Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fruit Trees, Music and the Art of Creation

Since I'm prone to side with long-time camarada Jimmy Mendiola and heave an exasperated sigh with respect to all the Democratic party South Carolina side show antics. He rightfully and insightfully defers to a brilliant take by Roberto Lovato for New America Media which was reposted over at Huffington. Add to that the endoresment of Hillary by the UFW and I won't even begin to bother. Rafael Childress, my lifelong friend and a former child actor on a bilingual educational PBS series called Carrascolendas (created by Chicana TV pioneer Aida Barrera) sent a text from Texas or New York or wherever he's got himself to recently about how César Chávez must be rolling over in his grave. Como se llama?! Se llama Obama and go tell that to yo mama!!! According to the poorly equipped and eerily under-informed pundits in the mainstream media we are "overwhelmingly" supporting a former Goldwater republican and the daughter of an old school racist/segregationist because of an alleged animosity against blacks. Give me a frackin' break! Check out these fotos from the aforementioned TV show that ran for eight years in the 70s for a look at where the Rainbow Coalition was actually born. No, mis queridos lectores. Best leave well enough alone. Even if I have been tapped to do a little sribblin' about Mr. Paul, the charmin' lil' old doctor feller from Tay-haas for a local mag. Instead, I'll jump up and down beside myself with pride and glee because my El Sereno neighbor and righteous Zocaloc artist Pete Carrillo is curating a bang up exhibition right under everyone's nose at the Sony Pictures Entertainment Studios in Culver City. With music as a thematic thread, the exhibition features work from Poli Marichal, Timoi, Eriberto Oriel, his sun and Jokerbrand kingpin Esteban Oriel as well as Sandy Rodriguez (these are just the folks whose work I know and admire) among many others. The show includes photos, paintings, mixed media, and art created on musical instruments. House that for subversive knocking on the White House back door in the middle of the night? Can't wait to check it out tomorrow mañana. Should be a good party.

And as an antidote to all of the madness and chaos nosotros los pobres poetas are so eager to embrace while railing against it at the same time, there's comadre Daisy Tonantzin, mujer caracol, supervising the great fruit tree giveaway at Proyecto Jardín, the Boyle Heights community garden that continues to thrive in spite of everything. If you're around, head over there between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to help out. Proyecto Jardín is located at 1718 Bridge Street in BH just behind White Memorial Hospital. Urban farming... get with it. Support the garden, Tree People and Girls Today, Women Tomorrow, a leadership mentoring program for young women in our community.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

New Year, New Day y El Destino Ante Amor

How does one begin? Fiestas navideñas on and across the supple backs of four weeks that literally flew by, perhaps? And so it was back from Tejaztlan and the bright lights and big music of mi querido Austin. Flying in to LAX after dark for a Christmas rendezvous with myself and the shades of destiny. It was a return to temporary work at NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers), but more importantly, a fundraiser a few days after for a few of us who've been invited to the Decimo Tercero Festival de Poesia Internacional en La Habana. Held at Miss T's Barcade, the retro-cool arcade-cum-cantina co-owned by Ricardo Gómez, accordion player with Very Be Careful, a band that turns in Colombian vallenato and cumbia standards with celebratory joy and musical madness over trago 'tras trago. Compa' was kind enough to let us keep the nominal cover. So here we are en el año del dinero or so I'm told by a lovely dominicana in Boston. Finished it all with a New Year's Eve party of one, alone in El Sereno. Followed it a few days later at the birthday pachanga for KPFK's Pocho Hour of Power co-host and reformed bad boy Esteban Zul in Silverlake. Tamales and tequila with a bang. Esteban is an official ambassador of Aztlan as recognized by the Cuban embassy attaches in Mexico City.

The holy-days would not, finally, have been complete with out the traditional Rosca de Reyes on January 6th in celebration of the Reyes Magos. I was honored to have LA's premiere Chicana Poetas Chingonas (CPC)--Gloria Alvarez, Reina Prado and María Elena Fernández as well as cultural arts maven and camarada Fabiola Torres over to the humble cantón for tamales and champurrado. Friend and brother for life Jesse Katz read from his upcoming memoir soon to be published by Crown Books. Last year we celebrated the Three Kings Day at Rudolpho's in Silverlake. Much cozier at home and can't wait for the candelaria, the party those who find the tiny niño santo figurine in their slice of rosca (King Cake). Of course, Francisco Hernández would wind up with one as did pintor y artista del grabador extraordinario José Lozano. Props to Reina who baked her own! This is the season... and stay tuned for a poem titled as such written on January 12th, a day imbued with uncontainable personal meaning and magic and memory and melancolía nostalgica. Promised myself I wouldn't use this blogspt for poetry, but I'll renege. Recommended: the exhibition of Graciela Iturbide photographs at the Getty. There are no words to conjure the mastery yet. The title suffices in a way these humble excursions can't. See her photo from Tijuana at the top. See, it isn't just Chicanos that make a fetish of Guadalupe-Cuatlicue...