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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

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