Save for a few years during World War II, the World Science Fiction Convention has been held consistently since 1939. Dubbed LoneStarCon 3 and themed “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” the 71st annual event takes over the Convention Center with six days of panels, readings, workshops, screenings, autograph sessions, kaffeeklatsches, morning strolls, live music, parties and after-parties celebrating and exploring all things sci-fi and fantasy. A task in itself to absorb, the con’s 260-page program is designed to help attendees prioritize which of the dizzying 945 events to attend. A few things not to miss: close encounters with authors James Gunn and Norman Spinrad, editor Ellen Datlow, filk music pioneer Leslie Fish and ArmadilloCon founder Willie Siros, daily exhibits covering themes from “Biohazard” to “Space Cowboy” (including a replica of the USS Enterprise bridge and a related photo op), nightly dances (Firefly Shindig Contradance on Friday, Conjunto Dance on Saturday, and a Steampunk-themed Late Night Dance on Saturday), an indie film festival, the first ever “science-fictional whiffle ball game,” a full-on masquerade and the 60th Hugo Awards ceremony. Known as the Science Fiction Achievement Awards until 1992, the Hugos recognize the best sci-fi and fantasy works of the previous year. $10-$75 per day; $120-$240 for the entire conference ($540 per family); 9am-7pm Wed-Sun, 9am-1pm Mon, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, 200 E Market, (210) 207-8500, lonestarcon3.org.
2. Waste Land
The Brooklyn-based art star Vik Muniz grew up poor in Brazil but now has everything he needs thanks to the selling power of his art, which employs unconventional materials (peanut butter, toy soldiers, chocolate syrup, etc.) to remix iconic works. A cinematic extension of Muniz’s ongoing endeavors, Lucy Walker’s Oscar-nominated doc Waste Land (featuring an original soundtrack by Moby) follows Muniz to the world’s largest landfill to meet an inspiring crew of catadores, self-designated “pickers of recyclable materials.” After photographing key players—including organizer Tião Santos in a pose referencing Jacques-Louis David’s The Death of Marat (above)—Muniz recreates the photographs using garbage. Before the film ends, Muniz has sold his portrait of Santos and given $50,000 to the catadores. Free, 6:30pm Thursday, Chiego Lecture Hall, McNay Art Museum, 6000 N New Braunfels, (210) 824-5368, mcnayart.org.
3. Horrific Film Fest
Nothing against last year’s featured guest Terri McMinn (the “girl on the meat hook” in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), but Horrific Film Fest has upped its game by dedicating the sixth annual event to football star-turned-actor Fred “the Hammer” Williamson. A onetime Playgirl centerfold (see below), Williamson consistently got the girl and won the fights as a black-belt-holding badass of the blaxploitation era and got a career revival from Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk till Dawn (2:40pm Friday). Other highlights from the fest include the ever-popular Zombie Walk (free, 6:30pm Thursday), Werebitches III: Werebitch Meets the Sexy Ass Creature from the Black Lagoon (8:30pm Saturday) and the Williams-directed Shaft tribute Vegas Vampires (2pm Sunday). $7-$50, 6pm-midnight Thu, noon-midnight Fri-Sat, noon-5pm Sun, Alamo Drafthouse Westlakes, 1255 SW Loop 410, (210) 677-8500, horrificfilmfest.com.
4. Vi//ZiNE 1 Year Anniversary
Released bi-monthly, the hyper-local video magazine Vi//ZiNE showcases the music and skate scenes, visual artists and other “things going on in San Anto, Tejas, you may not know about.” Presented by MovementMedia and hosted by COLLECTIVE, the mag’s one-year anniversary celebration coincides with the debut of Issue 5 (included with admission while supplies last). In addition to the premiere screening, the all-ages party features performances by Edinburgh-based “acoustic Mexican freak folk” outfit Jesika And The Pajama Blues, local hip-hop duos Dead the Poets and Chisme, SA-based surf-punk/noise quartet Ghost Police and local mixmaster DJ EPSR (spinning “records you are guaranteed to have never heard.”) Based on Vi//ZiNE’s new logo—a taco filled with eyeballs—expect a smorgasbord of DIY weirdness. $5, 8pm Friday, COLLECTIVE, 1432 S St. Mary’s, (210) 835-7309.
5. The Herorine EP Release Party
Jetting from coast to coast to record their latest, working with stellar producers and generally running around like they own the place, the Heroine certainly aren’t acting like a local band anymore. If next year’s South by Southwest does for them what it’s done for any number of other breakout acts in the past, they’ll be making the big time and the days of being able to drive a mile and a half to watch them blow the doors off will be just a memory. If you haven’t seen the whirlwind of skuzzy energy that constitutes the live experience provided by Lynwood King, Dibby Disaster and the rest of the boys, they’re giving you another chance on Friday night at the White Rabbit, and it’s worth taking advantage of—the next time you see them, there could be a few thousand more people in the audience. To tide things over until their inevitable ascent and all its attendant vice, the band (and their label, EMG) have graciously dropped a split EP, Songs from the Southland Vol. 1. It’s a pretty ambitious title for five songs, but they do their best to live up to it. “Who Do You Love,” thankfully, isn’t another stale cover of the blues chestnut but a snarly, sprawling original that sets the tone for the rest of the record with its filthy ’70s biker-bar energy. “Bluesman”, too, eschews the hokey promise of its title for a fun, freewheeling ride through a ZZ Top riff with a contemporary vocal arrangement. “Outlaw” is a tad lazier in its evocation of bad-boy party anthems, but it’s a good showcase for Johnny Lightning’s drumming, and the choogling throwback riffs and sweaty charm of “Silvertongue Lady” is as hard to resist as a makeout session in an AMC Javelin. “Comin’ Home” closes out the EP with a road song and all that this entails (predictable lyrics, too long, etc.), but it’s preceded by so much fun it seems ungracious to hold it against King and the gang. The all-ages White Rabbit show will be a release party for the EP, so you’ll have a chance to hear for yourself what just might be the last live emissions from one of our town’s most dedicated comers before they become that band you have to stand in line to see. $5, 7pm Friday, The White Rabbit, 2410 N St. Mary’s, (210) 737-2221, sawhiterabbit.com.
6. Mondo Nation Rooftop Party
Even if you’ve never been to one of Mondo Nation’s parties, you’ve probably heard about them. The people at the online magazine (mondonation.net) don’t just put on concerts—they make full-fledged eclectic events meant to highlight new and established names in music, art and culture. They already have juicy stuff lined up for September, but this Friday the action will take place on a rooftop overlooking San Antonio. Musical guests include Sleep Over, Ssleeper Hold, Silk Rodeo and Silent Land Time Machine (all fine Austin artists; Mondo Nation’s goal is to showcase independent labels and artists from across the U.S., but in the near future some local bands will be featured as well). There will be free beer, courtesy of Pabst Blue Ribbon, but keep in mind space is limited and RSVP doesn’t guarantee entrance. $5 (free if you RSVP on the event’s Facebook page), 7pm Friday, Stone Wall Gallery Rooftop, 1100 Broadway.
“You is nastier than a blowfly!” exclaimed Clarence Reid’s grandma when she heard little Clarence sing “Suck My Dick” instead of “Do The Twist.” Thus, the Blowfly legend was born. In his Blowfly persona, Reid—who in the ’60s and ’70s wrote hits for Betty Wright, Sam & Dave, Gwen McRae and KC & the Sunshine Band—has made a career out of sexually explicit funk and R&B anthems, but in 2006 (Punk Rock Party) developed a more punk-leaning sound, courtesy of his drummer Tom Bowker, greatly responsible for Blowfly’s resurgence (try to see The Weird World of Blowfly documentary film before the show, if you can). Language aside (check “Should I F**k This Big Fat Ho?,” his cover of the Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go”), whenever Blowfly plays, it’s the night’s biggest party. With Hickoids, Cannibal Bitch and Austin’s Cunto! $7-$10, 9pm Saturday, Tequila Rock Bar, 1305 E Houston, 698-2856, tequilarockbar.com.
8. Festival People en Español
The second annual Festival People en Español returns to San Antonio with something to prove: that last year’s poor attendance was an understandable first-time fluke, and that the festival is destined to grow in years to come. Here’s our guide to the acts you can’t miss at the Almodome plus free events at the Convention Center.
If you think Gloria Estefan comes to SA as a nostalgia act, wait until you hear her next album. Produced by her husband Emilio, The Standards comes out September 10 through Sony Masterworks and it’s her most ambitious album since her masterpiece Mi Tierra (1993). It includes guest vocals by Dave Koz, Joshua Bell and Laura Pausini and a gorgeous English-language version of Carlos Gardel’s classic tango “El Día Que Me Quieras” (The Day That You’ll Love Me). 9pm Sat, Aug 31.
The son of ranchera legend Vicente Fernández is one of the few singing heartthrobs who can credibly jump back and forth from mariachi music to pop. 10:30pm Sat, Aug 31.
On July 29, fiery Cuban-American singer-rapper Kat Dahlia turned 23 and, apparently, had a hell of a time—the next day she was arrested in Miami on DUI and resisting arrest without violence charges. But give her a break: she’s the U.S. response to Spain’s Mala Rodríguez. Her debut album, My Garden, comes out on February 2014, but check her videos for “Gangsta” (both the English and Spanish versions) and tell me if you don’t want to catch her live at the fest in the meantime. 8:30pm Sun, Sept 1. (Also: Free performance 12:45pm Sunday at the Convention Center.)
Former teen actress/singer Lovato has gone through the usual hell-after-premature-fame syndrome, but she survived it all and is still standing strong: Demi, her fourth album, debuted at number three on the Billboard charts and earned generally positive reviews. She stole the show at recent Festival People en Español press conference in San Antonio without even being there—both Mayor Castro and Chris Pérez expressed their admiration for her music. “I love her music, I think she’s great,” said Pérez, “but my daughter is a superfan, so I’m even more excited for her.” 9:30pm Sun, Sept 1.
WISIN & YANDEL
The world’s number one reggaetón duo is also Billboard’s Latin Rhythm charts record-holder with nine number one hits since 2005. 10:30pm Sun, Sept 1.
$33-$253, Saturday-Sunday, Illusions Theater at the Alamodome, 100 Montana, (800) 745-3000, ticketmaster.com.
BEST OF THE FEST’S FREE EVENTS
¡A Bailar! With the Guadalupe Dance Academy and Ballet Folklórico de Navarro.
Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza. A ranchera concert with last year’s two young winners of the annual MVE singing competition: Karen Zavala and Nelson Ruiz.
Latinos & Education, a panel with former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, U.S. Congressman Joaquín Castro, Univision’s Pamela Silva-Conde and Dreamer Benita Véliz.
A tribute to the late Jenni Rivera with Chiquis Marín, Juan Rivera and Pepe Garza.
Bobby Pulido. A performance by the Lo Nuestro-nominated Tejano artist.
Kat Dahlia. A performance by the talented Cuban-American, arguably the baddest bilingual singer-rapper in the U.S.
Free, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, 200 E Market, (210) 207-8500, sahbgcc.com.
(For complete schedule, go to peopleenespanol.com/festival)
9. Labor Fest San Antonio
Back for it's second year, Labor Fest San Antonio brings you two days of blues, jazz, and neo soul. You'll be rockin' steady all night long with performances by the Whispers and Cupid on Saturday night. Sunday is headlined by Cameo and Atlantic Star, and both days feature local acts as well. In addition to the retro grooves, Sunday's festivities include a spectacular hairshow sure to blow your mind. And bring your appetite: Labor Fest features an array of food vendors to choose from. $30-$80, 4-11pm Sat-Sun, Sunken Gardens Theater, 3875 N St. Mary's St. 207-3050, laborfestsa.com
10. Urvashi Won by Valor
The latest in a recurring collaboration between the contemporary gallery Bihl Haus Arts and the culturally minded Kaveri Natya Yoga studio, Urvashi Won by Valor brings a “poly-rhythmic translation” of the Sanskrit play Vikramorvasiyam to life onstage. With choreography by Dr. Sreedhara Akkihebbalu and narration by Dr. Anne Hardgrove, the production showcases visiting dancers Sridhar Shanmugam (New York) and Jyothsna Sainath (Nebraska) along with a cast of 20-plus dancers in full Indian regalia. One of three dramas attributed to 4th-century writer Kalidasa (often referred to as the greatest Sanskrit poet and dramatist of all time), the legend follows the ups and downs of a seemingly impossible romance between the mortal King Puruavas and the celestial nymph Urvashi. $6-$15, 2-4pm Sunday, Carver Community Cultural Center, 226 N Hackberry, ticketmaster.com.