Interpreting Texas via “my square mile”

One Square Mile: Texas (OSMTX) is a documentary television series that portrays Texas culture from the perspective of distinct square miles across the Lone Star state.  As a whole, the series is a microcosm of Texas life and a collective portrait of the state.

The series represents the many faces and facets of Texas from the perspective of the individual while spanning the emotional, demographic and physical landscapes. This is a series about shared challenges and aspirations.  The square miles include urban, suburban and rural communities and neighborhoods from every corner of the state.

Each episode has a theme by which the series examines the square miles and provides a cohesive thread that allows us to explore, compare and shed light on universal issues. Looking beyond the preconceived notions or stereotypes that typically define the state, OSMTX’s objective viewpoint provides a platform and outlet for discussion of the collective and varied identity of the state and the regions and towns that comprise it….

Our culture must be documented as it is happening, lest it be lost or re-interpreted. This series provides a tangible link between where we have been and where we are going.  A template and online platform for the cross-pollination of ideas will bring students and individuals together from the diverse regions across Texas. Students are encouraged to document their own square miles with video, photography, art and written word that is to be shared with the OSMTX community.

One Square Mile – Texas

A series focusing on selected square miles of Texas as microcosms capturing the character of the state as a whole will air this fall on PBS stations. One of the square miles is “mine,” which engages my interest in the progress of this project because I am so smitten by the ‘hood in which I live. If I were visiting San Antonio on vacation, this is precisely where I would want to stay.

A major bonus is that only today my daughter and son-in-law moved into the downtown square mile of Austin included in the series. The Austin teaser is not up on the website yet, but stay tuned.

And, while posting video about the neighborhood, Erik Bosse‘s short showcasing portions of the parade during the King William Fair makes it appear more polished than in real life:

Update on May 24, 2013: The teaser for the Austin Square Mile in which my daughter and son-in-law live has just been added to the website…

One Square Mile: Texas – Austin Teaser from Brazos Film & Video on Vimeo.

Flippin’ San Antonio Fiesta

This will make no sense unless you read the post immediately prior to this, but we snapped a couple of photos at the June 13 Flippin’ San Antonio (or San Alamo in some of Rolando Briseno’s posts) Fiesta on Alamo Plaza. Held on the Feast Day of St. Anthony, last year’s event had the advantage of a normal Sunday crowd in front of the Alamo. Monday evening drew considerably fewer people, so was decidedly more local in flavor.

Rolando’s statement said he wanted the event to serve as “a catalyst to bring back the city’s Fiesta Patronal”:

My hope is that this metaphorical performance will promote greater cultural and historical awareness and understanding, and initiate a dialogue leading to a re-conceptualization of the Alamo as a space for celebrating the confluences of the various cultures – Native American, Spanish, African, Mexican, and Anglo – rather than as a shrine to Anglo-Texan dominance.

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Things got off to a late and slow start, so, unfortunately, the goat cheese pizza at Tre started beckoning before the Alamo pinata filled with “mixed ethnicity baby dolls” was broken.

Whether next year brings a Flippin’ San Alamo Fiesta, a Flippin’ San Antonio Fiesta or a new Fiesta Patronal, watch for it. Because St. Anthony’s amazingly potent.

In fact, I’ve been wondering whether, if you put his medal on your key ring, it will automatically rise to the top of your purse….

Update on June 15, 2011: And on St. Anthony’s own feast day, a thief steals a rare reliquary from a church in Los Angeles….

Update on June 16, 2011: Corrections for “glaring” imperfections sent to me via facebook by event organizers:

Rolando Briseno

Hi Gayle, thanks for getting back to me. For the corrections: the event did start on time – there was a procession of low-riders that were going around the Alamo, as was Luis Valderes whose truck had the statue on the back. The concept was for the start to happen the way if it did – that was intentional, not by accident or due to mismanagement as was inferred in the blog. Also, this year’s event was entitled “Flippin San Antonio Fiesta,” to be differentiated from last year’s event entitled “Flippin’ San Alamo.” The change was intentional, not accidental, and we do not flip flop between the two titles: they are different events. the blog that you sent us the link to (listed above in this message), when clicked on again, has a second part added following the event in which the above inaccuracies are present. Thank you for getting back to me and being willing to make these corrections since they are quite glaring.

And, good news from Los Angeles: St. Anthony’s relic has been returned to his church.

Update on June 23: San Antonio Current posts a follow-up interview with Briseno, who said:

We are a culture and a group that is not accepted, does not have its history. It’s not there. That’s why I have the statue upside-down. Because I am asking a favor from San Antonio, which is inclusion of the history of the Tejanos and Mexican-American people in everything. Our story has not been told. That’s why I am trying to force it.

Update Posted on June 6, 2012: Erik Bosse’s posted a video of the 2011 Fiesta:

But June 13 is almost here, can a 2012 Fiesta be found?