We are living in the most exciting part of San Antonio.
For art, for music, for food, for drink — there’s no better place to be. This is where everything happens. In fact, so much is happening that it’s hard to keep up.
So how should you keep up? How can you be sure that something really good doesn’t pass you by?
For more than a thousand people, the answer is Jane Gennarelli’s weekly arts and entertainment newsletter.
Jane’s free email newsletter keeps subscribers up to date on all the great music, art shows, theater, and live performances going on in the Southtown and Downtown neighborhoods — in a territory ranging from The Pearl in the north to Lone Star in the south.
Each issue of Jane’s newsletter covers more than one hundred events, nicely organized and concisely described. It’s delivered to subscribers on Wednesday, and it covers events from the next day (Thursday) through the following Wednesday.
And did I mention that it’s free?
HOW TO GET YOUR EVENT INTO THE NEWSLETTER
So how do you get your event into Jane’s newsletter?
Jane needs a link
The single most important thing you can do is post it in advance on your website or Facebook page.
“I don’t post anything without a link,” Jane says. “People often send me emails announcing an event, sometimes with attached PDF posters, and that’s nice, but if they don’t provide me with a link, I can’t use it.”
Jane has a pretty long list of websites and Facebook pages that she scans for events, so the odds are pretty good that she’s going to find your event. However, if your organization or venue is new — or if they host events infrequently — she might not have it on her list.
In that case, contact her and let her know. You can reach her through the contact form on this website or by responding directly to her email newsletter.
Jane is always happy to get those emails. “I appreciate it,” she says. “A lot of times, it’s something I’ve already picked up in my research, but other times an email alerts me to an event that I would otherwise miss. So, yes, I always appreciate those emails.”
You need to post your event well in advance
The second most important thing you can do is post your event with a good lead time.
“By the time my newsletter goes out on Wednesday morning, I’m usually ninety percent done with the research for the next issue,” she says. “On Saturday, I re-scan some sites that I know get updated at the end of the week, but that’s pretty much it. But the end of the day on Sunday, the Wednesday newsletter is just about set in stone.”
She’ll occasionally make exceptions, but for the most part, events that come to her after Sunday arrive too late to be included.
Some people miss the deadline by more than that.
Jane is surprised at the number of people who contact her on Wednesday about events for the coming weekend.
“Usually, by the time I get their email, the newsletter is already gone,” she says.
Your event must be appropriate for the newsletter
Jane’s newsletter is about art and entertainment events. She covers art gallery openings, live performances, music at local venues — things like that. She does not cover retail sales, drink specials, or promotions.
“I also don’t cover walks and running events,” she says, “except for the big ones, Like the Rock ’n Roll Marathon. There are just too many of them.”
“And I don’t cover fundraisers, unless there’s an actual event associated with it.”
(If you’d like to subscribe, you’ll find a signup button on the Events page.)
HOW JANE ASSEMBLES THE NEWSLETTER
Putting together the newsletter is a lot of work.
“Every week, I visit somewhere between eighty and one hundred websites and Facebook pages,” Jane says, “Some of the sites I visit are general San Antonio calendar websites and others belong to specific venues.”
For each event, she grabs a description and a link back to the source, so that she can tell you what it is and where to go for more information.
“I spend about twenty hours each week putting the newsletter together,” she says. “That in- cludes all the research and then organizing and drafting it.”
Jane has been doing this for more than a decade. She considers it “my contribution to the neighborhood.”
PROMOTING LOCAL ARTISTS
In addition to promoting events, for the past year, Jane has been using the newsletter to promote local artists.
“I’ve always had a graphic of some kind at the top of the newsletter,” she says. “In recent years, its been a stock photo — I usually picked something that was a good fit for the season — but starting about a year ago, I began using works of art from local artists.”
That in itself takes some effort. Jane has invested time familiarizing herself with San Antonio artists and art galleries, researching them on the web and then contacting them personally to talk about their art.
“I’ve really, really enjoyed that,” Jane says. “The artists I’ve met with and spoken with have been great. They genuinely appreciate the exposure that the newsletter gives them, and I think those headers — you know, using the local art — makes the newsletter more interesting. I hope people who get the newsletter take the time to read about the artist and, if you like the work, maybe click through to the artist’s website to see more of it.”
Jane says that she has a couple of requirements for the art she uses.
“First, the artist has to be local,” she says, “or at least represented by a local gallery, and second, the piece has to work as a header, meaning that I kind of prefer works that are oriented horizontally.”
THE FEATURED EVENTS PAGE
Jane also selects a handful of events each week that she thinks warrant special attention — events she thinks will interest a lot of people or events she personally recommends — and she puts those on the events page of the LNF Weekly website.
In the past, Jane updated that list once each week, on Wednesday, when she sent out the week’s newsletter. As a result, after a few days some of the events were ‘stale’ — they had come and gone.
So Jane is now updating the list every day, clearing out any completed events and adding new ones, so that there are always a dozen upcoming events in the list. The list sorts the events by date, so events at the front of the list are the ones happening the soonest (except for occasional ‘spotlight’ events that are pinned to the top of the list).
So this is a list worth revisiting frequently.
THE NAME IS ABOUT TO CHANGE
Jane’s newsletter got its start as an email she circulated to friends in the Lavaca neighborhood, reminding them of a weekly happy hour and tipping them off to some other fun events nearby. The subject line of that email was ‘Lavaca Happy Hour.’
That newsletter got passed around, and pretty soon the newsletter (and the happy hour) had subscribers from outside Lavaca. So the name changed to ‘Lavaca and Friends Happy Hour’.
And still later, Jane realized that the newsletter had evolved into something completely different from its roots. So out went the ‘Happy Hour’ label, and the newsletter was renamed as ‘Lavaca and Friends Art and Entertainment Newsletter.’
And now it’s changing one more time.
The newsletter — and the old Lavaca and Friends website — are being merged into the new LNF Weekly online magazine. So, starting next week, the newsletter will become:
The LNF Weekly Arts & Entertainment Newsletter.
Nothing else will change. And it's still free.
Jane asks that you share the newsletter with your friends and encourage them to subscribe.
“Knowing that people appreciate it makes the effort worthwhile,” she says.
Jim Feuerstein is co-editor of LNF Weekly; he also designs and manages the website.
Each issue covers more than one hundred events in the Downtown and Southtown area.
The name is about to change to 'LNF Weekly Arts & Entertainment Newsletter'