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Wednesday, April 28, 2004
If you want pdf copies of Fronteras Cruzadas flyers, logos and press release you can download them by clicking here.
If want information on Brownsville hotels, flights and driving directions to visit this link.
If you have any questions e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
NMCAC Hosts Lecture by Tejano Music Authority
WHAT: Conjunto Music, Yesterday and Today: a Night of History, Music and Art
WHO: Dr. Manuel PeÒa, visiting professor at UT Pan American
Oscar Hernandez, legendary accordionist
Cande Aguilar and Roel Flores, visual artists and musicians
WHEN: Thursday April 29, 2004
WHERE: 220 E. Stenger Street, San Benito, Texas
WHY: NMCAC is committed to preserving and promoting a valued Rio Grande Valley cultural tradition, conjunto music, as well as history and local art. To that end, NMCAC will host a lecture by the foremost Tejano music authority, Dr. Manuel PeÒa, who is ending a one-year term holding the Maryalice Shivers Endowed Chair in the music department UT Pan American in Edinburg. Dr. PeÒa received his PhD in anthropology of music and folklore from the University of Texas at Austin and has authored three books on Tejano music, including ìThe Texas-Mexican Conjuntoî (University of Texas Press, 1985), ìMusica Tejanaî (A & M Press, 1999), and ìThe Mexican American Orquestaî (University of Texas Press, 1999). Dr. PeÒa has been teaching in California State Univeristy in Fresno since 1981.
Oscar Hernandez, born in Pharr, Texas, is an acclaimed button accordion virtuoso and Conjunto Music Hall of Fame member. He is best known for introducing the chromatic accordion to conjunto music while he was a member of the legendary Conjunto Bernal. With his accordion, Mr. Hernandez will demonstrate the evolution of conjunto music throughout Dr. PeÒaís lecture.
Cande Aguilar Jr. is also an accordionist as well as a visual artist based in Brownsville, Texas. He began his music career at the age of 10; he is a founding members of the Tejano music group, Elida y Avante with whom he toured the U.S. and Mexico. A self-taught abstract artist, Aguilar now uses oil and mixed media to express his interpretation of the unique artistic qualities found in the Rio Grande Valley.
Roel Flores, a Weslaco, Texas native, is an accomplished bajo sexto player who began his musical career in 1955. He has played extensively with many conjuntos, and this part of his life is interpreted in his many oil paintings. Mr. Floresí and Mr. Aguilarís artwork will be on display this evening. Admission is $5.00.
Director of Programming & Development
Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center
P.O. Box 471
220 Stenger Street
San Benito, Texas 78586
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Thursday, April 15, 2004
I like this collage. I borrowed this image from the site that is being used to promote this Americo Paredes Distinguished Lecture that CMAS center is sponsoring on "Performative and Visual Art in the Construction of Social Identites." Hits right on the button on what Frank and I are trying to do. I am excited to be going and to learn more about the arts and expressing social indentity. I will save any information I can get for the students in Fronteras Cruzadas as well.
But one thing quirks me about this image is that it cuts off any visual representation of the Valley. Perhaps I am taking it personal, but don't you think a image being used to promote an Americo Paredes Distinguished Lecture should pay some recognition to his origin. In a way, I want to say that it goes to show how dislocated the Valley is from the Chicano movement and culture. I almost want to say the Valley isn't persay a Chicano culture. I am pointing to Chicano culture..because it is the mainstream movement that most people reference when it comes to Mexican-American identity.
I am not making conclusions, but sometimes I feel that the Mexican-American culture is too freely associated with California, barrio issues, catholicism, the Chicano movement and physical borders. These are some fundamentals of Chicano culture that I just cannot totally relate to. I was raised in a sheltered Southern Baptist home for one, totally oblivous to catholicism until my high schools years. I lived in Brownsville for my whole upbringing, where the Mexican population is abouy 96%, so tensions of ethnic and cultural assimilation were never a big issue growing up. It wasn't until I came to college that I was told I was a minority. I grew up not too far from a swirling, muddy river, that churned and meshed my American heritage with my Mexican heritage as a first generation Mexican-American, not seperated it. And even if demographically I am an minority, I don't feel it, not even today. While in Austin, I have been harrassed for being a Mexican-American woman and threatened, but even then, inside of me I do not feel like an ethnic minority. I am a Mexican-American woman and many things beside that, so why is it all of a sudden that I have to relate myself to a title like "Chicano", a title so freely associated to things I am not? Funny how one image can stir so many emotions huh? Maybe this is my issue and no one else's, but I do have to say one thing: There is more to being Mexican-American than being Chicano. I would love to say that the Chicano movement is a sub-culture of Mexican-American culture, as is the Rio Grande Valley. But who knows, this statement may be too premature and naive to say. Still have more things to do, learn and see.
Monday, April 12, 2004
Well, here is a clip of the song so do enjoy! I am thinking of making some painting panels that incorporate some phrases from the lyric of this song. I think this song captures the desperate spirit of the human condition and I want to relate this feeling to the immigrant experience. It may not be so successful but I am still thinking the concept through. Either way I love this song. So I would like to share it with you anyways, if I make art from it or not.
De Perros Amores.mp3
Here is a link the lyrics of the song.
Sunday, April 11, 2004
Alamo not remembered as glorious victory in Mexico
Santa Anna Legacy Burdened with Contradiction
the reader's comments on the bottom are pretty interesting, funny, and a few horrifying.
Saturday, April 10, 2004
"I was recently in Brownsville, Texas, where I witnessed the daily effects of misguided border policies. Brownsville is within walking distance of the Rio Grande, which separates Mexico and the United States. Border Patrol cars cruise the streets and agents routinely harass people, including U.S. citizens and legal residents.
And until recently, huge lights installed by Border Patrol along the river illuminated the area so brightly that the wildlife no longer knew whether it was day or night."
by Ted Conover.
This looks like a great read. The sample pages have some great stuff in them.
Thursday, April 08, 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 5, 2004
Contact: Rogelio Nunez
Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center
P.O. Box 471
San Benito, Texas 78586
Cultural Center Hires New Director
SAN BENITO, TX The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center in San Benito is pleased to announce the hiring of Rio Grande Valley native and public radio journalist Cristina Balli as the new Director of Development and Programming, effective April 5, 2004.
Balli leaves her position of producer at Public Radio 88 FM, KMBH/KHID, where she hosted the segment "Fine Arts Focus". A native of Brownsville, she earned a bachelor of social work at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. After practicing in the field of child welfare and mental health for eight years, she switched careers to public broadcasting. She produced several radio documentaries for KMBH/KHID, including "La Hora de la Guitarra: the Life of Maria Aurora Arrese and the Estudiantina Movement in Brownsville", "Celebrating 50 Years of the Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorale", "Classic 88 FM's Voices of Christmas", and "Celebrating Our People: Los del Valle". Balli provided technical assistance for the initial season of "North of the Border", a public radio program of Mexican roots music. She also contributes a music column to the local arts and culture publication, "The Mesquite Review".
"It is very difficult to leave public radio", said Balli, "but I am looking forward to my future at NMCAC. The time is ripe for the development of arts and culture in the Rio Grande Valley and I am honored and excited to be a part of that growth. The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center represents the unique mixture of talent, creativity and cultures surfacing from this area; I believe that by preserving and promoting the arts, NMCAC contributes to the social, economic, political and spiritual betterment of our community."
The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center is an organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion and development of the rich cultural and historical heritage of the Mexicano community. This heritage includes the visual arts, music, theatre, dance and literary works. Established in 1991, NMCAC was named after Narciso Martinez, who was known as ìthe father of conjunto music.
Born on October 29, 1911, in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, and raised in the community of La Paloma along Old Military Highway, Martinez was one of the first to combine the German accordion with Mexican guitars to form the embryonic conjunto music style. Together with bajo sexto player Santiago Almeida, Martinez made musical history with the 1936 recording of the polka "La Chicharronera" and the schottische "El Tronconal" on the Bluebird record label. His fruitful music career earned Martinez the epithet of "El Huracan del Valle", as well as a National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1983.
Martinez's work represents the unique blending of cultures and experiences of the Texas-Mexico border, and captures the essence and philosophy that NMCAC seeks to preserve and promote.
Current NMCAC activities include a writerís forum held every first Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m.; "El Second Weendsdee", an oral history series on conjunto music held every second Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m.; accordion lessons every Thursday evening; "North of the Border" airing on Public Radio 88 FM Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.; and the annual 16 de Septiembre Celebration/Narciso Martinez Conjunto Festival.
The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center is located at 220 E. Stenger St., San Benito, Texas. Visits can be scheduled by calling (956) 361-0110.
# # #
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
It's been a while since I last blogged, but preparing for the seminar was time consuming and I tried to tunnel my focus last week to preparing for the symposium on Border Art and Civic Engagement. All in all, I think the symposium went well but not all the students attended, so that would be the only downer about the event. It's okay. They had only known about it for maybe a week or so. But about 10-12 students did go and for the most part I think the students enjoyed the guest speakers' presentations and I think the guest speakers had fun sharing their passions with the students. What I am most interested in seeing is how these students will translate what they learned at this seminar to art. My excitement alone about these creative prospects make me look forward to visiting them in 3 weeks.
I also attended Symphony in the Park at UTB because my brother-in-law plays with the Rio Bravo symphony. I loved the event and I think our $2 bring your own blanket on the lawn seats were the best seats in the house. I was laying on the lawn with my family, watching children play and people socialize, being merry and friendly. I got to hear live music and enjoy the nice, spring weather. The scene resembled a French Impressionist painting! It was great! I also got to visit the new buildings at UTB and I was very, VERY impressed. I think it was even more beautiful than UT-Austin architecture. Afterwards we went to eat tacos. I was so happy, full and sleep deprived (because the night before I didn't sleep preparing the symposium packets) that as soon as I hit the bed I fell asleep.
I miss Brownsville now. I ran into an old friend of mine at the concert and she asked me why I would ever want to return to Brownsville rather than stay in Austin. I didn't know quite how to answer her. Austin is an awesome place and I have pretty much made a home here. But my real home, where my heart is, where my family is and where I will always look to wherever life will take me, is in Brownsville. If anything, Austin helped me appreciate Brownsville so much more. It is through my experiences here that I was able to reflect upon Brownsville life. And it's not like I am going back to chain myself to the walls of the mall or something of thaat nature. I will continue to travel and visit other cities and countries, maybe live in some for a while. I will always look to stretch my own perspectives and to learn about different people and cultures, but Brownsville will be homebase. It's where I will always return to. And maybe for this reason, I am leaving Austin, I am just ready to move on the next phase of my life, to continue my evolution. I am a different person because of Austin since 5 years ago, but Brownsville is a differnet place because of time. When I return, I don't expect to be returning to the same place I left and I look forward to finding my place in my hometown as a new person.
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