Monday, April 27, 2009

I HEART SA

There's a slogan about my hometown of San Antonio, and it always irks me when I hear it. "Keep San Antonio Lame". The slogan's been around for about five years or so, and it's supposed to be a pseudo-hipster ironic cash-in on the Austin slogan "Keep Austin Weird". Ironic or not, it reinforces a conservative bent all too prevalent here already, and I hate that. I want to see the urban cultural core here get stronger, and see the arts, the literary scene, and the infrastructure expand and diversify beyond the existing, into a 21st century city. I've lived in both SA and Austin, and while Austin is terrific, SA's got virtues to build upon that no town can match, and lots of untapped, unchanneled potential. However, it's definitely a town that perenially lags five steps behind more progressive, literate cities, and that's long been a disappointment.

I've thought about leaving town more times than I care to remember because SA does seem to drive forward very slowly, while gazing myopically in the rearview mirror. More specifically, from my end of things, the art scene here is definitely limited in scope. It proudly embraces art that lives in a well-trodden past of gesture and kitsch (folk art, religious, traditional, Chicano, etc.), along with art that postures in the mirror all day (a mish-mash of contemporary art that often prides itself on theory over execution, on dogma over craft). Anything beyond that doesn't currently play in SA's art scene.

So why stay? Well, I guess someday I hope that I can be an asset to expand the scope of possibilities here and to contribute via my own art and interests to a community that might actually think it's cool to be literate and live in the 21st century. The good news is there's change in the wind, and cyber action percolating. So without further ado, some San Antonio-based blogs making a difference and worth checking out:

Emvergeoning: Supposedly monickered by the same guy that created the "Keep San Antonio Lame" slogan, but thankfully this blog's anything but lame because of the wide-ranging opinions of San Antonio-based bloggers who post here. I like that the blog oscillates between micro-content about the local scene all the way to a bigger world view and all spaces between.

Sanford Allen: San Antonio-based writer and up-and-coming horror author, who also happens to be the lead singer/guitarist for one of SA's greatest bands, Boxcar Satan. Sanford just overhauled his blog look and promises to update more often. I'm looking forward to it.

GeekSpeak: Rene Guzman runs this San Antonio Express-News blog. He loves heaping helpings of genre film, comics, and toys, and GeekSpeak is a regular stop for me every day. I'd like to see more genre literature and art coverage, but blogs are nothing if not a reflection of their author's views. Gotta respect a man who speaks from his gut and his passions. He's doing a great job as a one-man show. I dig his blog and hope it gets bigger, better and more comments.

SAFun: I just stumbled upon this blog yesterday. I'm not sure what to make of it yet, but it's one San Antonian's articulate, thoughtful view of her life and the world. So far, I like the wide range of content and I like what she has to say. I'll keep checking it out.

Worlds Collide: This is actually just a Meetup group of science fiction and fantasy fans. For the most part, they seem to be most motivated by events revolving around genre film, but there seem to be more than a few literary-minded folks around too, and I hope their numbers grow. I'll be really impressed when I start seeing folks fluent in sf/fantasy art too. :) The group started up in January and their energy and enthusiasm is exciting.

Any other good San Antonio-based blogs? Especially enthusiastic for art, books, film and culture?

(Pictured above: A cover illustration I did years ago for THE SAN ANTONIO CURRENT)

7 Comments:

Anonymous Angela Bartels said...

Thanks for the mention. I have a vision for SAFUN but right now, it's my personal blog. SA has good roots, good people, great culture - we just need more voices. With Twitter and other social media networks, I have discovered some amazing people doing great things on the internet right here in SA. We are moving in the right direction.

11:21 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Agreed, Angela. I'll definitely keep an eye on your blog.

1:39 PM  
OpenID nancyhigh said...

Thanks for the heads up about other blogs--I am going to look them up. Also, will you, perhaps, be at Armadillocon this August? It comes right on the heels of WorldCon, so perhaps not...

12:53 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Hi, Nancy --

I'll see you at Armadillocon for sure. Will definitely be there. I'm scheduled for three cons back-to-back-to-back, but that's life. SpoCon in Spokane, WA and then off to Montreal for Worldcon, and then from there back down to Austin for Armadillocon. Yikes.

1:44 AM  
OpenID nancyhigh said...

Oh grand! I just looked at my MileHi Con flyer, and it looks like you'll be in Denver too (my stompin' grounds).

12:58 PM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Yup, I'll be there too. Busy 2nd half of '09, for sure. :)

2:09 PM  
Blogger Gilder said...

Try Ursa Major Yahoo Group for literary SF fandom.

BTW, see Joe Mallozzi's blog dated 14 May. I may finally join his BOTM club; for June, it's a tome about some "Elric" dude ... 8-)

12:23 AM  

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