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Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Folks!

Latino Pundit had some nice comments for the new year. Check it out.

Meanwhile....from The Art of Brownsville....


Good luck with those new year resolutions and wishes!

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Pre-New Year Update

Sorry Folks.

I am going to have to delay those snow pictures for a bit. I am aiming to have them up by Sunday. I have been a bit busy and my access to the internet has been limited because I am switching rooms and Roadrunner is being iffy about which cable outlet to use. I am suprised it is allowing me to use the outlet it wasn't installed to right now.

Also very important to note is the current state of the world as South Asia attempts to recover from the disatrous earthquake and tsunami. So many lives have been lost (about 117,000) and a large percentage of those lives were children. If you can, and I really really implore you to do so, donate money to current refief efforts. The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami
, the SEA-EAT blog for short offers news and information about resources, aid, donations and volunteer efforts.

Please, PLEASE donate to this crucial cause.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Post-Christmas/Snow Update


Can you believe it??? After 109 years, it finally snowed in Brownsville....about 1.5 inches as reported yesterday in The Brownsville Herald. And it snowed on Christmas Eve (well it began at 10pm on Dec. 24 and went into the early Christmas morning.) So when I woke up at 6am, everything outside was covered in a blanket of snow. After 109 years, what are the odds that is would snow for Christmas? I could almost say that is was nothing short of a miracle. Especially after one of the hottest summers Brownsville has seen in recorded history. La Canicula pretty much went into early October. So it's kind of sad that the snow is all melted and gone. I added the little snowflakes to this blog in memory of the miraculous event. hehe.

My little nephew will be coming home today or tommorrow. We are making a total rehaul of two bedrooms in my house to make room for him and my sister, so of course everything is in choas. My strategy is transferring choas out of one room and into I am also having to find a home for my cat Leonardo "da Vinci". No one wants to take him in for a few weeks. I love my cat. I adopted him from the Town Lake Animal Shelter in Austin, Texas two years ago and he has been my best companion. But boy does he shed hair and it's not good for the baby's lungs. So as you can assume, I am in a bit of a jiffy...but I am not worrying too much about it...I am sure something will pull through.

So yeah, I will try to have those snow pictures up either Wednesday or Thursday. Our snowman Señor Snow, has been reduced into a pile snow that is still braving the South Texas weather outside. I know that the blog Tortilla Sandwich has some good pictures from Victoria, Texas and they had a good foot of snow up there. Sorry for the delay folks...I really need a digital camera so I can get pictures out faster, so maybe I will give myself that present later on. I hope it will snow again. My sister was not able to witness this event because she was in the hospital recovering from having her baby. So for her sake, I hope it does snow again. She was atleast able to see the last distinguishable remains of Señor Snow yesterday. I will be sure to add his picture too.

Saturday, December 25, 2004



And you can lift up the snow and touch it, hold it in small bunches. This will be my second time to see snow in my life. My first time was in Austin last year at this rare moment at 3am, which was quickly dissolved to a sunny day. But this..with a crew of 3-4 people...I bet we could build a tiny snowman!

I can hear yells of happiness from afar as people play in the snow. I can hear people popping fireworks early in celebration of this snowfall. Across the resaca, I can hear people singing Christmas carols inside their lighted house. The last time Brownsville saw snow was in 1895!!! I love snow! I wish it would snow more often! I hope we get more! I hope it comes next year! I am completely kiddy! I just had some fun with my camera outside...(shhhh...don't tell my mom.) ...

I will post the photos as soon as I can since I got them on film.


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! The best christmas ever!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Floating In Brownsville

About some time ago, I said I would conclude a post I wrote called Brownsville at Large, with a new post called "Getting My Float In Brownsville". I based that post on the Modest Mouse song "The World at Large", trying to make some sort of existential connection to a confusing world that seemed to have lost its essence.

But today a most wonderous event happened, so filled with essence and humble joy, that I feel my heart lifted to the skies. My baby nephew was born this evening. He is beautiful and the best Christmas gift ever! He was supposed to be a January baby, but December 23rd turned out to be the day!

But before he was born, I was so scared. I was scared for my sister. I was scared for him. I was scared for my brother-in-law who was hauling ass from San Antonio in cold weather through high traffic. (He made it just in time to go into the OR.) You see I was to be his replacement if he was not able to make it on time. I was so scared I would faint and not be able to be there for my sister or the baby.

And because I was so scared I was also so angry, for reasons that make no sense to me right now. I am just not a fun person when I am mad, sad or scared. So my brother-in-law did make it on time, and the nurses allowed my parents and I to wait in a small area outside the OR. Our anticipation was climaxing and our prayers intensifying...but then I heard the most wonderful, wonderful noise in the world-- the cries of a baby...and at that moment everything negative was just lifted..he was born. My heart grew ten fold, and all the fear and anger just felt like nonsense.

After that, I felt every good and honest feeling surge through me and I then knew... life didn't have to always make sense because as long as the heart can be lifted as much as I felt mine go, then that would be sense enough. You see, going back to the "Brownsville at Large" post, I was trying to make sense out of things that were supposed to make sense (in view of my expectations) but didn't. So I figured, be happy I just have to reformulate my life strategies, get that full-time job, loose weight, get organized, build good self-esteem...and you know...all that Dr. Phil/Oprah self-help therapy...and then maybe...after all of that...I will finally get my float on in Brownsville.

Yet even though that is all good and I will keep working at those just seemed like nonsense in comparison to the essences of family, love and the rejuvenation of a broken heart. I realized in the most miraculous way that I could be happy without meeting all those goals. To hear his cries see him in person...I felt so alive...and he is not even my child (I can only imagine what is must be like for my sister and brother-in-law.) Unfortunately I missed when my niece was born because I was in Italy, so I didn't know what to expect when my baby nephew was to be born. I mean, I figured I would be happy about it...but I didn't think I would feel such a cornucopia of blessings and joy... that I would feel changed.

As I got in my car, I turned on the radio and lo and behold guess what song was playing??? Modest Mouse's "Float On"...the song I was hoping would be my triumphant anthem as I would get rolling on my self-help goals. I have not met them, but at that moment in my car I realized...I am floating...I AM freaking FLOATING in Brownsville! And I had remembered my earlier post and how I didn't think I would feel my heart so alive until I met those goals...So in honor of my nephew... my family's good news...I am going to post the lyrics to Modest Mouse's "Float On"...whose feel good lyrics I hope he will remember when the world is a bit too at large for him...that essence is indeed over existence! That good news will always come to get your float back on.


Float On
By Modest Mouse

I backed my car into a cop car the other day
Well he just drove off sometimes life's ok
I ran my mouth off a bit too much oh what can i say
Well you just laughed it off it was all ok

And we'll all float on ok
And we'll all float on ok
And we'll all float on ok
And we'll all float on any way well

Well, a fake Jamaican took every last dime with a scam
It was worth it just to learn from sleight-of-hand
Bad news comes don't you worry even when it lands
Good news will work its way to all them plans
We both got fired on the exactly the same day
Well we'll float on good news is on the way

And we'll all float on ok
And we'll all float on ok
And we'll all float on ok
And we'll all float on alright
Already we'll all float on
Now don't worry we'll all float on
Alright already we'll all float on
Alright don't worry we'll all float on

And we'll all float on alright
Already we'll all float on
Aliright don't worry even if things end up a bit to heavy
we'll all float on alright
Already we'll all float on
Alright already we'll all float on
Ok don't worry we'll all float on
Even if things get heavy we'll all float on
Alright already we'll all float on
Don't you worry we'll all float on
All float on

To hear a clip of the song click here.


I hope you are passing it very well and I wish you the best of the holiday season!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Snow in Brownsville???

Could it be that the weather phenomenon we know as snow is headed our way? Will generations of Brownsville residents finally have that opportunity to see snow collect on their car windshields? Excitement and worry is probably runnning rampant in the streets of Brownsville today as people start to prepare themselves for the chilly weather. Some excited at the prospects of seeing snow for the first time in their life and others worrying if they will be able to keep warm. Either, way lets make the best of it. Keep safe (no crazy Brownsville driving on icy streets!), keep warm (if you can and are feeling charitable, take some extra coats and food to a shelter in town) and enjoy what could possibly be a white Christmas.

For coverage on this possible snowfall click here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

More Interesting Online Resources

I am so pepped to be telling you all this, but I have got some more links today concerning the Brownsville film scene, RGV art scene and downtown Brownsville scene (Thanks to some good people who know their stuff!)


The first link goes to this gorgeous website by The Brownsville Border Film Commission at:
This site has by far the best pictures I have seen of Brownsville...really...its almost like looking somewhere else, because you could never believe such beautiful locations can exist here...but that negative mentality has to go...Brownsville really is beautiful.

The second link is to this art website called The Glass Tire at:
This site is dedicated to Texas visual art and supported by many prestigious museums and art organizations from around the state. If you click here, you will see their page dedicated soley to art in Southeast Texas. On this page, you will find announcements for the Guadalupe exhibition at The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center and the Brian Wedgeworth Exhibition at TinSoup.

This link goes to Brownsville Society for Performing Arts's page on The Capitol Theatre Restoration Project.
Pretty much, this page is the word straight from the people who are working to restore the Capitol to be "a jewel in the heart of the city!"


Again, if you know of a good site that should be included on this blog, let me know. I am sure this is just the tip fo the iceberg.

Monday, December 20, 2004

More on Downtown Brownsville Architecture

Elizabeth st. in downtown Brownsville in the mid-20th cent.

It's funny, the things you will find when you google something precisely enough. I was researching the internet for any information concerning the renovation of the El Jardin Hotel in downtown Brownsville, when I found this whole barrage of interesting links, which made me love my town even more. Arriba!

El Jardin Hotel Commentaries: at lower section of page)

Currently, the second largest building in the Brownsville skyline, it is also abandoned and just about left to ruin to bats, teenagers looking for trouble and the weather of time. There are rumors about its eventual renovation running about, but we'll have to wait and see if there’s any promise to them. Back in it's more glorious days, the hotel catered to many prestigious guests like Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindberg.

Capitol Theatre Coverage:

Currently, plans are underway to renovate The Capitol and its adjacent buildings into a large performance hall. The interior of the theatre alone would work as a reception area alone. Of course, money constraints are delaying the actual initiation of the renovation. (Any interested philanthropists out there??) Downtown has a scattering of old theatres that most younger Brownsville generations would not recognize as such today. My mom was telling me the other day that Brownsville had as many as 8-10 theatres before our current Cinemark days. One early memory of mine is when my parents took me to the theatre downtown. I remember running down the aisle up to the screen and my dad having to get me...(I must have been not much younger than a toddler and I want to say it was the Majestic theatre but I am not sure...)

Brownsville Architecture Enthusiasts:
Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts

These folks are at the forefront of the Downtown Brownsville Revitalization. I was even happier to find two more Brownsville blogs!

Brownsville Culture and Life Coverage:

The first link is to an article about Brownsville by local RGV culture and arts magazine The Mesquite Review and the second link is like a Brownsville High School (which saw it last days in the 60's before our current load of 5 high schools) reunion page with tons of pictures and memorabilia.


Also exciting to note is that downtown Brownsville is garnering the attention of filmmakers. Here is a clip of an article that ran in The Herald yesterday about an independent film called "The Souless" that is being shot in Brownsville (one location in particular is at over at the TinSoup art gallery.

Soul Searching
Film Commission welcomes Mexico City native moviemaker.

The Brownsville Herald

December 19, 2004 — Steven Spielberg is not filming a movie in Brownsville, but up and coming filmmaker Cruz Angeles thinks the city makes the perfect backdrop for his new psychological thriller, “The Soulless.”

With more filmmakers frequenting the area, who knows ... maybe one day Brownsville city officials will role out a red carpet of their own.

“I love Brownsville,” 31-year-old Angeles said during an interview on the set of “The Soulless” at Tin Soup Artspace located at 903 East St. Francis St. “It’s interesting. The city has its own character.”

Angeles and his film crew arrived in Brownsville on Dec. 13 and filmed “The Soulless” for two days.

Angeles said Brownsville’s border community lends an authenticity to the film that couldn’t be found in any other location.

“It has a very interesting geography,” he said. “You have access to both sides of the Texas border and a (strong) Mexican heritage influence.”

To finish reading this article click here.


Another film that was recently shot in Brownsville and in Matamoros was Puños Rosas. The film site's picture galley is another good resource for photos of Brownsville, SPI and Matamoros.

So yeah.... unique architecture, a bi-cultural atmosphere, a rich history, future filmmaking mecca and passionate and creative people...things are happening in Brownsville and if you are not here, then you need to come and see...and if you are here but not engaged in this cultural activity, then you need to get involved and have a part in the internal growth of your city.

I feel it is so important that Brownsville residents relocate their attention to Downtown Brownsville. We have something here that so many towns would love to have. About a month ago I went the opening of Market Street in The Woodlands, Texas, which pretty much recreated a downtown center in a 30-yr old city. And here, we have an awesome and unique downtown center with a 200 year history and are pretty much neglecting to invest in its many wonderful opportunities and possibilities. And it's not an issue of money for development really, but more an issue of interest. If you get more people interested and wanting to extract more from a certain location...then the money will come, the money will come.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Tiny Renovations

I spent a good amount of time today making minor alterations to the structure of this website (which most of you won't notice...but they are there...oh yes...they are there...) and I also added some new links.

One link to note is the syndication link I added. For the advanced blog reader, I have an atom XML feed of The Art of Brownsville. I always had one since I opened an account with Blogger (I put yes to everything I could get from this free account), but not until recently did I learn of the magnificent powers of site syndication and of a newsreader!!! :::gasp of awe goes here:::

Another note to make is a special category I added to my links section called Artistas.

I WISH TO FIND THE PERSONAL WEB GALLERIES OF ARTISTS FROM THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY AND TAMAULIPAS...or artists who work in the region, have relation to this region or just find inspiration from this region....or is a fan of the region...if you are an artist and have a place in your heart for The Rio Grande Valley and Tamaulipas....
then The Art of Brownsville wants your link to go on this site....this is free publicity!!! FREE!!! GRATIS!!
No cost upfront other than spreading your name on the internet and helping expand The Art of Brownsville resource. So send those links my way!

So recap:

- TAOB syndicated
- Artist Section...send those artist webgallery links my way!

Have a nice start of la semana de navidad, enjoy the chilly weather, make a sand angel (no snow angels here), good luck with that last minute shopping, kiss someone special under some mistletoe, sing a holiday tune outloud, hang those stockings and buen provecho with all those christmas tamales, buñuelos, empanadas and especially the eggnog!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Today In The Paper

There is an interesting feature in today's Brownsville Herald about how historic sites in downtown Brownsville are being converted into small business locales. It's not available online (I hope sometime in the future the Herald will expand their website to include more of their daily features), but I encourage you to try and pick up a copy and if you are not in the RGV, then at the library. I hope more people will begin to invest in downtown Brownsville as a prime location for business and living. I love downtown Brownsville, and it just may be because I was raised and bred there and still live very close to it.

Talking about historic sites, in downtown Brownsville....demolition on our family's restaurant has begun. I got to see it today and it was a pretty sad sight to see. It's like pieces of a whole life being peeled away. My parent's are going to develop new office space there within a few months.

Well that's all for now. I won't be heading to Central Texas after all, but my baby nephew is on his way sometime soon. I was hoping to take some overdue border goodies to some awesome people in Austin...but alas I am delayed again. Sigh.

Also, big thanks go to folks at Tin Soup for adding a link to The Art of Brownsville! Woo Hoo!

Thanks should also go to
The Daily Texican
El Chisme

Also, if anyone has any suggested links let me know. I am trying to get in the know of all that is culture and art in the Valley so if I am missing out on anything let me know. I really want to buff up this blog as an awesome resource for promotion and commentary on Valley cultural arts.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

This Weekend

I may or may not be heading to San Antonio and Austin this weekend. We would be heading to San Antonio to see my cousin graduate from UTSA and then to San Marcos to shop and Austin to visit (in particular to visit a little restaurant on 45th and Duval called Hyde Park Grill that has the best dessert, Peach Pudding) If I do go, it would be good to visit my old stomping grounds of Austin, Texas. Last time I went was in June but I didn't want to go then. At that point in time, a month away since graduation was not enough time to get school out of my system (I guess it took me about 6 months to get over 5 years of school...yet I still have nightmares about missing an exam, paper, portfolio name it! ). So in June, I took a friend to see a free Abra Moore concert at Shadygrove and it was a good experience and it made him very happy, so in the end, it was worth it. My favorite time of year in Austin is December...I don't must be someting about the mystique of the urban hill country (did I just type that? wow.) during the cold and festive month.

If I go or don't won't hurt. I have more important matters at home and there will always be more Decembers in Austin. The things that really matter in life (like being at the birth of your nephew) come only once in life. I'll take that over 10 servings of peach pudding any day.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The Ugly Side of Economics

I find it rather sad and a bit nerving when a coalition from overwhelmingly prosperous regions of the state of Texas will deliberately lobby to derail the economic opportunities of a less developed region (in this case, the Rio Grande Valley), to protect their own capital interests.

Below is an excerpt of an article from The Herald that will explain.


Brownsville officials worried of coalition’s plans for I-69

The Brownsville Herald

Nov. 30, 2004 — Local officials are concerned that a pro-Interstate 35 group is trying to derail the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor route, which includes a portion of the proposed Interstate 69.

Officials with the River of Trade Corridor Coalition want to reroute the corridor so it is in proximity to the existing I-35, which starts in Laredo and continues through San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and ends at the Canadian border.

“I haven’t studied this coalition, but it’s a concern to me because any organization that is against I-69 is not in the state’s or country’s best interest,” said Brownsville Mayor Eddie Treviño on Monday.

“I-69 is extremely important to the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas. … We’ve been ignored for decades and the fact that we’re the fastest growing region in the country indicates that this is not a wish list, but a necessity,” Treviño said.

To finish reading the article click here.


Within two decades, the population of the Rio Grande Valley will grow by 260% and we are already the fastest growing metropolitan region in The United States; Brownsville alone is home to about 160,000. In the meanwhile, we also have the lowest per capita income rate in the nation, one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation and many people living in third world conditions. With the maquiladora industry taking a strain and many jobs being lost overseas, it is my belief that a tourist industry can lift the economy of this region and I-69 would help stimulate such a market. I-69 would also help further affirmative development, quality of life and support the recognition the Rio Grande Valley deserves on national and state sectors. I know its only an interstate, but that's precisley the case...with a mentality like that, people will see the Valley as a more accessible location..thinking that the interstate will make it an easier destination, thus stimulating our economy. I can only hope that RGV delegates will lobby like hell against the River of Trade Corridor Coalition.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

NMCAC "Guadalupe" Exhibit Mini-Review

This will be a short review of the "Guadalupe" exhibit, currently on display at The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center. The following artists have work in this exhibit, which was also curated by exhibited artists Brian and Aleida Wedgworth.

Douglas Clark: bronze sculptor, Ramon Barela: ceramic sculptor, Aleida Garcia: painter, Rene Z. Garza: photographer, James Hetherington: steel sculptor, Richard Hyslin: photographer, Jessica Salazar-McBride: mixed media sculptor, Elizabeth Puentes: steel sculptor, Paul Valdez: painter, Benjamin Varela: painter, Izel Vargas: painter, and Brian Wedgworth: steel sculptor. 

They were asked to create their own rendition of the Virgen de Guadalupe to celebrate her feast day.  The exhibit runs Dec. 6 through Jan. 22, 2005.


The Virgin Mary, fondly reffered to as La Virgen de Guadalupe by the pious and sinful alike in Mexican catholic communities, was the subject of reverance and reflection for this exhibition. Each piece marked the artist's own rendition of this iconographic and spiritual figure, bringing to their work their individual styles and personal reflections. With 12 artists giving you their own perspective upon such a monumental figure, you can only imagine the number of optional contemplations the audience has when viewing the exhibition. And perhaps, the experience of this ecclectic exhibition can be simple and purely about spiritual and cultural reverance, but I believe the pieces are more complicated underneath their aesthetic surfaces and I encourage you to dig into the contextual make-up of each piece and make your own interpretations.

For example, here are my contextual interpretations of two artists' whose pieces:

Renee Z. Garza: His photographs, I assume, are from a trip he took to Zacatecas, Mexico. He was one of the first artists to exhibit at the center this year and that exhibition was pretty impressive. What I especially like about his work is how he has added a performance aspect to his collection...he may be the first performance artist I have encountered in the Valley...he sells his work from a cart (a la vendedor de elotes o tacos) or from a wooden crate ( a la vendedor de musica pirateria) and sometimes dresses the part as well... So when I see his photographs...I reference them to all his works as a whole body (photography, sculpture and performance) and how it all corresponds to a personal introspection and cultural affirmation and's like artistic anthropology. I think an artist is pretty lucky when one can have such a cohesive and yet diverse body of artwork.

Brian Wedgworth: Freestanding steel sculpture "Lupita"....a beautiful and polished form representing La Virgen...but as soon as I saw the piece I couldn't help but make a direct connection to the form as a representation of "the sacred (the form had a halo) feminine" (think the opposite of phallic...yeah, read The Da Vinci Code or see The Vagina Monologues once and you'll start seeing sexual iconography everywhere as well...). But what I find so interesting about this piece is--- that references to the sacred feminine are usually made to Mary Magdalene and not the Virgin Mary (keyword: virgin...and in the Catholic sense...Mary and sexuality are as far apart as China and Poland). I don't know what Brian Wedgworth may have been trying to emulate with this piece and it really could just be a symbolic form of the the Virgin Mary ( the sculpture's name was Lupita) I just may be going off on a great tangent here.


I wish I could give mini-reviews for each artist, but I have seen Brian's and Renee's artwork about 3 times so I am a bit more confident about my opinions of their work. I have my initial opinions of the other artists...but most of them are technical observations and aesthetic impressions and I want those to simmer a bit more...and I also should be getting to bed, I have to work mañana (that probably being a bigger

Also a quick note of recogniton to The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center...the evening was a success and I have never felt a place so saturated with creative energy and expression. If I could compare the center to anything, it would be sponge...because if it were to be squeezed... the best of the Valley's creative juices can be extracted from there. Yeah, it's a corny analogy but I truly believe that...I'm a believer!!!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

RGV Art Program for HS Students

Ok...more promotion at the last minute...but I figured this information would be helpful to people who would be interested in what the Tercera Cultura program has to offer. This program is largely based on the Fronteras Cruzadas program I did with UT-Austin last spring, but this one has an intensive studio element added. Here is a brief description.


The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center in San Benito will pilot a new visual arts program this January called “Tercera Cultura”, which means “Third Culture” in english. This program was created to achieve the following goals: provide Rio Grande Valley high school art students with an opportunity to participate in an intensive studio art course and to provide meaningful exposure to the Rio Grande Valley art and cultural community. We wish to invite your high school art students to apply to this program.

We believe the Rio Grande Valley’s culture and history is a wellspring of artistic inspiration. However, we feel its rich cultural resources are being neglected in favor of homogenization and commercial growth, not only by outside regions, but also by its own residents. We envision this program would promote awareness about the Rio Grande Valley’s cultural identity, a culture in constant evolution through the dialogue between Mexico and the United States.

The program will run on an eight-week course from January 8th - February 26th and classes will be held each Saturday at the center in San Benito. The program course will include lessons on Rio Grande Valley culture, a photography expedition, special quest speakers and six intensive studios in drawing and painting. The program will culminate into a student art exhibition to be held at the center. Sixteen spots will be available for the program and a special review committee will determine which applicants are offered admission.


For a Tercera Cultura application click here. (word format)

If you know of any RGV high school art student who would be interested pass the word. The only immediate point I want to bring up is...the application deadline is the upcoming TUESDAY, DECEMBER 14th. All applications must arrive at the center by mail or personal handling.

Thanks folks and I would appreciate your support on getting the word out about this program. From what I know, it will be the first of its kind in the Valley. Gracias and if you have any inquiries feel free to email me.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

IMAS Exhibtion

Just got wind of this...which goes to show how out of loop I really am..I should have kept myself informed of this for obvious reasons, but oh well...this is my quick attempt to redeem myself.


The International Museum of Art and Science

The Art of Nicolas Herrera

Dec. 9, 2004 - Feb. 26, 2005

Opening Reception and Gallery Talk
Thursday, December 9, 2004
6pm - 8pm

International Museum of Art and Science
1900 Nolana
McAllen, Texas 78504


The opening reception is this Thursday evening. I have it under good authority that Herrera's art is pretty good.
Also, coming up soon, a mini-review of the "Guadalupe" show at the NMCAC. Keep an eye out for that...I am just letting it all simmer for a bit...but it was a very good night!

A Friendly TAOB Reminder

"El Second Weensdee" Christmas Celebration
& “Guadalupe” Opening Reception

WHO:  Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center
WHAT: "El Second Weensdee" featuring Juan Lugo Y Chuy Villegas,
              “Guadalupe” group art show opening reception
               Christmas Celebration
WHEN: Wednesday December 8, 2004     7:00 PM
WHERE:  225 E. Stenger Street , San Benito , Texas

Click here for more info.


I am excited about this one. This is going to be a great and ecclectic event. I already had a sneak peek at the exhibit, and let me tell is one sweet of an exhibit. You all need to go..there is something for everyone at this event.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Border Censorship

Funny thing happened today during my commute home from work. I was listening to a Mexican radio sation which was playing the Molotov song "Frijolero" be suprised that the song was being censored...the funny thing is... they censored all the spanish cuss words but neglected to censor the english cuss words...I thought it was so cage de risas in the middle of US83.

Here's a vague attempt to describe it. Below are the lyrics to the song. The words that were censored are in bold. Click here to listen a "frijolero" mp3.

Yo ya estoy hasta la madre
de que me pongan sombrero,
escucha entonces cuando digo:
"No me llames frijolero".
Y aunque exista algún respeto,
y no metamos las narices.
Nunca inflamos la moneda,
haciendo guerra a otros países.

Te pagamos con petróleo
o intereses, nuestra deuda.
Mientras tanto no sabemos
quién se queda con la feria.
Aunque nos hagan la fama
de que somos vendedores.
De la droga que sembramos,
ustedes son consumidores.

Don't call me gringo,
You fuckin' beaner.
Stay on your side
of that goddamn river.
Don't call me gringo,
You beaner.

No me digas beaner,
Mr. Puñetero.
Te sacaré un susto
por racista y culero.
No me llames frijolero,
Pinche gringo puñetero.

Now I wish I had a dime
for every single time
I've gotten stared down
for being in the wrong side of town.
And a rich man I'd be
if I had that kind of chips.
Lately I wanna smack the mouths
of these racists.

Podrás imaginarte desde afuera,
ser un Mexicano cruzando la frontera,
pensando en tu familia mientras que pasas,
dejando todo lo que tú conoces atrás.
Si tuvieras tú que esquivar las balas
de unos cuantos gringos rancheros.
¿Les seguirás diciendo: “good for nothing wetback”
si tuvieras tú que empezar de cero?
Now why don't you look down
to where your feet is planted.
That U.S. soil that makes you take shit for granted.
If not for Santa Ana, just to let you know
that where your feet are planted would be Mexico.

So the following spanish words that were censored were: Puñetero, Culero and Pinche....all spanish words too offensive for my ears as decided by Mexican censors, yet immediately followed by references to Fuck, Shit, Gringo and 'Beaner...words I think American censors would not let pass. Yet American radio stations have no problem playing the song "culo" by rap artist Pitbull, where references to a chica's culo is mentioned about 50 times. I am not complaining though...I like both songs...its just funny to realize that one does have a bi-cultural perspective on life. The point of all of on the border has its moments of funny irony. JA!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Texas Texas YeeHaw!!!

I know, I know...I am behind on the times....I just haven't been too in touch with the media since the election...even though I have been informed enough to know that all is going suckfully well.

So yeah, I miss out on sports now and then....but it's great news to me to know that the Texas Longhorns are going to be at the Rose Bowl. They will be playing against the Michigan Wolverines.

This will be The University of Texas's first BCS bowl appearance at the 91st Rose Bowl Game. So a big Yee Haw is owed my team! Go Horns!


Tin Soup/Brian Wedgeworth Exhibition Review

Just a quick review.

Right now, in our very own backyead, we have an awesome Gallery...I mean awesome gallery with the folks over at the TinSoup gallery. I am really impressed with what they have done with their space over on St. Francis (and if you folks may not know where it is located, go to downtown Brownsville and go south on St. Charles towards the Virgin Mary Tree or Valley Transit Bus Station, when you reach the intersection with the virgin mary tree house at the corner (10th st I believe), make a right and it will be on your immediate right when you reach St. Francis. It's also the only red warehouse building...(that is how I found it)....

And no, I am not being generous with my praises. Their gallery is impressive, has been recently expanded and has the makings of any upstart urban gallery you can find in Austin or San Antonio, and that makes this blogger's heart beam with art school nostalgia, aesthetic content and Brownsville pride.

The Brian Wedgeworth show was the first opening I had attended at TinSoup and I was even more outstanded by the quality of his work. You see, I took two friends with me, whom had never attended a gallery opening before or know much about art in the "art world" like many people when affronted with minimalist art, they say something like "I can do that"...let me tell you...welding and minimalist style....hardly anything to do with easy...HARDLY....because when it comes to handling welding and heavy main objective is to make a PERFECT and I mean perfect seam so that nothing will detract from the form of the object (like distracting textures, misproportions and a blotchy technique...and I can say, that Brian Wedgeworth's technique was nothing of the such...they were marvelous pieces...from small mounted pieces to large, free standing sculptures...his work is monumental and heart-felt. My favorite piece "Amoured Heart"... was this awesome steel heart with gun barrels for arteries...heck yeah that is cool! Don't we all wish we could have amoured hearts at many points in our lives?

TinSoup also had some pieces from their pasts shows, like work by Hector Aristo (whose painting technique is impecible, go take a look at the detail on "El Angel del Aborto" which he painted on a mannequin) and Cande Aquilar (whose abstract expressionistic collages/paintings always show me something new, like his piece "Matasville", which I had seen before at the NMCAC) and Arturo Figueroa (whose suitcase photobooth installation is very clever and was finally awesome to see after hearing good things about many times does one get to see installation art in Brownsville?)

So yeah, that's my sorta mini-review. I only have good things to say about Tin Soup and Brian Wedgeworth. The only thing I could request is to get women artists represented in future shows...let's get women artists more representation and recognition in general! Here is some perspective on the issue. Gotta love those Guerrilla Girls..

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Season Wishes

It's that time of year again, when we pinch the penny for gifts for our loved ones and secretly hope they may be doing the same. (But that's not what the meaning of Christmas is, right?) Yesterday, my mom and I went shopping and it got me thinking to what I could when you used to write out a list when you were a kid and stuff into your empty stocking. So in the spirit of the season I have put up The Art of Brownsville Christmas Wish List. I have put the list in order of three succesive levels, the last one having the most realistic chance of being met.

Level One: When Pigs Fly In A Frozen Hell
- a G5 Apple Desktop Computer
- an iPod
- a ZIP Drive
- a digital camera
- a car CD Player
- a scanner
- A round-trip to Italy (for this one, the pigs would have to fly in pattern)

Level Two: Maybe Next Year
- a Painting Easel
- a Drawing Table
- Car Fixes: a tune-up, wheel alignment and new brake pads
- Radio Antenna fixed on car
- Full-day Spa Treatment

Level Three: Keep Your Fingers Crossed
- Earrings
- An illustrated version of The Da Vinci Code
- Gift cards (Lerner's, Target,, Hobby Lobby)
- Audio Books
- Cinemark Movie Dollars
- Office Supplies (more like office furnitire like a filing cabinet, bookcase, closet doors)
- A Briefcase (with room for a PowerBook would be cool too)
- A Christmas Card
- SHOE oriented stuff
- A silver star of david necklace
- To trip to Austin & San Antonio (which may be met, but it's in the works, but as soon as I get there this is what I am doing FOR SURE....see my cousin graduate from UTSA, go to Trail of Lights at Zilker Park and eat at Hyde Park Grill)

Yup, yup. That's it folks. My hopes are pretty much limited to Level Three. I think I have a good chance with earrings and the whole trip thing would probably be a gift my mom and I give ourselves, but we have to see if the mullah holds out.

You know, I understand that everyone is pinching the penny right now...I mean really pinching the penny. I am down to un centavo, that's how much I have to pinch. I don't expect great gifts for Christmas ...I am doing fine right now without them and I will do fine without them later and I would be quite content with just a card, a hug and quality family time. And personally, what I am actually looking forward to is for the new year to come in so I can help welcome my new nephew into the family. That is going to be the greatest gift the new year will bring to my family and I look forward to that day with great anticipation!

And from you my fellow blog readers, I only ask that you support the arts a little more...even it's donating to an arts org, attending a gallery opening (most which are free) or buying tickets to a show, just go out there and invest some money or time into the cultural arts.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Friendly TAOB Reminder

Two art events are happening this evening:

Brian Wedgeworth Art Exhibiton Opening at the TinSoup Gallery in Brownsville.

They also recently expanded their space so it will be exciting to see!

McAllen ArtWalk
This show is actually held every first Friday and not Wednesday. No wonder the Art House gallery was closed when I went Wednesday night....yup... doh!

From whatever edge of the valley you are have an art event happening and distance cannot be an excuse for not going...Art is awesome! Support the arts!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Crazy New Development!

this is an audio post - click to play

Audioblogger is so cool. I was just browsing through the blogger website, when lo and behold, I find out I can do this for free! How cool is that? Now I can can call in and descibe cool stuff. You see, one of the projects I have in mind is for this blog is photodocumenting and commenting on the Rio Grande Valley graffitti scene. Now that I pretty much commute everyday between Brownsville, San Benito and McAllen, I have seen a lot of awesome graffitti and I want to get my hands on a digital camera so that I can record my sightings. With this audioblogger, if I happen to come upon something cool, graffitti or art wise, or whatever wise, I can just call it in and you can know be in the know about the Valley and also listen to my super-accelerated pocha Valley accent. Yes, I am a big dork but I am excited about this! Won't you be too??? Ser Naco es Chido! YAY!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Backword Is At It Again!

The Backword online magazine is at it again and so is The Art of Brownsville's friend Frank Diaz. A written piece by him called "Everything Here Is Always Love/Hate" was published online by the great folks at The Backword. It's about Brownsville and here is a small excerpt of the article.

I feel as if I've been in some strange purgatory for the last five months. My job is great in some respects, but sometimes I can't help feeling like I've stayed in the Valley way too long. This is despite the irony that I'm writing a column on The BackWord in support of border culture. But this is always the way here. Everything is love and hate.

The bipolar mantra of the collective subconscious of all the college people in the Valley is ever so humble… “Fuck this place!” Even the ones who knew they could leave but didn't. And the ones who left and then returned, the same ones who were biding their time here planning their escape. This is their mantra, too. Why is this so? Allow me to explain. ....

To read the rest of Frank's explanation click here.

Frank, TAOB is proud of you! Keep up the good work! Also take the time to visit The Backword website...they are truly awesome people representing "el otro lado de Tejas".

NMCAC December Event

For Immediate Release:
November 29, 2004
"El Second Weensdee" Christmas Celebration
& “Guadalupe” Opening Reception
WHO:  Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center
WHAT: "El Second Weensdee" featuring Juan Lugo Y Chuy Villegas,
              “Guadalupe” group art show opening reception
               Christmas Celebration
WHEN: Wednesday December 8, 2004     7:00 PM
WHERE:  225 E. Stenger Street , San Benito , Texas
NMCAC will close the year with the established “El Second Weensdee” featuring the center’s accordion instructor, Juan Lugo.   A native of Zinaloa , Mexico , Mr. Lugo moved to the United States in the 1970’s and toured the entire Southwest region.   He began his musical career at the age of 13 with his family’s group “Los Lobos del Norte.” Versatile with instruments and styles, Mr. Lugo plays the accordion, guitar and bajo sexto.   He is known for his teaching ability and his ease in performing all styles of regional Mexican music, including Conjunto, Tejano, and Norteño.   Mr. Lugo has resided in the Rio Grande Valley for eleven years and has taught accordion lessons at NMCAC for two years.  
Mr. Lugo will be accompanied by bajo sexto player Jesus “Chuy” Castillo of Brownsville.   Mr. Castillo is also a conjunto music veteran who performed with Narciso Martinez.   Following in the northern Mexico “tambora de rancho” tradition, this ensemble will be accompanied by Alberto “Beto” Gallegos of Matamoros who will complete the trio with drums and vocals.
NMCAC accordion students will also have a brief recital.
“Guadalupe” is a themed group exhibit featuring the works of 15 South Texas artists.   They are Douglas Clark: bronze sculptor, Ramon Barela: ceramic sculptor, Aleida Garcia: painter, Rene Z. Garza: photographer, James Hetherington: steel sculptor, Richard Hyslin: photographer, Jessica Salazar-McBride: mixed media sculptor, Elizabeth Puentes: steel sculptor, Paul Valdez: painter, Benjamin Varela: painter, Izel Vargas: painter, and Brian Wedgworth: steel sculptor.  They were asked to create their own rendition of the Virgen de Guadalupe to celebrate her feast day.     The exhibit runs Dec. 6 through Jan. 22,   2005 .   Our Gallery Hours are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 10:00 am to2:00 pm, and by appointment.    

The opening reception for the Guadalupe art exhibition will begin at 7:00 pm and will include a Christmas celebration with music, food and traditional matachin dancers.   Admission is $3.00.   


Cristina Balli
Director of Programming & Development
Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center
P.O. Box 471
225 Stenger Street
San Benito, Texas 78586
(956) 361-0110

McAllen Art Walk

I will be attending this event called ART WALK tommorrow in McAllen. It's similar to First Saturdays and First Thursdays in Austin, but this would be more like First Wednesday. These events are kind of like when a district or association of venues will join forces once a month and have special openings, sales, events and activties to attract people...kind of like a big carnival..but instead of the ferris wheel and a hotdog vendor, you have art galleries, centers, craft booths and museums. I will update you all on how it goes. I know one of my work colleagues (yes, I have a McAllen and it's been going great! ) will be showing and he actually designed the flyer below for the event. Pretty cool huh? I am kinda excited about going, it's will bring back many memories from art school...going to the First Thursdays and Saturdays with my art school friends...the good times how I miss them, but hopefully I will be making some new ones as well.

Art Walk December 2004, artist Carl Vestweber

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Happy First Anniversary!

Today, November 30th marks the first anniversary of The Art of Brownsville. Maybe it's not a big deal but this is a pretty big feat accomplished. I have managed to keep this journal going for a whole year! I usually have no patience for writing or journaling, yet somehow this one has surpassed the fate of my past and failed diaries, journals and weblogs.

Your feedback has probably been my favorite part about blogging and just knowing that in a little way I have helped inform people about the valley, art and just random topics that are good to know is very saticfying. Here are some of the posts that I would like to recognize.

Graffitti in Brownsville, a frequent hit from search engine results
I've had a lot of people from Italy take a look at this post. Seems like I am not the only one who sees an uncanny resemblence between La Chupacabra and the Disney cartoon Stich.
This post about CineSol has been linked from a few film websites, cool huh?
My busiest post. Politics sure makes people want to speak their mind, which is very good thing!
My favorite reflection by far

Your support has also been inmeasurable, especially with the post about my family's restaurant closing. Thanks for a great year folks and I hope I can keep this up and make The Art of Brownsville a better blog this year. Thanks again!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

O' Christmas Tree, O' Christmas Tree

Yes, that jolly time of the year is here! It's been unofficial since Halloween (you know because Sunrise Mall had put up the Christmas lights even before Halloween and your neighbors are already compeiting for who has the most lights and inflatable characters installed outside their house). But as of the day after Thanksgiving, it's official and people won't look at you funny if you are humming Jingle Bell Rock while you wait in the check-out line at Wal-mart (heck, I do it in July)....oh wait, they will look at you funny anyways?.....

My mom and I went to purchase our Christmas tree yesterday afternoon and these were our top concerns...economy, economy, economy...this year we wouln't be able to to go those fancy black tents with $60 and up trees with fake we ended up getting a nice deal at Wal-Mart for $19...not bad huh? Sure it's a sheds needles and it is a bit skinny (I told my mom we could live by its example this holiday season and skip out on overeating buñuelos and tamales), but it's tall and green and is now happily situated at our living room window for all our neighborhood to bask in its glory. The only thing that we need now is to decorate it...but it's working magically as a room air freshner. I came home late last night from a late show at Movies 16 to a fresh forest scent and nostalgia and reality hit me fast, it's really Christmas already.

We also need to decorate our house outside so that is something I will probably end up doing..because somehow who ever mows the lawn also puts up the Christmas lights. Since our top concern will probably be economy again, I think I will just put up the icicle lights around the perimeter of the front of the house and blow up our inflatable dog, for my 2 yr old niece to look forward to looking at everytime she comes to visit. We usually put up lights on the ebony, shrubs and around the palm tree..but economy, economy is the key factor and I am sure the energy company will only be more than suffice with their charges as they were this past summer.

I know I sound rather pessimistic, but I actually do like Christmas..but what really brings Christmas down is the commercialization of it all..and if you want to partake in Christmas events, you have to cough up the even Christmas events are commercialized. Want to see the nutcracker??? cough it up. Want to see Messiash??? cough it up. Want to see Santa Claus??? cough it up. However, I do know that the lights are up at Washington Park and that is a wonderful thing you know! It's one of the few things to do in Brownsville that is not commercial based and some of my best memories are when my parents used to take my sister and I there as children. Back then, the park seemed like a huge wonderland of sorts and I remember there used to be tons fo families, just walking around enjoying the lights. Local estudiantinas and bands would come and perform at the bandstand for those lucky enough to catch the show...and guess what..the show didn't cost a dime. Sometimes, they would turn the sprinkers on at night, and it would only add to the show as the water would drizzle in color down to the ground. Now, for the most part the park is rather abadoned only with a scatter of families. I have yet to see the fountain working in years, which is okay on some terms because as I kid I used to love running around the inside of the huge fountain...I did a few months ago anyways with my niece. ;)

So Christmas is officially here. I say, celebrate as genuinely as you can. Hum a Christmas tune while you wait at the check-out line, take a house lighting tour in your own car with the kids in the back, go the Christmas parade held downtown, bake some cookies, take a walk at the park and take some cans of food to a local shelter. Oh yeah, and go shopping too, but all in good fun and spirit. :) Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

A Night Out in Brownsville

So my friend Lizard is in town from Austin for Turkey Day, (HAPPY TURKEY DAY YA'LL!) so we decided to meet for a drink. We first tried Cobblehead's but we left after we found that they charged a $2 cover, so nope we were still poor and still wanting a drink, so we left. Lizard was like "Just take me wherever you want, you are the native..." (Lizard is from Brownsville folks, she's just at college in Austin)...and even though I have been here for 6 months, sometimes I still feel like a stranger because I haven't done much due to financial and social constraints. I really don't know much about what's hip in Brownsville, other than clubbing and bar hopping at the few social joints we have, which I think pretty much consists all of what is hip in Brownsville. How about the coffee shops?? Hmm, coffee shops closed...(sigh)....So we tried C&C Wildwings but it looked packed and all we wanted to do was chill, have a drink and catch up.

After much deliberation we ended up at Jokers, where neither one of us had been to before. There we found the LOUDEST band in the world. They had a good sound, just that is was LOUD. One couldn't even talk without screaming directly into one's ear drum...and no, at 21 and 23, I don't think we are old gals just yet...but if the sound was a bit lower...I could honestly say that I might have enjoyed the music better and maybe have understood the lyrics. The drummer reminded me of someone I had a crush on in college and the lead singer was wearing a little tie...I mean was kinda cute. They had a sort of a Café Tacuba-ish look but their music style was a bit more punk and metal - they were interesting to just look at. And yes, we finally got our drinks even though that took long and Lizard did not get what she wanted...they only had Zimas, beer and the we both had two good in tummy and healthier too!

After a few songs, that loud punk band was replaced by a rap group...does that sound right? rap group?? rappers?..I don't know if that is the correct terminology...but it was a group of 3 guys and they are rapping and quasi-singing...they also had a DJ so maybe it is fair to say a 4 guy group...rap band? hip-hop group? Lizard and I were suprised...neither one of us had ever seen a rap group perform live and we kind of thought they were going to do a comdey skit or musical spoof. Okay now that I recall I once saw Run-DMC at Louie's Backyard during Spring Break like 4 years ago...oh yeah once at a college talent show....okay I have seen rappers performed...diss the whole I have never seen rappers perform live. So the three guys performed pretty well. They were still a bit loud, so now we assumed the loudness was a matter of the audio set-up at Jokers. There was the "nerdy" rapper (who Lizard had her eyes on)...the "guy who wants to grab his crotch but won't but you know he wants to" rapper and the "psuedo-metrosexual" rapper...yup they did okay. :)

So it was a simple night out...and despite an audio incovenience it was good to see some live music and just chill.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Art Exhibition Opening

New Exhibition Opening in Brownsville! I have heard great things about Brian Wedgeworth but have never seen his art, so I am looking forward to catching this show. I suggest you all do the same! :)


tinSoupArtspace cordially invites you
to the opening of "Recent Works," by Brian Wedgeworth
Friday, December 3rd from 7pm - 10pm.

Brian Wedgworth will be displaying his metal sculptures throughout
Galleries A,B, and C. / tinSoupArtspace
903 E. St. Francis
Brownsville | Tx. 78520
Ph: 956-574-0888
Cl: 956-466-5217

Visit the tinSoupArtspace website at

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Robinhood of the Rio Grande

In today's paper, an interesting commentary was published about Juan Cortina.

November 21, 2004

Juan Cortina seen as hero


In celebration of Chicano history, here is a story of a great hero from the past. He was a valiant soldier and fearless warrior. He came to the scene before Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa.

Sadly, he was not seen as a hero by some. Especially the English-speaking media, the Texas Rangers and most of the sons and daughters of the Mayflower illegal alien family immigrants. They saw him as a scoundrel and a bandit. But to us locals, he was a true hero. He was a freedom fighter. Always fighting for social justice for our people.

Like many of us, he came from the great Empire of the Aztecas and the Mayas. He was well recognized for his blue eyes and bright red hair. In fact, when the sun’s rays touched his hair his head appeared to be on fire.

He was fast with the gun. He was also an expert marksman with his 30-30 rifle. He was a peace-loving, nonviolent individual until the oppressors and occupiers came. These thieves and war criminals were the scum of the earth. They killed innocent men, women and children. They stole their land, cattle and horses and destroyed their homes. Our people had no protection from the law. This is when our hero decided to fight back.

But to understand the actions of our hero you have to appreciate his cultural values, his mores and his past. As a child, he was raised to respect the dignity and integrity of all. No matter the race, color or how poor the individual was. He was also taught to stand his ground and to protect his self-respect.

“When you become a man never allow anyone to treat you like a boy.” he was told. He was always encouraged to question authority, fight unjust laws, unjust wars and injustice. Even at the expense of being labeled un-American, unpatriotic or a bandit.

Our hero was a very young man when he, his family and a few other friends survived the Great Massacre of 1846-1848. Of course, the English-speaking historians called it the Mexican-American War. Our people described it as an abomination, a purely violent act of criminal carnage.

During this dark time in our history, a young U.S. congressman was yelling at the top of his lungs at President Polk, demanding to know why Polk was having our people murdered, maimed and slaughtered.

“Why are you killing these innocent God-fearing people? They are not soldiers. They are mainly farmers,” he asked.

Of course, our people knew the answer. It was because of the inhumane policy called manifest destiny. Polk wanted our land, natural resources — iron ore, oil, gas, silver and gold — at any cost. The congressman’s name was Abraham Lincoln.

Similarly, in New Orleans a very famous American writer was jailed for failure to pay taxes. He vowed to Polk and his regime that he would not allow his tax dollars to be used for killing innocent victims in South Texas.

“I’d rather stay in jail,” he stated. The writer’s name was Ralph Waldo Emerson.

At the same time, a well-known U.S general described the massacre as a gigantic human horror.

“I should have resigned from the military. But I lacked the moral courage.” His name was General Ulysses S. Grant.

“The savagery, debauchery, the killing of innocent people made me feel ashamed to be a human being,” writes a reporter for a New England newspaper when he was describing the Great Massacre of 1846-1848. He went on to say, “I witnessed a killing field, dead people everywhere. Their limbs were cut out, including their nose, ears and tongues. Among the dead, I saw the body of a beautiful young girl with long shiny black hair. She was about 18 years old. I was surprised to see that her limbs were not cut. She did not have a single bullet wound in her body. Yet she was dead. She had a wooden stake driven through her heart. She was apparently alive when this atrocious act was committed,” he claimed.

As late as the 1960s, a U.S. presidential candidate told his colleagues in the U.S. Congress, “The 1846-1848 dreadful event was not a war, it was a human massacre.” His name was Robert F. Kennedy.

At one point, the Europeans brought in General Robert E. Lee, a well-respected soldier, to kill our leader. But when he realized the military might and prowess of our hero, he refused to engage him in battle. He also learned that our hero had defeated the French, the Confederates, the Union soldiers, the Texas Rangers, and the racist robber barons in various battles.

Such was the horrid past of our beloved hero. He was our king, a prophet, a true hero to our people. His name was General Juan Nepomesemo Cortina.

Viva la Raza.

Juan J. Martinez
Via the Internet


It is such a sad event when our current written history hardly does any justice to the actual reality of what happened. I am not one to throw myself at wind to one person's passioned commentary, but I have done my homework and I know and am fully aware that current history as it is taught and portrayed is incredibly biased and I agree with Mr. Martinez by saying that Juan Cortina gets a bad rap that he may not deserve (I have to do more reseach before I make a definite opinion on that). Instead we get Chuck Norris and anti-commie karate chop moves.

What makes me even more sad is the memories that this article brings me: I remember being in the 3rd grade telling my teacher that President Polk was my favorite president. "Why so?", she would ask. "Because he is the president that made sure that Texas became part of the US and not of Mexico"..I mean at that age I found pride in that and I know it was because I didn't get the whole picture...I mean I can even recall looking forward to learning about Manifest Destiny because it meant more land for the US...but the reality of the event was that Manifest Destiny came at the price of many innocent lives and with the help of many uncivilized atrocities (by a civilization that belived itself to be the superior). It's very unnerving! History needs to be retold!

Any thoughts on this?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Brownsville At Large

A Babble-Rant Reflection: Part One / Brownsville At Large

The soundtrack of my life these days includes this awesome band I recently learned about called Modest Mouse. Their music is so awesome and f-ing brilliant...I mean it just fills that existential void inside that we all sometimes carry...somedays the void is an overwhelming blackhole and other days it's as tiny as the head of a pin needle. Most of the time it's just there, hiding behind our ambitions in pursuit of meaning and happiness, keeping us a little uneasy and little insecure. That's how life goes I suppose, but I may be too young to say. (You see, existential void right there, making me say that!) lol. When I started to really pay attention to their songs and lyrics, it felt like when you call out "Is anyone out there?!" from the top of a huge canyon, but this time the echo is not a repetition of your own voice, but an answer...even if it just someone yeah, I am psyched because I haven't felt this way for new music in a long while.

Here are the lyrics to their song "The World at Large". It really speaks to me so I want to share it with you all.

Ice-age heat wave, can't complain.
If the world's at large, why should I remain?
Walked away to another plan.
Gonna find another place, maybe one I can stand.
I move on to another day,
to a whole new town with a whole new way.
Went to the porch to have a thought.
Got to the door and again, I couldn't stop.
You don't know where and you don't know when.
But you still got your words and you got your friends.
Walk along to another day.
Work a little harder, work another way.

Well uh-uh baby I ain't got no plan.
We'll float on maybe would you understand?
Gonna float on maybe would you understand?
Well float on maybe would you understand?

The days get shorter and the nights get cold.
I like the autumn but this place is getting old.
I pack up my belongings and I head for the coast.
It might not be a lot but I feel like I'm making the most.
The days get longer and the nights smell green.
I guess it's not surprising but it's spring and I should leave.

I like songs about drifters - books about the same.
They both seem to make me feel a little less insane.
Walked on off to another spot.
I still haven't gotten anywhere that I want.
Did I want love? Did I need to know?
Why does it always feel like I'm caught in an undertow?

The moths beat themselves to death against the lights.
Adding their breeze to the summer nights.
Outside, water like air was great.
I didn't know what I had that day.
Walk a little farther to another plan.
You said that you did, but you didn't understand.

I know that starting over is not what life's about.
But my thoughts were so loud I couldn't hear my mouth.
My thoughts were so loud I couldn't hear my mouth.
My thoughts were so loud.


If you all want to hear a clip of the song or buy it click here.

It has been 6 months since my return to Brownsville. At times, it is so good and sometimes it is (as in I, but 3rd person is much funner isn't it?) has to fight with two wills inside...the will to stay and really make a contribution, to learn as much as possible about what you didn't understand as a teenager, what one didn't see, making new and innovative things happen, appreciating the things that were already happening...and then there is the will to leave and take from someone else's contributions somewhere else, because you don't want to deal with reasons you left just want to travel, meet new people, see new things, do new things...not having to convince anyone or fighting for a better this or that, because it's already there...I know, it's all very bipolar...but I am assuming how I feel at times has nothing to with the actual disease and more with a transition in life...which is turning out to be a very interesting one.

It is an interesting time for Generation Y..(my generation 1978-1988)...before social chaos, a crumbling economy and what seems like a crumbling world filled with terror and hate became a very real reality...we had an open world before us...we were supposed to be the new yuppies in a sense, but more hopeful, progressive and altruistic to some point... But now our opportunity tank has shrunk and many of us end up with wonderful potential but many closed doors. But in a way, this also makes us have to be more innovative and push our potential and skills...perhaps there is hope for Generation Y..but for now it's something not as accessible...many of us are surviving by the edge of our skins...but perhaps it's the thickest skin in the world, because there are millions out there who have it worse. So like Modest Mouse says, " Ice-age heat wave, can't complain. If the world's at large, why should I remain? Walked away to another plan. Gonna find another place, maybe one I can stand."

So in quoting that, am I talking about Brownsville? Do I want to leave? I don't think so (atleast for now) I like to think Brownsville will always be home, but you have to leave atleast for 6 weeks, and get new perspective. It is easy to get caught up in a bubble mentality...but this goes for anywhere and not just Brownsville...even Manhattan (which would be a bigger bubble, but a bubble none the less) in knowing this...there is hope and there is potential..because life can change and one can change, people can change and places can change. Change is the only constant and the greatest contributor to the human why complain? Just deal.

So yeah....I don't know what I am Modest Mouse says "My thoughts are so loud I couldn't hear my mouth". So I'll just babble-rant until something makes sense. It's all okay.

New Post Coming Soon: (I need some time, Part 2 will be a doozy!)
A Babble-Rant Reflection: Part Two / Getting My Float On In Brownsville

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Brown Bag Lecture Series

Here is something way cool going on at The Brownsville Museum of Fine Art this Friday:

Brown Bag Lecture Series Presents:
Glass Artist - LIZ ORMES
Demonstrating Flame Working
Nov. 19th, 11:30am - 1:00pm
Dessert and Coffee provided.
Free to the public.
RSVP by calling (956) 542-0941

Another cool thing to for artists to keep in mind:
The BMFA 34th Adult International Art Show Competition
It is coming up pretty soon, for more details click here.
There will also be a student international art show held almost immediately after the adult show so that would also be a great opportunity for young striving artists.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Quickie Update!

Hi Folks!
Sorry it has been a while. I got a bit busy last week and then I took a weekend trip to Houston. I went to one of my fave museums, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and got to see some old friends, human and artworks. ;o). I began to tell you all about it...but then I lost my post and didn't have time to start all over again. I will make a point to do soon. I have to go now again...I have so much to do and my email box is exploding and acting kooky so I have to work on that as well. For now, please enjoy some of my fave links. Ta Ta for now...I'll be back soon!

Arts Journal A very cool site I wish I had the time to model this site after
International Museum of Art and Science Awesome museum, need to add to my links list...THEY HAD CHIHULY!
South Texas Ghost Hunters Yeah! Like ghostbusters, but not really. Look at this site at creepy moments late at night.
Keep your eyes open in Austin!
Valentina Giovagnini Good music from Italy! ITunes calls is easy listening...I call it a fusion of the renaissance and electronica...very cool.
The Cult of Mac Which I am an enthusiastic member of...::shifty eyes::

Ok folks gotta go now for reals!
Hasta Luego!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

November 11th: Veteran's Day

As an early note, The Art of Brownsville would like to give a huge note of recognition and gratitude to all our American veterans and all of our soldiers serving our country abroad and in our nation. A huge note of gratitude should also go to who serve in the Freedom Corps.

You are all working against social plights in our nation and around the world. You have fought and many have died so that we may live better lives and that will always warrant more appreciation than we could give. Thank You and God Bless.

PS: The Vietnam Memorial Wall will be unveiled today at the UTB ITEC Campus (formerly Amigoland Mall). In honor of our veterans I suggest that you visit this monumental installation.

November NMCAC Events

Wednesday November 10th
7 pm
"El Second Weensdee"
Oral history on conjunto music featuring accordanist Joe Vela and vocalist Chacha Jimenez.
$3 Donation

Saturday, November 13th
7 pm
Frontera History Series
Lecture by Dr. Ana Carolina Castillo Crim book reading and book signing of "De Leon: A Tejano Family History"
free admission

Wednesday, November 17th
7:30 pm
Los Murales de San Anto
Presentation by founders and staff at the San Anto Cultural Arts Center of San Antonio
$2 Donation

Friday, November 19th
8 pm
Chicano Poetry Jam
Featuring poets Daniel Garcia Ordaz, Amado Balderas, Lady Mariposa, Rosa and Joe Perez and writers of the NMCAC writer's forum
free admission


Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center
225 E. Stenger Street
San Benito, Texas
(956) 361-0110

Friday, November 05, 2004

Election Reflection #2

I don't have much to say about the election as of now, because to some point I am just a bit disillusioned and don't know what to say about anything....I have my opinions but I will let them stew until I am ready to give a good statement. Trust me on that. Maybe within the next week or so...

But my good friend Angela has made a good statement about the election and it really is an insightful analysis on her part. So I want to share it with you all and she was so good to allow me to do so. Angela is a Texan but just moved to the to New York City about a month ago to try and make her calling in the fields of art and animation.

So here goes Angela:

The country is now dealing with Bush's re-election. Republicans are happy, while democrats are scratching their heads trying to figure out what went wrong.

I am saddened that he is once again our commander-in-chief. However, I started wondering what about the man made him appealing to Americans. If you look at a map of electoral college votes, the mid-west and the south supported Bush, while the East and West coasts did not. Why is that? I have several theories.

May I present...

Angela's reasons for why Bush won

1) Republicans and democrats were arguing different things.

Republicans were more war on terror focused, and democrats were more issues focused. But the republicans were able to convince most people that it was the war on terror that was the REAL issue of the election.

2) With this framework in mind, Bush was able to convince (most) people that he is the only person who could protect the country from terrorists.

People are understandably concerned that America may be attacked again and well aware that many countries hate us. Bush used this to his advantage. As stated earlier, he made the war on terror the main issue. He successfully convinced America that only he- the man who got us into two wars in the first place, is the person who can help change the world. This is interesting considering that:

a) we went into Iraq on false pretenses
b) Osama Bin Laden is still making video tapes
c) Bush has never been to war
d) The state that suffered the most from the terrorists (my state) overwhelmingly DID NOT support the man, nor did many of the firefighter's unions
e) we have no exit strategy for getting out of Iraq or Afghanistan, and in fact, a good chunk of money designated for Afghanistan was funneled into the war in Iraq before that war began

2) Bush was able to convince Americans that he is more similar to the average person than Kerry.

Bush's lack of social skills actually worked to his advantage. Before the debates, I heard people half-jokingly say that if the man simply stood straight and gave direct eye contact that he could win the debates. This is quite sad. Even republicans admit that the man is not a skilled orator. Oddly enough, this works to his advantage. He is viewed not as an intellectual snob but a down-home everyday kind of guy. A lot of people relate to that. And what he lacks in communication skills he makes up for in image. All those shots of him in Crawford are strategic. They portray him (again) as sort of a modern day everyman, a guy who is not so high in mighty in the white house that he can't enjoy the simply pleasures in life- God, family and country. And once again that resonates with regular people.

In contrast, many view Kerry as an elitist, especially since he is married into the Heinz family. However the Bush family is elitist as well. Everyone modern president has had money and connections. I don't care how podunk he acts, Bush is not poor. People tend to forget that though when they see him in boots and a cowboy hat.

3) The rhetoric of religion is a powerful thing.

Like it or not, religion plays a big role in the lives of most people. Most people in the US believe in some form of God, and Bush knows this. He wears his religion on his sleeve in order to portray himself as God's candidate, a moral choice in an amoral world. People, especially Christians, flock to him because of this. Which is unfortunate. Being a Christian does not automatically make you a good leader. As a Christian, I have seen many people who also share the faith or claim to who are horrible leaders who make bad decisions. And Kerry is not anti-religion. He is a Catholic, but he chose not to frame everything he does in Christian terms.

4) The republican party as a whole is seen as the party of family values.

Republicans are seen as the party of God, family and country. The moral compass of the nation. Their views on letting people do what they want in a free market, having a small, unobtrusive government and letting people live their own lives appeals to folks. Which is interesting considering that they do not go out of their way to provide affordable health care, child care, better jobs, efficient environmental regulations or lower taxes for the middle and lower classes. And then there's the patriot act, which takes away many civil liberties.

In contrast...

5) The Democrats are out of touch with most Americans.

Liberal is a bad word nowadays. Most people in this country are probably more conservative or middle of the road. They're not eager to hear about stem-cell research, gay marriage, Hollywood people and rock stars who don't necessarily know anything about politics, legalizing marijuana or the myriad of other fringe issues that more liberal-minded people gravitate to. They may not agree with abortion. They think that democrats expect minorities and women to vote for them but don't do anything to court their favor.

They want to hear about what is familiar- again God, family and country. They want to feel safe.

6) Many hated Bush but they did not like Kerry.

Kerry did not frame himself well as the stronger more driven leader. I don't think of the word "tough" when I think of Kerry. I think smart, I think intellectual, but not tough, or go-getter, which is what people think when they think of Bush. Yes, he may be stupid. Yes, he is a bad public speaker. But with Bush, you know what you're going to get. With Kerry, you don't. And that fear is what drives a lot of people. Also, Bush successfully framed himself as being decisive. Even though he made bad decisions, they were decisive, unwavering decisions. Kerry unfortunately got labeled as a flip-flopper for having second thoughts about important things that affect millions. In other words, he showed he's human, but people don't want a second guesser, they want someone who is going to go forth with something. Even if it is wrong.

7) The views of Americans in different states are deeply rooted in 200+ years of history. New York and LA are cosmopolitan places that share more in common with the world than with the rest of America. We are all Americans but we don't understand each other, and instead of trying to find common ground we give cop-out answers- Bush is stupid, Kerry is a
flip-flopper, blah blah blah.

So that is my assessment. What say you?



If you all wish to respond to her statement, then leave a comment, and please sign your comment or leave an alias...and she will keep a tab and respond...her alias is Phoenix. Okay, folks. Have a good day and God bless. 

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Reclaiming Art

Sometimes, I believe people take for granted just how much work and time goes into making art...and not just visual art but all types of creative expressions like music, theatre, dance, design and literary work. And I speak as an artist, but making art is not somehting we pull out of our asses, as I sometimes think people imagine it to be. Sorry folks, art is not about making happy bunnies and happy trees within a matter of minutes with the quick dab of a palette knife. It is hard work and it takes much meditation, conceptualization, preparation, drafting and planning...and that is only the beginning of the story. Artists still need to execute the creation, make revisions, finalize it and then promote it, which entails so much more than just making marketing, making business arrangements, networking...etc, etc. We have a long way to go in our society before artists can get real respect as professionals and it's frustrating, but the truth is most people don't see the whole story behind art and only see happy bunnies and happy trees.

Perhaps my frustrations are blinding me for now...but making art has been so difficult for me as of late, and it's because I am up to that point where I can pretty much pull something out of my ass..and voila!...happy bunnies and happy trees with no personal substance. I yearn to be a pianist these days (I think reconnecting with my old Tori Amos cd's are contributing to this yearning) I could spill the stories in my heart like honey poured onto a pancake..(that's the best analogy I could think of..)..but yes, I see artistic expression like honey. Pianists just make it seem so automatic (which I know is very untrue...), but let's say you have this inspiration, you can just go to a piano and play the emotion and let the music take you...not that I am saying you can't have that automatic experience with visual art...for some visual artists, one can go up to an empty canvas and fill it like a pianist would play a melody on the piano....But I am not one of those visual experience with making art is not automatic and to be honest very insecure and sometimes painful. It's like pouring honey on the pancake, but first I have to collect the honey from an actual nest and I end up with bee stings.

It is a sad experience to feel so insecure at what you used to feel was the best you could give of the world...but when you let criticism and underappreciation eat at your creative spirit, it is very disheartening and draining...all of a sudden an empty canvas is no longer an opportunity for expression but a massive wall that you somehow to climb. And you also have burn out and the presence of failure breathing down your neck telling you, "Only 50% of art school students pratice art after graduation" keeping your spirits down ... But eventually criticism and underappreciation (which is the worst) is something every artist has to go through so I am hoping this wall will crumble sometime soon....and perhaps it never does...maybe it turns out that I have to build some sort of ladder and climb past my insecurities. After having them for so long I have to realize that my insecurities will always be there but I have to learn how to work with them. I yearn for my art to be my refuge again so I am going to reclaim my art.

And perhaps it is an issue of vulnerability. When I was younger, art used to be about escape and refuge, where I could retreat to from the pains of life and somehow try to make sense of things....but perhaps life has caught up with this personal aspect and I have to make myself vulnerable to my art just like one does in relationships and life in general (putting yourself out there as they say...). So I am going to reclaim my art by putting myself out there to it. It's going to be freaking horrible and hopefully just as wonderful. Here is hoping for all possibilities, which would be better than pulling something out of my ass.

"Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail."
-Theodore Dreiser

What the...??? How did I miss this?!

Amid the chaos and the bland of this past week....I don't know how I missed word of this!

Juanes was at the Wal-mart in Weslaco yesterday. I love his music! I happened to be reading the paper over my morning coffee when, (bam!), there is a picture of Juanes, meeting a fan at a table in the Weslaco Wal-Mart. I was like..."what the...!?"

I am disappointed that I did not know about this. I would have liked meeting Juanes and getting his photo and autograph. I really respect what he has done with music on so many levels: creatively, technically and as a outsource for social awareness...yes, I said social awareness. This chido rockero uses his music to bring light to the issues of his home country Columbia and portrays a human voice that yearns for hope and peace in Columbia and the world throughout. He is also one of the artists I know who takes responsibility for his career and tries to be good role model. All of my respects go to Juanes and I am bit sad that I missed an opportunity to meet him.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Election Reflection

I am so glad the election is over....and yes, folks I voted but whom I voted for (or what since there was an important bond election in my district's election) will be my little secret. ;)

It seems as though President Bush has won a second term to the American presidency and I wish him the best, because ultimately his administration's decisions will affect my life as well as those I love. I hope he will continue his presidency with more wisdom and take this election as insight into the American people's concerns and not just as a pass into a second term. I am a big advocate of democracy, so what is left to do now is to respect the ultimate outcome of this election and continue to be engaged in the civic opportunities in my community, state and nation. No room for sore losers here!

My friend and I were talking about the electoral college last night and if it was really necessary and functional? Her argument was, how could an individual's vote ever count since it is the electoral college that ultimately decides who is president and not the popular cote. She saw it as unfair since a democratic vote would pretty much count for nothing in a red state (like Texas) and a republican vote would pretty much not count in a blue state (like New York). I can agree with that, but I can also appreciate that one of the functions the electoral college was placed for was to protect our consitutional rights from tyranny (which is similar to what happened when Hitler came into power in Germany). My friend's argument then was could a tyrant ever come to power in our nation, as diverse as it is? Good point...I for one am not sure about that... you know that saying..."You can convince some of the people some of the time but you can't convince all of the people all of the time"....well I am convinced even if you convince all of the people, just for a while, it's enough time to mess things up...

So anyways, just to lighten the mood...because this whole tension in the air has just driven me a weary...I shall share this moment of funny appropriation....

Here is a picture of John Kerry and George Bush looking eye to eye in competition over the state of Ohio! oooooo!

The image of Kerry and Bush immediately reminded me of the Yu-Gi-Oh! cartoon...where they look eye to over anime card-game combat!

Yes, I can add appropriation to just about Ok folks, I have to go now. Take cares and enjoy the nice cool weather! FINALLY!

Monday, November 01, 2004

A Conjunto Education

I am no expert on Conjunto music, I am a novice, and a really bad one at that because I have yet to be able to distinguish between Conjunto, Tejano and Norteño. But I do know Conjunto is a very big deal in the Valley and that is because it is a genre native to this region. And I also know that if you may have any questions or interest in conjunto, I can help point you in the direction....over to the folks at The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center in San Benito!

Here is a page with pictures from their recent NMCAC Conjunto Festival, which was held in early October. Just click on the image with the sign that says "Welcome to San Benito".

Another interesting thing to see would be pictures of conjunto bands from all over the world! Click here to see. As a former coordinator in intercultural services for international students, you have to know I find this all very fascinating and exciting! Its pretty darn cool! (Yes, I am a geek. hehehe) I mean there is a conjunto band in Italy (my fave country!) Even conjunto in Aruba and Japan...yeah those suprised me the most as well.

Ok folks, I have to go. I am being mandated a bedtime! lol. Take care everyone!

Art by Rosendo Sandoval - Title:"La que bailo con el diablo " contact:

Art by Rosendo Sandoval - Title:"La que bailo con el diablo " contact:

Historic Brownsville Museum