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Mel Waiters Gets Street Named After Him

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After over a year of gathering petitions and going through city council, fans, family and city leaders today celebrated the renaming of Rio Grande Street to Mel Waiters Way on the city’s East Side.

Mel Waiters died in 2015 after leading a long and legendary career as a musician on the Southern soul circuit with fan favorites like “Got my Whiskey” and “Hole in the Wall.”

He was born and raised in San Antonio and according to his website appeared with R&B and blues greats such as as Bobby Blue Bland; Bobby Womack; Gladys Knight; Betty Wright; The Manhattans; Clarence Carter; Shirley Murdock; Zapp Band; Evelyn Champaign King; Charlie Wilson; and Babyface.

To learn more about this legend, visit his website at http://www.melwaiterslive.com

 

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Musicians Come to Life in Photo Exhibit

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By Aissatou Sidime-Blanton

Kimberly Hopkins’s striking black and white photos, now on display at the AP Art Lab, are a wonderful homage to famous African-American photographers. Her first solo exhibition, “Street Formation,” will close with a reception from 6-8 pm on Sept. 27 at the gallery, located at 1906 S. Flores Street in San Antonio.

In fact, Hopkins readily admits her photos are inspired by the works of Brooklyn street photographer Andre D. Wagner and the late iconic photographic documentarian Gordon Parks.

Hopkins solo exhibition is a collection of live action-based photos of all the street musicians she has photographed during the last five years. Her subjects were captured in New Orleans, Minden, Tennessee, Austin, San Antonio and Chicago. The show title is a musical reference but also fits perfectly with AP Art Lab’s mission to exhibit artwork focused on women’s issues and social change.

“Musicians often have a role in social change. If you think of Otis Redding, The Temptations and others they were instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement  – they set the foundation for musicians across the world,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins, who is not a musician but always wanted to play piano, hopes viewers are inspired to see the value of anyone who takes the time to make music.  “There is talent all around us.”

Hopkins, a native Houstonian, has lived in San Antonio since 2011. She received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Prairie View A&M University and a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from University of Texas San Antonio.

Her passion for photography ignited when she picked up her first digital camera in architecture school. City streets, people and public transportation quickly became her visual language.

Today, the self-taught photographer also is a city planner for the City of San Antonio. Her photos reflect a cross-pollination between her “day job” and avocation because the photos also are informed by her interest in how everyday people use public spaces.

For more information on Hopkins’s work go to www.KHopPhotography.com or www.saethnicartsociety.org.

Aissatou Sidime-Blanton is a San Antonio-based curator and art collector. With her husband, Stewart Blanton, she underwrites the Abaraka Award, a biennial grant for African American women who teach, curate or create visual art. Learn more at SidimeBlantonFund.org.

 

 

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Season 5 | EMPIRE preview

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6th Annual Capital City Black Film Festival Kicks Off This Week

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The Capital City Black Film Festival returns to Austin for its 6th year with events planned Friday, Aug. 31 and Saturday, Sept. 1 at the Austin Convention Center at 500 E. Cesar Chavez St.

This year’s festival will be filled with special screenings, talkbacks with Hollywood directors and producers, thought-provoking panel discussions and film screenings for more than 80 independent films from across the nation.      

Friday, August 31

  • 9:00 AM – Film Screenings begin
  • 11:30 AM – Filmmaker chat with Director/Producer Amani Martin (The Last Defense, HBO Sports)
  • 12:30 PM – The Last Defense Screening           
  • 2:30 PM – The Last Defense Panel Discussion featuring co-creators, director, exec. prod., and cast members
  • 6:30 PM: Red Carpet Opens (Special Guests: Filmmaker Jeremy Sadowski, UT Precursors Leon Holland and Charles Miles)
  • 7:30 PM: Texas Premiere of Breaking Down Barriers: The C.R. Roberts Story w/ panel discussion immediately following with Producer Jeremy Sadowski and UT Precursors Leon Holland and Charles Miles

Saturday, September 1

  • 9:00 AM: Film Screenings Begin
  • 11:30 AM: Reconstructing the Narrative – Storytelling and Diversity with Rob Williams (JuVee Productions)
  • 3:30 PM Marketing on a Shoestring Budget
  • 7:00 PM: Red Carpet Opens (Special Guests: Participating Filmmakers)
  • 8:00 PM: Filmmaker Awards Presentation

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