Theater review: ‘Cabaret’ at The Sheldon Vexler Theatre

cabaretbillThis is the last weekend to enjoy the local production of ‘Cabaret’ at The Sheldon Vexler Theatre with the final showtimes at 8p.m. on Saturday and 2:30p.m. and 7:30p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $23 for general admission, $20 for seniors/military and $19 for JCC (Barshop Jewish Community Center) and even though they are sold out, there is an in-person wait list before every performance one hour before showtime. This unforgettable musical focuses on the nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub, and revolves around American writer Cliff Bradshaw and his relationship with English cabaret performer Sally Bowles.

‘Cabaret’ is set in Berlin in 1930 at the infamous Kit Kat Klub as the Nazis are rising to power. Act One begins with “Willkommen” by the cabaret girls and waiters as the flamboyant and audience favorite Emcee (Rick Sanchez) welcomes the audience to the Kit Kat Klub and invites them to leave their troubles behind and enjoy themselves. He introduces Sally (Amanda Golden), who performs a racy and flirtatious number “Don’t Tell Mama.” At the train station, Cliff Bradshaw (Brian Hodges) is coming to Berlin to work on his novel and while there meets Ernst Ludwig (Kevin Cox), a German officer. He offers Cliff work and recommends a boarding house where Fräulein Schneider (Kimberly Stephenson) makes him a deal to rent him a room “So What?” Soon after the mood starts to change as the rising political turmoil is foreshadowed by Cliff’s reading of ‘Mein Kampf’ and the revelation at Fräulein Schneider and Herr Schultz’ (Philip Marzec) engagement party that Cliff’s friend Ernst is a member of the Nazi party. On top of it all, Fräulein Kost (Chelsea Steele) and company reprise “Tomorrow Belongs to Me,” with more overtly Nazi overtones, as Cliff, Sally, Fräulein Schneider, Herr Schultz and the Emcee look on. Cliff and Sally’s relationship ends, Fräulein Schneider and Herr Schultz break up due to him being Jewish and the cabaret performers, including the Emcee, become victims to the Nazi atrocities “Willkommen.” It all comes to the shocking conclusion as the Emcee takes off his overcoat to reveal a concentration camp prisoner’s uniform marked with a yellow Star of David and a pink triangle.

The story is a social commentary of the times and eerily relevant to the current political situation. ‘Cabaret’ starts off with decadent celebrations and slowly descends into political upheaval. It follows the blooming relationship between Sally and Cliff but the secondary relationship between landlady Fräulein Schneider and Herr Schultz, the elderly Jewish fruit shop owner, is also important because it depicts the rise of Nazism and its effect on daily life and relationships. Show highlights include the cabaret girls’ “Kick Line” and “If You Could See Her” by Emcee and the Gorilla, that ends with the Emcee’s shocking line “if you could see her through my eyes…she wouldn’t look Jewish at all.” The German officers, in full Nazi uniforms, marching across the stage after “Kick Line” was especially unnerving. All the performances are solid with top nods going to Rick Sanchez for his portrayal of the Emcee. Some of the dancing sequences are risqué and due to the adult themes and language, it is recommended for mature audiences. Overall, the dark subject matter may make it uncomfortable to watch but it is a must see.


Book signing with Paula Disbrowe at Hotel Emma

Paula Disbrowe will be at Hotel Emma’s Larder this Saturday for a book signing. 

Hotel Emma is thrilled to welcome award-winning author, grilling expert, and Austinite Paula Disbrowe to help hotel guests and San Antonians get inspired to fire up something special on the grill. On Saturday, June 1 Paula will be at Larder signing copies of her newest book “Thank You for Smoking: Fun and Fearless Recipes Cooked with a Whiff of Wood Fire on Your Grill or Smoker.” The book signing will take place outside on Larder’s patio from 10a.m. to 1p.m. and is open to the public. (Hotel Emma, 2019)

Featuring her own rendition of the sought-after Burnt Marshmallow & Toffee Rice Crispy Treats sold at Larder, guests are invited to get a signed copy of the book and sample the signature treats in the South Texas market.

In “Thank You for Smoking,” Paula Disbrowe shows home cooks how to elevate everyday meals with seductive, smoky flavors in this collection of 100 recipes for smoking meats, fish, poultry, vegetables, nuts, grains, pantry staples and even cocktails in as little as 30 minutes. After revealing just how easy it is to rig a gas or charcoal grill or use a backyard smoker to infuse everything with a smoky nuance, Disbrowe delivers a wide range of recipes easy enough for weeknight cooking. And because firing up dinner is best enjoyed with an adult beverage, this complete guide also helps readers set up their bar for modern smoke-kissed cocktails.

Larder at Hotel Emma
136 E Grayson St.
San Antonio, TX 78215

MOSS Designer Consignment opens this Saturday

MOSS Designer Consignment opens this Saturday in Alamo Heights. Photo: MOSS Designer Consignment, used with permission. 

MOSS Designer Consignment is excited to announce the official opening of its first location in San Antonio on Saturday June 1. MOSS will bring the world of high-end consignment to San Antonio with designers such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Celine, Hermès, Oscar de la Renta, Gucci and more available at the boutique. Once open, MOSS will take items for consignment based on appointment. Appointments can be made by calling the store at (210) 468-5565. First time consignors must make an appointment to set up an account with MOSS. Business hours will be 10a.m. to 6p.m. daily and Sundays from 11a.m. to 5p.m. (MOSS Designer Consignment, 2019)

MOSS first opened in Austin in December 2010 with the intent to bring the world of high-end consignment to Austin and now is thrilled to introduce the same shopping experience to San Antonio. All merchandise is hand-selected and comprised of both high-end designer labels and popular contemporary labels from past seasons that reflect current trends. With new merchandise arriving daily, MOSS creates a unique and exciting shopping experience. MOSS San Antonio will be located in Alamo Heights and will carry the same high-quality contemporary labels found at the Austin location as well as a small curated section of designer vintage.

MOSS Designer Consignment
5013 Broadway St.
San Antonio, TX 78209

Hiatus Spa + Retreat H-Circle Summer Memberships

Hiatus Spa + Retreat has special offers for the summer. Photo: Hiatus Spa + Retreat, used with permission. 

Hiatus Spa + Retreat, the award-winning day spa with five locations across Texas, is excited to offer new clients a summer retreat and an opportunity to experience their renowned H-Circle membership for three months. For only $69 per month, members can choose one essential service per month and the option to book additional services at the discounted member pricing, 10% off of all retail products, priority booking and discounts for any guests. Offer is available starting Saturday June 1 and guests who take advantage of it will receive a $50 gift card with the membership to spend at the spa. (Hiatus Spa + Retreat, 2019)

H-Circle members can treat themselves to one of six of the following essential services each month:

The Signature Massage: Mixing Swedish techniques and customized aromatherapy, this service will relax muscles, improve circulation, increase range of motion and stimulate the skin and nervous system. Restore balance, reduce tension and peace out.

The Tailor-Made Facial: In this essential facial, our expert esthetician will carefully analyze the skin, paying particular attention to imbalances and seasonal changes. Integrated aromatherapy, aromatic steam, lymphatic massage and acupressure techniques accompany this deeply relaxing, customized facial.

The One & Only Mani-Pedi: Kick up those heels in a zero-gravity chair, add an eye pillow, blanket, and warm neck wrap and let us go to town with a polish, buff, and shine.

The Body Glow: In this 40-minute full-body renewal the entire body is polished with essential oils and dead sea salts to invigorate and cleanse, followed by a rejuvenating rainfall Vichy shower in the hydrotherapy room.

Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese practice uses fine, disposable needles to access the meridian system along which energy pathways of the body flow. Restoring blood circulation to organs and tissue kick starts the body’s natural healing and balancing abilities. Enjoy a deeply relaxing experience that results in relief and healing from a variety of issues, including chronic pain, stress management, allergy symptoms, weight control, smoking cessation, fatigue and more.

The Body Wrap: In this hydrating wrap, guests be exfoliated, smoothed, softened and then wrapped in warm layers. A restorative scalp and foot massage balances the whole body. Choice of warming or cooling ingredients.

The three-month summer membership must be purchased by August 1 and all three services must be used by October 31.

Hiatus Spa + Retreat
312 Pearl Pkwy, Building 4, Ste 4112
San Antonio, TX 78215
(210) 202-3355

D-Day Remembrance Concert at UIW

County Line Community Band will perform with the 323rd Army Band on June 2 for a D-Day Remembrance Day concert. Courtesy photo: used with permission. 

On Sunday June 2, the County Line Community Band will join forces with the 323rd Army Band, “Fort Sam’s Own,” in a joint performance of their “D- Day Remembrance Concert” at the University of the Incarnate Word at 6:30p.m. in the Luella Bennack Concert Hall. This year marks 75 years since the landings on the Normandy beaches in France that began the liberation of Europe and the eventual end to World War II. As a special part of this concert, the bands will premiere a new musical composition by local composer, Charles Booker, titled “Undaunted Courage” that pays homage to the Service-members who landed on the beaches and gave their full measure of devotion to our country. (County Line Community Band, 2019)

Commander and Bandmaster of the 323rd Army Band, CW4 Jono Ward and County Line Community Band Director, Toby Knight, would like to invite the public to this first of its kind joint performance between “Fort Sam’s Own” and one of San Antonio’s premier local community bands. This concert is FREE and open to the public. FREE reserved seating can be acquired at eventbrite by searching for “D-Day Concert.” The evening will help remember this monumental event in American History and to honor the Veterans from our greatest generation.

University of the Incarnate Word
4301 Broadway
San Antonio, TX 78209
(210) 829-6000

Book review: ‘The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals’ by Lori Morrison

‘The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals’ by Lori Morrison is an informative and inspirational book on power animals. 

Lori Morrison is a best-selling author, inspirationalist and mystic who, combining her skills as a coach, spiritual counselor, healer and medical intuitive, has built a successful alternative wellness practice in Sedona, Arizona. She works with clients from around the world in supporting those who are looking for a renewed approach in dealing with physical and mental health issues. Her first book and memoir “Lori: The Disintegration of my Ordinary Reality” is a winner of four prestigious book awards, including the 2017 Gold Medal winner in the Living Now Book Awards. “The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals” is her current book and a cross-cultural journey into the mystical symbolism and stories of almost 200 birds, fish, insects and mammals drawn from ancient and indigenous cultures worldwide.

“The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals” begins with a Preface by the author in which she recounts her early childhood’s exposure to nature and animals courtesy of her father. These experiences influenced her adulthood as she and her husband shared a love of wildlife that took them to places like Yellowstone National Park and Alaska. The book is divided into two parts: Part One: The World of Shamans and their Power Animals that has sections with extensive information about The Three Worlds, the Types of Power Animals, Determining Your Power Animal and Calling in Your Power Animal; and Part Two: A to Z Guide to Power Animals where the reader can either read through each animal to learn about its characteristics and powers, or just use it to read up on his or her particular power animal. Towards the end, there is a List of Endangered Species, a Table of Powers and Minerals, a summary of the A to Z Guide and References, a list of reference material for anyone interested in learning more about the subjects presented.

Lori Morrison’s impressive new book is an extensive encyclopedia of knowledge regarding shamanism, the spiritual world and power animals. For readers who are interested in these subjects but are not too familiar with the basics, it explains in detail what the non-ordinary reality is (“a supernatural place…where we can connect to spirits and experience the past, present and future simultaneously”); The Three Worlds (Upper, Middle and Lower) that are accessed through chanting, drumming, dancing or consuming of medicinal plants; and how to determine what an individual’s  spirit animal is. It is insightful and thought provoking because even if readers have no interest in actually getting involved in spiritual ceremonies, they will walk away with a deeper understanding of how important it is for humans to be connected to nature and animals, which should be viewed as sisters and brothers instead of creatures to be mastered and manipulated for selfish gains. “The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals” is recommended for fans of the mystical arts or anyone with an open mind who is willing to enrich their lives by learning more about nature, Mother Earth and the variety of animals and their characteristics and strengths.

“We need to interact with or observe animals in natural settings in order to truly see the planet as a whole. Perhaps the root cause of our planetary dysfunction and imbalance in this era of history is the disintegration of humanity’s connection to the spirit world in everyday life.”

*The author received a copy of this book for an honest review. The views and opinions expressed here belong solely to her.

Television adaptation: ‘NOS4A2’ by Joe Hill

nos4a2Joe Hill is an American author and comic book writer whose work includes the novels “Heart-Shaped Box,” “Horns,” “NOS4A2” and “The Fireman.” He has also written the short story collections “20th Century Ghosts” and “Strange Weather” as well as the comic book series Locke & Key, the latter which won the British Fantasy Awards in 2009 and 2012 and an Eisner Award in 2012. NOS4A2 focuses on a woman trying to save her son from a vicious, supernatural killer who has set his eyes on him. The television adaptation, consisting of ten episodes, will air on AMC starting on Sunday June 2 and stars Zachary Quinto as Charlie Manx and Ashleigh Cummings as Vic McQueen.

“NOS4A2” follows Victoria “Vic” McQueen, a young working-class artist who has a secret gift for finding things, like a misplace bracelet, a missing photograph or answers to unanswerable questions. She also discovers that she has a supernatural ability to track the seemingly immortal Charlie Manx. Manx feeds off the souls of children, then deposits what remains of them into Christmasland, a twisted Christmas Village of Manx’s imagination where everyday is Christmas Day and unhappiness is against the law. He drives a 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate NOS4A2 which allows him to slip out of the everyday world and into the terrifying Christmasland. When Vic was young, she was the only girl to escape Manx’s evil grasp and now all grown up, she just wants to forget. But Manx has never forgotten Vic and now she must defeat Manx and rescue his victims, one being her own son, without losing her mind or falling victim to him herself.

Memorial Day lunch and brunch menus at COVER 3

COVER 3 will have a special Memorial Day menu along with their weekly lunch menu. Photo: COVER 3, used with permission. 

This Monday, Memorial Day, guests will not only be able to enjoy COVER 3’s weekly lunch menu, but the restaurant is also offering a special brunch menu from 11a.m. to 3p.m. featuring popular brunch options like Chilaquiles, Migas, Green Chile Beef Breakfast Enchiladas, Chicken Tinga Breakfast Enchiladas and more. This special offering applies to all COVER 3 locations in Central Texas, including Austin, Round Rock and San Antonio. (COVER 3, 2019)

This special menu will also feature an extra offering of COVER 3’s U-Mix-It Bloody Mary & Bubbles Bar. The Bubbles Bar is a standalone station featuring four make-your-own mimosa options with cranberry, orange, grapefruit, peach nectar and pomegranate flavors as well as fresh fruit and juices, while the Bloody Mary Bar offers a selection of mixes and condiments ranging from Applewood Smoked Bacon, House-Pickled Veggies, Jalapeños, Stuffed Olives and so much more.

COVER 3 is a locally owned and operated restaurant group that provides guests with an elevated food experience featuring scratch-kitchen menu options, craft cocktails, local brews and high-end wine offerings in a sophisticated, yet approachable atmosphere. Founded in 2008, COVER 3 brings a unique and refined approach to sports bars in Austin. Nearly a decade later, the restaurant has expanded to four locations in Central Texas, including San Antonio and Round Rock, as well a second restaurant concept in COVER 2. Paying homage to football, COVER 3 works hard to cover its three “zones” – dining, spirits and sports – to provide a truly upscale dining experience.

1806 N 1604, West St.
San Antonio, TX 78248

2700 W Anderson Ln, Ste 202
Austin, TX 78757
(512) 374-1121

1717 West Sixth Street, #21 OR
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 982-1550

2800 N-IH 35, Suite 300
Round Rock, TX 78681
(512) 693-2393

Television adaptation: ‘Good Omens’ by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Good Omens will be released on Amazon Prime on Friday May 31.

Neil Gaiman is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, nonfiction, audio theater and films. He is best known for the comic book series The Sandman and the novels “Stardust,” “American Gods,” “Coraline” and “The Graveyard Book.” He collaborated with English author Terry Pratchett for the 1990 World Fantasy Award-nominated novel “Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch.” The book is a comedy about the birth of the son of Satan, the coming of the end of times and the attempts by the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley to sabotage it, having grown accustomed to their comfortable surroundings in England. It was adapted into a six-part series and will be released on Friday May 31 on Amazon Prime and stars David Tennant and Michael Sheen.

“Good Omens” is about the coming of the End Times; the Apocalypse is near and Final Judgement will soon descend upon humans. Aziraphale was the guardian of the Eastern Gate of Eden and Crowley was the serpent who tempted Eve to eat the apple and respectively, the representatives of Heaven and Hell on Earth. They have become good friends and have decided to work together and keep an eye on the Antichrist. He is destined to be the son of a prominent American diplomat stationed in Britain and their plan is to make sure he grows up unable to decide between Good and Evil, therefore postponing the end of the world.

New release: ‘The Night Window’ by Dean Koontz

‘The Night Window,’ the final novel in the Jane Hawk series by Dean Koontz was released this week. 

Dean Koontz is an American author whose works are billed as suspense thrillers but can also include horror, fantasy, science fiction, mystery and satire. His first novel, “Star Quest” was published in 1968 and since then he has sold over 450 million copies of his books with many of them appearing on The New York Times’ Best Seller list. “The Night Window,” the final chapter in the Jane Hawk series, was released this week and finds the rogue FBI agent gambling everything against a terrifying conspiracy, for vengeance, for justice and for humanity’s freedom.

In “The Night Window,” Jane crosses paths with a visionary young filmmaker hunted for sport across a Colorado ranch by a billionaire who is the head of a cabal, a brilliant computer hacker who gathers facts to fight powerful perpetrators of mass murder, and, among others, a Vegas mob boss out to kidnap a boy to use as leverage against his fugitive mother. Filled with ingenious twists, spellbinding action and resonant themes, it follows the heroine to her long-sought objective, in stunning, unforgettable finale.

The other books in the series include:
“The Silent Corner”– It all begins when Jane’s husband, and others with seemingly happy lives, kills himself. In her search to find the truth, she becomes the most wanted fugitive in America.

“The Whispering Room” – Jane picks up the trail of a secret cabal of powerful players who think themselves above the law and beyond punishment. That trail intersects with Cora Gundersun, who kills herself and others in a shocking act of carnage and appears to have been insane, but Jane knows better.

“The Crooked Staircase” – Knowing she may be living on borrowed time, Jane refuses to stop her one-woman crusade against those who threaten everyone’s freedom and free will. This time she goes after a cunning man with connections in high places, including an army of professional killers on call.

“The Forbidden Door” – Jane may be all that stands between a free nation and its enslavement by a powerful secret society’s terrifying mind control technology. Now that the number of brain-altered victims is growing and spreading, the war between her and her enemies will become a fight for all their lives against the lethal terror unleashed from behind the forbidden door.