On Next Generations, or: Meanwhile…

As you can likely see from my last couple of posts, the year to date has been one for expanding our creative horizons.  And while I’ve been working on building my résumé as a practicing screenwriter, my boss has also found a new venue for her passions and mission…

Those of you who follow her through her Facebook page or her Twitter feed will already know that (in addition to the one-on-one sessions she still teaches at our Alamo Heights office) Nikki‘s now teaching group classes in film acting at Stone Oak Youth Theatre and Dance Company.  It’s been a great experience so far; as she likes to tell people, working with Maryclaire Becan and the SOYT team combines so many of the things she loves – film, theatre, and especially teaching kids (as a student as SWT, she focused on child theatre).

This week, I’ve had the privilege to see some of those kids in action.  Monday brought me to the school itself, to witness the end result of a day-long workshop Maryclaire was hosting to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.  Nikki had assisted in the workshop, of course, and had brought in the phenomenal SkudR Jones to play Dr. King himself.  Having just seen SkudR pull off an amazing number at Jump Start’s Performance Party, the chance to see him bring King’s words to life was just one more reason to be excited about seeing the play performed.

And that excitement was rewarded.  The kids did a great job, and SkudR made a powerful impression as MLK.  As Nikki told me before the show, “I feel like I’ve learned something.”  I couldn’t think of a better way to honor King’s legacy than to pass it on to a new generation.

(For those who missed the story when it ran on Monday, here’s a great piece from KSAT about the workshop.)

The week ended with two trips to Tootie Pie Co.’s two San Antonio cafés (one at Huebner and Bitters, the other on Broadway) for a different kind of celebration.  I hadn’t even heard of it before Nikki told me about it a couple of weeks ago, but as it turns out today is National Pie Day.  (I’d suggested to her that whoever came up with the idea should have chosen March 14 instead of January 23.  She got the joke.)  And with that in mind, Nikki and Maryclaire thought of bringing Premiere, SOYT’s street-team performance group, to Tootie Pie – famous for their epic 10-apple pies (yes, that’s TEN apples in each pie) – to sing pie songs and hand out free samples.

It goes without saying, so of course I’m saying it anyway, that the kids (and the pies) were a big hit.  The songs – pop favorites re-worked by Maryclaire – were great fun, with the students’ enthusiasm quickly catching on with the audience.  And I’m convinced that if word of the performance ever found its way to Lady Gaga, she’d incorporate pie-tin hats into her ensemble.  It’d give a whole new meaning to the phrase “fashion plate”.

As an arts geek, I’m proud of what the faculty and students of SOYT have accomplished (and you can read more about them in this terrific Express-News piece by Deborah Martin).  And as Nikki’s write hand man, I’m looking forward to seeing what they do next (including a showcase of Nikki’s students on February 4, plus a number of upcoming productions – for more details, be sure to visit SOYT’s website.  It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I’ll be there to support them in any way I can.

I hope you’ll join us there.  Until then, “be seeing you…”

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