Self-taught filmmaker and educator Sam Lerma has proven himself a capable director and screenwriter over the past six years, but it's his most recent short film, Squeezebox, that debuted at the 37th Annual CineFestival in February, which confirms his originality, imagination and artistic sensibility. "I believe a good storyteller can entertain their audience while still remaining true to the art of cinema," Lerma told the San Antonio Current. A film production teacher at the Film School of San Antonio at Harlandale High School for five years, Lerma, who is originally from Harlingen, made his first official short film in 2009. Titled Trash Day, the 3.5-minute dark comedy was accepted into the South by Southwest Film Festival. He followed the film with two short family dramas, Lilia in 2011 and Flutter the following year. While Lerma enjoys making short projects, there could be a full-length film in the near future for him. "I have been using the short film format to sharpen my skills ... but it isn't where I want to stay. Shooting Squeezebox has pushed me to that next level." Lerma said he has started outlining concepts for a feature and hopes to "flex [his] filmmaking muscles" and use this summer to write. "I'm excited about exploring the ideas I have and am ready to tackle the next big challenge."
Developing a recognizable aesthetic can be one of the biggest challenges for an artist, but celebrated local photographer Scott Martin has done so with flying colors. Although he also shoots people, interiors and abandoned buildings, Martin is arguably best known for his distinctive night photography. Created via high-resolution digital equipment, light painting techniques and hours-long exposures, these images turn already dramatic landscapes into something verging on the otherworldly. From stars visibly moving though the sky to perplexing shadows, nighttime through Martin's lens maintains a cinematic, supernatural quality. A 2013 recipient of the Artist Foundation of San Antonio's Department of Culture and Creative Development Award for Media Arts, Martin stood out among the highlights of last year's Fotoseptiembre favorite "Altering Space." Beyond the gallery walls, readers may have seen Martin's project Day & Night — a time-lapse video shot in the high desert — on display at Tacos and Tequila. In addition to personal endeavors, Martin has been teaching photography workshops for two decades. Covering everything from full moon night photography to working with Adobe Lightroom, these creative sessions take shape throughout Texas as well as iconic landscape destinations such as Moab, Utah and Death Valley, California.
Sarah Brooke Lyons
1. Tim Duncan
Duh! Even as we enter the age of Kawhi, you're a fool not to imagine Tim Duncan as the best Spur of all time (our apologizes to the amphetamine-eyed coyote mascot). Five rings, 15 All-Star appearances, an impossible-to-shake-demeanor, a fucking tattoo of Merlin! Yes, the wizard of Arthurian lore, Merlin! Somehow, Tim Duncan is able to make nerdy and collectedness the epitome of cool, even in the era of NBA fashion-consciousness and flashy hoop. So as the tawdry players' knees grind into nothingness, we can count on Tim Duncan putting in game-after-game of fundamental D, off the glass beauties and crisp outlet passes. At least until Duncan sits us down one summer day over a game of Dungeons and Dragons and gives us the dreaded talk about the R-word.
2. Spurs Coyote
3. Gregg Popovich
1. Bam Bam Heard
You can find this four-legged celeb at Cinnabar
1420 S. Alamo St., Suite 147
2. Michael Carrillo aka Mikey Vibe
3. Rey Lopez (Rey Lopez Entertainment)
If you're plugged into the local art scene or pay close attention to the San Antonio Current, the name Lorena Angulo won't be unfamiliar. Born in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico and based in San Antonio since 2003, Angulo nods to Mexican culture and folk art via wearable works she crafts from sterling silver, mixed media and metal clay (a moldable medium containing particles of precious metals). Often and aptly described as "soulful," her pieces demonstrate both a reverence for tradition and an innovative approach to design. Flaming hearts, trees of life, milagros, birds, butterflies and skulls all stand out as hallmarks of Angulo's eclectic aesthetic. In 2014, she published Behind the Brooch — a book celebrating the curious intricacies found on the backsides of brooches. Also the subject of an exhibition, the book spotlights 128 artists while exploring jewelry from an unusual perspective. An adjunct faculty member at the Southwest School of Art, Angulo is a regular presence at Fiesta Arts Fair and sells her work locally at Kathleen Sommers and the gift shop at the San Antonio Museum of Art.
1. Nan Cuba
San Anto resident Nan Cuba wins the top prize not just for her lucid writing, but for her work with Gemini Ink, encouraging authors to pick up the pen and hone their talents into a storytelling force. As executive director of the nonprofit, Cuba is responsible for the program's community writing classes, their Autograph Series bringing in prestigious writers and the Writers in Communities initiative, working with "literarily underserved populations." Cuba obtained her MFA from Warren Wilson College and her work has appeared in LIFE, Antioch Review and Harvard Review. Her most recent work is "When Horses Fly," a short story exploring the fragility of relationships, in a letterpress-printed, handmade chapbook.
2. David Liss
3. Scott McDowell
1. Naomi Nye
Naomi Shihab Nye — much renowned, awarded and revered for her novels, short stories and (especially) poetry — may have been born in St. Louis and raised as a citizen of the world, but, as a Trinity grad and longtime Saytown resident, she belongs to us. This is where she works, and works to uplift the literary community, when she's not educating folks around the world. This is where you might run into her at the grocery store or wandering around King William. This is where she's chosen to raise her kids. And, you know what? We're damn proud to have her. Recently highlighted by the San Antonio Book Festival, Nye's latest offering is The Turtle of Oman, a touching children's novel set in the Middle East.
2. Jenny Browne
3. Amanda Flores
1. Puro Pinche
2. Tori Johnson
3. Christina Coker
1. Catherine Lee
There's no such thing as a quick read of Catherine Lee's résumé. Aside from ringing in at a jaw-dropping 2,467 words, it highlights a professional art career that's so far encompassed everything from early group shows in New York City (circa 1979) to a solo exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (in 2005). Represented in an intimidating number of public collections (including those of The Tate Modern in London and New York's Museum of Modern Art), Lee's wide-ranging works in sculpture, painting and ceramics were showcased in Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum's 2014 exhibition "Emergence." Also last year, Lee stepped in as curator for (fellow Best of San Antonio winner) Cinnabar's two-part exhibition "Memory & Forgetting." This year sees the art star, educator and former karate champ mounting solo shows in Denmark, Germany and France.
2. Jason Oakes
3. Analy Diego
1. Tony Cortez
The on-air afternoon host and assistant program director at 94.1 KTFM celebrates his quinceñera this year as a San Antonian after moving from Austin to the Alamo City in 2000. He's been in the radio industry since 1996 and at KTFM since 2011. Listen to Cortez from 3-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3-5 p.m. on Friday and follow him on Twitter @941TonyCortez — he describes himself as a full-time music geek and SA-lover and waxes philosophical on everything from the Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber to getting allergy steroid shots in the ass.
2. Billy Madison
3. Joe Pags