Claire Rousay on "The Lonesome Rose", San Antonio

Claire Rousay “San Antonio is a good place to grow up, but it’s not necessarily connected to the world that I exist in now”

Claire Rousay (Photo: M. Harper Scott)


Claire Rousay: “I lived in San Antonio, Texas, for about 20 years. When I was a kid, my parents moved there from Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada for work, so I basically spent my whole life there. I’ve been moving a lot over the past 10 or 15 years in various iterations and recently relocated to L.A. I’m used to the moving around, but not used to living somewhere totally different from San Antonio, like L.A.

Living there was really special. It’s quite a large city compared to Austin—a population of two and a half million compared to around 800,000 people—even though it’s not a cultural hub in the same way that Austin is. None of the buildings are that tall, so San Antonio just grows outwards, it covers a lot of area. Getting around is all by car, because there’s no public transportation aside from a failing bus system. So learning to drive is a huge thing in Texas, especially in South Texas. And then everything’s really family oriented. Lots of things that your parents ended up doing, you end up doing, too, both as a kid and then again as an adult, just because there’s so much emphasis on family. San Antonio is a good place to grow up, but it’s not necessarily connected to the world that I exist in now. As far as art and music go, it’s not really connected at all. To access those kinds of things, I had to use the Internet and travel on tour with bands and stuff.

“The Lonesome Rose” is a relatively new establishment in San Antonio. It’s a country-and-western bar on a street where everything else is a club, a dance music or rock venue. It was the first time anybody really put anything like that on that street. My friend Garrett, who also plays music, is the owner of the bar. It’s cool to have your friend’s bar that you go to all the time. And all different kinds of people go there, but I don’t know any other country-and-western spot in San Antonio that people under 40 or 45 visit. It’s super inexpensive and you just drink beer there or have some tequila shots. About 200 people can fit in there and there’s a huge outdoor area where people also hang out because you can’t smoke inside. A lot of people have stopped smoking in the States, but lots of people still smoke cigarettes in San Antonio, so it’s nice to have a spot.

Claire Rousay (Photo: M. Harper Scott)

The bar works with the public radio a lot to present concerts and things like that. I’ve played shows there, and I’ve seen a bunch of shows there too. Everybody I know living in San Antonio kind of hangs out there. When you come back from traveling, you go out for the first time and you see everybody without even having to make a plan to see anybody. Everybody you know is already there and it’s super comfortable. Compared to more traditional country-and-western spots, it’s way more progressive politically. They’re very open minded and do not tolerate discrimination.

I think “The Lonesome Rose” definitely had an influence on my attitude in the last couple of years living in San Antonio, just because it was such a hub for hanging out with people that were not related to music. It was nice going there and just having normal conversations and not talking about work or all these things that I had been doing up until that point. It’s just a way to turn your brain off and interact with people who aren’t necessarily involved in that world.

The music programming is actually quite broad. They sometimes have experimental music. They’ll have a country band play one night and two nights later that week they’ll have karaoke, and then the night after that they’ll have a sledge kind of metal show, where you meet a bunch of people in cowboy hats and cowboy boots. So it’s a great place to rest and see a bunch of stuff that you would never see anywhere else in the world. It truly is a singular spot.


Claire Rousay was interviewed, edited and put into narrative form  for the Week-End-Books publication “I feel everything you say, I feel everything you hear.”
(published by StrzeleckiBooks. ISBN: 978-3-946770-00-8)

Mit Texten und Fotos von: Stephen Malkmus, Adrian Sherwood, Scientist, Suzanne Ciani, Flohio, Shintaro Sakamoto, Gilberto Gil, Arthur Verocai, Stephen Pastel, Pascal Comelade, Sun Ra Arkestra‘s Marshall Allen, Fred Frith, Eiko Ishibashi, Jan St. Werner, Tim Bernardes, Sessa, Roedelius, Mdou Moctar, Anadol, Pak Yan Lau, Claire RousayAutor*innen: Olaf Karnik, Hanna Bächer, Thiago Piccoli, Ryan Weinstein, Friedhelm TeickeFotograf*innen: Christian Faustus, Frederike Wetzels, Niclas Weber, Jason Quigley, Biel Basile, Laurent Orseau, M. Harper Scott

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