Wednesday, July 29, 2009

upcoming coming up

Been busy with some educational focuses, grassroots-style. Submitted an app to NALAC (National Association of Latino Arts & Culture) and it was breezy-easy; I'm getting better at this grants application process. This time, decided to propose a project I've been wanting to launch for a coupla years: a spoken word choir--voicestra is how I might've referred to it in my narrative text except for the fact that ole Bobby McFerrin has nabbed the term for the name of his performance ensemble.

Here's the 50-word project summary: "I will direct the Sound Culture Spoken Word C.H.O.I.R., a performance ensemble comprised of emerging writers and underserved (marginalized) youth in Fort Worth. This C.H.O.I.R. (Cultivating Harmony with Our Insightful Rhymes) will perform my original poems--in chorus style, accented by music and digital projections--in showcases throughout Texas."

I am hopeful that this project will receive funding, and I'll certainly need to hustle up other sources of support in this community to really make this happen. I am excited for the possibilities of working with underserved youth again--it's been awhile and I have to say, I do have some skills when it comes to teaching and directing young people.

Wish me luck, write a check, whatever. You'll be hearing more about this from me in the coming months.


The other grassroots education thing I'm working on involves a few other cool women, and we're collectively dubbed "Sisters of the Southside" (thanks Lindsey!). What is up? Well, we're putting together a street-level self-defense without violence workshop for women ages 17 and up. It's titled "Self-Defense, Yo!" and the focus of this workshop is on becoming more conscious of the subtle ways in which our behaviors/body language/clothing/etc. somehow give off an implicit "here i am, come take me" message, as misconstrued by would-be perps and pervs. Women and girls want and need to know how to rebuff and resist in ways that don't involve physical confrontation.

Our first workshop is now scheduled!

1 to 4pm

Ella Mae Shamblee Public Library - Evans Street (just north of E. Rosedale)
Free and open to women 17 years and up

Light refreshments will be offered.
PAIN FREE Society, a fresh design company, will also be in the house.

Save the date - spread the word!!


About tonight's MINDSHARE

Getting to the MINDSHARE was relatively easy by local bus service--basically, you get to the stop when it's due to arrive--but it sure was a pain having to wait for half an hour (probably longer) to catch the #4 home, and I was definitely on the verge of just calling a cab. But the bus finally showed, and I felt this super-endurance bravado, which when I get it, I have an automatic urge to splurge. Like on a call liquor beverage at the Chatroom. But I resisted, and walked straight home, once I disembarked from the bus. And had an ice cold bottled Shock Top in front of the computer. But I do digress...

The MINDSHARE is what I want to tell about. I got there right on time for the scheduled 30 minutes of chewing and chatting, and there was a sizeable finger food spread set up--which was nice. Fruit, tiny sandwiches, tea, and veggies for me. I greeted a few women I recognized in the friendly crowd, including Lucy from La Panorama, Marcy Paul from the YWCA's Racial Justice program, and of course, Hispanic Women's Network of Texas - Fort Worth chapter prez, Christina Elbitar (who also co-owns Chadra's Mezza Grill). The panel discussion got started right on time, with an effusive introduction by Pat Alva-Green, followed by a brief recitation of the "rules" of the session--time limits for panel speakers, dismissal of formal titles in favor of just using the women's first names "since we're like a family."

And then the women got down. The testimonials and commentaries were frank, but still socially appropriate--no mean name-calling or slurring in this setting. The HWNT ladies are too gracious for that. But it did seem that the mostly-female audience counted on ex-mayor pro tem (but still on the FW Council) Kathleen Hicks to bring out the edge in the dialogue, and she did. Thank god for that. Otherwise, it might have been a long, dull presentation. It just takes the presence of one surefire truthteller to up the ante for the others at the table, because that's just what happened. Inspirational and advocacy-oriented, but never adversarial or prissy trite, this first-time MINDSHARE allowed women in power suits to speak their powerful minds--forthrightly and sisterly.


From Kathleeen Hicks (who announced that she will be joining the Board of Trustees for Texas Wesleyan U later this year):

"Sometimes it seems that leaders [in Fort Worth] think there are twenty men who run it all."
"The bathrooms in the pre-council chambers are just for men."

From Mary Lou Martinez, the first Hispanic appointee to the Castleberry ISD Board of Trustees:

"Fort Worth is still very much a 'good ole boy' town."

MINDSHARE, a public dialogue sponsored by HWNT, tonight @ 6pm in FW

[This event has been coordinated by the Hispanic Women's Network of Texas (HWNT)--Fort Worth chapter. Thanks to Layne for the heads-up.]

Fort Worth Chapter Brings Together Councilperson Kathleen Hicks and Honorable Judge Jo Ann Reyes for Panel

Empowering Leaders through Experience

Moderated dialogue led by Dr. Valerie Martinez-Eber, co-author of “Politicas: Latina Public Officials in Texas”

July 29, 2009
Texas Wesleyan University
1201 Wesleyan Street
Fort Worth, Texas 76105-1536
6:00 p.m.

What motivates women to serve their communities?
How does the recent nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor affect our nation? In light of Sotomayor’s historic nomination as the first Latina for the U.S. Supreme Court, they will discuss how this affects women at the local level. We’ve gathered a forum of passionate female role models to break open a dialogue of social issues concerning women today. Our panelists have served or are currently serving as a public official or board member and have agreed to openly share their experience as leaders. Men and women are welcome to join the discussion in a safe, trustworthy environment where we can explore our community, and strengthen our understanding of those that serve us.

The HWNT Mindshare Forum panelists in attendance:
• Mary Lou Martinez, Secretary Board Trustee for Castleberry Independent School District (CISD)
• Honorable Judge Jo Ann Reyes
• Councilperson Kathleen Hicks - District 8
• Dr. Camille Rodriguez, former Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) board member
• Mayor Dorothy Ortiz, Hall of Cool, TX

WHEN: Wednesday July 29, 2009 -- 6:00 PM

WHERE: Texas Wesleyan University – Louella Baker Martin Pavilion, 1112 Wesleyan St. Fort Worth, TX 76105

WHY: “HWNT advocates for the advancement of Latinas in the public, corporate and civic arena. We are truly proud to see a ‘wise Latina’ as a nominee for one of the highest political sectors in the U.S.” said Christina Elbitar, president of HWNT-FW. “Sotomayor is a shining example of the American dream and a role model to younger Latinas.

About HWNT
HWNT is the largest Hispanic-based women's organization in the State of Texas and is recognized as one of the Top 10 Latina organizations in the country by Latino Leaders magazine in 2009. Since 1987, the organization has served the Texas community by sponsoring programs which reflect the group’s vision and impacts the lives of HWNT members. For more information about HWNT and upcoming events, visit

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Metroplex is poppin'

Starting later this evening is a Puerto Rican-flavored cultural event. I'm sure the music is gonna be great!

Saturday, July 25, 2009
Asociacion Boricua de Dallas, Inc.
Cultural Activity

6:30pm - 9pm

Latino Cultural Center
2600 Live Oak @ Good Latimer
Dallas, Texas 75204

Special Performance by: Bomba y Plena by Danza Cultura/Latin Mix


For more info.:


There's an all-day YOUTH-oriented arts fest, with graf writers, mural painters, hiphop mc's, slam poets, and more. All day at the Rose Marine Theater, in the outdoor plaza. Check it out--today, Saturday, July 25th, FREE.

1440 N. Main. St., Fort Worth, TX

Friday, July 24, 2009

July 25th--Dallas--for world premiere of "Crystal City 1969"

Crystal City 1969---Auditions!!!

Preliminary auditions for Crystal City 1969 will take place Saturday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Park Cities Yoga studio (5934 Royal Lane, Suite 252, 75230).

Participants are asked to bring a prepared monologue (2 minutes or less), a head-shot photo, and a performance resume or typed list of experience. No experience necessary to audition. Please arrive dressed to move. No high heels, hard-sole shoes, dresses, skirts or slacks.

Cara Mia Theatre Co. is looking for actors of all ages, from 11-years old and older, to play roles of students, parents, teachers, and general community of south Texas farm town, Crystal City in 1969. Latino, non-Latino, bilingual, English-only, Spanish-only, young, adolescent, old, middle-aged, less-than-middle-aged, short, tall, skinny, gordito/a, moreno/a, guero/a ...


Contact Raul Treviño at (469) 438-0692 or, or contact David Lozano at to sign up for an audition or to inquire about play.

Network ya Artwork - again at the NEW Melody Shop on Race St. in FW

i love this scene: Network yr Artwork @ The NEW Melody Shop

o, i went to the last "Network" and got my ears refreshened. Arlington's Imaginary Friends is awesome. first-time empanada-maker, Neeky D, blew me away with her homestyle foodstuffs. buena gente, young creative crowd that don't refer to themselves as "creatives"....huh?

Let the Music Move Your Soul 3 - Saturday, July 25th - SE Fort Worth

WHERE: Echo Lake Park, Ft. Worth, TX. Take the RIPY STREET exit, off of I-35 W.
Follow signs for Echo Lake Park/Community Center.

WHAT UP: FREE, ALL AGE EVENT. FREE FOOD. 2on2 CommanDOS Battle. 1on1 BBoy/BGirl.
1on1 Popping. CASH PRIZES!

More info here!

Get out there and shake it - open and free to the public - family-friendly.

Let The Music Move Your Soul 3!! JULY 25th 2009!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Queer LiberAction is a Dallas-based, but currently VERY Fort Worth-active, group that is not afraid to be out and outspoken. Kick that kowtow(n) into action, yo!

AND--everyone please save the date (JULY 31st) for the teach-in scheduled to take place in the TCU area. Learn and live. Highly recommended.


From: Queer Liberaction ..
Subject: Queer LiberAction News - Direct Action Gets the Goods
Date: Tuesday, July 21, 2009, 7:48 PM

Direct Action Gets the Goods

Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief and other city officials know very well that stall tactics drive away interest. Ultimately all that is left of important stories such as the harassment and intimidation used at the Rainbow Lounge become whispers in the middle of the night. Moncrief et al knew the city of Fort Worth and the Fort Worth Police Department were wrong and acted under the assumption that GLBT North Texans were going to sit passively by and accept direction from our political betters. Queer LiberAction members stood up and proudly said that violence against our people will never again becomes whispers in the middle of the night.

Mayor Moncrief made an apology after being requested to do so by members of Queer LiberAction. Because he found himself in yet another politically awkward corner, the mayor has subsequently and shamefully rescinded his apology.

The agenda was ultimately restructured so that the issue regarding the raid at the Rainbow Lounge could be heard sooner.

TABC administrator Alan Steen has apologized for his officers committing “clear violations”, the Fort Worth TABC sergeant has resigned and the commission as a whole now seems eager to work openly with the GLBT community.

All this comes after weeks of street protest and agitation, culminating in the finest celebration of our freedom of speech by taking our grievances as an oppressed people to our elected officials. If there hadn’t been so much noise, history could have well repeated itself by allowing our anger to turn into whispers in the middle of the night.

Check out the Dallas Voice article where Queer Liberaction founder, Blake Wilkinson, stands up for the group’s direct action tactics. You can find the article here.

If you haven’t been to QL’s website recently you’ll want to pay a visit. All the photos, video, media links and even a new blog are now up on Queer LiberAction’s site,

Coming Events

Milk box
Saturday, July 25
Houston and 3rd St
Sundance Square – FW
7:00 PM

Queer Liberaction is set to take its Milk Box to Sundance Square in the heart of downtown Fort Worth this coming Saturday, July 25th at 7:00 PM. Topics sure to ring out over QL’s megaphone will primarily focus on the Rainbow Lounge raid and ensuing debacle in the city of Fort Worth but conversation is open to all. Those that were at the Rainbow Lounge raid are expected to speak on the events they witnessed.

Ambassadors and leaders from the Queer community will be setting up Queer Liberaction's Milk box outside of the gayborhood as a way to engage the public in a discussion on GLBT equality. Named in honor of Harvey Milk, our public free speech event is a fun and engaging way which encourages dialog regarding homophobia and the civil rights denied to GLBT people. Join Queer Liberaction as we stand up and speak OUT to our neighbors about how discrimination affects us all.

Ft Worth QL Meeting
Wednesday, July 29
Starbucks at 404 Houston St in FW
7:00 PM

We are very please to introduce Joe Remsik, the new Queer LiberAction Leader of Community Development in Fort Worth. This new position is part of a drive to foster visible, direct action GLBT activism in Fort Worth. We will hold meetings on the first and third Wednesday of each month, with an introductory meeting taking place on July 29th. Meetings will begin at 7:00 in the evening at the Starbucks located at 404 Houston St in Fort Worth.

Joe says that he’s “very excited to help foster the GLBT civil rights movement here in Fort Worth. I look forward to seeing you all on Wednesday, July 29th as we begin to write a new chapter in GLBT history right here in North Texas.”

QL still holds meetings on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month at Buli Café, 3908 Cedar Springs. We will have a meeting this Wednesday, July 22 beginning at 7:00 in the evening.

Queer LiberAction Teach-in
Friday, July 31
Location by TCU – TBA
7:00 PM

One of the major issues regarding the raid at the Rainbow Lounge is how the city and public officials have responded. We in the GLBT community have been angered by many of the statements of Fort Worth Chief of Police Jeff Halstead and Mayor Mike Moncrief, to name a couple offenders.

How is Mayor Moncrief supposed to stand up for our GLBT community if he isn’t even able to utter the words “Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual and Transgender” in public?!? This, on top of Jeff Halstead playing the “gay panic” defense by suggesting that Chad Gibson was sent to the hospital for a week after “groping” an officer is so 1969. There is no room for homophobia in Fort Worth in 2009. A city where a GLBT community proudly stands up for itself and doesn’t tolerate homophobia is the new Fort Worth way!

On Friday, July 31 Queer LiberAction along with Spectrum, the Gay Straight Alliance at SMU, will host a public teach-in regarding homophobia and heterosexism and the consequences of it. Statements from Mayor Mike Moncrief, Chief of Police Jeff Halstead and other city officials will be enlarged and displayed for all to see. Speakers will address the public to illustrate how the LGBT community is upset by many of the remarks made by our public officials.

Witnesses of the Rainbow Lounge raid, religious and political leaders of the LGBT North Texas community will be teachers for a day as they address the damaging effects of homophobia and heterosexism.

Come and give your two cents on how you feel the City of Fort Worth has responded to the Rainbow Lounge raid crisis! This event is a hybrid between a Milk box and public education, in its most literal sense. Come and let your voice be heard and speak OUT against homophobia and heterosexism!

Queer LiberAction

Saturday, July 11, 2009

FDA to get tobacco regulation authority...

[Lori S, who works for the American Cancer Society, sent along the following news several weeks ago, and I forgot to post this then. Thanks, Lori.]

In an historic vote, the U.S. Senate today passed a bill that would grant the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, sale and distribution of tobacco products. Tobacco is virtually the only consumable product that is unregulated, and it is a product that when used as directed kills. One-third of cancer deaths in the U.S. are attributed to tobacco use. Research also shows that 3,500 children pick up their first cigarette each day and 1,000 will become addicted. The American Cancer Society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), have long pushed for this lifesaving legislation, joining more than 1,000 public health and faith-based organizations who support the bill. The House of Representatives has already passed similar legislation. Congress will now reconcile the two bills and send a final version to the President, who has already committed to signing it.

Oh, Banksy, do you have a brother who can live and work in Fort Worth?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Breanna, my niece, is rockin'

I am so proud of and happy for my little niece, that girl who's all of 15--round the corner from 16. She just got her first-ever payroll check today and that is a major milestone for a family member in our tribe.

We've all been pullin for her, all her life, and maybe even before she was born.

Back in late May or so, Grandma saw something in the newspaper about summer jobs for teens, 14 and up, a by-product of the "Obama stimulus package" opportunities abounding right now. Grandma told little B, and right away B's mom took her to library and B filled out her online app. Meeting, orientation, and other bureaucratic processes later--she's got a job through the Tarrant County Workforce Solution's "Youth in the 21st Century" program. At a church, doing a theater project.

Because B had taken advantage of some cool opportunities with the Rose Marine Theater and with her tia Tammy, she had some "theater experience" credentials to add to her job app. So, she got hooked up with a theater production, and we all assumed--B included--that she would be doing lights or some tech assistant tasks. Oh, no. This girl got her a gig performing ONstage, with professional (Jubilee Theatre) performers involved, and together they will be presenting LIVE at the Scott Theatre (!!) in early August. (B did reveal that 100 teens were hired to be involved with this production...)

Apparently, the show title, theme(s), and other details are a big secret to be kept from the public--til the opening night, of course. Which makes me all the more curious and intrigued. B is keeping it cool with the Jubilee folks whom she knows know me; she thinks it best not to drop my name and just earn/learn her way on her own cred (credibility and credentials).

So, with the first paycheck in hand, my little B is a "professional performer" in the 817. I couldn't be prouder and happier for her.

Hey--I'll let you know the performance date(s) and more specifics as I get them myself.