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Monday, March 28, 2005

Sunday Opinion

Yesterday, The Herald printed two relevant community commentaries in concern to the arts in Brownsville. One was a guest column by Brownsville art teacher Roxana Cantu who wrote about the need for more arts support from our community and the schools. She wrote of how she attended an art teacher forum at UT-Austin and spoke with future art teachers. I was among the audience that day and what she has to say is very relevant. The Herald also printed a commentary about the heydays of the El Jardin Hotel by quoting the memoirs of a bellboy who used to work there. So far I have yet to see these commentaries published online. I hope that by the end of today they are posted so I can share with you my opinions as well. Have a great day!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter

Happy Easter Everyone! It's turning out to be a nice, cool and sunny day here in Brownsville, so go out and enjoy the great weather with your family and friends. Even take part in a Cascarone hunt! In celebration of today I want to share with you Carmen Lomas Garza's painting Cascarones, (which are confetti filled and dyed Easter Eggs), depicting a traditional family activity here in South Texas. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

UT Longhorn Band in Brownsville

Friday, April 8, 7 p.m.

The University of Texas at Austin Longhorn Symphonic Band in Concert

Lopez High School Performing Arts Center Auditorium, 3205 South Dakota Avenue, Brownsville, TX

Admission is Free!

Woo Hoo! The Longhorn Band is in town! I love the band! I spent so many days in the music building just hanging out around the lobbies and piano rooms just trying to absorb all the good music energy. And now some of that nostalgia is coming back home! I am quite proud of the surge of interest my university has taken in my town, especially the College of Fine Arts. Truly they know that they have a great pool of talent in Brownsville to pull from.

Friday, March 25, 2005


When it comes to the internet, I am a much more avid googler than blogera. I love to surf the internet and I love to do research on the most random of topics than run across my mind. (For ex. "What's up with Haley Joel Osment?", "Can I find a picture of the mural located in the Renaissance Market in Austin?", "How accurate is the Farmer's Almanac?", etc..etc...) So imagine my suprise when I came across Blogshares and found that The Art of Brownsville is being traded (hypothetically ofcourse) on TAOB is currently valued at $5,672.52!!! Holy Moley! Heck, if that was real money I would be on a faster track to college loan free land! I have no idea how blogshares works...heck I have no idea how the real market works...I see little numbers on TV and in the newspaper and it might as well be Chinese to me. Other blogs that are also being traded and sold through Blogshares are:

El Chisme
The Daily Texican
El Mas Chingon
Patti and Ink

Most of the blogs I have linked to this blog are being traded. I find this all very suprising so I am going to be keeping a tab on what this is all about. I guess I am going to have to learn more about stocks and trade. If you are a beginner like me, then check out Investing Basics at the AG Edwards site. If you are still at a complete loss even with the Basic Investing guide like me, then check out the Kid's Guide. You get to choose your own cartoon guide as well! haha.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Back in Brownsville

I'm back after having lived across the Valley on my own for about a week. Getting back into the single living lifestyle is like riding a bike and it felt like I was back in my own place in Austin, but I am in my own place in McAllen and I pay less rent and have more space! For the most part it has been good and I also enjoy work so much more now. Yet, it is good to be back home and I got a 4-day Easter Break so I am doubly happy!

Today at work, I also got to meet with some graffiti artists from Hidalgo County about a mural we have on the works that will be unveiled on Earth Day, April 22nd at the soon to be opened Urban Art Bar and Gallery in downtown McAllen right across Cine El Rey on 17th st. It's is going to be an awesome mural and I also enjoyed hearing their opinions on graffiti art vs. tagging and just their view of the whole RGV graffiti scene. It was so interesting to hear what they had to say and I would love for a cultural anthropologist or art historian to get their attention on the topic of RGV graffiti. There is so much potential for positive engagement from these artists, it is just a matter of mobilizing it in that direction.

I am also trying to organize an event at my job with local artists and I am excited to say that I got RGV artists Izel Vargas and Roel Flores on board! They are both great artists and some of the most active names out there in the RGV art scene. I am also working on a program with students from McAllen and Reynosa, which will lead to an exhibition in Casa de la Cultura in Reynosa and in McAllen. I went to Casa de la Cultura recently and got to see one of their alums give a piano concert to a group of school children. He had been a student their since he was five years old and now he is 21 and pretty much on his way to be an international concert pianist. It is just so amazing to hear stories like that.

Amigos Artistas is also organizing an arts fundraiser event on Saturday, April 23rd called "Arte en El Ranchito". The event will allow for artists to set up booths and sell their work at the IBC "El Ranchito" retreat. Amigos Artistas will keep a percentage of their sales to use towards funding more arts events. It is going to be a gorgeous and exciting event and artists will be coming from all over the Valley. If you are interested in participating or know of anyone who might, shoot an email my way.

Well, there is so much going on and I am very excited about many things headed our way in the Valley art wise! Things are mobilizing and more and more people are beginning to take notice. VIVA EL ARTE!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Pilgrimage to Teotihuacan

In one month I will be here, trying to reconnect with something lost. And when I will have finished climbing the mountain, I will be yelling the song of life, LA LIBERTAD!

"I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world!"

-Walt Whitman

One Way or the Other

Why is that when it comes to politics or life in general, it's one extreme or the other. For example, Conservatives are so intent on criticizing any Liberal agenda and defending their own without any question. Same goes for Liberals. Why don't you hear a Liberal questioning another Liberal, or a Conservative questioning another Conservative...the closest thing you often hear about is a conservative or liberal criticizing his or her own for not being liberal or not being conservative enough. Let me clarify I am talking about extremes here.

For example, Conservatives justify the war in Iraq as a War against Terrorism...but wait, didn't Bush declare "Mission Completed" a while back? If our mission is indeed completed then why do we still have soldiers coming back in coffins, dead from wounds caused by the very people they supposedly saved?? And they will justify it by saying it is patriotic and for the greater good, so don't worry if our country is trillions of dollars in debt because in the future we will live in a safer world. Far as it seems, we have more people hating us in the Middle East than loving us. How is that going to equate to a safer future?

And, why are Liberals so intent on criticizing the War in Iraq as a capitalistic agenda and then support the use of narcotics, thus supporting vicious drug lords who terrorize people in their countries. And they could argue, well if drugs would be legalized we wouldn't have that problem. I doubt it. Do you think drug lords would so gladly turn a friendly face to a free market? And even if...why would I want people to walk around stoned or high on crack? We have problems with drunk drivers as it is.

I am just disillusioned with both extremes. It seems like these days, you are hard pressed to find someone who wants to look at the facts and issues of our society as they are without bringing in their own extreme judgments. It's either one way or the other, and somewhere in the middle, we lose the answers to our problems.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Moving On

I am a bit bummed but then at the same time relieved. I am temporarily moving from Brownsville to be a bit closer to work. I am not exactly happy about moving. I love my town. I love my home. I love my family! I love the work I have going on here as well. But...I also like my job and the work I have going on there and I also like having more time on my plate rather than wasting 2.5 hours of my day in a car dodging traffic, construction and the elements, wearing down my truck iChugGas and popping $13 a day on gasoline. I feel completely torn.

But I made the decision! For now, I need to be closer to work for various reasons but also foremost for my health. The commute is wearing me down mentally and physically...I loose my energy to the road thus affecting my motivation at work and I am a more reckless driver because I am either speeding (not crazy speeding but I do speed) because I don't want to be late to work or because I want to get back home as soon as possible after a long day at work. God, I am just not happy and I figure moving is the only logical thing to do because I want to do a great performance at my job. I spent five freaking years in college and now is the time to prove what I have learned. I remember a year ago, I could not wait to leave Austin so that I could get out of the drudgery of school and get out into the real world. So now I have a chance to do really prove myself and I want to do my best job.

Unfortunately I was not able to find that opportunity in Brownsville and I guess in some way I am resentful of that. I love my town but it also didn't afford me the career I was looking for and I had to find it somewhere else...funny thing is my current job found me and I could not feel any luckier. And I am not the only one in my boat..I know of so many people who are also in the same predicament..they graduate from college with degrees but are not able to start their careers in Brownsville, because face it the job market isn't exactly shining here. They have to move to Dallas, Houston, Austin to find a job or commute to other cities in the Valley. Many factors are mentioned that contribute to Brownsville's less than stellar job market:

1.) Compadrismo (You'll hear the stories like how the applicant with a degree lost the $25K job with benefits to the applicant with a GED because that applicant was someone's relative.)
2.) El Norte (All the good jobs are up north)
3.) Economic Disadvantage ( Full-time Jobs just cannot be afforded at this time but you can work part-time at minimum wage with no benefits)

Oh well, I am tired about thinking about this too much. I am moving for now and hopefully in the near future I can find a career job near Brownsville. I love my home . There is no place in the world that hits close to heart like the scene of a sunset and palm trees reflected off Town Resaca. This is home and I am incredibly proud of it! But for now I am moving and I do look forward to what awaits me overthere al otro lado del Valle and just giving my job my full potential! So in effect, I am moving on. Let's see what life brings my way.

I got this picture from this website that also contains more awesome images of Bville. Check it out!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Charro Days Pics!

this is an audio post - click to play

Orale! I am finally uploading some Charro Days pics for you all! I even recorded a grito for you all thru audioblogger. It's from the song "Pachuco" by Maldita Vecindad (awesome song by the way!) and it's not the best recording but I was too shy to go through with it. And I can do a pretty decent grito but you know who is sister Angie! So maybe she will grace you all with a grito later...aver si quiere. are the pics. They are all from the Friday, Feb. 25th night parade. The crowd was pretty low and there were so many empty chairs along Elizabeth street. I even left work early so that I can try to arrive early to reserve seats. Then the next day it rained and the International Parade was canceled, which has only happened twice in the long history of Charro Days. I missed that parade because of work but as I was filling mycar with gas that morning I saw so many floats at the HEB parking lot that were soaked. Their papier mache float installations were drooping and pretty much past repair. I don't blame them for canceling the parade. Well here you go and enjoy the pics! Let me know what you all think.

I was having trouble with the shutter speed..but I got this effect on these flag charros. Pretty chido I think.

You have to love how enthusiastically seniors celebrate Charro Days. I love how adult day cares and assisted living homes crown a charro days court. I think kids and seniors are the ones who have the most fun on Charro Days.

This was one of the nicer floats and I love how all the little girls look so cordial and pretty. There were quite a few bump and grind of the them was playing "Dame Mas Gasolina" and this little 9 nine year old girl was pretty much dancing with the balance beam on the float like it was a strip pole. I am not kidding, she was dipping it low ala Cristina Milian. Somehow, I just don't think "Dame Mas Gasolina" is the message of Charro Days.

You cannot have a Charro Days parade without a mariachi band! Guepa!

And last but no least...Captain Bob's float brought a new suprise! Seems like after Mr. Shrimp got his head back in order he decided to take a wife...introducing Mrs. Shrimp! I could not stop cracking up! I wonder if by next parade they will have a family?

I will try to soon have some more pics for you all of Bville snow and stuff. Have a good weekend and hasta luego!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Not So Quickie Update

Hi Folks!

Still here and doing well. I am so pleased because my students from Tercera Cultura had their opening reception this past Sunday and it went very well. About 90 people showed up and the show will be up until April 6th, so try to go by the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center to catch the show. The show came out even better than planned because of the initiative some of the students took to make an installation that was not even required or asked for. I even managed to sneak a piece in from my student's used painting palettes in a very Jackson Pollock/Marcel Duchamp style..hehe. In all, the experience was so inspiring and l really enjoyed being there with them every step of the way the past nine weeks. I am so proud of them and I hope I can do it again soon. Thank you so much to those who supported this initiative!

But for now I am getting some down time. I am flushed and my colleague at work even recommended that I go home early from work today. I took her advice, drove home early thus avoiding traffic, took a short nap and then took my car to the mechanic because my car's brakes are in such bad condition. With the construction and crazy drivers out there (me sometimes being one of them I'll admitt), my commute and life depends on having a safer car. My car has also been guzzling gas like there is no tommorrow so I am having the mechanic look into it. Hopefully in two days I will have a better driving vehicle! Yay!

I have some Charro Days pics for you all (thanks Angie for sending me the files), but I have yet to find time to sit down and photoshop them into smaller jpeg files for web viewing and then upload them and make comments (that would be a whole evening of worl..yes I am a slow and contemplative artist type of worker). I should be able to by the end of this week. Julietta Venegas is also having a concert in McAllen as we speak. I am a bit bummed to be missing out but a concert is the last place to be right now. I would have been super exhausted for work tommorrow and I really want to focus and give my best there now that I have some more time on my plate. I am no longer pulled so much by the Tercera Cultura Project...but I am hoping that within the next few months I can be pulled to start it up again. We will see how that goes.

I do have some vaction time coming up in April! YAY! I don't know where to go...I could go to NYC or Atlanta or just visit around Texas but if I had a choice I would be somewhere not in the United States or Mexico...just somewhere different because my international culture cravings have been stirring. Maybe Italy? Maybe Costa Rica? I don't know if I could afford it, so I just may end up visiting my old UT International Office haunts. I have been missing Austin a bit and the Spring is always so beautiful there.

Well, I am off to bed now! I am going to get 8 hours of sleep tonight! YAY!!! :) I will be back with Charro Days pics and some upcoming info on art. I know Amigos Artistas has a major Valley artist event coming this April in Brownsville. If you want more information just shoot an email my way. Alright..buenas noches and take care!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Intolerance and Bigotry Alive and Well

Just got word that this will be happening at UT-Austin. Then I read more about it on the Daily Texican. I am so saddened and angered by this. Even though Brownsville is my true home...Austin was my 2nd home for 5 years and I still feel very close to it in heart. My university... I am very proud of my university but I am disgusted at the thought that I walked among such ignorant people who are willing to dehumanize people! How could the University allow for this happen?


"Immigrant Hunt," this Wednesday, March 2nd on the
West Mall.

The YCT (Young Conservatives of Texas) have organized
an "Immigrant Hunt" for this Wednesday, March 2nd on
the West Mall on campus-- they have reserved the space
from 11:00am-1:00pm.

They recently organized a similar event at the
University of North Texas

This time around they plan to wear color-coded
anti-immigrant shirts and "hunt for immigrants" who
will be YCT-ers dressed in brown for Latina/os, yellow
for Asians, etc. and offer rewards.

A counter-demonstration is planned by a multi-ethnic
coalition of student organizations in response at the
same time. Folks are asking for a huge turnout, and
that people wear black shirts and white bandanas if
possible, and bring signs and chants-- some folks will
be linking hands in silent protest, others will be
vocal and hold signs and pass out flyers outlining a
progressive position on immigration.


If you are in the Austin Metro Area, please participate in the counter-demonstartions. The blog Terribly Happy reported that the YCT demonstartion may be a hoax..but even if it turns out to be a hoax...we should all show up to show our stand against intolerance and bigotry. This is truly a time for the might of soul force. It is also Texas Independence Day tommorrow and I am sure it will be an interesting day on campus by the West Mall.


I have been googling to see what happened and this is the best update I could find, which states that about 500-600 people showed up for a counter protest. Wow! If that's is true I am so glad to know that such a high number of people showed up to voice their concern. UT may house a few I am sure all schools do...but I am so glad there are a greater number who oppose bigotry. I am glad the better people there acted so proactively and for that I am proud that I went to UT-Austin.


Before I stated that I could not believe that UT would allow for the immigrant hunt to be held...which did not happen after all...but I can also understand how the University must respect students' freedom of speech...for God sake's people were trading bibles for porn and sititng on a golden toilet a few years back...but still..sitting on a golden toilet passing out bibles for porn is a more civilized act than dehumanizing people.

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