A scene from Zach Dorn's "Tonight a Clown Will Travel Time." Courtesy photo.

Awesome SA, the local chapter of the worldwide Awesome Foundation, will award another $1,000 grant to an individual or organization this Thursday, 6 p.m. at Grayson Street Eatery, 521 E. Grayson St.

UPDATE: Humans of San Antonio’s Michael Cirlos accepted the $1,000 award from Awesome SA Thursday evening for his photography ‘life book’ that will showcase San Antonio “from a street level point of view.” Cirlos has applied for the Awesome SA grant several times. The timing and idea was right. Congratulations, Michael. (Read more about the project in the application listing below.)

Michael Cirlos of Humans of San Antonio poses for a photo with Awesome SA board members and trustees after winning the $1,000 grant for July. Photo by Iris Dimmick.
Michael Cirlos of Humans of San Antonio poses for a photo with Awesome SA board members and trustees after winning the $1,000 grant for July at Grayson Street Eatery on July 10, 2014. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

The requirements to apply for the monthly grant are simple: come up with an idea (program, event, installation, project) that will make San Antonio more “awesome,” fill out an application online describing your idea and how you would use the money, and attend the award ceremony if you are named a finalist. Applicants are encouraged to apply again if their idea doesn’t make it the first time. The 15 voting trustees have awarded grants to two or three-time applicants on multiple occasions. Learn more at the Awesome SA Facebook page.

Below is the latest batch of finalists’ applications as submitted to Awesome SA. Who do you think has the $1,000 idea this month?

Humans of San Antonio “Life Book” by Michael Cirlos

A little about me: www.facebook.com/HumansOfSA

When I’m not gathering stories for Humans of San Antonio, I’m working as a foster care social worker for the State of Texas. Before completing my bachelor’s degree in psychology at UTSA, I spent two years in Thailand studying psychology at Webster University, where I was awarded a world traveler scholarship to continue my studies in Amsterdam. While in Europe, I discovered my passion for community volunteerism, photojournalism, and bicycle riding.

Here’s my idea:

The Humans of San Antonio Project (HOSA) is a documentary blog that shares visual images along with a short written phrase that is focused on revealing the real-life diversity and individuality of our city, and the hidden beauties in between. HOSA thrives on social media that acts like a “digital water cooler,” where discussions and healthy debate take place on unique topics that affect our daily lives and experiences. HOSA is evolving, and we aspire to turn HOSA into a platform where citizens can voice their opinions and address social issues in their communities to the public without having to compromise their daily routines. What is great about HOSA is that it has the ability to capture our city perspective as it evolves from a street level point of view on a daily basis. The ultimate goal of this project is to enhance and diversify our downtown community through photojournalism and with the help of our city organizations.

How I will use the money:

We want to create the first life book of San Antonio that promotes the downtown city life from a street level point of view. $500 will be used to create the book design and another $500 will help with publication expenses.

Please take the time to watch this three-minute video below:

YouTube video

How will this make San Antonio more awesome?

By providing a social platform for people to express themselves and to be heard on a main stage will only help to expand social awareness and diversity to the communities throughout San Antonio. 

Roots in the Shadow of San Antonio by Noah Peterson

roots of san antonio
A little about me: www.rootsintheshadows.com

I moved to the Southside of San Antonio in 2012 from Portland, Oregon. I am primarily a saxophonist and perform a wide range of genres, produce recordings, and all that other fun music stuff. I love the music business and helping out bands. My label serves as a stepping stone for bands who are serious about their careers, but need some help. I think the “Roots” project is a beautiful thing to get involved with because it helps so many, and the music is great; it’s San Antonio’s rock and roll.

Here’s my idea:

This project’s intent is to bring attention to a community of bands who are committed and loyal to writing and performing original music in San Antonio. We want to progress their artistic message as well as the rich music culture that has always been a part of San Antonio.

Phillip Luna (Even I Have Seizures) and Jason Trevino (ROHI Records) have produced the first free “Roots in the Shadows of San Antonio” compilation CD. That recording features thirteen San Antonio bands who have been rocking the stages of Central Texas for 25 years.

During the summer of 2013 on Sundays at sundown, Jason and Phillip presented a different “Roots” artist. Every performance was at a unique location with the intent to raise funds for production. These included the Hays St. Bridge, Dignowity Park, Cruz Ortiz‘s art studio, Imagine Bookstore and The Circle School. Beer and food were donated and the artists performed intimate sets that included stories of their experiences in the San Antonio music community and songs they had written here.

Using these events as fundraisers, we were able to produce 500 physical CDs and mail 125 of them to college radio stations across the country. Our events were featured in the San Antonio Current and on local radio stations throughout the summer. The recording as a whole and individual tracks are available for free download a website that includes band profiles and links. Over 300 physical copies have been given away to fans and supporters

Our artist collective serves to curate, produce, and promote these events and recordings for the betterment of the independent music community of Central Texas, the participating artists, and their fans, and to make known the modern music and culture of the San Antonio to as broad an audience as possible.

We’re doing it again. “Roots II” planning is well under way and we’re better organized, thinking further out, we have a higher goal, and we did a fantastic job with the first one.

How I will use the money:

Should Awesome SA be so awesome as to bestow us with that honor, half will go towards the radio station mailing budget for the physical CD and rest to help pay for event permits from the city and any other event costs.

How will this make San Antonio more awesome?

Most of the artists come from either the downtown San Antonio area or nearby neighborhoods. These are artists who feed their families with their music; art literally is life. It’s not just what we do, it’s how we survive. It is our cultural contribution. What’s special about this project is the various communities coming together to do something bigger than any individual could achieve on their own. Nobody else in San Antonio is doing this, and it’s not just about making music and trying to bring some attention to the rock scene of San Antonio. This project is a historical documentation of the bands and players and composers of the San Antonio rock scene. We give it away for free to as many people as we can with physical copies and digital files. The communities these artists come from are the real benefactors. It’s the people who live with and around them.

We give them places to go, places to dance, songs to sing. We are their spouses, their parents, their children. The artists benefit from a larger audience and some additional attention from the media. It’s good for the business nearby our events when we draw a crowd of people to see our free shows. It’s good for the neighborhoods to have all the neighbors coming out for music and jointly helping out of their own from the neighborhood reach a little higher and further. It’s good for the bands to get on the radio and talk about their music, their lives and how they are related. It’s good for the radio to play music from the community, and this community is all parts of the city: North, South, East, West, downtown and the outskirts. The city itself benefits, as this is modern, local culture organizing, developing, and promoting its own star to add to the many reasons to come and visit San Antonio. The music of San Antonio has been all but eclipsed by the Austin musical mystique. “Roots in the Shadows of San Antonio” is the first step in showing the world there’s more to music in Texas than Austin.

The Pop-Up Toy Theater Parlor by Zach Dorn

A little about me: www.zachdorn.com

Zach Dorn has worked in toy theater since 2008, when he premiered his show “Sarah!” at the Orlando Puppet Festival. In 2010, he started manipulating digital cameras through his paper theaters, projecting tiny scenes, pieces of scenery, and coin-sized characters. In 2012, Dorn introduced webcams into his tiny toy theater sets, performing online for global audiences from his home studio. Through his work, Dorn aims to contribute to the revitalization of toy theater. He graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Puppetry from the University of Connecticut.

Here’s my idea:

An art gallery, a canvas tent, a vacant storefront: these untraditional locations are transformed into a modern-day toy theater parlor with shag carpet, arm chairs, and perhaps even an Atari 2600. Except here there is no television set. The entertainment is strictly puppets. At the turn of the 20th century, families would gather around tiny paper theaters to watch family members perform two-dimensional versions of Hamlet, Little Red Riding Hood, or Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Now, puppeteer Zach Dorn resurrects this vanishing art with the creation of his own miniature spectacles. Half sideshow, half comic book, these paper performances will explode for audiences with humorous tales of Dorn’s ordinary life. An opera-singing landlord refuses to return his security deposit, a three-foot ghost plagues his fragile psyche, a colony of elderly mermaids retires below the bathroom of a local coffee shop – all these chapters wait for innovation through live projection technology. Armed with a digital video camera, Dorn glides the camera lens through his toy theater sets and inflates his miniature stories to epic proportions.

So, I encourage you, one and all, to this revitalization of a lost Victorian art, to a celebration of public performance, and to a puppet show like no other. This is The Pop-Up Toy Theater Parlor!

How I will use the money:

70 percent of the funds will go to construction of the space, the miniature sets, and toy theater scenery. 20 percent will be allocated for publicity. The final 10 percent will be saved for any miscellaneous and unexpected costs.

How will this make San Antonio more awesome?

Imagine walking down a busy San Antonio street, perhaps on your way to work, or to grab a cup of Joe. Suddenly, someone invites you inside a canvas tent. A show awaits! Your day, usually filled with routine, is now bubbling with surprise! With The Modern Toy Theater Parlor, San Antonians get to break up the monotony of the ordinary day with excitement. They get to laugh when they didn’t expect to, and they get to rediscover the almost forgotten magic of toy theater.

*Featured/top image: A scene from Zach Dorn’s “Tonight a Clown Will Travel Time.” Courtesy photo.  

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Awesome SA Finalists: Adopt a Tree, Co-Creating Space, and Sun Safety

San Anto Cultural Arts & Awesome SA: Paletas, Bikes, Youth Engagement

This article was assembled by various members of the San Antonio Report staff.