Sunday, June 11, 2006

Nepal Tammy - th' other blog

I am happy to announce yet another anniversary (this would be the 7th) of my monsoon summer in Nepal, by inviting you to check out my travel journal (work-in-progress) at: or just click aqui.

This blog chronicles my life--what I remember of it--in Nepal during monsoon season 1999. I arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal, on the 10th day of June -- officially noted as the first day of the monsoon in the KATHMANDU POST English-language daily.

My intention is to physically transcribe all my scribblings, poems, and what-not from my journals and travel notes SPECIFICALLY during June-July-August in order to summon the experience and vibe--if you will--of that trip. In other words, I work on this project ONLY in the summer time, and I make the postings available in roughly chronological order. (Yeah, kinda like re-living the trip...)

Check in, as you like, at the blogspot address above.


Friday, June 09, 2006

porch people

Says Flagstaff-based poeta, Logan Phillips in a recent email: "The foto turned out pretty well, it works best just to remind me of that beautiful morning, rather than capturing anything especially special... but that's what all good fotos do, I think. I like that porch of yours."

That's Logan, me, and Claudia Acosta decorating the top steps...

Yep, that paint-peeled old wooden porch of mine has been a veritable throne to many of my compadres and comadres passing through town on some tour, research investigation, convention or other. When Jason and Shani lived in the hood as neighbors, they would often porch-sit with me over a coupla brews and rolled Buglers. If I wasn't home, they'd even show up, cuz they didn't have a porch of their own and just liked sitting on mine. That's how welcoming this Fairmount Ave. porch has been over the ages.

Vicki Monks sent me this foto, taken back in January, when she and poet-visual artist-film actor Richard Ray Whitman spent a weekend in FW to check out Avedon's "In the American West" photo exhibit and some of the other local museums.

Vicki, an award-winning journalist who focuses much of her attention on environmental issues, might be visiting my porch again this week, as she is making plans to attend the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in Fort Worth which runs from June 15th-18th.

You can check out some of Vicki's journalism online, via this portal or download the audio for "Carbon Black" an NPR report that earned her an SEJ (Society of Environmental Journalists) 1st place award in 2005.

And, if you're ever in the hood and have only the goodest intentions, stop by. My porch is your porch.

The storms of heaven drench me sometimes

It is doing an injustice to all the other stellar go-down-in-history weekends i’ve ever lived to write this, but i have to say:

This past weekend was pretty exemplary, in terms of “putting out” and “taking in”, and yeah, i know that just read like i’m referring to a highly carnalized three days of debauchery--but that’s not what i mean here.

I performed on Friday night, at the National Performance Network--southern regional meeting--showcase, that just happened to be scheduled in Dallas this year. Which meant that a Dallas partner in the NPN had the honor and responsibility of putting together the confab’s final night performance thingy. So, Vicki Meek, artistic director of the South Dallas Cultural Center, invited me and eight other performing artists of her choosing (thank you, Vicki!) to give a taste of D/FW’s range of performative offerings. I chose to do a monologue I’d written about 10 years ago--commissioned by Mexic-Arte in Austin--for a specific actor to perform, so I’d never memorized or performed the thing (5 pages!) myself. But since that was my choice, I put my all into it. (It took me a month to get the whole thing down, comfortably, and I owe my cat Grace a big fat thank you for putting up with me for the countless hours I paced the house, in character, working my lines, as she--had no choice--listened)

Anyway, Friday was the big night and I rode into Big D--the showcase was at Richland College, a rather pleasant little oasis of green and greenhouses, ponds and fountains--with fellow performer Laney Yarber, who’s done some pretty innovative things in performance art--in Dallas, San Antonio, and Cowtown. Her choice for a presentation this night was “Lake Worth Pagan” which includes footage of a guy who believes that Lake Worth is the most important archaeological site in the world.

Come performance time, I felt pretty good, and had even decided to perform in the audience area--rather than onstage--for most of my 10 minutes. I think that was a good choice, as I saw many people come back into the theater from the lobby, rushing to hear who was mouthing off in both English and Spanish. Well, it was me, cuz, you see, my character, “Malinchuca”, is plenty pissed, and she only has one monologue--5 pages or 10 minutes--to defend her honor and name, as well as to try to set a few things straight. In the middle of the monologue, I noticed some familiar faces in the audience: Lisa Suarez, director/actor with Jump-Start Theater (San Anto) [ note: that’s not a misspelling, that’s how Chicanos abbreviate San Antonio, with the accent on the A in “Anto” ] and Kerry Kreiman, tireless director and choreographer of Contemporary Dance Fort Worth. They gave me good energy with their attention, and I am thankful they were there.

After the program ended, I got out of costume, packed up my things, and headed out to the theater lobby for the post-show reception, where Vicki had told us performers to bring our “promo press packets”--to give to the NPN arts partners should they show any interest in us. At this point, I felt a little weird, kinda like a prize pig in an auction house. Well, this little piggie stood off to the side, chatting casually with the friends (thanks, Rupert, Karen, Judy!) who showed up to support me. But after a minute, Vicki started rushing up to me, with increasingly frequent interruptions of “I need another packet. Give ‘em the dvd, they’re from out-of state...!” It was, actually, pretty wonderful that Vicki wanted to act as talent agent in this little slice of time. I certainly wasn’t going to march up to somebody and demand that they invite me to gig at their venue.

The coolest thing did happen, though. Melissa, Foulger, associate artistic director of probably the best performing arts venue in Atlanta--7 STAGES--approached me and gave me her card. I’ve been on the 7 Stages mailing list for years and have always been impressed with the themes and experimental nature of the work they present. Melissa told me that 7 Stages is looking for more work by Latinas, and then requested one of my promo packets and dvds. Kewl. Sixto Wagan, performing arts director of DIVERSEWORKS in Houston also gave me his card, so the ball's in my court for a follow-up. DiverseWorks is one major nut that I have yet to crack in the state of Texas, as i've already jammed and performed on most of the stages here that produce innovative and cutting-edge work (McKinney Arts Contemporary, Undermain Theater, Bath House Cultural Center, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, Jump-Start, South Dallas Cultural Center, Women and Their Work, La Pena in Austin, Mexic-Arte, Teatro Bilingue in Houston, for starters.).

The Prez and Vice Prez of Richland College came up to meet me and wanted my promo packet, indicating they are now schedulilng for 2007-2008. Wow, after all that potty mouth I presented on their campus stage, these guys weren’t offended by my work. Okay, these guys now rate high in my Big Chief Tablet. The executive director of Knoxville, Tennessee’s, CARPETBAG THEATRE chatted me up, as did Alice Valdez, exec. director at MECA (Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts) in Houston. It was all quite a whirlwind of promise and props, accolades and introductions. And I only got to snag one lone piece of a brownie from the reception table during all this hubub. It didn’t matter. I was so relieved to have gotten through my 10-minute solo, and was so basking in the afterglow, that all I really needed then was some champagne and my bed.

Of the other performers who showcased that night, I was most pleased to finally meet and watch Ms. Venus Opal Reese (an artist named after both a planet AND a gem better be able to back that up with some skillz....right?), who was quite incredible. She moves like yards of silk off a treetrunk in a windstorm--fluid, swift, graceful--and her voice is strong with integrity, yet melodic and affable. She is quite the scholar, with at least two Master’s degrees, and she currently teaches (Aesthetic Studies) at the University of Texas at Dallas. We need to get her on a stage here in FW sometime soon.

When I arrived back in FW (thanks again, Laney!), I drove over to the Black Dog for a celebration drink and a bit of local mirth before heading hard for my pillow. Before I knew it, I was drawn into the fanfare for the touring act rocking the crowd. They were an Austin trio of chingona musicians: bass, drums, guitar. That’s Heather, Nina (aka Punjabi), and Adrian. Simple and straight-ahead instrumentation, but damn could they play. I thought drummer (Punjabi) was the most amazing until Ms. cordless-guitar-Adrian started seducing us with screeching solos that could equal that of any seasoned acid-rock axe-handler of the male persuasion. She was really good. And then, the bass player, she had a spotlight moment as the audience demanded that the band play “Vampire” again, where she takes the lead vocal and nails it for a performance that had the whole crowd up on their feet.

As dear barkeep Jim R brought me a complimentary (thanks, dude) gin & tonic, I asked him if he’d ever seen a standing ovation at the Black Dog. He grinned and shouted, “only if there’s a fire!” There was virtual pandemonium in the house as people swarmed the band with hugs and accolades. (Was this displaced Maverick fan energy?---the Mavs did have Friday night off, after all...) It was a major lovefest at the Black Dog, as our actually quite-savvy Friday night audience stood and recognized that there was some pretty bad-ass music coming at their ears, thanks to these 3 rockin’ Austin women. Jim R told me later, they’ll be back. He booked ‘em the first time, and he’ll be sure they come to the Dog again.

Oh, their name: Adrian and the Sickness. Their myspace portal? Right here. They’re scheduled to play in Denton on August 17th, so maybe we’ll see ‘em back in the 817 ‘round then.

By the end of the night I was ecstatic, with icing on my cake, a swirl of gin & tonic flooding my system, and a night of great performance (mine as well as the girl band’s) under my belt. Nothing but my pillow, after an achingly strenuous week, could top that.

BUT THEN--not two days later, before the weekend was up, I got to bliss out over another freaking wonderful musical experience. The scheduled REQUIEM show at some joint in Denton was cancelled, so a quick-acting Cri (aka Nobody) made a couple of calls and set up an impromptu show at 1919 Hemphill within two hours' time. I love that about non-proprietary performing arts spaces; there was no big hassle to get REQUIEM a stage and an audience--thanks to a bulletin with the 411 that Cri posted on myspace.

Oh, REQUIEM is a band affiliated with Crimethinc, an association of anarchist collectives, projects, etc. Go here to read up on 'em. The set they played at 1919 Hemphill reminded me of the best of the best hardcore punk moments I've ever had, and I'd say that that's saying alot...

It was so intense, so invigorating, so LOUD, that i swear I could feel the nerves in my face pulsating minutes after their set ended.

I have to also mention that REQUIEM's drummer was another truly-amazing woman musician. My cup runneth over, here in FW, cuz I got to see/hear TWO rockin' bad-ass woman drummers in ONE single weekend.

That's gotta be a historical breakthrough or something.

Robert Karimi's "Self--The Remix" in Austin & San Anto

We met and learned of one another's work in Austin first, and then in San Anto. We made quick friends and performance allies. We knew alot of the same Chicano/a film and music scene people. Robert Karimi, Guatemalan-Iranian brilliant-boy of the stage, is someone I've always felt deserved the props he's gotten. That man works AND COOKS his damn ass off. One of the last times I was in Chicago, he was debuting a live cooking show performance satire. He's one male who's not afraid to wear an apron in public.

I have this special memory of the time he emailed--back when he was a (seriously-frenetic but effective) high school English teacher in Newark, California--to let me know that about "200 students had NOT read the Austin local newspaper," but had read my poem "Manslaughter"--which was a poetic account of a homicide that had gone down in Austin long ago. In other words, he was teaching my poem to his hs kids. Eventually, he hooked up a teaching/performance gig for me at that high school during my first trip to the Bay Area, where those very kids who'd read my poem got to share the original work they'd been inspired to write after reading "Manslaughter." I love moments like that, when I get to see how my work might make a difference for somebody.

But, right now---I SO wish that I could hop down to Austin to check out Robert's performance at RESISTENCIA BOOKSTORE tomorrow night, June 10th. Guess I'll just have to keep up with his upcoming shenanigans (he's got a few gigs in Anchorage this month...!) via his myspace portal at KARIMI.

Oh, he's also doing SELF--THE REMIX at Jump-Start Theatre in SA as part of the 2nd Annual Teatrofest, a city-wide celebration of Chicano/Latino performance and theater.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

666 Literary Event '''''afterglow'''''

666 thing went VERY well, despite the sweltering heat that sent most folks to the ice chests for bottles of "Wicked Ale" which i'd bought specific. for the occasion. lots of stimulating and instigating word was evoked; Tommy Atkins' piece went over
well, as well as the words of new-to-us wordsmiths Trevor Richardson (who says that "Fight Club" author what's-his-face is coming to Big D later this month...) and Jen Cooper (partner to Marcus L).

By the time i got home this evening, after it all, I had an email from Tommy expressing thanks for my reading of his piece (he wasn't present tonight) cuz he'd already gotten kudos for the work from someone at the Metrognome, and Christopher Photog (what's his last name?) had left a voicemail message sharing props and encouragement.

Right now, the Dallas poet Max Blair is snoring big-time in the next room (but he'd given me notice, so it's not going to disturb me) and I'm munching on afterthoughts about a well-spent evening masticating 666 theory--literarily--with some pretty friggin' fine writers in the 817, 214, 972, and 682.

Also in the house tonight: FW Slam team 06 member Chuck; former Slam-teamer A.D. (Anthony Douglas), organic farmer/philosopher/storyteller Kendall McCook; Firehouse Gallery matriarch and FWAC arts goddess Lori Thomson; singer/keyboardist Devin Adams; The Shortest Distance songwriter and Fascist Watch film series coordinator Ramsey Sprague; and Angelique the angel wing-maker and performance dream-weaver. It was definitely something unprecedented for the M'Gnome.

More to come, believe it or not. We'll keep spreading the word, when it's summer and hot.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Literary 666 Event - tomorrow, Tuesday 6/6/06 in FW

666, as a number, is so loaded, so symbolic, in so many different ways,
that we just couldn't turn the calendar page tomorrow
without doing some kind of commemoration...


the LITERARY 666 event of the century is
taking place at
7:30pm on June 6th, 2006

with contributed work/performances by the following D/FW folks:

Tommy Atkins (of The Great Tyrant)
Kendall McCook (poet, storyteller)
Ramsey Sprague (songwriter, The Shortest Distance)
Moises Silva (poet)
Jen Cooper (writer, educator, singer)
m.m. harris (poet, New Orleans evacuee)
Trevor Richardson (prose-fiction writer)

with visual art by Junanne Peck

and featuring Max Blair (member, Death List 5)
performing "How to Spot the Signs of Satan"


Metrognome Collective Arts Space
1518 E. Lancaster
in near southside (a few blocks east of I-35)

7:30pm on 6/6/06 !

It's a BYOB, folks, but we'll have some eats&drinks available as well.

Spread the 666 word and hope to see you tomorrow...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Workshop at 3pm, Film at 7pm - Today, June 4th in FW

Filmmaker and somatherapy workshop facilitator Nick Cooper is in the Metroplex this weekend to spread the SOMA word/theory/practice.

Here's a blurb about the documentary film screening tonight at 7pm at 1919 Hemphill:

"With difficulty walking, and half-blinded from torture by the Brazilian military dictatorship, 79 year-old Roberto Freire continues to develop somatherapy, completing his life's work. Incorporating the ideas of Wilhelm Reich, the politics of anarchism, and the culture of capoeira angola, Soma is used by therapists organized in anarchist collectives to fight the psychological effects of authoritarianism. Nick Cooper travelled to Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Bahia, and São Paulo to find the exercises, principles, voices, and movement of somatherapy."

The workshop starts at 3pm and lasts for several hours---also at 1919 Hemphill. Here's what Wikipedia has to offer about "Somaterapia", this body- and mind-freeing therapeutic practice:

"Somatherapy was created by the writer Roberto Freire in the 1970s as a group therapy, based on the research of the psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. With the objective of freeing the individual to be more creative, the exercises in Soma work with the relationship between the body and emotions are evident in the work of Reich. They work with concepts based on the vital organisation of the self stemming from Gestalt therapy. Other essential ingredients in Soma are the studies of Antipsychiatry related to human communication and the Brazilian martial art / dance Capoeira Angola. Soma groups last a year and a half, with frequent sessions, including usually one full weekend per month for the entire group, as well as frequent capoeira classes, study sessions, social activities, and two self-organized group trips. These times together allow the participants to build and develop the group dynamic, in line with the principles of Anarchism. The originality of Soma stems from the fusion of pedagogy and politics within the therapeutic process, in which pleasure and freedom construct the notion of health which combats the neurosis of capitalism in our globalised society.

Soma in practice

As a therapy with an anarchist ethic, Soma seeks to understand the socio-political behaviour of individuals starting from what happens in their daily lives. Authoritarianism is reproduced in social micro-relations through games of power and sacrifice. Therefore, capitalist values such as private property, competition, profit and exploitation need to be considered as more than mere questions of market and ideology. The influence of these values on social relations (love relations, for example) cannot be denied. The results of the authoritarianism of the Government and the State are reproduced in feelings (jealousy, possession, insecurity) and situations (competition, betrayal, lies). For Soma therefore, politics begins in everyday, microsocial situations."

Check it out. Today in FW - one day (and evening) only!