Friday, March 31, 2006

Lorna dice y dice -- prolific Xicana poet in Dallas this weekend!! Don't miss her!

My grrl Lorna Dee's in town (Dallas) for the Writes of Spring confab. But you gotta know that she and i have quite a little history: back in 1988, when i was doing the Naropa Institute summer program, she excitedly approached me at some Boulder bar open-mic, insisting that i submit work to her (now-legendary) litzine RED DIRT. Of course, I never submitted poems cuz i just wasn't doing that back then--i was into performing and sharing my work live onstages throughout the southwest. After that, de vez en cuando we would cross paths, like the time when raulrsalinas of Resistencia Bookstore brought her (AND Jose Montoya of the "Royal Chicano Air Force") to do workshops and perform in Austin. Back in '96 or so. She did a slammin' performance of her classic poem "Coffee", wherein she passionately lists off every single person by name who was murdered (we know it was the Mexican gov) in the Acteal Massacre. Tremendously powerful. Several years later, Lorna Dee contacted me--from her office in the Creative Writing Department at UC-Boulder--about joining her for a new project in Mexico. She had the idea to start an annual summer writing workshop at Isla Mujeres (Women's Island) off the coast of Cancun (a four dollar ferry ride floats you to the 5-mile long by half-mile wide--at its narrowest--sleepy little island), and she wanted me to be there as co-facilitator (literary bar-back, if you will).

The workshop, dubbed Taller Ixchel--after the Mayan goddess--was an opportunity for Chicanas (and other women) to meet up for a week of writing, thinking, lit discussions, some impromptu performances (i'll never forget one cypher in a late-night cantina), and, of course, plenty of swimming, drinking, and eating (mmmm, barracuda...mmmmm, Pacificos). We did this for two summers in a row with about 15 different women joining us from the States. Lorna Dee made sure we had the sweetest digs for our island stay, but i'd say that the second summer at la Mera Mera Mansion, the super-deluxe rental with three floors, oceanside pool, and volleyball court was damn near too much. (Imagine Lorna Dee giving a short talk on poetics as we encircle her in the pool on/in our own separate floaties.)

Lorna Dee's a prolific writer, but she doesn't publish often. Poetry collections such as EMPLUMADA and CABLES OF GENOCIDE: POEMS ON LOVE AND HUNGER are two of her earlier releases. Prior to the 2006 release of DRIVE, her last book was published in 1991. That's a long time between books, and when it's a book by Lorna Dee Cervantes, that's like a long time between sips of sumptuous, mineral-laden, thirst-quenching, natural springs water. Drink up, folks. The water is fine.

From Publishers Weekly:
"One of the first Chicana poets to achieve wide U.S. recognition, Cervantes did so with just two books, Emplumada (1981) and From the Cables of Genocide (1991); this substantial, versatile follow-up consists (subtitle not withstanding) of five distinct collections, that can be considered as discrete works. All show fire and range, and all draw on Cervantes's life on the streets as a teen and on her left-wing activism as an adult. The first, How Far's the War?, comprises poems of activism and protest against a global spate of injustices, from Latin American dictatorships to shortages in Eastern Europe: "La plumage de justicia hangs from the broken/ arrows of palabras [words] breaking the media block/ Of Truth and Consequences of Free Trade Agreements." The last, Hard Drive, collects warmly convincing poems of erotic and parental love, remembered, promised and achieved: "Come,/ and let us eat/ up the hours/ between us." BIRD AVE, perhaps the strongest, concentrates on Cervantes's youth, recalling "what girls/ did in/ the barrio/ to get/ their 15/ minutes of fame." About 10 poems are abbreviated appropriations of very famous poems by Bishop, Williams and others, with new titles. But this five-in-one volume reestablishes Cervantes as a singular voice."

And, finally, here's the exhortation (poem advertisement?) that exploded outta me the very night that i sipped from DRIVE for the first time:

drop everything (for lorna)

drop your underwear to your feet
drop your drawers to the floor
drop your quarters outta your pocket
forget to pick up the magic penny from the street
drop your lines on opening night
drop your knees as if to make things right
drop everything drop everything
drop the beat
drop the rhythm drop a beat, drop the music
if you have to , for a minute
even the tears that must be dropped
they must be, drop the rain, make sure you
let it go, let it drop
let the spills tranquil the rivers, make certain
song on the levee
but drop everything drop everything drop everything

drop mathematics
forget that subtraction scuffs the world
drop the fingers on the keys
drop the dripdry clothes
drop the coins into universal slots like eyes
newly-opened from the dark
drop the gumdrops, the cordial gems
that gum the teeth, drop even them,
drop all things lemon and cough and dew
drop the droppy droppping things
but drop everything drop everything drop everything

drop your people off at work
drop the names of all the fools
that forget to drop their egos at the door
drop the bop, drop the bebop, drop the flop and the flipflop

drop in, drop out, drop out and then drop back in again,
but i tell you, you gotta drop everything drop everything
drop everything i mean
everything, drop it drop it hard
drop it like it’s hot drop it like it’s hot
drop it like it’s hot
but drop it
and then let the other shoe drop
let everything drop
drop everything drop everything drop everything drop every---

and please,
(ya gotta)

drop your bad english accent
drop all pretensions
drop even your i-n-g’s
drop kick your jesus through the
goalposts of life
drop the mail in the mail drop
drop the clothes off at the cleaners
drop the dollop of whipped cream
in the coffee cup
drop a penny in the blind man’s tin plate
but drop everything drop everything drop everything
drop drop drop drop
drop the needle in the haystack
drop the pinprick in the hysteria
drop the pindrop so it’s noisy
drop the windchop so drop the sail
and drop the drama
with your egg soup
on your drop down menu

drop your shoulders
drop your weapons
why resist
drop your classes

drop the subject
and the object
drop the preposition
and drop the proposition
and all your plans,
yes, drop your plans,
drop acid and drop the charges,
drop the ball, fumble it even, just drop it/but drop it,
drop your hatcheck
drop the formality
drop the temperature
and drop your boyfriend,

drop it drop it drop everything

and please
read lorna dee cervantes

march 2-3, 2006
(wreck room to my room)
after reading DRIVE at the Wreck Room on a thursday night accompanied by a bottle of Rahr Blonde and to the beat of
African drum music on KNON-FM.

Advance yourself with your own DRIVE experience. HIghly recommended.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Chill w/ me over spoken word & drinks @ the Absinthe Lounge in Dallas

The first annual WRITES OF SPRING BOOK AND AUTHOR FESTIVAL happens in Dallas at Southside on Lamar this weekend.  I will be leading a spoken word performance at the ABSINTHE LOUNGE at 9:30pm, as part of this festival.

Friday, March 31st -- 9:30-11pm or so

Joining me will be poets Cesar Hernandez, Patricia Greene, Claudia Acosta, and Rodney Garza (star-performer of the current hit "El Chuco y La Che" which plays through Saturday night). I am hoping that my dear poet-mentor and kick-ass Xicana movimiento mujer, Lorna Dee Cervantes, will make an appearance as well since she's in town for Writes of Spring. Vamos a ver.

See you at the Absinthe Lounge!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

MY FORT WORTH: Tuesday, March 28th student walk-out

So--Angelique and I were looking over garments for our upcoming "Trashin' Fashion" encore performance in April. We head out to porch for some reason, and I notice hubub. Out of the usual noise, movement, something was in the air. Okay, well, there *was* a helicopter in the air (news station or cop chopper?), but then there was something else. Kids, alot of kids. Walking Chicanitos/Chicanitas on the street, streaming down my block, stepping lively on the sidewalk in front of my house. Then i notice cop cars--funny how the presence of po po can help contextualize a situ--and it dawns. The kids are all alright, the kids have walked out. Just to test, I ask a few striding past my house--Angelique has snagged her ever-ready videocam and is shootin' the scene--"what are y'all doing?" Their responses: "We just walked out." "We're marching for our rights." "We can't just let them say this about Mexicans."

I phoned Ramz, as the squad cars--tailing many of the kids--were slowly heading in the direction of his place. I hoped that he would eyeball the situation and monitor for rights abuses. From my street corner, I couldn't tell exactly what the cops' intention was. After reaching Ramz and giving him the 411, me and Angelique decided to follow the action. You have to imagine this: there were also more than the usual number of cars filled with boisterous h.s. youth passing to and fro. It reminded me of the flurry of animal activity in the moments before a storm--when they sense climactic shifts and know to scurry to their proper places. It was kinda like that, but what i wanted to know about these students was what WAS their proper place--like where were they headed?

We pieced together the story by getting quick sound bites from kids: apparently, they had walked out of their schools and converged downtown for a big shout-out to the powers that be, making their presence and their outrage (against some of the proposed anti-immigrant legislation being bandied about in the big house of Capitol Hill) known to any who would hear it. So, basically, these kids had done their bit and were proudly, surefootedly, hoofing it back to campus (in this case, Paschal).

Near the corner of Eighth and Morphy Streets, we happened upon a Star-Telegram Reporter interviewing two male students--both from Paschal. The most outspoken of the two, quite articulate and well-poised, told me that campus- and city-wide text-messaging campaigns had helped the highschoolers make their momentous decision to make today the day that Fort Worth high schools got emptied for marches in the streets. (Of course, not even a class clown in a hinterland school could have avoided hearing about the anti-immigrant hysteria getting whipped up in DC congressional sessions the past 2-4 months. It's increasingly become the talk of the town as it is of the nation.) Angelique kept shooting footage, as we listened to student Roberto describing his walkabout day. He told us that he knew that Northside, Trimble Tech, and South Hills, as well as Paschal students had joined in the walkout. He also mentioned that Paschal seems to have been the most tough school to leave, as administrators there (and security, i suppose) made the leaving rough.

Angelique and I eventually got in my car and headed down towards Paschal, to see the situation there. Ramz had earlier indicated that larger numbers of kids were heading south on Eighth, so that's where we went. But first, i grabbed my "Who's the Real Alien, Pilgrim?" poster of an Aztec warrior. I wanted to show solidarity any way i could. (It was a bit of a challenge to drive while holding the poster out the window for students to see...) My heart was pounding, as somewhere on a visceral level, i guess i was conjecturing "this is what it might look like if we ever have to deal with martial law". A cop car was stopped in the turn lane of Eighth Ave.--just planted there between Texaco and Fiesta--and i wondered "are they going to make an arrest, or chase some of these kids?" After a few more seconds, i could tell that they were just watching, maybe with their own documentation camera gear... When three more squad cars started to encircle Cici's Pizza--for gawd's sake--we felt that someone might be "going down." There was a throng (never use the word 'mob' when we're talking about our own..) of students crowded near the entrance to the 'za parlor, and we hoped that this wouldn't give the cops reason enough to draw weapons, spray mace, and do all those AP photo moment things i've seen on too many front newspages and indywebsites. We also spotted this tableau, on a grassy knoll near the parking lot: 5-8 Chicanitas/os standing proudly together, with a five-foot Mexican flag held upright by one of the taller boys. Now i'm not into flags as much as maybe the next person, but in that moment those kids holding that flag symbolized something like cultural integrity and a steadfast refusal to be invisibilized by a xenophobic mainstream society. These Raza youth were not munchin' pizza.

Once we could tell that the cops' buzzard circling was not meant to draw blood, we pulled away from Cici's (who wouldn't?) and drove again towards Paschal. A few kids here and there, walking casually, but no big rallying location was seen. We concluded that the kids were just heading calmly back to campus and class. Responsible and accountable. After a pitstop at my place--where a message from Ramz directed us to go downtown to City Hall--we retooled and veered north, passing lots more students on foot, near Trimble Tech. In downtown, we parked near City Hall, though we could hear and see that the action was directly in front of the Traffic Court Building on Throckmorton. This was the corner where the students stationed themselves, yelling Raza pride chants and raising power fists when drivers honked to demonstrate solidarity. I was amazed to see that adults (parents?) actually were dropping students off at this site, facilitating the young people's participation in this thing called democracy. Cool. One day of missed high school to cry foul in the face of bigotry and ignorance is a small price to pay. Angelique, never missing a moment, kept the camera tape rolling. We interviewed several students, letting them share whatever they wanted. Students had actually walked all the way from South Hills HS, which is down on Altamesa for gawd's sake...! I asked again, how did the organizing happen. Again, "cell phones", "text-messaging", "email". As they walked out of South Hills HS---according to one student--teachers and administrators taunted them, saying "You're going to get tired, your feet will hurt, you'll get thirsty, then you'll come back." And the living proof was that these bad-ass students walked their talk (a talk that many of us are not willing to hear because the voices are younger, from kids of color). I gave my "alien, pilgrim?" sign to a young woman who eagerly accepted it and pushed her way to the curb to hoist it in the air for passersby to read.

I stepped towards Chief of Police Ralph Mendoza, who was conversing freely with several people (students, reporters?). Angelique turned the camera on us, and I began to ask Mendoza some few questions. He was very personable and notably NOT defensive. I looked past him, where a line-up of cops cast a severe edge to what otherwise seemed a laidback police presence. (I guess they were standing that way to keep students from rushing the entrance to the courthouse.) Mendoza said that he "respected the students' rights" to be out in the streets, marching and speaking up for what they believe in, and that the role of the police in this situation was primarily to make sure the students were safe and to make sure that no property was damaged. He smiled and surveyed the layout of the scene with what seemed to be at least a bit of cultural pride. I was glad, in that moment, that he is a Hispanic and that he was directly present there.

(I heard later---via local tv news--that the FWPD actually did arrest THREE students. I don't know what the charges or causes for action were in any of the arrests.)

Before we left the courthouse scene, we met another indie media person doing some taping, as well as a mom ("Angie") of three of the South Hills HS students. She basically drove the "sag wagon" for the students, providing water and adult supervision along the march route from Altamesa Drive in southwest FW. She told us that her son "text-messaged me that he was going to leave [the school]" at around 10:30 this morning. Angie drove to the school to meet with the principal(s), asking about any possibly punitive measures they might take against the students for leaving campus. To her relief, she was told that the students would not be punished. She said she was very proud of her three children--including one daughter who is 6 months pregnant!--for marching today.

Later, on my way in to Wedgwood Middle School--where i teach performance and writing in an after-school program--I asked a few Latino/a students if they had walked out too. The answer: no. The reason: "They turned the sprinklers on all around the school to keep us from going."

My niece, who attends J.P. Elder, which is predominantly Latino, did not walk out--though she did mill about on-campus debating the possibility. Campus monitors corraled students together, as best as they could, and a few kids who had run from campus were caught and hauled in to the principal's office. My niece told me that alot of kids wrote MEXICAN FOREVER and other pride slogans on their foreheads and arms. (One girl, afraid to draw attention from punitive faculty, merely wrote on the palm of her hand.) My niece had written MEXICAN in red ink on her arm. Wow. She's looking forward to Friday, the day after her UIL chorus competition. Friday, she says, is the day she will walk out.

[Note: According to a local newscast at 10 tonight, the DISD schools have now instituted a zero-tolerance policy for any students who walk-out: truancy arrests, and other punitive measures will be meted out (big boo hiss). BUT--in FW schools, students who walk-out will 1) get an "unexcused absence" on their record, and 2) will have to make up missed classwork (less boo hiss).]

Monday, March 27, 2006

"El Chuco y La Che" - held over 'til April 1st

Rodney Garza is a compa and fellow performance artist, who i've known since back in the day (or days) of mid-to-late 1990s Austin. He was always working on some project on another, but always keeping the vibe and the flow muy suave, sin ansia--no worries, homie. He went on to create/found an active Chicano theater company whose name deliberately (so we think) yielded an acronym so dear to the corazon: Teatro Humanidad Cansada. Killer theater, dude. Funny, rascuache, and of the times, for sure.

Now, my home bro has launched his own one-vato show: "El Chuco y La Che", which no--is not about shoes or Che Guevara. It's not even about gang violence and overwrought "Hispanic" stereotypes. It's un estory, historia muy cute, somewhat enlightening (for those of you who lack Brown people in your worldview), and purty damn clever. You see, the "Che" that is paid tribute is the "ch" of the Spanglish/Spanish language. You may think it's one long extended pinche punche line, but you gotta hand it to Rodney for shaking down the Spanglish dictionary to the chones to reap finely-rendered wordplay. I say, lay down your plumas y pencils, Raza. My man Garza done wrote the book on the "C-H", so charpen your Chicano/a poeta tongue on some other letra, y ya.

Chale, chulo, get cho butt down to the Latino Cultural Center this weekend to check out this churefire hit. For more infos, click here.

NORTH TEXAS NERUDA LOVE - anthology book release/reception/booksigning this Friday, Mar.31st

March 27, 2006


Tammy Gomez

Gracey Tune


++++ Fort Worth-published NORTH TEXAS NERUDA LOVE, anthology which commemorates Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda,
features local writers and scholars ++++

==> Reception and reading from the anthology, followed by booksigning, scheduled for Friday, March 31st--as part of
Spring Arts Goggle 2006--at 7pm at Arts Fifth Avenue in FW. (Free and open to the public.)

Arts Fifth Avenue, Inc. and Sound Culture/Tejana Tongue Press (community arts organizations in Fort Worth), announce the
release of the innovative anthology NORTH TEXAS NERUDA LOVE, which was co-published by both organizations--with funding from Humanities Texas.

NORTH TEXAS NERUDA LOVE, which features new poems and essays by local writers, is a tribute to the legacy and literary
influence of esteemed Chilean poet Pablo Neruda--whose 100th birth anniversary was celebrated worldwide from
2004-2005. As part of this anniversary celebration, Fort Worth organizations Sound Culture/Tejana Tongue Press and Arts Fifth Avenue, Inc. coordinated a year-long program of literary readings, documentary film screenings, and community lectures throughout Tarrant County.

The program culminated with the publication of the anthology, which features introductions by each contributing writer,
describing the influence and impact that Neruda has had on their own literary and/or personal life. The year-long program,
in fact, referred to Neruda as a “global citizen” whose experiences led him to write about the cultures and peoples he encountered around the world. In the “post-911 world”, writers cannot help but reflect the tenor and spirit of the times, and the anthology demonstrates this with poems evoking compassion and sensitivity to issues and concerns of this decade.

Gracey Tune, founder/director of Arts Fifth Avenue, Inc., is renowned nationally as an accomplished tap dancer and
promoter of tap dancing history and performance. Ms. Tune has one poem featured in NORTH TEXAS NERUDA LOVE--her first publishing credential--which was inspired by Neruda’s BOOK OF QUESTIONS. Quoting Ms. Tune from the anthology: “His [Neruda’s] work encourages the poet within us...”

The anthology will be released publicly at Arts Fifth Avenue (1625 5th Avenue in the historical Fairmount district), on
Friday, March 31st, at 7pm. Contributing writers will read selections from the book, followed by a reception and booksigning.

There will be no admission charged for this event, but copies of NORTH TEXAS NERUDA LOVE will be available for sale to the public.


NORTH TEXAS NERUDA LOVE: poems, essays, testimonios
in tribute to Pablo Neruda

edited by Tammy Melody Gomez

contributors and titles

Gracey Tune - “Questions from the Lake”
Greg Johnson - “Improvised Tribute Poem”
m.m. harris - “I like not knowing” and “Ode to a Green Pen”
Jeannette L. Strother - “Ode to Honeysuckle”
Claudia Acosta - “Para nuestras perdidas muertas”
cesar hernandez - “My dear, Neftali!”
Geethanjali - “A Leader of World Literature”
Susan Vogel Taylor - “Mindlessness and Infinity” and
“Sisters of the Fertile Moon”
Marc Rains - untitled
Josh Khatena - “Neruda, a word”
Tammy Gomez - “in this love”
Helen S. Jones - “Pablo, Jr.”
Robert Wynne - “Ode to the Belt”
Patricia Greene - “Caracolas”
Dr.Teresa Marrero - “Pablo Neruda, ‘Global Citizen’”

Thursday, March 23, 2006

MY FORT WORTH: Rally/march, Rally/fest, and Alterna-skool this wk-end

It's gonna be a great weekend to BE ACTIVE in the comunidad aqui en Fort Worth ("forte wes").

Some events to attend this weekend:

1. Annual "SI, SE PUEDE" ("Yes, we can") marcha and rally in tribute to Cesar Chavez, movimiento activista and founder of the United Farmworkers Union (UFW).

FRIDAY, MARCH 24th - marcha at 6pm, rally afterwards in school cafeteria.

The march will start and end @ Cesar Chavez Primary School, located at 3710 Deen Rd, Fort Worth. The march begins at 6:00 p.m., & will travel through the area neighborhood for one mile. Cesar Chavez Primary School will host a carnival with games and food for parents, students, and the community. A rally will be held in the school cafeteria with speakers and entertainers.

In the spirit of Cesar Chavez, this is an event to bring the community and school together to celebrate the memory of the selfless crusader for justice and the importance of education.

[Note: I am on the slate of speakers for the rally. I will "speak" at approx. 8:15pm.]

2. "Free the Vote Rally and Performance Event"

SATURDAY, MARCH 25th - 12noon-7:30pm (or so) - Trinity Park Shelter, Fort Worth.

A day of festivities, music, spoken word, and info-sharing. Bring blankets, food. Sponsored by the Tarrant County Green Party. This event will launch the petition drive for the Tarrant County Green Party to obtain ballot access for November elections.

[Note: Both CodePink FW and Peaceful Vocations (PV) will be tabling at this event. Come on out; the weather should be warmer, with sunshine predicted.]



This the latest in an ongoing series of "liberation school"-type days that the folks at 1919 Hemphill periodically coordinate.

SUNDAY, MARCH 26th - 2pm to 10pm (another long day!)

$10 donation (dinner is included) for all the learning you can eat. Don't let the money thing be a deterrent; no one will be turned away. Sessions and skill-shares on such topics as: comic book-making, menstral (sic) health, basic HTML for websites, DIY theater (with Zoe), yoga, and more! PV is scheduled to lead a session at 7pm. Childcare, apparently, will be provided.

hasta la victoria!

[post a comment if you have questions about any of these events...and i'll try to reply asap.]

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"Legal experts say there is no law against using feces as a flag stand..."

"Police in Germany are hunting pranksters who have been sticking miniature flag portraits of US President George W. Bush into piles of dog poo in public parks. Josef Oettl, parks administrator for Bayreuth, said: "This has been going on for about a year now, and there must be 2,000 to 3,000 piles of excrement that have been claimed during that time."

The series of incidents was originally thought to be some sort of protest against the US-led invasion of Iraq. And then when it continued it was thought to be a protest against President George W. Bush's campaign for re-election. But it is still going on and the police say they are completely baffled as to who is to blame. "We have sent out extra patrols to try to catch whoever is doing this in the act," said police spokesman Reiner Kuechler. "But frankly, we don't know what we would do if we caught them red handed." Legal experts say there is no law against using feces as a flag stand and the federal legal experts say there is no law against using feces as a flag stand and the federal constitution is vague on the issue."

(My friend Hillary sent this via email last year, so who knows how many more Bush flags are dotting the German landscape by now?)

Nombre, Hombre

I often amuse myself by giving my cat (officially known as "grace"--named by my niece) names of the day. Tonight, she has become DESPERADO WITH FUR. Frequently, she becomes MONSTER MADNESS (like when she's chasing her tail or chewing on the corners of stacks of FW Weekly issues that i keep thinking i might actually wanna read sometime). I am amazed by my predilection for quick-name changes for my animal. I myself have taken on various tags or handles, depending on circumstance, mood, or public context. So far, i've been known variously as TEJANA TONGUE, TAMMYGOMEXICAN (which is the creative half of my yahoo email address), SUNLIT DOORWAY, and POCKET POET (thanks for that one, i guess, Enrique...). When i performed with star-spoken word performers Paul Flores (of Los Delicados---yes, named after the unfiltered Mexican cigarettes) and Marc Bamuthi Joseph aka Seeking) up in Madison a few years ago, they recommended that i take on some firecracker stage name. (I guess they thought Tammy Gomez is too staid or Nancy Drew for me...) Hmmm, i thought on this, and came up with a maybe future star handle of RELAMPAGOMEZ (which is a blend of the Spanish word for "lightning" and my last name). One can fantasize.

I remember the names me and my sister would give our fake Barbie dolls when we were kids. We let those dolls exemplify our imagined glamour life personas, becoming "Roxanne" and "Monique," and other queer-consonant-ed gold lame' names.

What have you nicknamed your kitty tonight?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

radio free tammy

KPFT-FM is Houston's best (and probably only) community radio station.

Check me out / listen live! Click me, please!

I'm being interviewed sometime between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. tonight by the good folks at Nuestra Palabra ("Latino/a Writers Having Their Say"). Their show airs weekly on Tuesdays.

FCC, watch out!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Is there an evolving theme here?

This weekend's film at the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, WHY WE FIGHT?, along with the April 7-9 selection JOYEUX NOEL (MERRY CHRISTMAS), addresses the realities of war and militarism. Hmmm, guess it must mean that the friggin THIRD GODDAMN anniversary of the U.S. INVASION of Iraq is right around the corner, huh?!!

WHY WE FIGHT - March 10–12, 2006 - Friday 6 & 8 pm; Saturday 5 pm; Sunday 2 & 4 pm.

From the Modern's website: "Winner of the 2005 Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, this new film by Eugene Jarecki is an unflinching look at the anatomy of the American war machine. (PG-13; 98 minutes)" For the Sony Classics webworld of info on this doc, click here.

And for more wartime cine, there's this offering:

JOYEUX NOËL (MERRY CHRISTMAS) - April 7–9 - Friday 6 & 8 pm; Saturday 5 pm; Sunday 2 & 4 pm.

Blurb on the Modern's website: "Recently nominated for an Academy Award, this heartwarming and heartbreaking French film recounts the true story of a Christmas Eve during World War I when soldiers from both sides laid down their guns and played football and sang Christmas carols together."

Tickets are $7.50; $5.50 for Modern museum members. Advance sales begin two hours prior to each show.

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is at 3200 Darnell Street, in the grand ole Museum District (i refuse to call it "cultural district" cuz "cultural" districts are everywhere throughout the 817, man...)

Phone 'em at 817-738-9215 (local) or toll-free 1-866-824-5566.

Who's watching the watchers?

[My fellow poet-comrade, Maggie Jochild, sent the following. Saludos, Maggie!]

Hey, friends -- I encourage you all to make use of the Freedom of Information Act (while it still exists) to request any files that may have been gathered on you -- even if you can't imagine this would have been done (under this administration, it pays to imagine the worst). Go to this link sponsored by PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY to start the process. If enough of us do this, it will surely send a strong message that we are not just going to lie down and let them steamroll our civil rights. And pass this on to everyone you can. I'll let you know when I get an answer; I hope you'll do the same. -- Maggie Jochild

Part of what the link says:

"Make an FOIA Request

Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), anyone has the right to request information from the government. Last strengthened by Congress in response to the Watergate scandal, FOIA gives citizens a way to demand transparency from the Administration -- and take the government to court if necessary.

Many Americans -- especially those with family and friends abroad -- are wondering whether government agents have been listening to their phone conversations or reading their email. If you're worried this has happened to you, you can use this site to help you find out.

We can't guarantee that the Bush administration will disclose all this information in compliance with the law, but we can help you through the process. By filing a FOIA request, you will send a strong signal that American citizens believe in the rule of law and aren't afraid to stand up to the President when he violates the Constitution!"

Thursday, March 09, 2006

XX Communicator is now 365 days old

I started this thing on International Women's Day last year--March 8th, 2005--and now look where it's gotten me. I am infrequent poster, so i might be called blogger imposter. I had the best intentions of being daily wit you, but being the typical Libra omni-where omnivore, I get distracted by other wants and whims.

I am, however, consistently a romantic (or romanticizing) dreamer.

International Women's Day 06 seemed to have passed without fanfare or incident. In the past, I have spent the day conviving with broads, chicks, womyn, cunts, and grrls--in performance, on the air, around pitchers and bottles of brew. One IWD, I performed at Stubb's BBQ in Austin--with a fistful of drink tickets in my future--with my all-girl spoken word group YONIVERSE. I'd asked cook and baker extraordinaire Julia Apodaca to do a cake for the show, and she showed up with the most beautiful baked depiction of a vaginal orgasm as anyone has likely seen. (It featured one long sparkler jutting out from the purple and pink "vag", which we ceremoniously lit to the gleeful whoops and hollers of all witnessing congregants.)

Last year, I did something at the Dog--women spoken word and performance. But this year, it was a day for gathering niece and feeding her and reassuring her sweet broken heart. It was a day for videotaping for an activist training session. It was a day for mellow crying and wishing the rain would hurry to join my tears. It was a no-yoga day. It was a listen (closely) to the first of a 4-cd collection of Quincy Jones tunes. It was a watch "Before Sunset" in its entirety even though I walked out of "Before Sunrise" due to sheer boredom and irritation, back in the 90s. Something is different this year. I am still a woman and desire to commemorate International Women's Day. Perhaps, in 06, I was supposed to commemorate by just merely being a woman.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Future U.S. Lawyers to be Proud Of

[Thanks to my compa, Rosa Maria Gonzalez--please, no relation to Alberto the civilrights slayer--for passing this along. She's kicking butt down in San Anto as a lawyer doing child rights advocacy. Love ya, Rosie!]

Alberto Gonzales spoke before law students at Georgetown today, justifying illegal, unauthorized surveilance of US citizens, but during the course of his speech the students in class did something pretty gutsy and brave. They got up from their seats and turned their backs to him.

To make matters worse for Gonzales, additional students came into the room, wearing black cowls and carrying a simple banner, written on a sheet.

Fortunately for him, it was a brief speech... followed by a panel discussion that basically ripped his argument in half.

And, as one of the people on the panel said,

"When you're a law student, they tell you that if you can't argue the law, argue the facts. They also tell you if you can't argue the facts, argue the law. If you can't argue either, apparently, the solution is to go on a public relations offensive and make it a political issue... to say over and over again 'it's lawful', and to think that the American people will somehow come to believe this if we say it often enough."

In light of this, I'm proud of the very civil civil disobedience that was shown here today." - David Cole, Georgetown University Law Professor

It was a good day for dissent...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Women's Art - Women's History Month Exhibit @ the Public Library

The exhibit, once again curated by Jo Dufo, is titled "In My Life"

3rd Annual Woman's Exhibition - Fort Worth Downtown Central Library - 500 3rd St. in Fort Worth, Texas

Exhibition Dates:
March 4th - March 28th

"Paintings, sculptures, collages, mosaics, and photographs will highlight women, the roles they play, their accomplishments and their invincible spirits."

Participating artists:
Devon Wattier Amalia El Masre'
Sierra Dufault Amber Bailey
Brady Nichols Theresa Foster
Allie Regan Alicia Price
Tanya Sparks Kathy O'Brien
Alyssa Banta Jo Dufo
Letitia Eldredge Ameera Hallag
Glenna Janda Riki Johnson
Lori Thomson Rebecca Low
Grace Bolding Julie Hiltbrunner
Drucilla Perez-Tubens Tuba Koymen
Phyllis King Katrina Doran
Evita Tezeno Isabel Lopez
Joyce Martin Karen Weiss
Zoe Dufault Rhonda Haugabook
ElaRue Jennifer Bell Karen Stone

Friday, March 03, 2006

Townes Van Zandt doc at the Modern

Though it's about to released, dvd-format, on the 14th or so of March, you might appreciate seeing it on the nice screen, at the clean serene Modern Art museo acqui en Fort Worth. BE HERE TO LOVE ME: A FILM ABOUT TOWNES VAN ZANDT opens tonight at 6pm. I'll be going to the 8pm screening, cuz that's when Van Zandt son, John, intros the film and plays some of his (recently-deceased) father's songs. You may not know it, but Townes was raised, kinda money-well-off, in the Westside. I've been learning more of his life and his music (though "Pancho and Lefty" was popularized by Willie, "If I Needed You" was given starpower by Emmylou and is one of my Townes favorites) from friends who knew and played alongside this Fort Worth legend (what i mean is that Townes is a legend; what i don't mean--cuz fw is just stupid this way--is that Townes is famous in Fort Worth...) My friend, Lee Daniel, lent a hand with cinematography on the film, along with sculptor-artist Miguel, who lives in Arlington.

March 3–5, 2006 - Friday 6 & 8 pm; Saturday 5 pm; Sunday 2 & 4 pm - at the Modern Art Museum of FW.

(John Townes Van Zandt will introduce the Friday 8pm film and play some of his father's music for moviegoers.)

"A dignified and wistful look at the unusual life, difficult career, and lasting influence of singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt." (Eddie Cockrell, Variety.) This poignant documentary follows the life of Fort Worth native son Townes Van Zandt, the ultimate songwriter's songwriter who had a profound effect on a generation of musicians. Read more about the film right here.

Claudia's theatrical baby opens onstage tonight!

My sweet and multi-talented compa, Claudia Acosta, is gearing up for her big debut tonight. Her original work, "Recuerdos de mi mama: la epoca de oro", is a project she's been dreaming of for over a year. So, tonight, Friday the 3rd, will mark the culmination of a major artistic achievement. Be glad for this creative drama-mama as she births her first full-length stage play. (Oh, and check out one of the spotlight operators: my niece, Breanna Her-Era.) The show plays for 3 consecutive weekends; I'll be in the audience tomorrow--cuz a big reception follows after the performance. Here are the detalles:

RECUERDOS DE MI MAMA: la epoca de oro - an original stageplay written and directed by Claudia Acosta.
Inspired by Mexico’s Golden Age of Cinema (La Epoca de Oro), when Resortes and Cantinflas were budding comedy kings; Maria Felix enraptured her audiences with her sultry looks, and when rumberas were the hottest ticket in town. A simple love story from a mother’s memory celebrates the generation who lived for mambo.
Individual tickets are $10 general audience, and $5 students and seniors
Inspirado por el Cine Mexicano de La Época de Oro cuando Resortes y Cantinflas se establecían como los Reyes de la comedia, Maria Felix deslumbraba su público con su belleza despampanante, y las rumberas daban la presentación más caliente de la ciudad. Esta historia celebra las memorias de una generación que vivía para el mambo.
BILINGUE – Rated PG 13
Los Boletos tienen un costo de 10 dolares en admision general y 5 dolares para estudiantes y ancianos.

Call Now For Ticket Info: (817)624-8333