Living Cornyation History, With Ray Chavez

Apr 5, 2018
Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio

In this episode of TPR's Fiesta podcast, hosts Asia Ciaravino and Angela McClendon Johnson share some of their own Cornyation stories, and we visit with the man himself: Ray Chavez. 

Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio

Cornyation — a spoof of the more formal Fiesta Coronation — lambasts the rich, powerful, controversial and political with a dose of satire and inside jokes relevant to Texas, San Antonio, and the nation.

This year’s Cornyation is the Court of Insane Privilege presided over by King Anchovy the 52nd Jeffrey James. The designers of the more than dozen four-minute skits spend months creating elaborate costumes and building sets to bring the spoofs to life. Each skit takes on politicians and any noteworthy celebrity deemed worthy of facetious attention.

Maverick Books/Trinity University Press

Created in 1951 by members of San Antonio's theater community to satirize traditional, socially exclusive Fiesta events, Cornyation is a flamboyant, adult-themed parody of local and national politics and culture.

Joey Palacios / TPR News

Even two months after Fiesta is over, charitable donations are still being made from the event organizers. Cornyation is awarding over $150,000 to HIV/AIDS programs.

Cornyation is spoof of the Fiesta Coronation. Every year people pack the Empire Theatre for a glitzy and campy San Antonio-themed satire. All of the money generated from tickets and fundraisers is donated. At the Friendly Spot Ice House, Cornyation’s board announced it raised $168,000 this year.

Lauren Farris / Farris Family Film & Photo

Fiesta involves kings, queens and other pseudo royalty, but even the city’s light-hearted 18-day celebration needs some satire on itself. Cornyation is the annual spoof on the Fiesta Coronation where the famous and political are lampooned in on-stage skits.

At its core Cornyation is a stage performance: 300 volunteers, 6,000 audience members, poignant political gaffes, campy controversial catastrophes and tacky troubling topics. It's a three-night performance conducted each year during the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of Fiesta.