San Antonio’s rising artistic talent was celebrated last Saturday evening at the third annual Una Noche De La Gloria, “Contemporary Art in the Cultural Zone,” in the Guadalupe arts district. Thankfully, the city’s highly anticipated (and much needed) rain stopped long enough for local talent to shine at the outdoor festival. Writer’s Block captivated audiences at a poetry corner, local musicians performed rock and Tejano, while other artists exhibited and sold their paintings, sketches, and odds-and-ends, like Dia de los Muertos dolls commemorating the season.
The talk of the night, however, remains Una Noche De La Gloria’s culminating event: “Estilo Street,” a runway show featuring local designers and models held at the corner of Brazos and Guadalupe streets. As crowds hovered over seats facing the catwalk and the production team and technicians began sound checking their equipment, designers fine-tuned their models inside Brackenridge Elementary School while freelance make-up artist and performance artist John McBurney expounded on what was about to be unleashed on a transparent stage pulsing with red, blue, green, and yellow lights. “I’ve designed a collection with six brides, very couture, very avant-garde. I’m also Mr. Duct Tape and Mr. Glue Gun,” said McBurney, whose work has been seen in the film Selena and should make an appearance in the upcoming indie, The Temptation of the Dream Weaver.
Washington, D.C., transplant Felix Tambora chuckled about his last name reflecting the qualities of his line, “In Swahili it means bold and gifted.” Tambora’s designs are very accessible, but also edgy. “They’re urban and beyond, so it’s really versatile, and not just for the urban community. You’ll find rockers wearing it, people that are going out to a nice lunch or elegant dinner.”
Perhaps the most controversial designer of the evening was Avi Avalos, a pop artist whose mediums include printmaking, sculpture, and painting. Though this was Avalos’ third La Gloria appearance, he confessed this was the first year he was invited as a fashion designer. “I decided to go political with the clothing,” he said. All of Avalos’ dresses seem made of money — $20-bill dresses and $100-bill dresses — intended to get people talking about what’s happening inside our government and around the world. “I mean everyone is losing money,” Avalos said, “the euro is going under, and everyone is talking about the American dollar. These pieces comment on that.”
When I took my seat to watch the show, the seats were finally filled. I had the opportunity to ask a fellow attendee what he thought of the evening thus far. “Being able to appreciate the beauty of this Westside of San Antonio that was once a thriving community and is being reinvigorated, it’s just awesome,” said Will Casarez. “And it’s awesome for everybody to be out here all at one time.” •