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March 2020

Photography, Player Pianos, and Paleohistory

Following two successful seasons, URBAN-15’s Hidden Histories returns for Season Three! Our March episode will converse with local photographers Michael Nye and Ramin Samandari on the philosophical underpinnings of documentary photography; visit the workshop of instrument craftsman John Talbot, who repairs player pianos, juke boxes, and calliopes; and explore early Tejano architecture with archaeologists Sergio Iruegas and Melinda Tate Iruegas.

april 2020

“Mega Corazón 2020”

Mega Corazón celebrates National Poetry Month with a literary livestream featuring San Antonio’s premiere performance poets. Celebrating a hybrid San Antonio poetic tradition that combines street, classical, and slam performance styles, Mega Corazón is always frontal, improvisational, at times painful, and choreographed for a highly visual impact.

Poets participating in Mega Corazón 2020 include current San Antonio Poet Laureate Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson, former San Antonio Poet Laureate Octavio Quintanilla, and inaugural San Antonio Poet Laureate and former Texas Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla; National Book Award finalist John Phillip Santos; nationally-recognized poetry slam champions Amalia Ortiz and Anthony “The Poet” Flores; National Poetry Month SA organizer Jim LaVilla-Havelin; “taco poet” Eddie Vega; Jazz Poets founder Eduardo Garza; conjunto masters Juan and Armando Tejeda; Rohn Bayes; Jacinto Cardona; Marisol Cortez; Génesis Linares; Jessica Tilton Zertuche; Natalia Treviño; Frances Treviño Santos; and Nathan Zertuche.

As part of our Hidden Histories series, Mega Corazón 2020 also includes “Young Pegasuseros, 50 Years Later,” which focuses on the history of the Young Pegasus youth poetry competition–a San Antonio literary tradition dating back to 1927. This episode features interviews and readings from three past winners, including internationally-beloved author Naomi Shihab Nye; former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros, and visual artist Alice “Pájara” Canestaro-Garcia; plus commentary and readings from literary legend Gregg Barrios.

may 2020

“Enduring Distance”

In a time of dire emergency, we are inescapably reminded of our fragility and resilience both, the disturbing inequities that persist within and across communities and, equally, our deep connections. “Pandemic,” after all, from the Greek pan and demos, means “all the people.” At such times, we depend on the insight and wisdom of visionary artists, writers, thinkers, and leaders to provide the guidance we need to survive and persist. In this month’s episode of Hidden Histories, we hear from three of San Antonio’s intellectual and spiritual elders: author Whitley Strieber; former councilwoman Maria Antonietta Berriozábal; and futurist economist and journalist Chris Tomlinson. Not to exclude the insights of our youngest generations, we also preview our upcoming Best of Josiah Media Festival, talking to Festival manager Jonathan Anderson about the unique social commentary provided by youth filmmakers from around the world. 

June 2020

“Pride, Proud, Present: Collecting San Antonio’s Queer Memorias”

In honor of Pride Month, June’s episode of Hidden Histories explores the spaces that archive the history of LGBT life in San Antonio and celebrates the artists and activists who have made that history sing. We open with Melissa Gohlke, UTSA Special Collections Assistant Archivist, who curates one of the largest LGBTQ collections in Texas. From there, we interview Rebel Mariposa, radical restauranteur and owner of La Botanica, one of San Antonio’s most celebrated vegan restaurants and queer arts spaces. In between, we showcase the final public performance of the late and great Sterling Houston—playwright, musician, and Jump-Start Performance Co. actor—and debut a Los de Esta Noche tribute by Los MENtirosos, San Antonio’s premiere drag king troupe. We close the night with filmmaker Noi Mahoney, director of Hap Veltman’s San Antonio Country, followed by a screening of his documentary about one of San Antonio’s most famous disco-era gay clubs.

august 2020

“If Not Now, When? Longings for Justice, Songs of Liberation”

July’s episode of Hidden Histories responds to the national convulsions of grief and rage that have followed the brutal murder of George Floyd by officer Derek Chauvin, taking a knee for all Black lives lost to systemic racism. Bringing the issue of police violence to the local level, we hear from two generations of civil rights leadership in San Antonio on the question of where we’ve been and where we go from here: Mario Marcel Salas, former councilman, political science professor, and longtime racial justice activist; and Ananda Sunshine Tomas, one of the young activists centrally involved in organizing San Antonio’s recent Black Lives Matter protests. We also speak with renowned jazz trombonist Ron Wilkins, just recently released from the hospital after a two-month battle with COVID-19. Wilkins will open the show with a solo rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” while reigning San Antonio Poet Laureate Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson will perform an elegy for Breonna Taylor and hometown vocalist Aaron Marshall Taylor will close with a tribute to Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.”

Hidden Histories has always been free of charge to the community. During this unprecedented health and economic state of emergency, please consider supporting community arts groups like URBAN-15 so that we may continue to nurture the artistic needs of our neighborhood and city.