by James Dykman, photography by Natalia Sun

Socializing with incredible people. Immersing yourself in phenomenal music. Binding together the threads of local and international relations. No better things in life and it is thanks to the FineTunerz for such an opportunity.

Before I talk more about the event, it’s important to start with the space. Blue Star Contemporary Arts, the first and longest-running venue for contemporary art in San Antonio, is housed at the epicenter of San Antonio’s Southtown art district. A place where culture thrives and energy electrifies, the gallery provides a space inside the maelstrom of sensation in which not only the body can wander, but the mind as well.

The gallery balances intimacy and privacy perfectly. Whether you wanted to engage with new faces, enjoy a piece of art on your own, or stand and listen to the amazing father/son jazz duo that is George and Aaron Prado, there were opportunities for any preference.

It was the final act of Grammy Award Winning Accordionist, Victor Prieto, and his trio that brought a fusion of culture that took you around the world. From his own bio, “His love for the traditional Galician music and classical education enriches his compositions with explosive rhythm and colors uniquely combining Galician Roots, Celtic, Brazilian, Jazz, Tango, and Classical music.” As a musician, exposure to such unique chord progressions and rhythms provided an opportunity to spark interest and inspiration to expand my own repertoire, either for listening or performing. FineTunerz creates moments to stimulate curiosity by allowing viewers to engage in conversation with the performers. Though I had no time to speak with Victor after the performance, the chance to talk with him before made the experience of listening to him all the better.

FineTunerz is a  donation-based membership program of Musical Bridges Around the World, its goal is not only to introduce the San Antonio community to the rest of the world, but to bridge the generational gap in San Antonio through music as well. I had the pleasure of meeting Mike Casey, San Antonio’s Best Dressed Man in 2014 (SACurrent) and a dedicated member to the King William neighborhood in San Antonio. Though my passion is meeting strangers, my encounter with Mr. Casey was unique and inspirational. He radiated history, one deeply rooted in this great city, and our conversation encouraged me to learn more about the place which I am slowly calling home.