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.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Kerblog - in your bag / with bombs in Beirut

Imagine having to make that decision, under extreme pressure of war as it surrounds you with explosions and screaming voices of people in pain. Having to create that ultimate list: what do I carry with me, should I have to leave the safety of my home? if I cannot make it back again, or if my house meets its demise under a bomb attack, what few material possessions must be in the bag i shoulder?

I remember my friends Liz B and Jennifer H, who both survived the big earthquake in L.A., back in the mid-1990s. They each had their precious cargo enumerated and stashed closely within reach for every time that new tremors started to rock the floor beneath them. Flashlight, bottled water, jacket were on both their lists. I remember my friend Treb, who survived the earthquake and subsequent hundreds of after-shocks that hit Taiwan in 1999. He told me that he was like a robot, programmed to rush to the stairwell of his apartment, at the slightest hint of a tremor. I can imagine those instincts being somewhat akin to what I feel my body doing whenever I hear those tornado warning sirens blasting in my neighborhood.

If you were to rush for survival, away from your home, what would be in that clutched precious pack on your back?

A 30-year old man, with a young son, is bunkered down in Beirut, Lebanon. He blogs daily, at least, and on many days, it seems that he posts to KERBLOG with the desperate frequency of a migraine-delirious person reaching for painkillers through the day.

Many, many of us (thanks to Ken Shimamoto for directing me to KERBLOG) are reading the fervent and honest postings of artist Mazen Kerbaj as he tires and tries to survive the violence in his beloved home city. The COMMENTS section of his blog is one of the most actively-used that I've ever seen. It is very touching to read these comments and know of the worldwide compassion and concern that are STREAMING LIVE on the www. Though we push these square plastic keys to type our words, the emotion and passion come through quite un-plastic. Just a few minutes on KERBLOG and I am reminded of how much we truly are one and the same as human beings----well, most of us, anyway.....

And now, here is the text which accompanies the drawing by Mazen Kerbaj [above]. By the way, Kerbaj has given the okay for folks to distribute, repost, publish his work--for the cause.

my life in a bag [posted Saturday, July 22, 2006 at]

each time i leave my flat, i take with me:

my passport and evan's one
a mini-disc recorder + microphone
2 t-shirts
2 underwear
2 pairs of socks
a notebook and pens
my trumpet
a book
a small camera
a lighter
a usb key
a toothbrush
4 batteries

Upcoming app deadline: Gift of Freedom Award for Women Fiction Writers

Waaaaa. I was all hype to work on my application for the 2007 Gift of Freedom award, an annual grant ($50 K!) presented to a committed woman writer in support of a specific literary project. But, for this funding cycle, they're only considering FICTION writers. And I wanted to apply as a creative nonfiction/poetry writer. Oh well. Maybe next year.

So all you women FICTION writers who could use fifty-thousand dollars to have the freedom and time to work on a substantial work of fiction in the next two years, now's the time to APPLY! For more information about the Gift of Freedom award guidelines and other projects of this worthy foundation, just click here to read the A ROOM OF HER OWN FOUNDATION Summer 2006 Newsletter.

"To be selected for the Gift of Freedom, women applicants not only must demonstrate their talent, but also their motivation. We are looking for women who have solid creative goals and a specific project to accomplish during the two-year term of the grant. We are also interested in helping women who have a track record of commitment to their art and who are also making a substantial effort to be self-sufficient."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Todos Somos Todos Sufriendo Ahorita

DFW International Community Alliance and the Dallas Peace Center invite you to join other North Texas organizations and individuals to express our shared grief by participating in a Silent Tribute for the Dead in the Lebanon Conflict.

* bring flowers as a symbol of solidarity * light a candle during the memorial
* sign condolence books to be sent to the presidents of Lebanon and Israel
* express yourself on the Peace Wall at the tribute site

The following organizations have confirmed their participation and support thus far:

Saints Constantine and Helen Antiochian
Orthodox Church
Albanian American Community Center
Unity Church of Dallas
Colombian Association of the Metroplex
United Sikhs
Islamic Association of North Texas
Foundation for Pluralism
Islamic Association of Carrollton

Silent Tribute for the Dead in the Lebanon Conflict
Sunday, July 23rd - 3pm to 4pm
Ferris Plaza (at the corner of Young & Houston Streets, in front of Union Amtrak Station)
Dallas, TX

There was a beach

I want to wake fully rested at 9pm. Pulling on the simplest of clothes, I do not bother with a comb or lipstick. More important is the music, a burned cd of Julieta Venegas songs, and maybe 2 sweaty bottles of Mexican beer. Quickly I deliver myself to the ocean waters, where under the fullest of summer moons, i am to join my friends in a swoon. We will be lavish silhouettes after midnight, watching la luna curtsy over the rooftops, which propels us to bare our thighs to the night and to the waves. There is laughter, it tinkles like doves with bells, and there is sangria to simmer our throats. One by one, the water takes us, a liquid lover who gives way when we bend our spines to the moment. The food is fruit and I am hungry, after all. Lunada, lunada, at the seaside with my silken sea nymph sisters, move so slow. When I am likened to a mermaid, I feel my long dark tresses clench me like cornsilk and my legs wrap together tight like a velvet rope, brown and muscled.

There was a beach, I saw the moon, we swam in water, I was a mermaid.

Thank you, Gabriela.
Thank you, diosa de la luna.

[after first Lunada at Gaby's house and backyard swimming pool with only the most luscious of sistren-friends...]

Monday, July 10, 2006

they all seem to froth at the mouth

i had an amazing run of friendship-enhancing soul-to-soul conversations with several buddies this weekend. like i told the last one, Kelsie, over lunch today, "i feel like i just robbed a bank." friday night, saturday night, sunday night, and monday afternoon. four friends in a row---four longwinding, longwinded spiels of spilling our guts and walking away unwounded....

Many thanks and muchisimas gracias a JM, ILS, RS, and KTP for their honest sincerity in the era of lies and karmic bankruptcy. You guys also saved me a buncha money cuz i didn't have to go out and fake some pseudo-pleasure at a bar, show, or movie house.

"They all seem to froth at the mouth." That's a great line from KTP's blog DIRTVERSE. Talking alot can be a little like frothing at the mouth, que no? But without the rabies thing.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

THIS is my 4th of july

_This_ is my 4th of july
this is my freedom
this my penance.
i circle the stupa
swoon many times to
encircle the stone mandala
while the outer circle of attending monks, worshippers,
and other praying Tibetans circumnavigate quietly
down below, even the mountains have
done their clockwise wraparound, with
full-body prostrations of rock and dirt--
a puja which encloses us in earthen embrace.

i smell freedom and peace, up here on the
stupa stone and can feel a lightness,
as if many souls are taking flight,
mumbling with malas, bowing with beads.

around me, i see many hopeful
humans, crouched & huddled lovingly,
like people squatting on airplane wings, defying
gravity. asking questions, watching the sky.

i want to push with them, push this envelope of
humankind possibility. dare to want something
bigger than breath.

a deep sense of peace is what i feel here and now; so i say,
this is my independence day, here is where my
sparkle alights.

and i make no claims to territory or turf, my homeland
is my heart my soul focus is
to spend better time contemplating
eternal truths--when i find them on the horizon
like the skyline of the Himalayas.

I feel now divorced and so undevoted to the national pastimes
half a globe away:
baseball, hotdogs,and apple pie.

Even so, i can really (hallucinate) the smell, taste, and sound of
barbecue pits taking flame & daddys nationwide
putting: ribs on the pit, burgers on
the fire, and bubba in the wading pool...

i would wish one silent rhapsodic
pass around this stupa for any American
seeking freedom. for every white house
bigshot seeking to create new world order.

order already exists--here. And it's
anything but new.

Peace be upon all my beloved friends & family
in the states; I wish them/YOU all
a happy holiday:
filled with togetherness, hope, and secure
comfort of spirit-self.

---written on sunday, july 3rd, 1999---
on the stupa at Boudnath, just before sunset.
This stupa is the largest in Nepal. from where
i sat--and i was there for hours--i think i actually
saw it: the big one, Mt. Everest!

A different kind of July 4th memory

And i would be very remiss if i didn't mention that today also marks the 20th anniversary of almost getting my ass severely (and perhaps fatally) kicked by some teenaged wild childs in the "City of Brotherly Love". Philly, South Street, after midnight, July the 4th, 1986. I was riding in a late-model, stylin' car which belonged to my friend Debbie's boyfriend. Debbie, James (my boyfriend), and I were heading home after hearing some live music, when a gang of street punks stormed the car, pummeling the windshield with bricks, and stomping the hood and trunk. I got my window and door closed and locked in time, but Debbie--who was behind the wheel--only managed to lock the driver's side door before a swarm of fists and arms shoved in through her window grabbing at her, at her purse, at me, etc. It happened oh-so-fast, and I realized that if they had managed to get the car doors open, we would have been dragged to the sidewalk and given some crazy brotherly love.
I managed to pen a short poem about this violent attack, but can only remember one line from it: "Must we to the frown lair gather to consummate foul weather?"

Within 48 hours of the Philly incident, I was safe and blissed out at the Rainbow Gathering in the Allegheny National Forest in northern PA. From the concrete jungle to the fern forest, my first trip to Pennsylvania showed me both how to get wounded and how to get healed. The forest, and the experiences I encountered there, definitely left a better impression.

Be fase and make siwe choices today, por favor!

Monday, July 03, 2006

MY FORT WORTH ==> Critical Mass bike ride - today @ 6:30pm!

The JULY RIDE happens today, amigos/as!

Meet downtown (FW) at the ITC bus/train depot on Jones Street (near 9th Street). 6:30pm is when we roll together, tearing down the streets* of Cowtown.

Critical Mass is now a legendary tradition--in empowerment via pedal-powered street riding--which first started in San Francisco over 10 years ago.

Bike culture makes any city more beautiful cuz bicycling makes no pollution and facilitates more face-to-face friendliness.

BYO: wheels, water, spirit of resistance

* "Tearing Down the Streets" is also the title of this awesome book by local prof Jeff Ferrell.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

resting on nalgas or laurels

relief. rest. recuperation.

i've been telling folks that i'm kinda resting on my laurels, which is another way of saying that i'm chilling and recovering from a hard busy spring-into-early summer season. lately, though, i've been feeling like i'm really friggin' lazy. that's because i am super hard on myself and don't like to lay around without a project for very long.

now for a fact-check, in the form of a short list of recent accomplishments, in order to justify my self-imposed embargo on overworking:

1. I just got notification from the TEXAS COMMISSION ON THE ARTS that my name has been added to their Performing Artist Touring Roster--a nice endorsement from the biggest arts agency in Texas which will, hopefully, get me more gigs around the state.

2. I've just produced--with the hired help of Logan Gilpin, who's good and FAST--my first dvd demo, complete with sound (poetry with music) and video (performance documentation) files and the requisite bio-data, press clippings, etc. It's about time i put something like this together in order to shop it or ship it around to arts presenters. It's pretty cool!

3. I just met the recent NALAC (National Association of Latino Arts and Culture) grant application deadline! I submitted a proposal for my bicycle love story, a "hiphopera" or "bicycle theater performance" which is titled SHE: bike/spoke/love. This work-in-progress needs a little money love (i.e., funding) in order to truly launch the way i envision it. Vamos a ver si NALAC likes the proposal enough to grant me some support.

4. Faculty members at TCU have asked if they can include one of my poems (“Home Away From Home: a land proclamation in 5 parts”) in the freshman class orientation "colloquium" this coming fall semester.

5. I triumphed at the NPN (National Performance Network) showcase in early June, performing my original dramatic monologue "Malinchuca" for a very responsive audience at Richland College's Fannin Hall. My friend and fellow artista, Karen X had this feedback for me:

"Heh ho, you Rock-the-House-Bad-Ass Performance Artist You!!!! Tammy, that was just a phenomenal, phenomenal, I tell
you, performance."

So, then, not two days after the NPN gig, it happened. As it always seems to happen--just after a show or project has ended--i check my email and new opportunities surface. One was a call from up north and another was from a contact in south Texas. Basically, I am now going to be considered for a performance slot at a future Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz festival in Chicago at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, and I am also now invited to do a 4-day artist residency at Texas A&M University in Kingsville, thanks to a friend who's now teaching there.

I feel humbly blessed and also pleasantly reminded of the wealth of the universe.

So, lemme go on with my resting and recuperating; it is summer hiberation season after all...

Today's recommended reading: Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke AND the Tao Te Ching.
It's great to finally give myself a chance to read some things of substance that require stilling my body and forgetting the multitask orientation drive.

Capoeira da rua in FW back in February

It occurs to me that I never followed up with information about the "Carnival de Palabras" that Sound Culture (my production org) hosted back in the February month. If you can imagine--and it may be hard, this being July and all--it was a very cold and icy day back on February 18th, the day of the show. I remember packing my car to the gills--hasta que i threw in blankets, pillow, crockpot, and food fixins--just in case I got ice-stuck at the Rose Marine Theater. When I finally left mi casita, I drove like a turtle in an igloo: very slow and very shivery--passing the occasional ice-bound car which had either stalled or gotten into a fender-bender. (That high bridge, just north of the Courthouse, that crosses the Trinity was particularly SKETCHY...) When I safely made it to the Rose Theater, I parked right outside the front doors and threw my beers into the outdoors ice chest--that is, the trunk of the car--and thanked the deities for letting me make it there in one piece. I woulda kissed the ground, except that I was afraid my lips would get stuck there.

Anyway, the photo above was taken by Dallasite Sondra Beamon, freelance artist/photographer/graphic designer (gotta give credit...); it's of Da'Shade Moonbeam playing the berimbau while Enrique C and Da'mon S do a capoeira encounter as footage from a capoeira doc runs in the background.

Oh, those folks--Da'Shade, E, D, Andrea M, and the rest of the performance crew drove in from Austin that very morning. Impressive that they braved the cold and the road conditions to keep their gig commitment. We ended up with a fair number of people in the audience that evening, some driving from Dallas and Plano just to get out of the house and see something different. In the following photo (also taken by Sondra B), a roda (pronounced "hoda") is happening onstage wherein all the capoeiristas form a circle as two people at a time enter it to do a head-to-head. Members of the audience were invited onstage to join the roda and kick up their heels.
Following the performance in the theater, we all commenced to party in the gallery with a reception for artist Solange Mariel and the Austin performers. Poet and girl-of-the-road Oxossi agreed to be body painted by Sondra Beamon--with words of a Brazilian Portuguese poem. It was a fine show, all in all, and I was pleased that everyone there expressed nary a regret about having to drive icy roads to be with us. Ajua!