Friday, December 23, 2005

october 31, 2004 - dream of fleeing flood

[the following is taken from my dream journal----october 31, 2004----dream recollection, along with the notes i gathered in my mad struggle to find out whether what i dreamt was a premonition or a re-cognition]

key term i woke with this morning/dream interrupted by viciously-loud cat fight: clover stand clover stand cloverstand

the dream:
with family/extended family, packing the valuables in plastic bags and rushing to catch a boat off our island, only to realize that all boats were booked. somehow we end up on mainland, but find that this place too is threatened by impending flood and high tidal sweeps of ocean. i am in a small slender boat with only 2 of our larger group, and we are rushing to higher land. but know that we will encounter the storm and be tossed about, maybe to our finish. somehow, i end up in what seems to be called hong kong and i am surrounded by chaos and frantic asians rushing to safety. i see people on high rooftops and see that most of the buildings in this coastal city are only 1 or 2 story. i see a bell tower and wonder why no one has taken refuge there. then the phrase or word cloverstand comes to mind. is that where i was from, was that the original geographic location of this spree of fleeing? another word, a place name, flickered into mind, but only briefly and i lucidly thought, remember the easier term, remember cloverstand, it's like understand. the other word was like: mantamount, something mount. mountenmille or something compicated like that.

google results:

Clover Island 1948 flood in Kennewick

Australians tried to plant clover in Concord(?)

Agog He is all agog, in nervous anxiety; on the qui vive, like a horse in clover. (French, à gogo, or vivre à gogo, to live in clover.)

EDITED AND EXTENDED BY OWEN K. DAVIS   1991-1993 (cite O.K. Davis, unpublished)
Age: 1575-1654 AD
Reference: Stine, 1990
Comments: Clover Ranch High Stand of Mono Lake

*** actuality, which i found out about, upon opening yahoo news @ 10pm:

High Tides Put Venice Sites Under Water

Sun Oct 31, 2:20 PM ET

VENICE, Italy - Unusually high tides sent sea water sweeping through Venice on Sunday, covering 80 percent of the city by afternoon. St. Mark's Square and other famous locations were inundated, forcing tourists and residents alike to don rubber boots and use elevated walkways.

St. Mark's Square, the heart of the city and one of its lowest points, was covered by at least 16 inches of water. A canoeist was spotted in the square.

City officials put out raised wooden walkways, but in some places the water rose above them, the ANSA news agency said.

Leonardo Cossutta, of the city office that monitors tides, said Venice's waterborne public transportation was suspended for about an hour and some shops reported water damage.

Venice is prone to periodic flooding. The government has approved a plan to install mobile barriers on the Adriatic seabed near the entrance to the Venetian lagoon to protect the city when threatened by high tides.

dream fragment - december 8, 2004

[this is excerpted from my dream journal, posting from december 8, 2004 - morning around 7:30am]

onboard ship w/ cut hand, open wound, encroaching storm
pain mounting. feeling pressure to do something. why i
waited, i don’t know. i now have the gauze, the salve or oil
for what’s the word DRESSING my hand. the injury is in my
palm. in the palm of my hand.

back to the ship, seeing the sense of panic in my partner’s face, he the normally very cool and collected shipmate.
now, now is the time we must go, it’s coming, it has arrived.


the hurricane, the gale winds, the storming sweeps of water that could collect
us in its ferociioius arms and carry us off to its depths.

December 22nd, 2004 - dream remembrances

[dream journal entry: December 22nd, 2004]

flood impending. things melting. making waters rise throughout
central u.s. etc. even
i was in several-story house with 2 boys (sons?) or brothers.
put on shorts, i said. clean clohtes. sweaters too. to oldest:
help me shut the windows,, as i grabbed all the little musical
instruments. we are the ones who celebrate with spirit in the
city, so we will be on the top floor or the roof of the house
and we will not show a dejected, failed spirit. the village counts
on us for this.

dream memory : february 1st, 2005

[dream - February 1st a.m. right about 9:30am or 10am - 2005]

who made it home?

one woman with fruits and sea products
paddles assuredly, but slowly in a narrow
rough-finished dugout watercraft.

(somehow i know that she has been away, maybe displaced, for some time, and has survived a long absence maybe not of her choosing. it has been a long haul, but she is serene with relief, knowing that she is almost back to her home place. a world of ocean and sea life that is comfortable to her.)

dirty h2o is home. a pocket of dingy, well-populated
turf in the cove. again, it feels asian/eastern.

seaside vacationing hoteling:

sleeping in ocean
(comfortable sea-steeped lodging)

a beautiful series of sculptures in the water
at shallow’s edge, i guess, for how could they
be rooted in the seabed, miles and miles below
the water’s surface?

one particular sculpture that fascinated me was
high and curvilinear, tall as a tree, with beveled
shelving abutments. it stood lone, provocative
and mononumental. it seemed utilitarian or had
the potential to be.

a friend, “my friend flirt” (?), gave me a brief tour.

i saw a stubby white tourist couple sink into
adjacent sleep pockets, seemingly fashioned of
material resembling whale blubber or thick black
rubbery vinyl. little wombs in the warmth of the beach-
fronting waters.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Family together - "Christmas Story"

Last night, I had my immediate family (mom the matriarch, sis, bro, and niece) over for a home-cooked meal. I barely arrived home from the grocery store before they showed up, but fortunately I'd already prepped a few things earlier in the day. I swear they musta made a pact to go easy on me and "if you can't say anything nice, well...." because I noticed they were so so patient and cool with everything. It's as if they (particularly mom and sis) left their critical mode batteries at home, and this was very relieving. I confined them to the front room--it was the least cluttered of the house--and strictly forbade them from following me into the kitchen. It was fun playing chef for 90 minutes, emerging from the cocina with bowls and plates of steaming victuals (potato soup, bratwurst, sauteed spinach, french bread, and more) as they munched and chatted among themselves. Once I sat down to join them, for a cup of Mexican hot chocolate and a cup of soup, they seemed content and relaxed by the meal. It was the right time to read them something, which was "Christmas Story" by John Henry Faulk an Austinite who tried to have a career in radio broadcasting in spite of rampant McCarthyism. I just heard Faulk's reading of this story on NPR the other day, and it officially put me in the holiday way. The story, which you too can hear Faulk read, helps me imagine the Depression-era christmases my own father musta had, back in west Texas in the early 1940s. By the end of my own living room reading of the story for my family last night, we were all teary-eyed and full of w.f's (warm fuzzies).

Side note: During the 1980s, Faulk traveled the nation urging students to be ever-vigilant of their constitutional rights and to take advantage of the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. The Center for American History at UT-Austin sponsors the John Henry Faulk Conference on the First Amendment, and the Texas Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Handbook is dedicated to the memory of Faulk.

MY FORT WORTH: Kino Monda Cinema presents---tonight!

[John Singleton's got me on his e-mailing list, so I get the announcements about the weekly film screenings at TCU for his Kino Monda series. John's one of those people I hardly ever see, but whom I imagine is probably one of the tribe--folks you ultimately would count as cool and close. Somebody said that about me once, after watching me dance and carry on at a radio station fundraiser in Austin: "Tammy, when the end of the world is near, and everybody's reaching out for someone, I wanna be dancing with your tribe." That's kinda how I feel about John. Hmmmm, maybe I'll cut out from work tonight and go see this flick--free food is always a nice enticement too.]

free thought **free food **free cinema

tonight's film: "Love Actually" (dir., Richard Curtis/UK/2003)

6:30 pm, Wednesday, December 21st
Sid Richardson Lecture Hall 4

Love Actually!     If you’re already in the holiday spirit, this film is like a steroid shot of Christmas cheer. For some (me), anyway…this movie threads functional and dysfunctional romance, hope, loss, reemerged hope, lost again, found again.  Spoofs on icons like rock stars and presidents, improbable loves and probable pre-disasters, all set around the Christmas holiday.  If I were psycho-analyzing a planet, I’d suggest "Love Actually" is the same message delivered to earth that was delivered by Jimmy Stewart in "It’s a Wonderful Life", only it is translated into a language we speak now.   Moral purists might prefer the Nutcracker. - J.Singleton

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Remembering the Blue Flamingo days

I was just reminded of the Blue Flamingo, the former Austin hole-in-the-wall punk-noise-rawk club that the AusChron referred to as being "in all likelihood the stankiest, most low-down joint to ever qualify for a TABC liquor license." I loved that place. When you got bored at Emo's (and that's saying alot, as you could easily count on free admission performances by the likes of El Vez, Stereolab, and Blonde Redhead at the Emo's mainstage--even on weeknights), it was fun to cruise over to the Blue to get your earholes flossed, i mean good. Miss Laura, the obese Black transvestite proprietess, staunchly defended your right to party hard in s/his space--all eight by ten feet of it. It was always sweaty and screeching, blow-your-eardrums-out loud. One night I stumbled by myself into the Blue only to find the sweatiest, funkiest punk outfit calling themselves the Cleofus Trujillo Trio. I loved them. That was the mid-1990s. And guess what? The Blue Flamingo may have gone the way of all awesome rock clubs--blues and overdues done 'em in. But--the Cleofus Trujillo Trio has re-emerged as Snowbyrd. Still based in San Anto, Snowbyrd is amping up and playing out in Austin and beyond. Matter of fact, they are scheduled for a set at Room 710 on Friday, December 23rd, in Austex with none other than (and I thought they had died too--lo and behold, rock-and-roll resurrection is for real!)the legendary Hickoids. Highly highly recommended.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I'm going to jail today!


AT DAWSON STATE JAIL in downtown Dallas

The women are minimum-security prisoners who participate in a creative new pilot project of Hope Literacy. Hope Literacy programs at Dawson, Hutchins and Gatesville Prisons train inmates to serve as tutors for their fellow inmates. These women are participants in the literacy program who have also been selected to participate in a program in which the inmates live together in a dorm unit -- which they have named Unity City -- and practice the principles of self-government.

Their children, from toddlers to young teenagers, are being given a unique opportunity to spend quality time with their mothers during a holiday celebration in the Dawson gym. Invitations have been sent to about 75 children.

I'm going to be reading the Tex-Mex version (!) of 'Twas the Night Before X-mas, and helping kids create a mural for their moms to take back to their unit and display during the holidays. I sat around late last night, imagining what it will be like to be in such close proximity with mothers who only rarely get to visit with and have physical contact with their own flesh and blood. I found myself already bracing for the inevitable tears and hearttugs that I will probably witness. I cannot take a camcorder in with me to document the experience to share with others, but I will most certainly bring back my own impressions. It's been a few years since I've had to visit a prison in painful circumstances. But then again, visiting a prison can never be like going off to play a round of Putt-Putt, can it?

Hopefully, I can offer some moments of cheer and entertainment pleasure for these separated family members trying to experience an evening of closeness and sharing. Wish me luck luck luck.

Here's more about the Hope Literacy project.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

MY FORT WORTH: the Chicano Luncheon - a Cowtown tradition since 1965

The CHICANO LUNCHEON is an amazing and unique (cuz i don't know of any other city in the US that does this) opportunity and concept.  Folks (you the public) show up for an EXACTLY ONE HOUR IN DURATION noontime meal and networking gathering.  Once you step through the portal of that salon (Spanish pronunciation of this word, with the connotation that it is a "hall" or "community space"), other attendees smilingly offer you their: flyers, business cards, brochures, event promo info, etc.

It's very convivial!  Once we are formally greeted by the wonderful RENNY ROSAS (long-time Chicano activist in the FW community), we are invited to line up for the food (yummy $5 enchilada plate). You sit, where you like, and then the introductions begin.  EVERYone in the salon is invited to introduce themselves and tell who/what they're with.  After that, we continue eating as the PROGRAM begins.  It is TAPED FOR LATER BROADCAST ON FW CABLE TV (multiple-broadcast, i should say).

During the PROGRAM, various folks announce their community events at the podium.  Then, the keynote speaker(s) are intro-ed and they speak for no more than 15 minutes.  Short and sweet.

So---today, in 12 hours (eek, i need to go to bed!) THURSDAY, DECEMBER FIRST, I am slated to present for 10 minutes.  As spoken word artist, and as member of Peaceful Vocations. Hope you can join me there!

The specifics:

The Chicano Luncheon.
Thursday Dec. 1, 2005.
12:noon to 1:p.m.
La Trinidad United Methodist Church.
1300 Gould Av. @ Northside Dr.
Fort Worth TX 76106
- Tammy Gomez - Spoken word artist
- Brenda Gonzales - Free income tax service
- Steve Lerma - Tarrant County

This will be the last Chicano Luncheon for 2005.
Jan. 5, 2006 begins the 14th season at La Trinidad United Methodist Church.
The Chicano Luncheon, keeping our tradition alive since 1965.
Renny Rosas
817.924.8181 ofc

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I was gonna tell you to go to the..

Nineteenth Annual Peacemaker Awards Dinner, sponsored by the Dallas Peace Center, in Dallas tomorrow night. BUT the event, folks, is OFFICIALLY SOLD OUT. Guess that's because they were not only going to honor the tireless peace & justice activists Johnny Wolf and Hadi Jawad (i've met them both, and these men are true warriors for change), but the activist-celeb CINDY SHEEHAN herself is confirmed to make an appearance and, probably, a speech. Photo oppportunity, folks. But, alas, since there are no tickets left for this, I guess you'll have to settle for visiting the DPC website and eating on your own, you little Peacemaker, you!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Hey, we're on the Michael Moore website!

The "Calls to Serve Met with Anger" article that ran in the Dallas Morning News last week got posted on Michael Moore's website as well. kewl. The more folks that read about this issue--no matter the forum--the better off they'll be. Says me.

Go directly here to see the article.

On a related note, my friend Ramsey and I visited two classes at Trimble Tech HS on November 17th. The students were cool and responsive, but the teacher absolutely floored me. She was so supportive and was 100% in agreement with our emphasis, which was to give the students info in order to better decide their future fates vis a vis military recruitment. One kid had been approached by a recruiter during lunchtime and was given a business card. The teacher, during our session, told the student to give me the business card because, as she put it, "You don't need that..." How 'bout that? Hopefully, I--along with other Peaceful Vocations members--can make more regular visits to h.s. campuses in the 817 after the xmas holidays.

For more information on PEACEFUL VOCATIONS, email

Thursday, November 17, 2005


[from the Internal Medicine Clinical Research Office at UNT Health Sciences Center]

The Department of Internal Medicine is looking for healthy people to participate in a research program.

Men and women, age 50 years or more and no history of heart disease, with normal body weight and normal cholesterol. All ethnic groups are needed to participate.

Qualified volunteers will receive laboratory studies and state-of-the-art CT scan of the heart at no charge.

If interested, please contact one of the following persons:

Enisa - 817-735-5159
Della - 817-735-0304
Mabyn - 817-735-2493
Joice - 817-735-2324

C.W.Spellman, PhD, D.O., FACOI
Associate Professor of Medicine
Head, Endocrinology
Director, Diabetes Center

You might want to try this link to information on CT heart scans.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

38 shopping days before irony

Coach Baby---style for mile-high prices. Why compromise good taste in times of starvation, homelessness, disaster-imposed migration, and war?

Feel conflicted NOW!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Judge NOT Lest Ye Be.

I am trying not to be so goddamn judgemental. Judgmental of the way i spell JUDGEMENTAL. Judgemental about the potato soup which has burned onions; judgmental about the herbal combination capsules which are not vegan; judgemental about the turkey sandwich which isn't vegetarian; judgemental about the cow which ain't a vegetable; judgemental about the cute guy who has no clue about politics; judgemental about the politically-astute activist who has some slight physical flaws; judgmental about the visual artist who is mal-appropriating Chicano/a culture and making it kitschy-cute; judgemental about the fat neighbor not cuz he's fat but because he is unself-conscious about barenakedness as he waters the lawn shirtless for all to see; judgemental about the wind blowing northward instead of southward; judgemental about the stranger who coughs as they pass me and i wonder if this is some subtle psychological affront to my personhood; judgemental about the unassuming stacks of paper which clutter my room and collect dust as if it could ever be its fault; judgemental about my lack of decorum and faith in my own ability to just be loving and not be qualming so much so friggin everydayin' much.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

!Ken Saro-Wiwa! !Presente!


THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10TH, 2005, marks the 10th anniversary of the hanging of Nigerian poet/playwright KEN SARO-WIWA, and poets in Fort Worth will gather to offer a memorial that evening--one of many taking place internationally to commemorate Saro-Wiwa and the ongoing struggle of the Ogoni people.

Join us for a free performance/reading/memorial at:

Beto's Caribbean Cafe
3000 South Freeway (1 block north of W. Berry St.)
Thursday, November 10th
free admisssion


Ken Saro-Wiwa, a successful television producer, playwright, and poet, became deeply involved in the campaign against Shell Oil Co. in the 1990s because of the deplorable human rights violations and environmental devastation--of the Niger Delta--wrought by the company. The Ogoni people, one of many ethnic minorities who live in the Delta, joined in a nonviolent campaign led by Saro-Wiwa against Shell.

It was the international outcry against Saro-Wiwa's execution that led to Shell's hiring of high-priced p.r. consultants to recast its image as a company that put "principles before profits"....


Since Shell began drilling oil in Ogoniland in 1958, the people of Ogoniland have had pipelines built across their farmlands and in front of their homes, suffered endemic oil leaks from these very pipelines, been forced to live with the constant flaring of gas. This environmental assault has smothered land with oil, killed masses of fish and other aquatic life, and introduced devastating acid rain to the land of the Ogoni.

After Ken Saro-Wiwa, an outspoken writer and activist, and eight other Ogoni leaders were hanged after trial in a military court, two witnesses against them admitted that Shell and the military bribed them to testify with promises of money and jobs with Shell.

for more information:

"When crude oil touches the leaf of a yam or cassava, or whatever economic trees we have, it dries immediately, it's so dangerous and somebody who was coming from, say, Shell was arguing with me so I told him that you're an engineer, you have been trained, you went to the university, I did not go to the university, but I know that what you have been saying in the university sleeps with me here so you cannot be more qualified in crude oil than myself who sleeps with crude oil."
-Chief GNK Gininwa of Korokoro, "The Drilling Fields", Glenn Ellis (Director), 1994

Please share your thoughts & feedback with a comment!

Dear friends, I had been remiss in choosing the optimal settings in order to most conveniently allow you to use the COMMENTS SECTION on my blog. I've now adjusted the settings, so please start sharing your comments. I really want to know if anyone's actually even reading xxcommunicator and if you have any feedback on the news and writing posted therein. Mil gracias!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Getting my first mammogram today!

Yeah, I know, NATIONAL BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH was LAST month. But hey, I made the appointment with the County Public Health Department in October, so does that count? I am excited and not very nervous about this. After all, it's a free service that the Tarrant County Health Department provides to lower-income (yay, that means i qualify!! woo-hoo!) women. And if you want (and who wouldn't?), you can receive a bonus: gyn.exam and pap smear analysis. Now that's a deal, Camille.

As far as I know, breast cancer doesn't run in the family, but hey, I'm constantly exposed to breast-harming environmental poisons--even in this "first world, western nation" I live in---so you never know. I want to suggest that you look into the BREAST CANCER FUND, my favorite non-profit organization working on behalf of our breast health. This org is based in California, so alot of their initiatives focus on pushing for legislation in that state. But their work does have national impact. Back in the summer of 2000, I left scorching Texas for a coupla weeks in Colorado to do a Peak High in Crested Butte. Walking up a beautiful mountain, on a cool summer morning alongside women (some of them breast cancer survivors), men, and children--to raise money for the Breast Cancer Fund--was one of the best experiences of my life so far.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

MY FORT WORTH: indie and free events in November

Sound Culture presents :
Indie & Free!
an occasional calendar of FW indie love.

November 6th - Sunday
FWAC (Fort Worth Artists’ Consortium) Artists & Musicians Swap Meet & Sale
Arts Fifth Avenue
1628 Fifth Ave. at W. Allen

November 6th - Sunday
Fascist Watch Film Series presents
“Wild in the Streets” (d., Roger Corman)
1919 Hemphill Street
If the voting age was lowered to 15, would a rock star be elected president? The folks from No-Nonsense in November will be there to speak against Proposition 2. Bonus: free organic popcorn!

November 8th - Tuesday
Auditions for the Vagina Monologues
Lancaster Lofts– Warehouse Gallery
1324 E. Lancaster
fmi: or

November 10th - Thursday
Commemorate the life of Nigerian activist/poet Ken Saro-Wiwa on the 10th anniversary of his execution on false charges. He dared to rise up against Shell Oil Co., which continues to wreak havoc for the Ogoni people.
Beto’s and the Black Bookworm
Berry St. at I-35

November 12th - Saturday
Truth Be Told luncheon 
(a project that offers support and arts therapy to incarcerated women)
Polytechnic United Methodist Church
1310 S. Collard St. (near TWU in FW)
fmi: RSVP to Melodie Minshew at

November 12th - Saturday
Peaceful Vocations group meeting
Coffee House Gallery
Jennings & Pennsylvania Streets

November 12th - Saturday
Improvised Silence - Experimental music
6 to 10pm
Firehouse Gallery
Meadowbrook at Oakland Streets
fmi: Terry Horn -

November 12th - Saturday
The Gadabout Film Festival
(this fest tours in a vegetable oil-run ambulance - bring ‘em some veggie oil)
7pm - 10-ish pm
1919 Hemphill Street
$5 donation requested
fmi: or

November 25th - Friday
Buy Nothing Day
swap meet & freebie fest
1919 Hemphill
(in the spirit of open source activism)

November 26th - Saturday
Somalian Family Support
at the Black Dog Tavern
downtown Ft. Worth
8pm - late
fmi: or

Mark your calendars, lovelies. Let me see your face out at one or more of these cool, community-building events.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

MY FORT WORTH: bicycle tour

Okay, it's early Sunday morning. Even though you get to set your clocks back an hour, you probably won't see this in time to get in on it:

October 30 at 10:00 am
Begins at the TCU Soccer Stadium on Bellaire Drive S.

"Join us for a bicycle ride through Fort Worth, by architectural monuments and down the Trinity River Trail. The ride will have routes for both beginner and more advanced riders." [from the website]

Yep, in honor of what they're calling the Third Annual Architecture Month (October is Architecture Month in FW), the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has been educating, exploring, and celebrating ARCHITECTURE AS ART, not only with fellow architects, but with the broader community as well. 

The bicycle tour concept is not new to folks in San Francisco, who have been coordinating cool themed tours-on-wheels to explore things such as the historical district of Barbary Coast on a "historical gambling house and brothel" tour. And then there's the "Activist Bike Tour of SF". Led by the San Francisco Bike Coalition executive director, this bike tour led participants through current transportation hot spots, where they learned the history behind current campaigns for better streets in SOMA, the Bernal Cut, Valencia Street, the Wiggle, Golden Gate Park and many more.

I remember when Ramsey, a fellow activist and rider, led a few of us on a bike tour of the 76104 neighborhood, making stops along the way to illustrate specific concepts of democracy and activism. We need to organize more frequent rides such as these, with education in mind.

There are plenty of Fort Worth bicyclists out there and we should figure out how to coordinate tours of this city, so we can grow and improve it together...

For more info on "October is Architecture Month in FW":

Thursday, October 27, 2005

"2000 Too Many" - report on yesterday's march/rally in FW

At our vigil on Wed, Oct 26th, we met at 4:30pm at the Federal Building, downtown Fort Worth. At approx. 5pm, we marched the two blocks to the Star-Telegram main building, carrying signs and a city-block-long banner (with the names of all the U.S. military dead who hailed from Texas), and chanting loudly our various chants. Several members of CodePink FW walked into the main lobby of the Startlegram, apparently startling some of the front desk staff--who weren't quite sure how to interact with us. Hillary spoke to the traffic coordinator, asking to speak to a Star-Telegram editor. (She, on behalf of CodePink FW and the rest of us, wanted to simply deliver a sweetly-wrapped, pink-bowed white gift box--containing a “pink slip”--into the hands of an actual editor.) After a flurry of anxiety and inelegant (FW-ST staff, not us) communication, an editor was finally summoned down to the front reception desk. Two of our folks, who had carried in a large and prominently-worded pink banner, were ordered to vacate the building—despite our assurances that we meant no harm or damage to anything or anyone at the Star-Telegram offices. A few of the staffers who were on their way out for the day, expressed consternation and agitation about our presence at their precious workplace. Oh, the nerve of us! To practice street democracy and to voice our outcry against the invasion of Iraq! What kind of hoodlums were we to leave the quiet confines of our tv rooms and office cubicles in order to voice opposition to the illegal war the U.S. is waging in Iraq.

After a few minutes, we marched back to the Federal Building for presentations of music, street performance, and poetry.
There were about 60 of us gathered there, in the shadow of the Fed. Building. I noticed three young Latinas emerge from the Traffic Court Building, nonchalantly walk over to a pile of protest signs, and pick a sign up each. They walked quietly to the curbside at Throckmorton, facing oncoming traffic, and held their signs up high. Turns out they had just finished doing jury duty, saw the hubub of our public action, and decided to join us. Really, I was very impressed by their sense of civic responsibility, and I told them so. Two of them mentioned that they were students at Castleberry HS, which had recently administered the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test. When I mentioned that they had a right to refuse to take this test, they said that they'd assumed it was mandatory because the school administrators made it seem so.

(The ASVAB is a multi-aptitude test which is given at over 14,000 schools nationwide, and maintained by the Dept. of Defense. The scores a student receives on this test helps the recruiters to determine whether he/she is qualified to enlist in the U.S. military.)

For more information, read on here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Famed NOLA Radio Station WWOZ is back on the air!

"Oz has always been the intangible glue that holds this community together," says jazz pianist David Torkanowsky, a WWOZ disc jockey. "If you're going to restart the city, you have to start with the heartbeat. For musicians, it's a beacon."

That's such good news, as WWOZ-FM radio is the best radio station in New Orleans and has had an international audience (the OZ streams their programming online). I remember the "you have now arrived!" feeling i would get when approaching NOLA by car and being finally able to get WWOZ on the radio. Blues, jazz, classic tunes, blue book favorites, local musicians, and--my favorite NOLA poet--the raspy-voiced big John Sinclair calling the shots as disc jockey. It's like the feeling i get when i hear old sixties soul classics, taking me back to childhood innocence and simpler now-glorified days.

One spring, when in NOLA for the Jazz Festival, i passed John Sinclair holding it down, broadcasting live from under a tent on the Festival grounds--bringing in the big stars for impromptu interviews and live musical interludes. You felt like you were at the soul of the heart of the body of THE NOLA MUSIC COMMUNITY experience. A precious thing.

From the WWOZ website: "WWOZ is now broadcasting at 90.7 FM in New Orleans from our temporary facility in Louisiana Public Broadcasting's studio in Baton Rouge. Our shows are running from 9am to 10pm CST. WFMU will broadcast pre-recorded WWOZ shows outside of those hours...WWOZ, presently streaming in exile due to Hurricane Katrina, sends a special thank you to our year-round valued Underwriters who support WWOZ as New Orleans' community radio station."

The station's website has up-to-the minute updated info about Katrina Benefit Concerts, Missing/Found Musicians listings, Musican Aid resources, and much, much more. Tune in, listen to the shows, and feel that indescribable Nawlins feel in the songs, talk, chat, and tunes of WWOZ.

2000 U.S. Dead in Iraq

The sad day that we’ve been dreading is here. Today, October 25th, 2005, the Defense Department has announced the 2,000th military death in Iraq.

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has listed more than 400 events in 49 U.S. states which will involve thousands of people calling for an end to this war. The media has already started reporting on this, of course, with noted exclusion of any info or statistics about the Iraqi dead...

AFSC, Gold Star Families for Peace, United for Peace and Justice, CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War and many others are bound to change the perception of this war during this sad milestone. Join us for a show of opposition to White House warmongering that leaves so many, too many, of our people needlessly dead.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Bowing my head as I raise my voice in tribute... yet another poet-comrade who has passed over to the other side. Yes, Pasha Allsup, my Austin poet friend has died, back on September 19th--though i only got word of this last week. Some of our friends in Austin are putting together a tribute memorial performance in honor of Pasha, and i have been invited to submit an original poem--using words or phrases from what i presume is one of Pasha's final poems--"The Chair".

I can't make it to Austin to actually read the poem myself, but here's what i wrote and have emailed to the organizers so it can be shared at the tribute memorial tonight, Sunday evening, October 23rd. Progress Coffee House, Austin, Tejas:

(a poem for Pasha)


he bent over, doubled himself, was still just one but doubled in terms of halving. knees to his chest as his fingers caressed his now-naked toes. his ears folded in so his lobes cupped his cheeks and his belly warmed his thighs as he licked himself closed. a human envelope, a sealed man, book-rate to Nirvana.


Pulling his knees together tightly, he poised for flilght. A passing whippoorwill sent a gust via wingflap and then he too became airborne. He relinquished darkness as his lids lifted so that he could see the topography down below: murky dim light showed that he was heading west on North Loop and he thought of the blind, at the school below. He knew they would not see him or very well, at least, but if he whistled, shrieked a verse, sang a raga, this would most certainly draw their faces skyward. He pressed his tongue to the roof of his mouth, letting the first sound be an “l” and the word sang low in harmony with the pitch of the driving rain, a sudden storm. “Laundry....!!!”

“Air your Laundry!!” He sang. “Pitch those panties and the scraggly jeans you’ve cherished for years. Put everything out like a sail. Your heart, your broken heart words, your uncensored turds, confession rockets of words, your eloquent rage, every last paragraph they leave off the page, the gnarly secrets of pain, the wrist naked to a bleeding vein, every damn last syllable that will vanquish any possible tangent of regret, neglect, forget. Launch them as kites, every last word, tv sound byte, make the unspeakable loud, your echo resound. Here i speak it, there i hear it. Bounces off the clouds, cliffs, crowds. A triple digit decibel infidel, be that man.”

Soon the children had sprinkled past the tutors, the guards, the monitors and were padding gently across the clay floor of the tennis court, with their noses nosing and ears hearing. From their pockets bits of string, spring, sting---dental floss, slinky, bandaids. All useless to help tether the flying mail man, the poet launched, teetering abandon, wildly postal. So they let go, just let him go. They dropped to the ground, first one on his knees, then another fully spread-eagle on his back, while yet others did slow-motion full-body prostrations, as if encircling Kailash herself. This sudden fit, a communal devotional reverie, overtook the playground. Even the chancellor straddled a child’s swing and hummed the melodic sky-drone, broadcast from the sky.

Higher and higher, an elevation is nothing to those who speak only math. He was up higher than numbers could tell and the faint of his yell was soft yet kept peaking. For the loudest ones often drop short, while the panting and whispering diaphoretic and epiphanal incantations are as swelling and eternal time-dwelling as the heartbeat of the HImalayas. You can hear, yes? You too have noticed, right? I can count you as one of the listening and everlasting few, too? Wait, listen, don’t miss it. Hear that? Pasha again: “Euphoric! Eu---phor--ic! Are - you - for - it ?” It was slight, a wing flutter, a never-published-page utter, but it lingers, it stays with me, it can never evanesce, yes?

As he softly landed, where it was the place he landed, a whole new language became spoken, old rule and tenets of rigidity broken. But he did not stay there, for the place he longed to reach was not of commandments--not ten, not any, and never many. Arisen to a new location, he slowly unlicked or rather unsealed himself, gradually unfolding to full-Pasha breadth and length, heft and hue, and keenly spread his arms and said without speaking, breathed without being, laughed without living, “tomorrow is tomorrow is tomorrow and soon you too will wake up to that day. But until then, do not truck with sad tears and journey with fears or tarry with impossible unenchanting careers.


Live, your life, then die, your death, and,......” And I waited for the next words, I held my breath to keep my ears poised, but the next words never came. They did not come until I opened my own true mouth--and remembered.

tammy melody gomez
october 2005

Thursday, October 20, 2005

MY FORT WORTH: Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream in town now

The first-ever Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream store in the 817, located at 6115 Camp Bowie (west of the Ridglea Theater), opened several months ago. And guess what? ALL proceeds from ice cream sales will benefit the YWCA programs for disadvantaged women, adolescents, and children. The store offers an opportunity "to provide on-the-job training for at-risk youth of Tarrant County...the goal is to train 30 youth each year and assist them in finding permanent employment." [from the YWCA website]

That's pretty cool: you can eat your ice cream and support positive social programs that benefit fellow Fort Worthians at the same time/al mismo tiempo. Go to the local YWCA website to read up on all the programs and services they offer here in FW. And, if you're not a vegan, you might stop by the Ben & Jerry's for a double-dip of your favorite flavor.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Katrina Store in Richland Hills

Quite by accident, I happened to drive up to the Katrina Store, here in Tarrant County. It's located very close to the Handley-Ederville exit, off I-30. Because I had some time on my hands and am insatiably curious, I parked my car and walked in, just a few paces behind a Latino family who were slowly approaching the entrance. I stopped to study the handwritten signs on the front doors, which detailed the store hours and rules of operation.

Once inside, the attendant sitting behind a big table greeted me and asked if I needed assistance. I could hardly bring myself to look at him as I was completely overwhelmed by the 1) enormity of the space within this store, and 2) was blown away by the gadzillions of goods, clothing, and other merchandise which were attractively displayed on racks, shelves, and tables. Contrasted with a few other Katrina aid stations I'd visited in FW--where the donated items were merely heaped in unrecognizable piles on tabletops--the items at the Katrina Store were better organized by category, with carefully-lettered signage designating item locations.

I was so impressed. According to the attendant, the store is run by the Salvation Army and they plan to keep it open to needy evacuees until "at least December 15th." What an evacuee needs to present in order to "shop" at the Katrina Store is "proof of victim status", which would mean either a Tarrant County-issued "Victim I.D. card" or a driver's license. The store hours are Monday through Saturday, 10:30am-6:30pm, with the last clients admitted at 5pm. Of course, no money is required and everything from personal hygiene kits to kitchen appliances and furniture are free for the taking.


(On the day I visited, a job notice was posted on the front door. "HELP WANTED. FULL-TIME WAREHOUSE HELP. 8AM-5PM. CALL DAVE, 817-838-5196.)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

"Bring 'em Home" demonstration - Friday, October 7th - Arlington, TX

[Thanks to Desiree Fairooz for the following announcement. For more information, please call 817-521-7856 OR 817-468-3069.]

Friday October 7, 2005
Matlock and Bardin
Arlington, TX
(parking available at Radiology Associates or Starbucks)

Signs provided but new ones encouraged. See ideas below. Bring your friends! Bring your kids! Bring your grannies! We'll be handing out mini-flyers about the spontaneous vigil when U.S. fatalities reach 2000. Please come and help. Media will only come if you do too!


Ideas for signs or chants:

US Out of Iraq! Let them have their country back!

This Occupation is a crime - George and Rummy should be doin time

Bring all the troops home now, No WMDs were ever found.

They stay and fight for Bush's lies, and every day another dies...

Money for Jobs and Education, Not for War and Occupation!

Bush and Cheney did the killing while their friends do the drilling!

Power to the Peaceful!

Out of Iraq, We need our troops back!

U.S. out of the Middle East - We the people, we want Peace!

Make Wetlands, Not War. Oil is NOT worth dying for!

CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace and peaceful citizens say, “Bring ‘em on home not bring ‘em on”. On July 3, 2003 Bush vowed to stay in Iraq despite attacks on our troops. Then he posed the challenge to those who would attack us, “My answer is bring ‘em on.”

Most recently when confronted by Cindy Sheehan, his answer has been “Stay the course.” However the American people are unhappy with his course of action. According to an ABC News Washington Post poll from September 8-11, 2005, 62% of people polled disapprove of the way Bush is handling the situation in Iraq.

According to CNN/ USA Today/ Gallop poll 60% of the people polled consider withdrawing our troops from Iraq either now, or if the number of troops killed becomes too high. For those of us who understand the devastation of war this number is already too high. Also, 53% of the same group polled thinks it was a mistake sending troops to Iraq in light of developments since we first invaded.

The purpose of this vigil is to raise awareness and motivate people to hold our government accountable. We want people to be aware that they are not alone. The sentiment of our country and the world are on their side. The mainstream media has turned a blind eye to the peace movement so we feel we have to stand out on this street corner to let our neighbors know about it. It must be made clear that our elected officials have forgotten that they are public servants who work for us, the people. The President says he doesn’t govern by polls. Instead, he has governed by poor judgment and misinformation at best. Evidence has shown that most likely, he has governed by lies and deceit (9/11 Commission Report, Downing Street Memo, Dulfer Report). It is time for all Americans to wake up, stand up and hold our government accountable.

Friday, September 30, 2005

It's My Birthday and I'll Make Peace If I Want To

One of the few things I've been clear about this month is that I knew, deep in my soul, that I needed and wanted to be at the 2nd World Congress on Matriarchal Studies, which this year is happening in San Marcos (on the campus of Texas State University) and is themed "Societies of Peace." So, off I go, on my birthday no less (September 30th, baby!) to spend a wondrous weekend surrounded by some of the most brilliant and painstakingly righteous women that I know! (Big shout outs to Firesong, Frieda Werden, Bracken Firecracker, Millilani Trask and Andrea aka Gaia!)

The Congress kicked off on Thursday the 29th, but it's probably not too late to get out there to get your ears filled and heart sung, cuz it goes on 'til Sunday, October 2nd. Click here for more information and to register online. There's no registration cost because the folks putting this together adhere to the concept of the Gift Economy. Donations and other resource support will, however, be gladly accepted. See ya there, mujeres!

Here's schedule information:

Friday 30th September  Texas State University, San Marcos

  Opening ritual
  Part III.  Present Matriarchal Societies - Africa
9 - 10:30 a. m.      Panel 4:  North Africa
  Hélène Claudot-Hawad, France
"Woman the Central Pillar of Society"
  The Representation of Gender among the Tuareg (Imajaghen)/Sahara
  Fatimata welet Halatine, Tuareg (Imajaghen), Central Sahara
  Renouncing privileges: a Tuareg Woman in Modern Times
  Malika Grasshoff, Kabyle, Berber, Algeria/France/Germany
  The Central  Position of Women among the Berber People
of Northern Africa, exemplified by Kabyle Women
10:30 - 11 a. m. Discussion with the audience
11 - 11:30 a. m. Break
11:30 a. m. - 2 p. m.      Panel 5: West and South Africa
  Wilhelmina J. Donkoh, Akan, Ghana, West Africa
  Female Leadership among the Ashante
  Gad A. Osafo, healer, Akan, Ghana, West Africa
  Akan Healing Heritage – an Overview
  Cécile Keller, woman doctor/healer, Switzerland
  Matriarchal Medicine
  Dr. Yvette Abrahams, Khoekhoe, Namibia, South Africa
  Living in Our Natural World:
Indigenous Women, Power and Knowledge
  Bernedette Muthien, Khoisan, South Africa
  Beyond Patriarchy: The Khoisan and Partnership
2 - 2:30 p. m. Discussion with the audience
2:30 - 4 p. m. Lunch Break
  Part IV.  Present Matriarchal Societies - Asia
4 - 6  p. m.      Panel 6:  India, Sumatra, China
  Patricia Mukhim, Khasi, Northeast India
  Matriliny among the Khasi and Garos of Meghalaya:
  Challenges and Opportunities
  Savithri de Tourreil, Nayar, Kerala, Southwest India/Canada
  Nayars: matrilineal or matriarchal or a bit of both?
  How do they fit into a South Indian Matrix
  Peggy Reeves Sanday, USA
  Divine Queenship: Considerations from the Minangkabau of West Sumatra
  of West Sumatra
  Ibu Ita Malik, Minangkabau, Sumatra, Indonesia
  The Role of Minangkabau Women
6 - 6:30 p. m. Break
6:30 - 7:30 p. m. Lamu Gatusa, Mosuo, China
  A Sacred Place of Matriarchy: Lugu Lake – Harmonious Past and Challenging Present
  Danshilacuo, Mosuo, China
  Mosuo Woman – Environment, Pullulation, and Views on Own Culture
7:30 - 8 p. m. Discussion with the audience

Saturday  1st October     Texas State University, San Marcos
  Opening ritual
  Part V. Past - Historical Matriarchal Societies
9 - 11:30 p.m.      Panel 7:  Research in the USA
  Joan Marler, USA
  Old  Europe through  a  Matriarchal  Lens
  Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, Italy/USA
  Black Madonnas, Cathars, and Witches – Peaceful Societies and Violence
  Vicki Noble, USA
  Those Without Husbands: How the Amazons Got Their Name
  Marguerite Rigoglioso, USA
  In Search of the Libyan Amazons: Preliminary Research in Tunisia
  Susan Gail Carter, USA
  The Matristic Roots of Japan
  and the Emergence of the Japanese Sun Goddess, Amaterasu-o-mi-kami
11:30 - 12 P. m. Discussion with the audience
12 - 2 p. m. Lunch Break
2 - 4 p. m.      Panel 8:  Research in Europe
  Annette Kuhn, Germany
  Transitions of Matriarchal Power in the Symbolic and Social Sphere in History
  Kurt Derungs, Switzerland
  Landscape of the Ancestress. Principles of the Matriarchal
  Philosophy of Nature and the Mythology of Landscape
  Kaarina Kailo, Finland
  The "Helka Fest" - Traces of a Finno-Ugric Matriarchy and Worldview?
  Christa Mulack, Germany
  Matriarchal Structures in the Hebrew Bible
4 - 4:30 p. m. Discussion with the audience
4:30 - 5 p. m. Break
5 - 5:40 p. m. Origin of  Patriarchy
  Heide Goettner-Abendroth, Germany
  Origin of Patriarchy -
  Criticism of Theories and a Suggestion for the Solution
5:40 - 6 p. m. Discussion with the audience
8 - 9 p. m. Evening program
  Max Dashu, USA
  Slides Show: Mother-Right and Gender Justice
  Lydia Ruyle, USA
  Icons: Sacred Images of the Divine Feminine Around the Globe

Sunday  2nd October      San Marcos, Texas
  At the Parks and Recreation Dept. Activities Center
501 East Hopkins
San Marcos TX 78766
  Opening ritual
  Part VI. Matriarchal Politics
9 - 11  a. m.
Big Panel: All of the lecturers are invited who would like to make
a short statement on this topic.
Discussion with the audience
11 - 11:30 a. m. Break
11:30 - 12:30 p.m. Developing  a DECLARATION
San Marcos River

3 - 6 p. m.

Public matriarchal ritual of
"The Circle of a Peaceful World"
All of the speakers and participants are invited.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Fort Worth Mayor Issues Urgent Call for Volunteers

The following news release was disseminated on-campus at the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center today:

(Fort Worth, Texas). Fort Worth workers and volunteers continue to care for Louisiana families nearly a month after Hurricane Katrina struck the Crescent City. Each day, hundreds of volunteers are needed to help support Katrina survivors. Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief urged all residents to find out how to get involved.

"Fort Worth has certainly faced its share of challenges. But no matter what we encounter, Fort Worth residents and businesses always stand firm to help those in need," said Moncrief. "Volunteerism is the backbone of disaster response. I applaud those who have already given up their precious time to help our neighbors, and I challenge others to find ways they can make a difference today."

Volunteers wanting to help in shelters should not go directly to the shelter sites but should call the local Hurricane Katrina Phone Bank at 817-392-7400. Volunteers are scheduled for four-hour shifts and are needed 24 hours a day. Shelter needs include child care, food service, computer assistance, sorting of donated goods, welcoming guests and assisting in moving guests from shelters to apartments or other interim housing.

Medical volunteers also are needed to assist locally. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists and emergency medical technicians interested in volunteering should register at to submit their license information and availability. Those within Dallas and Denton counties may register at this site as well.

For those unable to volunteer, a fund has been established to assist Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Tarrant County. Checks made payable to Tarrant County Relief Fund should be mailed to Tarrant County Administrator, 100 East Weatherford St., Suite 404, Fort Worth, Texas 76196. Donations can also be made online at the Tarrant County website.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Barbara Bush Relocated

[Thanks to Liliana Valenzuela for sharing the following "report".]

by Andy Borowitz

Former First Lady Moved to New Location Away From Cameras, Microphones.

Just days after former First Lady Barbara Bush made widely publicized remarks about people made homeless by Hurricane Katrina, the White House said today that Mrs. Bush had been moved to "a new location away from television cameras and microphones."

Mrs. Bush, who in talking about Katrina refugees said that "This is working very well for them" and that many of them "were underprivileged anyway," was transported to a facility where she will have plenty of food and water but no more media appearances, the White House confirmed.

"She will be much more comfortable in this new location, surrounded by armed guards on a 24-hour basis, than she was at her compound in Kennebunkport," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. "This is working very well for her."

Responding to a reporter who questioned whether Mrs. Bush would be happy being uprooted from her estate, Mr. McClellan said, "She was overprivileged anyway."

While the White House took credit for its success in relocating Mrs. Bush, some congressional critics argued that it did not act quickly enough to relocate the outspoken former First Lady.

"This was an emergency situation," said Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del). "They should have relocated her the minute she opened her piehole,"

For her part, the former First Lady remained out of view, but released the following official statement: "I am doing well, but I remain envious of those who were relocated after Hurricane Katrina - boy, do those folks have a sweet deal."

Elsewhere, President Bush mourned the passing of actor Bob Denver, calling the "Gilligan's Island" star "a great American and a role model for me personally."

(You can hear some of Barbara's infamous barbs here.)

Friday, September 23, 2005 releases new dvd series

The folks at have launched RECLAIM, a new poetry DVD series that features "the word and its voice." Each 1-hour segment of RECLAIM--four per year--will feature poet interviews, on-location poetry events, poetry videos, youth poets and much more.

I performed at Galeria de la Raza (the Mission District of San Francisco) last August of 04, and the rad Poetry folks were there to tape the performance and conduct some interviews at our "Pinta Tu Propio Mundo" ("Paint Your Own World") all-women poetry program. Leticia Linares-Hernandez, very pregnant, hosted and mc-ed the event, which featured some whoppers of the California spoken word scene like Pat Payne, Ariel Robello, and Genny Lim. You can check out excerpts from the interviews right here. You can see me in "Sueno Despierta", the performance work I've developed on the theme of dreams and post-sleep consciousness (the hypnopompic state).

Spread the word; RECLAIM the voices of poetic expression.

RECLAIM subscription benefits:
• You receive the DVD in the mail before it's released to the general public.
• Each DVD issue comes with a PTV exclusive 1-inch pin.
• Exclusive discounts and access to PTV productions.
• Includes a special poetry gift in each issue.

Include your address, contact number, email, and a check or money order.
Make your subscription payment out to: Rodríguez Productions c/s
Mail your subscription payment to: / Reclaim
                                                   P.O. Box 720016
                                                   San Francisco, CA 94172-0016

"Protest Jazz" concert and cd release party - Sunday, September 25th

Sunday, September 25th, at Arts Fifth Avenue (1628 5th Avenue), a cd release concert for LOVE'S BITTER RAGE, a Peace and Justice Suite by Fort Worth jazz pianist Johnny Case aka Jhon Kasen will be presented.

About Johnny Case:

Johnny Case was born August 24, 1947, to musical parents. Most of his childhood was spent in Paris, Texas, where he and his older brother, guitarist Jerry Case, became child performers on area stage, radio, and television shows. By late 1964 when the Cases relocated in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Johnny had become a pianist playing in dance bands.

Known primarily as a jazz pianist, Johnny has performed with such distinguished jazz figures as James Clay, Billy Hart, Marchel Ivery, and Colin Bailey. In 1983 Case played at a reception for Ornette Coleman at the opening of Fort Worth’s Caravan of Dreams. He has been playing jazz near-nightly at Sardines Ristorante in Fort Worth for over 20 years. Wow.

His politicization:

Johnny's new recording, LOVE'S BITTER RAGE, consists of new compositions dedicated to the victims of Latin American death squads trained at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia. Hearing testimony on CNN--presented by a survivor of state-sponsored terrorism in Central America--Johnny was stirred to learn more about the School of the Americas and how this institution facilitates the practice of torture and violence against vulnerable peoples in other countries.

In 2005, all of Johnny’s new productions have been issued under the "muslimized" name of JHON KASEN to demonstrate his compassion and empathy for the countless civilian victims of U.S. atrocities."

Concert details:
7:00 PM
1628 5th Avenue
Ft Worth, TX 76104
$10 per person

For more info about Johnny aka Jhon, go here.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

O, it felt so good

I did it, after all! I weathered (?) the heat and pedaled to work this evening. I made it in about 25 minutes, so the humid wannabe-wind might have been at my back. Speaking of which, it--my back--feels great after the big hoist up the final section of the ride. (It may not seem like it, but it's an uphill hike once you cross University on Lancaster. At least the scenery--Kimbell and Modern Art Museums--is pretty as i slave away at the crank, biking up towards my workplace.) I am feeling energized and content now, and not so much a car-dependent hypocrite. Yay!

World Car-Free Day - toda el dia today

Okay, I have to admit that I drove to two different places this morning before finding out--heard it on my car radio, ironically enough--that today is WORLD CAR-FREE DAY. It'd be really nice of me to bicycle to work tonight, but geez it's about 101 degrees at the moment, and I just don't see it happening without me having a mild heatstroke, al minimo.

Even so, I am a big fan of bicycles, the TRE (Trinity Railway Express), and DART light rail (Dallas). Yesterday, I returned from Austin via Amtrak, and it cost me only 22 bucks. I slept, caught up on lots of reading (Chuck D interview in "The Progressive" and some stuff from Audre Lorde's seminal _Sister Outsider_), and glimpsed a number of grazing cows along the way.

Here's a comprehensive website for more info on World Car-Free Day and related stuff. Download some cool videos here; I couldn't stop replaying "The Life of Animals"---it's hilariously cute.

And on the subject of roadside mayhem, how 'bout them freeway bloggers? The kidz at Miasma in the House of Bite Me tell us about a freeway blogging contest; hurry cuz the submission deadline is September 30th!

Two compelling freeway blogger messages that you too may choose to use:



Monday, September 19, 2005

20 Years Ago: Tragic Earthquake in Mexico City

Been talking about, hearing about Katrina and Roberts' confirmation process and FEMA and etc. so much that perhaps we've overlooked the 20th anniversary of the BIG ONE, the earthquake that devastated Mexico City (Tenochtitlan) back in 1985. How come the "Hispanic Heritage" celebrations didn't see to create commemorative events about this historical moment for Mexicanos. Just as many folks have a "where were you when JKF was shot?" story, many Mexicanos and Americanos (U.S.icans or Mexican-Americans) have a "do you know anyone affected by the earthquake of '85?" story to share.

For some insightful thoughts on the subject, read Patrisia Gonzales' essay "And the Earth Did Not Swallow Them", filed on September 19th. Patrisia Gonzales is author of _The Mud People: Chronicles, Testimonios & Remembrances_, which chronicles social movements and indigenous knowledge in Mexico. Together with her husband, Roberto Rodriguez, Patrisia also pens the weekly commentary series COLUMN OF THE AMERICAS.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Delta-Cajun-Creole - upsurge in interest and value

Anything even remotely related (culturally, socially, historically) to the Gulf Coast region impacted by Katrina is going to increase in popularity and monetary value---just you wait.

The Neville Brothers are going to find their music in high demand; Harry Connick Jr. is gonna have so many offers, maybe he'll do a celebrity appearance in a commercial for hip waders. What are hip waders? Well, i foresee hip waders as the next big hip hop fashion garment; they're the rubberized boots-to-the-hip often worn by rescue teams performing round-the-clock heroic evacuation feats in the high waters of New Orleans, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not at all wanting to undermine the growing national appreciation of all things Katrina could not, never could have, fully drowned or destroyed. Actually, I'm loving it that club djs in San Antonio are choosing to spin the funky Meters, Buckwheat Zydeco, and other Nawlins-area danceable music. I'm loving it that folks are wanting to celebrate the survival of the French Quarter by cooking creole and cajun cuisine in these post-Katrina weeks of September. I, for one, am planning to buy a tin of decaf CAFE DU MONDE coffee later this week. Yes, let's give to the Red Cross. Yes, let's say a prayer for the continued safety of all who are working so diligently to provide ongoing relief and support to the survivors of the storm o' 2005.

But, also, let's break out the dusty copies of Dr. John and Irma Thomas and Dirty Dozen Brass Band records. Let's wear our color uncoordinated Mardi Gras beads in September. Why shouldn't we sign up for voodoo history classes at the community college? Or get married down in the Mississippi Delta? Let's celebrate a culture and a city and a regional society that will not be buried by water, neglect, shame, or bureaucracy.

Que viva New Orleans! Que viven todos que estan sobreviviendo el huracan Katrina!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


[The following are excerpts from a journal kept by Susan F. Franks, PhD, which were written about her experiences volunteering with the Hurricane Katrina survivors over the weekend. Dr. Franks is an associate professor in the Departments of Family Medicine and Psychology at the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center in Fort Worth.]

Written at 1am.

Wow. I am exhausted. I just got home about 15 minutes ago; worked until midnight at 2 different convention center shelters. One was huge, tense, and more chaotic than the other. Outside the arena, people are milling around looking for people. Police and National Guard everywhere. Camera crews, news reporters. It took me 30 minutes just to get through to a place to park once I got there.

At the larger convention center, there aren't enough cots or blankets. People have to use towels. Some of the bathrooms don't work, and there is no shower facility. A fight broke out inside while I was there; police took someone away in handcuffs.

There are so many people. Many of them don't trust anyone because of what happened in New Orleans, and so won't even leave their cots or belongings to go get medical help, so most of what I did was convince people to get medical care. Lots of foot problems from walking so much and in contaminated water.

People get distressed when one of their family members stays gone a little longer than it seems they should. Some people got inadvertently separated. I worked with one 14 year old who is 6 months pregnant, who got separated from her family while she was at the hospital today for spotting. Her family got housing, and when she came back they were gone with all her belongings. No one could find where they went; mess-ups with the sign-in/sign-out sheets. We finally managed to locate them; I couldn't believe it. She was so relieved, but didn't want me to leave her until someone came to pick her up to take her to her family. Another 32 year old who keeps wandering around as she tries to deal with her grief over having lost everything and then holding her grandmother in her arms as she died; too frail to make it; and then her own 11 year old daughter is starting to have problems because she is concerned about what her mother is going through.

I go back tomorrow at noon, and then again on Monday at 8am. We work in 4 hour shifts, but I did 8 hours tonight. I'm tired now, and think I can go to sleep.

There are just so many people.


Sunday, Sept. 4

I was so tired last night, and surprised that I had trouble falling asleep. It was probably after 3 a.m. before I finally fell asleep. I'm tired today, but ready to go back. They need so much help. There's just not enough mental health workers volunteering.

People won't generally just start talking. I have to start by asking them if I can get them anything, then follow through on what I said I'd do, and then they will start opening up. Usually, it's not even until much later in the conversation that I'd find out that they had something physically wrong that needed attending to. Then, they are hesitant to go over to the medical section to get help. They don't want to leave their family members or their belongings.

One man spent all day at the hospital getting his blood pressure meds, and pain meds for a kidney stone. He got back to the shelter, and then left his cot to go to the bathroom. When he came back, someone had taken his cot, all his belongings, and his medications. The papers with the diagnosis and prescriptions were in with his belongings. His blood pressure was over 220, and he was so upset, angry, and agitated. He said he lost his business and everything he owned. He kept saying that just when he thought it couldn't get any worse, it does. What little tiny bit he had managed to salvage was taken. Yet, he didn't want to leave the shelter. I had to convince him to go to back to the hospital.

Their problems keep getting compounded. It's very sad.


Monday, Sept. 5

Yesterday, I thought maybe things were settling out. When I arrived around noon, there was so much less activity outside the arenas. But, it must be a function of the time of day, because when I left around 5 p.m., it was very crowded again with families and people’s belongings stacked on the sidewalk in trash bags. Yesterday, however, things were a bit more organized outside the Dallas Convention Center. Rather than have everyone entering at the same place, evacuees come and go in one entrance, volunteers line up to get registered at another entrance, and medical teams all enter at another. They wouldn't let people in without an official tag, but they ran out of these early, which created complications throughout the day.

Inside, things seemed a bit more calm, a function of people settling in to some sort of routine. However, now that people are starting to get registered for services there were extremely loud announcements calling for various persons to come here or there. These happen quite often, and when they do they are so loud that you can't even hear the person standing next to you. The overall noise level is still quite high. The clothing has not been organized and just really started coming in yesterday, so people still don't have shoes and other things here. Their feet are so swollen and sore.

It is so different between the Dallas Convention Center and Reunion Arena. Our job at the Convention Center is to walk the floor and try to identify people in need of mental health services; particularly those that need meds. Yesterday, I found a mentally retarded man who had been living semi-independently with his brother overseeing his care. His brother left early and he chose to stay, but had to be evacuated from his home by boat when the water got about chest high. He is clearly traumatized by his experience, and what he subsequently went through and saw at the Superdome. He managed to make it to Dallas with the help of some neighbors. But, at the shelter here, he just sits. He is not independent enough to go seek out shoes, clothing, food, or other items; and had no idea about getting registered for housing or services that he will need. He wonders how he can get his money, and hopes that the bank he uses still has it; that it didn't get flooded and the money ruined. He has limited understanding of how to live independently, and has no other family. He is so well-behaved and looks so pleasant that I wouldn't have identified him as someone who needed my assistance. I discovered him because I saw he needed help to open a small snack bag of Teddy Grahams. We started talking and it became obvious to me that he was mentally challenged. Today is his birthday; he turns 48.

People want to be touched. They want the human contact of reassurance and compassion. It is an overarching theme; that combined with not wanting to be abandoned. Several people I saw the day before came and found me as I worked. Some people sent others to find me if I didn't return quickly enough from whatever information I was trying to find for them. I never found the man from the day before that wanted me to come back and talk with him. He has MS. I kept going back to where I thought his bed was, and he was never there. There wasn't a very good organized accounting the day before of people coming and going. I'll try again the next time I'm scheduled to work there. I hope he is okay.

People want to be touched. It's such a simple thing.

And yesterday the infectious disease specialist told us that it looks like we are starting to see cases of diarrhea at the Convention Center. We are to stop touching people if it is not necessary. But, it is necessary, isn't it?

I'm at Reunion Arena today.


Sept. 5

I worked at Reunion Arena today. The contrast between there and the Convention Center is still so striking to me. Most of the people in need of psychiatric medication have been identified at Reunion, so they are stable but just need to be monitored and assisted. This probably changed today, since they were reportedly bringing in about 200 more people. I understand from the night shift that people are waking up screaming from time to time. One older gentleman became confused and disoriented last night. I suspect that he is demented, but I never had the opportunity to see him though I stayed an hour later than my shift waiting for him. No one knew where he had gone.

We now have the extra task of attending to the volunteers as well. We are to walk around the break areas and see how they are doing. Today, a National Guardsman broke down crying during his break. It is an emotionally intense time for everyone. It doesn't help much that the procedures change day by day. When you arrive for a new shift, none of the routines are the same as the day before. Understandable, but some added stress to have to re-learn how everything is supposed to work. We finally have a managable system in place to keep more consistent track of people, their diagnosis/situation, and how it is being managed.

You meet inspiring people from time to time; I'm amazed at the resilience that some can have in the face of such adversity. I spoke with a 91- year- old woman as I helped her fold the blanket for her cot. (She's particular about how blankets are to be folded; there's a right way to do it I learned.) It's also encouraging to hear the bits of tangible progress being made by our efforts. A child was able to climb the steps to get to the bathroom area today, with minimal assistance. She has been afraid and unable to climb steps since the stairs in her home washed out from underneath her feet during the evacuation. The police have assisted us in desensitizing a young man to police presence in the shelter.

Still, other problems are more subtle. Some seem not able to psychologically grasp that there is nothing left to go back to. Today, a schizophrenic woman tried to insist that I contact her pharmacy to find out about her prescriptions. She got separated from her son in the evacuation, and her stability seems tenuous without him by her side. I worked with a gentleman who previously worked on Bourbon Street as a saxophone player. He is holding out on leaving the shelter, thinking there may be some work for him in New Orleans and he will be able to return soon. His wife and severely mentally retarded brother are here in the shelter with him. They will probably get an offer for housing very soon. I believe that he is too anxious to leave the security and support of the shelter. He is almost constantly speaking with a volunteer, just to keep distracted. He will need help to transition out.

There are some who may have needed services before leaving New Orleans. I worked with a woman who suffered brain damage years ago in a car wreck. I'm not certain she was functioning successfully before all this. She was so happy she was being helped at all she hugged me and kissed me on the cheek.

The outpouring of gratitude from these people is humbling. We are constantly being hugged, kissed, and thanked.

Thanked for being decent to another human being.

That says a lot.


Saturday, September 03, 2005 initiates Katrina survivor housing assistance service too!

For those of us in the South who can offer free housing (temporary and transitional) to Katrina survivors, here is another great site that facilitates the connection of those who have a spare room, extra apartment, couch or floorspace to offer with those who desperately need a roof over their heads as soon as possible:

Hurricane is a new "civic action" initiative by the Democracy in Action folks at

Last time I checked, over 1100 people had posted an offer of free housing in the N. Texas region within 100 miles of Dallas. Way to go, D/FW! I also noticed that quite a few folks offering housing admitted to being low-income and, often, single moms with limited means.

It really seems that there is a major outpouring of support by those who have little for those who themselves had very little before Katrina.

Katrina evacuees can connect with folks offering housing opportunities

[Thanks to Zkot Pen , world traveler and poet, for this useful lead.]

The Open House Project was created this week in order to help Gulf Coast region evacuees who were forced to leave their homes or lost their homes in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Hurricane Katrina struck the US Gulf Coast on Monday 8/05/05, leaving thousands dead. President Bush is calling the storm "one of the worst natural disasters in the nation's history". Hurricane Katrina is "the worst disaster in the 120-year history of the American Red Cross", its CEO and president said today. Federal disaster declarations cover 90,000 square miles along the U.S. Gulf Coast, an area roughly the size of Britain. As many as 400,000 people have been forced to leave their homes.

The concept of The Open House Project is simply to provide one thing: a meeting place for people who have extra space in their homes (or rental properties) who are also able to lend that space to those in need during a time of crisis, such as Hurricane Katrina.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Friday evening at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center

i sit here at some public-acess computers (thanks to Dell!) at a FWISD athletic center in southeast Fort Worth (Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center) where an estimated 600 evacuees from NOLA (New Orleans, LA) are scheduled to arrive, and, i'd say, about 300-400 are already here. meals have been distributed, people are setting up tents, spreading sleeping bags on the main floor, and quietly regaining some equillibrium.

throngs of Fort Worthians, bless their souls, are dropping off bags and boxes of dry goods (toiletries to clothing to bottled water).

a woman, who i'm assuming is the volunteer coordinator, is shouting commands and suggestions to a flurry of newly-arrived folks who want to offer a hand. we show up to make a donation and then we don't want to leave; that's the spirit, eh? Black Baptist church communities, some in matching t-shirts, bustle about with a sense of reassuring familiarity and hearty laughs. i see "official volunteers" with badges hanging from their necks, representing the City of Fort Worth, the FW Independent School District, the Red Cross, and other agencies.

i see people walking around with heaping plates of hot food and drinks, perhaps the first hot complete meal they've had in days. a person overseeing the buffet line shouts out to other volunteers standing around, wanting to be of service: "extend a hand, start a conversation, welcome these people to Texas!"

everyone here wants to give just a little bit, well, actually, we want to give a lot...but we don't want to be pushy or invasive.

i decided one thing i could help do was hang out near the computers (all have high-speed internet connections) and offer assistance if folks need to search for information.

i created the FAVORITES lists on each computer here, adding websites which i think might be relevant to these evacuees:  housing, jobs, news...

whether young or old, everyone seems calm and surprisingly content. i notice the sharp smell of aftershave and other aromatic body products, as folks emerge from the showers, walking around in fresh clothes. they must feel so much better now.

i am enjoying the company of young 14-year old Kevin, who sits at the computer to my left. he is happily occupied with an anime tv series website, downloading dozens of images and printing them on the HP printer, and he is nonstop describing each series character and detailing the narrative of this mythological tale. he has the biggest smile, as he describes the one MRE (meals-ready-to-eat) he received just earlier today. i keep prodding him to eat something more substantial, a little fresher, on the tables just three yards behind us. i ask about his family, and he indicates that his mother and brother are elsewhere in the center; he seems not to be worried about them or anything else, as his gaze remains fixed on the Japanese drawings on the screen.

he is in his own reverie of survival, even as slices of dinner pizza cool at his side....

[The Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center is located at 5101 C.A. Roberson, Fort Worth TX 76119. This facility is located in southeast Fort Worth at IH-20 and Wichita Street (east of IH-35W).]

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Halliburton, redeem thyself

Dear Halliburton:

You have reaped the benefits as war profiteers in Iraq. We have witnessed your gluttonous grab of U.S. contracts
for the "rebuilding of Iraq", in a no-bid situation. Yeah, we have also read about Cheney's ties to your favored positioning
in these post-911 years of "fighting terrorism." Okay, these connections, such blatant cronyism, are certainly no secret
and of course are not above reproach.

However, inasmuch as our outrage--about your exploitation of the U.S. occupation of Iraq-- continues to seethe, we have a small favor to ask.

Your subsidiary, KBR, could be of great service to those suffering in New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf Coast region
right at this moment. According to your website: "KBR provides a wide range of engineering, construction, operations and maintenance, logistics and project management services to three markets: upstream, downstream and government & infrastructure."

KBR even has documented experience--mostly in Asia--working on projects to "deliver clean water, flood protection and other essential infrastructure to millions of people."

Wow, what credentials. I'm impressed.

But, how about impressing me even more. What is stopping you from considering the gift you could capably offer
by providing services to the Katrina-devastated areas of OUR OWN COUNTRY? Pro bono. Free of charge.

I took a glimpse at a very informative resource online and it is pretty obvious to me that your coffers of profit aren't doing too badly this millennium.

So, how about a leg up for the people of New Orleans and surrounding communities? How about sending a KBR response team down there to help save Americans on U.S. soil? How about making a sober effort at showing us taxpayers that you can
play Good Samaritan in a moment of crisis for your fellow countrymen and women and children?

I recommend you act swiftly. Your reputation could use some damage control itself.

Halliburton, redeem thyself.


Tammy Gomez

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Say no to CAFTA - Central America Free Trade Agreement

If passed, CAFTA would advance the passing of the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas).

Can we stop U.S. domination of Latin America? Do we want blood on our hands, the blood of exploited labor, in our consumer products of convenience?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

"Parents Magazine" apparently cool w/ kids ingesting toxins

The following is excerpted from the newsletter "ORGANIC BYTES" (#62, published by Organic Consumers Association):

"Parents Magazine", one of the most influential parenting publications in the U.S., advised parents not to worry about pesticide residues in children's food in its recent August 2005 issue. In an article titled "Food Under Fire," the magazine belittles the benefits of organic foods as a myth, and endorses pesticides in foods as safe, stating: "there's no evidence that these chemicals, used at the low levels found in our food supply, are harmful to children." The author of the piece based his research on the opinion of a single "expert," never mentioning three decades of scientific evidence from academic, government and industry sources that states otherwise. The magazine serves as a "parenting guide" to more than 14 million subscribers....write a quick letter to their editor here:"

What follows is my quick letter to the PARENTS MAGAZINE editor:

"Any parent knows that infants and children are generally more vulnerable to toxic substances. For PARENTS MAGAZINE to disregard years of research findings and to conclude ("Food Under Fire", August 2005) that toxins such as pesticides are somehow to be tolerated in our children's early life diet is blatant irresponsibility. At first meal, at second ingestion, perhaps a child appears to have experienced no harm. But reared on a consistent diet of foods heavily-laden with known toxic ingredients, some level of cumulative harm is inevitable for even the most robust of children. It concerns me that PARENTS MAGAZINE has chosen to relax its standards of acceptability of toxins in our world.

Tammy Gomez
Fort Worth, Texas"

******************************** Subscribe to "Organice Bytes" here:

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

My Multicultural Moment for Today

I had just dropped my niece off at her Summer Theater Camp session, and I was turning the corner onto Magnolia St.

I blinked to make sure I was seeing right: a rather large group of Asians (Japanese tourists? a family out for a cholesterol-heavy homestylee lunch?) were streaming out of the legendary Paris Coffee Shop--which is nothing to do with Paris, Parisian cuisine, French style and has everything to do with sustaining the downhome Texas cafe tradition of fresh fruit pies (by the slice!), chicken fried steak, and Whites at the tables/Blacks in the kitchen. Haven't eaten there in years, though I pass it daily, scorning its cheesy, misdirected (unfortunately) exterior mural and seeing people of color only when it's staff (kitchen crew) hanging out by the back door having a smoke.

ANYway--I imagined what those Asian folks might have thought of the place.

Fort Worth wants to break out of a too-tight Bible belt chokehold on ethnic diversity and inclusivity in all public realms.
Let's see it happen.

I said it before and it'll be on a t-shirt before long: Fort Worthwhile: Let's Make It!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Hectic pace makes perfect - convening a convention

Been doing email non-stop for days, trying to put finishing touches on a National Convention program and programme. The big annual gathering of VETERANS FOR PEACE is happening in less than two weeks, and we got bucketloads of work yet to do, things to arrange.

I've been telling folks to spread the word and to download the entire contents of the 2005 CONVENTION PROGRAMME from the VETERANS FOR PEACE website, in order to ascertain what events, workshops, concerts they might like to attend.

The convention's offering words, music, inspiring truth-talk from the likes of these folks: Jim Hightower, Dahr Jamail, conscientious objector Camilo Mejia, singer James McMurtry, whistleblower Coleen Rowley (who's now running for Congress), and David Rovics (activist singer-songwriter).

Film screenings will happen Thursday through Saturday (August 4th-6th) in the evenings at 10pm in the Big Tent (air-conditioned, by the way). The TEXAS PREMIERE of "Sir! No Sir!", a 90-minute film
that just received its WORLD premiere in Los Angeles last month, is described herewith:

"In the 1960s an anti-war movement emerged that altered the course of history. It emerged in army stockades, navy brigs and in the dingy towns that surround military bases. It penetrated elite military colleges like West Point and spread throughout the battlefields of Vietnam. Hundreds went to prison and thousands into exile. "Sir! No Sir!" by David Zeiger tells the little known story of this GI movement against the war in Vietnam."

LATE NIGHT VIDEO SERIES - 10pm - in the Big Tent on-campus at the University of Dallas at Irving - Donations accepted

Thursday: The Cost of War (57 mins.)
Friday: Sir! No Sir! (90 mins.)
Saturday: Voices in Wartime (90 mins.)

Veterans For Peace: Waging Peace for 20 Years!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The official Veterans For Peace 2005 Convention Programme Booklet

You can download it (it's a pdf) to your desktop and peruse its thoroughly-detailed contents (about convention workshops, keynote speakers, performance schedules, and more). Just go to the Veterans For Peace website and scroll down a bit to the DOWNLOADS section. Click on "Download Program Booklet PDF" and it's all yours.

Feel free to print/distribute copies (or sections thereof) to anyone who you think might be interested in attending the Convention. I also have PRE-SALE Saturday, August 6th Banquet Program (Jim Hightower is the keynote speaker) tickets for sale.

Thanks for your help in getting the word out!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Emma Tenayuca in convention booklet

I am so excited! Yesterday, while proofreading the final draft of the 2005 National Convention Veterans For Peace programme booklet--all 60 pages of it--I noticed that the editor had put in a few pages of information under the heading "Texas Women in History" or something similar to that. In this section, there were brief bios, along with notable quotes, on such Texas famous femmes as Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, and Molly Ivins. Hmmm, I thought, that's cool to have a section devoted to this kind of thing. But second thought: wait, how 'bout a Chicana notable? How 'bout Emma Tenayuca? You cannot leave out somebody like Emma Tenayuca? So, I sent a suggestion to the editor, along with a url for info on Tenayuca, right away. A print deadline loomed.

And so, today, when I went to check my email, I found a message from the editor. She wrote that she'd booted Molly Ivins from the programme booklet and put in some historical info about Emma Tenayuca instead. Yay, victory! I helped make a tiny difference...I am letting folks have a chance to learn about the pecan shellers' strike of 1938 and about the beloved San Antonio labor leader, Tenayuca, who helped bring about movement towards labor justice. Awesome!

Every little bit helps, every tiniest act can make a ripple in someone's consciousness, and growth can happen from even a tiny effort at watering a seed....


Sunday, July 17, 2005

Look who's listed...

I happened to be looking up something in google and decided to check on new results for my own name. (Why not? It's one efficient way to find press reviews and blog notices about my work, which i can then include on updates of my bio, etc.) So, what do i find? Apparently, on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) website, my name is listed as "cast member" for Rick Linklater's first (pre-Slacker) full-length feature film. What?!! I was not believing that i would ever actually be listed as an actor in this film, even though--once i'd read the premise of the film, which is titled "It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books"--i'd had my suspicions about some of my ideas possibly being included in Rick's first long project. You see,
back in the day (being actually the mid-to-late 1980s), i'd hung around with Rick and some of his go-see-films-during-the-day-at-the-Texas-Union-and-go-to-hear-bands-at-night vintage slacker buddies. These folks were, at the time, wanna-be filmmakers, who were doing experimental shorts (super 8, 16mm) around town in unlikely unconstructed scenarios and locations. I had alot of interest in these guys, cuz their reading/film/music tastes pretty closely aligned with mine. For instance, we were similarly drawn to writers J.G. Ballard and Philip K. Dick and punk-industrial sounds like SPK, Throbbing Gristle, Butthole Surfers, Scratch Acid and others.

Rick and his housemates also launched the Austin Film Society the year after I graduated from college, so I was an early film series fan--going to the Dobie Theater for midnight screenings, sometimes offering a flower freshly-picked from the UT-Austin campus flowerbeds as admission payment. Who knows what the guys thought of me: resident film groupie? literary somnambulist? wanna-be scenester? I just remember that the films they screened were so amazing and diverse, and their following grew quickly over the years. (The Austin Film Society is now a mainstay, a veritable institution, known not only to Austinites but to cineastes nationwide.)

Anyway, on to my point, to the present: I remember hanging out with Rick at the house ('round the corner from Les Amis, which is also now-defunct), and being a little wound-up cuz i'd just left my modern dance class across the street. I started dancing around, full of crazy energy, and talking jibberish about my day. Typical 22-year old, I guess. Rick, always a good listener, seemed amused and drawn to my stories. At one point, after i'd detailed a particularly emotional concern of the moment, an outpouring that had moved me to tears, Rick perked up, as if with sudden concern. He merely asked, "Is it okay if i set up my camera--a beta video camera on a low tripod)--and shoot you saying again what you just said. Over there, by the window...just like before....." Happy to go along with this distraction from my own verbalized musings, I shifted into performer mode. It kinda pleased me that Rick had taken an interest in what i had to say. After all, i was only talking about boyfriends and an audio cassette recording that i'd recorded and mailed to an ex-boyfriend, only to get it mailed back to me at a time when i was experiencing a new heartache. The recycle value of my own recorded spoken encouragements was what i was so intrigued by. The concept of comforting yourself with a tape you recorded being mailed back to you was almost poignant, a little pathetic. I guess Rick recognized the pathos in this and wanted to document it for further study, for consideration later. Or perhaps i just looked a little visually interesting standing at the window. Whatever. I agreed to pose and reiterate for the camera what i'd just casually shared with Rick.

And now, years and years later, I'm seeing that my name is on the credits list for his 1988 film "It's Impossible....." Okay, i think i have to check this out further. More soon.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Bridge Center search bridges me to David Nakabayashi

I had written down the words "Bridge Center - El Paso" on a tiny scrap of paper, and had forgotten why, so I decided to google the term to see what popped up. Of course, when you google, you add your own oomph to the search, knowing that you approach such a moment with your own built-in filters and preferences. I knew that I didn't want to see results about bridge construction, the game of bridge, or some civic center administration webpage. I wanted "Bridge Center - El Paso" to be about a Center for art, a Center for literature, a Bridge for people, a cultural relevance for Latinos on the border....

The best result I found had to do with a guy named David Nakabayashi who'd had a show at the Bridge Center for Contemporary Arts in El Paso. Reading some of David's writing compelled me to check out some of his art from the series of retablos he made last year--the series was on "Consumption." You've got to see this work online. It made me so happy, elated, contenta. His colors are brilliant, his subject matter well-considered, and the evocation of themes very personal. I love the Prayer to the Cow and the Prayer to his Alcoholic Friend(?).

When mass media wants me to be fascinated by Tom Cruise & Paris Hilton romances, I am so relieved to be reminded of the beauty that can be accessed--ever so non-viscerally, of course, if it's on the web--at my fingertips, as I wind down from a long day, cold Tecate at my side.

Makes me wanna say a prayer.

Friday, July 08, 2005

BlogHer Conference on July 30th, 2005

It's a SINGLE DAY DEAL--starting at 8:30am (take an espresso, depth charge!) and ending by 6pm--but this first-of-its-kind blogger meet for girls (and boys, as 20% of the pre-registered are of the XY chromosome) promises to be a frenetically-paced conference.

Taking place at a joint called TechMart in Santa Clara, California, the programming for the day includes a friendly debate ("Does Today's Link-based Power Structure Hurt Women Bloggers? Should We Care?") and plenty of sessions which are thematically all over the map: Mommyblogging, feminist hip-hop bloggers, podcasting/vlogs, and the bidness side of blogging.

Don't miss the catchy-titled LUNCH SPECIAL: "Flame, Blame, and Shame: What happens when women write for an audience of men and women who can write—and bite—back? Moderator Liza Sabater leads a panel including online security expert Ellen Spertus and Debi Jones." There's even a Blogher Global Panel, featuring blogging women from India and Portugal. They're thorough with this confab, que no?

I can't be there, but maybe we'll get a Blogher t-shirt for the Cowtown girls sweating out their August thoughts for online viewing. Here's where to go for more Blogher Conference INFO.