefit the TYFA Tri-County Titans Football at the Schertz location. Photo: Whataburger, used with permission.

Whataburger periodically hosts events to help the community and schools including “Oh Whata Night” events, jalapeño eating contests, drawings and raffles. This week, just in time for the start of football season, Whataburger is hosting an “Oh Whata Night” fundraiser to benefit the TYFA Tri-County Titans Football. This family friendly event is scheduled for Thursday August 17 from 5p.m. to 8p.m. at the Schertz Whataburger only. (Whataburger, 2017)

The public is invited to come and show their support by enjoying their favorite menu items and Whataburger will donate 20 percent of the sales during the posted hours to the organization. Guests will be able to participate in the popular “Whataburger for a Year” drawing where one customer’s name will be drawn to win the ultimate prize-a free Whataburger every week for a year. There will also be a photo booth and a special appearance from Whataburger’s mascot “Whataguy.” The first 100 customers will receive a special Whataburger prize.

Whataburger has been making burgers since 1950 when Harman Dobson opened a humble hamburger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. He wanted customers to take one bite and say, “What a burger” so he named his stand on Ayers St “Whataburger.” Since then Whataburger now has over 700 locations across the country and continues to deliver fresh, made to order meals everyday with superior customer service. Community support includes charitable giving and volunteerism to nonprofit organizations that focus on children’s charities, cancer research, hunger assistance, disaster relief and military support.

5570 FM 3009 (near I-35)
Schertz, TX 78154
(210) 651-9858

Dinner & A Book series at Hotel Emma

Dinner & A Book series at Hotel Emma kicks off on Tuesday August 15, 2017.  Photo: Hotel Emma, used with permission.

Hotel Emma’s new Dinner & A Book series kicks off on Tuesday August 15 from 6:30p.m. to 8p.m. with the first of four book talks about women writers of the South hosted by Sherry Kafka Wagner. The night’s event will begin with dinner at Supper followed by a cocktail and savory bites in the library where Wagner will be sharing her enthusiasm for Texan Katherine Porter’s work. Katherine Anne Porter is a Pulitzer Prize winner, journalist, political activist and novelist. She is best known for her short stories and the novels “Ship of Fools” and “Pale Horse, Pale Rider.” For those interested, the conversation will continue at Sternewirth over drinks.

This book event is free for overnight hotels guests and $15 for the public. Price includes a cocktail and snacks in the library and entry to Wagner’s book event. Due to extremely limited searing, RSVPs are required at Future Dinner & A Book dates include August 22, August 29 and September 5, 2017. (Hotel Emma, 2017)

Hotel Emma Library
136 E Grayson St
San Antonio, TX 78215
(210) 448-8351

New release: ‘Crime Scene’ by Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman

‘Crime Scene’ is the new release by father and son writing team Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman

Jonathan Kellerman is a clinical psychologist and the best-selling author of psychological suspense novels. He has written more than thirty best-selling novels but he is best known for the Alex Delaware detective series. Since has worked extensively in the psychology field, his nonfiction writings include “Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children” as well as medical texts, essays and scientific articles. His newest novel “Crime Scene” was co-written with his son Jesse Kellerman. Jesse Kellerman is an American novelist and playwright whose past novels include “Sunstroke,” “Trouble” and “The Golem of Hollywood,” co-written with his father.

According to Amazon, in “Crime Scene,” a former star athlete turned deputy coroner is drawn into a brutal and complicated murder. Clay Edison’s job is to determine whether someone’s death was natural causes or homicide. He does not get involved in investigations until one case proves more than meets the eye. When Walter Rennert is found dead at home everyone thinks it was an accident but wen his daughter Tatiana insists that he was murdered, Clay takes a closer look at his death. What he finds is a history of scandal and violence and an experiment gone horribly wrong. The closer he gets to the truth, the closer he gets to Tatiana and it all leads him into the darkest corners of the human soul.

Movie adaptation: ‘The Glass Castle’ by Jeannette Walls

The movie adaptation of “The Glass Castle” by Jeanette Walls opens in theaters on Friday August 11, 2017.

Jeannette Walls is an American author and journalist best known as former gossip columnist for Her memoir, “The Glass Castle,” tells the story of her childhood nomadic family and spent years on The New York Times best seller list. It sold over 2.7 million copies and has been translated into multiple languages. The movie adaptation starring Brie Larson, Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson opens in theaters on Friday August 11, 2017.

According to Amazon, in “The Glass Castle” Walls recounts the unconventional, poverty-stricken upbringing she and her siblings had at the hands of their dysfunctional parents. When sober, her brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination while teaching them physics, geology and how to embrace life fearlessly. As a drunk, he was dishonest and destructive. Their mother was a free spirit who disliked the idea of domesticity. Because she did not like the responsibility of raising a family, the Walls children learned to take care of themselves and eventually moved to New York. Their parents followed them but even as their children prospered, they were often homeless. It is a story of resilience, redemption and a family whose life was both dysfunctional and vibrant.

Eastciders Ramble at Paper Tiger

Eastciders Ramble will kick off in Dallas on Saturday August 12 and will be at Paper Tiger in San Antonio on Friday August 18.  Photo: Austin Eastciders, used with permission.

Austin Eastciders, in partnership with DoStuff Media, is launching Eastciders Ramble, a traveling cider and music series. Its mission is to support the local art community by pairing local artists with cider across the markets that sell Austin Eastciders. The series will highlight emerging artists and creators in their own cities all while focusing on the community and neighborhood and adding delicious cider. Starting in August, Eastciders Ramble events are scheduled for Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and New York City with more to be added. (Austin Eastciders, 2017)

Upcoming Eastciders Ramble shows:

  • Dallas: August 12 @ Three Links – Medicine Man Revival and more
  • San Antonio: August 18 @ Paper Tiger – Lonely Horse and more
  • New York: August 24 @ Industry City – Madaila and more

Austin Eastciders was founded in East Austin in 2013 and has since supported emerging artists and artisans including chefs, mixologists, hobby brewers and cider makers. It has also partnered in events such as free concerts, outdoor film screenings, art shows, food festivals and other community arts. Team members play in bands and frequently work with various craftspeople in the process of producing and marketing their cider. Out of an environment of supporting local makers, artisans and musicians came the idea for Eastciders Ramble. This event series is a natural way for the company to connect the craft of cider making to the artesian communities where Austin Eastciders is served.

The Austin Eastciders family of cider includes Austin Eastciders Original, Austin Eastciders Texas Honey, Austin Eastciders Hopped, Austin Eastciders Pineapple and its newest flavor, Austin Eastciders Blood Orange. All Austin Eastciders products are naturally gluten-free, not overly sweet and have a smooth, dry flavor. Austin Eastciders is one of the few cider makers in the United States using bittersweet cider apples to produce its line of ciders.

Eastciders Ramble in San Antonio: August 18

Paper Tiger
2410 N Saint Marys St
San Antonio, TX 78212

Tasting Tuesdays at Krause’s Café

Krause’s Café will be hosting Tasting Tuesdays, weekly tasting events with local distilleries, wineries and breweries.  Photo: Krause’s Café, used with permission.

Krause’s Café in New Braunfels announces ‘Tasting Tuesdays,’ a weekly event where they will host spirit distilleries, wineries and breweries from across Texas. Every Tuesday from 4p.m. to 6p.m., they will feature a regional spirit and beer or wine paired with food samples from the host kitchen. Guests will be able to sample items from Texas vendors such as Goliad Brewing, Black Eyed Distilling Co., Borne Brewing, Pepe Zevada Z Tequila, Altmeyer & Lewis Brewing Co., Republic Tequila and more. This event is free and open to the public on a first come, first served basis until items run out. There will also be additional food and drinks available for purchase. (Krause’s Café, 2017)

Details for future dates will be announced as they come in. The schedule for August is:

August 15 – Borne Brewing and Pepe Zevada Z Tequila

August 22 – Altmeyer & Lewis Brewing Co. and Republic Tequila

August 29 – Twisted X Brewing Co., NUE Distillery

Krause’s Café is a New Braunfels historic restaurant that opened in 1938 and ran successfully until 1995. Recently it reopened and while keeping true to the original traditions it now has a ‘biergarten,’ live music and more. The menu reflects its German heritage and South Texas flavors while offering over 70 beers that include local, regional and international options as well as cocktails and wines on tap.

Krause’s Café
148 S Castell Ave
New Braunfels, TX 78130
(830) 652-2807