Skip to main content


Showing posts from February, 2006

Part 3: What the Guadalupe's new President, R. Bret Ruiz says about women, and la gente from San Antonio

Two women speak out


Irma R. Mayorga is from San Antonio. She has travelled and lived throughout the country, amassing awards and fellowships. This past December, she became the first Latina to graduate with a joint Ph.D in Drama and the Humanities from Stanford University.

In 2003, Mayorga was the first Chicana to receive an invitation to the Eugene O’Neill Center's Playwright's Conference for her play, Cascarones. She is also the co-creator of The Panza Monologues, along with Vicki Grise, which has toured to positive reviews.

The word mostly linked with Irma Mayorga is brilliant. She considers herself a Chicana with all the progressive connotations that come with it. She is currently an adjunct professor at UTSA/Downtown Campus. Mayorga is too reserved to tell you, but she has been courted by prestigious universities outside the state, choosing instead to stay at home, in San Antonio. She thinks of herself as an artist first, and as a community scholar second.

Until her…

The Guadalupe Cultural Center is Different Now : Comment

From Alfredo Santos, doctoral student at UT/Austin and a newspaper publisher from Uvalde, Texas:

I am reading with great interest your series on the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. Pa que vez como han cambiado las cosas: Two years ago, I was helping Jaime Martinez put together the program for the Cesar Chavez banquet that always proceeds the march. We were running behind and there were last minute changes to be made. The closest place I could think of that had a copier was the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. Over the years I had always donated space and sometimes even sold spots for different events they sponsored in some of the newspapers I publish. So I said to myself, pa que son los friends si no te pueden ayudar en un bind? I dashed over the Guadalupe and explained that I needed to redo a brochure and was in a bind for time. Without blinking an eye the staffers who were still at the office working late on some other project showed me to the copy machine y me aranque con mi business.…

Part 2: In the Beginning, the story of the creation of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio, Texas

Before the Guadalupe, you must understand that there was a civil rights movement that made it possible.

It took the Voting Rights Act in the mid-sixties to transform the San Antonio City Council to single-member districts, allowing a representative number of Latinos and African-Americans to be elected. The new councilmembers in turn redistributed the city's money, which came from the people of San Antonio.

The flagship of that change was the GuadalupeCulturalCenter.In time, the Guadalupe became the most revered cultural center of its kind in the country. The Guadalupe began life with another name, the Performance Arts Nucleus (PAN),a visual and performing arts organization founded in 1979. Some of the boardmembers to this consortium included David Gonzalez, Rodolfo Garcia, musician Juan Tejeda, DarĂ­o Aguilar,and poet Angela de Hoyos.After some debate, it was…

Part 1: The new President of the Guadalupe doesn't want to answer my questions

The corporate-looking guero with an artist’s name, R. Bret Ruiz, who grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, became the President of the GuadalupeCulturalArtsCenter last July after a two-year national search.
He is the fourth person (the title has changed to president) in seven years to lead the institution since Pedro Rodriguez resigned as executive director of the Guadalupe in the late nineties.I interviewed Ruiz on Tuesday, February 21st. Ruiz didn’t seem happy to see me, and was accompanied by Loretta Zevallos, a peruana-americana who was introduced to me as his Comptroller, who is also acting as his public relations manager. In the Guadalupe’s corporate boardroom, Ms. Zevallos asked me right away what kind of story was I going to write? And for whom? I told her that I was a free-lancer, and that as a citizen of San Antonio, I wanted to understand why the Guadalupe, which received $450,725 in operational funds alone from the city of San Antonio for this 05-06 fiscal year, didn’t have an…

Introduction: A Special Series on the Future of the Guadalupe Cultural Center

Dance of Lights,courtesy of Joan Frederick.


Can the Guadalupe dance again?
A Special Series featuring Interviews/Stories/Memorias/and Questions about the future of the nation's oldest and once-premier cultural center for and about
la raza.


Back in the day, I used to come to the GuadalupeCenter all the time from Dallas, where I lived.Que tiempos, que parties!The International Bookfair, the Cinefestival, the Conjunto Festival.I planned my life, it seemed, counting the days until my next trip to San Antonio where I was welcomed in a familia that was also searching for its roots.

But then I’m from the Texas Panhandle, and I didn’t grow up reading The House on Mango Street, or knowing anything about Latin American cinema besides el Cine de Oro.Conjunto?Accordion and bajo sexto? That was for la gente baja, but my parents sure liked to go to the cantinas on the weekends when I was a teenager to have some frias and listen to it. Until Juan Tejeda, musician and …
This is who I am/Quien soy
Watch the videoI am a Tejana who is not afraid to tell true stories.

Ralph Velasquez in his own words: His Family's Escape from the Derailed Train's Poisonous Gas Part 2

Velasquez, fiftyish and with the look of a man who has seen la muerte, with the clock ticking loudly inside him, told me his story alongside his attorneys Amy Kastely and Isabel De la Riva this past Wednesday night:

He had returned home early after taking his children on a fishing trip that was rained out. Everyone went to sleep. Then, a noise woke him up. He looked at the clock. 5:07 a.m. Leticia was choking, and that's when Ralph saw it.

A cloud, a wave, a rolling fog of something that was within 50' of engulfing his house.

There was no way to avoid it. He started choking too, coughing up blood, tissue, and what he later learned were pieces of his lungs.

He and Leticia gathered up the kids, rushing to their car, instinctively realizing that the only chance they had were the back roads, to move faster than the fog sweeping down on them. They took the backroad, only to be snared by a neighbor's barbed wire fence. Desperately, Leticia tried to open the fence, and then tried aga…