The main spot

It happened Saturday night at Main Plaza: I was sitting on the steps, surrounded by, say, dozens of people watching 1922’s Nosferatu, the classic silent horror film.

Sandwiched between a beer-drinking teenager whose face was painted like a calavera, and a couple who was reading the title cards to their small sons, I had a sudden realization: Main Plaza is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots in San Antonio.

Not just because the movies (Cinema Paradiso, Los Olvidados, Nosferatu …) and the concerts (bands like Buttercup, and the festival I’m about to preview) are top-notch (and you can enjoy them for free), but because what takes place at the Plaza is conclusive evidence you don’t need a huge budget to put on a good show: All you need is imagination, discipline, and lots of sweat.

The latest of the Main Plaza attractions is a special kick-off acoustic performance by Tish Hinojosa and Los Texmaniacs at Casbeers (Friday from 8-10 p.m., $12.50 in advance, $15 at the door), and the second annual Latino Music Festival on Saturday at the Plaza, from noon to midnight (free).

Saturday’s fest features eight musical acts and five “plaza espectáculos” in between performances, including an artist (David Zamora Casas at 2:15 p.m.), a writer (Bárbara Renaud-González, who will read from her novel Golondrina, why did you leave me? at 5:30), fire spinners (Brothers of the Flame, 7:15), a playwright (award-winning Octavio Solís, 8:45), and a hoop dancer (ST Shimi, 10:30).

I’m particularly excited about one of the main attractions — the Krayolas, who have delivered two fine albums in 18 months and aren’t showing any signs of slowing down.

“We’ve nearly completed our next album, Americano,” Héctor Saldaña told the Current. “We’ve been playing some of the new songs onstage lately, and we actually have a mini-hit with ‘Frutería (The Fruit Cup Song).’” The Krayolas go on at 2:45 p.m. with the West Side Horns and a band that includes accordionist Michael Guerra and pianist Levine Elias. Extra treat to keep in mind: They’ll jam with Alejandro Escovedo, who goes onstage on his own at 9:15 p.m.

Closing the show is smoking-hot Girl in a Coma, who is set to return home from their second national tour in support of their 2009 release Trio B. C. The girls have just sold out New York’s Knitting Factory and were expecting to pack LA’s Troubadour last weekend. This will be their first Main Plaza appearance.

“We get home from seven weeks on the road `on November 5`, so we are really looking forward to playing at home again,” drummer Phanie Díaz told the Current in an email. “The Main Plaza show is kind of a welcome-home show for us. We’re excited that it’s downtown. We really like playing free shows in San Antonio, because it gives us a chance to give a little something back to all our fans here at home who have really supported us.”

Marisela Barrera, Program Coordinator with Main Plaza Conservancy since 2008, said the “seed” of the Latino Music Festival grew from her dissatisfaction with a similar-themed concert she felt didn’t accurately represent the South Texas demographic.

“I grew up in San Juan, a Valley town with its own Virgen, deep in Borderplex influences. One day I found myself at Sydney’s Art Festival, in a Latino music festival that wasn’t all too authentic to my experiences as an American-Latina,” Barrera said.

For that reason, she worked to ensure that “the second-annual LMF is puro Tejas — the lineup crosses generations and finds connections within familia,” by viewing herself as “a music curator who takes cues from strangers, Plaza regulars, fans, artists, Jane `Pauley-Flores`, and even my mom.”

And, Barrera adds, the community vibe extends to the artists themselves.

“You’ll see Bárbara Renaud-Gonzalez reading before Tish’s performance and Octavio Solís — on loan from AtticRep — introducing Alejandro Escovedo. David Zamora Casas did the cover art for one of the Krayola’s CDs, and he’ll be introducing their performance,” she said. “The artists are each other’s fans and it’s gonna be incredible to see them playing one after the other.”

If you have the stamina, stay for the whole thing. If you don’t (wimp), check out the lineup below.

LMF Schedule

Bubba Hernández & Los Super Vatos 12:45 p.m.

The Krayolas with the West Side Horns 2:45 p.m.

El Conjunto de Foxy y Chucho 4 p.m.

Flaco Jiménez 4:30 p.m.

Tish Hinojosa 6 p.m.

Johnny Rodríguez 7:45 p.m.

Alejandro Escovedo 9:15 p.m.
Girl in a Coma 11 p.m.

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