Luminaria 2015 took some hard hits this year. Despite the best laid plans from the Luminaria board of directors, the advisory committee and participating artists from near and far, mother nature reduced this year’s event to a sniveling shadow of its possible self. The festival was cut to one night only and a much smaller footprint with most of the outdoor events cancelled.
Fearless Leader Kathy Armstrong (aka executive director) and her small but mighty staff and volunteers did their damnedest to make the best of a dismal situation. The staff of the San Antonio Museum of Art worked overtime as the centerpiece of the rained-out event to accommodate last-minute changes and a flood of soggy patrons through its doors.
This turn of events was disappointing to all involved, in addition to enduring the observations of armchair quarterbacks criticizing every decision. Board chair Liz Tullis reminded me at the time of a previous conversation that we had.
“This is an opportunity to take Luminaria to the next level,” she said with determination. “Rather than just a one or two-night festival, this is now a year-round organization.”
As promised, the organization is making good with the first of many “do-over” performances. After all, as Armstrong has observed, “These pieces have been commissioned for the people of San Antonio. They should be seen and enjoyed as we intended.”
Behold, “Luminaria 2015: Part Two, Take One!”
The long-anticipated collaboration “Plato’s Drums” will take place Friday, Nov. 13, 7-9 p.m. Together, the band Buttercup (Erik Sanden, Joe Reyes and odie) along with multimedia conceptual artist Chris Sauter, create a piece that merges live performance, video projection, and installation.
At the northwest corner of Jones Avenue and Broadway Street, a giant free-standing wall has been built in a vacant lot (1101 Broadway St., provided courtesy of AREA Real Estate). By removing material from the wall, Sauter is building an actual sized sculptural replica of Buttercup’s drum kit (originally purchased by odie for $100 at a garage sale).
The sculpture is composed of more than 400 individual pieces cut out of the wall, the result of hours of labor and much sweat and even some of Sauter’s DNA. Sauter filmed original images of Buttercup to project onto this structure, and onto the band as it plays within the structure. The original 12-foot-high structure was reduced to a shattered drywall mush by the rain and hurricane-force blasts of wind. Buttercup and Sauter went back to square one and rebuilt everything.
According to the Buttercup website, “‘Plato’s Drums’ is a nod to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave where a group of men are shackled to a wall and cannot see what is going on behind them. They only see shadows on the wall cast by the puppeteers behind. We wrote several new songs and re-recorded a few other old songs to fit this theme. Our songs for the piece are about misinterpretation, blindness, the ego and drumming. One is about Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan. It’s definitely different from any previous performance.”
Media manager Sarah Fisch said, “Luminaria is excited to roll out our first Luminaria Take Two programming! We’re deeply committed to our participating artists, we’re very grateful for the support and hard work of the San Antonio creative community, and we’re making plans every day to bring brilliant works of art to light.”
This rescheduled Luminaria event is free and open to the public. In the case of rain, the performance will take place on the following evening, Saturday, Nov. 14, 7-9 p.m. There will be beer and food for sale. Buttercup performs at 8 p.m. sharp, inside the installation. Follow Luminaria on Facebook for updates and announcements on future events.
*Top image: Lights lit up the space outside of Rosella’s coffee shop and Overland Partners offices during Luminaria. Photo by Matthew Busch.
Luminaria Day One: Damp, But Not Extinguished
Luminaria 2015: Come Hell or High Water
Rain or Shine, Give Me Luz: A Luminaria Chicano/a Primer