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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