The views expressed in comments published on The Art of Brownsville Blog are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Art of Brownsville Blog administrator or any other people listed on this site. Comments were automatically posted live up to 2011, however The Art of Brownsville Blog reserves the right to take down comments at anytime. BROWNSVILLE TEXAS

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Border Bandits

I got this notice from Las Comadres Listserve:

BORDER BANDITS broadcast in Rio Grande Valley delayed!!!

We just received word today that KBMH (Harlingen) has decided to postpone
tonight's broadcast of Border Bandits. According to their programming
manager, it will now air on June 7, at 7 pm. You may contact them at (956)

"Texas Rangers and Border Bandits"

"The documentary offers a first-hand account of the killings."

"Tells all our stories, even the parts we'd rather leave out."

"There is nothing self-righteous or strident about its tone."

"Blows the John Wayne mythos right the hell out of Dodge."

"Along the way Warnock, who isn't Hispanic, uncovered the bigger story."

Border Bandits sparks bill in the Texas Legislature!!!
Rep. Aaron Pena introduces legislation after viewing the documentary!!!
Read about it here
Border Bandits airs on Texas PBS stations

On May 16, 9:00 pm, there will be a state-wide broadcast of BORDER

Listen to Austin radio station KUT's story on Border Bandits:

View the trailer here.

Border Bandits Synopsis
From the producer of the award-winning PBS documentary Return to Giant comes a new look at a very old incident. In 1915 a group of Mexican banditos raided the McAllen Ranch, one of the largest in the area. The next day a group of Texas Rangers supposedly arrived and eliminated the perpetrators. However, the real story is not as tidy as it has been portrayed. Roland Warnock, a 19-year-old cowboy working on the Guadalupe Ranch near present-day Edinburg, witnessed two of these killings when he saw Texas Rangers from Company D shoot two unarmed men in the back and leave their bodies by the side of the road. The effects of these killings by the Rangers are being felt in south Texas some 80 years later. This single incident
brings into play much of the roots of the distrust between Mexicans and the Rangers, as well as the continued friction between Hispanics and Anglos in Texas.
An important and moving story, Border Bandits was produced and directed by Kirby Warnock, the grandson of Roland Warnock, and features the actual voice of Roland Warnock as he describes the events of 1915. In 1974, he sat down with his grandson and dictated the entire story to him on a reel-to-reel tape recorder for Baylor University's oral history program. The younger Warnock kept the tapes, then thirty years later digitized them and placed them in this documentary, with re-enactors portraying the events described by Roland Warnock. Unlike other documentaries that rely on voice talent to read letters or journals, Border Bandits contains the actual voice of the primary source of information, Roland Warnock, lending it an air of authenticity unmatched in most documentaries.
Re-enactment scenes were filmed at Old City Park in Dallas, and Warnock's family ranch near Fort Stockton, Texas. Narration for the film is provided by Jon Dillon, the well-known radio personality for KZPS, 92.5 FM in Dallas, Texas.
Because of its Hispanic influences, the film demanded Mexican-themed music, but the only problem was that Kirby did not speak Spanish and was not totally familiar with Tex-Mex music, save for the cojunto radio stations he heard growing up. Faced with this dilemma, he went back to his roots-rock and roll.
"I've always been a big fan of the Eagles' album, Desperado, so I contacted Don Henley and asked him if we could do a Spanish version of the title song. He gave us permission and basically said that it would be no problem for him to get us the clearances," recalls Warnock.
For the performers, he "stumbled" across The Ramirez Family, an all-female mariachi band from Odessa, Texas. "A close friend took me to lunch at a restaurant in Midland, and The Ramirez Family was performing there. I had never heard those Tex-Mex sounds coming out of a female band before, and I was immediately captivated." Warnock tracked down Betty Ramirez, the leader, and arranged for them to record "Desperado" in Spanish for the soundtrack. The result is a haunting score of a familiar rock standard, sung in Spanish by female voices.

For more information on upcoming screenings, bookmark this site, or e-mail

Read the story that inspired the film, from the book Texas Cowboy,
from Trans-Pecos
Productions, P.O. Box 4124, Dallas, TX 75208.

Read the story that
inspired the film

Get a sneak peak of the new website in development
here .

For Big Bend Quarterly's official website, click here.

Downtown Mural

I often pass by this mural in downtown Brownsville located on the corner of Elizabeth and 8th street. I am not sure who the artist may be but I have a hunch it may be Brownsville muralist Luis "Wichi" Guevera who has a few murals around town. I don't have my sources or facts confirmed, but I believe that a groups of artists tried to organize an art group in that building, thus the mural, which may be a collaborative mural.

The art group no longer functions at the buidling and I don't know if they are still working in the community. The space is actually for rent but the mural remains and it is in pretty bad condition (notice the peeling and gang tagging). I don't know why the mural is peeling since it is relatively new (not more than 8 years). It could be that the wall was not primed before the mural went on or that the paints used were not made to sustain extreme changes in humidity and temperature.

Besides the damage, the mural is beautiful and depicts a scene from historical photographs of Elizabeth Street. To see more historical photos of downtown Brownsville click here. Yet in it's sad state of neglect, the mural represents to me the current state of downtown Brownsville. While some areas have been renovated by the city, university, museums and a few philanthropic business people, downtown is still rather downtrodden with many buildings in neglect and decay.

I really think our downtown is a diamond in the rough that can make Brownsvillle shine even more if more of our citizens took time and interest to invest in it. As the second most historical city in Texas and the oldest city in the Valley, we should take advantage of making our downtown a city attraction, much like Austin, San Antonio and New Orleans have. The big problem that people say about downtown is the lack of parking. Yes, I have to admitt parking is not easy in downtown Brownsville but it's not that bad and you can find small parking lots scattered through downtown if you are willing to walk a couple of blocks. Hey, that's how parking worked most of the time for me in Austin and San Antonio. What would be perfect in downtown Brownsville is if someone would invest in building a parking garage or two.

So come on folks! Let's get things going in downtown Brownsville!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Take another look

On the same scavenger hunt, my cousin and I came by this palm tree near Americo Paredes Elementary on Paredes Line Road that had many stuffed animals attached to it. My guess is that a child was killed close that spot. My mother says a young boy was hit by a car when he was riding his skateboard, but my constant Herald and Google searches provided fruitless. I will keep doing more reseach until I find an actual news report. If anyone knows exactly what happened, your information would be most appreciated. I am also trying to keep my comp alive because I have once agian left my battery in McAllen so I have to pretty much end my research. :(

The tree caught my attention because usually the act of making a homage to the location of a death is something commonly practiced in the Rio Grande Valley. You see it often in Brownsville (crosses on the side of the road) and leaving toys (in the case of the death of a child). Just take a look of the pictures I took of the apartment where the three children were killed by their parents two years ago. But what really caught my attention was the location. This tree is in the newly developed, suburban part of town...but then next to this perfectly trimmed sidewalk with a red bricked fence is palm tree that suggests a culture of people that has deeper roots than that of the newly planted and manicured palm tree. I doubt you would find a community display like this common in Westlake of Austin or The Woodlands of Houston.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Take a second look

Yesterday my cousin David and I went on a Brownsville photo scavenger hunt of sorts. Imagine my suprise when we passed by the First National Bank to see a tag on the front column of the bank...but not just any tag..but an aerosol stencil tag a la Roy Lichtenstein.

This is the stencil as it can be seem from the corner 7th st. and Levee.

Here is a close up of the stencil.

David and I were arguing if the face was that of a woman or man. He insisted it was a man due to the short hair but to me the facial features are suspiciously feminine (check out the smokey eyes) if not atleast boy-ish. Now that I look at it more, the face sports a resemblance to Eddie Munster of The Munsters or even Speed Racer. Oh well, I don't know who this tagger may be but I was defintely suprised to see this style of graffiti in Brownsville.

Does anyone have any clues to what this graffiti is about? Or could it be a UTB art student using up the last of their Spring semester supplies? Coming from an art school background I feel this tag has more artistic motive behind it than some territorial marker and has been made by someone with art background if not by an art student. For one thing, it brings fine art into question just by invoking a Pop Art style. What do you all think? I wonder if the bank has plans to remove it or if anyone has noticed it?


Saturday, May 21, 2005

T3: Revenge of the Tlacuache!


Organizers of the Tlacuachismo are extending a call for works for yet another summer Tlacuache extravaganza. This year's exhibit will 'hang out' at the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center in San Benito, Texas. The exhibit will be up from June 13 - July 29, with a reception on Midsummer's Eve, June 21, from 7-9pm. Poets and writers will also attend to read works in the accompanying literary Tlacuachismo genre. The theme again is the opossum, or tlacuache, as found in post-modern and contemporary art.

This year's submissions will be juried by STC art instructor James Miller. Mr. Miller was last year's winner of the prestigious Tlacuache de Oro, for his work, Bad Opossums. The Tlacuache de Oro will then be passed to the new honoree for the best of show. Honorable mentions agian will be mentioned.

Works will be accepted by the jury from June 8-12. All pieces must be received ready to hang from the wall. Works should not exceed 3x4 feet in area, and a limited number of pedestals will be available for 3 dimensional work. Up to three works per artist will be accepted. Since the exhibit is organized independently, artists will be asked to donate a small enrty fee to cover the cost of postcards and other promotional information.

The make arrangements to submit work and fill out exhibit form, or if you have any questions, please contact Rachael F. Brown at or (956) 316-3330, Dahlia Guzman at or (956) 383-1528, or Cristina Balli at or (956) 361-0110.

Matamoros Exhibition: Christa Cowrie

El Museo Arte Contemporaneo de Tamaulipas presenta:

Christa Cowrie
Ecos de Mexico * Fotografia

Mayo - Junio 2005

Ave. Constitución y Quinta S/N. Col. Jardín C.P. 87330.
Tel. (868) 813-14-99  y 813-77-30.
H. Matamoros. Tam., México


Personal Note: I just went today on a whim walking from the Gateway bridge and I had a blast! The new Parque Olympico is so impressive with their new auditorio, infoteca and as well with the nearby museo. The modern architecture is so impressive! I don't think I have been so impressed since my visit to the Modern Art museum in Fort Worth and Matamoros impressed me more so because the buildings were nicely lit, airy, and a festive green and red whereas the museum in Waco sticks to this cold concrete grey (still impressive but not as fun!). The Christa Cowrie exhibition is impressive as well and I feel that she has followed in the foot steps of Manuel Alvarez Bravo by attempting to capture the spirit of the contemporary Mexican people. The first floor of the museum also has an exhibtion of prints which I assume may be on loan from UT-Pan Am. I really recommened that you all go to see the exhibitions! You won't regret it. Also take a walk over to the new auditorium and info center which is right behind the museum. It will be a monumental experience!

Casa de la Cultura de Reynosa Obra: Bajo Llave

Casa de la Cultura de Reynosa presenta

Una obra de teatro del grup Independiente "Loa" en la Casa de la Cultura.

Nombre de la obra:   "Bajo llave"
Autor: Bárbara Colio
Director: Eduardo Calderón
Estreno:  Jueves 19 de mayo a las 7:00 y a las 8:30 pm en la Casa de la Cultura de Reynosa.

Otras funciones: (other dates)
Viernes 27 de mayo a las 8:00 pm
3 de junio a las 8:00 pm
10 de junio a las 8:00 pm

La cooperación para entrar es de $ 30.00. (pesos)

Zaragoza y Bertha G. de Garza Zamora, Zona Centro
(3 blocks south of the McAllen-Reynosa Gateway Bridge)
Reynosa, Tam., México
Tel. (899) 922-9989
Fax. (899) 922-3188


Personal note: I have been working with Casa de la Cultura and I cannot speak highly enough of them as they work hard to provide quality cultural arts programs and education for the Reynosa community. I am so impressed with their work and I know you will be too. I urge you to attend their theatre performance "Bajo Llave" (under locked key).

Friday, May 20, 2005

Back in the roll of things


Sorry it has been a while since I last's like a ghost town here. Daily visits went down by 40% or yeah..I need to update more often.

I decided to nix the whole having another blog idea because I won't be having much time to update two blogs. A lot of changed in my life in the past three weeks and things will continue to change in the next couple of months as well. Like for one, I am now returning to school to pursue my M.B.A. which 4 weeks ago was not an immediate goal. I need to return to school because I need a full-time student status to be insured under my father's plan so that I can receive medical treatment for the teratoma physicians found when the ER took a C-Scan after I had the accident on the freeway. But in light of the accident, I am actually looking forward to going back to school and working towards my dream of being a shoe designer and founding a company and eventually a foundation.

I am still working in McAllen, but by mid-summer I am coming back to Brownsville to take full-time classes at UTB and hopefully work a part-time job in my field. I have a busy schedule ahead for the first part of summer because I will be taking two online courses while I work two jobs in McAllen and get treated in Brownsville. But I know if I get myself organized I can do it! I really look forward to being back in Brownsville more often. I miss home so much. Even though the Upper Valley has afforded me so many good experiences, I still love coming back home. No place compares to my home!

Well, I must got to bed. I finally have a free Saturday just to laze around! Woo Hoo! My cousin and I will be going around Bville taking some pictures that I have been needing to take for a while now. I will share them as soon as I can. Then I am going to a graduation party in Harlingen that should be fun. The graduate is the son of one of two women who helped me on the expressway after the accident and now it is like we are family. They even came to my birthday party last week! (Yup, I am now 24 years old...but thank God I made it to 24!) Well, goodnight everyone and I hope you all have a great weekend!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Conjunto Celebration



Conjunto Celebration:
Reconocimiento, Pláticas, y Música
A Community Residency Program


Mario Saenz, Sr., renowned bajo sexto musician
Ernesto Guerra, acclaimed accordion player
Rosa & Joe Pérez, members of the popular duet Rumbo al’ Anacua
Roel Sandoval Flores, prominent Valley artist, songwriter, and instrument maker


May 9 to May 21, 2005


La Joya, Edcouch-Elsa, Peñitas, Palmview, San Benito, Santa Rosa, and El Ranchito

For schedules and more information regarding this event, please contact:

Amancio Chapa, Director Fine Arts Department La Joya High School
Cristina Ballí, Director Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center
or visit the Texas Folklife Resources website:

All events are free and open to the public.

From May 9 to May 21 Hidalgo and Cameron Counties will host an exciting cultural arts program that celebrates Mexican American culture, art, and musical traditions. The Community Residency event will include musical performances, workshops, exhibits, jam sessions, and public talks in the towns of La Joya, Edcouch-Elsa, Peñitas, Palmview, San Benito, Santa Rosa, and El Ranchito. This two-week-long event is presented and organized by Texas Folklife Resources, the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center, and the La Joya Independent School District, and is made possible in part through funding from national and statewide organizations including National Endowment for the Arts and Texas Commission on the Arts.

This extended Residency features several local artists. Bajo sexto musician Mario Saenz, Sr., accordionist Ernesto Guerra, artist Roel Flores, and Joe and Rosa Pérez from the popular duet Rumbo al’ Anacua will present and discuss the “Conjunto” tradition at schools, nursing homes, cultural arts centers, local restaurants, senior centers, and other venues. Through their performances these artists will help members of the community explore the meaning and symbolism behind Conjunto music, and the lessons of individual creativity, family unity, cultural identity, and community celebration embedded in the Conjunto tradition.

About the Artists:

Mario Saenz, Sr. and his group, Los Gavilanes de Mario Saenz, achieved great popularity in the late 1950s and went on to produce four hit albums, seven hit 45’s, and nine CDs. Mr. Saenz has made tremendous contributions to the musical traditions of the Valley including conjunto, corridos, rancheras, and boleros.

Ernesto Guerra is known across the Rio Grande Valley as one of the most talented accordionists in the conjunto and polka music traditions. His extraordinary skill has earned him the nickname of “El Sicodélico.” In 1959 he formed his own group, Conjunto del Valle, which launched Mr. Guerra on a productive recording career.

Roel Flores has established himself as a recognized visual artist and musician in South Texas. Both his art and his music deeply reflect the experience of migrant farm workers. The public can view his art on display at the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center on May 21 for the final event of the Residency Program. In 2000, Mr. Flores’ artwork brought him recognition when the Smithsonian Institute exhibited his work in the Washington D.C. National Mall Folklife Festival. Subsequently, his work went on tour as part of the “El Rio” traveling exhibit, also produced by the Smithsonian Institute.

Rosa and Joe Pérez are educators, cultural activists and self-taught musicians. Their duet, “Rumbo al’ Anacua,” blends the style of old música ranchera, contemporary pieces of original folk music, and blues, all of which reflect the rhythm of life in deep South Texas. This dynamic couple also produces and hosts North of the Border, a public radio program of Mexican roots music and socio-historical commentary. In addition, Joe and Rosa coordinate a monthly writers’ forum. For the Residency Program, they will conduct creative writing exercises on community histories and traditional song writing with local students.

The Gran Celebración or final event for this Residency will take place on Saturday, May 21, at the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center in San Benito from 3:00 to 8:00 pm. We invite the community to join us for a full day of spirited performances, public discussions, cultural activities, workshops, and art exhibits.

The extended event in the Rio Grande Valley is one of several Community Residencies scheduled throughout Texas for spring of 2005. These Residency Programs aim to raise the visibility of the extraordinary local talent that exists in rural communities throughout Texas and to educate the public about Texas folk traditions. Texas Folklife Resources is a statewide non-profit cultural organization that serves both Texas folk artists and their audiences by helping to present and promote a diverse and living artistic heritage for all Texans.

For a schedule of events for the Cameron and Hidalgo Counties Community Residency Program, please contact Amancio Chapa at 956-580-5160 ( or Cristina Ballí at 956-361-0110 (, or see the TFR website at For more information on Texas Folklife Resources, contact Michelle Wibbelsman at (512) 371-9128 ( or Nancy Bless at (512) 441-9255 (

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

RGV Center of Fine Arts Acting and Directing Classes

Rio Grande Valley Center of Fine Arts presents:

Acting and Directing Classes with Pedro Garcia

Drama Coordinator, Pedro Garcia, has been a stage performer and film actor since 1987, and has appeared in over fifty plays, and several films. His movie credits include: Living the Life, Pain Flower starring Jesse Borrego, Mad Love starring Drew Barrymore among others. He is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and Co-founder of Teatro Nuestra Cultura.

The Drama Department is offering acting and directing classes for amateurs and professionals. Instruction will be based, in part, on the teachings of Constantine Stanislavski.

Schedule for Drama & Directing Workshops:

Children's Acting workshop:

DATES: Saturdays, May 14 through July 2, Eight-week workshop
TIME: 9:30 am - 11:00 am
AGES: (Ages 8 - 13) 15 students maximum, 8 students minimum
PRICE: members $120, non-members $144

Acting for Beginners:

DATES: Monday's and Wednesday's, May 15 through July 4
Eight-week workshop
TIME: 9:30 am - 11:00 am
AGES: (Ages 14 and above) 15 students maximum, 8 students minimum
PRICE: members $240, non-members$288
DESCRIPTION:Acting students who are beginners will learn stage directions, voice projection, articulation, learning lines and the basics and disciplines of acting including an awareness of the senses and being in character.

Advanced Acting:

DATES: Monday's and Wednesday's May 16 through July 6 Eight-week workshop
TIME: 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
AGES: (Ages 14 and above)
15 students maximum, 8 students minimum
PRICE: members $240, non-members$288
DESCRIPTION: Acting students who are more advanced and gearing themselves to a professional career will learn the methods of acting including character and script analysis to present a more believable and natural character. This class also includes improvising, and voice and body language.

Play/Film Directing:

DATES: Saturdays, May 14 through June 18, Six-week workshop
TIME: 1:30 pm-4:00 pm
AGES: (Ages 14 and above)15 students maximum, 8 students minimum
PRICE: members $150, non-members$180
DESCRIPTION: Directing students will learn the basics of directing and producing a play/film, to include, choosing the right script, production meetings, scheduling rehearsals or shoots, budgeting, auditioning, directing actors, understanding the script, blocking, and working with the rest of the crew including the publicity department.

*Each class will culminate with a public viewing of some of the works that will be established from the workshop, and each participant will receive a certificate of achievement and attendance upon successfully completing the workshop.

For more info visit:

A Family Day with artist Vincent Valdez

The Rio Grande Valley Museum in Harlingen presents:

"A Family Day with Vincent"

Saturday, May 14th 
  12-4 pm

Rio Grande Valley Museum
499 Loop at the corner of Boxwood & Raintree
Across the loop from TSTC (Texas State Technical College)

An exhibit of exquisite, larger than life charcoal drawings by San Antonio artist Vincent Valdez chronicles the drama & excitement of a boxing match. On closer examination, the images parallel the life of Christ as seen in the Stations of the Cross. From either view, the work presents a striking look of the struggles in man's life and demonstrates the talent & insight of this outstanding young artist.

Mr. Valdez will visit the valley to meet with the community and to promote the exhibit on Saturday, May 14th in a cooperative effort between TSTC and the Rio Grande valley Museum. This event, "A Family Day with Vincent" promises to be memorable experience for all ages. 

Visitors will  have the opportunity to ride a trolley  from RGVM to TSTC and view the "Stations" exhibit. Activities at the RGVM will include a chance for young visitors to draw with the artist, who works with children in San Antonio. A film discussing Vincent's life and work will run continuously in the RGVM media theater. A reception hosted by the RGVM Association and the Narcisso Martinez Cultural center will begin at 2:00.

In addition, a bilingual comedy troupe, "Teatro Liberdad" from PSJA Liberty Middle School, will perform in the courtyard of the museum during the day. Tours of the historical houses featured at the RGVM, and an exhibit featuring the Nature of the Valley will round out the family day!

The public is invited free of charge. (Visitor may park at the RGVM parking lot and ride the trolley to TSTC from 12:00- 2:30). Reception from 2-4 pm.

The First Border Post

From the Brownsville Historical Association:

You are cordially invited to attend a reception and book signing for Mr. Carl S. Chilton's new book, Fort Brown:  The First Border Post.

Date:    Sunday, May 15, 2005  Time:  2:00 p.m.
Place:  Brownsville Heritage Museum, 1325 E. Washington Street,
Brownsville, Texas,  (956) 541-5560.

Mr. Chilton will speak about Fort Brown and will be available to sign books
Refreshments will be served. Please join us!

Books are $24.95 plus tax = $27.01  If you are a member, please ask for your discount! No purchase necessary to attend!
Feel free to call the museum Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 to 4:00 for more information


Brownsville Historical Association
1325 E. Washington St.
Brownsville, TX 78520
(956) 541-5560 (956) 541-5524 Fax
Museum hours: Tue-Sat. 10-4

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