Morning art walk through the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center

Seriously. We walked on the river yesterday morning into downtown, along the River Extension, into the Convention Center Lagoon with its stunning 1968 mosaic murals by Juan O’Gorman and Carlos Merida and then turned left into the actual Convention Center itself.

A convention center seems an unlikely destination for locals, but we wanted to explore the City of San Antonio’s exhibition combining some things old and many new works in celebration of our Tricentennial, “Confluence: Art in the Convention Center.”

We wandered around the myriad of halls and multiple levels of the expansive center on a scavenger hunt for art, a hunt enhanced by the fact we had no clues where we would find the pieces. This added an entertaining touch of serendipity to our quest, but the Department of Arts & Culture does have a cheat sheet online locating the artworks for those who prefer to spend less time lost in the amazing maze of meeting spaces.

While we went for the art, the architectural design of the center itself, reconfigured in 2017 to eliminate its dated frumpiness, is worth meandering through. MarmonMok has created an award-winning facility that gives San Antonians one more reason to be proud to call this home.

Let me know if you spot Ken Little’s cast-iron pair of shoes, “Victory and Defeat.” We missed them completely. We saw Little last night fronting Rodeo Ho Ho at the Liberty Bar, and he said he was not sure he could find his way back to them either. He did offer a clue; they are parked in front of a window.

Outlier takes up June musical residency at Liberty Bar

Teaching English in South Korea. That’s what Anthony Garcia of Texas and Melanie Lenau of Michigan, two classically trained musicians, did to end up meeting one another and finding their voice together. The depth of their talent is amazing, and the duo, Outlier, is now based in Austin.

This month Outlier is featured as part of Liberty Bar’s Tuesday-night residency program. The first-floor dining room provides a wonderful, intimate setting for listening to music you might not encounter elsewhere.

The music begins at 7:30, and there’s no cover. In fact, Liberty Bar even offers an inexpensive wine and beer special for those who gather to listen. Liberty Bar is housed in a former convent at 1111 South Alamo in Southtown.

Here’s a sampling of what you might hear tonight.

June 29, 2016, Update: Yesterday, Outlier released a new album online at a price anyone can afford. Since most of the album’s songs are in the public domain, the performers decided to share the download at an extremely reasonable price – any amount you care to pay. Listen to the whole album or download Public Domain here.

Prescribing a dose of ‘Blue Medicine’

Without true love we just exist

So here we lay in our comfy coffins….

“Comfy Coffins” by Joe Reyes and Erik Sanden

Rather dark-sounding for Valentine’s season. But, after all, February 14 commemorates the date Saint Valentine was beheaded some 17 centuries or so ago – a detail Hallmark certainly let fall through the cracks.

photo by Ramin Samandari
photo by Ramin Samandari

But, despite blue-sounding lyrics, the harmonizing voices of Demitasse – Joe Reyes and Erik Sanden – leave you feeling uplifted. Their songs represent their therapeutic approach to recovering from losing their fathers following long-term illnesses.

The other night Joe Reyes said singing them made him feel grown-up, but the expressions the duo wear don’t look it. The pair sports these impish Vienna-Choir-Boys-type smiles while singing, clearly enjoying every minute they are playing together. And it’s contagious.

Bedlamb Records describes their vocals:

The sound is somewhere between Simon and Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen, and the Beach Boys on a dark day. Or Elliott Smith on an extremely bright, sunny day. Or John Cale tossing his car keys to Neil Young.

Demitasse’s music went well paired with a hazelnut and arugula salad and a bottle of wine, but form your own opinion by listening here.

Demitasse appears on Tuesday nights this month at the Liberty Bar. The residency comes in advance of the release of Blue Medicine on Bedlamb Records.

There’s no cover, and the music begins at 7 p.m. But don’t wait until 7 if you would like a seat at a table.

Going will cure what ails you.