Sunday, December 17, 2006

2007 SLINGSHOT ORGANIZERS now on sale in FW

2007 Slingshot Organizer mixed colours, 1/4 size, paperback, 160 pages (6 oz) - $6.00
2007 Slingshot Organizer, large size (10 oz) - mixed colors, 1/2 size, glossy cover, spiral bound - $10.00

Geez, you don't have one of these yet?!?! It's a handy calendar and day planner, a zinester's best friend! Plan your days, one at a time, with plenty of room to scrawl notes on a calendar that will fit in your pocket. Includes space to write your phone numbers, a contact list of radical leftist groups around the globe, a menstrual calendar, info on police repression, extra note pages, and much more.

Not only is it the coolest thing to carry around in your tote bag, but it's also an informative guide to the People's History of the World. Includes popular activist and alternative cultural holidays and important protests as well as historical landmarks.

This organizer is sold as a fundraiser for SLINGSHOT, the radical newspaper from Berkeley. A small percentage of all sales here in FW will go towards supporting the 1919 Hemphill Community Space.

WHERE can you buy your 2007 SLINGSHOT ORGANIZER?!?!

1. At the SPIRAL DINER, the popular vegan eatery on Magnolia Street,

or just

2. Phone Cri ('Cree") at 817.966.0669, and he'll make sure one gets to you.

It'll make a NIFTY Chinese New Year's giftie. Cash only, please.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Call for submissions: UNDER WHAT BANDERA? (2nd edition)

Red CalacArts Publications is seeking poetry submissions about experiences and encounters with migration and crossing borders for their second edition of the chapbook UNDER WHAT BANDERA?

This San Diego-based publication is a literary project of the Red CalacArts Collective (RCAC). This collective, a project of Calaca Press, is a not-for-profit multidisciplinary arts and activist organization that focuses on creating, publishing, producing, and presenting Chicano, Latin American and indigenous related art focusing on issues dealing with human rights and social justice.

We are asking interested writers to please submit a maximum of 2 poems, limited to 2 pages total, by January 3, 2007. We are looking for original work, which has not been previously published in a book. Material which has been posted on the internet is acceptable.

Email your piece(s) and a short biography of yourself (third person, 100 word max) within the text message to (Email attachments in any form will not be read.)

Poets whose work is chosen for the chapbook will retain copyright after publication and will receive ten free copies of the final product. Some selected poems will also be posted on the Red CalacArts Collective website.

The previous chapbook, UNDER WHAT BANDERA? ANTI-WAR OFRENDAS FROM MINNESOTA Y CALIFAS, was a response from a tragically-affected Latino community to the illegal occupation of Iraq by U.S. forces. This project was a collaboration between the RCAC and the Minnesota-based Palabrer@s. Ten poets were featured in this award-winning chapbook (Bookstore of the Americas Book of the Year, 2003), which was edited by Emmanuel Ortiz, Olga A. García, and Lorena E. Duarte Q.

For more information about the Red CalacArts Collective, their publications and events, go here or email them at

Saturday, December 02, 2006

MY FORT WORTH: Alternative Holiday Bazaar in FW - Saturday & Sunday ONLY!

[If you have to shop, this is the way to do it without losing your soul. This bazaar features alot of "crafts and merchandise" that you won't be able to find easily anywhere else. You don't have to get mauled at the mall when you can spend your money in an environment that is laidback and human-scale. Recommended.]

15th Annual Alternative Holiday Bazaar
DECEMBER 2nd and 3rd - Saturday & Sunday only!

Where: First Jefferson Universalist Unitarian Church
1959 Sandy Lane, 76112 (mapsco 66-Y)

Time: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday AND 12 noon to 3 p.m. Sunday

Enjoy good food, good drink and good conversation with progressive-minded folks.

Tarrant Area Community of Churches
Peace Action Tarrant County
Fort Worth Friends Meeting (Quakers)
Fort Worth Vegetarian Society

Heifer Project
Colores del Pueblo
Tx Cure
Miracles in Action
Peace Farm
Educate the Children
Refugee Services of Texas, Inc.
Iraq Vets for Peace
Code Pink
Unitarian World service
Sierra Club
Amnesty International
Tarrant Coalition for Environmental Awareness
Crawford Peace House
First Jefferson Craft Guild

(For sale will also be offered crafts by artisans of South America and the Pacific Rim, the Middle East, Africa and Vietnam.)

***All proceeeds go to organizations & projects that support human dignity and care for the earth.***

Friday, November 24, 2006

Get out of the car

Last Monday, I stepped off the porch steps and onto the sidewalk to chill with my cat in the morning sunlight. Immediately enthralled by the touch of the early breezes, I inhaled the possibility of doing something so unlikely as this: running errands by walking. I needed to go downtown for a coupla different things, and I prefer to bunch up my chores so I only have to run the car in one general direction and accomplish multi-things at a time. What's that permaculture aphorism? Protracted thought leads to minimized labor and energy waste. (Actually, since I took the time to look it up, it's this: "...protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor...")

So, anyway, I had a handful of things to accomplish downtown and had about five hours to get 'em done. Why not walk today, I asked myself.

I started out from my hood (Fairmount neighborhood) and headed north, arriving downtown (City Hall) in about 45 minutes. The temperature was perfect and the only discomfort I felt was some slight pain in my lower back and right foot (broken toe). Overall, I was buoyant. I felt like walking the distance it would have taken me 8 minutes to drive and accomplishing the chores in 2 hours rather than 30 minutes did not deplete me or compromise my schedule. With a conscious choice, I opted to slow down my day--and yes, I didn't get as much done as on a typical day--and gained so much the improved attitude and overall depth charge that I had long needed.

It's gorgeous today, give it a go. Give your feet the green light. Let the car rest for a minute.

I'm heading out now to cruise the neighborhood with my friend Carol. Feet a-walking, mouths a-talking.

In case you need information to get inspiration....

Friday, November 17, 2006

SUNDAY: "The Other Side" screens after FINAL performance of BOXCAR in FW

If you haven't seen BOXCAR (written by Silvia Gonzalez S. and directed by FW-er Rob Bosquez), you have only ONE weekend left to do so.

"Inspired by the 1987 tragedy in which 18 bodies and one survivor were found in a sealed boxcar in Texas, Gonzalez's play tells the story of six Mexican men and a teen from El Salvador as they try to cross the border looking for a better life in the U.S."


F * R * E * E Screening of an experimental film by Lubbock-born
filmmaker Bill Brown, which focuses on the land & politics of the U.S./Mexico border.

“The Other Side” by Bill Brown
43 min., 16mm print

EVEN if you cannot make it to see BOXCAR, come to this free screening of "The Other Side"!

1440 N. Main St., Fort Worth

“The desert that marks the border between the U.S. and Mexico is the subject of Bill Brown’s deeply personal reflection on and exposé of the challenges surrounding Mexican immigration. Pensive, raw, and luminous images construct a montage of a land where immigrants leave traces of their struggles and hopes. Traveling along these same paths, Brown shows us “where the idea of America is up for grabs” and explores the vicissitudes of the politics and activism behind U.S. immigration policies. We ride in the cars of activists protecting the rights of migrants, set up water stations, listen to the tales of crossing attempts, learn the history of the land, and watch the shadows creep across the fixtures of life isolated in the desert.”
–Harlie Dover, Brooklyn Underground Film Festival

Bill Brown makes movies about ghosts that masquerade as movies about landscapes–or maybe it’s the other way around. His films include Roswell, Hub City, Confederation Park, Buffalo Common, Mountain State, and The Other Side. In 2003, the Museum of Modern Art screened a retrospective of his work as part of its MediaScope series.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

un SPLASH de ARTE con tu shot of tequila...?

I'll be showcasing a crazy new piece onstage...
with guest performers Wendy y Miguel..surprise, surprise!

payday this wednesday...

"There's no money in poetry,
but there's no poetry in money, either."

-Robert Graves

The Poor Poet by Carl Spitzweg (1839)

Papers of la Gloria Anzaldua -- Opening and Commemoration

[Thanks to fellow Macondista Jackie Cuevas for sending along this reminder about Anzaldua's papers being acquired by the Benson Latin American Collection at UT-Austin. It's great that Anzaldua's collected writings/scholarly work is going to stay in Tejas, her birthland.]

The public is cordially invited to attend a program and exhibit commemorating the opening of the Gloria Anzaldúa Papers, recently acquired by the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection (at the University of Texas at Austin).

Thursday, November 2, 2006, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection. (Next to the LBJ Library on UT-campus.) A reception will follow.
Please call 512-495-4521 if you plan to attend, or email your RSVP to:

You can find more info about the Gloria Anzaldúa Papers online.

Gloria Anzaldúa! Presente!

Monday, October 16, 2006

after ofrenda night for Devin

[from Wendy - October 11th, 2006]

Hey Tammy,
How were things at Hemphill Mon? I seriously couldn't believe it. I never look at my bulletins and I happened to see the bulletin that you had posted, but for some reason I thought it wasn't literal. This week has been so emotionally insane.

I went to all the sites that you listed and smiled at her smiles along with tears.
I went and got some seeds to plant around the front yard in honor of her. They are Icelandic Poppies. Since I couldn't make it to the Hemphill memorial, I decided I'd do my own.

What happened, if you don't mind me asking? How? I'm so confused.
Well, I just wanted you to know that I sent loving memories that way.
Hope all is well with you, Tammy.

I love you,

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I'm teaching an all-day poetry intensive on Sat., October 21st - Dallas

Performance & Poetry Intensive with Tammy Gomez

Yes, you now have the opportunity to sign up for an all-day workshop with spoken word artist Tammy Gomez. Sponsored by the Writer's Garret--a literary arts organization based in Dallas--, this workshop will allow Tammy to share the strategies and exercises that have helped her more confidently and successfully present her original poetry onstage.

Each participant in this poetry intensive will be asked to bring selected pieces of their original writing, which will then be adapted for a performative presentation. Video documentation, vocal and editing exercises, and demonstrations of award-winning spoken word artists (on cd and dvd) will be included as part of the workshop.

Taking your poetry from the page to the stage can be fun, but it can also help your work gain a new audience in venues beyond the coffeehouse circuit.


WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 21, 2006 - 10 am - 4 pm

WHERE: Upstairs at Paperbacks Plus Bookstore - 6115 La Vista Drive - Dallas, 75214

COST: $90 Members / $105 Others ($15 Early Bird Discount extended.)

WHO TO CONTACT: Grace Kenney of the The Writer's Garret

BY PHONE: 214-828-1715

TAMMY GOMEZ is an award-winning performance poet and writer, whose essays and poetry have been anthologized in many publications including TERRA FIRMA (Agave Noir Press), CONJUNCTIONS (Bard College, NY), CANTOS AL SEXTO SOL (Wings Press), and the forthcoming HECHO EN TEJAS (University of New Mexico Press). She is profiled in LAS TEJANAS: 300 YEARS OF HISTORY (University of Texas Press) and received the Austin Chronicle Critics' Choice distinction as the "Best In-Your-Face Poet" in 1994.

As founder/publisher of Tejana Tongue Press, Tammy has published two anthologies: YONIVERSE: In a Loud Kitchen (Austin, 1998) and NORTH TEXAS NERUDA LOVE: poems, testimonios, tributes in honor of Pablo Neruda (2006).

She has performed in over twenty U.S. cities, including Madison, Denver, San Jose, Berkeley, and Laredo. At times, she has performed with musicians and other artists in collaborative contexts that has established her work as cutting edge, provocative, and unforgettable.

Tammy currently works with youth in an afterschool arts program, and is happy to announce that she has recently been awarded a 2006-2007 NALAC (National Association of Latino Arts & Culture) Artist Production Grant--in support of her spoken word theater production of "SHE: Bike/Spoke/Love", an original script.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"Art creates new thought structures" or so says Jerry Saltz

Interesting recent article in the Village Voice, brought to my attention by Cinque Hicks at BARE AND BITTER SLEEP...

Here's one of the best quotes from this Jerry Saltz article, which you can read in its entirety here:

Imagine calling two pets, one a dog, the other a cat. Asking a dog to do something is an amazing experience. You say, "Come here, Fido," and Fido looks up, pads over, puts his head in your lap, and wags his tail. You've had a direct communication with another species; you and Fido are sharing a common, fairly literal language. Now imagine saying, "Come here, Snowflake" to the cat. Snowflake might glance over, walk to a nearby table, rub it, lie down, and look at you. There's nothing direct about this. Yet something gigantic and very much like art has happened. The cat has placed a third object between you and itself. In order to understand the cat you have to be able to grasp this nonlinear, indirect, holistic, circuitous communication. In short, art is a cat.

Monday, October 09, 2006

CELEBRATE the life & times of Devin "Autonomy Star" Adams - today!!

On Monday, October 9th, many of us will be celebrating the life and memory
of Devin Adams at 1919 Hemphill. It's a potluck performance
art painting party and commemoration. We're inviting folks to share:
food/drink, songs, poetry, art, candles, flowers, and whatever else reminds
you lovingly of our special friend.


WHERE: 1919 HEMPHILL ST. (you may park across the street in the
laundromat parking lot)

WHAT TIME: 4pm - seedpaper-making (handmade paper with seeds
embedded in it, which can then be inscribed with messages
to honor Devin, and later planted anywhere you like.

5pm - altar-building (bring candles, flowers, art, handmade
decorations, colorful fabric, etc., with which to decorate this
tribute altar for Devin).

7pm - potluck (bring food/drink!), screening of video of Devin
in performance, and communal celebration of her life with song,
poetry, storytelling, and art.

QUESTIONS: Please phone Cri at 817.966.0669. Ramsey at 682.556.0553.
Tammy at 817.924.9188.

___Folks are paying Devin tribute online at:___

please spread the word to anyone who knew Devin Adams--
she truly was our
Fort Worth, Texas;
Lincoln, Nebraska;
Keene, Texas;
and California

Friday, October 06, 2006

Tonight: Friday, Oct. 6th - events & happenings

Translator, poet, sometime singer, and sweet soul Gabriela L sent word about the second Velton Hayworth-organized art show and pachanga, to be held at his studio tonight from 5-11pm. Last year's inaugural "Fall Showcase" was pretty happening with downtempo dj music, cash bar, professional salon styling of models' hair (performance art?), and great work by regional artists in a multitude of formats and dimensions. (Last year's artistic highlights included work by Maria Patino and Elizabeth Amaro.)

This year's event will feature a live set (at 6pm!) by SLEEPLAB, who could be dubbed Fort Worth's answer to the musicians of the BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB but that's a kinda lazy comparison, cuz the SLEEPLAB is definitely a multi-flavor.

Okay, summing it up: THE 2nd Annual Fall Showcase (art opening and music party), 5-11pm. Located in a warehouse on a quiet, dark back street: 2800 Shamrock Ave. Suite G. Admission cost raises funds that will go to MEALS ON WHEELS. For more information (and some nice color repros of the art to be shown) click here.


Okay, here's the freebie in town tonight. The Hispanic Women's Network of Texas--Fort Worth Chapter is hosting a Latina art exhibit, which opens at the Rose Marine Theater art gallery (Galeria de la Rosa) from 6-9pm.

Local Latina artists' work will be displayed, reception refreshments will be served, and a silent auction will ensue. (Proceeds from the silent auction will go to the Hispanic Women’s Network-Fort Worth Scholarship Fund.

The short-and-sweet:
HWNT Celebrates Latina Art 2006.
6-9pm. FREE.
1440 N. Main St. - Rose Marine Theater - Galeria de la Rosa



In my world, I can only justify PLAY if i've completed at least a little WORK. And in the activist realm, our impact and progress is directly proportional to the amount of PLAY we can mix in WITH the WORK. Employing humor and festive antics to speak a message and direct an action can do wonders for social justice revolutionary momentum, not to mention the good it can do for committed activistas. I think bitter, bile-infested activists (regardless of where they live on the political continuum) are BORING and TOXIC.

Speaking of TOXIC, there's some unbreathable air in these parts--North Texas is what i mean. The upstarts addressing this big concern are the DOWNWINDERS, a regional activist group with designs on raking gubernatorial incumbent Rick Perry over the coals (pun intended) because of his continuing love affair with polluting energy industries.

So, tonight, at 6pm, in downtown Dallas (near Houston & Young, not even a block from the TRE train stop), you can see the DOWNWINDERS' huge 3-d caricature of Governor Rick Perry affectionately smooching a smoke stack. It's mounted on a hay trailer directly from Midlothian. It's big. It's funny. And Perry the Pollution Lover might actually see himself in effigy tonight as he is scheduled to debate the other three major gubernatorial candidates at the Channel 8 studios at 606 Young Street--next door to the Dallas Morning News building.

That's only part of the story. After Friday, the DOWNWINDERS are taking "Smoke Stack Ricky" on the road, shadowing Gov. Perry on the campaign trail from now until Election Day. (And if you're interested in helping them keep "Smoke Stack Ricky" hot on Perry's campaign trail, the Downwinders need volunteers asap.)

Here's what the DOWNWINDERS have to say about Perry on clean air: "Time and again, Governor Perry has gone out of his way to protect the oldest, dirtiest smoke stacks in DFW - the circa 1960 "wet kilns" of the the Midlothian cement plants. Now, with a new clean air plan being written by Perry appointees for DFW, it's important that these industrial clunkers either be modernized or replaced. No more special treatment, no more grandfathering, no more exemptions. Yet, Perry seems determined to keep them up and running as they are - with only the rudimentary pollution controls they had when they first opened decades ago. And remember--four of these wet kilns still burn hazardous waste at TXI."

You can reach the DOWNWINDERS by phone at 214/912-2093 and 806/787-6567 or read more at the DFW AIR PLAN website.


Identify your GOALS, Make your PLAN, Strategize with ALLIES, Work 'til it WORKS, then PARTY your LOVE !

Monday, October 02, 2006

i'm hearing your pain, your curiosity...

...and will be offering updates concerning Devin, our dear & beloved friend and magical artist of light and sound. A mutual friend, Machete, will be going through alot of Devin's journals and other creative musings, and--rest assured--i will encourage Machete to make some of these available to you so you may know Devin's words and work.

I myself had the fortune and destiny to be able to collaborate with Devin in performance a number of times, and because i am now learning the value of documentation of improvisational work and art, i actually VIDEOtaped some of our/her recent shows. In these videos, Devin is singing, dancing, whirling/twirling and more.

At this moment, there is also an ofrenda (spanish for "altar" or "table of tribute") on my front porch. Folks here locally have been adding offerings to it, with poems, photos, flowers, red shoes, all adding to the mix. If you want to mail something to add to this altar, just let me know and i'll email you my address. Of course, i'll need your personal email address.

More soon!


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

- Devin Adams - que descansas en paz -

(oh, friend, the day was not quite what i told you it would be.)

I got the tragic news that another friend, a very young (early 20s)woman, performer & singing musician, died. Devin Adams was a friend and collaborator who lived & played here in FW. I got the news at 5:30pm yesterday. After teaching the kids.

I cried outloud in a parking lot and looked to the sky for answers. Devin was in San Francisco when she was in some sort of bicycle accident. Her email name was ==> AUTONYMY STAR. Very fitting. A bright light for many of us.

I went to the Tejano Democrats thing and drank beer and kept to myself, and then went to a poetry open mic (the car seemed to drive itself....and i had the blues station on REALLY loud--"Whiskey, Take Me Home Tonight"--and the breeze was mysteriously cold.

I saw the sliver moon and dedicated it to my beloved friend. At the open mic, I was the first to speak. I actually sang my song "My Final Resting Place" and spoke of sliver moons and Devin and beauty.

Other poets in the room remembered Devin, and shared their reminiscences.

I will start an ofrenda to Devin on Saturday on my front porch.

release my
white knuckled
hands from the throat
of my day and giggle
and squirm as sunrise and
I begin foreplay. Seducing me
slowly she tickles my toes, her
light kisses the small of my
back and my mind's garden grows
while shivers they creep up my spine
and I drink in the air like a fine French wine.
I breathe in like I'm drowning in my bellies deep
deep sea like it's my last chance my last breath to be free

and I smile
and moan with delicious
delight as life penetrates me
magical magentas, bequesting blues, grappling greens
it's a passionate scene, me out of breath, raptured sweaty limbs
intertwined into every space of time because each imperfectly perfect moment
is the bed I will lay
as I make love to each and every day.

- a poem by Devin Adams

Monday, September 25, 2006

Texas documentary on undocumented immigration - airs Tuesday, September 26th, on KERA - Channel 13 @ 9pm

" L E T T E R S F R O M T H E O T H E R S I D E "

---Documentary reveals impact of undocumented immigration on Mexican families on both sides of the border---

September 14, 2006, a U.S. Homeland Security official watches a videotaped message from Laura, a Mexican woman whose husband died in 2003 along with 18 others in the worst immigant smuggling case in United States history.

"How many more deaths does it takek for the U.S. government to do something?" Laura asks.

The videotaped message is one in a series of video letters carried across the U.S.-Mexico border by Heather Courtney, director of LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE, a one-hour public television documentary premiering this month on KERA-TV, channel 13, in the Metroplex of Texas.

The documentary will be aired on Tuesday, September 26th, at 9pm as part of KERA's Hispanic Heritage Month programming. (A free advance public screening of LETTERS--with director Heather Courtney inroducing the film--took place on Sunday, September 24th at the Ice House Cultural Center in South Dallas.)

LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE is a co-production of Front Porch Films and KERA-Dallas/Fort Worth in asssociation with the Independent Television Service (ITVS).

As the immigration debate heats up during this election year, Courtney's documentary draws on those video letters to offer a fresh perspective: an intimate look at the lives of the people most affected by today's immigration and trade policies. Over two years in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, Courtney followed the lives of four Mexican women and their families, interweaving their stories with cross-border video letters between loved ones and strangers.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

MY FORT WORTH: Permaculture study group offers FREE lecture this week

I was suffering a miserable break-up with someone in Boulder. It was around 1989, i guess. I was looking for a way or reason to catapult myself out of that geography of tears and regret, and so I ended up in front of the community notices board at the Boulder Public Library one evening. There was a flyer for an Intro Design Course in something I had never heard of before: Permaculture. "Permanent Culture." An approach to living symbiotically with the land, in your bioregion, that focuses on observing and studying what already exists before employing a shovel, bulldozer, or concrete mixer to change it. I had a growing interest in sustainability and so I signed up for the 2-week course, which took place on a small high-elevation organic farm in Basalt, Colorado. Sounded like a great way to heal a broken heart and start over with something new in mind.

"PERMACULTURE... a practical concept applicable from a balcony to the farm, from the city to the wilderness, enabling us to establish productive environments providing our food, energy, shelter, material and non-material needs, as well as the social and economic infrastructures that will support them. a synthesis of ecology, geography, observation & design.
...encompasses all aspects of human environments and culture, urban and rural, and their local and global impact. It involves ethics of earth care because the sustainable use of land cannot be separated from lifestyle and philosophical issues.
...encourages the restoration of balance to our environments through the practical application of ecological principles. In the broadest sense, Permaculture refers to land-use systems and lifestyle options which utilise resources in a sustainable way."

A new local group, URBAN SMALLHOLDING, has surfaced in Fort Worth, with an eye towards bringing Permaculture principles and methodology to inner-city folks. Here's what they say about themselves:

"Urban Smallholding is a community of people in the Tarrant County area dedicated to learning and implementing permaculture principles in our own homes, neighborhoods. Subject to natural law, we work with what we have and where we are (whether it is a city lot, apartment or rural homestead), to integrate people, land, water, plants, animals, and technologies towards a more regenerative culture and sustainable life and livelihood. Hopefully, we'll have some fun along the way. We have monthly meetings, bi-monthly speakers as well as projects."

Their next public event - a lecture in E. Fort Worth:

presented by Wayne Weiseman

Wednesday, September 27th - 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Meadowbrook United Methodist Church - 3900 Meadowbrook Dr. - Fort Worth, TX

Talk Outline:
Basic Permaculture Methodologies and Ethics
Edible, medicinal, culinary, and utility landscapes and food forests
Land Restoration
Long-term food preservation
Practical Homesteading Skills
Basic Renewable Energy Systems
Ecological Building construction Methods

For more information contact Kirsten at or phone at 817.915.1392.

You may prefer to join their Yahoo group, via this link.

By the way, I completed the Intro Course and was given a piece of paper certifying me as a Permaculture Introductory Design Trainee. As an urbanite, I've not had too much of a chance to do rainwater catchment or set up a goose pond, but many of the design principles of Permaculture have stayed with me and manifest in my life style choices, decrease in consumption, and resolve to live as low-impact (on the land) as possible. Plus, I now know the difference between a gabion and a wiggle-waggle--both design elements used to prevent land erosion. I've also grown fond of cattails. And the heartbreak? I got past that and found someone new.

Hiroshi Sugimoto chooses favorite films for Modern screenings

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth Presents
Films Selected by Hiroshi Sugimoto

October 7 - November 25
This film series is presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Hiroshi Sugimoto: End of Time; on view to the public at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth from September 17, 2006, through January 21, 2007. Tickets are $7.50; $5.50 for Modern members


Enjoy this rare opportunity to see seven Japanese films carefully selected by Mr. Sugimoto to be shown in conjunction with the exhibition Hiroshi Sugimoto: End of Time. Organized and first presented at the Japan Society in New York in the fall of 2005, it is with their cooperation and approval that the Modern Art Museum proudly offer this unique series here in FW.

Mr. Sugimoto comments: "The Japanese films I have chosen are less cinema verité, more theatrical. The synergy of the artifice of photography and of the theater generate a three-dimensional fiction. The more outrageous the fiction the more credible it becomes. No doubt this is how ancient myths were born."


The World of Geisha (1973)
Saturday, October 7, 2 pm
With this film—based on an original tale by Kafu Nagai that was banned for its sexual explicitness—Tatsumi Kumashiro, the leading director of the "Nikkatsu Roman Porno" genre, brilliantly succeeds in bringing the art of the Japanese erotic woodblock print to life.
72 minutes

Due to sexual content, this film is recommended for adults only.

Ten Dark Women (1961)
Saturday, October 14, 2 pm
Filmed in high-contrast black and white and set amidst the background of Japan's explosive economic growth, this film depicts a philandering playboy whose wife and nine mistresses seek vengeance on him.
105 minutes

The Water Magician (1933)
Saturday, November 4, 12:30 pm
This Kenji Mizoguchi masterpiece from the silent era portrays the ethos of a country on the cusp of modern nationhood.
110 minutes

The Face of Another (1966)
Saturday, November 4, 2:30 pm
A man who has lost his face in an accident acquires another man's face and a double life through the ministrations of a plastic surgeon/psychiatrist. The artists who collaborated on this film were pioneers of Japanese literature, music, art, and architecture in the 1960s.
124 minutes

Blind Beast (1969)
Saturday, November 11, 1 pm
A blind sculptor imprisons a perfectly proportioned woman in a quest for the world's first "Sensory Art."
Due to sexual content, this film is recommended for adults only.
86 minutes

Tokyo Drifter (1966)
Saturday, November 11, 3 pm
Director Seijun Suzuki explodes the yakuza film genre with his overtly colorful sets, costumes, and dramatic lighting in this visionary experimental film.
82 minutes

Tokyo Kid (1950)
Saturday, November 25, 2 pm
Set amidst postwar ruins, this beautiful, tragic musical stars Hibari Misora as an orphan surrounded by the eccentric tenants of a low-rent tenement building.
81 minutes

(Film descriptions are excerpted from the Japan Society brochure for Hiroshi Sugimoto Film Series: The Moving Image of Modern Art.)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Reprise performance of SPILLWAY SONATA - Friday, September 15th at 1919 Hemphill in FW

Photo by Stola Subrogo.

SPILLWAY SONATA is a ritual movement work which commemorates those who suffered and survived hurricane Katrina.

This work was created by Tammy Gomez, with Natalia Dominguez and Rachel Loera, and will be performed on FRIDAY, September 15th, at 1919 Hemphill. This work will be performed outdoors in the 1919 Hemphill parking lot.

Performed to the music of avant-garde vocalist Meredith Monk, SPILLWAY SONATA is created in the style of Butoh, a Japanese dance/performance innovation which evolved in the confusion and aftermath of the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Butoh is sometimes referred to as the "dance of darkness" and is often described as enigmatic and mysterious.

Tammy Gomez studied Butoh with Doranne Crable, professor of Performance Studies at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Crable has practiced and performed Butoh for over twenty years, and she herself was taught by Kazuo Ohno, one of the founding fathers of this unique modern dance form.

To Crable, Butoh involves "stripping away the protective masks that humans wear as performers" in order to come into the "vulnerable and gentle part of the human heart."


Free and open to the public.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Applied Theater workshop - Friday, September 15th - 1-3pm - in Fort Worth

Photo by John Sullivan.


Improving Health and Environment for Toda la Gente

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15th - Fort Worth, Texas


1pm -3pm
Rose Marine Theater GALLERY - 1440 N. Main St.

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC - however, donations will be gratefully accepted.

Focus of the platica/presentation: Introduction to Augusto Boal’s "Theater of the Oppressed" theories and techniques to help families learn about health and environmental issues--towards the goal of finding solutions to the public health challenges in their communities.

John Sullivan and Bryan Parras actively use theater performance for public health education purposes in the south Texas region, but have recently become integrally involved in doing assessments of the post-Katrina environmental health crisis in the Gulf Coast region.

Bryan Parras is a performer with EL TEATRO LUCHA DE SALUD DEL BARRIO in Houston and is active with TEJAS (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services).

John Sullivan is a theater artist who co-directs the Public Forum & Toxics Assistance division of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He previously directed two theater companies: Theater Degree Zero (Tucson, Ariz.) and the Theater of Liberation/Seattle Public Theater (Washington).

This will be a hands-on interactive workshop.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

FW downtown parade - September 9th, 2006

I was downtown on Saturday (September 9th) to hang out with Ed Smith, the new artistic director of the Jubilee Theater. I walked right past him and he had no idea, cuz I blended in with the group of students I was talking to. They were on their way to stake some pavement for an optimal view of the annual Diez y Seis parade, which was about to commence. What drew me to this group of people is that one of the young women was wearing a South Hills High School t-shirt. I called to her and asked her what she thought about the young kid (male teenager) who had been shot by armed p.d. the day before. She seemed to think that the kid brought it on himself by "acting up" and getting in a fight with another male teen on the South Hills campus. No blaming of the cop, no apparent distress about the situation. At least that was this her take on the incident.

Retracing my steps, I joined Ed on a cast-iron bench set back from the sidewalk and we both contentedly surveyed the downtown happenings. We spoke of jazz music and radio (we both have done live broadcasting), we discussed Dewey Redman's recent passing and his connection to Fort Worth. Ed asked me where I would like to call home, where I would live if I could live anywhere. Not surprisingly, I heard myself respond "Durango. Durango, Colorado, in the 4 Corners region." A sacred geography, with numerous Native American tribes ("first world" is Ed's preferred term) living there. I mentioned that a scientist friend, Ray in Albuquerque, told me that the four corners region (where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado all come together) is a unique geographical location physic-ally, in that it was immune to all the natural "acts of god"--tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, and the like. As Ray put it, the 4 Corners region was probably one of the safest places to live in all of the U.S. I've camped, mountain biked, and hiked in Durango, and I loved it there. Fort Lewis College is also there--a place where I could probably get into Native Studies (history, literature, and environmental studies). Ed took this all in, marveling at the fact that no one had ever mentioned that part of the Southwest in conversation with him. Never before. All I could say was, "Fort Worth is where the West begins." A trite aphorism, but nonetheless true, in that we as Texans seem to pose our gaze westward. A direction that yields so much mythology and history, a place of vastness and visionary expansion.

And then Chuck showed up, the UTA student slam poet who is so much more than a "slam poet". He intrigues me, but I am patient to learn more about him--as he quietly reveals the layers of himself as the philosopher poet from Stop 6. The three of us--Ed, Chuck, and I--walked to the Corner Bakery for coffee and cheerily parked ourselves at a sidewalk table to watch the Diez y Seis parade. I, as Chicana with two African-American males, offered parade commentary, as the participants waved and pelted us with candy and other freebies.

" long as the women's hearts are still high."

The 9/12/01 message below is from Jean Reddeman. Jean is of the Stockbridge Munsee Bank of the Mohican Nation. Her Indian name is Wasaki Emani Wi, which means Strong Walking Woman. She is known by her people as a seer.

"Yesterday's incident seems to be what our elders had predicted a long time ago. It was predicted that there will be a Massive Spiritual Exodus of very advanced Souls in order to really change the value system in the world. This Exodus could have been avoided if the nation would have worked towards peace and spiritual values. This Massive Exodus is sad because it needed so many sacrifices of human lives to allow the global awareness to raise to new levels.

Our elders had predicted that Great Good will come after this tragedy, especially if people recognized the teachings of the event and if they honored those that sacrificed their lives. We have to thank and elevate these souls that died during the tragedy. They will still be around us for 9 days. We need to feast them, honor them and recognize their love for all of us. We have to listen to their teachings as they are very evolved souls that will be helping the major shift that the world so sorely needs. We are to honor them and ask them what we must do to change our world. They came into this lifetime to give us this gift, the gift of their lives and of their love, so that the world changes to a better place. We must honor them, we must go forward. We must listen to their messages from the Heavens.

There is much work to be done, particularly for women. Why women? It comes from an old Indian Proverb: "A nation is not lost as long as the women's hearts are still high. Only when the women's hearts are on the ground - then all is finished, and the nation dies. The women are the life carriers." Women need to reach inside and tap into their own female powerful energy. The world needs much nurturing right now, more than ever. From this female energy, men will gain their original strength. Not the strength that economic, political and military power gives, but true spiritual strength from where all lives truly flourish. We need to cultivate the receptive, docile and nurturing energy. We cannot go on with wars, we will all die, if we do.

We have to see in the middle of the pain and chaos the greater lessons. But, most of all, let us not miss the precious moment that we have in the next 9 days to talk to these souls that have left their bodies for our sake, for our salvation and true freedom. We must thank them from the bottom of our hearts, with incredible love, for they are great people. We have to share this moment so that together we can go to this new consciousness, the female energy that is so much needed at this time."

remnants of SONATA - day after the premiere

[what i sent to my friend Andrea about

"got caught up with the prep and step
of doing the show. plus, a diez y seis
parade happened on saturday morning,
and it was gallery night that evening.
alot of hubbub in the city.

our show (2 performances): has left
me completely physically exhausted. here
i type, the day after, all muscle achy and
on the border of cranky cuz i'm so tired.
it's a completely consuming immersion, this
SPILLWAY SONATA. 20 minutes long of
continuous slow-slow movement, where every
muscle of your body is engaged, and torqued
and clenched, depending on the gesture
or position you're taking. as my friend
said, "you were wearing the experience"
of being in Katrina. and it was true, we
were buffeted by strong winds, pummeled
by unforgiving rain, and wading through
waist-deep toxic our
minds, we were there and our bodies evoked
what we were thinking.

feedback from audience:
"you looked like dead souls"
"it reminded me of purgatory"
"i cried when you picked up the trashbags"
"people were wiping their eyes"
"i really felt like i was there"

so, all in all, i am pleased. we will perform
this work one more time, next friday, when
i host some events having to do with environmental
health impact of Katrina (workshop on using
Boal's theater of the oppressed techniques
to start dialogue with gente of Houston about
environmental toxics in their communities PLUS
a screening of a new doc video on Katrina
environmental damage). another busy week
coming up.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

"After the Wind, Child, After the Water's Gone"

DOCUMENTARY FILM SCREENING - Friday, September 15th - 7pm
LOCATION: 1919 Hemphill St.


Just weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck, John Sullivan of the Sealy Center for Public Health and Medicine and Bryan Parras of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS) were sent to Louisiana to meet with community leaders to find out how the National Institute for Environmental Health (NIEH) could collaborate with local groups. Their fact-finding journey took them from Baton Rouge, through Orleans, St. Bernard, Jefferson, Lafourche, and Terrebonne parishes, and to the city of New Iberia.

Their “day job,” asking about the damage sustained, the significant threat to human health in the area, and what environmental health projects are thought most important, ended with a report presented to the NIEH director’s conference in November.

However, Sullivan says, “The flood of fact and feeling we got back from our collaborators refused to stay inside the neat little box of our original purpose. From the moment we arrived in Baton Rouge we realized that the magnitude of the human and ecological damage demanded something more intimate and less formal, something grounded in fact but which also opened a window into how it really feels to live in the middle of an eco-catastrophe.”

So Sullivan and Parras took the videos of their interviews and pieced them together with music, still pictures, and color commentary from locals, into a film entitled ". . . after the wind, child, after the waters gone. . ."

Sullivan says the people in the film hope to promote “understanding and empathy with the plight of coastal Louisiana, home of so much of our energy industry infrastructure, a nexus of ongoing struggles by African-American, Houma, and Cajun communities for basic environmental, social and cultural justice, the most bountiful and endangered estuarine fishery in the Lower 48, way-station for innumerable species of migratory birds, and the cradle of so much of our national culture.”

The film will be shown on Friday, September 15th, at 1919 Hemphill Community Center, at 7pm. This screening will be open to the public with a suggested donation of $5--however, no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

To read John Sullivan's essay about the experience of making this documentary go here.

For more information about the film screening in Fort Worth, please call 817-924-9188 or email

SPILLWAY SONATA - Gallery Night, Saturday, September 9th in FW

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

SPILLWAY SONATA is a ritual movement work which commemorates those who suffered and survived hurricane Katrina.

This work was created by Tammy Gomez, with Natalia Dominguez and Rachel Loera, and will be performed twice on Saturday, September 9th--as part of Fall Gallery Night 2006.

SPILLWAY SONATA will be performed in the Plaza at Rose Marine Theater (1440 N. Main St.) at 6:30pm.

The work will also be performed at 8pm at Arts Fifth Avenue (1628 Fifth Avenue) in the indoor studio.

Performed to the music of avant-garde vocalist Meredith Monk, SPILLWAY SONATA is created in the style of Butoh, a Japanese dance/performance innovation which evolved in the confusion and aftermath of the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Butoh is sometimes referred to as the "dance of darkness" and is often described as enigmatic and mysterious.

Tammy Gomez studied Butoh with Doranne Crable, professor of Performance Studies at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Crable has practiced and performed Butoh for over twenty years, and she herself was taught by Kazuo Ohno, one of the founding fathers of this unique modern dance form.

To Crable, Butoh involves "stripping away the protective masks that humans wear as performers" in order to come into the "vulnerable and gentle part of the human heart."


Gallery Night premiere

Rose Marine Theater - 6:30pm - outdoors in the Plaza
Arts Fifth Avenue - 8:00 pm - indoors in the studio

Free and open to the public.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Letter i emailed to Maria Limon, committed biciclista, writer, and activist. Great Austin compa:

Dear Maria:

I am well. Trying to get some labor done on labor day--a writer's work is never done, right?

Thanks so much for kindly sending me your Kwan Yin fotos. They are awesome: i love the color scheme and textures in each of them. Very cool....

The one of exposed roots looks so much like running water. I am SO into water right now.

Thinking of it in so many metaphorical ways.

With 3 other Chicana performers, I am co-creating a work of movement ritual to COMMEMORATE the people who suffered/survived Katrina. Water as flood, oppressor, is a deep thing (no pun intended), as we also dearly depend on water for sustenance.

I sit here and let these different tributaries of thought combine into a stream of parallel constructs. Theory as waterfall.

flood of memories
if it rains
if it rain
oh black water
chance/of rain
high waters
water, rose water
tanto lluvia
water retention
no one, not even the rain
poco de gracia
No ark
es regnet
a deep thing
running stream

Speaking of water, we got rain. Last night, all night. I just let it happen without getting attached, or celebrating too much. I just ate my dinner and continued doing my thang at home.

bliss is mellow sometimes.

TODAY is also CRITICAL MASS day, aqui en Fort Worth. Go ride your bike together with other local pedalers.

Wishing you a happy rainy bicycle path.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

World premiere: adaptation of poem MARTIN by Cara Mia Theatre in Dallas

Dallas' CARA MÍA THEATRE COMPANY kicks off the 10th Anniversary Season with an unforgettable weekend. MARTÍN by poet/screenwriter JIMMY SANTIAGO BACA opens this Friday, September 1st.

JIMMY SANTIAGO BACA will be in attendance on Friday, signing his books before the show. Also on Friday, THE UNITED LOWRIDERS ASSOCIATION will exhibit lowrider cars in the parking lot. Enjoy a Tex-Mex buffet after the show, courtesy of ROSITA'S RESTAURANT.

Performed in English with some Spanish, MARTÍN is the story of a man, born part Chicano and Apache, abandoned as a child and thrust upon the streets of Albuquerque. Caught between Indio-Mejicano roots and English-speaking society, he searches for his identity while traveling the southwestern United States. During his quest, he experiences a spiritual renewal as he connects to his native roots and realizes his dream of family, love, and a home.

MARTÍN runs Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, September 1-17, at the Rosewood Center for Family Arts (5938 Skillman, Dallas 75231). Showtimes are 8:15 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $25 for the Opening Night performance with lowrider car show and reception with food and drinks. Tickets are $10-$12 all other days. Discounts and group sales available. Buy tickets online at the CARA MIA THEATRE website or by calling 214.946.9499.

About Jimmy Santiago Baca

Born in New Mexico of Chicano and Apache descent, Jimmy Santiago Baca was raised first by his grandmother and was later sent to an orphanage. A runaway at age thirteen, he began to turn his life around after he was sentenced to five years in a maximum security prison at the age of twenty-one. In prison, he learned to read and write and found his passion for poetry.
He is the winner of the Pushcart Prize, the American Book Award, the National Poetry Award, the International Hispanic Heritage Award, and the prestigious International Award. His books include A Place to Stand, Healing Earthquakes, C- Train & Thirteen Mexicans, Black Mesa Poems, Martín & Meditations on the South Valley, and Immigrants in Our Own Land. Movie scripts include Bound by Honor (Blood In, Blood Out) produced by Hollywood Pictures/Disney and The Lone Wolf – The Story of Pancho Gonzalez produced by HBO Productions.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Call for submissions: Lebanon is Burning

MIZNA: special issue on Lebanon

Deadline: September 22, 2006

MIZNA, a journal of Arab-American literature, is seeking original writing for our upcoming publication, with a focus on the current situation in Lebanon. We welcome journal entries from the ground, poetry, short stories, personal essays, theatrical pieces, creative non-fiction, and reflections from abroad and at home on Lebanon. We are particularly interested in writing that addresses the current destruction of Lebanon, the struggle of Lebanon, the refugees of Lebanon, and the resistance of Lebanon.

Contributors do not have to be of Arab descent provided their work is of relevance to the Arab-American community.

If you would like your work to be considered for publication, please send four hard copies (double-spaced, maximum 2500 words) and a brief biography (maximum 50 words) to the address below:

2205 California Street NE
Suite 109A
Minneapolis, MN 55418

Alternatively, send your submission and bio via e-mail as an attachment (not in the body of the message) to MIZNA@MIZNA.ORG. Please include your name, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number.

Kindly limit poetry submissions to four poems per submission. Verses exceeding our page width will be treated with a runover indent. Proofs can be made available for author approval before publication.

MIZNA encourages writers who have recently translated their work into English to submit. We are available to assist writers through the editing process if necessary.

Writers whose work is published in MIZNA will receive a stipend and complimentary copies of the journal.

Due to the volume of submissions received, those not conforming to the above guidelines, as well as previously published material, will not be considered.

Failing the teachers

I was at the Coffeehouse Gallery my first morning back in town. The new owner/manager took my order and then I noticed Chris, a high school English teacher. He had a quick break between classes and had dashed over for a cup of coffee to-go.
He had big news: he's ending his teaching career after so many years. He just can't make a living, with suitable earnings, by continuing to teach. So, he's going to be a custodial worker, making more money at that than he currently does in a classroom. He's not that happy about having to make this decision. "I am leaving something that I worked all my life to get to--teaching English at Trimble Tech HS--but I just can't make it like this." He leaves Trimble Tech HS by the end of 2006.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

MACONDO WEEK - opening day - Sunday, 8/6/06

Leaving Fort Worth was a pain. I had to organize mi casita so that the inevitable Agosto heat would do minimal damage to my house and its contents, including my little cat Gracia (Grace). So, I had to hook up cat-sitters, house-sitters, and yarda y planta waterers. I seemed to be on the phone and making little notes for the caretakers straight up to the last minute. Of course, there was packing (for a week) to do and the "what have i forgotten?" frenzy where i'm walking to every room, hoping for a mental jog to help me remember the things i needed to pack. Being a writer, i have to think about things like contact/biz cards and writing samples and merch (my books, my spoken word cds) to sell. Thank gods for luggage on wheels. Sin llantas, i don't know how i woulda managed to drag all my stuff through the airport by myself.

That last night in FW, i got about three hours sleep, so i crashed out during the 55-minute flight from Dallas Love Field to San Antonio International. Upon arrival, i drowsily stepped through the terminal to get to baggage claim, where i was to meet up with ARIEL ROBELLO, award-winning (NALAC project grant, Emerging Voices Rosenthal Fellowship) poet and educator. She wasn't wearing the cowboy hat that she had told me she was going to wear in order to be easily recognized, but that's cool as i remembered what she looked like from meeting her at the "Pinta Tu Propio Mundo" performance we did at GALERIA DE LA RAZA back in 2004. Once we found one another in the airport, we claimed my luggage, and drifted off to scoop up another writer, Linda Backiel from Puerto Rico.

All signs pointed to Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) in San Antonio, where 50 or so Chican@/Latin@ (the @ sign is shorthand for female "a" and male "o" combined, in order to minimize use of masculinized nouns when i'm actually referring to females and males, transgendered, queer, as well as bi individuals.) writers, performance artists, scholars, and students gathered for the annual MACONDO WORKSHOP, a week-long mecca of artistic and literary exchange with published and unpublished writers and performers of poetry, prose, spoken word, novels, stage plays, etc. This was going to be my second year, so that made me a "chismosa". (First-years are "mocos@s" or snot-nosed and third-years are "picos@s" or very spicy.) Using this taxonomy is fun and allows us to recognize levels of experience, contribution, and familiarity within the Macondo comunidad. (Oh, Macondo is the name of the fictitious village described in 100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.) Individually and all together, we are MACONDISTAS!

On the way to the OLLU campus, Ariel directed our attention to all the monarchs flitting about. Yes, they seemed to be everywhere, probably making a pitstop before migrating further south to Mexico.. These mariposas (butterflies) were constant companions throughout the week of Macondo.

I ended up in a second-floor room in a dorm which had probably been built in the mid-1960s (if that recent), which meant that there were no elevators. Once I'd hauled up my stuff to my room, I realized that it had been a good idea to pack my flannel pjs, as the room temp was frigidaire-cool. No complaints here, i was thankful to not be in my sweatbox of a house for at least this one precious week. Quickly, I changed clothes and prepped for the Welcome Dinner, which was to start at 6pm.

I met some of the Macondistas at the appointed time to catch a van that would deliver us to the salon for the Welcome Dinner, in the King Williams district. Hugs and kisses for folks I knew from Austin or San Anto or from last year's Macondo workshop. Oh, minor detail. We got drenched on the way to the van. Yes, it rained! Halleluja, it rained. Cooling, soothing, and refreshing. It arrived just as quickly as it dispersed, but thankfully it left lower temps for the remainder of the evening-into-morning hours.

At the sena, or dinner itself, a sea of folks was arriving through multiple entrance doors. I glimpsed so many people across the room, folks i knew, that i wanted to leap over and greet them. I saw award-winning poet CAROLINA MONSIVAIS from the El Paso-Nuevo Mexico area; I saw Chicana theater scholar and director/dramaturg/writer Irma Mayorga; I saw Ben Olguin, the profesor at UTSA who gave me a ride on his motorcycle last year; I saw Liliana Valenzuela, who was taking tickets at the door--she the Chilanga poet-writer-translator from Austin; and so many many more. Before i even had a sip of drink from the cash bar, I started to feel a buzz. This gathering was like a who's who of Chicano/a lit and scholarship. I told myself to keep cool and not get overhyped. We had the whole week to hang out and talk and share together, so there was no need for me to be a giddy girl here. Okay, i FELT giddy, but i tried to keep it on the down low.

As we mingled in the salon, all 100 or so of us, we munched on appetizers and sipped our bebidas. I saw Macondo coordinator ire'ne lara silva (Sandra's admin. assistant in getting this whole workshop shebang together), all calm and collected, by the dessert table. She said that she was much more relaxed, here at the outset of the Macondo week, than she was this time last summer. I was happy to see her so chillaxed, knowing also that there were bound to be stresses and setbacks later on down the line. I ran into Steve Bailey, of Jump Start Theater, who told me, "Robert Karimi's looking for you." Omigod, KARIMI in town? Steve told me that Robert was at the Ruta Maya Coffeehouse, so I made a mental note to hitch a ride there after the dinner. Jackie Cuevas, publisher of EVELYN STREET PRESS, showed up with her partner and fellow writer Jen Margulies and swiftly offered to buy me a drink. (Drink number one of Macondo workshop 2006--for the record...) Irma Mayorga and I chatted about theater and other subjects before Sandra Cisneros stepped up to the mic and gave us the official welcome, happily announcing that an IRS letter received a day earlier made it official: Macondo the writing workshop is officially a 501 (c)3 non-profit. Cheers and applause. Dinner was served, more conversations ensued. Have to admit that I felt very proud to be included in this association of literary Chican@s--and their allies.

Afterwards, some of the guys (raulrsalinas, Levi Romero, Rene Valdez, Ben Olguin, Tony Diaz) were heading to Ruta Maya Coffeehouse to see what was left of the all-day-into-night benefit and commemorative performance on behalf of TRINIDAD SANCHEZ, JR. I hitched a ride (this time in a car) with Ben, who was eager to share details of his recent work trip to Cuba, about which he is writing an article for eventual publication in Z MAGAZINE (i'll try to let you know when that comes to be...) By the way, as Ben saw it and now tells it, "The revolution will live on in Cuba, it does not depend on Castro..." When we arrived at Ruta Maya, we saw that the benefit had pretty much wound down, even though the SOUL MIX REVUE featuring Suzy Bravo was tearing it up with some slammin' good oldskool soul tunes. (Manny, the drummer, had sent me noticias about the Soul Mix Revue, so i'd been hoping to catch this San Anto supergroup, and here they were, and--lemme tell you--ain't no email exist that's gonna prepare you for the likes of Suzy Bravo. She's got stunning presence and vocal chords of burnished metal.) Approaching the coffee counter with Rene (of Resistencia Bookstore), I started to assess the social situation, countin' up about 10 people i knew in the venue. Within a minute, I'd gotten big bear hugs from Karimi (who'd found a bargain flight from Minnesota to get here for mentor Trinidad's commemorative benefit). I also greeted Santiago, another poet protege of Trino, then moved on to greet Vicki of the San Anto Cultural Arts Commission and then, Laura Varela, la filmmaker popped up to welcome me. Dang, i hadn't seen Laura in about 7 years! She has truly been busy, serving on the Media Arts Panel for the Texas Commission on the Arts and as Program Director for NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers) in San Antonio. Laura co-produced the documentary short "Texas: Majority Minority" and is now working on a new project, "As Long as I Remember: American Veteranos" with funding support from both Humanities Texas and LATINO PUBLIC BROADCASTING. Big ups, Laura!

Pretty soon, a big buzz got goin' that raul r salinas was in the house, so the emcee (whose name i have improperly forgotten, although he was so kind and welcoming) huddled up with a few of the guys to bring the energy of the benefit back up with a reading by raul, and a video screening (raw footage of Trinidad Sanchez) from Laura's work-in-progress. Within ten minutes, there seemed to be more people in the house and the volume of the chatter rose up in anticipation of raul gettin' onstage. After all, most folks there at Ruta Maya knew that raul had had a close call himself recently, with his medical emergency of last month. We, therefore, were appropriately revved up to see this Tejano legend and activista do a few literary lineas in tribute to another elder compa who had just passed. And wouldn't you know it, raul chose to read "Stop the Madness", probably one of the most dynamic and urgent pieces that Trino ever penned. What a moment---and, to be sure, there were cameras rolling at that moment. A couple of folks were also beckoning me to perform, and I was flattered by the invitation, but Ruta Maya had to close and it had been a long night already. But not long enough for some of us.

Karimi and Vicki wanted me to join them on Vicki's porch for conversation and cocktails, and Laura V wanted to take me out for a drink, and then some of the others were also hungry. The consensus decision: MI TIERRA for food, drinks and conversation--after all, they're open 24 hours. Karimi called dibbs on driving me, so I rode with him in a borrowed truck (that boy would be hella stiff competition on the "Amazing Race" reality show, methinks) to Mi Tierra, as we maximized on time alone by catching up with each other's performance gigs, funding exploits, project ambitions, y personal chisme. It's always good to see my Kaotic Karimi. In the restaurant, I ended up across the table from San Diego performance artist and activista Victor Payan, who with his partner and creative co-conspirator, Pocha Peña (aka the Chicana writer/producer Sandra Peña Sarmiento), were in town to do some video projects. So, you see, many many paths of Chican@ cultural production and activity had brought us to this particular city on this particular night. Victor and I hit it off, easily moving from discussion about the ongoing struggle to "save" EL CENTRO CULTURAL DE LA RAZA and reclaim it for the comunidad of artists and cultural workers who are now being shut out, but also toasting the work of CALACA PRESS founders Consuelo and Brent Beltrán. (Some of you may know that some of my work is featured on the RAZA SPOKEN HERE - 2nd edition - cd, released by Calaca Press in 2000.)

Thanks to Houstonian Tony D of NUESTRA PALABRA for the ride back to the OLLU dorm, all tired y conversationally-spent.

And that was just the OPENING DAY of Macondo.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

All the beautiful men are dying....

Michael, I went to a copy center this evening, and I made it high-priority to put the photo of you--in that infamous orange shirt you seemed to favor as it favored you--on the glass and make a large color copy of it. Just to have. To take to Macondo next week, so i can share it with Ire'ne and Moises and any others who knew you. It is a time for me to reflect on my dear brothers and poet-elders who have passed and left me pulsing here, earthbound.

All the beautiful men are dying, I say to my monitor as unexpected tears well up and start to spill. All the softest, gentlest, not-afraid-to-say-they-loved-they-mama sweet honest men. When Pasha left us last spring, I couldn't believe the loss i felt. He was like, could have been like another father to me. To face the fact that I could never hear his melodic incantations anymore just crushed me deeply. How could i not have visited him one more time in Austin? And why didn't i mail him those photos of him with Theresa in front of Whole Foods? Why all the waiting and putting off of the expressions of love? Don't let it be too late, when it's too late--that's all i'm left with.

Ken H and Lorenzo T and the women too--Gloria A, omigod, the loss. The sudden urgency to fill the vaccuum, to get my shit down, write more and harder and truer and do it in their honor, their memory. Now or soon.

--- In light of what Lorna Dee, one of my dear compas and mentors wrote recently:

"And, yes, write a poem and right a wrong, and light a light in some child's eyes for Trino. And light a laugh in some friend's face, and light a light in the heart of your lover. Regina, I am so, so saddened for your loss. As my mother often said of my father: 'There will never be another man like him.' "

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Trindad Sanchez, Jr. - crosses over on July 30th, 2006

Juan Rodriguez, who sometimes blogs and emails as "Clyde Torres", sent us the following news message:

"Once again, I am saddened to inform you of the death of a vate de atolle, poet extraordinaire, Trini Sánchez. He died Sunday, July 30, 2006, after suffering a massive stroke last week.

Trini was a friend and fine performance poet. He was the author of WHY AM I SO BROWN, his most popular collection of poems; POEMS BY FATHER AND SON, his first book, which contained poems by his father on one half of the book and then his poems on the other; COMPARTIENDO DE LA NADA, a collection of poems expressing his concern for the struggles for justice in Central America; and JALAPEñO BLUES, his recently-published collection. I know he was very proud of this last book.

My condolences go to his wife Regina, his daughter, and the rest of his family. I shall pass on funeral arrangement information to you as I get it.

Chicano literature has lost another important voice. May he rest in peace."


Wednesday, August 2, 2006
5 pm

Rosary and Mass
Our Lady of Guadalupe

1321 El Paso
San Antonio, TX 7820

Celebration of Life Blessing and Wake
Following Rosary and Mass

Bihl Haus Arts
2803 Fredericksburg Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78201

In Lieu of Flowers, please send donations to:

Mrs. Trinidad Sánchez, Jr.
2803 Fredericksburg Rd. #1215
San Antonio, TX 78201 to help with medical expenses.


Gemini Ink & Society 0f Latino & Hispanic Writers
513 S. Presa

Contact: 889-6274

Friday, August 4th, 2006, Gemini Ink, in partnership with the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers, will host a First Friday Reading benefit for our Honorary Chairman, Trinidad Sanchez Jr. The First Friday event will be at Gemini Ink, 513 S. Presa, and will begin at 6:30 p.m. The event is open to the public, admission is free and free parking is available at Gemini Ink's designated parking lot. Light refreshments will be offered.

Donations will be accepted to help Trinidad and his family offset the medical bills.

He is a true giant in the San Antonio poetry scene--he has been an energetic proponent and performer of poetry in the schools for more than 20 years, and has appeared more than 1000 times in schools and poetry venues. Copies of Trinidad's books will be available for sale.


What: Trinidad Sánchez Jr. Memorial Celebration
When: Sunday, August 6, 2006, 4-10 pm
Where: Ruta Maya Riverwalk Coffee House
107 East Martin
San Antonio, TX 78205

4-5 p.m. Music, Food and Sharing
5-6 p.m. Poetry and Stories
6-6:30 p.m. Entertainment
6:30-8 p.m. Poetry and Stories
8-10 p.m. More Music and Sharing

This event, which was originally planned about a week ago, will now take on a different meaning. We are hoping that you will still join us to celebrate, but also to memorialize, a man whose actions and words touched so many. And because of the costs inherent with this type of devastating loss, we will still be raising funds to assist Trino’s family with whatever they may need.

Trino didn’t want crying or flowers. He wanted people to eat, drink and celebrate. We will do our best.

Because of an overlooked scheduling conflict, we have had to adjust the time. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

For a list of other events planned to pay tribute to Trinidad, please visit Gemini Ink's website: On this site you will find information to donate to a special fund that has been created by Trinidad's family.

CHECK THIS OUT: Texas Matters will air a radio show featuring Trinidad at 12:30 p.m. this Friday, and again at 8:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. on Saturday. That's on KSTX 89.1, Texas Public Radio. Thank you to host David Davies and his wife and co-host Yvette Benavides for their support.

ALSO, on the same station, word is Ernie Villarreal is working on a Trinidad segment for his show this Wednesday at approximately 6:35 a.m. and again and 8:35 a.m.

To read some of Trinidad's poetry and download a video of him reading some of his work, go to this link and click on LITERATURE.

Trinidad, I never did thank you enough. You were such a generous and helpful person, and I got to see the impact you had on people in three cities (San Anto, Albuquerque, and Denver). Your light lives on in all of us who were blessed enough to have known you.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Mentors on the Mend: raulrsalinas and Trinidad Sanchez, Jr.

Two veterano poets, both based in Texas, have been facing some serious health setbacks this month. At this point in time, their recovery is at a critical state and therefore, collective intentionality is needed to help them fight their illnesses. Pray, chant, kneel, plant a tree, burn incense--do what you do when you care enough about someone to wish better things for them.

I met Trinidad (Trino) in Austin, i believe, at the Austin International Poetry Festival in '94 or '95. These festivals can be lovefests for writers who experience mutual admiration for each other's work. I guess it was so with Trino and me, so we became friends. He and i crossed paths many times, over the years, sometimes in the most unlikely of places. We performed on the same bill at the Albuquerque Poetry Festival, back in '97. We ran into each other at the Mercury in Denver, when my friends Lourdes Perez and Annette D'Armato dropped me off there after a cool-ass road trip with them from Santa Fe to Crested Butte. Trino was sitting in a booth, holding forth with some other poets, at the Mercury. I had no idea that he even lived in Denver at that time. Ended up, I needed a place to crash and so Trino set me up with an overnight at his mother-in-law's place in the 5 Points barrio. Last summer (June 2005), I ran into Trinidad and his wonderful wife, Regina, in San Antonio, where they had moved after selling their house in Denver. We were at a bbq party hosted by Lisa Suarez of the Jump-Start Theater, and Trino was in fine form. He and Regina let me stay at their place and Trino delivered me to the Amtrak station early the next morning for my return to FW. Ellos son buena gente, good people, and it hurts to hear that these good people are suffering and struggling now.

raul r. salinas is the person who first set me on the Austin map of spoken word and poetry. Without even knowing my work, he invited me to perform at a grand re-opening show at his cultural haven of Chicano/a lit and actvism, RESISTENCIA BOOKSTORE. That was a momentous event, and I met people who took me on to the next gigs and level of literary production. raul formed a posse of poets who performed as an ensemble and eventually i was invited to become a member of the Red Salmon Poets. raul's activism experience with the AIM (American Indian Movement) and the prisoner rights movement was very inspiring. Hanging out at Resistencia for literary readings, platicas, or just plain ole casual conversation always took me to a righteous place in my own thinking. When a family member got caught up in the Texas prison system revolving door, I looked to raul and his own prison writings for solace and reassurance. We also worked together, one springtime in Austin, teaching poetry-writing to boys at the Juvenile Detention Center. After i left Austin, raul and i became subjects in Ray Santisteban's documentary film VOICES FROM TEXAS. In 2003, I applied for and received a grant to host a "Fort Worth Premiere" screening of VOICES FROM TEXAS and to bring raul (and another poet in the film) to Fort Worth. It excited me to have the opportunity and resources ($$) to introduce Fort Worth to the poet-elder who had done so much for the community on many levels, as raul certainly has done. I was able to provide hotel lodging, a performance honorarium, and other perks that made raul's visit pleasant and memorable. My mom, ever-the-generous soul that she is, insisted on hiring a limo for the poets (raul and Tonzi) to ride to the Rose Marine Theater, where the premiere screening took place. raul had never been in a limo ever before, and he seemed tickled by the whole experience. I was so happy to introduce him to a Fort Worth audience--which loved him and welcomed him heartily. It was the best gift to offer to a special mentor in my life.

raul and Trino are both going through a hard time now, and i hope you'll read the next two posts with positive wishes, for their quick recovery, in mind.

Thank you.

raul r salinas - poeta of Austin

Here's the latest communique . . . on raulrsalinas' health (11 Jul 2006). [Thanks to Rene Valdez, raul's assistant at the bookstore, and fellow activista, for sending us this update.]

Saludos desde South Austin,
Greetings to all our comrades, friends, family, and supporters,
I am not sure if you have heard, but raulrsalinas, our elder, teacher, & brother, was in a Houston hospital this past weekend.  
He is suffering from an ulcerated esophagus.  While visiting Houston last week, he started to cough up/vomit blood.  An ambulance picked him up and took him to a nearby hospital.  Unfortunately, the doctors had problems stopping the bleeding and they told us it was very serious.  So they immediately put him in a helicopter and flew him to St. Luke's Hospital in downtown Houston.
Thanks to Great Spirit, the doctors & nurses managed to stabilize him by stopping the bleeding.  He remained there until Tuesday July 4.  We had quite a scare!
raul is doing better now.  He is now at home resting and slowly recovering.  However, raul is not entirely out of the red.  He visited the doctor today, and he was told that besides the ulcerated esophagus he also suffers from cirrhosis of the liver.  And because of the cirrhosis, the liver is not working like it should, which is causing a back up of blood flow in the esophagus area.  
We would like to thank all our comrades, family, friends, & supporters for the good strong healing energy & prayers sent to our elder raul.  We also want to thank everyone for their messages, cards, and gifts.
raul is on the slow road to recovery & is resting at home.  As each day goes by, he is gaining strength & clarity, but he is still limited in mobility & energy.    
He went to see his doctor today for a check up on his condition.  His doctor gave him a "thumbs up"/approval to go ahead & conduct class tomorrow at St. Edward's University.  But he warned raul not to overdo it.   He also give him permission to slowly & to cautiously (at turtle speed) start going back to work at the bookstore with limited travel around the surrounding area.  
So despite the good news about getting back into the swing of things, raul will not return to the office until sometime next week.  He is being very cautious & conscious of getting energy and strength before getting back to work.  After this coming Wednesday, he will gradually begin to return everyone's phone calls, e-mails, and messages.
Also, raul will be going in for his first "banding" of the esophagus veins procedure on August 3.  For the time being, family & close friends will closely moniter raul's health; i.e. make sure he eats well, drinks lots of water, & gets some excercise to keep the blood circulating.
Once again, if you would like to leave a message for raul, you can e-mail them to this address &/or call me (Rene Valdez) at 512-416-8885.  I will relay any messages to him.  Or if you want to send him a card/letter, please send them to:
1801-A South First St.
Austin, Tex.  78704

We thank everyone for their support, energy, & prayers in this time of struggle!
Con Respeto y En Lucha,
Rene Valdez
Resistencia Bookstore
Red Salmon Arts


And now, here is raul's poetic tribute to Keith Ferguson, former bassplayer for the Fabulous Thunderbirds. A fine example of raul's Xicanindio Beat style, which has often the feel and rhythm of the music of the moment--be it bebop, blues, or drumbeats from the rez.

Bass in Yo' Face

by Raul R. Salinas

pa' las scattered ashes de
mi camarada, Keith Ferguson

We Remember You, Ese!
in some South Town saloon
beyond soap creek
where Lobos howled
at the moon
while gonzo goons
fakirs in turbans
thunderbird wine/os
drinking native blood
racism floods the stage
rage at joo harpies
harping like so many
culture vultures
pillaging ancestral
music grounds

We Remember You, Ese!
in pink cadillac
cruisin' 6th. St.
East of the Freeway
on the "wrong side" of the wall
calling forth that morpheus
muse in hues of blues
beyond Chief Bar
sweatin' ol' 14
(or whatever connection man)
to bring de mud/
puddles of poison
black tar
scars and abscesses
mar the bodyscape.

We Remember You, Ese!
exchanging fifties fotos
of pachuco poets
& seventies snapshots
of boss bassist
tocando al revez.
2 cats con tattoos
comparison en calo.

Trinidad Sanchez, Jr. - poeta of San Antonio

Friends and fellow poets:

Come celebrate the life and words of Trinidad Sánchez Jr.--poet, activist, teacher and author of the bestselling "Why Am I So Brown?"--at Ruta Maya Riverwalk Coffee House on Sunday August 6, 2006 from 2-8 pm. Donations will be accepted for Trino’s healing and convalescence.

On July 18th, Trino suffered a major stroke and although his condition has improved, his condition remains serious. Trino is also uninsured, adding to the worry his family already feels, so please attend this celebration/fundraiser and help support one of the great voices in Chicano literature.

There will be an opportunity to sign up and share our words, read from his poems, tell stories and make music that celebrates Trino and the spirit he has imparted to us and so many others.

What: Trinidad Sánchez Jr. Celebration and Fundraiser
When: Sunday, August 6, 2006, 2-8pm
Where: Ruta Maya Riverwalk Coffee House
107 East Martin
San Antonio, TX 78205

[Thanks to Santiago Garcia, fellow poet and friend, for coordinating this fundraiser and for spreading the word to the rest of us. Happily, I'll be able to attend this event, cuz I'll already be in San Anto for the Macondo Institute.]

A diary of Trino's ongoing health situation - provided by his wife, Regina:

Tuesday, July 18th Trino had a massive stroke on the left side & a minor stroke on the left side. He is unconscious. Strong on the left side, diminished not paralyzed on the right side. he looks as if he is just sleeping..... The doctors offer no hope. We have Do Not Resusictate orders, we have both decided we do not want life by artificial means, especially if it means there is little or no hope for recovery or rehabilitation. We have requested comfort care and nutrition ONLY. As most of you know, I have been very ill and we planned for this to me. I was totally unprepared for this to happen to my beloved. The danger is for the next 7-14 days, during which he can go one way or the other. We are people of faith and trust in God's will. Trino always said he is ready to go at anytime. He is at the Methodist Hospital, Medical Center in Intensive Care, room 405. I leave status reports every day on our home phone number because I cannot possibly call everyone.

Wednesday, July 19th Uneventful; he continues to sleep. The MRI shows the two strokes in detail. There are two affected arteries. I agreed to blood thinners to reduce the risk of further damage by lack of blood flow, howver the possibility of hemorragheic stroke is increased.

Thursday, July 20th Uneventful; he continues to sleep. Lots of visitors are coming & going. Reading him poems, talking to him and praying with us. The S.A. Express News ran an article about his medical emergency, so many of his friends and students are coming and calling.

Friday, July 21st He woke up! It was a miracle and he is fighting. He SAID his name, age, the year, wife and responded to commands by moving limbs on his left side. He can communicate by shaking his head, yes & no!!!!!!!!!! I told him if he needed to go home to the Lord, not to stay for me. He shook his head, NO. Then I asked if he wanted to fight, he shook his head, YES!

Saturday, July 22nd He has slept most of the time since waking up. The doctors say it is like he ran a marathon and is recovering from Friday. We have to get through one day at a time. Moments of hopeful and faith alternate with moments of hopelessness and terror....

Sunday, July 23rd He was moved out of IntensiveCare to the Neurology 9th floor at the Methodist Hospital, Medical Center, Room 914. He has showed progress, but is not out of the danger zone yet. Another quiet day. After Friday it is frightening. He can still go either direction. I have been sleeping at the hospital with him, but now they will not let me sleep with him anymore, so I have to go home, alone. Only male relatives or friends authorized by me can stay the night. Any men with a free night available?

Monday, July 24th Trino is not insured. The doctors say he will need in-patient rehab begininning as soon as this week, and rehab hospitals have no legal obligation to take him. The hospital can literally say he is medically stable, take him home, no rehab....several people have offered to organize benefits, please coordinate with each other, I'm afraid I will not be much help, I feel my place is at his side. Waking up without him was horrible...... Tiday was another quiet day, he continues to respond and say his name, etc.. But the periods of alertness without being awoken, vary. Our friend, Ernest Bevans is spending the night at the hospital with him since I cannot. I showed him how to massage and stretch his limbs when he's awake, to prepare him for physical therapy by keeping his muscle as toned as possible.

Tuesday, July 25th Today he had minor surgery. Instead of the NG (feeding tube) from his nose to his stomach for nutrition and meds, I authorized a PEG. It goes directly into his stomach and the dangers of drowning are eliminated. I consider this a temporary procedure. Today is Day 7 of this crisis. My Type A personality wants to see something, anything since today is the marker. But, it's one day at a time....... Ernest spent the night with him.

Wednesday, July 26th Trino is sleeping very heavily, I believe recovering from the minor surgery yesterday. I spent the day chasing doctor's for a status letter and waged the battle with Social Security. They took extensive labs to monitor his blood & GI systems, results tomorrow. Ernest spent the night with him.

I love you and am grateful for all the prayers, love and poems, it is why he's going to be OK.
Call for updates at OUR home.....

Regina Chávez y Sánchez
2803 Fredericksburg Rd. #1215
San Antonio, TX 78201


And, finally, an excerpt from Trino's signature poem, which is his most well-known and popular with young readers.


A question Chicanitas sometimes ask
while others wonder: Why is the sky blue
or the grass so green?
Why am I so brown?
God made you brown, mi'ja
color bronce--color of your raza, your people
connecting you to your raices, your roots
your story/historia
as you begin moving towards your future.
God made you brown, mija
color bronce, beautiful/strong,
reminding you of the goodness
de tu mama, de tus abuelas, your grandmothers
y tus antepasados, your ancestors.