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Arts & Culture

Weekender: Space, Soulful Singer, Great Bus Tour

Bob Kelley
Scobee Planetarium

You can learn a little bit about outer space, take in a soulful music performance and hop on an amazing bus tour.  Here are three events to consider that are taking place around San Antonio this weekend.

First off, head to the Scobee Planetarium on the San Antonio College campus, where Rick Varner runs the Scobee Education Center.

"Every Friday night the Scobee Planetarium opens to the public and has three different program offerings," he said. "6:30 is typically the program we have for children, usually an animated feature. This Friday it'll be Little Star That Could."

Credit Bob Kelley
Inside Scobee Planetarium

At 7:30 p.m. they switch gears slightly for older kids — and the rest of us — for an astronomer-presented live program.

"We put the constellations, the planets, the moon, different celestial events, that if you could turn off the San Antonio lights and you could see the sky as it would be, that's the experience we try to provide," he said.

According to Varner, their new computer-generated solar system really puts you there. 

IF YOU GO What: Friday Night Show Where: Scobee Planetarium When: 6:30 p.m. Friday Cost:  $2-$5

Also happening Friday night, Arts San Antonio brings a singer who's on the rise – Nella.


John Toohey runs Arts San Antonio.

"Her music is very much grounded in her roots, and in the music she heard growing up," he said.

Home for Nella was a small island off the coast of Venezuela named Margarita. As the young woman developed her singing voice and pondered her career, Nella moved to Boston where she graduated from the Berklee School of Music.


"She absolutely represents the type of globally significant type of performer we mean to present," Toohey said.

She will be singing in both Spanish and English, and she won't be performing alone.

"She brings an ensemble of four musicians with her," he said.

You can catch Nella’s first Texas performance tonight at the Empire Theater. 

IF YOU GO What: Nella performance Where: Empire Theater When: 7:30 p.m., Friday Cost:  $29-$792

And then on Saturday, climb aboard a bus and learn fascinating things you may not know about. Aundar Maat is hosting the bus tour, and he knows his local history. 

Credit Born Logic Allah for Melaneyes Media LLC
Black History bus tour

"It's a bus tour identifying historical sites in San Antonio that are related to the black experience," he said.

Maat co-produced the film Walk On The River: A Black History of the Alamo City that was released earlier this year. 

"We've identified 18 locations, mainly focused on the East Side of San Antonio,” he said. “We have a 56-passenger bus."

He fills that bus, and someone with a microphone provides a running  narrative detailing tour-goers the much overlooked east side history.

"We visit the Ellis Alley area, one referred to many times as the cradle of black culture,” Maat said. “We also go by the Carver Cultural Center."

While it got its start as a community center, the Carver became a library in the1930s [identified by a plaque as the city’s “colored library”]. Since being saved from the wrecking ball in the 1970s, the Carver has returned to its cultural roots.

"Hosting some of the great entertainers through the ages from Duke Ellington to Louis Armstrong to others," he said.

Maat added this tour will teach a lot to those who come.    

“I think that this tour is permitting people to learn something and see something that is not well known, but is very powerful," he said.

IF YOU GO What: Black History Bus Tour Where: Martin Luther King Academy When: 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. Saturday