Monday, March 23, 2009

My Lunch with Cartoonist John Branch

For as long as I can remember, I have always been a fan of newspaper comics. They were always the first section I flipped to when the paper came in the door and was opened on a Sunday morning. That was the highlight of my weekend.

As I've gotten older my attention has switched from the funny pages to the editorial pages and the political cartoons showcased there. So when I first moved here to San Antonio in December of 2005 I immediately became a fan of John Branch.

John Branch, who was one of the last two remaining editorial page cartoonists in the state of Texas, was recently let go in the last round of layoffs at the San Antonio Express News and it broke my heart. He along with 74 others in the Express News newsroom had their final day at the paper last Friday. Many other fine journalists at television stations in the San Antonio market have also been laid off along with many of my friends who work in media outlets around the nation. It's a tough time to be in the news business or any business for that matter.
Today many of my friends and colleagues held a "Flacks and Sacked" networking luncheon for the 100+ people who'd been recently laid off here in San Antonio. I chose to sponsor John Branch, a man who didn't know me very well but who had always made my day a little brighter with his sharp wit and political humor and I'm so glad he accepted.

What I learned about John Branch is that he is more than just a man who makes great comics for the editorial pages. He is a traditionalist and still likes to put ink to paper not just draw his sketches on a computer. He loves the music scene here is San Antonio and you can often find him listening to jazz music in small clubs about town. I learned that he is a family man, who cares deeply about his son and daughter, deeply enough to make tough choices as a parent. I learned that he cares about his readers, their feedback and that some of them have continued to contact him year after year about a comic past that has somehow touched their lives.
I also learned that my lunch with John Branch was far too short to truly get to know him. But what I do know is that his impact on this community has been felt and wont soon diminish. How many times have we opened up the editorial pages and went "owwwww" or laughed out loud. How many times has some political slip up been immortalized in ink on the pages of the San Antonio Express News, posted on or printed out and passed around the office for all to see.

I don't know what the future holds for John Branch - maybe a book? maybe a website where we can all get our daily fix? I'm not sure. But what I am sure of is that we haven't seen the last of this creative cartoonist.

For more of Branch's work click here

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Call of the Bonham Exchange

So I was on my way home from an amazing date all day date that included a super cool Harley ride to Medina Lake and a stop at this fantastic burger joint called the Dancing Bear - great burgers, cool, mellow atmosphere and even a few games of pool. 

It was the perfect day to ride, not to hot, not to windy, just right. That was followed up by a nap, and then a bar-b-que with chicken, fajita meat and sausage, and home made beans. Needless to say I was stuffed and satisfied and perfectly content to go home and sack out. But as I drove home I got the itch. The Bonham was calling me.

Maybe it was the Rockstar I was drinking? Maybe it was the Justin Timberlake I was listening to? Maybe it was the free admit tickets calling to me from my wallet? It was probably a combination of all three but I did the only thing I could think of on a Saturday night...I called my best friend Starkey. He is one of the few straight men I know of who 1) can dance great and 2) I trust to dance with me. 

And I say this because honestly, most men you meet in clubs or who approach you on the dance floor can't dance and are only concerned with climbing up all over you or rubbing themselves all over you. Me, I'm not one for strange people getting all up on me. Fortunately I have two great men in my life right now who can dance, Starkey is one of them, the man I'm dating is the other, and for that I am truly grateful because I love to dance in fact it is a passion of mine.  But back to the Bonham.

The Bonham Exchange is really the hottest place to go on a Saturday night right now. For years its been the number one gay club in town but since 94.1 started spinning live from the club every Saturday the mix is closer to 50/50 gay-straight. In fact in the past month I've seen more straight people there than I've seen gay people. And its nice to see both crowds mixing.

I love going there because Lee, the general manager, runs a tight ship. There are no fights, no B/S, no problems and it's all ages. It's not pretentious, it never takes more than a few minutes to get in the door and I don't feel like I'm walking into a meat market. The club has three dance floors, a lounge, a $2 coat check and huge outdoor patio that most people don't even know about. 

I spend most of my time on the main dance floor thats downstairs. It's large enough to hold about 150 grooving bodies and has two stages. I love the fact Horace, the bartender at the back bar just off that dance floor hustles, always has my RedBull ready and a smile on his face. Jason, the chef at the taco bar on the patio, will strike up a conversation with you or anyone at the drop of a hat. He also gives great hugs.

Perhaps the best thing I have noticed about the Bonham Exchange is their service - always friendly, always accommodating. Its sweetie this, darling that, always willing to go the extra mile. From the door staff to the ID checkers to the man taking your coat - its service with a smile, something you don't often see at your typical clubs. It's what keeps me coming back week after week. Well that and the fact that I love to dance. And let me just say that tonight Starkey and I cut quite a rug ;) 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Humps

So remember that Spurs game I went to...well I made the paper this past Sunday...or should I say Trish Deberry-Mejia and the Coyote made the paper this past Sunday. I was just a casualty. 

I'm the blonde in the white shirt with my back to the camera. At least they caught my best side ;)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Night Out!

So what started out as a night going home to do my roommates hair turned into a 4:30 am never-even-made-it-home-to-do-her-hair extravaganza of fun. Now I am not normally a 4:30 am kind of gal and I knew I had to take my car in for service this morning and I didn't plan on staying out late at all it just kind of happened...all great stories start like this right.  It began with a text message from one of my best friends Starkey

Him: What u doing tonight?

Me: getting my hair done (yes I was getting my hair done too)

Him: I'm at the lion and rose (on Broadway)

Me: I'll try and stop by after

So after leaving Rita's house - she's the best damn colorist I know of - I called my roommate to see if she still wanted me to do her hair and we decided that we would do it Saturday instead. That was my ticket to funsville.

The Lion and Rose: stop 1: was in full swing by the time I got there but after a few drinks I suggested to everyone we head over to the Museo Alameda to check out the new Phantom exhibit. The Museo was staying open late and having a DJ, drinks and dancing to commemorate the event - just our type of party. So we piled in the civic and headed out.

The Museo: stop 2: was Awesome, the Director Eliseo was the most gracious of hosts and knows how to throw a hell of a party. Not only was the art incredible but the DJ was fantastic. In no time we got the dance floor jumping; grooving to Spanish versions of Material Girl and Ice, Ice Baby. If you've never heard either of those songs en espanol you're in for a treat.

At midnight it was time to head over to the Unicorn Club on San Pedro: stop 3: the official after party of the Museo Alameda's Phantom Exhibit. Its the cool, little dive bar/club that you would practically drive by if you didn't know where it was, and we didn't before last night. Its small, has two stages with poles you can dance on (yes I indulged once or twice) and even a cage you can dance in if you're brave enough (I wasn't.) 

When we first got there it was 80's music and everyone was dancing to Madonna and dressed the part - totally cool. By the time the Museo crowd showed up the DJ from the exhibit also came along and spun more latin music including Spanish covers of pop songs like Tainted Love - way too much fun. Not to mention that Starkey and Richard battled in a dork dance off that consisted of lawn mowing, sandwich making, bowl stirring and more (you had to be there but believe me it was hilarious.) 

By 2:30 we were hot, sweaty and I personally was ready to go home but my friends had other ideas. Some of my former co-workers from WOAI Channel 4 were having a small house party down the street and they wanted to stop by. Since I was the DD - designated driver - I indulged thinking we'd just stop by or I'd just drop them off. But oh no when we got there there was a big party in full swing.

Micah's house: stop 4: man I feel sorry for the little old lady who lives next door. For two hours the party, and I mean me, raged as we danced, laughed, caught up, visited, met new people - like Richard who plays in a band that's performing tonight in Austin at one of the SXSW parties. You Go Richard!! - and smoked way too many cigarettes. 

By the time Starkey finally rounded up what was left of the troops and I mean our friend Richard (no relation to the band boy Richard) I knew I'd be hurting this morning when it was time to take my car in for service. But hey you only live once right? I had seen and experienced more in one evening than I had in an entire month it seemed like. 

1) I took Richard to an art museum - something he said he normally wouldn't do. 
2) I saw old work friends I hadn't seen in a year or more. 
3) I danced my tush off - something I love to with a passion
4) I laughed so hard my sides hurt
5) I seized the day

Friday, March 13, 2009

Spurs Lose But I Won

So I went to the Spurs game last night and it broke my heart to see our boys lose to the Lakers. That kills me for several reasons 1 - being originally from SoCal and a reformed Lakers fan I'm now a die hard Spurs fan but EVERYONE in my family is still a die hard Lakers fan. Needless to say the ribbing I take and give during these match ups is brutal. 2 - anytime our boys lose it breaks my heart - especially when its to the Lakers >:(
But as I said I still won and here's why...I love the coyote and I usually get no love in return. Most games he just shuns me and pays no attention to me but last night was different. Its probably because I was sitting with Trish Deberry-Mejia, who's running for Mayor of San Antonio. The Coyote is a big fan of hers. But since he wanted to meet her and take a picture with her, he had to say hello to me too. So he did. He even gave me a kiss!! And a hi five later on in the game!!

Even though my boys lost it was a winning game for me last night - I'm a sucker for the little things in life. I slept so soundly with my little coyote doll last night just like I do every night. I'm such a dork.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Unmarried at 32 ~ What's wrong with you?

That's the question I get A LOT when people find out I'm 32 and my stats are: 

Ex-husbands - 0
Children - 0

And the immediate thing I want to fire back is "you're exactly the reason I'm not married." As if I'm supposed to just get married to SOMEONE, ANYONE for the sake of getting married because if I'm not married by the time I'm 32 I belong on the damaged shelf.

I actually had someone tell me it was better for me to be married and divorced than to have never been married by the time I hit 30. REALLY...I'll take that into consideration....RIGHT. It floors me sometimes the things people say when they're trying to hit on you.

Well let me just say this...I'm not just going to run off to Vegas and get hitched to some sap I met in a bar or settle down with someone I've only known a few months to just cross that societal norm off my list. In fact I may be one of the few women who is content to date and enjoy the relationships I'm in for what they and for free and exciting and intelligent and genuine.

In my 32 years on this planet, I've seen and known far too many ring chasers ruin every relationship they've ever been in because they're so transfixed with their 5-year plan and "where is this going" and "I've got to have kids by the time I'm 30" and so on and so on

Now I should note that I have nothing against marriage and children. I think it's a fine path for many to take however because of my own choices of pursuing a career in broadcasting that required moving about the country for 8 years, I never really found that special someone who was either willing to move with me or who I wanted to have move with me.  I also come from a long line of divorces in my family so I know marriage isn't something to be taken lightly and to be rushed into so I'm not.

So while some are worrying about their biological clocks and the future, I'm making the most of my time on this planet and seizing the day. I'm enjoying my life in the right here and right now, without a ring and without a care in the world.