Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Movie Night with SPJ

We see the images every day - scantily-clad women, young girls' faces caked in make-up, female role models whose brawn is focused upon much more than their brains. But how does the media's portrayal of females affect the lives of girls?

Miss Representation, an award-winning documentary written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, explores that issue. Through interviews with teenagers, the audience sees how stereotypes about women continue to thrive in the media and worm their ways inside of girls' minds, changing the way they see themselves. Expert interviews with members of the media and politicians (Condoleezza Rice, Margaret Cho, Nancy Pelosi, Rosario Dawson, Katie Couric and Lisa Ling, to name a few) drive the point home - although these images surround us every day, many of us have become immune to them.

Join the San Antonio chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for a movie night on the International Day of the Girl, Oct. 11. We'll open up Room 101 of the Longwith Radio Television Film building on the San Antonio College campus around 6 p.m. and start the film at 6:30 p.m. A short discussion will follow.

This event is free to members and students, and a suggested $5 donation will be collected at the door for all others. Space is limited, so please RSVP.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

After the after-party

Last night's Gridiron show was a fantastic success. We're still counting cash, but it looks like we'll be able to hand out about $8,500 in scholarships from the money we raised in ticket sales. Revenue from the ads we sold in the program cover costs of running the show, which add up. 
Gridiron 2012 cast preforms show finale. Photo by Colleen Pence

We filled the Watson Fine Arts Center with an engaged, entertained audience and had a blast. There are so many people and organizations to thank, but at the top of my list are: the San Antonio Express-News, for printing the programs; Joaquin Herrera, for designing the show's logo, tickets and program; co-producers Nora Lopez and David Elizondo, the SPJ board, video-masterminds and the cast and crew - including police Chief William McManus and county Judge Nelson Wolff - who sacrificed time, money and maybe a little dignity; our extremely talented director Gloria "G.L." Liu and the staff at the Watson center who were insanely accommodating. Without Starline Costumes, we'd have had no squirrels...or Mayan costumes or fedoras or so many other props and outfits.

Thank you also to the audience for supporting Gridiron. We will be selling DVDs of the show in the near future, and if you're interested in a copy, email Eva Ruth ( Our videos now live on a YouTube channel, so feel free to share them. I've posted the Mayor's iPhone video below.

We can't wait to make next year's show even better.
-Eva Ruth Moravec

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Hours before the cast of the 2012 Gridiron show takes the stage, I wanted to share some history of the event, written by Sue Merkner. We convinced Sue to do a video this year, and then she couldn't resist joining the crew for the live show, too. I'm delighted we have her insight and knowledge of the event's history. Thank you to everyone who's helped make "Rumor Has It" what it is today (and if you still need tickets, they'll be $25 at the door). See you at the Watson Fine Arts Center, 1801 Martin Luther King Drive, doors open at 7 p.m.
-Eva Ruth Moravec

A brief history of the San Antonio Gridiron Show – 1985 to 2012
By Susan A. Merkner

Gridiron shows traditionally are produced by journalists as local fundraisers, combining original skits and song parodies in a live theatrical production that spoofs newsmakers as well as the journalists who cover them.

The show’s name comes from the annual dinner presented by the Gridiron Club, the oldest and one of the most prestigious journalistic organizations in Washington, D.C. Membership in the club, which was established in 1885, is by invitation only. The club’s dinner features satirical music skits by members and politicians.

The first Gridiron show in San Antonio was presented in the fall of 1985. It was the brainchild of Gebe Martinez, then a reporter at the San Antonio Light – back when the city had competing daily newspapers. Henry Cisneros was mayor of San Antonio at that time, and he graciously attended performances during his term of office, setting a precedent for subsequent elected officials.

The first four shows were directed by the late Wayne Elkins of the San Antonio Little Theater, which is now the Playhouse. After Elkins became ill and died, the Gridiron was directed each year by Gloria “G.L.” Liu, who also served as the show’s choreographer in its earliest years. GL has directed all the local Gridiron shows since 1989.

In the early years, about 50 local journalists were involved in each show -- reporters and editors from San Antonio’s two daily newspapers at the time, the Light and the San Antonio Express-News, as well as local television and radio stations and magazines.

The show may look effortless (!) but it involves many people giving their time to help write the script and plan the show, as well as serving as musicians, producing the artwork and playbill, and handling publicity and ticket sales. Starline Costumes has provided the show’s costumes from the beginning. Backstage personnel and technical assistants also assist with each performance.

The San Antonio Little Theater, now the Playhouse, was the original home of the Gridiron show in its first four years. In 1989, a bigger auditorium was needed, so the show moved to the Carver Community Cultural Center.  For many years, the Gridiron was staged at McAllister Fine Arts Center at San Antonio College, typically selling out each performance.

After the San Antonio Light closed in January 1993, the pool of local journalists was reduced, and the Gridiron no longer was produced annually.

The most recent show, in 2007, was staged at the Josephine Theatre. The theme of the show was “Up in Smoke” in honor of the Helotes mulch fire. Special guest appearances at the show were made by brothers Julian and Joaquin Castro.

One of the biggest changes in the Gridiron over the years has been the use of technology to enhance the show’s production values.  In the earliest years, there were no microphones available for the actors, so everyone had to learn how to project! This year’s show features sophisticated sound and lighting systems and professionally produced video shorts. It’s also the first local Gridiron show to be marketed through social media and involve online ticket sales.

Bottom line: All proceeds from the show are contributed to the San Antonio professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for student scholarships. SPJ is the nation’s most broad-based professional association for journalists, dedicated to freedom of the press and high standards of ethical behavior. The scholarship money is donated to area students studying journalism.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

GRIDIRON is here!

You've seen the photos on our Facebook feed.
It's obvious that we're having a blast getting ready for this year's Gridiron show...but one thing is still missing: YOU!

As Sept. 8 approaches, I just wanted to remind everyone that ticket prices go up at the door. To lock in the $20 rate (quit your complainin', money goes towards scholarships for journalism students), buy online. We'll also be raffling off a Kindle Fire during Act II, but you must be present to win.

If you're uncomfortable with buying things online but still want to take advantage of the pre-sale rate, there are plenty of cast members who have tickets for sale for cash or check. Send me an email ( to work out the details. T-shirts will be sold at the show for $10, cash or check-only.

It's been a while since the hilarious, media-written/produced/preformed Gridiron show took the stage, so please help us spread the word and remind people what a great time it is! We'd love to fill the Watson Fine Arts Center theater, a lovely facility on the St. Philip's College campus at 1801 Martin Luther King Drive, and can't wait to see you there!

Make sure you keep an eye on our YouTube channel for special multimedia surprises.
-Eva Ruth Moravec