Will Billy Gibbons get nostalgic and drop by to see the guitarist who opened for him at the Teen Canteen?

There was no moment more jubilant in the fledgling days of the humble South Texas Popular Culture Museum than the day ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons walked through its doors to take in the Teen Canteen exhibit.

In the earliest days, ZZ Top played Sam Kinsey’s teen club, and TexPop had on display the canceled check for the blues-rock band’s very first gig. Board member Jeff Smith had cajoled Gibbons with the tantalizing thought of seeing that $150 check once again.

It’s possible Gibbons could walk through those doors again for the new exhibit produced by retired music journalist Margaret Moser – “Standing at the Crossroad: Robert Johnson in San Antonio 1936.”

“Exhibit marks Robert Johnson’s S.A. sessions,” Hector Saldana, San Antonio Express-News, November 18, 2016

an exhibit at the South Texas Popular Culture Center

an exhibit at the South Texas Popular Culture Center

I didn’t bump into Billy Gibbons at the opening of the Robert Johnson exhibit at the South Texas Popular Culture Center, but that was okay because I was with the Mister.

“So….?,” you might be wondering.

Well, the Mister was in a band, Captain Midnight, that once opened for Billy Gibbons at Sam Kinsey’s Teen Canteen.

Sam Kinsey's stable of bands in 1969, collection of TexPop Culture Center

Sam Kinsey’s stable of bands in 1969, collection of TexPop Culture Center

There’s no promo poster displaying this connection, but TexPop does have a copy of Sam Kinsey’s roster of bands in 1969. And Captain Midnight is there.

There are no known photos or recordings of Captain Midnight playing during the Mister’s high school years. The Mister thinks might be a good thing, similar to the way a mercy killing can be viewed as positive.

The Mister’s career has come a long way since then; the blues band he plays with definitely rates seeing. So plan to kick off the New Year with the After Midnight Blues Band at The Pig Pen behind the Smoke Shack on Broadway.

Who knows? Maybe Billy Gibbons will be overcome by a wave of nostalgia and show up to see the guitarist who opened for him at the Teen Canteen.


After Midnight Blues Band at The Pig Pen

The harem’s full, but I don’t mind.

The Mister with his turquoise tart, photo courtesy of the San Antonio Blues Society, www.sanantonioblues.com

The Mister with his turquoise tart, photo courtesy of the San Antonio Blues Society, http://www.sanantonioblues.com

Wonder what the older girls think when the Mister introduces a new one into the harem, watching as he lovingly caresses the curves of the latest arrival.

Not one of them has been a part of his life for more than 20 years, except for one with such a wimpy, wispy voice he rarely touches her. No electric sparks fly through her veins.

The flaming red-haired Gibson girl always thought she was his favorite, even after he brought in the skinny, slender-hipped, bleached-blonde.

But then came the gaudy one from Austin with a gypsy-sounding name wearing all that turquoise.

The Gibson girl was confident she could triumph over the tackily clad Mother-of-Toilet-Seat one who likes to lazily lay across his lap, but that turquoise tart?

The gypsy thought she won his heart, but his love was fleeting.

The room is so crowded; yet he found a way to squeeze in one more.

This one, like the gypsy, is young. The child of guitar-maker Chuck Thornton belonged to Jay Wright, who broke her in, then struggled to part with her.

Wright loved her so much, he almost made her a cover girl before letting her go. When the Mister snapped her up on eBay, Wright wrote to him gushing about her attributes and telling him how lucky he was to have her.

gasWright also sent the Mister the book he published about living with “G.A.S.,” or “Guitar Acquisition Syndrome,” an addictive affliction affecting many men who obsessively keep adding to their harems.

The book, featuring the Mister’s newest acquisition on the page just before its table of contents, is a manual. A tongue-in-cheek primer not for curing the addiction, but for justifying it. It’s filled with how-to hints for hiding the disease’s symptoms from your significant other. A litany of excuses and ruses, such as this one:

Display your guitars in different rooms. Spread them out – to a bedroom corner for one, beside a TV or piece of furniture in another room, in a closet, or under a bed. A herd never looks as large dispersed as it does clustered together in one room.

Wright's former mistress now belongs to the Mister

Wright’s former mistress now belongs to the Mister

The Mister needs no excuses. Someone married to a writer needs a major outlet of their own.

So how do I feel when the Mister’s in his lair and I overhear him making one of his girls sing, even scream, loudly?

Hey, I’m upstairs tapping away on my keyboard humming along.

I say keep playing those blues, bearing in my mind what he said before one of those significant birthdays:

Some men get new wives when they turn 40; all I want is an electric guitar.

Okay, that was an understatement. He wanted more than that first redhead.

But no need to hide or thin out the herd.

Surely the space in that music room is maxed out by now….


Holy Cards No. 2, “She said no man of hers was going to sell his soul to the devil: Santa Cecilia at the Crossroads?,” digital collage by Gayle Brennan Spencer, http://www.postcardssanantonio.com/holy-cards.html

And, if I did object?

I think I might hear a loud chorus of “I’m gonna sell the bitch’s car and buy myself a cool guitar.”

And visit the After Midnight Blues Band at www.bluesinsanantonio.net.

Richard Nitschke: Seeing Agave in a Different Light

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not….

I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.

Georgia O’Keeffe

The striking beauty of the agave is not as hard to overlook as a petite flower, but four-foot by four-foot photos do command attention.

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Long-prized in Mexico for both medicinal uses and for producing Tequila, the plant has earned great respect in South Texas for its ability to withstand droughts.

Although not opposed to Tequila consumption, Richard Nitschke views the agave differently. He photographs the ones on his Hill Country ranch over and over under varying conditions, pushing the limits of light by shooting into the sun, overexposing and underexposing in order to release compositions hidden within. His focus on light and design at times makes his images border on the abstract.

Two of his agaves won awards in the Paris International Fine Art Photo Competition, and two of his works are included in the permanent collection of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France.

“Agave” opens for a three-day run at the 110 West Olmos Gallery from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, December 12. The photos also can be viewed from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, December 13, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 15.

Prior to making his living in commercial construction during his child-rearing years, Richard studied ceramics with Steve Reynolds at UTSA and worked in the silkscreen studio at the Guadalupe River Ranch. He also is a bluesman, singing lead vocals and playing rhythm guitar and the harp with the Mister in the After Midnight Blues Band.

Catch the art, and then make time the following weekend to catch the band playing at Gustav’s Bier Garten behind Magnolia Pancake Haus on Huebner from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. on Friday, December 20. The doctor temporarily has grounded Claytie’s warbling, but Ginger Pickett will be filling in with the kind of holiday blues you want to catch.