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Monday, January 31, 2005

Quickie Update

So sorry folks, I really have been busy and it's not all talk. Most of my time is consumed in commuting and I get home from work drained mostly from driving. I will try to write a juicy post later this week. Today, I watched Everwood and tommorrow Scrubs, and it's straight to bed for this blogger after that. Those are the only shows I ever make time for, so after Tuesdays, my evenings are much more flexible for writing.

My cousin and 2nd cousin are also in town this week from Mexico D.F. They are such nice people. I'll have to plan on making a trip to Mexico City, or simply known as "Mexico" throughout Mexico (you don't even have to add D.F.) or as "Chilangolandia" by the folks at NaCo." Got some trips in mind as well to Buffalo, New York City and Atlanta...hopefully this year I can try them all.

Bueno, me voy a la cama but I'll be back! Hasta pronto!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Update Y Mas

I hope you all are well. Here is yet another update. I have been getting busier these past few weeks. I just began a full-time job and so far, I like it a lot and look forward to wonderful experience ahead of me. I also have my contract job and the job of coordinating the Tercera Cultura program at El Chicho (NMCAC). Today, I was talking with my mom over breakfast on how technically I have 3 jobs...whereas 3 months ago I did not have a buck to my name. Weird how life is huh? When it rains it indeed does pour and I could not feel any luckier. Well anyways, I don't have much news on art these days. I know the next McAllen Art Walk is on Friday Feb. 4th and that the Tercera Cultura exhibition opening reception is slated for Sunday, Feb. 27th at 3pm at the center. More info with this as time goes on. :) As well, some of you may be asking what is "Tercera Cultura"? or what I mean by "Third Culture". It really is an intercultural communications approach that can be implemented wtih all cultures...but....for this program...I use the concept to reference The Rio Grande Valley as a "Third Culture" product. Since it is comes from such a contextual philosophy I have yet to pinpoint an appropriate defenition for this program. I believe Gloria Anzaldua probably put it most eloquently.

"The U.S.-Mexican border es una herida abierta where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds. And before a scab forms it hemorrhages again, the lifeblood of two worlds merging to form a third country -- a border culture.” – Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera

Here is some links about Third Culture and how the concept began as a scientific philosophy and how it is now being appropriated into politics (reportedly even by the likes of British Prime Minister Tony Blair.)

Scientific Philosophy & Practice
Intellectuals vs. Literal Scientists

Intercultural Communication
Third Culture Kids/Global Nomads
Cultural Conflict and Resolution

Political Philosophy
The Third Way

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Upcoming Events

Hey ya'll! Here is an update on some events. Some of them happen today, so for the impulsive culture lover, today is a great day to get a great art fix. Checkalos!


The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center
"Guadalupe - Looking Deeper"
a lecture by Fr. Michael Seifert
and closing reception for "Guadalupe" art exhibition
Thurs. Jan. 20, 2005 - 7:00 PM
225 E. Stenger Street
San Benito, TX
The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is arguably the icon of Mexican culture throughout the world.  Taking a historical recording of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Fr. Seifert will explore the interpretations of the Aztec symbols found in this legend.  While for more than 500 years the figure has inspired the deepest reverence amongst her devotees, Seifert will argue that the image serves as a lasting interpretation of the Magnificat (Luke 1:46) and is a call for social transformation. 
Fr. Michael Seifert, MS is a Marist priest who serves as pastor at San Felipe de Jesus Church in Brownsville, located in Cameron Park colonia.
Guitar music provided by Samuel Pena.
Admission is free, but donations will be accepted for scholarships for children residing in "basureros" in Matamoros.
For more information call (956) 361-0110.


The Brownsville Museum of Fine Art

Artist from India to speak
Jiten Hazarika
Brownsville Museum of Fine Art
Jan. 20th, 2004
Free to public
Call 542-0941 to RSVP

Click here for more info.


Brown Bag Lecture Series

Bernice Coleman, award winning artist, will be the guest speaker at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art's free Brown Bag lecture series from 11:30am to 1pm, Jan. 28th at the museum, 230 Neale Drive. Coleman, owner of the Coleman Gallery of La Feria, will discuss "watercolor with a different approach".

The public is invited to bring their lunch and join memebers of the museum for the lecture in which Coleman will discuss the challenege for an artist to convert white paper to an inspired watercolor. Please RSVP by calling the Brownsville Musuem of Fine Art at (956) 542--0941.


The Brownsville Historical Association

EVENT # 1:
Brownsville Historical Association's
Annual Membership Meeting
Sunday, January 23, 2005, 2:00pm
Brownsville Heritage Museum
1325 E. Washington Street
Brownsville, Texas
(956) 541-5560
featuring a presentation by
Ing. Manuel Humberto Gonzalez Ramos
"Cartogratia Historica, Matamoros"
An on-going silent auction will also will be held with the results at the conclusion of the program.
For more information call (956) 541-5560
Hours: Tuesday thru Saturday 10am-4pm
Walking Tours of Historic Brownsville
Saturdays in January
Jan. 8 Downtown 10am-11am
Jan. 15 Ft. Brown 10am-11am
Jan. 22 Downtown 10am-11am
Jan. 29 Ft. Brown 10am-11am
Join Dr. Tony Knopp, Professor of History at the University of Texas at Brownsville, for a walk into Brownsville's past, discovering the provocative character of the city's 150-year history and the military post that played such a crucial role in that history.
Tours will be limited to 15 participants. Donations of $5.00 for the Brownsville Historical Association are requested.
Tours will assemble at the Brownsville Heritage Museum at 1325 E. Washington St. (next to the Stillman House). Participants are invited to tour the museum at no charge.
Call (956) 541-5560 to reserve your place on any of the tours.


International Museum of Art and Science

UTPA Professor Richard Hyslin to present “Virgen de Guadalupe Project” at IMAS on Thursday January 20

McAllen- UTPA Professor, Richard Hyslin will be the featured speaker at the Artists in the Raw lecture series on Thursday, January 20, 2005 at 6:30 pm . He will be speaking on the “Virgen de Guadalupe Project.” The lecture is free to the public. His multimedia presentation will focus on the design and construction of a fifty foot tall statue of the Virgen de Guadalupe at the Servants of Mary Center for Peace in Windsor, Ohio. Hyslin is a sculptor and Professor of Art at the University of Texas-Pan American since 1986. He received his MFA at the University of New Mexico. Hyslin uses a number of media for his sculpture: metal, wood, clay, cement and ceramic tile. His work has been selected for many competitive exhibitions, most recently at the Grace Museum in Abilene . He has also exhibited internationally, most recently at the contemporary art museum in Matamoros . Hyslin’s sculpture is included in the permanent collections of the Arkansas Arts Center, the University of New Mexico, and IMAS. Hyslin has received numerous commissions, many for large-scale sculptures. His largest project to date has been a 50’ high steel, Ferro cement and ceramic tile statue of the Virgen de Guadalupe. Hyslin has also received commission for a 20’ bronze fountain at the Del Prado office center in McAllen , designed in collaboration with Frank Manuella. Hyslin has also created a life size crucifix with Christ figure made of native woods and a glass mosaic Virgen de Guadalupe Niche, both at Holy Spirit Church in McAllen. He was also commissioned to create a bronze sculpture of Tejano music star Roberto Pulido for the South Texas Heritage Association’s Edinburg, TX 2020 Cultural Activities Committee. In October of 2002, he was named to Who’s Who in American Education, and was also awarded honorary membership in the Texas Society of Architects, in recognition of his collaboration with various architects on sculpture for public spaces. The Artists in the Raw lecture series is a monthly lecture series focusing on the process of creating works of art, and is one of many ways in which IMAS supports local artists. The mission of the International Museum of Art and Science is to promote a deeper appreciation of the arts and sciences through exhibitions, cultural events and educational programs; and to preserve, expand, and display its permanent art and science collections. For more information on IMAS programs or membership, please call 956.682.1564.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

In It

Sam: You're in it right now, aren't you?
Large: What?
Sam: My mom always says that, when she can see I'm like working something out in my head, she's like, 'You're in it right now' and I'm looking at you telling this story, and you're definitely in it.

-Quote from the movie Garden State

This evening after dinner, I decided to sit down and catch the latest disney channel movie on TV. But to my luck, my mom yelled for me from her room, "M'ija!" (...meh...magic trick...spooky magic mansion...)..."M'ija, it's a sculptor!"....(..hmmm...ok, she has my attention...but spooky magic dungeon with disney channel stars still a bit more interesting...)..."And he's BLIND!"...(....whaaaat? Ok, this I have to see!) So I get up and there is a Native American man on TV, making a scultpure from a huge chunk of raw rock using only a flimsy piece of sandpaper...but he is completely into it, making this beautiful and polished human form out of the tiny scratches he is able to coax from the filmsy piece of sandpaper. The artist on TV I find out later is Michael Naranjo. But before I learned of this sculptor's name, I saw a part of this man's artistic process and journey and I was completely moved.

And it's not so much the blind part that got me..(albeit at first it was what hooked my attention)...but what moved me was seeing him connect to his artwork and subjects...getting to hear him talk about how the ideas for his work come to him in flashes and dreams...l guess the best way I could describe it is like like getting visual pieces of a puzzle. But what completely floored me was when they showed him on a trip to Rome, where he got to meet the Pope and was given an opportunity to feel two of Michelangelo's sculptures, the Moses and the David. And to hear him describe how it felt, how the smoothness of the marble felt like skin and how he could feel veins and muscles beneath the if it were a real feel the bumps and curves..the dips and the rises...the parts of the lips and the tear ducts in David's eyes.... Michelangelo did not miss a thing! Oh God, what aesthetic bliss! To be able to feel a real Michelangelo! To be where the artist was, to follow his process not just by sight but by touch! I can't even imagine what it must of felt like for Michael Naranjo. Just watching him study those sculptures with his hands had tears rolling down my cheeks.

More than two years ago in Florence, I had the opportunity to see and stand very close to some of Michelangelo's work at The Medici Chapel. Michelangelo had carved out of marble these massive tomb pieces for the Medici family. Their presence was collosal and aesthetically could one coax such a beautiful and seemingly delicate form out of jagged and rough rock? How can one not help but want to reach up and touch these pieces from end to end?...but of course I kept museum ettiquette and composure. But sometimes I'll push it too. Like when I go to a musuem and I see a painting I really like and I try to get my nose as close to the piece as possible without really touching the canvas. To see that one glob of oil paint in between your eyes and study it's brushstoke lines like it was a 3-D piece by itself, trying to capture that experience in time when the artist was in that one glob of paint as well. It's the closest way I can come to understanding the artistic process of the artist without actually touching the piece...and here I see Michael Naranjo touching these Michelangelos...and not just any Michelangelos...but the freaking David and Moses! The picks of the litter! Needless to say, I was filled with complete joy. I was so happy to see an artist do this and felt a little ashamed at the same time...because I have neglected my work for months and here I see this guy who has mastered mountains of rock with a chisel and piece of sand paper with no eyesight and my oil paint brushes are rusting away in a rubbermaid box in my garage.

But at the same time I like to think that right now my artwork is the artistic development of my students. This Saturday, I gave my students a crash course in still life and getsure drawing. When one is introduced to gesture drawing, it is completely draining. Gesture drawing really helps in breaking down mental barriers of perspective. It's good for the study of the human form and still life but it's not an easy task for perfectionists (which in some sense all artists are). So at some point towards the end of the class, when my students were wearing down a bit thin, I had my students do a ten-minute gesture drawing...and I kept demanding more speed and more energy...MORE SPEED! MORE ENERGY! Demands most of them were not used to. I walked away for a minute. When I came back I noticed that the room was filled with the noise of furious and rapid markings and sketching, unsteady easels and complete and total focused energy. It was so moving I had to call my boss to share in the experience of listening to the noise of art being made. It made me want to turn all John Cage, get a microphone and record the noise that was music to my ears. I was so joyful that I couldn't repress the emotion inside as it expressed itself through muffled and choked giggles out of my mouth. I had to hide behind my students' easels hoping they didn't hear me and think I was laughing at them. My students were not only making artwork, they we're in it.

Friday, January 14, 2005

TAOB Ultimate Latin Alternative Mix

If you are someone who is new to the Latin Alternative genre...(that music you may know by the name of Rock en Español, Rock Latino, Latin Rock, Spanish Rock...) here is a handy list of songs and their respected groups to get you on your way to Latin Alternative affluency.

Vivo by Fobia...I love Fobia!
Sexo, Pudor y Lágrimas by Aleks Syntek........a wonderful song made for a Mexican film of the same name
Por Que Te Vas by Aurora y La Academia.........a treasure of the genre in the 90's
Pachuco by Maldita Vecindad Y Los Hijos Del Quinto Patio........pure fun make you want to mosh and enchar un grito
Mr.P.Mosh by Plastilina could I forget these hip urban vaqueros?
Lamento Boliviano by Enanitos Verdes......never gets old!
La Pachanga by Vilma Palma......don't forget these guys...those Argentinos still rock la casa!
La Llorona byJaguares....if you like a sultry, heart piercing, mexican, folksy kind of sound...muy sensual~
Ja, Ja, Ja by La Lupita.......may the words Lero Lero never die in vain!
Gimme Tha Power by Molotov......want to start a revolution? use this song!
Eres by Café Tacuba....the usual lead vocalist does not sing here...but it is a lusty and sweet song.
El Matador by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs....a classic song!
El Duelo by La Ley...I would never leave out los gueys de La Ley!
Devuelveme a Mi Chica by Hombres G.....the ultimate classic
De Perros Amores by Control favorite song!
De Musica Ligera by Soda Stereo....ofcourse they are on this list!
Como Un Perro Enloquecido by Maná...everyone knows Mana!
Bolero Falaz by Los Aterciopelados....the grooviest song here!
Andar Conmigo by Julieta Venegas....multi-talented musician = good music
A Dios Le Pido by Juanes.....because he had to be on the would be like leaving Mana out!
Chuntaros Style by El Gran Silencio.....wa hoo wah!

These artists are some of most successful in the genre. I put this little playlist together for a friend who does not know spanish but has an interest in knowing more about the music. I tried to cover the necessities, the basics and the classics...but even then I had to cut so many worthy songs due to the 80 minutes time limit afforded on the CD to burn. But none the less, I thought I should share this with anyone who may find this of interest.

Some of my top faves are Aleks Syntek (who borders with pop, but none the less is beyond awesome..I saw him in concert this summer in Matamoros), Café Tacuba (that song is hot!), La Ley (the unplugged version of El Duelo with Ely Guerra will blow you away) and Aterciopelados. My ultimate favorite song De Perros Amores by Control Machete also made the cut..I love it...and Ely Guerra also has a vocal apprearance in this song. So check these songs out and google away! Have a good weekend and try to check out any of the events posted below. Support the arts!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Update Update

Buenos dias folks. I hope you all are doing muy bien!

Just wanted to update you all on a few things.

*New fitness video being shot in Brownsville starring Mexican Wrestler Mil Mascaras

The videos are being shot at World Gym on FM 802. As a popular sport, Mexican Wrestling (or better known as Super Luchas or Libre Luchas) is a popular and even iconographic presence in the mexican culture. Even RGV native artist Xavier Garza uses the sport as a subject in his artwork. Check it out! Other examples of artistic appropriation of the sport from the folks over at NaCo. and Blue Demon.

* Yesterday, I got a chance to take a look at the artwork of valley artists Izel Vargas, Leonard Brown and Carl Vestweber, currently on display at The Blue Onion restaurant in McAllen, Texas. Not only will you get good food there (I recommend the shrimp caldo dip) but you will have good and fun artwork to feed your aesthetic appetite as well.

* I also received an email from a TAOB reader in reference to a post I wrote in September called "The Grim Reality of Things." My main concern when I wrote that post was that I was not able to locate any local health or civil support groups or organizations in the Valley or in Matamoros for the gay community. This reader was awesome to point out a site called and informed me that sometime soon a PFLAG group and gay student org will begin at UTB. The Art of Brownsville is for positive health and living for all people and communities in the La Frontera and everywhere! Best of luck to the activists of!

* And again, I will make another plea for artist web pages and links. As you can see, my links index on the left is slowly growing. I may even expand it further by adding a site for press releases, a photo album and by setting up more categories to differentiate between Brownsville links, RGV links and Tamaulipas links. I am not too sure how I will go about it. Sometimes I think I should change the name of this blog to The Art of La Frontera...but.....I am not too sure if I alone could
ever manage a site to be affluent enough to do justice for this whole region. For the most part, I will keep this site The Art of Brownsville, because Brownsville and The Cameron County area is what I know best (and am still learning more about)...but I will always be more than happy to help promote the culture and art of La Frontera region.

Until then, thanks for visiting and pass word of this blog. I am aware I still owe you all some very awesome snow pics, which I will have up next week. I promise! I have been pretty busy and sick this week. Thanks should also go out those who have responded so very well to La Tercera Cultura program. Your help, support and encouragment means the world!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Once you go Mac, you don't go back

As some of you may know, I am an almost over-zealous fan of Mac computers, so one of the blogs I like to read is The Cult of Mac. So as soon as I read the latest entry, I could not but help but laugh my kaboose off.

Check out the post "Apple-logoed Machinegun".

As a Mac enthusiast I could not find offense to someone posting an apple logo sticker to a rifle. It is quite a comical irony since posted to the back of my SUV is an apple sticker and also quite funny a "Keep Austin Weird" sticker from my college days. Until I can save up enough of me monies to invest in a hybrid car (though at my father's request, one that can stand defense against hummers and trailers on the freeway), I guess I too shall live the life of a "sensitive, caring, enlightened, liberal intellectual" in juxtaposition as well. hehe. I think I shall name my SUV, iChugGas.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Amigos Artistas

Amigos Artistas is a group of professional individuals in Brownsville, Texas who promote and support the visual arts. From what I know, Amigos Artistas in compromised of people who are educators, collectors, artists, administrators, physicians and business owners but all art afficionados alike. Well known by word of mouth through out the city, perhaps as one of the most respected art advocacy groups, these folks organize different events through out the year, their main event usually an art exhibition that takes place at the Brownsville Historic Museum around Charro Days.

Below I have added some links about past activities of this group or to articles that make reference to them.

Local Contemporary Art Breaking New Ground
Mexico on canvas
Alternative Art
Artist George Truan
Portraits of Culture: Two Hispanic artists add a visual link to Charro Days

A great big applause should go to Amigos Artistas for the hard work they put into advocating the visual arts in the Brownsville community!

BMFA: Jiten Hazarika

The Brownsville Museum of Fine Art presents the figurative abstracts of:

Jiten Hazarika was born in a remote village in India. As a child he began painting with lamp soot and the yellow pice turmeric. Later when he disovered and had access to art supplies, a whole world opened to him.

Life's duties: a degree in Civil Engineering and working for the Corps of Engineers kept him veru busy. Upon retirement in 1990 he began practicing full time. He has had 14 one man shows and participated in 20 exhibitions garnishing numerous prestigious recognitions along the way.

Mr. Hazarika has served on the Experts committee of the Government of India for the Preservation and Development of the Himalayan culture.

Please be the museum's guests to his first exhibiton in the United States. The artist will give a lecture and slide presentation on his techniques. Refreshments will be served.

There is no fee for this event.

7:00 pm, Thursday Janaury 20, 2005
RSVP by calling 956-542-0941
230 Neale Drive, Brownsville, Texas 78520


Sounds like it will be an interesting exhibtion and presentation. The international aspect of this show also hits close to heart for me since most of my intercultural training has been for working for the international community in the United States. If you want to strech your mind and want to get an international intercultural fix, I really recommend that you catch this show.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Treasure and Thoughts

Bleeeehhhhh.....still sick from the flu...but I did want to share a little treasure I came upon! Much thanks should go out to El Mas Chingon.

Turns out there is a song by recording artist Jim White called "That Girl From Brownsville, Texas". The song is more about a spiritual conflict than about a girl from Brownsville, Texas, and I agree with El Mas Chingon when he wrote that Jim White just may be using Brownsville, Texas as an allusion to the Assemby of God Church in Pensacola, Florida called The Brownsville Revival. The allusion also makes more sense because Jim White is a Florida native. My iTunes categorizes the song in the folk genre, but from what I can tell from the clips I have heard from his album, his music also has elements of country, blues, rock and electronica. I bought the single from iTunes and I am enjoying the song's slow and dreamy style and contemplative lyrics. It makes me want to pull out a Lone Star beer (the only beer I can tolerate), a wooden rocking chair and spend some time on my porch. hehe. I just may have to buy the album. Also, even though the song is not "per say" about Brownsville...I can relate to the spirtual conflict presented in the song.

Click here to listen to a clip of the song

Here are the lyrics to "That Girl From Brownsville, Texas" by Jim White.

I say "God, if you ain't smiling on me, then you ain't no friend of mine." It's late at night and this motel room's drunk, I been listening to the lonesome wind crying. My best friend once said, "Jim, what you cling to, that's the thing that you had best forget. For ain't no rose bed ever gonna bloom in an untended field of regrets."

[CHORUS] Guess I been busy killing time counting bullet holes in state line signs. I led a life of lonely drifting trying to rise above the buzzards in my mind. You get dizzy chasing 'round the tail of what you need to leave behind. Oh sweet Jesus, won't you help me?'Cause all I'm trying to do is plant them seeds of love with that girl from Brownsville, Texas.

Midnight radio, a crackly white gospel station kicking out the sounds of some half-assed revival. Me, I never much cared for the feelings you get quoting scriptures from out of the Bible. For as the crow flies I know only one cure for a permanent tear in your eye. You gotta crank like hell that rope on old sorrow's well 'til the day that the bucket comes up dry.


Now dreams are just prayers without the put on airs... and though my history of dreams is a scandal of back-assward schemes and romantic disasters where Lord, you dealt me more cards than I could handle. Still from the lips of this half-hearted sinner comes the pledge of a half-baked saint. 'Cause Lord I might finally be willing to become the religious fool you always wanted me to be... if in return we could just tell that girl I'm the man you and me both know that I ain't.



It's a sweet song in that stored honey of the soul kind of way; not that sweet love song kind of way.

I also have been wanting to reflect upon the rise of evangelism in the Rio Grande Valley. It seems like evangelist churches are popping everywhere, their growing popularity marked by the rise of warehouse style churchs-trying to meet the demand for space. Largely, I am more intrigued by this topic as a cultural phenomenon and not just because of my evangelical roots. But that plays a role too. Let me tell you, if I were not a different person from 8 years ago...I would probably be testifying the gospel to you and not the arts from this blog. But that is something I won't go into detail about.

I think as a cultural phenomenon, it is important that the evangelical movement within the Valley be understood, because our region is growing and diversifying and sooner or later, bridges of communication are going to be needed between the different sub-cultures of the Valley as they cross paths more often. That is an intercultural fact...understanding is the key to lets understand one another before any conflict is generated. Examples of religious conflict are not so prevalent yet, but there are signs of miscommunication which leads to cultural conflict; for example how some Catholics refer to an evangelist or protestant (which are different and I will point out in a bit) as "Christian". Any person who believes that Jesus Christ is the messiah, the son of God is a Christian, that including Catholics (Roman and Orthodox), Evangelists (Baptists, Methodists, Assembly of God, Non-Denominational...) and Protestants (Lutherans, Episcopilians, Presbyterians, Anglicans...) . Then you have groups that have Judeo-Christian roots but are not necessarily Christian (depends on whose perspective) because they either see Christ as a prophet (and not as the messiah) or have extended Christianity literally or figuratively (in terms of dogma) Mormons, Jehovah's Wittnesses and Unitarians. Don't quote me on this though...I am no scholar and I could be wrong. I am telling you as I understand it since my parents have always been active in church and my dad came close to being a minister...religion and faith have always been hot topics at my family's kitchen table.

It would also be an interesting introspective to see if the Rise of Evangelism in the Valley is the result of assimilation or aculturation? Another interesting introspective would be to study what direction Evangelism is taking today, which is a conflict within itself in the evangelist sector. By conflict I refer to tradition vs. modernity. For example, my parents are still very active in their baptist church and for the most part it is a traditional and conservative church. Recently though, the younger members of the church have brought in gospel band music during the church services (the popular music you may find in newer churches where the congregation read the lyrics off from a large screen while a band plays on stage). But the older members of my parents' church are just not adjusting to the change and prefer to have the traditional piano and organ for music. As an inactive Christian, I really don't know what to think or if I should give any input. I think sometimes, churches get so wound up on putting on a show, that the spiritual message gets lost. I think spiritual contemplation and meditation are loosing ground in churches for mega size entertainment and stage effects. Yet as an artist, I also don't see anything wrong with people wanting to express themselves spirtually through creativity, even if it means using mega speakers or recreating a hurricane on a stage (I kid you not, a church in The Woodlands did this). I guess it depends on how the boat floats for each church.

TAOB blogger's note: please excuse my grammar..I know there are a lot of mistakes but my nyquil beckons me to bed

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Life Shows You Two Roads

Today is the first class day for Tercera Cultura. Yayyy! and Uyyyy!
When it comes to teaching, how does one shake the initial feeling of being Daniel going into the Lion's Den? Ofcourse, in the biblical story the lions turned out to be pretty I am sure it will go fine. I always get nervous before I start anything new. Oh, and I am also sick. How wonderful is that? hehe Having been raised Baptist, it's hard not to shake the initial response to see a challenge or task as a test of faith. Everything will go fine I know...I just hope my voice and coughing holds out.

The program was covered by The Valley Morning Star yesterday. Check it out.

Yesterday my friend Lizard showed me a wonderful article about Mexcian actor Gael Garcia Bernal. It pretty much talked about his artistic philosophy, which pretty much encompasses his life philosophy. When I read the quote below, I remembered why what I am doing is important. Sometimes when you get caught up in the details, you loose sight of the big picture.

"Life shows you two roads," says Gael García Bernal. "The road where you can live better, and the road where you should live, where your duty is for you to live, and where you can make a change." He's paraphrasing one of his favorite writers, Jose Marti, the 19th century political dissident who became a cultural hero of Cuba's fight for independence from Spain. Essential to Marti's philosophical code of conduct were the notions that "the duty of a man lies where he is most useful," and "to fulfill one's duty elevates the soul to a state of constant sweetness."

Now let that simmer for a while....

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

More on Brownsville Film Scene

Another article came out today in the paper about The Brownsville Border Film Commission.

Here is a clip.


Film Commission markets Brownsville for big screen

The Brownsville Herald

Jan. 5, 2005 — For the past year, Historic Downtown District Director Peter Goodman has shown off some of the city’s best assets — all in the name of art.

Goodman is among seven members of the Brownsville Border Film Commission, which strives to attract the film, television and commercial industry to Brownsville.

“We think it’s been working well,” Goodman said of the Film Commission’s efforts. “(Last year), we’ve had a number of producers and location managers call.”

Several films, including the most recent “The Soulless,” by filmmaker Cruz Angeles, have portions filmed in Brownsville. In December, the History Channel aired a film on Palo Alto that was taped by Grenada Television, out of Great Britain, as part of the “Battlefield Detective” series.


To continue reading the article click here.

One of the primary shooting locations in Brownsville was the TinSoup Art Gallery. If you haven't gone by to visit their gallery, the Brain Wedgeworth show is still up. My dad even told me today while eating supper at Captain Bob's (more on that later...) that no sculptors work in this area...and I was like...nuh uh! need to go see the BRIAN WEDGEWORTH show at TIN SOUP GALLERY. So I will have to take him to see that show sometime before it is taken down.

Back to film. I may help a friend from film school at UT produce a documentary about Charro Days this Spring, so I'll keep you all updated on that. It would be so awesome if the film scene just exploded in Brownsville like it has in Austin! Have all the indies come over and worship the culture of this region.

And talking about indies..I just saw Garden State. Esa pelicula esta pero BIEN CHIDO!! The story was terrific and the cinematography era para chuparte los dedos. I also have a new crush on Zach Braff...but he's dating Mandy Moore so I am left only to the quirky witt on his Garden State Blog, which I love to read so check it out.

The Garden State Soundtrack is really good too! I especially love the song "Let Go" by Frou Frou. They even had a Fiona Apple song..and I was like ...whoaaa!!! Fiona Apple!!!...I haven't thought about her in ages!...What is she up to??? So ofcourse..I google her up and turns out she made a new album in 2003 I believe, but that Sony will not release it because they found it to be too experimental and not marketable. Her past two albums went platinum and her music has always been VERY VERY good (anyone remember shadowboxer? paper bag?) I took out my old Fiona CD's and jam to them on my commute to work...I am sorry Sony exes...we need good music now more than ever. FREE FIONA!


Ok....turns out Fiona Apple is not on the Garden State soundtrack...yes I have been caught....I do not actually own the Garden State Soundtrack...a friend burned me a copy because she really wanted me to hear it. But now I am more determined than ever to own the soundtrack! Yes...oh yes. Please forgive me Zach Braff...I will totally buy your movie's soundtrack. Your art is worth (in the voice of Spong Bob's Mr. Crab) me monies!

Brownsville Historical Association Events

If you have an interest in history, and in particular Brownsville history, then you should partake in these events with the Brownsville Historical Association.


EVENT # 1:

Brownsville Historical Association's
Annual Membership Meeting

Sunday, January 23, 2005, 2:00pm

Brownsville Heritage Museum
1325 E. Washington Street
Brownsville, Texas
(956) 541-5560

featuring a presentation by
Ing. Manuel Humberto Gonzalez Ramos
"Cartogratia Historica, Matamoros"

An on-going silent auction will also will be held with the results at the conclusion of the program.

For more information call (956) 541-5560
Hours: Tuesday thru Saturday 10am-4pm



Walking Tours of Historic Brownsville

Saturdays in January


Jan. 8 Downtown 10am-11am
Jan. 15 Ft. Brown 10am-11am
Jan. 22 Downtown 10am-11am
Jan. 29 Ft. Brown 10am-11am

Join Dr. Tony Knopp, Professor of History at the University of Texas at Brownsville, for a walk into Brownsville's past, discovering the provocative character of the city's 150-year history and the military post that played such a crucial role in that history.

Tours will be limited to 15 participants. Donations of $5.00 for the Brownsville Historical Association are requested.

Tours will assemble at the Brownsville Heritage Museum at 1325 E. Washington St. (next to the Stillman House). Participants are invited to tour the museum at no charge.

Call (956) 541-5560 to reserve your place on any of the tours.


I am not too sure what the first event is about....CARTOGRAFIA....I am guesing it may have something to do with
1.) caligraphy 2.) letter writing 3.) newsprint font 4.) cardboard

oh! oh!

My best source is on the matter right now....SUPER DAD! Whose blood runs rich with the Poblano spirit...woo hoo! Orale Camoteros!....He took out an old, torn Spanish dictionary (which suspiciously has a stamp for St. Mary's University Library on the side) and a Spanish Encyclopedia (which looks newer than the dictionary). I feel like we should be in a library somewhere in a dusty rare books section with a flash light. ok..ok.. some progress is being made! (who needs the internet when you have books...:oP)

Ok. Here we go!

Cartografîa, f. cartografy, mapping
cartografo, m. map maker, cartographer

We found it in the St. Mary's dictionary but not in the encyclopedia so my dad is all muffled.


The first event will have a presentation of about historical map making of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Brownsville's sister city right across the border. Sounds really interesting! And the meeting would also be good to attend if you are interested in learning more about the association and how to become a member.

The second event is a blast! I know from experience because I took the downtown tour this past summer. I learned so much about downtown's history and architecture. You would learn so much from this tour and Dr. Knopp is probably is one of the foremost experts on Brownsville's history and a great professor (I had the pleasure of taking his history course at UTB about 4 summers ago).

The folks over at the Brownsville Heritage Complex (The Brownsville Historical Association's homebase) are very supportive and nice people and I had the best experience working with them this past Spring on the Fronteras Cruzadas exhibition and symposium. The complex documents Brownsville's past and you will find historical records and a pictorial history of Brownsville while here. It is structured into three units: The Stillman House Museum (home of Brownsville founder Charles Stillman), The Brownsville Heritage Museum (which has a great permanent history exhibit in it's main gallery and moving exhibits as well) and the Heritage Resource Center (which houses original and historical archives for research and study).

Like Brownsville's contemporary culture, Brownsville's heritage and history is incredibly rich and complex. Hey, it must be since it is the second most historical city in Texas only after San Antonio. If you are looking for an awesome history fix, go visit the folks of the Brownsville Historical Association at the Brownsville Heritage Complex.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Ebay Auction of Brownsville Snow

Step right up folks!!!

That's you...have the opportunity of a LIFE TIME....A CENTURY ACTUALLY...

to own a precious piece of history....


Someone has put up a Brownsville snowball for auction on Ebay
Check it out!

Me estoy cagando de risas as we speak!
Current high bid is $48 not including the $20 shipping fee so it can be sent to you in dry ice.

I have my snowball intact in my freezer but no way jose am I selling mine. I even have my Austin sleet/snow ball which weathered the travel in a cooler from Austin in May. If the Ebay auctioneer has any luck, maybe I'll change my mind and maybe I can even finance my kids college tuition with one of them later, if not pay off my target card.

Rumbo al’ Anacua to perform at Festival de Arte Popular

Joe and Rosa Perez of Rumbo al’ Anacua to perform at Festival de Arte Popular at IMAS

Joe and Rosa Perez are very talented musicians and very passionate and supportive of the arts and humanities of the Rio Grande Valley. I guess you can also say that they are headlining the Festival de Arte Popular: The Voice of Mexico, of the International Museum of Art and Science in McAllen.
Click below to read the press release from IMAS:

They are currently the artists in residence at the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center and are also the producers/co-hosts of North of the Border, a radio program of Mexican roots music on KMBH 88.1. They also were guest speakers for the Fronteras Cruzadas symposium in March and will be guest speakers again for Tercera Cultura program this January. I am so glad that people like Joe and Rosa are active in our community.

The music is especially wonderful and I cannot help but tear up when I hear them perform. I even got to see a group dance to one of their songs "Jugas" at a Comadrazo retreat in July...and I don't think there was a dry eye in the patio.

I really recommend that you go see them perform at The Arte Popular Festival, which none the less is also an awesome event and exhibition to catch. For more info on Art Popular click here.

Tercera Cultura Press Release

For Immediate Release:
January 3, 2005
Contact:   Mayra Cruz
Tercera Cultura Program Coordinator
Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center
(956) 361-0110

NMCAC Launches “Tercera Cultura” Art Education Program

SAN BENITO, TX - The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center announces a new visual arts education program entitled “Tercera Cultura.”   This program was created to 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.

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 from 10am to 5pm .  The program course will include lessons on Rio Grande Valley heritage, a photography expedition, special quest speakers and six intensive studios in drawing and painting.  Sixteen students from San Benito High School , Harlingen High School and Lopez High School in Brownsville have been accepted into the program through a selective application process. The program will culminate in a student art exhibition to be held at the center on Sunday, February 27th that will feature the artwork by the students produced during their course of study at the center.

The concept of a third culture refers to the culture that is created when two mainstream cultures merge. The premise of the Tercera Cultura program is a fundamental belief that the Rio Grande Valley ’s heritage and history is a wellspring of artistic inspiration.  “We envision this program will promote awareness about the Rio Grande Valley’s cultural identity among high school art students, a third culture in constant evolution through the dialogue between Mexico and the United States,” says Mayra Cruz, program co-creator and director.

The Tercera Cultura Program is an extension of “Fronteras Cruzadas,” an arts outreach program implemented by Mayra Cruz and Frank Diaz in Brownsville in the Spring of 2004.   Supported by the College of Fine Arts of the University of Texas at Austin , “Fronteras Cruzadas” served 15 high school art students in Brownsville .  Due to its success, the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center has adopted the program.  “This is a very important program for local art students,” says Cristina Ballí, NMCAC director.  “Currently there are few opportunities for Rio Grande Valley students to enhance their art skills outside of regular school instruction, and few opportunities to exhibit their work.  The Tercera Cultura program will provide them with added instruction and solid experience to use in college applications.”

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 frontera community.  This heritage includes the visual arts, music, theatre, dance and literary works.  NMCAC is located at 225 E. Stenger Street in San Benito .  For information, interviews and inquiries concerning the Tercera Cultura program contact Mayra Cruz at (956) 361-0110. 

# # #

Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center
P.O. Box 471
225 Stenger Street
San Benito, Texas 78586
(956) 361-0110

Monday, January 03, 2005

Today was a great day!

I am so stoked today....yes stoked!

Look..I will even put the definition to stoke!

v. stoked, stok·ing, stokes
v. tr.

1. To stir up and feed (a fire or furnace).
2. To feed fuel to and tend the fire of (a furnace).

v. intr.

1. To feed or tend a furnace or fire.
2. Informal. To eat steadily and in large quantities.


So yes...I am so stoked and I am feeling so alive. For a minute, I lost connection to my passion in life, which is feeding the furnace of appreciation for art and culture. Today, I had an orientation with the parents and students who will be participating in the Tercera Cultura program that I am coordinating at The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center. I don't know why but I was so nervous. I really don't get too jittery about events. But it went so well and it felt great to be able to connect with people about the importance of art and cultural heritage of The Rio Grande Valley. I absolutely loved it and being able to open up to people about art and how it opens your eyes....God what a rush!!!...And what is even more exciting about this is that I will be teaching a group of 16 students about art and connecting them to the Rio Grande Valley cultural art scene and to their own culture. Hopefully at the end of the program they will feel as stoked as I do.

Art is such a powerful force...powerful and beautiful and so often neglected and under appreciated but once your eyes so overwhelming at times...almost unfathomable to process all at once....I kid you not...because if you look around you right now...just about everything around you has had input by an artist and if not has some sort of aesthetic connection...

Like the computer you are using now...the smooth casing had to be designed by an artist
the color of your wall (even if it is egg white)...the right amount of pigment and binder had to be mixed by guess artist
the pattern on your curtain
the coffee mug
the paper weight
the paper clip
the shoes you wear
the book cover
the rug
the window
the doorknob
the fire extinguisher sign
the fire extinguisher!
the hotel art piece you have up in your bathroom or office
your hair cut

And this is just design...I know I am blurring the lines of what is artistic and what is functional...but isn't blurring lines what an artist is supposed to do? I mean most art becomes successful because it blurred lines and changed perspectives..even Michelangelo and Monet (figuretively speaking) had their moments of blurring.

Well anyways...I am stoked. Have a great week and get stoked about something too!

January McAllen Art Walk

Coming up this Friday:

Monthly McAllen

Friday, January 7, 2005

Join us for a new year of fun!
Click here for more information.

artwork by: Carl Westveber

Nature Snow Pictures

TAOB reader and photographer Mark shared a link to a webpage with his photographs of local tropical birds playing in the snow. Check it out.
Great pictures and thanks for sharing the link! Also, is you would like me to add a link to your site (and this goes for any photographer or artist) let me know. I would be glad to do so.
Thanks again!

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