‘Anna in the Tropics’ at The Classic Theatre

Josey Porras and Joshua Segovia in ‘Anna in the Tropics’ at The Classic Theatre. Photo: Siggi Ragnar, used with permission.

The next production at The Classic Theatre of San Antonio, Nilo Cruz’ 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning play ‘Anna in the Tropics,’ opens on Friday February 7. Set in 1929 in a Cuban-American cigar company, it is written by Nilo Cruz and directed by Kelly Hilliard Roush and will run until Sunday March 1. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 8p.m. and Sunday at 3p.m. Tickets are $34 for general admission, $30 for senior, military, educator or SATCO, and $19 for student and are available online. ID is required. On opening night, there will be a complimentary champagne reception after the show. (The Classic Theatre, 2020)

‘Anna in the Tropics’ is set in 1929 Florida in a Cuban-American cigar factory, where cigars are still rolled by hand, and “lectors” are employed to educate and entertain the workers. The lector reads Anna Karenina as the play delves into desire, power, rivalry, secrets and love. As the lives of a Cuban immigrant family begins to intertwine with the scandalous lives of Tolstoy’s characters, we ask what do we need to feel loved and alive?

Special event:
Community Conversation- February 23, 2020. Join The Classic Theatre for a conversation with Dr. Gerald Poyo from St. Mary’s University, whose great-grandfather was a lector, as well as the cast and director of the show.

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


‘The Music Man’ opens this Friday at the Woodlawn Theatre

The local production of ‘The Music Man’ opens at the Woodlawn Theatre on Friday January 31. Photo: Google

The next production at the Woodlawn Theatre is ‘The Music Man’ and it opens this Friday January 31 and runs until Sunday February 23. ‘The Music Man’ centers around con man Harold Hill, who poses as a boys’ band organizer and leader and sells band instruments and uniforms to naïve Midwestern townsfolk, promising to train the members of the new band. 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. Ticket prices are: Adults $30, Senior/Military/First Responders $24, Children/Student $18. The non-profit partner during this production is YOSA (Youth Orchestras of San Antonio) and the theater will be accepting musical instrument and office supply donations beginning January 31. (Woodlawn Theatre, 2019)

In ‘The Music Man,’ smooth-talking con man Harold Hill arrives in town to dupe its residents with his elaborate moneymaking scheme. Despite his complete lack of musical literacy, he will convince everyone that he is a brilliant bandleader. As Harold struggles to keep his scheme afloat, he also finds himself increasingly attached to the townspeople, who have all experienced a positive change since Harold came to town. Complicating matters even more, he is falling head-over-heels in love with the beautiful Marian. Sponsored by North Park Lincoln, ‘The Music Man’ is a musical with book, music and lyrics by Meredith Wilson and is based on a story by Wilson and Franklin Lacey. Cast includes Trey Hoadley as Harold Hill, Sami Serrano as Marian Paroo, Michael Parisi as Marcellus Washburn and Ivan Ortega as Mayor Shinn.

Promotional Nights:
Student Night – Saturday February 1 – $10 Student/Child tickets with code: STUDENT
Pride Night – Friday February 7 – 25% off tickets with code: PRIDE
ASL (American Sign Language) Night – Saturday February 22 – 25% off tickets with code: ASL

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

Excerpt: ‘Decisions’ by Robert L. Dilenschneider

‘Decisions: Practical Advice from 23 Men and Women Who Shaped the World’ by Robert L. Dilenschneider. Courtesy photo, used with permission.

Excerpted from “Decisions” by Robert L. Dilenschneider. Reprinted with permission from Kensington Books. Copyright © 2020 Robert L. Dilenschneider.

But there was no decision to make. This was my calling. Some powerful force had come to dwell inside me, something bigger and stronger than me. —Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai, as the world knows, was shot in the head by the Taliban on October 9, 2012, as she rode home on the school bus in the Swat Valley, Pakistan. Malala was fifteen at the time. She survived the attack, recuperated in England, and has continued her education. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”

Can a child, an adolescent, a young person—make a world-changing decision? Is someone ever too young?

Let’s take a look at Malala’s story, because none of this came out of the blue. The “struggle” the Nobel Committee cited, was a decision that was so deeply embedded into her character that, at age fifteen, it had already become her way of life. And continues to be.

Seemingly from birth, Malala loved education. Her biographical material makes much of the fact that she sought to emulate her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, who was so dedicated to education that he had founded his own school, the one she attended. Such “private” schools are not uncommon in Pakistan.

But Ziauddin’s school and his outspoken daughter became special targets of the Taliban. The fundamentalist group had issued an edict against educating girls and death threats against the entire family (mother Toor Pekai Yousafzai and two sons). The school was forced to close for a time and had re-opened shortly before Malala was shot.

You might say that the child was merely following the example—or the dictates—of the father (who was supported in all endeavors by the mother). That the child made no decisions on her own. That happens in families all the time. I can think of many examples in my own life—involving my parents and the decisions they made for me when I was young, and about how my wife and I did the same for our sons. None of these decisions involved defying the Taliban and bringing danger to our family. But, that may not be the right way to look at what Ziauddin did. Were his decisions part of doing what parents claim we always try to do—leading by example?

Do you ever think about the phrase “an accident of birth”? It means that none of us are responsible for the circumstances of our birth—who our parents are, our family, our nationality or state or town, our genetic make-up, economic status and so on.

Among the things that Malala was not responsible for: That she was a first-born daughter in a culture that values boys over girls; that she was born into a troubled country being over-run by violent extremists. But it was also an accident of birth that she had two parents who were, by all accounts, as dedicated to her welfare, education, and growth as they were to that of her two younger brothers. It seems to me that Malala took what she was given and decided to run with it.

By the time she was shot in 2012, Malala had shown by her own example that she recognized her “accident of birth.” Her dedication to education for girls was in fact her own decision based on parental example. Consider her words, written just a year later in her autobiography:

“I was very lucky to be born to a father who respected my freedom of thought and expression and made me part of his peace caravan and a mother who not only encouraged me but my father too in our campaign for peace and education.”

At an even younger age than fifteen, Malala was already an ardent activist. She blogged for the BBC on the oppressions of life under the Taliban and was the subject of a New York Times documentary. She made speeches often, including one entitled “How dare the Taliban take away my right to an education.” The year before she was shot, she won both the International Children’s Peace Prize and Pakistan’s first Youth Peace Prize. As the Taliban’s noose ever tightened around her country, her family, and her safety, Malala’s outspokenness and visibility grew. As she wrote in her autobiography, “I decided I wasn’t going to cower in fear of [the Taliban’s] wrath.”

In the years since she survived the Taliban assassination attempt, Malala has become a global symbol for the cause of education for girls specifically and for the welfare of all children. Not even a year after she was shot, she addressed the “Youth Takeover” at the United Nations. Two years almost to the day after she was shot, the Nobel Committee announced that she would share the 2014 Peace Prize with Kailash Satyarthi, who made his name with international peaceful protests on behalf of children. Even with constant visibility while traveling the world to event after event, she completed the studies necessary to be accepted in 2017 into Oxford University (which fact she announced on her new Twitter account). Also in 2017, Malala was designated a United Nations Messenger of Peace “to help raise awareness of the importance of girls’ education.”

Malala is still enveloped in the support of her family, which left Pakistan to settle in the UK. The Economist, noting that “Pakistani education has long been atrocious,” included the following in a detailed and dismal examination of the current status:

“From 2007 to 2015 there were 167 attacks by Islamic terrorists on education institutions . . . When it controlled the Swat River valley in the north of the country, the Pakistani Taliban closed hundreds of girls’ schools. When the army retook the area it occupied dozens of them itself.”

Malala has written two books. The first, “I Am Malala,” was published a year after her shooting and tells, with the help of writer Christina Lamb, of her early life in Pakistan and the event that put her onto a new trajectory. Published in 2017, the second book is for children, “Malala’s Magic Pencil.” In it, young Malala yearns for a special pencil that would let her do all sorts of special, interesting things, including drawing “a lock on my door, so my brothers couldn’t bother me.” I think every child wants a lock like that. Eventually, she describes what we adults will recognize as an intention, a determination, a decision: “I knew then that if I had a magic pencil, I would use it to draw a better world, a peaceful world.”

Time will tell us how Malala’s decisions as a girl, a teenager, a young adult, and into the future will all play out, how world-changing they will be. My hope is that the answer is— immensely.

Malala’s story offers all of us one overarching lesson about decision-making that will help us all lead better lives:

If you are a parent or other adult in a position to influence children and young people, remember how important your own example is. The decisions you make on behalf of others may turn out to be the template that helps form their lives.

If that’s all you glean, that’s enough. But there are many other lessons to take:

  1. Have courage to do the right thing, whether it is large or small.
  2. Understand you may be attacked and plan for that in advance. I mean physically attacked, as well as the more expected verbal criticisms.
  3. Recognize you may be a symbol for others and prepare for that in ways they will embrace and admire. And behave that way.
  4. Follow your decision. Give it a chance to shape your life.
  5. Do not give up.
  6. Depend on each other. Know whom you can trust, and be that trustworthy person to others to the best of your ability.
  7. Seek education and take every other opportunity to broaden your knowledge of the world and its people.

Robert L. Dilenschneider is the founder of The Dilenschneider Group, a corporate strategic counseling and public relations firm based in New York City. Formerly president and CEO of Hill & Knowlton, he is the author of the bestselling books “Power and Influence, A Briefing for Leaders,” “On Power” and newly released “Decisions: Practical Advice from 23 Men and Women Who Shaped the World.”


Theater review: ‘The SpongeBob Musical’ at the Majestic Theatre

The company of ‘The SpongeBob Musical,’ now playing at the Majestic Theatre. Photo by Jeremy Daniel, used with permission.

Now playing at the Majestic Theatre is the North American Tour of the critically acclaimed, award-winning ‘The SpongeBob Musical’ and there is only one more performance on Sunday January 26 at 2p.m. This production brings the spirit of SpongeBob to life with humanity, heart and pure theatricality and is the 2018 Best Musical winner of the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. When the impending doom of an erupting volcano threatens Bikini Bottom, SpongeBob, Sandy Cheeks and Patrick join forces to save the day. Tickets start at $45 and are available in person at the Majestic Theatre Box Office or online.

‘The SpongeBob Musical’ begins with a pre-show skit that has Patchy the Pirate, SpongeBob’s number one fan, in the audience taking pictures of the stage when two security guards try to stop him. Patchy claims he is being harassed and alleges pirate discrimination as he is led away. The guards then go through the usual theater etiquette that includes no picture or video taking allowed. The story begins as SpongeBob (Lorenzo Pugliese) awakens and welcomes the day with his pet sea snail Gary. He greets his fellow Bikini Bottom friends, including best friend Patrick (Beau Bradshaw), Squidward (Cody Cooley) and Sandy Cheeks (Daria Pilar Redus), as he walks to work at the Krusty Krab restaurant. “Bikini Bottom Day” At work, SpongeBob hints to Mr. Krabs (Zach Kononov) about his desire to become the manager but he just laughs and tells SpongeBob that he is “just a simple sponge.” The entire town is then rocked by a violent tremor and a news report reveals that it was caused by the nearby Mount Humongous, a volcano that is about to erupt. “No Control” The town predictably panics but the town villains Sheldon Plankton (Tristan McIntyre) and Karen the computer (Caitlin Ort) convince them to use an escape pod, which is really just a plot to hypnotize them into liking their restaurant. Always the optimistic, SpongeBob believes the town should try to save Bikini Bottom instead of running and convinces Sandy, who is a scientist, to help him stop the volcano. A last minute effort stops the volcano’s eruption and SpongeBob emerges the hero and the townspeople welcome a brand new day. During the curtain call, the cast performs the SpongeBob Square Pants theme song and the theater bursts out into full on party mode.

SpongeBob SquarePants is a beloved animated series and its successful transition to the stage will entertain both children and adults. With themes like friendship, determination and teamwork, ‘The SpongeBob Musical’ is a delight to experience for die hard fans of the franchise as well as those who appreciate silly, goofy and whimsical entertainment. It is true to the general feel of the animated series but some fans may be disappointed that the costumes are not more obvious to the characters. With that said, Lorenzo Pugliese is adorable as SpongeBob and Tristan McIntyre makes the evil Sheldon Plankton the evil villain everyone loves to hate. A creativity plus is awarded for using constantly moving and revolving ladders to simulate SpongeBob and Sandy’s ascent to Mount Humongous. Show highlights include “BFF” as SpongeBob tries to comfort an upset Patrick and “I’m Not a Loser” when Squidward performs a dance number in his imagination. The setting and costumes are bright and cheerful, with special mention of the gorgeous giant jellyfish, and it is just what ‘The SpongeBob Musical’ aims to be. This family friendly production has heart and plenty of laughs and is a definite must see but it may not be for the smaller kids because it is the length of an average Broadway musical.

New release: ‘The Legacy Series: Book One’ by Brandyn Cross

Photo: Google

Brandyn Cross, accomplished TV filmmaker, actor and writer and award-winning singer/songwriter, makes his debut as a novelist. “The Legacy Series: Book One,” the first novel in the epic book series, will be released February 18, 2020. Based on real events, writings, and correspondences, it tells the story of a terminally ill young boy who is also enduring a life of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. It will be available in paperback and digital version on Amazon and all other major retailers and bookstores.  (Black Château, 2020)

“The Legacy Series: Book One” offers a unique, unparalleled glimpse into the mind of abused children amid the hysteria surrounding the Satanic Ritual Abuse Panic of the early 1990s. It provides an unprecedented opportunity to experience a real world of childhood desperation and painful secrets, through first-hand, day-to-day accounts as they occur; it is a world known by millions of children, but never openly shared with adults.  In the early days of the Internet, Brandyn (Brandy) Harris builds his private virtual world outside the knowledge of his strict and abusive parents. He finds solace in the messages he exchanges with a close group of virtual teen friends. Written in the message board format specific to the infant days of the Internet, “The Legacy Series: Book One” reveals the truths kids only tell their friends when they are away from adult supervision. It also proves that no matter how dreary the circumstances of our lives, we can always choose happiness, a philosophy by which Brandyn Cross himself lives.

Brandyn Cross was born a high functioning autistic with a love of music, books and film, but he did not begin exploring his creative gifts until a severe industrial accident left him a wheelchair-bound amputee. Determined to show the world that even severe obstacles can be overcome, he began studying and honing his craft, until ultimately turning his ambitions into a professional reality. He is a multi-media artist with credits ranging from accomplished writer to recording artist, songwriter, filmmaker and actor. As a singer/songwriter, Brandyn scored the international top 10 hits and won BEST SONG at the prestigious Utah Film Festival & Awards. As an actor and filmmaker, Brandyn has worked on numerous projects such as Unicorn City and The Wayshower and is presently in post-production on his feature directorial debut with the dark Emo drama, The Legacy.

Excerpt: ‘Ending Back Pain’ by Jack Stern, M.D., PH.D

Jack Stern, M.D., PH.D, author of ‘Ending Back Pain.’ Courtesy photo, used with permission.

Ending Back Pain
by Jack Stern, M.D., Ph.D.

Excerpted from “Ending Back Pain: 5 Powerful Steps to Diagnose, Understand, and Treat Your Ailing Back.” Copyright © by Jack Stern, M.D., Ph.D. Published by Avery. All rights reserved.

Most feelings of discomfort in life have clear solutions. For a stuffy nose, decongestants do the trick. For a pounding headache, aspirin or Tylenol comes in handy. But what do you do about a relentlessly aching back? As most of us know, the answer is not nearly as clear-cut as we’d wish. And unlike infectious diseases that often have targeted remedies (think antibiotics for bacterial infections and vaccines for viruses), ailing backs are like misbehaving, obnoxious family members—we can’t easily get rid of them or “fix” them. They also have a tendency to stick around and bother us nonstop, lowering our quality of life considerably and indefinitely.

Perhaps nothing could be more frustrating than a sore or hurting back. It seems to throw off everything else in our body, and makes daily living downright miserable. With the lifetime prevalence approaching 100 percent, virtually all of us have been or will be affected by low back pain at some point. Luckily, most of us recover from a bout of back pain within a few weeks and don’t experience another episode. But for some of us, the back gives us chronic problems. As many as 40 percent of people have a recurrence of back pain within six months.

At any given time, an astounding 15 to 30 percent of adults are experiencing back pain, and up to 80 percent of sufferers eventually seek medical attention. Sedentary people between the ages of forty-five and sixty are affected most, although I should point out that for people younger than forty-five, lower back pain is the most common cause for limiting one’s activities. And here’s the most frustrating fact of all: A specific diagnosis is often elusive; in many cases it’s not possible to give a precise diagnosis, despite advanced imaging studies. In other words, we doctors cannot point to a specific place in your back’s anatomy and say something along the lines of, “That’s exactly where the problem is, and here’s how we’ll fix it.” This is why the field of back pain has shifted from one in which we look solely for biomechanical approaches to treatment to one where we have to consider patients’ attitudes and beliefs. We have to look at a dizzying array of factors, because back pain is best understood through multiple lenses, including biology, psychology, and even sociology.

The Challenge

So, why is back pain such a confounding problem? For one, it’s lumped into one giant category, even though it entails a constellation of potential culprits. You may have back pain stemming from a skiing accident, whereas your neighbor experiences back pain as the consequence of an osteoporotic fracture. Clearly, the two types of back pain are different, yet we call them “back pain” on both accounts, regardless. Back pain has an indeterminate range of possible causes, and therefore multiple solutions and treatment options. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this malady. That is why diagnosing back pain, particularly persistent or recurrent pain, is so challenging for physicians.

Some people are able to describe the exact moment or series of moments when they incurred the damage to their back—a car accident, a slip and fall, a difficult pregnancy, a heavy-lifting job at work, a sports-related injury, a marathon, and so on. But for many, the moment isn’t so obvious, or what they think is causing them the back pain is far from accurate.

The Two Types of Back Pain

If you are going to experience back pain, you’d prefer to have the acute and temporary kind rather than the chronic and enigmatic kind. The former is typically caused by a musculoskeletal issue that resolves itself in due time. This would be like pulling a muscle in your back during a climb up a steep hill on your bicycle or sustaining an injury when you fall from the stepladder in the garage. You feel pain for a few weeks and then it’s silenced, hence the term self-limiting back pain. It strikes, you give it some time, it heals, and it’s gone.

The second type of back pain, though, is often worse, because it’s not easily attributed to a single event or accident. Often, either sufferers don’t know what precipitated the attack, or they remember some small thing as the cause, such as bending from the waist to lift an object instead of squatting down (i.e., lifting with the legs) or stepping off a curb too abruptly. It can start out of nowhere and nag you endlessly. It can build slowly over time but lack a clear beginning. Your doctor scratches his head, trying to diagnose the source of the problem, and as a result your treatment options aren’t always aligned with the root cause of the problem well enough to solve it forever. It should come as no surprise, then, that those with no definitive diagnosis reflect the most troubling cases for patients and doctors.

What Are the Chances?

Chances are good that you’ll experience back pain at some point in your life. Your lifetime risk is arguably close to 100 percent. And unfortunately, recurrence rates are appreciable. The chance of it recurring within one year of a first episode is estimated to be between 20 and 44 percent; within ten years, 80 percent of sufferers report back pain again. Lifetime recurrence is estimated to be 85 percent. Hence, the goal should be to alleviate symptoms and prevent future episodes.

Jack Stern, M.D., Ph.D., is the author of “Ending Back Pain: 5 Powerful Steps to Diagnose, Understand, and Treat Your Ailing Back.” He is a board-certified neurosurgeon specializing in spinal surgery, and cofounder of Spine Options, one of America’s first facilities committed to nonsurgical care of back and neck pain. Dr. Stern is on the clinical faculty at Weill Cornell Medical College and has published numerous peer- and non-peer– reviewed medical articles. He lives and practices in White Plains, New York.

Theater review: ‘Spamilton’ at the Empire Theatre

‘Spamilton’ is playing at the Empire Theatre through Sunday January 26. Photo: Google

Now playing at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre is ‘Spamilton: An American Parody.’ The tour launched in December 2018 and has been playing several multi-week engagements, hip-hopping around the country. Created by Gerard Alessandrini, the comic mastermind behind the long-running hit ‘Forbidden Broadway’ and performed by a versatile cast of seven, ‘Spamilton’ is a side-splitting new musical parody. It is playing through Sunday January 26 with upcoming performances: Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30p.m., Friday at 8p.m., Saturday at 2p.m. and 8p.m., and Sunday at 2p.m. and 7:30p.m. Tickets start at $69 and are available online, by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-982-2787, or by visiting the Majestic Box Office.

‘Spamilton: An American Parody’ is a musical parody of the Broadway show ‘Hamilton.’ It also parodies several other musicals including ‘Chicago,’ ‘The King and I,’ ‘The Book of Mormon’ and ‘Sweeney Todd’ and personalities like Barbara Streisand, Bernadette Peters, Carol Channing and Liza Minelli. Cast includes Jared Alexander, Marissa Hecker, Brandon Kinley, T.J. Newton, Datus Puryear and Matthew Hougland (Musical Director as well as King George III.) It begins as “Barack and Michelle Obama” are getting ready for bed and they set up their copy of the ‘Hamilton’ Broadway Cast Album to play before they fall asleep. From there the story develops into a fictionalized account about ‘Hamilton’ and how Lin-Manuel Miranda’s dream came true. Woven in between are mashups of musicals and parodies of the real songs. Highlights include “Straight is Back” by King George III and “The Film When It Happens.”

At only an hour and 15 minutes, ‘Spamilton’ is packed with everything that made ‘Hamilton’ a Broadway hit: similar cast costumes and songs that sound similar but hilariously re-written to fit the scene. Is it necessary to have seen the original to enjoy ‘Spamilton?’ No, but it helps, as does having a knowledge of the different musicals in general because there are so many Easter Eggs it is hard to pick up on all of them. Everyone does a fabulous performance but Marissa Hecker’s impersonations are spot on, especially her Barbara Streisand and Liza Minelli. ‘Spamilton’ is a non-stop singing and dancing spectacular and the laughs come early on and stick around for the entire show. There is no intermission and the smaller venue at the Empire Theatre gives it a more intimate feel. It is a definite must-see.

Win a Whatawedding for this Valentine’s Day

Couples can enter to win a Whatawedding this Valentine’s Day. Photo: Whataburger, used with permission.

Attention die-hard Whataburger fans: the fast food chain announced last week that from now until Sunday February 2, couples can enter to win the chance to tie the knot or renew their vows on Valentine’s Day at a Whataburger restaurant in six cities across Texas with all costs covered, excluding travel. As an added bonus, one of these couples will also receive a cash prize of $5,000 for a dream honeymoon. (Whataburger, 2020)

Cities where couples can win a Whataburger wedding or renewal ceremony:

  • San Antonio
  • College Station
  • Corpus Christi
  • Houston
  • Grand Prairie
  • Fort Worth

The ultimate Whatawedding includes:

  • Whataburger meal (couples get to order their favorite off the menu)
  • Photographer
  • Select number of guests
  • Orange and white decorations
  • Officiant

The winning couple in Corpus Christi will receive all of the above plus an upgraded floral package and video package. A select number of couples will receive a renewal ceremony at each location that includes the Whatawedding details. To enter, couples can visit Whataburger online and fill out the request form which includes name, phone number, email, their preferred city, whether they are looking to get married or renew their vows, picture of the couple and a 500 word of less essay on their love story and why they want to get married at Whataburger.

North Star Mall boots celebrate 40 years

The North Star Mall boots celebrates 40 years this month.  In honor of the artist, Bob “Daddy O” Wade, a commemorative limited edition Fiesta medal will be out in February.  Photo: North Star Mall, used with permission.

The adage that everything in Texas is bigger and better is best illustrated by the massive cowboy boot sculpture that adorns North Star Mall’s northern face. The “World’s Largest Cowboy Boots” sculpture stands an impressive 35-feet, three inches tall, 30-feet long, nine–feet wide and weighs in at 10,000 pounds. (North Star Mall, 2019)

Artist Bob “Daddy O” Wade was 36 years old in 1979 when he was contacted by the Washington Project for the Arts out of Washington, DC to create a Texas-themed sculpture to be featured in an empty lot, mere blocks from the White House. Built on site, Wade created two structures that in 2016 became Guinness World Record-certified Cowboy Boots – the largest such sculpture in the world. Approximately forty feet high and thirty feet long, the boots are made of tubular steel sprayed with polyurethane foam. Wade is known for several other giant creations, including a 40-foot long iguana that now sits atop the Ft. Worth Zoo, dancing frogs that can be found on the roof of a Taco Cabana in Dallas and a 70-foot high saxophone in Houston, among others.

Shortly after its creation, a bidding war ensued between a company in Houston and The Rouse Company, then owners of North Star mall, who purchased the landmark for $20,000. Getting them from DC to San Antonio is a story that includes getting stuck under an overpass. From that point on the truck drivers responsible for moving the boots took back roads all the way to Texas.

The World’s Largest Cowboy Boots is celebrating its 40th anniversary in January. They have become iconic – used in commercials and highlighted in every San Antonio event that garners state and national attention. According to Wade, they’ve even been the subject of a master’s thesis – a fitting study for boots that have earned their place in Texas culture.

“The North Star Mall family was deeply saddened to learn of Bob Wade, artist of the World’s Largest Cowboy Boots, passing on Christmas Eve.  In his honor and memory, we are creating a commemorative Fiesta Medal that will be available in February. Please check our website and Facebook page for details. The Boots, much like the artist who made them, are larger than life and have a special place in San Antonio’s heart. Bob will always be an important part of North Star Mall history; may Bob’s legacy live on through his sculptures.” Brenda Crawford, Sr. General Manager, North Star Mall

Shake Shack launches Classic Comfort Menu

Shake Shack’s Shake Trio. Photo: Shake Shack, used with permission.

In honor of the New Year, Shake Shack is launching its limited edition Classic Comfort Menu which will include a trio of shakes – Cookie Butter, Malted Milk Chocolate and Frozen Hot Chocolate – as well as an old favorite with an updated, Texas spin, The ShackMeister Burger. Exclusively available at the Texas Shacks, Shiner Bock-marinated crispy shallots will top the 100% Angus beef Burger. (Shake Shack, 2020)

The trio of shakes will be available from January 7 through March 16 and the ShackMeister Burger will be available from January 7 through March 31 at all Texas Shacks.

The award winning ShackMeister Burger, which was originally created in 2014 for South Beach Food and Wine Festival, was a spin-off of Shake Shack’s take on onion rings. A classic Shackburger topped with shallots marinated in Shiner Bock (exclusive to the Texas Shacks) and fried until crispy. The ShackMeister is the perfect combo of bitter and sweet. This is the first time the original ShackMeister Burger is making its return to U.S. menus. Pro tip: Looking for more shallots? You can add them to either your fries or dog at any Shack.

Classic Comfort Menu

  • Cookie Butter: vanilla frozen custard and cookie butter mixed and topped with whipped cream and cookie crumbles
  • Malted Milk Chocolate: chocolate frozen custard and Ghirardelli sweet cocoa powder mixed and topped with whipped cream, cocoa powder and miniature marshmallows
  • Frozen Hot Chocolate: vanilla and chocolate frozen custard malted and topped with whipped cream and crushed milk chocolate
  • ShackMeister Burger: Exclusive to Texas Shacks, Shiner Bock-marinated crispy shallots and ShackSauce will be placed on a 100% Angus beef cheeseburger – no added hormones or antibiotics, ever

Since 2004, 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. With its fresh, simple, high-quality food at a great value, Shake Shack is a fun and lively community gathering place with widespread appeal. Since the original Shack opened in 2004 in NYC’s Madison Square Park, the company has expanded to more than 220 locations in 26 U.S. States and the District of Columbia, including more than 70 international locations across London, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Dubai, Tokyo, Moscow, Seoul and more.

Shake Shack
3003 Broadway St.
San Antonio, TX 78209
(210) 469-3732

Shake Shack
7427 San Pedro Ave. Suite 107
San Antonio, TX 78216
(210) 277-4770