Arts & Culture
Una Noche en la Gloria’s Funky Foundation
Published: October 9, 2013
If Una Noche were to end today, Cuellar says he would continue doing Runway en la Calle in another form; possibly on a smaller scale.
“When this is over, that is what I’m taking with me,” he said. “Runway en la Calle, that in itself becomes a branding.” No doubt Velasquez would be pleased with that lesson.
I asked Velasquez what the biggest obstacle standing in the way of fulfilling his vision for Una Noche was. In architect mode, he replied. “The lack of infrastructure in a city that has a lot of festivals [but] that doesn’t think of the infrastructure as a means of affordability [or] sustainability,” he said. “What that means is if the city had been developed properly ... they could cut back on the amount of money that it takes to do something that helps people. Power in the streets, etc. San Antonio has a lot of things that it could activate, but it’s too busy...”
His voice trailed off. “San Antonio is full of control freaks,” he concluded. “I wouldn›t want to be anywhere else. I like San Antonio. My best friends are here. My family’s here. I’m not happy with the way that it’s developing right now. I’m not.”
Fair enough. What is San Antonio good at?
“Wow...well, San Antonio’s good at coming together,” he conceded. “But that’s the people that do that, not the system. San Antonio is always working against an ‘us vs. them’ environment. We are always trying to connect. San Antonio is always good at trying to achieve its knowledge of itself. [This] is a world-class city which will sooner or later get past Davey Crockett.”
He views the deliberate staging of Una Noche in the less-touristy, but perhaps even more culturally relevant, neighborhood of the West Side as a means to help highlight a different side of SA. In Velasquez’s opinion, the gateway to the West Side is unfortunately flanked by the Bexar County Jail and
Haven for Hope, about the last place you’d expect to find a fashion-art-music mash-up.
Yet for all his grand visions, Velasquez seemed dismissive when I asked what kind of legacy he hopes to leave behind.
“I’m really focused on right now. I don’t worry too much about the future. The future will take care of itself. It’s got to…. The best thing we can do is fortify today and make it very hard for tomorrow to change it. I see things architecturally. I know that if I build a building out of concrete, it’s going to give you less incentive to tear it down.”
Then he reminded me, “There isn’t a funding grant for this project. It is not tied to any guarantees.”
So it could end this year?
“It could end right now,” Velasquez said with a laugh. “This year, I was very successful in getting some [committee members] to raise money.”
Speaking of money, what about the artists? Is that end goal working, in dollars and cents?
Both Chavez and Shadrock have sold “some paintings” at the event. Velasquez says that one of the artists was hired in the middle of a press event for Una Noche to do a mural for $8,000 at the old Pig Stand in Southtown.
“I’m not seeing any benefits of La Gloria,” said Cuellar. “Monetarily.” But he has been asked to do speaking engagements and has crossed paths with people in the industry he wouldn’t have met if it hadn't been for his Una Noche gig.
“I will always be cool with San Antonio if it decides to stay the way it is but I’ll know that in some sense I’ve changed a couple of people’s minds,” Cuellar concluded.
“What’s important today is to help build strong foundations,” said Velasquez. “We can only hope that the investment we’re making lasts.”
Spoken like a true architect.
Una Noche en la Gloria
6pm-midnight, Sat Oct 12
Brazos and Guadalupe