Theater review: ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ at the Woodlawn Theatre

‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ is now playing at the Woodlawn Theatre through Sunday November 3.

Now playing at the Woodlawn Theatre is ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ and this is the last weekend to catch this highly entertaining musical as it runs through Sunday November 3. ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ tells the story of two drag queens and a transgender woman who agree to perform at a resort in Alice Springs, a town in the remote Australian desert. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7:30p.m. and Sunday at 3p.m. Tickets are available online or by calling the Box Office at 210-267-8388.

‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ is set in Australia and begins with drag queen Mitzi Mitosis, whose real name is Anthony “Tick” Belrose, (John Berring) performing at a club “It’s Raining Men.” His estranged wife Marion (Jimmi Nelson-Reid) calls him for a favor. She needs him to perform for a few weeks at her business in Alice Springs, Australia during which time he can get to know his son Benji (Landon Levy) who has been asking for him “I Say A Little Prayer.” Tick agrees and convinces his friend, a transgender woman named Bernadette, aka Ralph, (Ronald Watson) to join him and then has another performer, Felicia, whose real name is Adam Whitely (Jesse Beere) join them “Venus.” Together they buy a budge Barbie campervan they nickname Priscilla, Queen of the Desert “Go West.” Along the way, Priscilla breaks down, forcing them to stop at a small town where they are victims of hate crimes but also make new friends and despite their differences, the trio realizes that they can not part ways. “We Belong.”

One trait of a good musical is its ability to have audiences singing along and since ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ uses well-known pop songs as its score, that is a huge plus. Such songs include “Venus,” “I Will Survive” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and knowing the songs makes for a much more enjoyable experience. Based on the smash-hit movie of the same name, it is the heartwarming and uplifting adventure of three friends who even though they clash sometimes, they always have each other’s backs. It has humor, heart and romance but it is definitely not for young audiences due to the adult themes and language. Show highlights include “Venus” when Felicia is introduce to the audience and “True Colors” when Bernadette and Adam try to cheer up Tick when he is disillusioned after Priscilla is vandalized with homophobic slurs. Ronald Watson, John Berring and Jesse Beere are incredibly talented and work well together but Jesse’s presentation is energetic and full of enthusiasm and well worth the price of admission just to see him perform his musical numbers. The music and dancing are excellent and the costumes are just plain gorgeous. With infectious songs and amazing performances, ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ is the most fun to be had at the theater this season; perfect for a girl’s night out.



Pluckers Wing Bar to host Halloween themed events

Pluckers’ Psych Frog. Photo: Melissa Skorpil, used with permission.

Halloween festivities are in full swing at Texas’ favorite sports bar and wing restaurant and Pluckers Wing Bar is celebrating by hosting Halloween-themed events: Wednesday night Live Team Trivia on 10/30 and Thursday night Pluck Hunt on 10/31 at all locations. Guests get bonus points if they come dressed in Halloween costumes. (Pluckers, 2019)

Every Wednesday, Pluckers hosts Live Team Trivia starting at 7:30p.m. and the winning team will receive a Pluckers gift card. Round up your team for an evening featuring 10 questions in each round: sports, nerd, movie lines, movie quotes, name that tune, random and more. During Wednesday’s Live Team Trivia, guests will also be able to enjoy specials such as $6.75 34 oz. Mother Pluckers Mugs of Miller Lite and other specials.

Every Thursday, Pluckers hosts Pluck Hunt starting at 9p.m., where guests can participate in a scavenger-hunt style game in their seat. The host will ask teams to complete fun challenges and search for objects on their phones. The top two scoring teams and one randomly chosen team get to roll the giant dice for gift card prizes.

Highest Roll = $100 gift card
2nd Highest Roll = $50 gift card
Random Participating Team = $25 gift card

Pluckers Wing Bar
14881 IH-35 North
Selma, TX 78154

Niche at Pearl to expand and change name

Niche at Pearl, a modern boutique apparel collection, will have its grand opening in November. Photo: Niche at Pearl, used with permission.

Pearl​ ​is excited to announce the re-opening and expansion of Niche at Pearl​ this month. Niche is a modern boutique apparel collection headquartered across the river from Pearl. Niche’s flagship location at Pearl will now feature a broader range of clothing with a themed concept occupying the expanded space every few months. Throughout the month of October, Niche at Pearl will have a soft opening with its grand opening slated for November. (Niche at Pearl, 2019)

The boutique will feature a wide range of apparel including children’s clothing, beauty products, handmade jewelry and a pop-up space that will showcase a different theme several times a year. Each rotated concept featured at Niche at Pearl will have new merchandise, decor, events and vendors that match the theme. The theme will take over the majority of the 1,200 square foot added retail space, giving patrons an entirely new shopping experience. The renovated space will double the size of the original store to a total of 2300 sq. feet.

Playroom will kick off the first rotation with a focus on children’s products for newborns to age six. It offers the Niche “Mommy & Me” and “Mommy & He” collections, with coordinated looks for mothers and their young daughters and sons. This collection includes tiny versions of Niche best-sellers, including the Origami Tunic, Twinbutton Tops, and Canopy Pants. Other children’s apparel lines include Minneapolis-based Oh! Baby, a delightful line of children’s apparel with unexpected details in soft, organic materials  and Austin-based Cat & Dogma, with graphic prints of coordinated play outfits.

Playroom will also have toys and activities to keep the little ones entertained while adults are shopping. There will be vendor pop-ups, a lemonade stand on busy weekends and activities for kids. The store will offer huggable plush stuffed animals, tents for children to crawl in for cozy play, vibrant sensory squeeze balls and sustainable wood dollhouses, including an eco-friendly model complete with toy solar panels and recycle bins. Gifts for new parents, birthdays, baby showers and yogis range from swaddling blankets, eco-friendly teething rings to kids size yoga mats.

The Playroom concept will wind down by spring 2020 to make room for a brand new theme which will be announced at a later date. Niche at Pearl will be located in suites 112 and 110 at the historic Pearl, in the space formerly occupied by Pearl’s pop up shop.

Niche at Pearl
302 Pearl Parkway, Suite 112
San Antonio, TX 78215
(210) 437-0239

Celebrate Dia de los Muertos with La Panaderia’s Pan de Muerto

La Panaderia’s Pan de Muerto.  Photo: Karissa Rangel, used with permission.

With an official citywide Dia de los Muertos celebration, San Antonio sees one of the biggest celebrations in the country, hosting parades and colorful events with altars, calaveras on stilts and live mariachi throughout Friday November 1 and Saturday November 2. For anyone looking for traditional treats to serve for the celebration, La Panadería is making it easy for locals to pick up their Pan de Muerto for Dia de los Muertos parties. (La Panadería, 2019)

During the holiday, La Panadería will offer party size Pan de Muerto in a special box decorated with calaveras, available for pick up before the holiday. Offering traditional Pan de Muerto is important to the business owners since it is part of the duo’s Mexican culture and reminds them of their time spent in Mexico City. What makes La Panadería’s treat stand out is their baking technique that uses plenty of high-quality European butter in comparison to other recipes that do not use butter at all. The butter aids the bread due to its long rest period of 72 hours. Earlier this year, La Panadería provided city officials with party favor sized Pan de Muerto during its official Dia de los Muertos press conference and will provide Pan de Muerto at the large festival held by Pearl.

Hoping to share their Mexican heritage with citizens in the U.S., José and David Cáceres opened La Panadería in San Antonio, Texas in 2014. The bakery, which specializes in handmade bread, pan dulce and pastries inspired by Mexico’s Golden Era, or Epoca de Oro, also draws influence from French, Italian and American breadmaking techniques. La Panadería’s unique approach to breadmaking includes a minimum 48-hour fermentation process that results in artisan bread and pastries unlike any other. La Panadería has two locations in San Antonio, Texas.

8305 Broadway St.
San Antonio, TX 78209
(210) 375-6746

301 E. Houston St.
San Antonio, TX 78205
(210) 592-6264

Mala Luna Festival takes place this weekend

Young Thug at last year’s Mala Luna Festival. Photo: Brandon Todd, used with permission.

Mala Luna Music Festival is a multi-day music festival held each year on Halloween weekend in San Antonio. The annual weekend event will take place on Saturday and Sunday, October 26 and 27 at Nelson Wolff Stadium (parking lot) west of downtown. Two-day GA and various VIP ticket packages are on sale online along with single-day GA tickets, starting at only $89. Festival gates open daily at noon. Mala Luna ticket buyers looking for the ultimate festival experience should opt for one of the curated VIP ticket packages, which include Black Moon ($209), Harvest Moon ($229) and Fly Me to the Moon ($399). (Mala Luna Music Festival, 2019)

Mala Luna will be hosting an official pre-party featuring special guests on Friday, October 25 from 5p.m. to 10p.m. at Midnight Swim (2403 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78212), a new music and cocktail bar on the St. Mary’s Strip. The event is free to attend before 10p.m., although those interested must RSVP.

Saturday, October 26 will feature a variety of internationally-acclaimed artists, including headliners Russ and Miguel. Additional artists rounding out the Day 1 performances include YG, Summer Walker, Jessie Reyez and Rick Ross, as well as Smino, DaniLeigh, Melii and more. The complete schedule is available online.

Diplo and Juice WRLD are both set to headline and close out the festival on Sunday, October 27, with additional sets from Playboi Carti, Trippie Redd, DaBaby, Megan Thee Stallion, Ari Lennox, Lil Keed and more all slated for Day 2.

In an effort to emphasize the local culture and the San Antonio community’s annual Diá de los Muertos celebrations, the festival has worked to elevate the onsite experience for all patrons to now include several new offerings in addition to other interactive activities:

  • Movie lounge featuring massive tent with HDTV projector playing popular Halloween holiday-themed films while offering shade and a comfortable place for fans to relax during the festival
  • Outdoor games, including giant “beer” pong, corn hole, an oversized version of Twister and more
  • Roaming performers dressed up in traditional Diá de Los Muertos costumes and attire
  • Diá de los Muertos altar in honor of Mac Miller, Nipsey Hussle, and more iconic music artists
  • Live art installations throughout the grounds.
  • Cricket Wireless’ outdoor lounge featuring misting fans and fun swag
  • Univision’s gaming tent

Mala Luna will offer ticket buyers a variety of food vendors hailing from San Antonio and across Texas. The 2019 food vendor lineup, featuring tasty bites from tacos and pizza to traditional fair foods and more, including Big Daddy’s, Brooks BBQ, El Guajillos and Torchy’s Tacos.

Mala Luna continues its philanthropic partnership with Miracle League of San Antonio and will donate a portion of the 2019 festival proceeds to the San Antonio-based nonprofit organization. The Miracle League of San Antonio is a 501(c)3 charitable organization that provides children with mental and/or physical challenges an opportunity to play baseball as a team member in an organized league. Its four-acre complex includes a special-surfaced baseball field as well as three acres of custom-designed synthetic turf and asphalt, which allows individuals with wheelchairs and other walking assistance devices to participate in a variety of different sports in a safe, accessible environment.

Nelson Wolff Stadium
5757 W US Highway 90
San Antonio, TX 78227
(210) 675-7275

Best Quality Daughter pop up dinner: Chinese Laundromat Dinner

Best Quality Daughter is having a pop up dinner this Saturday October 26. Photo: Best Quality Daughter, used with permission.

Best Quality Daughter, the culinary dream on its way to becoming a reality from locals Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin, Quealy Watson and Jennifer Ling Datchuk, is returning with a pop-up dinner on San Antonio’s East Side. Now in its third year, the ticketed eight-course dinner event will feature an array of Asian-American cuisine curated by Chefs Jennifer Dobbertin and Quealy Watson of Tenko Ramen. This pop-up dinner is a taste of what is to come at the future brick and mortar location. Tickets for the dinner are available online. (Best Quality Daughter, 2019)

Tickets for the Chinese Laundromat Dinner are $108 which grant guests access to a cocktail hour and an eight course seated dinner featuring cocktails and wine from William Chris Vineyards. Eight is a common theme in the Asian-inspired, recurring pop-up series because it is the most auspicious number in Chinese culture. The menu includes Thai Fermented Sausages, Sizzling Rice and Aromatic Chorizo Prawn Dip, Smoked Brisket Fat Sticky Rice Shumai, Salt and Pepper King Crab with Thom Kha Gravy, Twice Baked Banana, Shaved Gailan with Fermented Tofu XO Caesar, Oolong Tea Smoked Prime Rib and Asian Pear and Cheese Foam Kakigori.

Best Quality Daughter is the collaborative effort of Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin, Chef Quealy Watson and ceramic artist, Jennifer Ling Datchuk. With the help of architect Vicki Yuan of Lake Flato Architects and designer, Jamie Stolarski, the home, formerly an industrial steam cleaner shop, will transform into the Best Quality Daughter Chinese Laundromat. The dinner will be spearheaded by Dobbertin and Watson and the art installations and decor, which will reflect the Asian immigrant labor experience, will be presented by Datchuk and Yuan. There will also be a sound installation by Shanghai sound artist, Terence Lloren, craft cocktails by Denise Deglopper, of the newly opened Pastiche and live music from DT Buffkin.

Chinese Laundromat Dinner – Saturday, October 26 beginning at 7p.m.

    • 7p.m. to 8p.m. – Cocktail hour in an intimate courtyard setting with live music and mingling
    • 8p.m. to 10p.m. – Seated, eight-course dinner at a converted industrial steam cleaners

The concept was originally dreamt up by Datchuk and Dobbertin, who connected over their shared cultural identity as Asian women in Texas. The name was inspired by a scene in the mother-daughter film Joy Luck Club and created in an effort to increase the availability of Asian-American food in San Antonio.  With future brick and mortar plans in the works, Chef Quealy Watson of Tenko Ramen (formerly of Hot Joy) will also step in as a partner. Watson will assist with developing the menu for the upcoming permanent location.

“We love watching our vision come to life and are always excited to provide San Antonians the opportunity to try our interpretations of authentic Asian cuisine. Best Quality Daughter is largely inspired by the shared family meals we grew up with.” – Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin

Book review: ‘What Could Go Wrong?’ by Brett Grayson

“What Could Go Wrong?” is Brett Grayson’s debut novel his experiences through marriage, parenting and depression. Photo: Google

Brett Grayson is an author and successful trial attorney with offices throughout the five boroughs of NYC and New Jersey.  Him and his wife Lauren have been on a long journey since they met in 2001 and have faced adversity related to mental health, pregnancy complications and birth complications.  His debut novel, “What Could Go Wrong?: My Mostly Comedic Journey Through Marriage, Parenting and Depression,” was released in January of this year and it is a memoir about their journey in becoming parents for the first time.  It quickly became an Amazon #1 New Release.

“What Could Go Wrong?” begins with an Introduction where the author relates a Valentine’s Day memory that starts out promising but ends abruptly when Liz, their three-year old daughter, has a bathroom malfunction.  It is best not to go into the gory details.  From there, the story goes back to the beginning to when Lauren first becomes pregnant and the various parenting adventures that follow.  The book is divided into four parts: Part One (the pregnancy) includes chapters such as Urine Catching, Hot Doctor Roulette and It’s an Octopus!; Part Two (parenting hurdles) with chapters like Second Hurdle – The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and Third Hurdle – The Completely Insane Outside World; Part Three (parenting) and the chapters Stop Asking Me Whey Every Freaking Two Minutes and Avoiding Death, Accepting Ebola, and Zika as an Ally; and Last Part has the chapters New Kicks and Elsa and Anna Had Terrible Parents.  This is one family’s journey through pregnancy, the first years of parental cluelessness, the terrible twos, teenagers and the few years that follow when they begin to learn about a world that is crazier than they are.  It is a filled with pre and post-natal complications, battles with his own mental health and his son’s diagnosis of the rare genetic disease CLOVES syndrome.

Parenting is one of those experiences that binds people together; yet the journey is different for everyone. Out of all the parenting books available, most are from the female perspective and this is what makes “What Could Go Wrong?” unique in that it is written from the male first person point of view. The language is down to earth, which makes the story easy to follow and understand.  He does drop the F bomb, including in the opening sentence, and a few other colorful words, but that is what makes it real.  As a whole, it is raw, in your face, sometimes poignant but mostly funny.  The target audience is parents, who will, no doubt, relate to his struggles, including his distaste for all things Frozen, from having seen it thousands of times. This page-turner is recommended for readers who appreciate reading about someone else’s adventures in parenting, marriage and mental health, to remind them that others have had similar struggles and that they are not alone.

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

Esquire Tavern to participate in the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival

Houston Eaves, Beverage Director for Esquire Tavern and Downstairs at Esquire Tavern. Photo: Kody Melton, used with permission.

The Esquire Tavern will be participating in the ‘Holy Agave Spirits – It’s the Bat Man of Mexico!’ event during the annual 2019 Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival and Parade on Saturday, October 19.  The presentation will be from 6p.m. to 8:30p.m. and it will educate the public on how bats and other wildlife help create tequila, mezcal and other food and drink items. Space is limited. This event will feature agave influenced spirits from the James Beard nominated bar program at Esquire Tavern. Tickets are $15 and are available online; it includes general admission plus tasting of agave inspired drinks and eats. Food and drink will also be available for purchase. (Esquire Tavern, 2019)

Renowned bat ecologist and PhD Rodrigo Medellín, known as “the Bat Man of Mexico,” will lead the presentation. Beverage Director for Esquire Tavern and Downstairs at Esquire Tavern, Houston Eaves, will provide tastings of agave spirits and cocktails from behind the bar throughout the evening. Eaves will be available to answer questions about the importance of bats in producing the tequila and mezcal that can be found at the historic San Antonio tavern. Representatives from Bat Conservation International and San Antonio River Foundation will also be there, along with local artist, Ashley Mahaney displaying her bat art.

Confluence Park
310 W Mitchell St.
San Antonio, TX 78204

The Esquire Tavern has been serving drinks to locals, drifters, celebrities and all walks of life for over 80 years. It first opened in 1933 on Repeal Day, a day which celebrated the end of America’s 13-year-long alcohol prohibition. Lauded as the oldest bar on the San Antonio River Walk -still holding the title of the longest bar in Texas- The Esquire Tavern is a venue of untouchable historic significance and has many remarkable tales to tell. Although completely renovated in 2011, The Esquire Tavern still retains its vintage décor, classic furnishings and dusky lighting that allows guests to enjoy a rustic yet romantic atmosphere. Located along the River Walk, guests can sit outside and take in festive surroundings and sultry San Antonio evenings.

‘First Date’ opens Friday at the Cellar Theater

‘First Date’ opens at the Cellar Theater this Friday October 18. Photo: Siggi Ragnar, used with permission.

Coming up at The Public Theater’s Cellar Theater is ‘First Date,’ a musical based around the concept of a blind date. It opens this Friday October 18 and will run until Sunday November 17. The opening night performance is sold out already but tickets for the rest of the run are still available online or at the box office by calling (210) 733-7258. Prices are $45 for adults, $35 for military members with ID, $25 for seniors age 60 and older and $25 for students with ID. Group rates are available for groups of ten or more. Additional ticket service fees may apply. There will be a post-show reception on opening night. Show times are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30p.m. and Sunday at 2p.m. Additional fees may apply. (Cellar Theater, 2019)

In ‘First Date,’ a casual drink at a restaurant turns into a hilarious high-stakes dinner. Delightful and unexpected twists, supportive best friends, manipulative exes and protective parents sing and dance Aaron and Casey through ice-breakers, appetizers and a potential dating disaster. The adaptation is written by Austin Winsberg with music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. Cast includes Riley Wesson as Aaron and Reagan Wilson as Casey. Amanda Barber Pyle is the Director, Billie Whittaker the Music Director and Courtnie Mercer the Choreographer.

Cellar Theater
800 West Ashby Place
San Antonio, TX 78212
(210) 733-7258

Tickets for ‘Miss Saigon’ go on sale Friday October 18

Emily Bautista as ‘Kim’ and Anthony Festa as ‘Chris’ in the North American Tour of ‘Miss Saigon’ singing “Sun and Moon.” Photo: Matthew Murphy, used with permission.

Tickets for Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed new production of Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical ‘Miss Saigon,’ a smash hit in London, Broadway and across the UK, will go on sale at 10a.m., this Friday, October 18. This highly anticipated engagement will play at the Majestic Theatre for eight performances, Tuesday January 7 through Sunday January 12, 2020, as part of North Park Lexus Broadway in San Antonio 2019-2020 season. Tickets start at $45 and are available online, by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-982-2787, or by visiting the Majestic Box Office. The Majestic Box Office does not accept single ticket orders over the phone; all ticket sales must be made in person. Box office hours are 10a.m. to 5p.m. Monday through Friday. Orders for groups of 10 or more may be placed by calling (210) 226-5967. Performance times are 7:30p.m., Tuesday through Thursday; 8p.m. on Friday; 2p.m. and 8p.m., Saturday and 2p.m. and 7:30p.m. on Sunday. (Broadway in San Antonio, 2019)

‘Miss Saigon’ tells the story of a young Vietnamese woman named Kim, who is orphaned by war and forced to work in a bar run by a notorious character known as the Engineer. There she meets and falls in love with an American G.I. named Chris, but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. For 3 years, Kim goes on an epic journey of survival to find her way back to Chris, who has no idea he fathered a son. This new production features stunning spectacle and a sensational cast of 42 performing the soaring score, including Broadway hits like “The Heat is On in Saigon,” “The Movie in My Mind,” “Last Night of the World” and “American Dream.”

‘Miss Saigon’ has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg with lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. and Alain Boublil, adapted from original French lyrics by Alain Boublil, with additional lyrics by Michael Mahler. The new production is directed by Laurence Connor with musical staging by Bob Avian and additional choreography by Geoffrey Garratt. Production design is by Totie Driver and Matt Kinley based on an original concept by Adrian Vaux; costume design by Andreane Neofitou; lighting design by Bruno Poet; projections by Luke Halls; sound design by Mick Potter; and orchestrations by William David Brohn. Music supervision is by Stephen Brooker and James Moore, with casting by Merri Sugarman for Tara Rubin Casting.

“It’s hard to believe that it has been over 28 years since ‘Miss Saigon’ first opened in North America but, if anything, the tragic love story at the heart of the show has become even more relevant today with innocent people being torn apart by war all over the world.” – Cameron Mackintosh

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