By Gilbert Garcia
The news is grim concerning Manny Castillo, executive director of San Anto Cultural Arts and drummer for Snowbyrd. Castillo, a tireless West Side community activist, champion of the local arts scene, catalyst for San Anto's mural program, and dynamic musician known as "the Chicano Keith Moon," was placed in a hospice facility last Friday, where he's receiving medication to alleviate the pain from his rapidly spreading cancer.
Castillo underwent cancer surgery in October and subsequently began chemotherapy treatments. For a short period, his condition appeared to be improving and last month he managed to join his bandmates for a song at the San Anto Christmas party, but by the end of the month he was admitted to Baptist Hospital and concerned friends and supporters held a vigil for him outside the hospital on Saturday, December 27.
It's hard to overstate Castillo's importance to the local arts community or what a powerful presence he has been. Obviously, this is a very sad time for the many people whose lives he's touched over the years.